The Insulted and Injured
                by Fyodor Dostoevsky

            Translated by Constance Garnett.


			 PART I

			CHAPTER I

   Last year, on the evening of March 22, I had a very strange
adventure.  All that day I had been walking about the town
trying to find a lodging.  My old one was very damp, and I had
begun to have an ominous cough.  Ever since the autumn I had
been meaning to move, but I had hung on till the spring.  I had
not been able to find anything decent all day.  In the first place
I wanted a separate tenement, not a room in other people's
lodgings; secondly, though I could do with one room, it must be
a large one, and, of course, it had at the same time to be as cheap
as possible.  I have observed that in a confined space even thought
is cramped; When I was brooding over a future novel I liked to
walk up and down the room.  By the way, I always like better
brooding over my works and dreaming how they should be written
than actually writing them.  And this really is not from laziness.
Why is it?
   I had been feeling unwell all day, and towards sunset I felt
really very ill. Something like a fever set in.  Moreover, I had
been all day long on my legs and was tired.  Towards evening,
just before it got dark, I was walking along the Voznesensky
Prospect.  I love the March sun in Petersburg, especially at
sunset, in clear frosty weather, of course.  The whole street
suddenly glitters, bathed in brilliant light.  All the houses seem
suddenly, as it were, to sparkle.  Their grey, yellow, and dirty-
green hues for an instant lose all their gloominess, it is as though
there were a sudden clearness in one's soul, as though one were
startled, or as though someone had nudged one with his elbow.
There is a new outlook, a new train of thought.... It is wonderful
what one ray of sunshine can do for the soul of man!
   But the ray of sunshine had died away; the frost grew sharper,
and began to nip one's nose: the twilight deepened; gas flared
from the shops.  As I reached Muller's, the confectioner's,
I suddenly stood stock-still and began staring at that side of the
street, as though I had a presentiment that something extra-
ordinary was just going to happen to me ; and at that very
instant I saw, on the opposite side of the street, the old man with
his dog.  I remember quite well that I felt an unpleasant
sensation clutch at my heart, and I could not myself have told
what that sensation was.
   I am not a mystic.  I scarcely believe in presentiments and
divinings, yet I have, as probably most people have, had some
rather inexplicable experiences in my life.  For example, this
old man : why was it that at that meeting with him I had at once
a presentiment that that same evening something not quite
ordinary would happen to me ? I was ill, however, and sensations
in illness are almost always deceptive.
   The old man, stooping and tapping the pavement with his
stick, drew near the confectioner's, with his slow, feeble step,
moving his legs as though they were sticks, and seeming not to
bend them.  I had never in my life come across such a strange,
grotesque figure, and, whenever I had met him at Muller's before,
he had always made a painful impression on me.  His tall figure,
his bent back, his death-like face with the stamp of eighty years
upon it, his old great-coat torn at the seams, the battered round
hat, at least twenty years old, which covered his head - bald but
for one lock of hair not grey but yellowish-white - all his move-
ments, which seemed performed, as it were, aimlessly, as though
worked by springs - no one who met him for the first time could
help being struck by all this.  It really was strange to see an old
man who had so outlived the natural spar, alone, with no one to
look after him, especially as he looked like a madman who had
escaped from his keepers.  I was struck, too, by his extraordinary
emaciation ; he seemed scarcely to have any body, it was as
though there were nothing but skin over his bones.  His large
lustreless eyes, set as it were in blue rims, always stared straight
before him, never looking to one side, and never seeing anything -
of that I feel certain; though he looked at you, he walked straight
at you as though there were an empty space before him.  I
noticed this several times.  He had begun to make his appearance
at Muller's only lately, he was always accompanied by his dog,
and no one knew where he came from.  Not one of the customers
at Muller's could make up his mind to address him, nor did he
accost any of them.
   "And why does he drag himself to Muller's, what is there for
him to do there?" I wondered, standing still on the opposite
side of the street and gazing fixedly at him.  A sort of irritable
vexation, the result of illness and fatigue, surged up within me.
"What is he thinking about?" I went on wondering.  "What is
there in his head? But does he still think of anything at all?
His face is so dead that it expresses nothing at all.  And where
could he have picked up that disgusting dog, which never leaves
him, as though it were an inseparable part of him, and which is so
like him?"
   That wretched dog looked as though it, too, were eighty; yes,
it certainly must have been so.  To begin with, it looked older
than dogs ever are, and secondly, it struck me, for some reason,
the very first time I saw it, that it could not be a dog like all others;
that it was an exceptional dog; that there must be something
fantastic about it, something uncanny; that it might be a sort
of Mephistopheles in dog-form, and that its fate was in some
mysterious unknown way bound up with the fate of its master.
Looking at it you would have allowed at once that twenty years
must have elapsed since its last meal.  It was as thin as a skeleton,
or, which is much the same, as its master.  Almost all its hair had
fallen off, and its tail hung down between its legs as bare as a
stick.  Its head and long ears drooped sullenly forward.  I never
in my life met such a repulsive dog.  When they both walked
down the street, the master in front and the dog at his heels, its
nose touched the skirt of his coat as though glued to it.  And their
gait and their whole appearance seemed almost to cry aloud at
every step: "We are old, old.  Oh Lord, how old we are! "
I remember too that it occurred to me once that the old man and
the dog had somehow stepped out of some page of Hoffmann
illustrated by Gavarni and were parading this world by way of
walking advertisements of the edition.
   I crossed the road and followed the old man into the con-
fectioner's.
   In the shop the old man behaved in a very strange way, and
Muller, standing at his counter, had begun of late to make a
grimace of annoyance at the entrance of the unbidden guest.  In
the first place, the strange visitor never asked for anything.
Every time he went straight to a corner by the stove and sat
down in a chair there.  If the seat by the stove were occupied,
after standing for some time in bewildered perplexity before the
gentleman who had taken his place, he walked away, seeming
puzzled, to the other corner by the window.  There he fixed on a
chair, deliberately seated himself in it, took off his hat, put it
on the floor beside him, laid his stick by his hat, and then, sinking
back into the chair, he would remain without moving for three
or four hours.  He never took up a newspaper, never uttered a
single word, a single sound, and simply sat there, staring straight
before him with wide-open eyes, but with such a blank, lifeless
look in them that one might well bet he saw and heard nothing
of what was going on around him.  The dog, after turning round
two or three times in the same place, lay down sullenly at his feet
with its nose between his boots, heaving deep sighs, and, stretched
out full length on the floor, it too stayed without moving the
whole evening as though it bad died for the time.  One might
imagine that these two creatures lay dead all day somewhere, and
only at sunset came to life again, simply to visit Muller's shop to
perform some mysterious, secret duty.  After sitting for three or
four hours, the old man would at last get up, take up his hat and
set off somewhere homewards.  The dog too got up, and, with
drooping tail and hanging head as before, followed him mechan-
ically with the same slow step.  The habitual visitors at the shop
began at last to avoid the old man in every way and would not
even sit beside him, as though he gave them a feeling of repulsion.
He noticed nothing of this.
  The customers of this confectioner's shop were mostly Germans.
They gathered there from all parts of the Voznesensky Prospect,
mostly heads of shops of various sorts : carpenters, bakers,
painters, hatters, saddlers, all patriarchal people in the German
sense of the word.  Altogether the patriarchal tradition was kept
up at Muller's.  Often the master of the shop joined some customer
of his acquaintance and sat beside him at the table, when a
certain amount of punch would be consumed.  The dogs and
small children of the household would sometimes come out to see
the customers too, and the latter used to fondle both the children
and the dogs.  They all knew one another and all had a respect
for one another.  And while the guests were absorbed in the
perusal of the German newspapers, through the door leading
to the shopkeeper's rooms came the tinkling of "Mein lieber
Augustin," on a cracked piano played by the eldest daughter, a
little German miss with flaxen curls, very much like a white
mouse.  The waltz was welcomed with pleasure.  I used to go to
Muller's at the beginning of every month to read the Russian
magazines which were taken there.
  As I went in I saw that the old man was already sitting by the
window, while the dog was lying as always, stretched out at his
feet.  I sat down in a corner without speaking, and inwardly
asked myself why had I come here when there was really nothing
for me to do here, when I was ill and it would have been better
to make haste home to have tea and go to bed.  Could I have
come here simply to gaze at this old man? I was annoyed.
"What have I to do with him?" I thought, recalling that
strange, painful sensation with which I had looked at him just
before in the street.  And what were all these dull Germans to
me?  What was the meaning of this fantastic mood?  What was
the meaning of this cheap agitation over trifles which I had
noticed in myself of late, which hindered me from living and
taking a clear view of life?  One penetrating reviewer had already
remarked on it in his indignant criticism of my last novel.  But
though I hesitated, and deplored it, yet I remained where I was,
and meantime I was more and more overcome by illness, and I
was reluctant to leave the warm room.  I took up a Frankfort
paper, read a couple of lines and dropped into a doze.  The
Germans did not interfere with me.  They read and smoked, and
only once in half an hour or so communicated some piece of
Frankfort news to one another abruptly in an undertone, or some
jest or epigram of the renowned German wit, Saphir after which
they would plunge into their reading again with redoubled pride
in their nationality.
  I dozed for half an hour and was waked by a violent shiver.
It was certainly necessary to go home.
  But meanwhile a drama in dumb show which was being enacted
in the room stopped me again.  I have said already that as soon
as the old man sat down in his chair he would fix his eye on
something and not remove it the whole evening.  It had been my
fate in the past to be exposed to that meaningless, persistent,
unseeing stare.  It was a very unpleasant, in fact unbearable,
sensation, and I usually changed my seat as soon as I could.  At
this moment the old man's victim was a small, round, very neat
little German, with a stiffly starched stand-up collar and an
unusually red face, a new visitor to the shop, a merchant from
Riga, called, as I learned afterwards, Adam Ivanitch Schultz.
He was an intimate friend of Muller's, but as yet knew nothing
of the old man or many of the customers.  Sipping his punch and
reading with relish the Dorfbarbier, he suddenly raised his eyes
and observed the old man's immovable stare fixed upon him.  It
disconcerted him. Adam Ivanitch was a very touchy and
sensitive man, like all "superior" Germans.  It seemed to him
strange and insulting that he should be stared at so un-
ceremoniously.  With stifled indignation he turned his eyes away
from the tactless guest, muttered something to himself, and took
refuge behind the newspaper.  But within five minutes he could
not resist peeping out suspiciously from behind the paper; still
the same persistent stare, still the same meaningless scrutiny.
  That time, too, Adam Ivanitch said nothing.  But when the same
thing was repeated a third time he flared up and felt it incumbent
upon himself to defend his dignity and not to degrade, in the eyes
of so gentlemanly a company, the prestige of the fair town of
Riga, of which he probably felt himself to be the representative.
With an impatient gesture he flung the paper on the table, rapping
it vigorously with the stick to which the paper was fastened, and
blazing with personal dignity, and crimson with punch and
amour Propre, in his turn he fastened his little bloodshot eyes on
the offensive old man.  It looked as though the two of them, the
German and his assailant, were trying to overpower each other
by the magnetic force of their stares, and were waiting to see
which would be the first to be put out of countenance and drop
his eyes.  The rap of the stick and the eccentric position of Adam
Ivanitch drew the attention of all the customers.  All laid aside
what they were doing, and with grave and speechless curiosity
watched the two opponents.  The scene was becoming very
comical, but the magnetism of the little red-faced gentleman's
defiant eyes was entirely thrown away.  The old man went on
staring straight at the infuriated Schultz, and absolutely failed to
observe that he was the object of general curiosity; he was as
unperturbed as though he were not on earth but in the moon.
Adam Ivanitch's patience broke down at last, and he exploded.
  "Why do you stare at me so intently?" he shouted in German,
in a sharp, piercing voice and with a menacing air.
  But his adversary continued silent as though he did not under-
stand and even did not hear the question.  Adam Ivanitch made
up his mind to speak to him in Russian.
  "I am asking you what for you at me are so studiously
staring?" he shouted with redoubled fury, "I am to the court
well known, and you known not!" he added, leaping up from
his chair.
  But the old man did not turn a hair.  A murmur of indignation
was heard among the Germans.  Muller himself, attracted by the
uproar, came into the room.  When he found out what was the
matter he imagined that the old man was deaf, and bent down
to his ear.
  "Master Schultz asked you studiously not to stare at him." he
said as loud as he could, looking intently at the incomprehensible
visitor.
  The old man looked mechanically at Muller; his face, which
had till then been so immovable, showed traces of disturbing
thought, of a sort of uneasy agitation.  He was flustered, bent
down, sighing and gasping, to pick up his hat, snatched it up
together with his stick, got up from his chair, and with the
piteous smile of a beggar turned out of a seat that he has taken
by mistake, he prepared to go out of the room.  In the meek
and submissive haste of the poor decrepit old man there was so
much to provoke compassion, so much to wring the heart, that the
whole company, from Adam Ivanitch downward, took a different
view of the position at once.  It was evident that the old man,
far from being capable of insulting anyone, realized that he might
be turned out from anywhere like a beggar.
  Muller was a kind-hearted and compassionate man.
  "No, no," he said, patting him on the shoulder encouragingly,
"sit still.  Aber Herr Schultz asking you particularly not to look
upon him.  He is well known at the court."
  But the poor old man did not understand this either; he was
more flustered than ever.  He stooped to pick up his hand-
kerchief, a ragged old blue one that had dropped out of his hat,
and began to call his dog, which lay motionless on the floor an
seemed to be sound asleep with its nose on its paws.
  "Azorka, Azorka," he mumbled in a quavering, aged voice.
"Azorka!"
  Azorka did not stir.
  "Azorka, Azorka," the old man repeated anxiously, and he
poked the dog with his stick.  But it remained in the same
position.
  The stick dropped from his hands.  He stooped, knelt, down,
and in both hands lifted Azorka's head.  The poor dog was dead.
Unnoticed it had died at its master's feet from old age, and
perhaps from hunger too.  The old man looked at it for a minute
as though struck, as though he did not understand that Azorka
was dead; then bent down gently to his old servant and friend
and pressed his pale cheek to the dead face of the dog.  A minute
of silence passed.  We were all touched.  At last the poor fellow
got up.  He was very pale and trembled as though he were in
a fever.
  "You can have it stoffed," said the sympathetic Muller
anxious to comfort him an any way (by "stoffed" he mean
stuffed).  "You can have it well stoffed, Fyodor Karlitch Kruger
stoffs beautifully; Fyodor Karlitch Kruger is a master at
stoffing," repeated Muller, picking up the stick from the ground
and handing it to the old man.
  "Yes, I can excellently stoff," Herr Kruger himself modestly
asserted, coming to the front.
  He was a tall, lanky and virtuous German, with tangled red
hair, and spectacles on his hooked nose.
  "Fyodor Karlitch Kruger has a great talent to make all sorts
magnificent stoffing, "added Muller, growing enthusiastic over his
own idea.
  "Yes, I have a great talent to make all sorts magnificent
stoffing," Herr Kruger repeated again.  "And I will for nothing
to stoff you your dog," he added in an access of magnanimous
self-sacrifice.
  "No, I will you pay for to stoff it!" Adam Ivanitch Schultz
cried frantically, turning twice as red as before, glowing with
magnanimity in his turn and feeling himself the innocent cause
of the misfortune.
   The old man listened to all this evidently without under-
standing it, trembling all over as before.
  "Vait!  Drink one glass of goot cognac!" cried Muller, seeing
that the enigmatical guest was making efforts to get away.
  They brought him the brandy.  The old man mechanically took
the glass, but his hand trembled, and before he raised it to his
lips he spilt half, and put it back on the tray without taking a
drop of it.  Then with a strange, utterly inappropriate smile he
went out of the shop with rapid, uneven steps, leaving Azorka
on the floor.  Everyone stood in bewilderment; exclamations
were heard.
  "Schwernoth! Was fur eine Geschichte ? " said the Germans,
looking round-eyed at one another.
  But I rushed after the, old man.  A few steps from the shop,
through a gate on the right, there is an alley, dark and narrow,
shut in by huge houses.  Something told me that the old man
must have turned in there.  A second house was being built here
on the right hand, and was surrounded with scaffolding.  The
fence round the house came almost into the middle of the alley,
and planks had been laid down to walk round the fence.  In a
dark corner made by the fence and the house I found the old man.
He was sitting on the edge of the wooden pavement and held his
head propped in both hands, with his elbows on his knees.  I sat
down beside him.
  "Listen," said I, hardly knowing how to begin.  "Don't
grieve over Azorka.  Come along, I'll take you home.  Don't
worry.  I'll go for a cab at once.  Where do you live?"
  The old man did not answer.  I could not decide what to do.
There were no passers-by in the alley.  Suddenly he began
clutching me by the arm.
  "Stifling!" he said, in a husky, hardly audible voice,
"Stifling!"
  "Let's go to your home," I cried, getting up and forcibly
lifting him up.  " You'll have some tea and go to bed. . . .
I'll get a cab.  I'll call a doctor.... I know a doctor. . . ."
  I don't know what else I said to him.  He tried to get up, but
fell back again on the ground and began muttering again in the
same hoarse choking voice.  I bent down more closely and
listened.
  "In Vassilyevsky Island," the old man gasped.  "The sixth
street.  The six ... th stre ... et"
  He sank into silence.
  "You live in Vassilyevsky Island?  But you've come wrong
then.  That would be to the left, and you've come to the right.
I'll take you directly . . ."
  The old man did not stir.  I took his hand; the hand dropped
as though it were dead.  I looked into his face, touched him - he
was dead.
  I felt as though it had all happened in a dream.
  This incident caused me a great deal of trouble, in the course of
which my fever passed off of itself.  The old man's lodging was
discovered.  He did not, however, live in Vassilyevsky Island,
but only a couple of paces from the spot where he died, in
Klugen's Buildings, in the fifth storey right under the roof, in a
separate flat, consisting of a tiny entry and a large low-pitched
room, with three slits by way of windows.  He had lived very
poorly.  His furniture consisted of a table, two chairs, and a very
very old sofa as hard as a stone, with hair sticking out of it in all
directions ; and even these things turned out to be the landlord's.
The stove had evidently not been heated for a long while, and no
candles were found either.  I seriously think now that the old
man went to Muller's simply to sit in a lighted room and get
warm.  On the table stood an empty earthenware mug, and a
stale crust of bread lay beside it.  No money was found, not a
farthing.  There was not even a change of linen in which to bury
him; someone gave his own shirt for the purpose.  It was clear
that he could not have lived like that, quite isolated, and no
doubt someone must have visited him from time to time.  In the
table drawer they found his passport.  The dead man turned out
to be of foreign birth, though a Russian subject.  His name was
Jeremy Smith, and he was a mechanical engineer, seventy-eight
years old.  There were two books lying on the table, a short
geography and the New Testament in the Russian translation,
pencil-marked in the margin and scored by the finger-nail.  These
books I took for myself.  The landlord and the other tenants were
questioned - they all knew scarcely anything about him.  There
were numbers of tenants in the building, almost all artisans or
German women who let lodgings with board and attendance.
The superintendent of the block, a superior man, was also unable
to say much about the former tenant, except that the lodging was
let at six roubles a month, that the deceased had lived in it for
four months, but had not paid a farthing, for the last two, so that
he would have had to turn him out.  The question was asked
whether anyone used to come to see him, but no one could give a
satisfactory answer about this.  It was a big block, lots of people
would be coming to such a Noah's Ark, there was no remembering
all of them.  The porter, who had been employed for five years in
the flats and probably could have given some information, had
gone home to his native village on a visit a fortnight before, leaving
in his place his nephew, a young fellow who did not yet know half
the tenants by sight.  I don't know for certain how all these
inquiries ended at last, but finally the old man was buried.  In
the course of those days, though I had many things to look after,
I had been to Vassilyevsky Island, to Sixth Street, and laughed at
myself when I arrived there.  What could I see in Sixth Street
but an ordinary row of houses ? But why, I wondered, did the
old man talk of Sixth Street and Vassilyevsky Island when he
was dying?  Was he delirious?
  I looked at Smith's deserted lodging, and I liked it I took it
for myself. The chief point about it was that it was large, though
very low-pitched, so much so that at first I thought I should
knock my head against the ceiling.  But I soon got used to it.
Nothing better could be found for six roubles a month.  The
independence of it tempted me.  All I still had to do was to
arrange for some sort of service, for I could not live entirely
without a servant.  The porter undertook meanwhile to come in
once a day to do what was absolutely necessary.  And who knows,
thought I, perhaps someone will come to inquire for the old man
But five days passed after his death, and no one had yet come.



                     CHAPTER II

At that time, just a year ago, I was still working on the staff of
some papers, wrote articles, and was firmly convinced that I
should succeed one day in writing something good on a larger
scale.  I was sitting over a long novel at that time, but it had all
ended in my being here in the hospital, and I believe I am soon
going to die.  And since I am going to die, why, one might ask
write reminiscences ?
   I cannot help continually recalling all this bitter last year of my
life.  I want to write it all down, and if I had not found this
occupation I believe I should have died of misery.  All these
impressions of the past excite me sometimes to the pitch of
anguish, of agony.  They will grow more soothing, more harmonious
as I write them.  They will be less like delirium, like a nightmare.
So I imagine.  The mere mechanical exercise of writing counts
for something.  It will soothe me, cool me, arouse anew in me my
old literary habits, will turn my memories and sick dreams into
work - into occupation.... Yes, it is a good idea.  Moreover, it
will be something to leave my attendant if he only pastes up the
window with my manuscript, when he puts in the double frames
for the winter.
  But I have begun my story, I don't know why, in the middle.
If it is all to be written, I must begin from the beginning.  Well,
let us begin at the beginning, though my autobiography won't be
a long one,
  I was not born here but far away in a remote province.  It
must be assumed that my parents were good people, but I was
left an orphan as a child, and I was brought up in the house of
Nikolay Sergeyitch Ichmenyev, a small landowner of the neigh-
bourhood, who took me in out of pity.  He had only one child,
a daughter Natasha, a child three years younger than I. We
grew up together like brother and sister.  Oh, my dear childhood!
How stupid to grieve and regret it at five-and-twenty, and to
recall it alone with enthusiasm and gratitude!  In those days
there was such bright sunshine in the sky, so unlike the sun of
Petersburg, and our little hearts beat so blithely and gaily.
Then there were fields and woods all round us, not piles of dead
stones as now.  How wonderful were the garden and park in
Vassilyevskoe, where Nikolay Sergeyitch was steward.  Natasha
and I used to go for walks in that garden, and beyond the garden
was a great damp forest, where both of us were once lost.  Happy,
golden days!  The first foretaste of life was mysterious and
alluring, and it was so sweet to get glimpses of it.  In those days
behind every bush, behind every tree, someone still seemed to be
living, mysterious, unseen by us, fairyland was mingled with
reality ; and when at times the mists of evening were thick in the
deep hollows and caught in grey, winding wisps about the bushes
that clung to the stony ribs of our great ravine, Natasha and I,
holding each other's hands, peeped from the edge into the depths
below with timid curiosity, expecting every moment that someone
would come forth or call us out of the mist at the bottom of
the ravine; and that our nurse's fairy tales would turn out to be
solid established truth.  Once, long afterwards, I happened to
remind Natasha how a copy of "Readings for Children" was got
for us; how we ran off at once to the pond in the garden where
was our favourite green seat under the old maple, and there
settled ourselves, and began reading "Alphonso and Dalinda " -
a fairy-story.  I cannot to this day remember the story without a
strange thrill at my heart, and when a year ago I reminded
Natasha of the first lines: "Alphonso, the hero of my story, was
born in Portugal; Don Ramiro his father," and so on, I almost
shed tears.  This must have seemed very stupid, and that was
probably why Natasha smiled queerly at my enthusiasm at the
time.  But she checked herself at once (I remember that), and
began recalling the old days to comfort me.  One thing led to
another, and she was moved herself.  That was a delightful
evening.  We went over everything, and how I had been sent
away to school in the district town-heavens, how she had cried
then! - and our last parting when I left Vassilyevskoe for ever.
I was leaving the boarding-school then and was going to Petersburg
to prepare for the university.  I was seventeen at that time and
she was fifteen.  Natasha says I was such an awkward gawky
creature then, and that one couldn't look at me without laughing.
At the moment of farewell I drew her aside to tell her something
terribly important, but my tongue suddenly failed me and clove
to the roof of my mouth.  She remembers that I was in great
agitation.  Of course our talk came to nothing.  I did not know
what to say, and perhaps she would not have understood me.
I only wept bitterly and so went away without saying anything.
We saw each other again long afterwards in Petersburg; that was
two years ago.  Old Nikolay Sergeyitch had come to Petersburg
about his lawsuit, and I had only just begun my literary career.



                      CHAPTER III

Nikolay Sergeyitch came of a good family, which had long
sunk into decay.  But he was left at his parents' death with a
fair estate with a hundred and fifty serfs on it.  At twenty he
went into the Hussars.  All went well; but after six years in the
army he happened one unlucky evening to lose all his property
at cards.  He did not sleep all night.  The next evening he
appeared at the card-table and staked his horse - his last possession.
His card was a winning one, and it was followed by a second and a
third, and within half an hour he had won back one of his villages,
the hamlet Ichmenyevka, which had numbered fifty souls at the
last census.  He sent in his papers and retired from the service
next day.  He had lost a hundred serfs for ever.  Two months
later he received his discharge with the rank of lieutenant, and
went home to his village.  He never in his life spoke of his loss at
cards, and in spite of his well-known good nature he would
certainly have quarrelled with anyone who alluded to it.  In the
country he applied himself industriously to looking after his land,
and at thirty-five he married a poor girl of good family, Anna
Andreyevna Shumilov, who was absolutely without dowry, though
she had received an education in a high-class school kept by a
French emigree, called Mon-Reveche, a privilege upon which Anna
Andreyevna prided herself all her life, although no one was ever
able to discover exactly of what that education had consisted.
Nikolay Sergeyitch was an excellent farmer.  The neighbouring
landowners learned to manage their estates from him.  A few
years had passed when suddenly a landowner, Prince Pyotr
Alexandrovitch Valkovsky, came from Petersburg to the neigh-
bouring estate, Vassilyevskoe, the village of which had a
population of nine hundred serfs, His arrival made a great stir
in the whole neighbourhood.  The prince was still young, though
not in his first youth.  He was of good rank in the service, had
important connexions and a fortune; was a handsome man and
a widower, a fact of particular interest to all the girls and ladies
in the neighbourhood.  People talked of the brilliant reception
given him by the governor, to whom he was in some way related;
of how he had turned the heads of all the ladies by his gallantries,
and so on, and so on.  In short, he was one of those brilliant
representatives of aristocratic Petersburg society who rarely make
their appearance in the provinces, but produce an extraordinary
sensation when they do.  The prince, however, was by no means
of the politest, especially to people who could be of no use to him,
and whom he considered ever so little his inferiors.  He did not
think fit to make the acquaintance of his neighbours in the
country, and at once made many enemies by neglecting to do so.
And so everyone was extremely surprised when the fancy
suddenly took him to call on Nikolay Sergeyitch.  It is true that
the latter was one of his nearest neighbours.  The prince made a
great impression on the Ichmenyev household.  He fascinated
 them both at once; Anna Andreyevna was particularly
enthusiastic about him.  In a short time he was on intimate terms
with them, went there every day and invited them to his house.
He used to tell them stories, make jokes, play on their wretched
piano and sing.  The Ichmenyevs were never tired of wondering
how so good and charming a man could be called a proud, stuck-
up, cold egoist, as all the neighbours with one voice declared him
to be.  One must suppose that the prince really liked Nikolay
Sergeyitch, who was a simple-hearted, straightforward, dis-
interested and generous man.  But all was soon explained.
The prince had come to Vassilyevskoe especially, to get rid of his
steward, a prodigal German, who was a conceited man and an
expert agriculturist, endowed with venerable grey hair, spectacles,
and a hooked nose ; yet in spite of these advantages, he robbed
the prince without shame or measure, and, what was worse,
tormented several peasants to death.  At last Ivan Karlovitch
was caught in his misdeeds and exposed, was deeply offended,
talked a great deal about German honesty, but, in spite of all this,
was dismissed and even with some ignominy.  The prince needed a
steward and his choice fell on Nikolay Sergeyitch, who was an
excellent manager and a man of whose honesty there could be
no possible doubt.  The prince seemed particularly anxious that
Nikolay Sergeyitch should of his own accord propose to take the
post, But this did not come off, and one fine morning the prince
made the proposition himself, in the form of a very friendly and
humble request.  Nikolay Sergeyitch at first refused; but the
liberal salary attracted Anna Andreyevna, and the redoubled
cordiality of the prince overcame any hesitation he still felt.
The prince attained his aim.  One may presume that he was
skilful in judging character.  During his brief acquaintance with
Ichmenyev he soon perceived the kind of man he had to deal
with, and realized that he must be won in a warm and friendly
way, that his heart must be conquered, and that, without that,
money would do little with him.  Valkovsky needed a steward
whom he could trust blindly for ever, that he might never need
to visit Vassilyevskoe again, and this was just what he was
reckoning on.  The fascination he exercised over Nikolay Serge-
yitch was so strong that the latter genuinely believed in his
friendship.  Nikolay Sergeyitch was one of those very simple-
hearted and naively romantic men who are, whatever people
may say against them, so charming among us in Russia, and who
are devoted with their whole soul to anyone to whom (God knows
why) they take a fancy, and at times carry their devotion to a
comical pitch.
  Many years passed.  Prince Valkovsky's estate flourished.  The
relations between the owner of Vassilyevskoe and his steward
continued without the slightest friction on either side, and did
not extend beyond a purely business correspondence.  Though
the prince did not interfere with Nikolay Sergeyitch's manage-
ment, he sometimes gave him advice which astonished the latter
by its extraordinary astuteness and practical ability.  It was
evident that he did not care to waste money, and was clever at
getting it indeed.  Five years after his visit to Vassilyevskoe the
prince sent Nikolay Sergeyitch an authorization to purchase
another splendid estate in the same province with a population of
four hundred serfs.  Nikolay Sergeyitch was delighted.  The
prince's successes, the news of his advancement, his promotion,
were as dear to his heart as if they had been those of his own
brother.  But his delight reached a climax when the prince on one
occasion showed the extraordinary trust he put in him.  This is
how it happened.... But here I find it necessary to mention some
details of the life of this Prince Valkovsky, who is in a way a
leading figure in my story.



                         CHAPTER IV

I have mentioned already that he was a widower.  He had
married in his early youth, and married for money.  From his
parents in Moscow, who were completely ruined, he received hardly
anything.  Vassilyevskoe was mortgaged over and over again.  It
was encumbered with enormous debts.  At twenty-two the prince,
who was forced at that time to take service in a government
department in Moscow, had not a farthing, and made his entrance
into life as the "beggar offspring of an ancient line."  His
marriage to the elderly daughter of a tax contractor saved him.
  The contractor, of course, cheated him over the dowry, but
anyway he was able with his wife's money to buy back his estate,
and to get on to his feet again.  The contractor's daughter, who
had fallen to the prince's lot, was scarcely able to write, could
not put two words together, was ugly, and had only one great
virtue: she was good-natured and submissive.  The prince took
the utmost advantage of this quality in her.  After the first year
of marriage, he left his wife, who had meanwhile borne him a son,
at Moscow, in charge of her father, the contractor, and went off
to serve, in another province, where, through the interest of a
powerful relation in Petersburg, he obtained a prominent post.
His soul thirsted for distinction, advancement, a career, and
realizing that he could not live with his wife either in Petersburg
or Moscow, he resolved to begin his career in the provinces until
something better turned up.  It is said that even in the first year
of his marriage he wore his wife out by his brutal behaviour.  This
rumour always revolted Nikolay Sergeyitch, and he hotly defended
the prince, declaring that he was incapable of a mean action.  But
seven years later his wife died, and the bereaved husband
immediately returned to Petersburg.  In Petersburg he actually
caused some little sensation.  With his fortune, his good looks and
his youth, his many brilliant qualities, his wit, his taste, and his
unfailing gaiety he appeared in Petersburg not as a toady and
fortune-hunter, but as a man in a fairly independent position.
It is said that there really was something fascinating about him;
something dominating and powerful.  He was extremely attractive
to women, and an intrigue with a society beauty gave him a
scandalous renown.  He scattered money without stint in spite of
his natural economy, which almost amounted to niggardliness;
he lost money at cards when suitable, and could lose large sums
without turning a hair.  But he had not come to Petersburg for
the sake of amusement.  He was bent on making his career and
finally establishing his position.  He attained this object.  Count
Nainsky, his distinguished relative, who would have taken no
notice of him if he had come as an ordinary applicant, was so
struck by his success in society that he found it suitable and
possible to show him particular attention, and even condescended
to take his seven-year-old son to be brought up in his house.
To this period belongs the prince's visit to Vassilyevskoe and
his acquaintance with Nikolay Sergeyitch.  Attaining at last,
through the influence of the count, a prominent post in one of
the most important foreign embassies, he went abroad.  Later,
rumours of his doings were rather vague.  People talked of some
unpleasant adventure that had befallen him abroad, but no one
could explain exactly what it was.  All that was known was that
he succeeded in buying an estate of four hundred serfs, as I have
mentioned already.  It was many years later that he returned
from abroad; he was of high rank in the service and at once
received a very prominent post in Petersburg.  Rumours reached
Ichmenyevka that he was about to make a second marriage which
would connect him with a very wealthy, distinguished and
powerful family.  "He is on the high road to greatness," said
Nikolay Sergeyitch, rubbing his hands with pleasure.  I was at
Petersburg then, at the university, and I remember Nikolay
Sergeyitch wrote on purpose to ask me to find out whether the
report was true.  He wrote to the prince, too, to solicit his
interest for me, but the prince left the letter unanswered.  I only
knew that the prince's son, who had been brought up first in the
count's household and afterwards at the lycee, had now finished
his studies at the age of nineteen.  I wrote about this to Nikolay
Sergeyitch, and told him, too, that the prince was very fond of
his son, and spoilt him, and was already making plans for his
future.  All this I learnt from fellow-students who knew the
young prince.  It was about this time, that one fine morning
Nikolay Sergeyitch received a letter from Prince Valkovsky that
greatly astonished him.
  The prince, who had till now, as I have mentioned already,
confined himself to dry business correspondence with Nikolay
Sergeyitch, wrote to him now in the most minute, unreserved,
and friendly way about his intimate affairs.  He complained of
his son, said that the boy was grieving him by his misconduct,
that of course the pranks of such a lad were not to be taken too
seriously (he was obviously trying to justify him), but that he had
made up his mind to punish his son, to frighten him; in fact, to
send him for some time into the country in charge of Nikolay
Sergeyitch.  The prince wrote that he was reckoning absolutely
on "his kind-hearted, generous Nikolay Sergeyitch, and even
more upon Anna Andreyevna." He begged them both to
receive the young scapegrace into their family, to teach him sense
in solitude, to be fond of him if they could, and above all, to
correct his frivolous character "by instilling the strict and
salutary principles so essential to the conduct of life." Nikolay
Sergeyitch, of course, undertook the task with enthusiasm.  The
young prince arrived.  They welcomed him like a son.  Nikolay
Sergeyitch very soon grew as fond of him as of his own Natasha.
Even later on, after the final breach between the boy's father and
Nikolay Sergeyitch, the latter sometimes would brighten up
speaking of his Alyosha, as he was accustomed to call Prince
Alexey Petrovitch.  He really was a very charming boy; hand-
some, delicate and nervous as a woman, though at the same time
he was merry and simple-hearted, with an open soul capable of
the noblest feelings, and a loving heart, candid, and grateful.
He became the idol of the household.  In spite of his nineteen
years he was a perfect child.  It was difficult to imagine what his
father, who, it was said, loved him so much, could have sent him
away for.  It was said that he had led an idle and frivolous life
in Petersburg, that he had disappointed his father by refusing to
enter the service.  Nikolay Sergeyitch did not question Alyosha,
since the prince had evidently been reticent in his letter as to the
real cause of his son's banishment.  There were rumours, however,
of some unpardonable scrape of Alyosha's, of some intrigue with
a lady, of some challenge to a duel, of some incredible loss at
cards; there was even talk of his having squandered other
people's money.  There was also a rumour that the prince had
decided to banish his son for no misdeed at all, but merely from
certain purely egoistic motives.  Nikolay Sergeyitch repelled this
notion with indignation, especially as Alyosha was extra-
ordinarily fond of his father, of whom he had known nothing
throughout his childhood and boyhood.  He talked of him with
admiration and enthusiasm; it was evident that he was
completely under his influence.  Alyosha chattered sometimes,
too, about a countess with whom both he and his father were
flirting, and told how he, Alyosha, had cut his father out, and how
dreadfully vexed his father was about it.  He always told this
story with delight, with childlike simplicity, with clear, merry
laughter, but Nikolay Sergeyitch checked him at once.  Alyosha
also confirmed the report that his father was intending to marry.
  He had already spent nearly a year in exile.  He used to write
at stated intervals respectful and sedate letters to his father, and
at last was so at home in Vassilyevskoe that when his father
himself came in the summer (giving Nikolay Sergeyitch warning
of his visit beforehand), the exile began of himself begging his
father to let him remain as long as possible at Vassilyevskoe,
declaring that a country life was his real vocation.  All Alyosha's
impulses and inclinations were the fruit of an excessive, nervous
impressionability, a warm heart, and an irresponsibility which
at times almost approached incoherence, an extreme susceptibility
to every kind of external influence and a complete absence of will.
But the prince listened somewhat suspiciously to his request. . .
Altogether Nikolay Sergeyitch could hardly recognize his former
"friend."  Prince Valkovsky was strangely altered.  He suddenly
became peculiarly captious with Nikolay Sergeyitch.  When they
went over the accounts of the estates lie betrayed a revolting
greed, a niggardliness, and an incomprehensible suspiciousness.
All this deeply wounded the good-hearted Nikolay Sergeyitch;
for a long time he refused to believe his senses.  Everything this
time was just the opposite of what had happened during the first
visit, fourteen years before.  This time the prince made friends with
all his neighbours, all who were of consequence, that is, of course.
He did not once visit Nikolay Sergeyitch, and treated him as
though he were his subordinate.  Suddenly something inexplicable
happened.  Without any apparent reason a violent quarrel took
place between the prince and Nikolay Sergeyitch.  Heated,
insulting words were overheard, uttered on both sides.  Nikolay
Sergeyitch indignantly left Vassilyevskoe, but the quarrel did not
stop there.  A revolting slander suddenly spread all over the
neighbourhood.  It was asserted that Nikolay Sergeyitch had seen
through the young prince's character, and was scheming to take
advantage of his failings for his own objects; that his daughter,
Natasha (who was then seventeen), had ensnared the affections
of the twenty-year-old boy; that the parents had fostered this
attachment though they had pretended to notice nothing; that
the scheming and "unprincipled" Natasha had bewitched the
youth, and that by her efforts he had been kept for a whole year
from seeing any of the girls of good family who were so abundant
in the honourable households of the neighbouring landowners.
It was asserted that the lovers were already plotting to be married
at the village of Grigoryevo, fifteen versts from Vassilyevskoe,
ostensibly without the knowledge of Natasha's parents, though
really they knew all about it and were egging their daughter on
with their abominable suggestions.  In fact, I could fill a volume
with all the slander that the local gossips of both sexes succeeded
in circulating on this subject.  But what was most remarkable
was that the prince believed all this implicitly, and had indeed
come to Vassilyevskoe simply on account of it, after receiving an
anonymous letter from the province.  One would have thought
that no one who knew anything of Nikolay Sergeyitch could
believe a syllable of all the accusations made against him.  And
yet, as is always the case, everyone was excited, everyone was
talking, and, though they did not vouch for the story, they shook
their heads and ... condemned him absolutely.  Nikolay Serge-
yitch was too proud to defend his daughter to the gossips, and
sternly prohibited his Anna Andreyevna from entering into any
explanations with the neighbours.  Natasha herself, who was so
libelled, knew nothing of all these slanders and accusations till
fully a year afterwards.  They had carefully concealed the whole
story from her, and she was as gay and innocent as a child of
twelve.  Meanwhile the breach grew wider and wider.  Busy-
bodies lost no time.  Slanderers and false witnesses came forward
and succeeded in making the prince believe that in Nikolay
Sergeyitch's long years of stewardship at Vassilyevskoe he had by
no means been a paragon of honesty and, what is more, that, three
years before, Nikolay Sergeyitch had succeeded in embezzling
twelve thousand roubles over the sale of the copse; that un-
impeachable evidence of this could be brought before the court,
especially as he had received no legal authorization for the sale
from the prince, but had acted on his own judgement, persuading
the prince afterwards of the necessity of the sale, and presenting
him with a much smaller sum than he had actually received for
the wood.  Of course all this was only slander, as was proved
later on, but the prince believed it all and called Nikolay Serge-
yitch a thief in the presence of witnesses.  Nikolay Sergeyitch
could not control himself and answered him with a term as
insulting.  An awful scene took place.  A lawsuit immediately
followed.  Nikolay Sergeyitch, not being able to produce certain
documents, and having neither powerful patrons nor experience
in litigation, immediately began to get the worst of it.  A distraint
was laid on his property.  The exasperated old man threw up
everything and resolved to go to Petersburg to attend to his case
himself, leaving an experienced agent to look after his interests in
the province.  The prince must soon have understood that he
had been wrong in accusing Nikolay Sergeyitch.  But the insult
on both sides had been so deadly that there could be no talk of
reconciliation, and the infuriated prince exerted himself to
he utmost to get the best of it, that is, to deprive his former
steward of his last crust of bread.



                         CHAPTER V

AND so the Ichmenyevs moved to Petersburg.  I am not going
to describe my meeting with Natasha after our long separation.
All those four years I had never forgotten her.  No doubt I did
not myself quite understand the feeling with which I recalled
her, but when we saw each other again I realized that she was
destined to be my fate.  For the first days after their arrival I kept
fancying that she had not developed much in those four years but
was just the same little girl as she had been at our parting.  But
afterwards I detected in her every day something new of which I
had known nothing, as though it had been intentionally con-
cealed, as though the girl were hiding herself from me - and what
a joy there was in this discovery.
  After moving to Petersburg the old man was at first irritable
and gloomy.  Things were going badly with him.  He was
indignant, flew into rages, was immersed in business documents,
and had no thoughts to spare for us.  Anna Andreyevna wandered
about like one distraught, and at first could comprehend nothing.
Petersburg alarmed her.  She sighed and was full of misgivings,
she wept for her old surroundings, for Ichmenyevka, worried at
the thought that Natasha was grown up and that there was no
one to think about her, and she lapsed into strange confidences
with me for lack of a more suitable recipient of them.
  It was not long before their arrival that I finished my first
novel, the one with which my literary career began, and being a
novice I did not know at first what to do with it.  I said nothing
about it at the Ichmenyevs.  They almost quarrelled with me
for leading an idle life, that is, not being in the service and not
trying to get a post.  The old man bitterly and irritably reproached
me, from fatherly solicitude, of course.  I was simply ashamed to
tell him what I was doing.  But how was I to tell them straight
out that I did not want to enter the service, but wanted to write
novels? And so I deceived them for the time, saying that I had
not found a post, and that I was looking for one as hard as I could.
Nikolay Sergeyitch had no time to go into it.  I remember that
one day Natasha, overhearing our conversation, drew me aside
mysteriously and besought me with tears to think of my future.
She kept questioning me and trying to discover what I was doing,
and when I refused to tell my secret even to her, she made me
swear that I would not ruin myself by being an idler and a loafer.
Though I did not confess what I was doing even to her, I
remember that for one word of approval from her of my work, of
my first novel, I would have given up all the most flattering
remarks of the critics and reviewers which I heard about myself
afterwards.  And then at last my novel came out.  Long before
its appearance there was a lot of talk and gossip about it in the
literary world.  B. was as pleased as a child when he read my
manuscript.  No ! If I was ever happy it was not in the first
intoxicating moment of my success, but before I had ever read or
shown anyone my manuscript; in those long nights spent in
exalted hopes and dreams and passionate love of my work, when
I was living with my fancies, with the characters I had myself
created, as though they were my family, as though they were real
people; I loved them, I rejoiced and grieved with them, and
sometimes shed genuine tears over my artless hero.  And I cannot
describe how the old people rejoiced at my success, though at
first they were awfully surprised.  How strange it seemed to them!
  Anna Andreyevna, for instance, could not bring herself to
believe that the new writer who was being praised by everyone
was no other than the little Vanya who had done this and that
and the other, and she kept shaking her head over it.  The old
man did not come round for some time, and at the first rumour
of it was positively alarmed; he began to talk of the loss of my
career in the service, of the immoral behaviour of authors in
general.  But the new reports that were continually coming, the
paragraphs in the papers, and finally some words of praise uttered
about me by persons whom he revered and trusted forced him
to change his attitude.  When he saw that I suddenly had plenty
of money and heard how much money one might get for literary
work, his last doubts vanished.  Rapid in his transitions from
doubt to full enthusiastic faith, rejoicing like a child at my good
fortune, he suddenly rushed to the other extreme and indulged in
unbridled hopes and most dazzling dreams of my future.  Every
day he was imagining a new career, new plans for me, and what
did he not dream of in those plans!  He even began to show me
a peculiar respect of which there had been no trace before.  But,
I remember, doubt sometimes assailed and perplexed him
suddenly, often in the midst of the most enthusiastic fancies.
  "A writer, a poet.  It seems strange somehow.... When has
a poet made his way in the world, risen to high rank? They're
only scribbling fellows after all, not to be relied upon."
  I noticed that such doubts and delicate questions presented
themselves more frequently at dusk (how well I remember all
these details and all that golden time!).  Towards dusk my old
friend always became nervous, susceptible and suspicious.
Natasha and I knew that and were always prepared to laugh at
it beforehand.  I remember I tried to cheer him up by telling him
tales of Sumarokov's being made a general, of Derzhavin's having
been presented with a snuff-box full of gold pieces, of how the
Empress herself had visited Lomonossov; I told him about
Pushkin, about Gogol.
  "I know, my boy, I know all that," the old man replied,
though perhaps it was the first time he had heard these stories.
"Hm!  Well, Vanya, anyway I'm glad your stuff isn't poetry.
Poetry is nonsense, my boy; don't you argue, but believe an old
man like me; I wish you nothing but good.  It's simple nonsense,
idle waste of time ! It's for schoolboys to write poetry ; poetry
brings lots of you young fellows to the madhouse.... Granting
Pushkin was a great man, who would deny it! Still, it's all
jingling verse and nothing else.  Something in the ephemeral
way.... Though indeed I have read very little of it.... Prose
is a different matter.  A prose writer may be instructive - he can
say something about patriotism, for instance, or about virtue in
general.... Yes! I don't know how to express myself, my boy,
but you understand me; I speak from love.  But there, there,
read!" he concluded with a certain air of patronage, when at
last I had brought the book and we were all sitting at the round
table after tea, "read us what you've scribbled; they're making
a great outcry about you!  Let's hear it!  Let's hear it!"
  I opened the book and prepared to read.  My novel had come
from the printers only that day, and having at last got hold of a
copy, I rushed round to read it to them.
  How vexed and grieved I was that I could not read it to them
before from the manuscript, which was in the printer's hands!
Natasha positively cried with vexation, she quarrelled and
reproached me with letting other people read it before she had.
... But now at last we were sitting round the table. The old man
assumed a particularly serious and critical expression.  He
wanted to judge it very, very strictly "to make sure for himself."
Anna Andreyevna, too, looked particularly solemn; I almost
believe she had put on a new cap for the reading.  She had long
noticed that I looked with boundless love at her precious Natasha ;
that I was breathless and my eyes were dim when I addressed her,
and that Natasha, too, looked at me as it were more kindly than
before.  Yes!  At last the time had come, had come at the
moment of success, of golden hopes and perfect happiness, all, all
had come, at once.  The old lady had noticed, too, that her
husband had begun to praise me excessively, and seemed to look
at his daughter and me in a peculiar way.... And all at once she
took fright; after all, I was not a count, nor a lord, nor a reigning
prince, nor even a privy councillor, young and handsome with
an order on his breast.  Anna Andreyevna did not stop halfway
in her wishes.
  "The man's praised," she thought about me, "but there's no
knowing what for.  An author, a poet.... But what is an author
after all?"



                      CHAPTER VI

I read them my novel at one sitting.  We began immediately
after tea, and stayed up till two o'clock.  The old man frowned at
first.  He was expecting something infinitely lofty, which might
be beyond his comprehension, but must in any case be elevated.
But, instead of that, he heard such commonplace, familiar things-
precisely such as were always happening about him.  And if only
the hero had been a great or interesting man, or something
historical like Roslavlev, or Yury Miloslavsky; instead of that
he was described as a little, down-trodden, rather foolish clerk,
with buttons missing from his uniform; and all this written in
such simple language, exactly as we talk ourselves ... Strange!
Anna Andreyevna looked inquiringly at Nikolay Sergeyitch, and
seemed positively pouting a little as though she were resentful.
"Is it really worth while to print and read such nonsense, and
they pay money for it, too," was written on her face.  Natasha
was all attention, she listened greedily, never taking her eyes off
me, watching my lips as I pronounced each word, moving her
own pretty lips after me.  And yet before I had read half of it,
tears were falling from the eyes of all three of them.  Anna
Andreyevna was genuinely crying, feeling for the troubles of my
hero with all her heart, and longing with great naivety to help
him in some way out of his troubles, as I gathered from her
exclamations.  The old man had already abandoned all hopes of
anything elevated.  "From the first step it's clear that you'll
never be at the top of the tree; there it is, it's simply a little story;
but it wrings your heart," he said, "and what's happening all
round one grows easier to understand, and to remember, and one
learns that the most down-trodden, humblest man is a man, too,
and a brother."
  Natasha listened, cried, and squeezed my hand tight by
stealth under the table.  The reading was over.  She got up, her
cheeks were flushed, tears stood in her eyes.  All at once she
snatched my hand, kissed it, and ran out of the room.  The father
and mother looked at one another.
  "Hm ! what an enthusiastic creature she is," said the old
man, struck by his daughter's behaviour.  "That's nothing
though, nothing, it's a good thing, a generous impulse!  She's a
good girl. . . ." he muttered, looking askance at his wife as though
to justify Natasha and at the same time wanting to defend me
too.
  But though Anna Andreyevna had been rather agitated and
touched during the reading, she looked now as though she would
say: "Of course Alexander of Macedon was a hero, but why
break the furniture?" etc.
  Natasha soon came back, gay and happy, and coming over to
me gave me a sly pinch.  The old man attempted to play the
stern critic of my novel again, but in his joy he was carried away
and could not keep up the part.
  "Well, Vanya, my boy, it's good, it's good!  You've comforted
me, relieved my mind more than I expected.  It's not elevated,
it's not great, that's evident. . . . Over there there lies the
'Liberation of Moscow,' it was written in Moscow, you know.
Well, you can see in that from the first line, my boy, that the
author, so to speak, soars like an eagle.  But, do you know, Vanya,
yours is somehow simpler, easier to understand.  That's why I
like it, because it's easier to understand.  It's more akin to us as
it were; it's as though it had all happened to me myself.  And
what's the use of the high-flown stuff? I shouldn't have under-
stood it myself.  I should have improved the language.  I'm
praising it, but say what you will, it's not very refined.  But there,
it's too late now, it's printed, unless perhaps there's a second
edition? But I say, my boy, maybe it will go into a second
edition I Then there'll be money again I Hm!"
   "And can you really have got so much money for it, Ivan
Petrovitch?" observed Anna Andreyevna.  "I look at you and
somehow can't believe it.  Mercy on us, what people will give
money for nowadays!"
   "You know, Vanya," said the old man, more and more carried
away by enthusiasm, "it's a career, though it's not the service.
Even the highest in the land will read it.  Here you tell me Gogol
receives a yearly allowance and was sent abroad.  What if it
were the same with you, eh?  Or is it too soon?  Must you write
something more?  Then write it, my boy, write it as quick as
possible.  Don't rest on your laurels.  What hinders you?"
   And he said this with such an air of conviction, with such good
nature that I could not pluck up resolution to stop him and throw
cold water on his fancies.
   "Or they may be giving you a snuff-box directly, mayn't
they?  Why not?  They want to encourage you.  And who
knows, maybe you'll be presented at court," he added in a half
whisper, screwing up his left eye with a significant air- " or not ?
Is it too soon for the court?"
   "The court, indeed!" said Anna Andreyevna with an offended
air.
   "In another minute you'll be making me a general," I
answered, laughing heartily.
   The old man laughed too.  He was exceedingly pleased.
   "Your excellency, won't you have something to eat?" cried
Natasha playfully. - she had meantime been getting supper for us.
     She laughed, ran to her father and flung her warm arms round
him.
   "Dear, kind daddy!"
   The old man was moved,
   "Well, well, that's all right!  I speak in the simplicity of my
heart. General or no general, come to supper.  Ah, you
sentimental girl!"  he added, patting his Natasha on her flushed
cheek, as he was fond of doing on every convenient occasion.  "I
spoke because I love you, Vanya, you know.  But even if not a
general (far from it!) you're a distinguished man, an author."
   "Nowadays, daddy, they call them writers."
   "Not authors?  I didn't know. Well, let it be writers then,
but I tell you what I wanted to say: people are not made kam-
merherrs, of course, because they write novels; it's no use to
dream of that; but anyway you can make your mark; become,
an attache of some sort.  They may send you abroad, to Italy,
for the sake of your health, or somewhere to perfect yourself in,
your studies; you'll be helped with money.  Of course it must
all be honourable on your side; you must get money and honour
by work, by real good work, and not through patronage of one
sort or another."
   "And don't you be too proud then, Ivan Petrovich," added
Anna Andreyevna, laughing.
   "You'd better give him a star, at once, daddy; after all, what's
the good of an attache?"
   And she pinched my arm again.
   "This girl keeps making fun of me," said the old man, looking
delightedly at Natasha, whose cheeks were glowing and whose
eyes were shining like stars.  "I think I really may have overshot
the mark, children; but I've always been like that... But do
you know, Vanya, I keep wondering at you: how perfectly
simple you are. . ."
   "Why, good heavens, daddy, what else could he be?"
   "Oh, no.  I didn't mean that.  Only, Vanya, you've a face
that's not what one would call a poet's.  They're pale, they say,
you know, the poets, and with hair like this, you know, and a look
in their eyes ... like Goethe, you know, and the rest of them,
I've read that in Abaddon ... well?  Have I put my foot in it
again?  Ah, the rogue, she's giggling at me!  I'm not a scholar,
my dears, but I can feel.  Well, face or no face, that's no great
matter, yours is all right for me, and I like it very much.
I didn't mean that. . . . Only be honest, Vanya, be honest.
That's the great thing, live honestly, don't be conceited!  The
road lies open before you.  Serve your work honestly, that's
what I meant to say; yes, that's just what I wanted to say!"
  It was a wonderful time.  Every evening, every free hour I
spent with them.  I brought the old man news of the literary
world and of writers, in whom he began, I don't know why, to
take an intense interest.  He even began to read the critical
articles of B., about whom I talked a great deal.  He praised him
enthusiastically, though he scarcely understood him, and in-
veighed against his enemies who wrote in the Northern Drone.
  Anna Andreyevna kept a sharp eye on me and Natasha, but
she didn't see everything.  One little word had been uttered
between us already, and I heard at last Natasha, with her little
head drooping, and her lips half parted, whisper "Yes." But the
parents knew of it later on.  They had their thoughts, their
conjectures.  Anna Andreyevna shook her head for a long time.
It seemed strange and dreadful to her.  She had no faith in me.
  "Yes, it's all right, of course, when it's successful, Ivan
Petrovitch," she said, "but all of a sudden there'll be a failure
or something of the sort; and what then?  If only you had a
post somewhere!"
  "I've something I want to say to you, Vanya," said the old
man, making up his mind.  "I've seen for myself, I've noticed
it and I confess I'm delighted that you and Natasha . . . you
know what I mean.  You see, Vanya, you're both very young,
and my Anna Andreyevna is right.  Let us wait a bit.  Granted
you have talent, remarkable talent perhaps . . . not genius, as
they cried out about you at first, but just simply talent (I read
you that article in the Drone to-day; they handle you too roughly,
but after all, it's not much of a paper).  Yes!  You see talent's
not money in the bank, and you're both poor.  Let's wait a little,
for a year and a half, or a year anyway.  If you get on all right,
get a firm footing, Natasha shall be yours.  If you don't get on -
judge for yourself.  You're an honest man, think things over...."
  And so we left it.  And this is what happened within the year.
Yes, it was almost exactly a year ago.  One bright September day
I went to see my old friends, feeling ill, and sick at heart, and
sank on a chair almost fainting, so that they were actually
frightened as they looked at me.  My head went round and my
heart ached so that ten times I had approached the door and ten
times I had turned back before I went in, but it was not because
I had failed in my career and had neither renown nor money;
it was not because I was not yet an attache and nowhere near
being sent to Italy for my health.  It was because one may live
through ten years in one year, and my Natasha had lived through
ten years in that year.  Infinity lay between us.  And I remember
I sat there before the old man, saying nothing, with unconscious
fingers tearing the brim of my hat, which was torn already; I sat
and, I don't know why, waited for Natasha to come in.  My
clothes were shabby and did not fit me; I had grown thin, yellow
and sunken in the face.  And yet I did not look in the least like
a poet, and there was none of that grandeur in my eyes about
which good Nikolay Sergeyitch had been so concerned in the past.
Anna Andreyevna looked at me with unfeigned and ever ready
compassion, thinking to herself:
  "And he was within an ace of being betrothed to Natasha.
Lord have mercy on us and preserve us!"
  "Won't you have some tea, Ivan Petrovitch?" (the samovar
was boiling on the table).  "How are you getting on?" she
asked me. "You're quite an invalid," she said in a plaintive
voice which I can hear at this moment.
  And I can see her as though it were to-day; even while she
talked to me, her eyes betrayed another anxiety, the same anxiety
which clouded the face of her old husband, too, as he sat now
brooding, while his tea grew cold.  I knew that they were
terribly worried at this moment over their lawsuit with Prince
Valkovsky, which was not promising well for them, and that they
had had other new worries which had upset Nicholay Sergeyitch
and made him ill.
  The young prince, about whom the whole trouble that led to
the lawsuit had arisen, had found an opportunity of visiting the
Ichmenyevs five months before.  The old man, who loved his
dear Alyosha like a son, and spoke of him almost every day,
welcomed him joyfully.  Anna Andreyevna recalled Vassilyevskoe
and shed tears.  Alyosha went to see them more and more
frequently without his father's knowledge.  Nikolay Sergeyitch
with his honesty, openness and uprightness indignantly dis-
dained all precautions.  His honourable pride forbade his even
considering what the prince would say if he knew that his son
inwardly despised all his absurd suspicions, and was received
again in the house of the Ichmenyevs.  But the old man did not
know whether he would have the strength to endure fresh
insults.  The young prince began to visit them almost daily.  The
parents enjoyed having him.  He used to stay with them the
whole evening, long after midnight.  His father, of course, heard
of all this at last.  An abominable scandal followed.  He insulted
Nikolay Sergeyitch with a horrible letter, taking the same line as
before, and peremptorily forbade his son to visit the house.  This
had happened just a fortnight before I came to them that day.
The old man was terribly depressed.  Was his Natasha, his
innocent noble girl, to be mixed up in this dirty slander, this
vileness again!  Her name had been insultingly uttered before
by the man who had injured him.  And was all this to be left
unavenged ? For the first few days he took to his bed in despair.
All that I knew.  The story had reached me in every detail,
though for the last three weeks I had been lying ill and despondent
at my lodging and had not been to see them.  But I knew besides.
. . . No!  At that time I only felt what was coming; I knew, but
could not believe, that, apart from these worries, there was
something which must trouble them beyond anything in the
world, and I looked at them with torturing anguish.  Yes, I was
in torture; I was afraid to conjecture, afraid to believe, and did
all I could to put off the fatal moment.  And meanwhile I had
come on account of it.  I felt drawn to them that evening.
  "Yes; Vanya," the old man began, suddenly rousing himself,
"surely you've not been ill?  Why haven't you been here for so
long?  I have behaved badly to you.  I have been meaning ever
so long to call on you, but somehow it's all been . . ."
  And he sank into brooding again.
  "I haven't been well," I answered.
  "Hm!  Not well," he repeated five minutes later.  "I dare
say not!  I talked to you and warned you before, but you
wouldn't heed me.  Hm!  No, Vanya, my boy, the muse has
lived hungry in a garret from time immemorial, and she'll go on
so. That's what it is!"
  Yes, the old man was out of spirits.  If he had not had a sore
heart himself, he would not have talked to me of the hungry
muse.  I looked intently at his face: it was sallower; there was
a look of bewilderment in his eyes, some idea in the form of a
question which he had not the strength to answer.  He was
abrupt and bitter, quite unlike himself.  His wife looked at his
uneasily and shook her head. When he turned away she
stealthily nodded to me.
  "How is Natalya Nikolaevna?  Is she at home I inquired
of the anxious lady.
  "She's at home, my dear man, she's at home," she answered
as though perturbed by my question.  "She'll come in to see you
directly.  It's a serious matter! Not a sight of you for three

weeks!  And she's become so queer ... there's no making her out
at all.  I don't know whether she's well or ill, God bless her!
And she looked timidly at her husband.
  "Why, there's nothing wrong with her," Nikolay Sergeyitch
responded jerkily and reluctantly, "she's quite well.  The girl's
beginning to grow up, she's left off being a baby, that's all.  Who
can understand girlish moods and caprices?"
  "Caprices, indeed!"  Anna Andreyevna caught him up in an
offended voice.
  The old man said nothing and drummed on the table with his
finger-tips.
  "Good God, is there something between them already?" I
wondered in a panic.
  "Well, how are you getting on?" he began again.  "Is B.
still writing reviews?"
  "Yes," I answered.
  "Ech, Vanya, Vanya," he ended up, with a wave of his hand.
"What can reviews do now?"
  The door opened and Natasha walked in.



                         CHAPTER VII

She held her hat in her hand and laid it down on the piano; then
she came up to me and held out her hand without speaking.  Her
lips faintly quivered, as though she wanted to utter something,
some greeting to me, but she said nothing.
  It was three weeks since we had seen each other.  I looked at
her with amazement and dread.  How she had changed in those
three weeks!  My heart ached as I looked at those pale, hollow
cheeks, feverishly parched lips, and eyes that gleamed under the
long dark lashes with a feverish fire and a sort of passionate
determination.
  But, my God, how lovely she was!  Never before, or since, have
I seen her as she was on that fatal day.    Was it the same, the
same Natasha, the same girl who only a year ago had listened to
my novel with her eyes fixed on me and her lips following mine,
who had so gaily and carelessly laughed and jested with her father
and me at supper afterwards; was it the same Natasha who in
that very room had said "Yes" to me, hanging her head and
flushing all over?
  We heard the deep note of the bell ringing for vespers.  She
started.  Anna Andreyevna crossed herself.
  "You're ready for church, Natasha, and they're ringing for
the service.  Go, Natasha, go and pray.  It's a good thing it's so
near.  And you'll get a walk, too, at the same time.  Why sit
shut up indoors?  See how pale you are, as though you were
bewitched."
  "Perhaps ... I won't go . . . to-day," said Natasha slowly,
in a low voice, almost a whisper.  "I'm . . . not well," she
added, and turned white as a sheet.
  "You'd better go, Natasha.  You wanted to just now and
fetched your hat.  Pray, Natasha, pray that God may give you
good health," Anna Andreyevna persuaded her daughter, looking
timidly at her, as though she were afraid of her.
  "Yes, go, and it will be a walk for you, too," the old man
added, and he, too, looked uneasily at his daughter.  "Mother
is right.  Here, Vanya will escort you."
  I fancied that Natasha's lips curled in a bitter smile.  She went
to the piano, picked up her hat and put it on.  Her hands were
trembling.  All her movements seemed as it were unconscious, as
though she did not know what she were doing.  Her father and
mother watched her attentively.
  "Good-bye," she said, hardly audibly.
  "My angel, why 'good-bye'?  Is it so faraway?  A blow in
the wind will do you good.  See how pale you are.  Ah, I forgot
(I forget everything), I've finished a scapular for you; there's a
prayer sewn into it, my angel; a nun from Kiev taught it to me
last year; a very suitable prayer.  I sewed it in just now.  Put
it on, Natasha.  Maybe God will send you good health.  You are
all we have."
  And the mother took out of her work-drawer a golden cross that
Natasha wore round her neck; on the same ribbon was hung a
scapular she had just finished.
  "May it bring you health," she added, crossing her daughter
and putting the cross on.  "At one time I used to bless you every
night before you slept, and said a prayer, and you repeated it
after me.  But now you're not the same, and God does not vouch-
safe you a quiet spirit.  Ach, Natasha, Natasha!  Your mother's
prayer is no help to you. . . ."
  And the mother began crying.
  Natasha kissed her mother's hand without speaking, and took
a step towards the door.  But suddenly she turned quickly back
and went up to her father.  Her bosom heaved.
  "Daddy, you cross ... your daughter, too," she brought out
in a gasping voice, and she sank on her knees before him.
  We were all perplexed at this unexpected and too solemn
action.  For a few seconds her father looked at her quite at a loss.
  "Natasha, my little one, my girl, my darling, what's the
matter with you?" he cried at last, and tears streamed from his
eyes.  "Why are you grieving?  Why are you crying day and
night?  I see it all, you know.  I don't sleep, it night, but stand
and listen at your door.  Tell me everything, Natasha, tell me all
about it.  I'm old, and we . . ."
  He did not finish; he raised her and embraced her, and held
her close.  She pressed convulsively against his breast, and hid
her head on his shoulder.
  "It's nothing, nothing, it's only . . . I'm not well", she
kept repeating, choking with suppressed tears.
  "May God bless you as I bless you, my darling child, my
precious child!" said the father.  "May He send you peace of
heart for ever, and protect you from all sorrow.  Pray to God, my
love, that my sinful prayer may reach Him."
  "And my blessing, my blessing, too, is upon you," added the
mother, dissolving into tears.
  "Good-bye," whispered Natasha.
  At the door she stood still again, took one more look at them,
tried to say something more, but could not and went quickly out
of the room.  I rushed after her with a foreboding of evil.



                       CHAPTER VIII

SHE walked with her head down, rapidly, in silence, without
looking at me.  But as she came out of the street on to the
embankment she stopped short, and took my arm.
   "I'm stifling," she whispered.  "My heart grips me. . . .
I'm stifling."
   "Come back, Natasha," I cried in alarm.
   "Surely you must have seen, Vanya, that I've gone away for
ever, left them for ever, and shall never go back," she said, looking
at me with inexpressible anguish.
   My heart sank.  I had foreseen all this on my way to them.
I had seen it all as it were in a mist, long before that day perhaps,
yet now her words fell upon me like a thunderbolt.
   We walked miserably along the embankment.  I could not
speak.  I was reflecting, trying to think, and utterly at a loss.
My heart was in a whirl.  It seemed so hideous, so impossible!
   "You blame me, Vanya?" she said at last.
   "No ... but ... but I can't believe it; it cannot be!" I
answered, not knowing what I was saying.
   "Yes, Vanya, it really is so! I have gone away from them and
I don't know what will become of them or what will become
of me!"
   "You're going to him, Natasha?  Yes?"
   "Yes," she answered.
   "But that's impossible!" I cried frantically. "Don't you
   understand that it's impossible, Natasha, my poor girl!  Why,
it's madness.  Why you'll kill them, and ruin yourself!  Do you 
understand that, Natasha?" 
   "I know; but what am I to do?  I can't help it," she said
and her voice was as full of anguish as though she were facing the
scaffold.
  "Come back, come back, before it's too late," I besought her;
and the more warmly, the more emphatically I implored her, the
more I realized the uselessness of my entreaties, and the absurdity
of them at that moment.  "Do you understand, Natasha, what
you are doing to your father?  Have you thought of that?  You
know his father is your father's enemy.  Why, the prince has
insulted your father, has accused him of stealing money; why,
he called him a thief.  You know why they've gone to law with
one another.... Good heavens! and that's not the worst.  Do
you know, Natasha (Oh, God, of course you know it all!) ... do
you know that the prince suspected your father and mother of
having thrown you and Alyosha together on purpose, when
Alyosha was staying in the country with you?  Think a minute,
only fancy what you father went through then owing to that
slander; why, his hair has turned grey in these two years!  Look
at him!  And what's more, you know all this, Natasha.  Good
heavens!  To say nothing of what it will mean to them both to
lose you for ever.  Why, you're their treasure, all that is left them
in their old age.  I don't want to speak of that, you must know
it for yourself.  Remember that your father thinks you have been
slandered without cause, insulted by these snobs, unavenged!
And now, at this very time, it's all flared up again, all this old
rankling enmity has grown more bitter than ever, because you
have received Alyosha.  The prince has insulted your father
again.  The old man's anger is still hot at this fresh affront, and
suddenly now all this, all this, all these accusations will turn out
to be true!  Everyone who knows about it will justify the prince
now, and throw the blame on you and your father.  Why, what
will become of him now? It will kill him outright!  Shame,
disgrace, and through whom?  Through you, his daughter, his
one precious child!  And your mother?  Why, she won't outlive
your old father, you know.  Natasha, Natasha!  What are you
about?  Turn back!  Think what you are doing!"
   She did not speak.  At last she glanced at me, as it were,
reproachfully.  And there was such piercing anguish, such suffer-
ing in her eyes that I saw that apart from my words her wounded
heart was bleeding already.  I saw what her decision was costing
her, and how I was torturing her, lacerating her with my useless
words that came too late.  I saw all that, and yet I could not
restrain myself and went on speaking.
   "Why, you said yourself just now to Anna Andreyevna that
perhaps you would not go out of the house ... to the service,
So you meant to stay; so you were still hesitating?"
   She only smiled bitterly in reply.  And why did I ask that?
I might have understood that all was irrevocably settled.  But I
was beside myself, too.
   "Can you love him so much?" I cried, looking at her with a
sinking at the heart, scarcely knowing what I was asking.
   "What can I say to you, Vanya?  You see, he told me to come,
and here I am waiting for him," she said with the same bitter
smile.
   "But listen, only listen," I began again, catching at a straw;
"this can all be arranged differently, quite differently; you need
not go away from the house.  I'll tell you how to manage, Natasha.
I'll undertake to arrange it all for you, meetings, and everything.
Only don't leave home.  I will carry your letters; why not?
It would be better than what you're doing.  I know how to
arrange it; I'll do anything for both of you.  You'll see.  And
then you won't ruin yourself, Natasha, dear, as you're doing....
For you'll ruin yourself hopelessly, as it is, hopelessly.  Only
agree, Natasha, and everything will go well and happily, and you
can love each other as much as you like.  And when your fathers
have left off quarrelling (for they're bound to leave off some day)-
then . . ."
   "Enough, Vanya, stop!" she interrupted, pressing my hand
tightly, and smiling through her tears.  "Dear, kind Vanya!
You're a good, honourable man!  And not one word of yourself!
I've deserted you, and you forgive everything, you think of
nothing but my happiness.  You are ready to carry letters for us."
   She burst into tears.
   "I know how you loved me, Vanya, and how you love me still,
and you've not reproached me with one bitter word all this time,
while I, I ... my God I how badly I've treated you!  Do you
remember, Vanya, do you remember our time together ? It
would have been better if I'd never met him; never seen him!
I could have lived with you, with you, dear, kind Vanya, my dear
one.  No, I'm not worthy of you!  You see what I am; at such
a minute I remind you of our past happiness, though you're
wretched enough without that!  Here you've not been to see us
for three weeks: I swear to you, Vanya, the thought never once
entered my head that you hated me and had cursed me.  I knew
why you did not come!  You did not want to be in our way and
to be a living reproach to us.  And wouldn't it have been painful
for you to see us?  And how I've missed you, Vanya, how I've
missed you!  Vanya, listen, if I love Alyosha madly, insanely, yet
perhaps I love you even more as a friend.  I feel, I know that I
couldn't go on living without you.  I need you.  I need your soul,
your heart of gold.... Oh, Vanya, what a bitter, terrible time
is before us!"
  She burst into a flood of tears; yes, she was very wretched.
  "Oh, how I have been longing to see you," she went on,
mastering her tears.  "How thin you've grown, how ill and pale
you are.  You really have been ill, haven't you, Vanya?  And I
haven't even asked!  I keep talking of myself.  How are you
getting on with the reviewers now?  what about your new novel?
Is it going well?"
  "As though we could talk about novels, as though we could
talk about me now, Natasha!  As though my work mattered.
That's all right, let it be!  But tell me, Natasha, did he insist
himself that you should go to him?"
  "No, not only he, it was more I. He did say so, certainly, but
I too.... You see, dear, I'll tell you everything; they're making
a match for him with a very rich girl, of very high rank and
related to very grand people.  His father absolutely insists on his
marrying her, and his father, as you know, is an awful schemer;
he sets every spring working; and it's a chance that wouldn't
come once in ten years.... Connexions, money ... and they
say she's very pretty, and she has education, a good heart, every-
thing good; Alyosha's attracted by her already, and what's more
his father's very anxious to get it over, so as to get married
himself.  And so he's determined to break it off between us.
He's afraid of me and my influence on Alyosha. . ."
  "But do you mean to say  that the prince knows of your love?"
I interrupted in surprise.  "Surely he only suspects it; and is
not at all sure of it?"
  "He knows it.  He knows all about it."
  "Why, who told him?  "
  "Alyosha told him everything a little while ago.  He told me
himself that he had told him all about it."
  "Good God, what is going on!  He tells all this himself and at
such a time?"
  "Don't blame him, Vanya," Natasha broke in; "don't jeer
at him.  He can't be judged like other people.  Be fair.  He's
not like you and me.  He's a child.  He's not been properly
brought up.  He doesn't understand what he's doing.  The first
impression, the influence of the first person he meets can turn him
away from what he has promised a minute before.  He has no
character.  He'll vow to be true to you, and that very day he
will just as truthfully, just as sincerely, devote himself to someone
else; and what's more he'll be the first person to come and tell
you about it.  He may do something bad; but yet one can't
blame him for it, but can only feel sorry for him.  He's even
capable of self-sacrifice, and if you knew what sacrifice!  But only
till the next new impression, then he'll forget it all.  So he'll forget
me if I'm not continually with him.  That's what he's like!"
  "Ach, Natasha, but perhaps that's all not true, that's only
gossip.  How can a boy like that get married!"
  "I tell you his father has special objects of his own."
  "But how do you know that this young lady is so charming,
and that he is already attracted by her?"
  "Why, he told me so himself."
  "What!  Told you himself that he might love another woman,
and demands this sacrifice from you now?"
  "No, Vanya, no.  You don't know him.  You've not been
much with him.  You must know him better before you judge
of him.  There isn't a truer and purer heart than his in the world.
Why, would it be better if he were to he?  And as for his being
attracted by her, why, if he didn't see me for a week he'd fall in
love with some one else and forget me, and then when he saw me
he'd be at my feet again.  No!  It's a good thing I know it, that
it's not concealed from me, or else I should be dying of suspicion.
Yes, Vanya!  I have come to the conclusion; if I'm not always
with him continually, every minute, he will cease to love me, forget
me, and give me up.  He's like that; any other woman can attract
him.  And then what should I do?  I should die . . . die indeed I
I should be glad to die now.  But what will it be for me to live
without him? That would be worse than death itself, worse than
any agony!  Oh, Vanya, Vanya!  It does mean something that
I've abandoned my father and mother for him!  Don't try and
persuade me, everything's decided!  He must be near me every
hour, every minute.  I can't go back.  I know that I am ruined
and that I'm ruining others.... Ach, Vanya!" she cried suddenly
and began trembling all over "what if he doesn't love me even
now!  What if it's true what you said of him just now" (I had
never said it), "that he's only deceiving me, that he only seems
to be so truthful and sincere, and is really wicked and vain!
I'm defending him to you now, and perhaps this very minute he's
laughing at me with another woman ... and I, I'm so abject that
I've thrown up everything and am walking about the streets
looking for him.... Ach, Vanya!"
  This moan broke with such anguish from her heart that my
whole soul filled with grief.  I realized that Natasha had lost all
control of herself.  Only a blind, insane, intense jealousy could
have brought her to this frantic resolution.  But jealousy flamed
up in my heart, too, and suddenly burst out.  I could not restrain
myself.  A horrid feeling drew me on.
  "Natasha," I said, "there's only one thing I don't understand.
How can you love him after what you've just said about him
yourself?  You don't respect him, you don't even believe in his
love, and you're going to him irrevocably and are ruining every-
one for his sake.  What's the meaning of it?  He'll torture you
so as to spoil your whole life; yes, and you his, too.  You love
him too much, Natasha, too much! I don't understand such
love!"
  "Yes, I love him as though I were mad," she answered, turn-
ing pale as though in bodily pain.  "I never loved you like that,
Vanya.  I know I've gone out of my mind, and don't love him as
I ought to.  I don't love him in the right way.... Listen, Vanya,
I knew beforehand, and even in our happiest moments I felt that
he would bring me nothing but misery.  But what is to be done
if even torture from him is happiness to me now?  Do you
suppose I'm going to him to meet joy?  Do you suppose I don't
know beforehand what's in store for me, or what I shall have to
bear from him?  Why, he's sworn to love me, made all sorts of
promises;  but I don't trust one of his promises.  I don't set any
value on them, and I never have, though I knew he wasn't lying
to me, and can't lie.  I told him myself, myself, that I don't want
to bind him in any way.  That's better with him; no one likes to
be tied - I less than any,.  And yet I'm glad to be his slave, his
willing slave; to put up with anything from him, anything, so
long as he is with me, so long as I can look at him!  I think he
might even love another woman if only I were there, if only I
might be near.  Isn't it abject, Vanya?" she asked, suddenly
looking at me with a sort of feverish, haggard look.  For one
instant it seemed to me she was delirious.  "Isn't it abject, such
a wish?  What if it is?  I say that it is abject myself.  Yet if he
were to abandon me I should run after him to the ends of the
earth, even if he were to repulse me, even if he were to drive me
away.  You try to persuade me to go back-but what use is that?
If I went back I should come away to-morrow.  He would tell
me to and I should come; he would call, would whistle to me like
a dog, and I should run to him.... Torture!  I don't shrink from
any torture from him!  I should know it was at his hands I was
suffering! ... Oh, there's no telling it, Vanya!"
  "And her father and mother?" I thought.  She seemed to
have already forgotten them.
  "Then he's not going to marry you, Natasha?"
  "He's promised to.  He's promised everything.  It's for that
he's sent for me now; to be married to-morrow, secretly, out of
town.  But you see, he doesn't know what he's doing.  Very
likely he doesn't know how one gets married.  And what a
husband!  It's absurd really.  And if he does get married he
won't be happy; he'll begin to reproach me.... I don't want
him to reproach me with anything, ever.  I'll give up everything
for him, and let him do nothing for me!  If he's going to be
unhappy from being married, why make him unhappy?"
  "Yes, this is a sort of frenzy, Natasha," said I. "Well, are
you going straight to him now?"
  "No, he promised to come here to fetch me.  We agreed."
  And she looked eagerly into the distance, but as yet there was
no-one.
  "And he's not here yet.  And you've come first!" I cried
with indignation.
  Natasha staggered as though from a blow.  Her face worked
convulsively.
  "He may not come at all," she said with bitter mockery.
  The day before yesterday he wrote that if I didn't give him my
word that I'd come, he would be obliged to put off his plan-of
going away and marrying me; and his father will take him with
him to the young lady.  And he wrote it so simply, so naturally,
as if it were nothing at all.... What if he really has gone to her,
Vanya?"
  I did not answer.  She squeezed my hand tight, and her eyes
glittered.
  "He is with her," she brought out, scarcely audibly.  "He hoped
I would not come here, so that he might go to her, and say
afterwards that he was in the right, that he told me beforehand
I wouldn't, and I didn't.  He's tired of me, so he stays away.
Ach, my God!  I'm mad!  Why, he told me himself last time
that I wearied him.... What am I waiting for?"
  "Here he is," I cried, suddenly catching sight of him on the
embankment in the distance.
  Natasha started, uttered a shriek, gazed intently at Alyosha's
approaching figure, and suddenly, dropping my hand, rushed to
meet him.  He, too, quickened his pace, and in a minute she was
in his arms.
  There was scarcely anyone in the street but ourselves.  They
kissed each other, laughed; Natasha laughed and cried both
together, as though they were meeting after an endless separation.
The colour rushed into her pale cheeks.  She was like one
possessed.... Alyosha noticed me and at once came up to me.



                        CHAPTER IX .

I LOOKED at him eagerly, although I had seen him many times
before that minute.  I looked into his eyes, as though his expres-
sion might explain all that bewildered me, might explain how
this boy could enthral her, could arouse in her love so frantic that
it made her forget her very first duty and sacrifice all that had
been till that moment most holy to her.  The prince took both
my hands and pressed them warmly, and the look in his eyes,
gentle and candid, penetrated to my heart.
  I felt that I might be mistaken in my conclusions about him
if only from the fact that he was my enemy.  Yes, I was not fond
of him; and I'm sorry to say I never could care for him - and
was perhaps alone among his acquaintances in this.  I could not
get over my dislike of many things in him, even of his elegant
appearance, perhaps, indeed, because it was too elegant.  After-
wards I recognized that I had been prejudiced in my judgement.
He was tall, slender and graceful; his face was rather long and
always pale; he had fair hair, large, soft, dreamy, blue eyes, in
which there were occasional flashes of the most spontaneous,
childish gaiety.  The full crimson lips of his small, exquisitely
modelled mouth almost always had a grave expression, and this
gave a peculiarly unexpected and fascinating charm to the smile
which suddenly appeared on them, and was so naive and candid
that, whatever mood one was in, one felt instantly tempted to
respond to it with a similar smile.  He dressed not over-fashion-
ably, but always elegantly; it was evident that this elegance
cost him no effort whatever, that it was innate in him.
   It is true that he had some unpleasant traits, some of the bad
habits characteristic of aristocratic society: frivolity, self-
complacency, and polite insolence.  But he was so candid and
simple at heart that he was the first to blame himself for these
defects, to regret them and mock at them.  I fancy that this boy
could never tell a lie even in jest, or if he did tell one it would be
with no suspicion of its being wrong.  Even egoism in him was
rather her attractive, just perhaps because it was open and not
concealed.  There was nothing reserved about him.  He was
weak, confiding, and fainthearted; he had no will whatever.
To deceive or injure him would have been as sinful and cruel as
deceiving and injuring a child.  He was too simple for his age
and had scarcely any notion of real life ; though, indeed, I believe
he would not have any at forty.  Men like him are destined never
to grow up.  I fancy that hardly any man could have disliked him;
he was as affectionate as a child.  Natasha had spoken truly;
he might have been guilty of an evil action if driven to it by some
strong influence, but if he had recognized the result of the action
afterwards, I believe he would have died of regret.  Natasha
instinctively felt that she would have mastery and dominion over
him that he would even be her victim.  She had had a foretaste
of the joys of loving passionately and torturing the man that she
loved simply because she loved him, and that was why, perhaps,
she was in haste to be the first to sacrifice herself.  But his eyes,
too, were bright with love, and he looked at her rapturously.
She looked at me triumphantly.  At that instant she forgot
everything - her parents, and her leave-taking and her suspicions.
She was happy.
  "Vanya!" she cried.  "I've been unfair to him and I'm not
worthy of him.  I thought you weren't coming, Alyosha.  Forget
my evil thoughts, Vanya!  I'll atone for it!" she added, looking
at him with infinite love.
  He smiled, kissed her hand, and still keeping his hold of her
hand turned to me, and said:
  "Don't blame me either.  I've been wanting to embrace you
as a brother for ever so long; she has told me so much about
you!  We've somehow not made friends or got on together till
now.  Let us be friends, and ... forgive us," he added, flushing
slightly and speaking in an undertone, but with such a charming
smile that I could not help responding to his greeting with my
whole heart.
  "Yes, yes, Alyosha," Natasha chimed in, " he's on our side,
he's a brother to us, he has forgiven us already, and without him
we shall not be happy.  I've told you already.... Ah, we're cruel
children, Alyosha ! But we will live all three together. . . .
Vanya!" she went on, and her lips began to quiver.  "You'll go
back home now to them.  You have such a true heart that
though they won't forgive me, yet when they see that you've
forgiven me it may soften them a little.  Tell them everything,
everything, in your own words, from your heart; find the right
words.... Stand up for me, save me.  Explain to them all the
reasons as you understand it.  You know, Vanya, I might not
have brought myself to it, if you hadn't happened to be with me
to-day!  You are my salvation.  I rested all my hopes on you at
once, for I felt that you would know how to tell them, so that at
least the first awfulness would be easier for them.  Oh, my God,
my God! ... Tell them from me, Vanya, that I know I can never
be forgiven now; if they forgive me, God won't forgive; but
that if they curse me I shall always bless them and pray for them
to the end of my life.  My whole heart is with them!  Oh, why
can't we all be happy!  Why, why! ... My God, what have I
done!" she cried out suddenly, as though realizing, and trembling
all over with horror she hid her face in her hands.
  Alyosha put his arm round her and held her close to him
without speaking.  Several minutes of silence followed.
  "And you could demand such a sacrifice?" I cried, looking
at him reproachfully.
  "Don't blame me," he repeated.  "I assure you that all this
misery, terrible as it is, is only for the moment.  I'm perfectly
certain of it.  We only need to have the courage to bear this
moment; she said the very same to me herself.  You know that
what's at the bottom of it all is family pride, these quite foolish
squabbles, some stupid lawsuits! . . . But (I've been thinking
about it for a long while, I assure you) ... all this must be put a
stop to.  We shall all come together again; and then we shall be
perfectly happy, and the old people will be reconciled when they
see us.  Who knows, perhaps, our marriage will be the first step
to their reconciliation.  I think, in fact, it's bound to be so.  What
do you think?"
  "You speak of your marriage.  When is the wedding to be!"
I asked, glancing at Natasha.
  "To-morrow or the day after.  The day after to-morrow at the
latest - that's settled.  I don't know much about it myself yet,
you see; and in fact I've not made any arrangements.  I thought
that perhaps Natasha wouldn't come to-day.  Besides, my father
insisted on taking me to see my betrothed to-day. (You know
they're making a match for me; has Natasha told you? But I
won't consent.) So you see I couldn't make any definite arrange-
ments.  But anyway we shall be married the day after to-morrow.
I think so, at least, for I don't see how else it can be.  To-morrow
we'll set off on the road to Pskov.  I've a school-friend, a very
nice fellow, living in the country not far-off, in that direction;
you must meet him.  There's a priest in the village there; though
I don't know whether there is or not.  I ought to have made
inquiries, but I've not had time. . . . But all that's of no con-
sequence, really.  What matters is to keep the chief thing in
view.  One might get a priest from a neighbouring village, what
do you think?  I suppose there are neighbouring villages!  It's
a pity that I haven't had time to write a line; I ought to
have warned them we were corning.  My friend may not be at
home now perhaps.... But that's no matter.  So long as there's
determination everything will be settled of itself, won't it?  And
meanwhile, till to-morrow or the day after, she will be here with
me.  I have taken a flat on purpose, where we shall live when we
come back.  I can't go on living with my father, can I?  You'll
come and see us?  I've made it so nice.  My school-friends will
come and see us.  We'll have evenings ..."
  I looked at him in perplexity and distress.  Natasha's eyes
besought me to be kind and not to judge him harshly.  She
listened to his talk with a sort of mournful smile, and at the same
time she seemed to be admiring him as one admires a charming,
merry child, listening to its sweet but senseless prattle, I looked
at her reproachfully.  I was unbearably miserable.
  "But your father?" I asked.  "Are you so perfectly certain
he'll forgive you?"
  "He must," he replied.  "What else is there left for him to do?
Of course he may curse me at first; in fact, I'm sure he will.
He's like that; and so strict with me.  He may even take some
proceedings against me; have recourse to his parental authority,
in fact. . . .  But that's not serious, you know.  He loves me
beyond anything.  He'll be angry and then forgive us.  Then
everyone will be reconciled, and we shall all be happy. Her
father, too."
  "And what if he doesn't forgive you?  Have you thought
of that?"
  "He's sure to forgive us, though perhaps not at once.  But
what then?  I'll show him that I have character.  He's always
scolding me for not having character, for being feather-headed.
He shall see now whether I'm feather-headed.  To be a married
man is a serious thing.  I shan't be a boy then.... I mean I shall
be just like other people... that is, other married men.  I shall
live by my own work.  Natasha says that's ever so much better
than living at other people's expense, as we all do.  If you only
knew what a lot of fine things she says to me!  I should never
have thought of it myself - I've not been brought up like that,
I haven't been properly educated.  It's true, I know it myself,
I'm feather-headed and scarcely fit for anything; but, do you
know, a wonderful idea occurred to me the day before yesterday.
I'll tell you now though it's hardly the moment, for Natasha, too,
must hear, and you'll give me your advice.  You know I want to
write stories and send them to the magazines just as you do.
You'll help me with the editors, won't you?  I've been reckoning
upon you, and I lay awake all last night thinking of a novel, just
as an experiment, and do you know, it might turn out a charming
thing.  I took the subject from a comedy of Scribe's.... But I'll
tell you it afterwards.  The great thing is they would pay for
it.... You see, they pay you."
  I could not help smiling.
  "You laugh," he said, smiling in response.  "But, I say," he
added with incredible simplicity, "don't think I'm quite as bad
as I seem.  I'm really awfully observant, you'll see that.  Why
shouldn't I try?  It might come to something.... But I dare say
you're right.  Of course I know nothing of real life; that's what
Natasha tells me; and indeed everyone says so; I should be a
queer sort of writer.  You may laugh, you may laugh; you'll set
me right; you'll be doing it for her sake, and you love her.  I tell
you the truth.  I'm not good enough for her; I feel that; it's a
great grief to me, and I don't know why she's so fond of me.  But
I feel I'd give my life for her.  I've really never been afraid of
anything before, but at this moment I feel frightened.  What is
it we're doing?  Heavens, is it possible that when a man's
absolutely set upon his duty he shouldn't have the brains
and the courage to do it?  You must help us, anyway; you're
our friend.  You're the only friend left us.  For what can I do
alone!  Forgive me for reckoning on you like this.  I think of you
as such a noble man, and far superior to me.  But I shall improve,
believe me, and be worthy of you both."
  At this point he pressed my hand again, and his fine eyes were
full of warm and sincere feeling.  He held out his hand to me so
confidingly, had such faith in my being his friend.
   "She will help me to improve," he went on.  "But don't think
anything very bad of me; don't be too grieved about us.  I have
great hopes, in spite of everything, and on the financial side we've
no need to trouble.  If my novel doesn't succeed - to tell the
truth I thought this morning that the novel is a silly idea, and I
only talked about it to hear your opinion - I could, if the worst
comes to the worst, give music-lessons.  You didn't know I was
good at music?  I'm not ashamed to live by work like that; I
have quite the new ideas about that.  Besides I've a lot of valuable
knickknacks, things for the toilet; what do we want with them?
I'll sell them.  And you know we can live for ever so long on that!
And if the worst comes to the worst, I can even take a post in,
some department.  My father would really be glad.  He's always
at me to go into the service, but I always make out I'm not well.
(But I believe my name is put down for something.) But when
he sees that marriage has done me good, and made me steady, and
that I have really gone into the service, he'll be delighted and
forgive me. . . ."
  "But, Alexey Petrovitch, have you thought what a terrible
to-do there'll be now between your father and hers?  What will
it be like in her home this evening, do you suppose?"
  And I motioned towards Natasha, who had turned deadly pale
at my words.  I was merciless.
  "Yes, yes, you're right.  It's awful!" he answered.  "I've
thought about it already and grieved over it.  But what can we
do?  You're right ; if only her parents will forgive us!  And how
I love them - if you only knew!  They've been like a father and
mother to me, and this is how I repay them!  Ach, these quarrels,
these lawsuits!  You can't imagine how unpleasant all that is
now.  And what are they quarrelling about!  We all love one
another so, and yet we're quarrelling.  If only they'd be reconciled
and make an end of it!  That's what I'd do in their place.... I
feel frightened at what you say.  Natasha, it's awful what we're
doing, you and I ! I said that before. . . . You insisted on it
yourself.... But, listen, Ivan Petrovitch, perhaps it will an be
for the best, don't you think?  They'll be reconciled, you know,
in the end.  We shall reconcile them.  That is so, there's no doubt
of it.  They can't hold out against our love.... Let them curse
us; we shall love them all the same, and they can't hold out.
You don't know what a kind heart my father has sometimes.
He only looks ferocious, but at other times he's most reasonable.
If you only knew how gently he talked to me to-day, persuading
me!  And I'm going against him to-day, and that makes me
very sad.  It's all these stupid prejudices!  It's simple madness!
Why, if he were to take a good look at her, and were to spend
only half an hour with her, he would sanction everything at once."
  Alyosha looked tenderly and passionately at Natasha.
  "I've fancied a thousand times with delight," he went on
babbling, "how he will love her as soon as he gets to know her,
and how she'll astonish everyone.  Why, they've never seen a
girl like her!  My father is convinced that she is simply a schemer.
It's my duty to vindicate her honour, and I shall do it.  Ah,
Natasha, everyone loves you, everyone.  Nobody could help
loving you," he added rapturously.  "Though I'm not nearly
good enough for you, still you must love me, Natasha, and I ...
you know me!  And do we need much to make us happy!
No, I believe, I do believe that this evening is bound to bring us
all happiness, peace and harmony I Blessed be this evening!
Isn't it so, Natasha?  But what's the matter?  But, my goodness,
what's the matter?"
  She was pale as death.  All the while Alyosha rambled on she
was looking intently at him, but her eyes grew dimmer and more
fixed, and her face turned whiter and whiter.  I fancied at last
that she had sunk into a stupor and did not hear him.  Alyosha's
exclamation seemed to rouse her.  She came to herself, looked
round her, and suddenly rushed to me.  Quickly, as though in
haste and anxious to hide it from Alyosha, she took a letter out
of her pocket and gave it to me.  It was a letter to her father and
mother, and had been written overnight.  As she gave it me she
looked intently at me as though she could not take her eyes off
me. There was a look of despair in them; I shall never forget
that terrible look.  I was overcome by horror, too.  I saw that
only now she realized all the awfulness of what she was doing.
She struggled to say something, began to speak, and suddenly
fell fainting.  I was just in time to catch her.  Alyosha turned pale
with alarm; he rubbed her temples, kissed her hands and her
lips.  In two minutes she came to herself.  The cab in which
Alyosha had come was standing not far off; he called it.  When
she was in the cab Natasha clutched my hand frantically, and a
hot tear scalded my fingers.  The cab started.  I stood a long
while watching it.  All my happiness was ruined from that
moment, and my life was broken in half.  I felt that poignantly....
I walked slowly back to my old friends.  I did not know what to
say to them, how I should go in to them.  My thoughts were
numb; my legs were giving way beneath me.
  And that's the story of my happiness; so my love was over
and ended.  I will now take up my story where I left it.



                         CHAPTER X

Five days after Smith's death, I moved into his lodging.  All
that day I felt insufferably sad.  The weather was cold and
gloomy. the wet snow kept falling, interspersed with rain.
Only towards evening the sun peeped out, and a stray sunbeam
probably from curiosity glanced into my room.  I had begun to
regret having moved here.  Though the room was large it was so
low-pitched, so begrimed with soot, so musty, and so unpleasantly
empty in spite of some little furniture.  I thought then that I
should certainly ruin what health I had left in that room.  And so
it came to pass, indeed.
  All that morning I had been busy with my papers, sorting and
arranging them.  For want of a portfolio I had packed them in a
pillow-case.  They were all crumpled and mixed up.  Then I sat
down to write.  I was still working at my long novel then; but
I could not settle down to it.  My mind was full of other things.
  I threw down my pen and sat by the window.  It got dark,
and I felt more and more depressed.  Painful thoughts of all kinds
beset me.  I kept fancying that I should die at last in Petersburg.
Spring was at hand.  " I believe I might recover," I thought,
"if I could get out of this shell into the light of day, into the fields
and woods." It was so long since I had seen them.  I remember,
too, it came into my mind how nice it would be if by some magic,
some enchantment, I could forget everything that had happened
in the last few years; forget everything, refresh my mind, and
begin again with new energy.  In those days, I still dreamed of
that and hoped for a renewal of life.  "Better go into an asylum,"
I thought, "to get one's brain turned upside down and rearranged
anew, and then be cured again."  I still had a thirst for life and a
faith in it! ... But I remember even then I laughed.  "What
should I have to do after the madhouse?  Write novels again? . . . "
  So I brooded despondently, and meanwhile time was passing,
Night had come on.  That evening I had promised to see Natasha.
I had had a letter from her the evening before, earnestly begging
me to go and see her.  I jumped up and began getting ready.  I had
an overwhelming desire to get out of my room, even into the rain
and the sleet.
  As it got darker my room seemed to grow larger and larger,
as though the walls were retreating.  I began to fancy that every
night I should see Smith at once in every corner.  He would sit
and stare at me as he had at Adam Ivanitch, in the restaurant,
and Azorka would lie at his feet.  At that instant I had an
adventure which made a great impression upon me.
  I must frankly admit, however, that, either owing to the
derangement of my nerves, or my new impressions in my new
lodgings, or my recent melancholy, I gradually began at dusk to
sink into that condition which is so common with me now at night
in my illness, and which I call mysterious horror.  It is a most
oppressive, agonizing state of terror of something which I don't
know how to define, and something passing all understanding and
outside the natural order of things, which yet may take shape this
very minute, as though in mockery of all the conclusions of
reason, come to me and stand before me as an undeniable fact,
hideous, horrible, and relentless.  This fear usually becomes more
and more acute, in spite of all the protests of reason, so much so
that although the mind sometimes is of exceptional clarity at such
moments, it loses all power of resistance.  It is unheeded, it
becomes useless, and this inward division intensifies the agony of
suspense.  It seems to me something like the anguish of people
who are afraid of the dead.  But in my distress the indefiniteness
of the apprehension makes my suffering even more acute.
  I remember I was standing with my back to the door and
taking my hat from the table, when suddenly at that very instant
the thought struck me that when I turned round I should
inevitably see Smith: at first he would softly open the door,
would stand in the doorway and look round the room, then looking
down would come slowly towards me, would stand facing me,
fix his lustreless eyes upon me and suddenly laugh in my face, a
long, toothless, noiseless chuckle, and his whole body would shake
with laughter and go on shaking a long time.  The vision of all
this suddenly formed an extraordinarily vivid and distinct
picture in my mind, and at the same time I was suddenly seized
by the fullest, the most absolute conviction that all this would
infallibly, inevitably come to pass; that it was already happening,
only I hadn't seen it because I was standing with my back to the
door, and that just at that very instant perhaps the door was
opening.  I looked round quickly, and - the door actually was
opening, softly, noiselessly, just as I had imagined it a minute
before.  I cried out.  For a long time no one appeared, as though
the door had opened of itself.  All at once I saw in the doorway
a strange figure, whose eyes, as far as I could make out in the dark,
were scrutinizing me obstinately and intently.  A shiver ran over
all my limbs; to my intense horror I saw that it was a child, a
little girl, and if it had been Smith himself he would not have
frightened me perhaps so much as this strange and unexpected
apparition of an unknown child in my room at such an hour, and
at such a moment.
  I have mentioned already that the door opened as slowly and
noiselessly as though she were afraid to come in.  Standing in the
doorway she gazed at me in a perplexity that was almost stupe-
faction.  At last softly and slowly she advanced two steps into
the room and stood before me, still without uttering a word.
I examined her more closely.  She was a girl of twelve or thirteen,
short, thin, and as pale as though she had just had some terrible
illness, and this pallor showed up vividly her great, shining black
eyes.  With her left hand she held a tattered old shawl, and with
it covered her chest, which was still shivering with the chill of
evening.  Her whole dress might be described as rags and tatters.
Her thick black hair was matted and uncombed.  We stood so
for two minutes, staring at one another.
  "Where's grandfather?" she asked at last in a husky, hardly
audible voice, as though there was something wrong with her
throat or chest.
  All my mysterious panic was dispersed at this question.  It was
an inquiry for Smith; traces of him had unexpectedly turned up.
  "Your grandfather?  But he's dead!" I said suddenly, being
taken unawares by her question, and I immediately regretted
my abruptness.  For a minute she stood still in the same position,
then she suddenly began trembling all over, so violently that it
seemed as though she were going to be overcome by some sort
of dangerous, nervous fit.  I tried to support her so that she did
not fall.  In a few minutes she was better, and I saw that she was
making an unnatural effort to control her emotion before me.
  "Forgive me, forgive me, girl!  Forgive me, my child!"
I said.  "I told you so abruptly, and who knows perhaps it's a
mistake ... poor little thing! ... Who is it you're looking for?
The old man who lived here?"
  "Yes," she articulated with an effort, looking anxiously at me.
  "His name was Smith?  Was it?" I asked.
  "Y-yes!"
  "Then he ... yes, then he is dead.... Only don't grieve, my
dear.  Why haven't you been here?  Where have you come from
now?  He was buried yesterday; he died suddenly. . . . So
you're his granddaughter?"
  The child made no answer to my rapid and incoherent questions.
She turned in silence and went quietly out of the room.  I was so
astonished that I did not try to stop her or question her further.
She stopped short in the doorway, and half-turning asked me
  "Is Azorka dead, too?"
  "Yes, Azorka's dead, too," I answered, and her question struck
me as strange; it seemed as though she felt sure that Azorka must
have died with the old man.
  Hearing my answer the girl went noiselessly out of the room
and carefully closed the door after her.
  A minute later I ran after her, horribly vexed with myself for
having let her go.  She went out so quickly that I did not hear
her open the outer door on to the stairs.
  "She hasn't gone down the stairs yet," I thought, and I stood
still to listen.  But all was still, and there was no sound of foot-
steps.  All I heard was the slam of a door on the ground floor, and
then all was still again.
I went hurriedly downstairs.  The staircase went from my flat
in a spiral from the fifth storey down to the fourth, from the
fourth it went straight.  It was a black, dirty staircase, always
dark, such as one commonly finds in huge blocks let out in tiny
flats.  At that moment it was quite dark.  Feeling my way down
to the fourth storey, I stood still, and I suddenly had a feeling
that there was someone in the passage here, hiding from me.  I
began groping with my hands.  The girl was there, right in the
corner, and with her face turned to the wall was crying softly and
inaudibly.
  "Listen, what are you afraid of?" I began.  "I frightened
you so, I'm so sorry.  Your grandfather spoke of you when he
was dying; his last words were of you.... I've got some books,
no doubt they're yours.  What's your name?  Where do you
live? He spoke of Sixth Street . . ."
  But I did not finish.  She uttered a cry of terror as though at
my knowing where she lived; pushed me away with her thin,
bony, little hand, and ran downstairs.  I followed her; I could
till hear her footsteps below.  Suddenly they ceased.... When I
ran out into the street she was not to be seen.  Running as far as
Voznesensky Prospect I realized that all my efforts were in vain.
She had vanished.  "Most likely she hid from me somewhere,"
I thought "on her way downstairs."


                        CHAPTER XI
 
But I had hardly stepped out on the muddy wet pavement of
the Prospect when I ran against a passer-by, who was hastening
somewhere with his head down, apparently lost in thought.  To
my intense amazement I recognized my old friend Ichmenyev.
It was an evening of unexpected meetings for me.  I knew that
the old man had been taken seriously unwell three days before;
and here I was meeting him in such wet weather in the street.
Moreover it had never been his habit to go out in the evening, and
since Natasha had gone away, that is, for the last six months, he
had become a regular stay-at-home.  He seemed to be excep-
tionally delighted to see me, like a man who has at last found a
friend with whom he can talk over his ideas.  He seized my hand,
pressed it warmly, and without asking where I was going, drew
me along with him.  He was upset about something, jerky and
hurried in his manner.  "Where had he been going?" I wondered.
It would have been tactless to question him.  He had become
terribly suspicious, and sometimes detected some offensive hint,
some insult, in the simplest inquiry or remark.
   I looked at him stealthily.  His face showed signs of illness
he had grown much thinner of late.  His chin showed a week's
growth of beard.  His hair, which had turned quite grey, hung
down in disorder under his crushed hat, and lay in long straggling
 tails on the collar of his shabby old great-coat.  I had noticed
before that at some moments he seemed, as it were, forgetful,
 forgot for instance that he was not alone in the room, and would
 talk to himself, gesticulating with his hands.  It was painful to
look at him.
   "Well, Vanya, well?" he began.  "Where were you going?
I've come out, my boy, you see; business.  Are you quite well?"
   "Are you quite well?" I answered.  "You were ill only the
other day, and here you are, out."
   The old man seemed not to hear what I said and made no
answer.
   "How is Anna Andreyevna?"
   "She's quite well, quite well ....  Though she's rather poorly,
too. She's rather depressed . . .  she was speaking of you,
wondering why you hadn't been.  Were you coming to see us
now, Vanya, or not?  Maybe I'm keeping you, hindering you
from something," he asked suddenly, looking at me distrustfully
and suspiciously.
   The sensitive old man had become so touchy and irritable that
if I had answered him now that I wasn't going to see them, he
would certainly have been wounded, and have parted from me
coldly.  I hastened to say that I was on my way to look in on
Anna Andreyevna, though I knew I was already late, and might
not have time to see Natasha at all.
   "That's all right," said the old man, completely pacified by
my answer, "that's all right."
   And he suddenly sank into silence and pondered, as though he
had left something unsaid.
   "Yes, that's all right," he repeated mechanically, five minutes
later, as though coming to himself after a long reverie.  "Hm!
You know, Vanya, you've always been like a son to us.  God has
not blessed us ... with a son, but He has sent us you.  That's
what I've always thought.  And my wife the same . . . yes!
And you've always been tender and respectful to us, like a grateful
son.  God will bless you for it, Vanya, as we two old people bless
and love you.... Yes!"
   His voice quavered.  He paused a moment.
   "Well ... well?  You haven't been ill, have you? Why have
you not been to see us for so long?"
   I told him the whole incident of Smith, apologizing for having
let Smith's affairs keep me, telling him that I had besides been
almost ill, and that with all this on my hands it was a long way
to go to Vassilyevsky Island (they lived there then).  I was almost
blurting out that I had nevertheless made time to see Natasha,
but stopped myself in time.
   My account of Smith interested my old friend very much.
He listened more attentively.  Hearing that my new lodging was
damp, perhaps even worse than my old one, and that the rent
was six roubles a month, he grew positively heated.  He had
become altogether excitable and impatient.  No one but Anna
Andreyevna could soothe him at such moments, and even she was
not always successful.
   "Hm!  This is what comes of your literature, Vanya!  It's
brought you to a garret, and it will bring you to the graveyard
I said so at the time.  I foretold it! ... Is B. still writing reviews?"
   "No, he died of consumption.  I told you so before, I believe."
   "Dead, hm, dead!  Yes, that's just what one would expect.
Has he left anything to his wife and children? You told me he
had a wife, didn't you? ... What do such people marry for?"
   "No, he's left nothing," I answered.
   "Well, just as I thought! " he cried, with as much warmth as
though the matter closely and intimately concerned him, as
though the deceased B. had been his brother.  "Nothing!
Nothing, you may be sure.  And, do you know, Vanya, I had a
presentiment he'd end like that, at the time when you used to be
always singing his praises, do you remember?  It's easy to say
left nothing! Hm! . . . He's won fame.  Even supposing it's
lasting fame, it doesn't mean bread and butter.  I always had a
foreboding about you, too, Vanya, my boy.  Though I praised
you, I always had misgivings.  So B.'s dead?  Yes, and he well
might be!  It's a nice way we live here, and ... a nice place!
Look at it!"
  And with a rapid, unconscious movement of his hand he
pointed to the foggy vista of the street, lighted up by the street-
lamps dimly twinkling in the damp mist, to the dirty houses, to
the wet and shining flags of the pavement, to the cross, sullen,
drenched figures that passed by, to all this picture, hemmed in by
the dome of the Petersburg sky, black as though smudged with
Indian ink.  We had by now come out into the square; before us
in the darkness stood the monument, lighted up below by jets of
gas, and further away rose the huge dark mass of St. Isaac's,
hardly distinguishable against the gloomy sky.
  You used to say, Vanya, that he was a nice man, good and
generous, with feeling, with a heart.  Well, you see, they're all
like that, your nice people, your men with heart!  All they can
do is to beget orphans!  Hm! ... and I should think he must
have felt cheerful at dying like that!  E-e-ech!  Anything to get
away from here!  Even Siberia. . . . What is it, child?"
he asked suddenly, seeing a little girl on the pavement begging
alms.
  It was a pale, thin child, not more than seven or eight, dressed
in filthy rags; she had broken shoes on her little bare feet.  She
was trying to cover her shivering little body with a sort of aged
semblance of a tiny dress, long outgrown.  Her pale, sickly,
wasted face was turned towards us.  She looked timidly, mutely
at us without speaking, and with a look of resigned dread of
refusal held out her trembling little hand to us.  My old friend
started at seeing her, and turned to her so quickly that he
frightened her.  She was startled and stepped back.
  "What is it?  What is it, child?" he cried.  "You're begging,
eh?  Here, here's something for you ... take it!"
  And, shaking with fuss and excitement, he began feeling in his
pocket, and brought out two or three silver coins.  But it seemed
to him too little.  He found his purse, and taking out a rouble
note - all that was in it - put it in the little beggar's hand.
  " Christ keep you, my little one ... my child! God's angel be
with you!"
  And with a trembling hand he made the sign of the cross over
the child several times.  But suddenly noticing that I was looking
at him, he frowned, and walked on with rapid steps.
  "That's a thing I can't bear to see, Vanya," he began, after a
rather prolonged, wrathful silence.  "Little innocent creatures
shivering with cold in the street . . . all through their cursed
fathers and mothers.  Though what mother would send a child to
anything so awful if she were not in misery herself! . . . Most
likely she has other helpless little ones in the corner at home, and
this is the eldest of them; and the mother ill herself very likely;
and ... hm!  They're not prince's children!  There are lots in
the world, Vanya ... not prince's children!  Hm!"
  He paused for a moment, as though at a loss for words.
  "You see, Vanya, I promised Anna Andreyevna," he began,
faltering and hesitating a little, "I promised her ... that is Anna
Andreyevna and I agreed together to take some little orphan to
bring up ... some poor little girl, to have her in the house altogether,
do you understand?  For it's dull for us old people alone.  Only,
you see, Anna Andreyevna has begun to set herself against it
somehow.  So you talk to her, you know, not from me, but as
though it came from yourself ... persuade her, do you understand?
I've been meaning for a long time to ask you to persuade her to
agree; you see, it's rather awkward for me to press her.  But
why talk about trifles!  What's a child to me?  I don't want
one; perhaps just as a comfort ... so as to hear a child's voice ...
but the fact is I'm doing this for my wife's sake - it'll be livelier
for her than being alone with me.  But all that's nonsense.
Vanya, we shall be a long time getting there like this, you know;
let's take a cab.  It's a long walk, and Anna Andreyevna will have
been expecting us."
  It was half-past seven when we arrived.



                      CHAPTER XII

THE Ichmenyevs were very fond of each other.  They were
closely united by love and years of habit.  Yet Nikolay Sergeyitch
was not only now, but had, even in former days, in their happiest
times, always been rather reserved with his Anna Andreyevna,
sometimes even surly, especially before other people.  Some
delicate and sensitive natures show a peculiar perversity, a sort
of chaste dislike of expressing themselves, and expressing their
tenderness even to the being dearest to them, not only before
people but also in private - even more in private in fact; only at
rare intervals their affection breaks out, and it breaks out more
passionately and more impulsively the longer it has been
restrained.  This was rather how Ichmenyev had been with his
Anna Andreyevna from their youth upwards.  He loved and
respected her beyond measure in spite of the fact that she was
only a good-natured woman who was capable of nothing but
loving him, and that he was sometimes positively vexed with her
because in her simplicity she was often tactlessly open with him.
But after Natasha had gone away they somehow became tenderer
to one another; they were painfully conscious of being left all
alone in the world.  And though Nikolay Sergeyitch was some-
times extremely gloomy, they could not be apart for two hours
at a time without distress and uneasiness.  They had made a sort
of tacit compact not to say a word about Natasha, as though she
had passed out of existence.  Anna Andreyevna did not dare to
make any allusion to her in her husband's presence, though this
restraint was very hard for her.  She had long ago in her heart
forgiven Natasha.  It had somehow become an established
custom that every time I came I should bring her news of her
beloved and never-forgotten child.
  The mother was quite ill if she did not get news for some time,
and when I came with tidings she was interested in the smallest
details, and inquired with trembling curiosity.    My accounts
relieved her heart; she almost died of fright once when Natasha
had fallen ill, and was on the point of going to her herself.  But
this was an extreme case.  At first she was not able to bring
herself to express even to me a desire to see her daughter; and
almost always after our talk, when she had extracted everything
from me, she thought it needful to draw herself up before me and
to declare that though she was interested in her daughter's fate,
yet Natasha had behaved so wickedly that she could never be
forgiven.  But all this was put on.  There were times when Anna
Andreyevna grieved hopelessly, shed tears, called Natasha by the
fondest names before me, bitterly complained against Nikolay
Sergeyitch, and began in his presence to drop hints, though with
great circumspection, about some people's pride, about hard-
heartedness, about our not being able to forgive injuries, and
God's not forgiving the unforgiving; but she never went further
than this in his presence.  At such times her husband immediately
got cross and sullen and would sit silent and scowling, or begin
suddenly talking of something else very loudly and awkwardly,
or finally go off to his own room, leaving us alone, and so giving
Anna Andreyevna a chance to pour out her sorrows to me in tears
and lamentations.  He always went off to his own room like this
when I arrived, sometimes scarcely leaving time to greet me, so
as to give me a chance to tell Anna Andreyevna all the latest
news of Natasha.  He did the same thing now.
  "I'm wet through," he said, as soon as he walked into the
room.  "I'll go to my room.  And you, Vanya, stay here.  Such
a business he's been having with his lodgings.  You tell her, I'll
be back directly."
  And he hurried away, trying not even to look at us, as though
ashamed of having brought us together.  On such occasions, and
especially when he came back, he was always very curt and
gloomy, both with me and Anna Andreyevna, even fault-finding,
as though vexed and angry with himself for his own softness and
consideration.
  "You see how he is," said Anna Andreyevna, who had of late
laid aside all her stiffness with me, and all her mistrust of me;
"that's how he always is with me; and yet he knows we under-
stand all his tricks.  Why should he keep up a pretence with me?
Am I a stranger to him?  He's just the same about his daughter.
He might forgive her, you know, perhaps he even wants to forgive
her.  God knows!  He cries at night, I've heard him.  But he
keeps up outwardly.  He's eaten up with pride.  Ivan Petrovitch,
my dear, tell me quick, where was he going?"
  "Nikolay Sergeyitch?  I don't know.  I was going to ask
you."
  "I was dismayed when he went out.  He's ill, you know, and
in such weather, and so late!  I thought it must be for something
important; and what can be more important than what you
know of?  I thought this to myself, but I didn't dare to ask.
Why, I daren't question him about anything nowadays.  My
goodness!  I was simply terror-stricken on his account and on
hers.  What, thought I, if he has gone to her?  What if he's
made up his mind to forgive her?  Why, he's found out every-
thing, he knows the latest news of her; I feel certain he knows it;
but how the news gets to him I can't imagine.  He was terribly
depressed yesterday, and to-day too.  But why don't you say
something?  Tell me, my dear, what has happened?  I've been
longing for you like an angel of God.  I've been all eyes watching
for you.  Come, will the villain abandon Natasha?"
  I told Anna Andreyevna at once all I knew.  I was always
completely open with her.  I told her that things seemed drifting
to a rupture between Natasha and Alyosha, and that this was
more serious than their previous misunderstandings; that
Natasha had sent me a note the day before, begging me to come
this evening at nine o'clock, and so I had not intended to come
and see them that evening.  Nikolay Sergeyitch himself had
brought me.  I explained and told her minutely that the position
was now altogether critical, that Alyosha's father, who had been
back for a fortnight after an absence, would hear nothing and was
taking Alyosha sternly in hand; but, what was most important
of all, Alyosha seemed himself not disinclined to the proposed
match, and it was said he was positively in love with the young
lady.  I added that I could not help guessing that Natasha's note
was written in great agitation.  She wrote that to-night every-
thing would be decided, but what was to be decided I did not
know.  It was also strange that she had written yesterday but had
only asked me to come this evening, and had fixed the hour-nine
o'clock.  And so I was bound to go, and as quickly as possible.
  "Go, my dear boy, go by all means!" Anna Andreyevna
urged me anxiously.  "Have just a cup of tea as soon as he comes
back.... Ach, they haven't brought the samovar! Matryona
Why are you so long with samovar? She's a saucy baggage! ...
Then when you've drunk your tea, find some good excuse and get
away.  But be sure to come to-morrow and tell me everything.
And run round early!  Good heavens!  Something dreadful may
have happened already!  Though how could things be worse than
they are, when you come to think of it!  Why, Nikolay Serge-
yitch knows everything, my heart tells me he does.  I hear a great
deal through Matryona, and she through Agasha, and Agasha is
the god-daughter of Marya Vassilyevna, who lives in the prince's
house ... but there, you know all that.  My Nikolay was terribly
angry to-day.  I tried to say one thing and another and he almost
shouted at me.  And then he seemed sorry, said he was short of
money.  Just as though he'd been making an outcry about money.
You know our circumstances.  After dinner he went to have a
nap.  I peeped at him through the chink (there's a chink in the
door he doesn't know of).  And he, poor dear, was on his knees,
praying before the shrine.  I felt my legs give way under me when
I saw it.  He didn't sleep, and he had no tea; he took up his hat
and went out.  He went out at five o'clock.  I didn't dare
question him: he'd have shouted at me.  He's taken to shouting
- generally at Matryona, but sometimes at me.  And when he
starts it makes my legs go numb, and there's a sinking at my
heart.  Of course it's foolishness, I know it's his foolishness, but
still it frightens me.  I prayed for a whole hour after he went out
that God would send him some good thought.  Where is her note?
Show it me!"
  I showed it.  I knew that Anna Andreyevna cherished a secret
dream that Alyosha, whom she called at one time a villain and at
another a stupid heartless boy, would in the end marry Natasha,
and that the prince, his father, would consent to it.  She even
let this out to me, though at other times she regretted it, and went
back on her words.  But nothing would have made her venture
to betray her hopes before Nikolay Sergeyitch, though she knew
her husband suspected them, and even indirectly reproached her
for them more than once.  I believe that he would have cursed
Natasha and shut her out of his heart for ever if he had known of
the possibility of such a marriage.
  We all thought so at the time.  He longed for his daughter
with every fibre of his being, but he longed for her alone with
every memory of Alyosha cast out of her heart.  It was the one
condition of forgiveness, and though it was not uttered in words
it could be understood, and could not be doubted when one
looked at him.
  "He's a silly boy with no backbone, no backbone, and he's
cruel, I always said so," Anna Andreyevna began again.  "And
they didn't know how to bring him up, so he's turned out a
regular weather-cock; he's abandoning her after all her love.
What will become of her, poor child?  And what can he have
found in this new girl, I should like to know."
  "I have heard, Anna Andreyevna," I replied, "that his pro-
posed fiancee is a delightful girl.  Yes, and Natalya Nikolaevna
says the same thing about her."
  "Don't you believe it!" the mother interrupted.  "Delight-
ful, indeed!  You scribblers think every one's delightful if only
she wears petticoats.  As for Natasha's speaking well of her, she
does that in the generosity of her heart.  She doesn't know how
to control him; she forgives him everything, but she suffers
herself.  How often he has deceived her already.  The cruel-
hearted villains!  I'm simply terrified, Ivan Petrovitch!  They're
all demented with pride.  If my good man would only humble
himself, if he would forgive my poor darling and fetch her home!
If only I could hug her, if I could look at her!  Has she got
thinner?"
  "She has got thin, Anna Andreyevna."
  "My darling!  I'm in terrible trouble, Ivan Petrovitch!
All last night and all to-day I've been crying ... but there! ...
I'll tell you about it afterwards.  How many times I began
hinting to him to forgive her; I daren't say it right out, so I
begin to hint at it, in a tactful way.  And my heart's in a flutter
all the time: I keep expecting him to get angry and curse her
once for all.  I haven't heard a curse from him yet ... well, that's
what I'm afraid of, that he'll put his curse upon her.  And what
will happen then?  God's punishment falls on the child the
father has cursed.  So I'm trembling with terror every day.
And you ought to be ashamed, too, Ivan Petrovitch, to think
you've grown up in our family, and been treated like a son by
both of us, and yet you can speak of her being delightful too.
But their Marya Vassilyevna knows better.  I may have done
wrong, but I asked her in to coffee one day when my good man
had gone out for the whole morning.  She told me all the ins and
outs of it.  The prince, Alyosha's father, is in shocking relations
with this countess.  They say the countess keeps reproaching
him with not marrying her, but he keeps putting it off.  This fine
countess was talked about for her shameless behaviour while her
husband was living.  When her husband died she went abroad:
she used to have all sorts of Italians and Frenchmen about her,
and barons of some sort - it was there she caught Prince Pyotr
Alexandrovitch.  And meantime her stepdaughter, the child of
her first husband, the spirit contractor, has been growing up.
This countess, the stepmother, has spent all she had, but the
stepdaughter has been growing up, and the two millions her father
had left invested for her have been growing too.  Now, they say,
she has three millions.  The prince has got wind of it, so he's keen
on the match for Alyosha. (He's a sharp fellow!  He won't let a
chance slip!) The count, their relative, who's a great gentleman
at court you remember, has given his approval too: a fortune of
three millions is worth considering.  'Excellent', he said, 'talk
it over with the countess.'  So the prince told the countess of his
wishes.  She opposed it tooth and nail.  She's an unprincipled
woman, a regular termagant, they say!  They say some people
won't receive her here; it's very different from abroad.  'No,'
she says, 'you marry me, prince, instead of my stepdaughter's
marrying Alyosha.' And the girl, they say, gives way to her
stepmother in everything; she almost worships her and always
obeys her.  She's a gentle creature, they say, a perfect angel!
The prince sees how it is and tells the countess not to worry
herself.  'You've spent all your money,' says he, 'and your debts
you can never pay.  But as soon as your stepdaughter marries
Alyosha there'll be a pair of them; your innocent and my little
fool.  We'll take them under our wing and be their guardians
together.  Then you'll have plenty of money, What's the good
of you're marrying me?'  He's a sharp fellow, a regular mason!
Six months ago the countess wouldn't make up her mind to it,
but since then they say they've been staying at Warsaw, and there
they've come to an agreement.  That's what I've heard.  All this
Marya Vassilyevna told me from beginning to end.  She heard it
all on good authority.  So you see it's all a question of money and
millions, and not her being delightful!"
  Anna Andreyevna's story impressed me.  It fitted in exactly
with all I had heard myself from Alyosha.  When he talked of it
he had stoutly declared that he would never marry for money.
But he had been struck and attracted by Katerina Fyodorovna.
I had heard from Alyosha, too, that his father was contemplating
marriage, though he denied all rumour of it to avoid irritating
the countess prematurely.  I have mentioned already that
Alyosha was very fond of his father, admired him and praised him;
and believed in him as though he were an oracle.
  "She's not of a count's family, you know, the girl you call
delightful!" Anna Andreyevna went on, deeply resenting my
praise of the young prince's future fiancee.  "Why, Natasha
would be a better match for him. She's a spirit-dealer's daughter,
while Natasha is a well-born girl of a good old family.  Yesterday
(I forgot to tell you) my old man opened his box-you know, the
wrought-iron one; he sat opposite me the whole evening, sorting
out our old family papers.  And he sat so solemnly over it.  I was
knitting a stocking, and I didn't look at him; I was afraid to.
When he saw I didn't say a word he got cross, and called me
himself, and he spent the whole evening telling me about our
pedigree.  And do you know, it seems that the Ichmenyevs were
noblemen in the days of Ivan the Terrible, and that my family,
the Shumilovs, were well-known even in the days of Tsar Alexey
Mihalovitch; we've the documents to prove it, and it's men-
tioned in Karamzin's history too, so you see, my dear boy, we're
as good as other people on that side.  As soon as my old man began
talking to me I saw what was in his mind.  It was clear he felt
bitterly Natasha's being slighted.  It's only through their wealth
they're set above us.  That robber, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, may
well make a fuss about money; everyone knows he's a cold-
hearted, greedy soul.  They say he joined the Jesuits in secret
when he was in Warsaw.  Is it true?"
  "It's a stupid rumour," I answered, though I could not help being
struck by the persistence of this rumour.
  But what she had told me of her husband's going over his family
records was interesting.  He had never boasted of his pedigree before.
  "It's all the cruel-hearted villains!" Anna Andreyevna went
on. "Well, tell me about my darling.  Is she grieving and
crying?  Ach, it's time you went to her! (Matryona!  She's a
saucy baggage.) Have they insulted her?  Tell me, Vanya?"
  What could I answer her?  The poor lady was in tears.  I
asked her what was the fresh trouble of which she had been about
to tell me just now.
  "Ach, my dear boy!  As though we hadn't trouble enough!
It seems our cup was not full enough!  You remember, my dear,
or perhaps you don't remember, I had a little locket set in gold -
a keepsake, and in it a portrait of Natasha as a child.  She was
eight years old then, my little angel.  We ordered it from a
travelling artist at the time.  But I see you've forgotten!  He
was a good artist.  He painted her as a cupid.  She'd such fair
hair in those days, all fluffy.  He painted her in a little muslin
smock, so that her little body shows through, and she looked so
pretty in it you couldn't take your eves off her.  I begged the
artist to put little wings on her, but he wouldn't agree.  Well
after all our dreadful troubles, I took it out of its case and hung
it on a string round my neck; so I've been wearing it beside my
cross, though I was afraid he might see it.  You know he told me
at the time to get rid of all her things out of the house, or burn
them, so that nothing might remind us of her.  But I must have
her portrait to look at, anyway; sometimes I cry, looking at
it, and it does me good.  And another time when I'm alone I
keep kissing it as though I were kissing her, herself.  I call her
fond names, and make the sign of the cross over it every night.
I talk aloud to her when I'm alone, ask her a question and fancy
she has answered, and ask her another.  Och, Vanya, dear, it
makes me sad to talk about it!  Well, so I was glad he knew
 nothing of the locket and hadn't noticed it.  But yesterday
morning the locket was gone.  The string hung loose.  It must
have worn through and I'd dropped it.  I was aghast.  I hunted
and hunted high and low-it wasn't to be found.  Not a sign of it
anywhere, it was lost!  And where could it have dropped?  I
made sure I must have lost it in bed, and rummaged through
everything.  Nowhere!  If it had come off and dropped, some
one might have picked it up, and who could have found it except
him or Matryona?  One can't think of it's being Matryona, she's
devoted to me heart and soul (Matryona, are you going to bring
that samovar?).  I keep thinking what will happen if he's found it!
I sit so sad and keep crying and crying and can't keep back my
tears.  And Nikolay Sergeyitch is kinder and kinder to me as
though he knows what I am grieving about, and is sorry for me.
'Well I've been wondering, how could he tell?  Hasn't he perhaps
really found the locket and thrown it out of the window?  In
anger he's capable of it, you know.  He's thrown it out and now
he's sad about it himself and sorry he threw it out.  I've been
already with Matryona to look under the window - I found
nothing.  Every trace has vanished.  I've been crying all night.
It's the first night I haven't made the sign of the cross over her.
Och, it's a bad sign, Ivan Petrovitch, it's a bad sign, it's an
omen of evil; for two days I've been crying without stopping.
I've been expecting you, my dear, as an angel of God, if only to
relieve my heart . . ." and the poor lady wept bitterly.
  "Oh yes, I forgot to tell you," she began suddenly, pleased at
remembering.  "Have you heard anything from him about an
orphan girl?"
  "Yes, Anna Andreyevna.  He told me you had both thought of
it, and agreed to take a poor girl, an orphan, to bring up.  Is
that true?"
  "I've never thought of it, my dear boy, I've never thought of
it; I don't want any orphan girl.  She'll remind me of our bitter
lot, our misfortune!  I want no one but Natasha.  She was my
only child, and she shall remain the only one.  But what does it
mean that he should have thought of an orphan?  What do you
think, Ivan Petrovitch?  Is it to comfort me, do you suppose,
looking at my tears, or to drive his own daughter out of his mind
altogether, and attach himself to another child?  What did he
say about me as you came along?  How did he seem to you -
morose, angry?  Tss!  Here he is!  Afterwards, my dear, tell
me afterwards.... Don't forget to come to-morrow."


                     CHAPTER XIII

THE old man came in.  He looked at us with curiosity and as
though ashamed of something, frowned and went up to the table.
  "Where's the samovar?" he asked.  "Do you mean to say
she couldn't bring it till now?"
  "It's coming, my dear, it's coming. Here, she's brought it!"
said Anna Andreyevna fussily.
  Matryona appeared with the samovar as soon as she saw
Nikolay Serge, as though she had been waiting to bring it
till he came in.  She was an old, tried and devoted servant, but
the most self-willed and grumbling creature in the world, with an
obstinate and stubborn character.  She was afraid of Nikolay
Sergeyitch and always curbed her tongue in his presence.  But she
made-up for it with Anna Andreyevna, was rude to her at every
turn, and openly attempted to govern her mistress , though at the
same time she had a warm and genuine affection for her and for
Natasha.  I had known Matryona in the old days at Ichmenyevka.
  "Hm! ... It's not pleasant when one's wet through and they
won't even get one tea," the old man muttered.
  Anna Andreyevna at once made a sign to me.  He could not
endure these mysterious signals; and though at the minute he
tried not to look at us, one could see from his face that Anna
Andreyevna had just signalled to me about him, and that he was
fully aware of it.
  "I have been to see about my case, Vanya," he began suddenly.
"It's a wretched business.  Did I tell you?  It's going
against me altogether.  It appears I've no proofs; none of the
papers I ought to have.  My facts cannot be authenticated it
seems.  Hm!..."
  He was speaking of his lawsuit with the prince, which was still
dragging on, but had taken a very bad turn for Nikolay Serge-
vitch.  I was silent, not knowing what to answer.  He looked
suspiciously at me.
  "Well!" he brought out suddenly, as though irritated by our
silence, "the quicker the better!  They won't make a scoundrel of
me, even if they do decide I must pay.  I have my conscience, so
let them decide.  Anyway, the case will be over; it will be settled.
I shall be ruined ... I'll give up everything and go to Siberia."
  "Good heavens!  What a place to go to!  And why so far?"
Anna Andreyevna could not resist saying.
  "And here what are we near?" he asked gruffly, as though
glad of the objection.
  "Why, near people . . . anyway," began Anna Andreyevna,
and she glanced at me in distress.
  "What sort of people?" he cried, turning his feverish eyes
from me to her and back again.  "What people?  Robbers,
slanderers, traitors?  There are plenty such everywhere; don't
be uneasy, we shall find them in Siberia too.  If you don't want
to come with me you can stay here.  I won't take you against
your will."
    "Nikolay Sergeyitch, my dear!  With whom should I stay
without you?  Why, I've no one but you in the whole ..."
  She faltered, broke off, and turned to me with a look of alarm,
as though begging for help and support.  The old man was
irritated and was ready to take offence at anything; it was
impossible to contradict him.
  "Come now, Anna Andreyevna," said I. "It's not half as bad
in Siberia as you think.  If the worst comes to the worst and you
have to sell Ichmenyevka, Nikolay Sergeyitch's plan is very good
in fact.  In Siberia you might get a good private job, and then..."
  "Well, you're talking sense, Ivan, anyway.  That's just what
I thought.  I'll give up everything and go away."
  "Well, that I never did expect," cried Anna Andreyevna,
flinging up her hands.  "And you too, Vanya!  I didn't expect
it of you! ... Why, you've never known anything but kindness
from us and now ..."
  "Ha, ha, ha!  What else did you expect?  Why, what are we
to live upon, consider that!  Our money spent, we've come to our
last farthing.  Perhaps you'd like me to go to Prince Pyotr
Alexandrovitch and beg his pardon, eh?"
  Hearing the prince's name, Anna Andreyevna trembled with
alarm.  The teaspoon in her hand tinkled against the saucer.
  "Yes, speaking seriously," the old man went on, working
himself up with malicious, obstinate pleasure, "what do you
think, Vanya?  Shouldn't I really go to him?  Why go to
Siberia?  I'd much better comb my hair, put on my best clothes,
and brush myself to-morrow; Anna Andreyevna will get me a
new shirt-front (one can't go to see a person like that without!),
buy me gloves, to be the correct thing; and then I'll go to his
excellency: 'Your excellency, little father, benefactor!  Forgive
me and have pity on me!  Give me a crust of bread!  I've a wife
and little children! . . .'Is that right, Anna Andreyevna?  Is
that what you want?"
  "My dear; I want nothing! I spoke without thinking.
Forgive me if I vexed you, only don't shout," she brought out,
trembling more and more violently in her terror.
  I am convinced that everything was topsy-turvy and aching in
his heart at that moment, as he looked at his poor wife's tears and
alarm.  I am sure that he was suffering far more than she was,
but he could not control himself.  So it is sometimes with the
most good-natured people of weak nerves, who in spite of their
kindliness are carried away till they find enjoyment in their own
grief and anger, and try to express themselves at any cost, even
that of wounding some other innocent creature, always by
preference the one nearest and dearest.  A woman sometimes has
a craving to feel unhappy and aggrieved, though she has no mis-
fortune or grievance.  There are many men like women in this
respect, and men, indeed, by no means feeble, and who have very
little that is feminine about them.  The old man had a compelling
impulse to quarrel, though he was made miserable by it himself.
   I remember that the thought dawned on me at the time:
hadn't he perhaps really before this gone out on some project such
as Anna Andreyevna suspected?  What if God had softened his
heart, and he had really been going to Natasha, and had changed
his mind on the way, or something had gone wrong and made him
give up his intentions, as was sure to happen; and so he had
returned home angry and humiliated, ashamed of his recent
feelings and wishes, looking out for someone on whom to vent his
anger for his weakness, and pitching on the very ones whom he
suspected of sharing the same feeling and wishes.  Perhaps when
he wanted to forgive his daughter, he pictured the joy and rapture
of his poor Anna Andreyevna, and when it came to nothing she
was of course the first to suffer for it.
  But her look of hopelessness, as she trembled with fear before
him, touched him.  He seemed ashamed of his wrath, and for a
minute controlled himself.  We were all silent.  I was trying not
to look at him.  But the good moment did not last long.  At all
costs he must express himself by some outburst, or a curse if
need be.
  "You see, Vanya," he said suddenly, "I'm sorry.  I didn't
want to speak, but the time has come when I must speak out
openly without evasion, as every straightforward man ought ...
do you understand, Vanya?  I'm glad you have come, and so I
want to say aloud in your presence so that others may hear that
I am sick of all this nonsense, all these tears, and sighs, an
misery.  What I have torn out of my heart, which bleeds and
aches perhaps, will never be back in my heart again.  Yes!  I've
said so and I'll act on it.  I'm speaking of what happened six
months ago - you understand, Vanya?  And I speak of this so
openly, so directly, that you may make no mistake about my
words," he added, looking at me with blazing eyes and obviously
avoiding his wife's frightened glances.  "I repeat: this is non-
sense; I won't have it!... It simply maddens me that everyone
looks upon me as capable of having such a low, weak feeling, as
though I were a fool, as though I were the most abject scoundrel ...
they imagine I am going mad with grief... Nonsense!  I have
castaway, I have forgotten my old feelings!  I have no memory
of it!  No! no! no! and no!..."
  He jumped up from his chair, and struck the table so that
the cups tinkled.
  "Nicholay Sergeyitch!  Have you no feeling for Anna Andrey-
evna!  Look what you are doing to her!" I said, unable to
restrain myself and looking at him almost with indignation.
But it was only pouring oil on the flames.
  "No, I haven't!" he shouted, trembling and turning white.
"I haven't, for no one feels for me!  For in my own house
they're all plotting against me in my dishonour and on the side
of my depraved daughter, who deserves my curse, and an
punishment! . . ."
  "Nikolay Sergeyitch, don't curse her! ... Anything you like
only don't curse our daughter!" screamed Anna Andreyevna.
  "I will curse her!" shouted the old man, twice as loud as
before; "because, insulted and dishonoured as I am, I am
expected to go to the accursed girl and ask her forgiveness.
Yes, yes, that's it!  I'm tormented in this way in my own house
day and night, day and night, with tears and sighs and stupid
hints!  They try to soften me.... Look, Vanya, look," he added,
with trembling hands hastily taking papers out of his side-
pocket, "here are the notes of our case.  It's made out that I'm
a thief, that I'm a cheat, that I have robbed my benefactor!...
I am discredited, disgraced, because of her!  There, there, look,
look! . . ."
  And he began polling out of the side-pocket of his coat various
papers, and throwing them on the table one after another, hunting
impatiently amongst them for the one he wanted to show me;
but, as luck would have it, the one he sought was not forthcoming.
Impatiently he pulled out of his pocket all he had clutched in his
hand, and suddenly something fell heavily on the table with a
clink.  Anna Andreyevna uttered a shriek. It was the lost
locket.
  I could scarcely believe my eyes.  The blood rushed to the old
man's head and flooded his cheeks; he started.  Anna Andreyevna
stood with clasped hands looking at him imploringly.  Her face
beamed with joyful hope.  The old man's flush, his shame before
us.... Yes, she was not mistaken, she knew now how her locket
had been lost!
  She saw that he had picked it up, had been delighted at his find,
and, perhaps, quivering with joy, had jealously hidden it from
all eyes; that in solitude, unseen by all, he had gazed at the face
of his adored child with infinite love, had gazed and could not
gaze enough; that perhaps like the poor mother he had shut
himself away from everyone to talk to his precious Natasha,
imagining her replies and answering them himself; and at night
with agonizing grief, with suppressed sobs, he had caressed and
kissed the dear image, and instead of curses invoked forgiveness
and blessings on her whom he would not see and cursed before
others.
  "My dear, so you love her still!" cried Anna Andreyevna,
unable to restrain herself further in the presence of the stern father
who had just cursed her Natasha.
  But no sooner had he heard her exclamation than an insane
fury flashed in his eyes.  He snatched up the locket, threw it
violently on the ground, and began furiously stamping on it.
  "I curse you, I curse you, for ever and ever!" he shouted
hoarsely, gasping for breath.  "For ever!  For ever!"
  "Good God!" cried the mother.  "Her!  My Natasha!  Her
little face! . . . trampling on it!  Trampling on it!  Tyrant
cruel, unfeeling, proud man!"
  Hearing his wife's wail the frantic old man stopped short,
horrified at what he was doing.  All at once he snatched up the
locket from the floor and rushed towards the door, but he had not
taken two steps when he fell on his knees, and dropping his arms
on the sofa before him let his head fall helplessly.
  He sobbed like a child, like a woman.  Sobs wrung his breast
as though they would rend it.  The threatening old man became
all in a minute weaker than a child.  Oh, now he could not have
cursed her; now he felt no shame before either of us, and in a
sudden rush of love covered with kisses the portrait he had just
been trampling underfoot.  It seemed as though all his tenderness,
all his love for his daughter so long restrained, burst out now with
irresistible force and shattered his whole being.
  "Forgive, forgive her!" Anna Andreyevna exclaimed, sobbing,
bending over him and embracing him, "Bring her back to her
home, my dear, and at the dread day of judgement God will
reward you for your mercy and humility! ..."
  "No, no!  Not for anything!  Never!" he exclaimed in a
husky choking voice, "never! never!"

                        CHAPTER XIV
 
IT was late, ten o'clock, when I got to Natasha's.  She was
living at that time in Fontanka, near the Semyonov bridge, on
the fourth floor, in the dirty block of buildings belonging to the
merchant Kolotushkin.  When first she left home she had lived
for a time with Alyosha in a very nice flat, small, but pretty and
convenient, on the third storey of a house in Liteyny.  But the
young prince's resources were soon exhausted.  He did not
become a music teacher, but borrowed money and was soon very
heavily in debt.  He spent his money on decorating the flat and
on making presents to Natasha, who tried to check his extrava-
gance, scolded him, and sometimes even cried about it.  Alyosha,
with his emotional and impressionable nature, revelled sometimes
for a whole week in dreams of how he would make her a present
and how she would receive it, making of this a real treat for
himself, and rapturously telling me beforehand of his dreams and
anticipations.  Then he was so downcast at her tears and reproofs
that one felt sorry for him, and as time went on these presents
became the occasion of reproaches, bitterness, and quarrels.
Moreover, Alyosha spent a great deal of money without telling
Natasha, was led away by his companions and was unfaithful to
her.  He visited all sorts of Josephines and Minnas; though at
the same time he loved her dearly.  His love for her was a
torment to him.  He often came to see me depressed and
melancholy, declaring that he was not worth Natasha's little
finger, that he was coarse and wicked, incapable of understanding
her and unworthy of her love.  He was to some extent right.
There was no sort of equality between them; he felt like a child
compared with her, and she always looked upon him as a child.
He repented with tears of his relations with Josephine, while he
besought me not to speak of them to Natasha.  And when, timid
and trembling after these open confessions, he went back to her
with me (insisting on my coming, declaring that he was afraid to
look at her after what he had done, and that I was the one person
who could help him through), Natasha knew from the first glance
at him what was the matter.  She was terribly jealous, and I
don't know how it was she always forgave him all his lapses.  This
was how it usually happened: Alyosha would go in with me,
timidly address her, and look with timid tenderness into her eyes.
She guessed at once that he had been doing wrong, but showed
no sign of it, was never the first to begin on the subject, on the
contrary, always redoubled her caresses and became tenderer and
more lively - and this was not acting or premeditated strategy on
her part.  No; for her fine nature there was a sort of infinite bliss
in forgiving and being merciful; as though in the very process
of forgiving Alyosha she found a peculiar, subtle charm.  It is
true that so far it was only the question of Josephines.  Seeing
her kind and forgiving, Alyosha could not restrain himself and at
once confessed the whole story without being asked any questions
- to relieve his heart and "to be the same as before," as she said.
When he had received her forgiveness he grew ecstatic at once,
sometimes even cried with joy and emotion kissed and embraced
her.  Then at once his spirits rose, and he would begin with
childlike openness giving her a full account of his adventures
with Josephine; he smiled and laughed, blessed Natasha, and
praised her to the skies, and the evening ended happily and
merrily.  When all his money was spent he began selling things.
As Natasha insisted upon it, a cheap little flat in Fontanka was
found for her.  Their things went on being sold; Natasha now
even sold her clothes and began looking for work.  When Alyosha
heard of it his despair knew no bounds, he cursed himself, cried
out that he despised himself, but meantime did nothing to
improve the position.  By now this last resource was exhausted;
nothing was left for Natasha but work, and that was very poorly
paid!
  At first when they lived together, there had been a violent
quarrel between Alyosha and his father.  Prince Valkovsky's
designs at the time to marry his son to Katerina Fyodorovna
Filimonov, the countess's stepdaughter, were so far only a project.
But the project was a cherished one.  He took Alyosha to see the
young lady, coaxed him to try and please her, and attempted to
persuade him by arguments and severity.  But the plan fell
through owing to the countess.  Then Alyosha's father began to
shut his eyes to his son's affair with Natasha, leaving it to time.
Knowing Alyosha's fickleness and frivolity he hoped that the
love affair would soon be over.  As for the possibility of his
marrying Natasha, the prince had till lately ceased to trouble his
mind about it.  As for the lovers they put off the question till a
formal reconciliation with his father was possible, or vaguely till
some change of circumstances.  And Natasha was evidently
unwilling to discuss the subject.  Alyosha told me in secret that
his father was in a way rather pleased at the whole business.  He
was pleased at the humiliation of Ichmenyev.  For form's sake,
he kept up a show of displeasure with his son, decreased his by
no means liberal allowance (he was exceedingly stingy with him),
and threatened to stop even that.  But he soon went away to
Poland in pursuit of the countess, who had business there.  He
was still as actively set on his project of the match.  For though
Alyosha was, it is true, rather young to be married, the girl was
very wealthy, and it was too good a chance to let slip.  The prince
at last attained his object.  The rumour reached us that the
match was at last agreed upon.  At the time I am describing, the
prince had only just returned to Petersburg.  He met his son
affectionately, but the persistence of Alyosha's connexion with
Natasha was an unpleasant surprise to him.  He began to have
doubts, to feel nervous.  He sternly and emphatically insisted on
his son's breaking it off, but soon hit upon a much more effectual
mode of attack, and carried off Alyosha to the countess.  Her step-
daughter, though she was scarcely more than a child, was almost
a beauty, gay, clever, and sweet, with a heart of rare goodness
and a candid, uncorrupted soul.  The prince calculated that the
lapse of six months must have had some effect, that Natasha
could no longer have the charm of novelty, and that his son would
not now look at his proposed fiancee with the same eyes as he had
six months before.  He was only partly right in his reckoning ...
Alyosha certainly was attracted.  I must add that the father
became all at once extraordinarily affectionate to him (though he
still refused to give him money).  Alyosha felt that his father's
greater warmth covered an unchanged, inflexible determination,
and he was unhappy-but not so unhappy as he would have been
if he had not seen Katerina Fyodorovna every day.  I knew that
he had not shown himself to Natasha for five days.  On my way
to her from the Ichmenyevs I guessed uneasily what she wanted
to discuss with me.  I could see a light in her window a long way
off.  It had long been arranged between us that she should put
a candle in the window if she were in great and urgent need of me,
so that if I happened to pass by (and this did happen nearly
every evening) I might guess from the light in the window that
I was expected and she needed me.  Of late she had often put
the candle in the window. . .



                     CHAPTER XV

I FOUND Natasha alone.  She was slowly walking up and down
the room, with her hands clasped on her bosom, lost in thought.
A samovar stood on the table almost burnt out.  It had been got
ready for me long before.  With a smile she held out her hand to
me without speaking.  Her face was pale and had an expression
of suffering.  There was a look of martyrdom, tenderness, patience,
in her smile.  Her clear blue eyes seemed to have grown bigger,
her hair looked thicker from the wanness and thinness of her face.
  "I began to think you weren't coming," she said, giving me
her hand.  "I was meaning to send Mavra to inquire; I was
afraid you might be ill again."
  "No, I'm not ill. I was detained.  I'll tell you directly.  But
what's the matter, Natasha, what's happened?"
  "Nothing's happened," she answered, surprised.  "Why?"
  "Why, you wrote . . . you wrote yesterday for me to come,
and fixed the hour that I might not come before or after; and
that's not what you usually do."
  "Oh, yes!  I was expecting him yesterday."
  "Why, hasn't be been here yet?"
  "No. I thought if he didn't come I must talk things over
with you," she added, after a pause
  "And this evening, did you expect him?"
  "No, this evening he's there."
  "What do you think, Natasha, won't he come back at all?"
  "Of course he'll come," she answered, looking at me with
peculiar earnestness.  She did not like the abruptness of my
question.  We lapsed into silence, walking up and down the room.
  "I've been expecting you all this time, Vanya", she began
again with a smile.  "And do you know what I was doing?
I've been walking up and down, reciting poetry.  Do you remember
the bells, the winter road, 'My samovar boils on the table of
oak' . . . ? We read it together:
     "The snowstorm is spent; there's a glimmer of light
       From the millions of dim watching eyes of the night.
  "And then:
      "There's the ring of a passionate voice in my ears
       In the song of the bell taking part;
       Oh, when will my loved one return from afar
       To rest on my suppliant heart?
       My life is no life!  Rosy beams of the dawn
       Are at play on the pane's icy screen;
       My samovar boils on my table of oak,
       With the bright crackling fire the dark corner awoke,
       And my bed with chintz curtains is seen.
  "How fine that is.  How tormenting those verses are, Vanya.
And what a vivid, fantastic picture!  It's just a canvas with a
mere pattern chalked on it.  You can embroider what you like!
Two sensations: the earliest, and the latest.  That samovar,
that chintz curtain - how homelike it all is.  It's like some little
cottage in our little town at home; I feel as though I could see
that cottage: a new one made of logs not yet weather-boarded ...
And then another picture:
    "Of a sudden I hear the same voice ringing out
     With the bell; its sad accents I trace;
     Oh, where's my old friend? And I fear he'll come in
     With eager caress and embrace.
     What a life, I endure!  But my tears are in vain.
     Oh, how dreary my room!  Through the chinks the wind blows
     And outside the house but one cherry-tree grows,
     Perhaps that has perished by now though - who knows?
     It's hid by the frost on the pane.
     The flowers on the curtain have lost their gay tone,
     And I wander sick; all my kinsfolk I shun,
     There's no one to scold me or love me, not one,
     The old woman grumbles alone....
     'I wander sick.'  That sick is so well put in.  'There's no
one to scold me.'  That tenderness, what softness in that line;
and what agonies of memory, agonies one has caused oneself,
and one broods over them.  Heavens, how fine it is!  How true
it is! ..."
   She ceased speaking, as though struggling with a rising spasm
in her throat.
   "Dear Vanya!" she said a minute later, and she paused
again, as though she had forgotten what she meant to say, or
had spoken without thinking, from a sudden feeling.
   Meanwhile we still walked up and down the room.  A lamp
burned before the ikon.  Of late Natasha had become more and
more devout, and did not like one to speak of it to her.
   "Is to-morrow a holiday?" I asked.  "Your lamp is lighted."
   "No, it's not a holiday ... but, Vanya, sit down.  You must
be tired.  Will you have tea?  I suppose you've not had it yet?"
   "Let's sit down, Natasha.  I've had tea already."
   "Where have you come from?"
   "From them."
   That's how we always referred to her old home.
   "From them?  How did you get time?  Did you go of your
own accord?  Or did they ask you?"
   She besieged me with questions.  Her face grew still paler with
emotion.  I told her in detail of my meeting with her father, my
conversation with her mother, and the scene with the locket.
I told her in detail, describing every shade of feeling.  I never
concealed anything from her, She listened eagerly, catching
every word I uttered, the tears glittered in her eyes.  The scene
with the locket affected her deeply.
  "Stay, stay, Vanya," she said, often interrupting my story.
"Tell me more exactly everything, everything as exactly as
possible; you don't tell me exactly enough ......"
  I repeated it again and again, replying every moment to her
continual questions about the details.
  "And you really think he was coming to see me?"
  "I don't know, Natasha, and in fact I can't make up my mind;
that he grieves for you and loves you is clear; but that he was
coming to you is ... is . . ."
  "And he kissed the locket?" she interrupted.  "What did he
say when he kissed it?"
  "It was incoherent.  Nothing but exclamations; he called
you by the tenderest names; he called for you."
  "Called for me?"
  "Yes."
  She wept quietly.
  "Poor things!" she said.  "And if he knows everything," she
added after a brief silence, "it's no wonder.. He hears a great
deal about Alyosha's father, too."
  "Natasha," I said timidly, "let us go to them."
  "When?" she asked, turning pale and almost getting up from
her chair.
  She thought I was urging her to go at once.
  "No, Vanya," she added, putting her two hands on my
shoulders, and smiling sadly; "no, dear, that's what you're
always saying, but ... we'd better not talk about it."
  "Will this horrible estrangement never be ended?" I cried
mournfully.  "Can you be so proud that you won't take the first
step?  It's for you to do it; you must make the first advance.
Perhaps your father's only waiting for that to forgive you....
He's your father; he has been injured by you! Respect his
pride - it's justifiable, it's natural!  You ought to do it.  Only try,
and he will forgive you unconditionally."
  "Unconditionally!  That's impossible.  And don't reproach
me, Vanya, for nothing.  I'm thinking of it day and night, and I
think of it now.  There's not been a day perhaps since I left them
that I haven't thought of it.  And how often we have talked about
it! You know yourself it's impossible."
  "Try!"
  "No, my dear, it's impossible.  If I were to try I should only
make him more bitter against me.  There's no bringing back
what's beyond recall.  And you know what it is one can never
bring back?  One can never bring back those happy, childish days
I spent with them.  If my father forgave me he would hardly
know me now.  He loved me as a little girl; a grown-up child.
He admired my childish simplicity.  He used to pat me on the
head just as when I was a child of seven and used to sit upon his
knee and sing him my little childish songs.  From my earliest
childhood up to the last day he used to come to my bed and bless
me for the night.  A month before our troubles he bought me
some ear-rings as a secret (but I knew all about it), and was as
pleased as a child, imagining how delighted I should be with the
present, and was awfully angry with everyone, and with me
especially, when he found out that I had known all about him
buying the ear-rings for a long time.  Three days before I went
away he noticed that I was depressed, and he became so depressed
himself that it made him ill, and - would you believe it - to
divert my mind he proposed taking tickets for the theatre! ...
Yes, indeed, he thought that would set me right.  I tell you he
knew and loved me as a little girl, and refused even to think that
I should one day be a woman... It's never entered his head.  If I
were to go home now he would not know me.  Even if he did
forgive me he'd meet quite a different person now.  I'm not the
same; I'm not a child now.  I have gone through a great deal
Even if he were satisfied with me he still would sigh for his past
happiness, and grieve that I am not the same as I used to be when
he loved me as a child.  The past always seems best!  It's
remembered with anguish! Oh, how good the past was, Vanya!"
she cried, carried away by her own words, and interrupting
herself with this exclamation which broke painfully from her
heart.
  "That's all true that you say, Natasha," I said.  "So he will
have to learn to know and love you afresh.  To know you
especially.  He will love you, of course.  Surely you can't think
that he's incapable of knowing and understanding you, he, with
his heart?"
  "Oh, Vanya, don't be unfair! What is there to understand in
me?  I didn't mean that.  You see, there's something else:
father's love is jealous, too; he's hurt that all began and was
settled with Alyosha without his knowledge, that he didn't know
it and failed to see it.  He knows that he did not foresee it, and
he puts down the unhappy consequences of our love and my flight
to my 'ungrateful' secretiveness.  I did not come to him at the
beginning.  I did not afterwards confess every impulse of my
heart to him; on the contrary I hid it in myself.  I concealed it
from him and I assure you, Vanya, this is secretly a worse injury,
a worse insult to him than the facts themselves - that I left them
and have abandoned myself to my lover.  Supposing he did meet
me now like a father, warmly and affectionately, yet the seed of
discord would remain.  The next day, or the day after, there
would be disappointments, misunderstandings, reproaches.
What's more, he won't forgive without conditions, even if I say -
and say it truly from the bottom of my heart - that I understand
how I have wounded him and how badly I've behaved to him.
And though it will hurt me if he won't understand how much all
this happiness with Alyosha has cost me myself, what miseries I
have been through, I will stifle my feelings, I will put up with
anything - but that won't be enough for him.  He will insist on
an impossible atonement; he will insist on my cursing my past,
cursing Alyosha and repenting of my love for him.  He wants
what's impossible, to bring back the past and to erase the last
six months from our life.  But I won't curse anyone, and I can't
repent.  It's no one's doing; it just happened so.... No, Vanya,
it can't be now.  The time has not come."
  "When will the time come?"
  "I don't know. . . . We shall have to work out our future
happiness by suffering; pay for it somehow by fresh miseries.
Everything is purified by suffering ... Oh, Vanya, how much pain
there is in the world!"
  I was silent and looked at her thoughtfully.
  "Why do you look at me like that, Alyosha - I mean Vanya!"
she said, smiling at her own mistake.
  "I am looking at your smile, Natasha.  Where did you get it?
You used not to smile like that."
  "Why, what is there in my smile ?
  "The old childish simplicity is still there, it's true. . . . But
when you smile it seems as though your heart were aching dread-
fully.  You've grown thinner, Natasha, and your hair seems
thicker.... What dress have you got on?  You used to wear that
at home, didn't you?"
  "How you love me, Vanya," she said, looking at me affection-
atelv.  "And what about you?  What are you doing?  How are
things going with you?"
  "Just the same, I'm still writing my novel.  But it's difficult,
I can't get on.  The inspiration's dried up.  I dare say I could
knock it off somehow, and it might turn out interesting.  But it's
a pity to spoil a good idea.  It's a favourite idea of mine.  But it
must be ready in time for the magazine.  I've even thought of
throwing up the novel, and knocking off a short story, something
light and graceful, and without a trace of pessimism.  Quite
without a trace.... Everyone ought to be cheerful and happy."
  "You're such a hard worker, you poor boy!  And how about
Smith?"
  "But Smith's dead."
  "And he hasn't haunted you?  I tell you seriously, Vanya,
you're ill and your nerves are out of order; you're always lost in
such dreams.  When you told me about taking that room I
noticed it in you.  So the room's damp, not nice?"
  "Yes, I had an adventure there this evening.... But I'll tell
you about it afterwards."
  She had left off listening and was sitting plunged in deep
thought.
  "I don't know how I could have left them then.  I was in a
fever," she added at last, looking at me with an expression that
did not seem to expect an answer.
  If I had spoken to her at that moment she would not have
heard me.
  "Vanya," she said in a voice hardly audible, "I asked you to
come for a reason."
  "What is it?"
  "I am parting from him."
  "You have parted, or you're going to part?"
  "I must put an end to this life.  I asked you to come that I
might tell you everything, all, all that has been accumulating, and
that I've hidden from you till now."
  This was always how she began, confiding to me her secret
intentions, and it almost always turned out that I had learnt the
whole secret from her long before.
  "Ach, Natasha, I've heard that from you a thousand times,
Of course it's impossible for you to go on living together.  Your
relation is such a strange one.  You have nothing in common.
But will you have the strength ? "
  "It's only been an idea before, Vanya, but now I have quite
made up my mind.  I love him beyond everything, and yet it
seems I am his worst enemy.  I shall ruin his future.  I must set
him free.  He can't marry me; he hasn't the strength to go
against his father.  I don't want to bind him either. And so I'm
really glad he has fallen in love with the girl they are betrothing
him to.  It will make the parting easier for him.  I ought to do it!
It's my duty. . . If I love him I ought to sacrifice everything
for him.  I ought to prove my love for him; it's my duty!  Isn't   it?"
  "But you won't persuade him, you know"
  "I'm not going to persuade him.  I shall be just the same with
him if he comes in this minute.  But I must find some means to
make it easier for him to leave me without a conscience-prick.
That's what worries me, Vanya.  Help me.  Can't you advise
something?"
  "There is only one way," I said: "to leave off loving him
altogether and fall in love with someone else.  But I doubt whether
even that will do it; surely you know his character.  Here he's
not been to see you for five days.  Suppose he had left you
altogether.  You've only to write that you are leaving him, and
he'd run to you at once."
  "Why do you dislike him, Vanya?"
  "I?"
  "Yes, you, you!  You're his enemy, secret and open.  You
can't speak of him without vindictiveness.  I've noticed a
thousand times that it's your greatest pleasure to humiliate him
and blacken him!  Yes, blacken him, it's the truth!"
  "And you've told me so a thousand times already.  Enough,
Natasha, let's drop this conversation."
  "I've been wanting to move into another lodging," she began
again after a silence.  "Don't be angry, Vanya."
  "Why, he'd come to another lodging, and I assure you I'm not
angry."
  "Love, a new strong love, might hold him back.  If he came
back to me it would only be for a moment, don't you think?"
  "I don't know, Natasha.  Everything with him is so in-
consistent.  He wants to marry that girl, and to love you, too.
He's somehow able to do all that at once."
  "If I knew for certain that he loved her I would make up my
mind ... Vanya!  Don't hide anything from me!  Do you know
something you don't want to tell me?"
  She looked at me with an uneasy, searching gaze.
  "I know nothing, my dear.  I give you my word of honour;
I've always been open with you.  But I'll tell you what I do think:
very likely he's not nearly so much in love with the countess's
stepdaughter as we suppose.  It's nothing but attraction ...."
  "You think so, Vanya?  My God, if I were sure of that!
Oh, how I should like to see him at this moment, simply to look
at him!  I should find out everything from his face!  But he
doesn't come!  He doesn't come!"
  "Surely you don't expect him, Natasha?"
  "No, he's with her; I know.  I sent to find out.  How I
should like to have a look at her, too.... Listen, Vanya, I'm
talking nonsense, but is it really impossible for me to see her, is
it impossible to meet her anywhere?  What do you think?"
  She waited anxiously to hear what I should say.
  "You might see her.  But simply to see her wouldn't amount
to much."
  "It would be enough for me only to see her; I should be able
to tell then, for myself.  Listen, I have become so stupid, you
know.  I walk up and down, up and down, here, always alone,
always alone, always thinking; thoughts come rushing like a
whirlwind!  It's so horrible!  One thing I've thought of, Vanya;
couldn't you get to know her?  You know the countess admired
your novel (you said so yourself at the time). You sometimes go
to Prince R--'s evenings; she's sometimes there.  Manage to
be presented to her.  Or perhaps Alyosha could introduce you.
Then you could tell me all about her."
  "Natasha, dear, we'll talk of that later.  Tell me, do you
seriously think you have the strength to face a separation?
Look at yourself now; you're not calm."
  "I . . . shall . . . have!" she answered, hardly audibly.
"Anything for him.  My whole life for his sake.  But you know,
Vanya, I can't bear his being with her now, and having forgotten
me; he is sitting by her, talking, laughing, as he used to sit here,
do you remember?  He's looking into her eyes; he always does
look at people like that - and it never occurs to him that I am
here ... with you."
  She broke off without finishing and looked at me in despair.
  "Why, Natasha, only just now you were saying . . ."
  "Let's separate both at once, of our own accord," she inter-
rupted with flashing eyes.  "I will give him my blessing for
that . . . but it's hard, Vanya, that he should forget me first!
Ah, Vanya, what agony it is!  I don't understand myself.  One
thinks one thing, but it's different when it comes to doing it.
What will become of me!"
 "Hush, hush, Natasha, calm yourself."
 "And now it's five days.  Every hour, every minute.... If I
sleep I dream of nothing but him, nothing but him!  I tell you
what, Vanya, let's go there.  You take me!"
  "Hush, Natasha!
  "Yes, we will go!  I've only been waiting for you!  I've been
thinking about it for the last three days.  That was what I meant
in my letter to you.... You must take me, you mustn't refuse
me this. . . I've been expecting you ... for three days.... There's
a party there this evening.... He's there ... let us go!"
  She seemed almost delirious.  There was a noise in the passage
Mavra seemed to be wrangling with some one.
  "Stay, Natasha, who's that?" I asked.  "Listen."
  She listened with an incredulous smile, and suddenly turned
fearfully white.
  "My God! Who's there?"  she said, almost inaudibly.
  She tried to detain me, but I went into the passage to Mavra.
Yes!  It actually was Alyosha.  He was questioning Mavra about
something.  She refused at first to admit him.
  "Where have you turned up from?" she asked, with an air of
authority.  "Well, what have you been up to?  All right, then,
go in, go in!  You won't come it over me with your butter!  Go
in! I wonder what you've to say for yourself!"
  "I'm not afraid of anyone!  I'm going in!" said Alyosha,
somewhat disconcerted, however.
  "Well, go in then!  You're a sauce-box!"
  "Well, I'm going in!  Ah! you're here, too!" he said, catching
sight of me. "How nice it is that you're here  Well, here I am,
you see.... What had I better do?"
  "Simply go in," I answered.  "What are you afraid of?"
  "I'm not afraid of anything, I assure you, for upon my word
I'm not to blame.  You think I'm to blame?  You'll see; I'll
explain it directly.  Natasha, can I come in?" he cried with a
sort of assumed boldness, standing before the closed door.  No one
answered.
  "What's the matter?" he asked uneasily.
  "Nothing; she was in there just now," I answered. "Can
anything ..."
  Alyosha opened the door cautiously and looked timidly about
the room.  There was no one to be seen.
  Suddenly he caught sight of her in the corner, between the
cupboard and the window.  She stood as though in hiding, more
dead than alive.  As I recall it now I can't help smiling.  Alyosha
went up to her slowly and warily.
  "Natasha, what is it?  How are you, Natasha?" he brought
out timidly, looking at her with a sort of dismay.
  "Oh, it's all right!" she answered in terrible confusion, as
though she were in fault.  "You ... will you have some tea?"
  "Natasha, listen." Alyosha began, utterly overwhelmed.
  "You're convinced perhaps that I'm to blame.  But I'm not,
not a bit.  You'll see; I'll tell you directly."
  "What for?" Natasha whispered.  "No, no, you needn't....
Come, give me your hand and . . . it's over . . . the same as
before. . . ."
  And she came out of the corner.  A flush began to come into
her cheeks.  She looked down as though she were afraid to glance
at Alyosha.
  "Good God!" he cried ecstatically. "If I really were to
blame I shouldn't dare look at her after that.  Look, look!" he
exclaimed, turning to me, "she thinks I am to blame; every-
thing's against me; all appearances are against me!  I haven't
been here for five days!  There are rumours that I'm with my
betrothed - and what?  She has forgiven me already!  Already
she says, 'Give me your hand and it's over'!  Natasha, my
darling, my angel!  It's not my fault, and you must know that!
Not the least little bit! Quite the contrary! Quite the contrary
   "But  ... but you were to be there now.... You were invited
there now .... How is it you're here?  Wh-what time is it?"
   "Half-past ten!  I have been there ... but I said I wasn't well
and came away - and - and it's the first time, the first time I've
been free these five days.  It's the first time I've been able to
tear myself away and come to you, Natasha.  That is, I could
have come before, but I didn't on purpose.  And why?  You shall
know directly.  I'll explain; that's just what I've come for, to
explain.  Only this time I'm really not a bit to blame, not a bit,
not a bit!"
   Natasha raised her head and looked at him.... But the eyes
that met her were so truthful, his face was so full of joy,
sincerity and good-humour, that it was impossible to disbelieve
him.  I expected that they would cry out and rush into each
other's arms, as had often happened before at such reconciliations.
But Natasha seemed overcome by her happiness; she let her
head sink on her breast and ... began crying softly.... Then
Alyosha couldn't restrain himself.  He threw himself at her feet.
He kissed her hands, her feet.  He seemed frantic.  I pushed an
easy-chair towards her.  She sank into it.  Her legs were giving
way beneath her.

                          PART II
 
                         CHAPTER I

A MINUTE later we were all laughing as though we were crazy.
  "Let me explain; let me explain!" cried Alyosha, his ringing
voice rising above our laughter.  "They think it's just as usual ...
that I've come with some nonsense. . . . I say, I've something
most interesting to tell you.  But will you ever be quiet?"
  He was extremely anxious to tell his story.  One could see
from his face that he had important news.  But the dignified air
he assumed in his naive pride at the possession of such news
tickled Natasha at once.  I could not help laughing too.  And the
angrier he was with us the more we laughed.  Alyosha's vexation
and then childish despair reduced us at last to the condition of
Gogol's midshipman who roared with laughter if one held up one's
finger.  Mavra, coming out of the kitchen, stood in the doorway
and looked at us with grave indignation, vexed that Alyosha had
not come in for a good "wigging" from Natasha, as she had been
eagerly anticipating for the last five days, and that we were all
so merry instead.
  At last Natasha, seeing that our laughter was hurting Alyosha's
feelings, left off laughing.
  "What do you want to tell us?" she asked.
  "Well, am I to set the samovar?" asked Mavra, interrupting
Alyosha without the slightest ceremony.
  "Be off, Mavra, be off!" he cried, waving his hands at her,
in a hurry to get rid of her.  "I'm going to tell you everything
that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen, because
I know all about it.  I see, my friends, you want to know where
I've been for the last five days - that's what I want to tell you,
but you won't let me.  To begin with, I've been deceiving you all
this time, Natasha, I've been deceiving you for ever so long, and
that's the chief thing."
  "Deceiving me?"
  "Yes, deceiving you for the last month; I had begun it before
my father came back.  Now the time has come for complete
openness.  A month ago, before father came back, I got an
immense letter from him, and I said nothing to either of you
about it.  In his letter he told me, plainly and simply - and, I
assure you, in such a serious tone that I was really alarmed - that
my engagement was a settled thing, that my fiancee was simply
perfection; that of course I wasn't good enough for her, but that
I must marry her all the same, and so I must be prepared to put
all this nonsense out of my head, and so on, and so on - we know,
of course, what he means by nonsense.  Well, that letter I
concealed from you."
  "You didn't!" Natasha interposed.  "See how he flatters
himself!  As a matter of fact he told us all about it at once.  I
remember how obedient and tender you were all at once, and
wouldn't leave my side, as though you were feeling guilty about
something, and you told us the whole letter in fragments."
  "Impossible; the chief point I'm sure I didn't tell you.  Perhaps
you both guessed something, but that's your affair.  I didn't tell
you.  I kept it secret and was fearfully unhappy about it."
  "I remember, Alyosha, you were continually asking my advice
and told me all about it, a bit at a time, of course, as though it
were an imaginary case," I added, looking at Natasha.
  "You told us everything! Don't brag, please," she chimed in.
  "As though you could keep anything secret!  Deception is not
your strong point.  Even Mavra knew all about it.  Didn't you,
Mavra?"
  "How could I help it?" retorted Mavra, popping her head in
at the door.  " You'd told us all about it before three days were
over.  You couldn't deceive a child."
  "Foo!  How annoying it is to talk to you!  You're doing all
this for spite, Natasha!  And you're mistaken too, Mavra.  I
remember, I was like a madman then.  Do you remember,
Mavra?"
  "To be sure I do, you're like a madman now."
  "No, no, I don't mean that.  Do you remember, we'd no
money then and you went to pawn my silver cigar-case.  And
what's more, Mavra, let me tell you you're forgetting yourself
and being horribly rude to me.  It's Natasha has let you get into
such ways.  Well, suppose I did tell you all about it at the
time, bit by bit (I do remember it now), but you don't know the
tone of the letter, the tone of it. And the tone was what mattered
most in the letter, let me tell you.  That's what I'm talking
about."
  "Why, what was the tone?" asked Natasha.
  "Listen, Natasha, you keep asking questions as though you
were in fun. Don't joke about it. I assure you that it's very
important.  It was in such a tone that I was in despair.  My
father had never spoken to me like that.  It was as though he
would sooner expect an earthquake of Lisbon than that he should
fail to get his own way; that was the tone of it."
  "Well. well, tell us.  Why did you want to conceal it from
me?"
  "Ach, my goodness! Why, for fear of frightening you!  I
hoped to arrange it all myself.  Well, after that letter, as soon
as my father came my troubles began.  I prepared myself to
answer him firmly, distinctly and earnestly, but somehow it
never came off, He never asked me about it, he's cunning!
On the contrary he behaved as though the whole thing were
settled and as though any difference or misunderstanding
between us were impossible.  Do you hear, impossible, such con-
fidence! And he was so affectionate, so sweet to me.  I was
simply amazed.  How clever he is, Ivan Petrovitch, if only you
knew!  He has read everything; he knows everything; you've
only to look at him once and he knows all your thoughts as though
they were his own.  That's no doubt why he has been called a
Jesuit.  Natasha doesn't like me to praise him.  Don't be cross,
Natasha.  Well, so that's how it is . . . oh, by the way!  At
first he wouldn't give me any money, but now he has.  He gave
me some yesterday.  Natasha, my angel!  Our poverty is over
now!  Here, look!  All he took off my allowance these last
six months, to punish me, he paid yesterday.  See how much
there is; I haven't counted it yet.  Mavra, look what a lot of
money; now we needn't pawn our spoons and studs!"
  He brought out of his pocket rather a thick bundle of notes,
fifteen hundred roubles, and laid it on the table.  Mavra looked
at Alyosha with surprise and approval.  Natasha eagerly urged
him on.
  "Well, so I wondered what I was to do," Alyosha went on.
"How was I to oppose him?  If he'd been nasty to me I assure
you I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  I'd have told him
plainly I wouldn't, that I was grown up now, and a man, and
that that was the end of it.  And believe me, I'd have stuck to
it. But as it is, what could I say to him?  But don't blame
me. I see you seem displeased, Natasha.  Why do you look
at one another?  No doubt you're thinking: here they've
caught him at once and he hasn't a grain of will.  I have will, I
have more than you think.  And the proof of it is that in spite
of my position I told myself at once, 'it is my duty; I must
tell my father everything, everything,' and I began speaking and
told him everything, and he listened."
  "But what?  What did you tell him exactly?" Natasha
asked anxiously.
  "Why, that I don't want any other fiancee, and that I have
one already - you.  That is, I didn't tell him that straight out,
but I prepared him for it, and I shall tell him to-morrow.  I've
made up my mind.  To begin with I said that to marry for
money was shameful and ignoble, and that for us to consider
ourselves aristocrats was simply stupid (I talk perfectly openly
to him as though he were my brother).  Then I explained to him
that I belonged to the tiers etat, and that the tiers etat c'est
l'essentiel, that I am proud of being just like everybody else, and
that I don't want to be distinguished in any way; in fact, I laid
all those sound ideas before him. . . . I talked warmly, con-
vincingly.  I was surprised at myself.  I proved it to him, even
from his own point of view. . . .   I said to him straight out - how
can we call ourselves princes?  It's simply a matter of birth;
for what is there princely about us?  We're not particularly
wealthy, and wealth's the chief point.  The greatest prince
nowadays is Rothschild.  And secondly, it's a long time since
anything has been heard of us in real society.  The last was
Uncle Semyon Valkovsky, and he was only known in Moscow,
and he was only famous for squandering his last three hundred
serfs, and if father hadn't made money for himself, his grandsons
might have been ploughing the land themselves.  There are
princes like that.  We've nothing to be stuck-up over.  In short,
I told him everything that I was brimming over with - everything,
warmly and openly; in fact, I said something more.  He did not
even answer me, but simply began blaming me for having given up
going to Count Nainsky's, and then told me I must try and
keep in the good graces of Princess K., my godmother, and that
if Princess K. welcomes me then I shall be received everywhere,
and my career is assured, and he went on and on about that!  It
was all hinting at my having given up everyone since I've been
with you, Natasha, and that's being all your influence.  But
he hasn't spoken about you directly so far.  In fact he evidently
avoids it.  We're both fencing, waiting, catching one another,
and you may be sure that our side will come off best."
   "Well, that's all right.  But how did it end, what has he
decided?  That's what matters.  And what a chatterbox you
are, Alyosha!"
   "Goodness only knows.  There's no telling what he's decided.
But I'm not a chatterbox at all; I'm talking sense.  He didn't
settle anything, but only smiled at all my arguments; and such
a smile, as though he were sorry for me.  I know it's humiliating,
but I'm not ashamed of it.  'I quite agree with you,' he said,
'but let's go to Count Nainsky's, and mind you don't say any-
thing there.  I understand you, but they won't.' I believe he's
not very well received everywhere himself; people are angry
with him about something.  He seems to be disliked in society
now.  The count at first received me very majestically, quite
superciliously, as though he had quite forgotten I grew up in his
house; he began trying to remember, he did, really.  He's simply
angry with me for ingratitude, though really there was no sort
of ingratitude on my part.  It was horribly dull in his house, so
I simply gave up going.  He gave my father a very casual
reception, too; so casual that I can't understand why he
goes there.  It all revolted me.  Poor father almost has to eat
humble pie before him.  I understand that it's all for my sake,
but I don't want anything.  I wanted to tell my father what I
felt about it, afterwards, but I restrained myself.  And, indeed,
what would be the good?  I shan't change his convictions, I
shall only make him angry, and he is having a bad time as it is.
Well, I thought, I'll take to cunning and I'll outdo them all-
I'll make the count respect me - and what do you think?  I at
once gained my object, everything was changed in a single day,
Count Nainsky can't make enough of me now, and that was all
my doing, only mine, it was all through my cunning, so that my
father was quite astonished!"
  "Listen, Alyosha, you'd better keep to the point!" Natasha
cried impatiently.  "I thought you would tell me something
about us, and you only want to tell us how you distinguished
yourself at Count Nainsky's.  Your count is no concern of mine!"
  "No concern!  Do you hear, Ivan Petrovitch, she says it's
no concern of hers!  Why, it's the greatest concern!  You'll see
it is yourself, it will all be explained in the end.  Only let me tell
you about it.  And in fact (why not be open about it?) I'll. tell
you what, Natasha, and you, too, Ivan Petrovitch, perhaps I
really am sometimes very, very injudicious, granted even I'm
sometimes stupid (for I know it is so at times).  But in this case,
I assure you, I showed a great deal of cunning . . . in fact . . .
of cleverness, so that I thought you'd be quite pleased that I'm
not always so . . . stupid."
  "What are you saying, Alyosha?  Nonsense, dear!"
  Natasha couldn't bear Alyosha to be considered stupid.  How
often she pouted at me, though she said nothing when I proved to
Alyosha without ceremony that he had done something stupid
it was a sore spot in her heart.  She could not bear to see Alyosha
humiliated, and probably felt it the more, the more she recognized
his limitations.  But she didn't give him a hint of her opinion for
fear of wounding his vanity.  He was particularly sensitive on
this point, and always knew exactly what she was secretly
thinking.  Natasha saw this and was very sorry, and she at once
tried to flatter and soothe him.  That is why his words now raised
painful echoes in her heart.
  "Nonsense, Alyosha, you're only thoughtless.  You're not at
all like that," she added.  "Why do you run yourself down?"
   "Well, that's all right.   So let me prove it to you. Father
was quite angry with me after the reception at the count's.  I
thought, 'wait a bit.' We were driving then to the princess's.
I heard long ago that she was so old that she was almost doting,
and deaf besides, and awfully fond of little dogs.  She has a
perfect pack of them, and adores them.  In spite of all that, she
has an immense influence in society, so that even Count Nainsky,
le superbe, does l'antichambre to her.  So I hatched a complete
plan of future action on the way.  And what do you think I built
it all on?  Why, on the fact that dogs always like me.  Yes, really;
I have noticed it.  Either there's some magnetism in me, or else
it's because I'm fond of all animals, I don't know.  Dogs do like
me, anyway.  And, by the way, talking of magnetism, I haven't
told you, Natasha, we called up spirits the other day; I was at a
spiritualist's.  It's awfully curious, Ivan Petrovitch; it really,
impressed me.  I called up Julius Caesar."
   "My goodness!  What did you want with Julius Caesar?"
cried Natasha, going off into a peal of laughter.  "That's the
last straw!"
   "Why not . . . as though I were such a . . . why shouldn't
I call up Julius Caesar?  What does it matter to him?  Now
she's laughing!"
   "Of course it wouldn't matter to him at all ... oh, you dear!
Well, what did Julius Caesar say to you?"
   "Oh, he didn't say anything.  I simply held the pencil and
the pencil moved over the paper and wrote of itself.  They said
it was Julius Caesar writing.  I don't believe in it."
   "But what did he write, then?"
   "Why, he wrote something like the 'dip it in' in Gogol.  Do
leave oft laughing!"
   "Oh, tell me about the princess, then."
   "Well, you keep interrupting me.  We arrived at the princess's
and I began by making love to Mimi.  Mimi is a most disgusting,
horrid old dog, obstinate, too, and fond of biting.  The princess
dotes on her, she simply worships her , I believe they are the
same age.  I began by feeding Mimi with sweetmeats, and in
about ten minutes I had taught her to shake hands, which they
had never been able to teach her before.  The princess was in a
perfect ecstasy, she almost cried with joy.
   "'Mimi!  Mimi!  Mimi is shaking hands'
   "Someone came in.
   "'Mimi shakes hands, my godson here has taught her.'
   "Count Nainsky arrived.
   "'Mimi shakes hands!'
   "She looked at me almost with tears of tenderness.  She's an
awfully nice old lady; I feel quite sorry for her.  I was on the
spot then, I flattered her again.  On her snuff-box she has her own
portrait, painted when she was a bride, sixty years ago.  Well,
she dropped her snuffbox.  I picked up the snuff-box and
exclaimed:
   "'Quelle charmante peinture!' just as if I didn't know.  'It's
an ideal beauty!'
   "Well, that melted her completely.  She talked to me of this
and that; asked me where I had been studying, and whom I
visit, and what splendid hair I had, and all that sort of thing.  I
made her laugh too.  I told her a shocking story.  She likes that
sort of thing, She shook her finger at me, but she laughed a great
deal.  When she let me go, she kissed me and blessed me, and
insisted I should go in every day to amuse her.  The count
pressed my hand; his eyes began to look oily.  And as for father,
though he's the kindest, and sincerest, and most honourable
man in the world, if you'll believe me, he almost cried with joy
on the way home.  He hugged me, and became confidential,
mysteriously confidential about a career, connexions, marriages,
money; I couldn't understand a lot of it.  It was then he gave
me the money.  That was all yesterday.  To-morrow I'm to go
to the princess's again.  But still, my father's a very honourable
man - don't you imagine anything - and although he keeps me
away from you, Natasha, it's simply because he's dazzled by
Katya's millions, and wants to get hold of them, and you haven't
any; and he wants them simply for my sake, and it's merely
through ignorance he is unjust to you.  And what father doesn't
want his son's happiness?  It's not his fault that he has been
accustomed to think that happiness is to be found in millions.
They're all like that.  One must look at him from that stand-
point, you know, and no other, and then one can see at once that
he's right.  I've hurried to come to you, Natasha, to assure you
of that, for I know you're prejudiced against him, and of course
that's not your fault. I don't blame you for it  ......"
  "Then all that's happened is that you've made yourself a
position at the princess's.  Is that all your cunning amounts to?"
asked Natasha.
  "Not at all.  What do you mean?  That's only the beginning.
  I only told you about the princess - because, you understand,
through her I shall get a hold over my father; but my story hasn't
begun yet."
  "Well, tell it then!"
  "I've had another adventure this morning, and a very strange
one too.  I haven't got over it yet," Alyosha went on.  "You
must observe that, although it's all settled about our engagement
between my father and the countess, there's been no formal
announcement so far, so we can break it off at any moment
without a scandal.  Count Nainsky's the only person who knows it,
but he's looked upon as a relation and a benefactor.  What's
more, though I've got to know Katya very well this last fortnight,
till this very evening I've never said a word to her about
the future, that is about marriage or ... love.  Besides, it's been
settled to begin by asking the consent of Princess K., from whom
is expected all sorts of patronage and showers of gold.  The world
will say what she says.  She has such connexions.... And what
they want more than anything is to push me forward in society.
But it's the countess, Katya's stepmother, who insists most
strongly on this arrangement.  The point is that perhaps the
princess so far won't receive her because of her doings abroad,
and if the princess won't receive her, most likely nobody else will.
So my engagement to Katya is a good chance for her.  So the
countess, who used to be against the engagement, was highly
delighted at my success with the princess; but that's beside the
point.  What matters is this.  I saw something of Katerina
Fyodorvna last year, but I was a boy then, and I didn't under-
stand things, and so I saw nothing in her then . . ."
  "Simply you loved me more then," Natasha broke in," that's
why you saw nothing in her; and now. . ."
  "Not, a word, Natasha!" cried Alyosha, hotly. "You are
quite mistaken, and insulting me.... I won't even answer you;
listen, and you'll see ... Ah, if only you knew Katya!  If only
you knew what a tender, clear, dove-like soul she is!  But you
will know.  Only let me finish.  A fortnight ago, when my father
took me to see Katya as soon as they had arrived, I began to
watch her intently.  I noticed she watched me too.  That roused
my curiosity, to say nothing of my having a special intention of
getting to know her, an intention I had had ever since I got that
letter from my father that impressed me so much.  I'm not going
to say anything about her.  I'm not going to praise her.  I'll only
say one thing.  She's a striking contrast to all her circle.  She has
such an original nature, such a strong and truthful soul, so strong
in its purity and truthfulness, that I'm simply a boy beside her,
like a younger brother, though she is only seventeen.  Another
thing I noticed, there's a great deal of sadness about her, as though
she had some secret: she is not talkative; at home she's almost
always silent as though afraid to speak. . . . She seems to be
brooding over something.  She seems to be afraid of my father.
She doesn't like her stepmother - I could see that; it's the
countess spreads the story that her stepdaughter is so fond of her,
for some object of her own.  That's all false.  Katya simply
obeys her without question, and it seems as though there's some
agreement between them about it.  Four days ago, after all my
observations, I made up my mind to carry out my intention, and
this evening I did.  My plan was to tell Katya everything, to
confess everything, get her on our side, and so put a stop to it
all. . . ."
  "What!  Tell her what, confess what?" Natasha asked
uneasily.
  "Everything, absolutely everything," answered Alyosha,
"and thank God for inspiring me with the thought; but listen,
listen!  Four days ago I made up my mind to keep away from
you both and stop it all myself.  If I had been with you I should
have been hesitating all the time.  I should have been listening
to you, and unable to decide on anything. By remaining alone,
and putting myself in the position in which I was bound to repeat
to myself every minute that I ought to stop it, that I must stop
it, I screwed up my courage and - have stopped it!  I meant to
come back to you with the matter settled, and I've come with
it settled!"
  "What then? What? What has happened? Tell me
quickly."
  It's very simple!  I went straight to her, boldly and honestly.
But I must first tell you one thing that happened just before, and
struck me very much. just before we set off, father received a
letter.  I was just going into his study and was standing in the
doorway.  He did not see us.  He was so much overcome by the
letter that he talked to himself, uttered some exclamations,
walked about the room quite beside himself, and suddenly burst
out laughing, holding the letter in his hand.  I was quite afraid
to go in, and waited for a minute.  Father was so delighted about
something, so delighted; he spoke to me rather queerly; then
suddenly broke off and told me to get ready at once, though it
was not time for us to go.  They had no one there to-day, only
us two, and you were mistaken, Natasha, in thinking it was a
party. You were told wrong."
  "Oh, do keep to the point, Alyosha, please; tell me, how you
told Katya."
  "Luckily I was left for two hours alone with her.  I simply
told her that though they wanted to make a match between us,
our marriage was impossible, that I had a great affection for her
in my heart, and that she alone could save me.  Then I told her
everything.  Only fancy, she knew nothing at all about our story,
about you and me, Natasha.  If only you could have seen how
touched she was; at first she was quite scared.  She turned quite
white.  I told her our whole story; how for my sake you'd
abandoned your home; how we'd been living together, how
harassed we were now, how afraid of everything, and that now
we were appealing to her (I spoke in your name too, Natasha),
that she would take our side, and tell her stepmother straight out
that she wouldn't marry me; that that would be our one
salvation, and that we had nothing to hope for from anyone else.
She listened - with such interest, such sympathy.  What eyes she
had at that moment!  Her whole soul was in them.  Her eyes
are perfectly blue.  She thanked me for not doubting her, and
promised to do all she could to help us.  Then she began asking
about you; said she wanted very much to know you, asked me to
tell you that she loved you already like a sister, and that she
hoped you would love her like a sister.  And as soon as she heard
I had not seen you for five days she began at once urging me to
go to you."
  Natasha was touched.
  "And you could tell us first of your triumphs with some deaf
princess! Ach, Alyosha!" she exclaimed, looking at
him reproachfully. "Well tell me about Katya; was she happy,
cheerful, when she said good-bye to you?"
  "Yes, she was glad that she was able to do something generous,
but she was crying.  For she loves me too, Natasha! She con-
fessed that she had begun to love me; that she sees hardly any-
one, and that she was attracted by me long ago.  She noticed
me particularly because she sees cunning and deception all
round her, and I seemed to her a sincere and honest person.  She
stood up and said: 'Well, God be with you, Alexey Petrovitch.
And I was expecting . . .'  She burst out crying and went
away without saying what.  We decided that to-morrow she
should tell her stepmother that she won't have me, and that to-
morrow I should tell my father everything and speak out boldly
and firmly.  She reproached me for not having told him before,
saying that an honourable man ought not to be afraid of any-
thing.  She is such a noble-hearted girl.  She doesn't like my
father either.  She says he's cunning and mercenary.  I de-
fended him; she didn't believe me.  If I don't succeed to-
morrow with my father (and she feels convinced I shan't) then
she advises me to get Princess K. to support me.  Then no one
would dare to oppose it.  We promised to be like brother and
sister to each other.  Oh, if only you knew her story too, how
unhappy she is, with what aversion she looks on her life with her
stepmother, all her surroundings.  She didn't tell me directly, as
though she were afraid even of me, but I guessed it from some
words, Natasha, darling!  How delighted she would be with you
if she could see you!  And what a kind heart she has!  One
is so at home with her!  You are created to be sisters and to
love one another.  I've been thinking so all along.  And really
I should like to bring you two together, and stand by admiring
you.  Don't imagine anything, Natasha, little one, and let me
talk about her.  I want to talk to you about her and to her about
you.  You know I love you more than anyone, more than her.
. . .You're everything to me!"
  Natasha looked at him caressingly, and as it were mournfully,
and did not speak.  His words seemed like a caress, and yet a
torment to her.
  "And I saw how fine Katya was a long time ago, at least a
fortnight," he went on.  " I've been going to them every evening,
you see.  As I went home I kept thinking of you both, kept
comparing you."
  "Which of us came off best?" asked Natasha, smiling.
  "Sometimes you and sometimes she.  But you were always
the best in the long run.  When I talk to her I always feel I
become somehow better, cleverer, and somehow finer.  But
to-morrow, tomorrow will settle everything!"
  "And aren't you sorry for her?  She loves you, you know.
You say you've noticed it yourself."
  "Yes, I am, Natasha.  But we'll all three love one another,
and then . . ."
  "And then 'good-bye'" Natasha brought out quietly, as
though to herself.
  Alyosha looked at her in amazement.
  But our conversation was suddenly interrupted in the most
unexpected way.  In the kitchen, which was at the same time
the entry, we heard a slight noise as though someone had come
in.  A minute later Mavra opened the door and began nodding
to Alyosha on the sly, beckoning to him.  We all turned to her.
   "Someone's asking for you.  Come along," she said in a
mysterious voice.
   "Who can be asking for me now?" said Alyosha, looking
at us in bewilderment.  "I'm coming!"
   In the kitchen stood his father's servant in livery.  It appeared
that the prince had stopped his carriage at Natasha's lodging on
his way home, and had sent to inquire whether Alyosha were
there.  Explaining this, the footman went away at once.
   "Strange!  This has never happened before," said Alyosha,
looking at us in confusion.  "What does it mean?"
   Natasha looked at him uneasily.  Suddenly Mavra opened
the door again.
   "Here's the prince himself!" she said in a hurried whisper,
and at once withdrew.
   Natasha turned pale and got up from her seat.  Suddenly her
eyes kindled.  She stood leaning a little on the table, and looked
in agitation towards the door, by which the uninvited visitor
would enter.
   "Natasha, don't be afraid!  You're with me.  I won't let
you be insulted," whispered Alyosha, disconcerted but not over-
whelmed.  The door opened, and Prince Valkovsky in his own
person appeared on the threshold.



                       CHAPTER II

HE took us all in in a rapid attentive glance.  It was impossible
to guess from this glance whether he had come as a friend or as
an enemy.  But I will describe his appearance minutely.  He
struck me particularly that evening.
  I had seen him before.  He was a man of forty-five, not more,
with regular and strikingly handsome features, the expression of
which varied according to circumstances; but it changed
abruptly, completely, with extraordinary rapidity, passing from
the most agreeable to the most surly or displeased expression, as
though some spring were suddenly touched.  The regular oval
of his rather swarthy face, his superb teeth, his small, rather thin,
beautifully chiselled lips, his rather long straight nose, his high
forehead, on which no wrinkle could be discerned, his rather large
grey eyes, made him handsome, and yet his face did not make
a pleasant impression.  The face repelled because its expression
was not spontaneous, but always, as it were, artificial, deliberate,
borrowed, and a blind conviction grew upon one that one would
never read his real expression.  Looking more carefully one
began to suspect behind the invariable mask something spiteful,
cunning, and intensely egoistic.  One's attention was particularly
caught by his fine eyes, which were grey and frank-looking.
They were not completely under the control of his will, like his
other features.  He might want to look mild and friendly, but the
light in his eyes was as it were twofold, and together with the
mild friendly radiance there were flashes that were cruel, mis-
trustful, searching and spiteful.... He was rather tall, elegantly,
rather slimly built, and looked strikingly young for his age.  His
soft dark brown hair had scarcely yet begun to turn grey.  His
ears, his hands, his feet were remarkably fine.  It was pre-
eminently the beauty of race.  He was dressed with refined
elegance and freshness but with some affectation of youth, which
suited him, however.  He looked like Alyosha's elder brother.
At any rate no one would have taken him for the father of so
grown-up a son.
  He went straight up to Natasha and said, looking at her
firmly:
  "My calling upon you at such an hour, and unannounced, is
strange, and against all accepted rules.  But I trust that you
will believe I can at least recognize the eccentricity of my be-
haviour.  I know, too, with whom I have to deal; I know
that you are penetrating and magnanimous.  Only give me ten
minutes, and I trust that you will understand me and justify it."
  He said all this courteously but with force, and, as it were,
emphasis.
  "Sit down," said Natasha, still unable to shake off her con-
fusion and some alarm.
  He made a slight bow and sat down.
  "First of all allow me to say a couple of words to him," he
said, indicating his son.  "As soon as you had gone away,
Alyosha, without waiting for me or even taking leave of us, the
countess was informed that Katerina Fyodorovna was ill.  She
was hastening to her, but Katerina Fyodorovna herself suddenly
came in distressed and violently agitated.  She told us, forthwith,
that she could not marry you.  She said, too, that she was
going into a nunnery, that you had asked for her help, and had
told her that you loved Natalya Nikolaevna.  This extraordinary
declaration on the part of Katerina Fyodorovna, especially at
such a moment, was of course provoked by the extreme strange-
ness of your explanation with her.  She was almost beside
herself; you can understand hole shocked and alarmed I was.
As I drove past just now I noticed a light in your window," he
went on, addressing Natasha, "then an idea which had been
haunting me for a long time gained such possession of me that
I could not resist my first impulse, and came in to see you.  With
what object?  I will tell you directly, but I beg you beforehand
not to be surprised at a certain abruptness in my explanation,
It is all so sudden. . ."
  "I hope I shall understand and appreciate what you are going
to say, as I ought," answered Natasha, faltering.
  The prince scrutinized her intently as though he were in a hurry
to understand her through and through in one minute.  "I am
relying on your penetration too," he went on, "and I have
ventured to come to you now just because I knew with whom I
should have to deal.  I have known you for a long time now,
although I was at one time so unfair to you and did you injustice.
Listen.  You know that between me and your father there are
disagreements of long standing.  I don't justify myself; perhaps
I have been more to blame in my treatment of him than I had
supposed till now.  But if so I was myself deceived.  I am
suspicious, and I recognize it. I am disposed to suspect evil
rather than good: an unhappy trait, characteristic of a cold
heart.  But it is not my habit to conceal my failings.  I be-
lieved in the past all that was said against you, and when you
left your parents I was terror-stricken for Alyosha.  But then I
did not know you.  The information I have gathered little by
little has completely reassured me.  I have watched you, studied
you, and am at last convinced that my suspicions were groundless.
I have learnt that you are cut off from your family.  I know,
too, that your father is utterly opposed to your marriage with
my son, and the mere fact that, having such an influence, such
power, one may say, over Alyosha, you have not hitherto taken
advantage of that power to force him to marry you - that alone
says much for you.  And yet I confess it openly, I was firmly
resolved at that time to hinder any possibility of your marriage
with my son.  I know I am expressing myself too straight-
forwardly, but. at this moment straightforwardness on my part
is what is most needed.  You will admit that yourself when you
have heard me to the end.  Soon after you left your home I
went away from Petersburg, but by then I had no further fears
for Alyosha.  I relied on your generous pride.  I knew that you
did not yourself want a marriage before the family dissensions
were over, that you were unwilling to destroy the good under-
standing between Alyosha and me - for I should never have
forgiven his marriage with you - that you were unwilling, too,
to have it said of you that you were trying to catch a prince for a
husband, and to be connected with our family.  On the contrary,
you showed a positive neglect of us, and were perhaps waiting
for the moment when I should come to beg you to do us the honour
to give my son your hand.  Yet I obstinately remained your
ill-wisher. I am not going to justify myself, but I will not conceal
my reasons.  Here they are.  You have neither wealth nor
position.  Though I have property, we need more; our family is
going downhill.  We need money and connexions.  Though
Countess Zinaida Fyodorovna's stepdaughter has no connexions,
she is very wealthy.  If we delayed, suitors would turn up and
carry her off.  And such a chance was not to be lost.  So, though
Alyosha is still so young, I decided to make a match for him.
You see I am concealing nothing.  You may look with scorn on
a father who admits himself that from prejudice and mercenary
motives he urged his son to an evil action; for to desert a
generous hearted girl who has sacrificed everyone to him, and
whom he has treated so badly, is an evil action.  But I do not
defend myself.  My second reason for my son's proposed mar-
riage was that the girl is highly deserving of love and respect.
She is handsome, well-educated, has a charming disposition, and
is very intelligent, though in many ways still a child.  Alyosha
has no character, he is thoughtless, extremely injudicious, and
at two-and-twenty is a perfect child.  He has at most one virtue,
a good heart, positively a dangerous possession with his other
failings.  I have noticed for a long time that my influence over
him was beginning to grow less; the impulsiveness and en-
thusiasm of youth are getting the upper hand, and even get the
upper hand of some positive duties.  I perhaps love him too
fondly; but I am convinced that I am not a sufficient guide for
him.  And yet he must always be under some good influence.
He has a submissive nature, weak and loving, liking better to
love and to obey than to command.  So he will be all his life.
You can imagine how delighted I was at finding in Katerina
Fyodorovna the ideal girl I should have desired for my son's
wife.  But my joy came too late.  He was already under the
sway of another influence that nothing could shake - yours.  I
have kept a sharp watch on him since I returned to Petersburg
a month ago, and I notice with surprise a distinct change for the
better in him.  His irresponsibility and childishness are scarcely
altered; but certain generous feelings are stronger in him.
He begins to be interested not only in playthings, but in what
is lofty, noble, and more genuine.  His ideas are queer, unstable,
sometimes absurd; but the desire, the impulse, the feeling is
finer, and that is the foundation of everything; and all this
improvement in him is undoubtedly your work.  You have
remodelled him.  I will confess the idea did occur to me, then,
that you rather than anyone might secure his happiness.  But I
dismissed that idea, I did not wish to entertain it.  I wanted to
draw him away from you at any cost.  I began to act, and
thought I had gained my object.  Only an hour ago I thought
that the victory was mine.  But what has just happened at the
countess's has upset all my calculations at once, and what
struck me most of all was something unexpected: the earnest-
ness and constancy of Alyosha's devotion to you, the per-
sistence and vitality of that devotion - which seemed strange in
him.  I repeat, you have remodelled him completely.  I saw
all at once that the change in him had gone further than I had
supposed.  He displayed to-day before my eyes a sudden proof
of an intelligence of which I had not the slightest suspicion, and
at the same time an extraordinary insight and subtlety of feeling.
He chose the surest way of extricating himself from what he
felt to be a difficult position.  He touched and stirred the
noblest chords in the human heart - the power of forgiving
and repaying good for evil.  He surrendered himself into the
hands of the being he was injuring, and appealed to her for
sympathy and help.  He roused all the pride of the woman who
already loved him by openly telling her she had a rival, and
aroused at the same time her sympathy for her rival, and for-
giveness and the promise of disinterested, sisterly affection for
himself.  To go into such explanations without rousing resent-
ment and mortification - to do that is sometimes beyond the
capacity of the subtlest and cleverest; only pure young hearts
under good guidance can do this. I am sure, Natalya Nikolaevna,
that you took no part by word or suggestion in what he did
to-day.  You have perhaps only just heard of it from him.  I
am not mistaken.  Am I?"
  "You are not mistaken," Natasha assented. Her face was
glowing, and her eyes shone with a strange light as though of
inspiration.  Prince Valkovsky's eloquence was beginning to
produce its effect.  "I haven't seen Alyosha for five days," she,
added.  He thought of all this himself and carried it all out
himself.
  "Exactly so," said Prince Valkovsky, "but, in spite of that,
all this surprising insight, all this decision and recognition of
duty, this creditable manliness, in fact, is all the result of your
influence on him.  I had thought all this out and was reflecting
on it on my way home, and suddenly felt able to reach a decision.
The proposed match with the countess's stepdaughter is broken
off, and cannot be renewed; but if it were possible it could never
come to pass.  What if I have come to believe that you are the
only woman that can make him happy, that you are his true
guide, that you have already laid the foundations of his future
happiness!  I have concealed nothing from you and I am con-
cealing nothing now; I think a great deal of a career, of money,
of position, and even of rank in the service.  With my intellect I
recognize that a great deal of this is conventional, but I like
these conventions, and am absolutely disinclined to run counter,
to them.  But there are circumstances when other considerations
have to come in, when everything cannot be judged by the same
standard. . . . Besides, I love my son dearly.  In short, I have
come to the conclusion that Alyosha must not be parted from
you, because without you he will be lost. And must I confess
it?  I have perhaps been coming to this conclusion for the last
month, and only now realize that the conclusion is a right one.
Of course, I might have called on you to-morrow to tell you all
this, instead of disturbing you at midnight.  But my haste will
show you, perhaps, how warmly, and still more how sincerely,
I feel in the matter.  I am not a boy, and I could not at my age
make up my mind to any step without thinking it over.  Every-
thing had been thought over and decided before I came here.
But I feel that I may have to wait some time before you will be
convinced of my sincerity. . . . But to come to the point
Shall I explain now why I came here?  I came to do my duty
to you, and solemnly, with the deepest respect, I beg you to make
my son happy and to give him your hand.  Oh, do not imagine
that I have come like an angry father, who has been brought at
last to forgive his children and graciously to consent to their
happiness.  No!  No! You do me an injustice if you suppose
I have any such ideas.  Do not imagine either that I reckon on
your consent, relying on the sacrifices you have made for my
son; no again!  I am the first to declare aloud that he does not
deserve you, and (he is candid and good) he will say the same
himself.  But that is not enough.  It is not only this that
has brought me here at such an hour . . . I have come here,
(and he rose from his seat respectfully and with a certain
solemnity), "I have come here to become your friend!  I know
I have no right whatever to this, quite the contrary! But -
allow me to earn the right!  Let me hope . . ."
  Making a respectful bow to Natasha he awaited her reply.  I
was watching him intently all the time he was speaking.  He
noticed it.
  He made his speech coldly, with some display of eloquence, and
in parts with in certain nonchalance.  The  tone of the whole
speech was incongruous indeed with the impulse that had
brought him to us at an hour so inappropriate for a first visit,
especially under such circumstances.  Some of his expressions
were evidently premeditated, and in some parts of his long
speech - which was strange from its very length - he seemed to be
artificially assuming the air of an eccentric man struggling to
conceal an overwhelming feeling under a show of humour,
carelessness and jest.  But I only made all these reflections
afterwards; at the time the effect was different.  He uttered
the last words so sincerely, with so much feeling, with such an
air of genuine respect for Natasha, that it conquered us all.
There was actually the glimmer of a tear on his eyelashes.
Natasha's generous heart was completely won.  She, too, got
up, and, deeply moved, held out her hand to him without a
word.  He took it and kissed it with tenderness and emotion.
Alyosha was beside himself with rapture.
  "What did I tell you, Natasha?" he cried.  "You wouldn't
believe me.  You wouldn't believe in his being the noblest man
in the world!  You see, you see for yourself! . . ."
  He rushed to his father and hugged him warmly.  The latter
responded as warmly, but hastened to cut short the touching
scene, as though ashamed to show his emotion.
  "Enough," he said, and took his hat.  "I must go.  I asked
you to give me ten minutes and I have been here a whole hour,"
he added, laughing.  "But I leave you with impatient eagerness
to see you again as soon as possible.  Will you allow me to visit
you as often as I can?"
  "Yes, yes," answered Natasha, "as often as you can . . . I
want to make haste . . . to be fond of you . . ." she added
in embarrassment.
  "How sincere you are, how truthful," said Prince Valkovsky,
smiling at her words.  "You won't be insincere even to be polite.
But your sincerity is more precious than all artificial politeness.
Yes!  I recognize that it will take me a long, long time to
deserve your love."
  "Hush, don't praise me . . . . Enough," Natasha whispered
in confusion.  How delightful she was at that moment!
  "So be it," Prince Valkovsky concluded.  "I'll say only a
couple of words of something practical.  You cannot imagine
how unhappy I am!  Do you know I can't be with you to-
morrow - neither to-morrow nor the day after.  I received a
letter this evening of such importance to me (requiring my
presence on business at once) that I cannot possibly neglect it.
I am leaving Petersburg to-morrow morning.  Please do not
imagine that I came to you to-night because I should have no
time to-morrow or the day after.  Of course you don't think
so, but that is just an instance of my suspicious nature.  Why
should I fancy that you must think so?  Yes, my suspicious
nature has often been a drawback to me in my life, and my
whole misunderstanding with your family has perhaps been due
to my unfortunate character! ... To-day is Tuesday.  Wednes-
day, Thursday, and Friday I shall not be in Petersburg.  I hope
to return on Saturday for certain; and I will be with you the
same day.  Tell me, may I come to you for the whole evening?"
  "Of course, of course!" cried Natasha. "On Saturday
evening I shall expect you... I shall expect you impatiently!"
  "Ah, how happy I am!  I shall get to know you better and
better!  But . . . I must go!  I cannot go without shaking
hands with you, though," he added, turning to me.  "I beg your
pardon!  We are all talking so disconnectedly.  I have several
times had the pleasure of meeting you, and once, indeed, we
were introduced.  I cannot take my leave without telling you
how glad I should be to renew our acquaintance. . . ."
  "We have met, it's true," I answered, taking his hand.
"But I don't remember that we became acquainted."
  "At Prince M.'s, last year."
  "I beg your pardon, I've forgotten.  But I assure you this
time I shall not forget.  This evening will always remain in my
memory."
  "Yes, you are right.  I feel the same.  I have long known
that you have been a good and true friend to Natalya Nikolaevna
and my son.  I hope you three will admit me as a fourth.  May
I?" he added, addressing Natasha.
  "Yes, he is a true friend to us, and we must all hold together,"
Natasha answered with deep feeling.
  Poor girl!  She was positively beaming with delight that the
prince had not overlooked me.  How she loved me!
  "I have met many worshippers of your talent," Prince
Valkovsky went on.  "And I know two of your most sincere
admirers - the countess, my dearest friend, and her stepdaughter
Katerina Fyodorovna Filimonov.  They would so like to know
you personally.  Allow me to hope that you will let me have
the pleasure of presenting you to those ladies."
  "You are very flattering, though now I see so few people . . ."
  "But give me your address!  Where do you live?  I shall
do myself the pleasure . . ."
  "I do not receive visitors, prince.  At least not at present."
  "But, though I have not deserved to be an exception ... I ..."
  "Certainly, since you insist I shall be delighted.  I live at
-- Street, in Klugen's Buildings."
  "Klugen's Buildings!" he cried, as though surprised
something.  "What!  Have you . . . lived there long?"
  "No, not long," I answered, instinctively watching him. "I
live at No. 44."
  "Forty-four ?  You are living . . . alone?"
  "Quite alone."
  "0-oh!  I ask you because I think I know the house. So
much the better. . . . I will certainly come and see you, cer-
tainly!  I shall have much to talk over with you and I look for
great things from you.  You can oblige me in many ways.  You
see I am beginning straight off by asking you a favour.  But
good-bye!  Shake hands again!"
  He shook my hand and Alyosha's, kissed Natasha's hand again
and went out without suggesting that Alyosha should follow him.
  We three remained overwhelmed.  It had all happened so
unexpectedly, so casually.  We all felt that in one instant
everything had changed, and that something new and unknown
was beginning.  Alyosha without a word sat down beside
Natasha and softly kissed her hand.  From time to time he
peeped into her face as though to see what she would say.
  "Alyosha, darling, go and see Katerina Fyodorovna to-
morrow," she brought out at last.
  "I was thinking of that myself," he said, "I shall certainly
go."
  "But perhaps it will be painful for her to see you.  What's to
be done?"
  "I don't know, dear.  I thought of that too.  I'll look
round.  I shall see . . . then I'll decide.  Well, Natasha, every-
thing is changed for us now," Alyosha said, unable to contain
himself.
  She smiled and gave him a long, tender look.
  "And what delicacy he has.  He saw how poor your lodging is
and not a word ..."
  "Of what?"
  "Why . . . of your moving . . . or anything," he added
reddening.
  "Nonsense, Alyosha, why ever should he?"
  "That's just what I say.  He has such delicacy.  And how
he praised you!  I told you so . . . I told you.  Yes, he's
capable of understanding and feeling anything!  But he talked
of me as though I were a baby; they all treat me like that.
But I suppose I really am."
  "You're a child, but you see further than any of us.  You're
good, Alyosha!"
  "He said that my good heart would do me harm.  How's
that?  I don't understand.  But I say, Natasha, oughtn't I to
make haste and go to him?  I'll be with you as soon as it's light
to-morrow."
  "Yes, go, darling, go.  You were right to think of it.  And
be sure to show yourself to him, do you hear? And come to-
morrow as. early as you can.  You won't run away from me for
five days now?" she added slyly, with a caressing glance.
  We were all in a state of quiet, unruffled joy.
  "Are you coming with me, Vanya?" cried Alyosha as he went
out.
  "No, he'll stay a little.  I've something more to say to you,
Vanya.  Mind, quite early to-morrow."
  "Quite early.  Good-night, Mavra."
  Mavra was in great excitement.  She had listened to all the
prince said, she had overheard it all, but there was much she had
not understood.  She was Longing to ask questions, and make










surmises.  But meantime she looked serious, and even proud.
She, too, realized that much was changed.
  We remained alone.  Natasha took my hand, and for some
time was silent, as though seeking for something to say.
  "I'm tired," she said at last in a weak voice.  " Listen, are
you going to them to-morrow?"
  "Of course."
  "Tell mamma, but don't speak to him."
  "I never speak of you to him, anyway."
  "Of course; he'll find out without that.  But notice what he
says.  How he takes it.  Good heavens, Vanya, will he really
curse me for this marriage?  No, impossible."
  "The prince will have to make everything right," I put in
hurriedly.  "They must be reconciled and then everything will
go smoothly."
  "My God!  If that could only be!  If that could only be!"
she cried imploringly.
  "Don't worry yourself, Natasha, everything will come right.
Everything points to it."
  She looked at me intently.
  "Vanya, what do you think of the prince?"
  "If he was sincere in what he said, then to my thinking he's a
really generous man."
  "Sincere in what he said?  What does that mean?  Surely
he couldn't have been speaking insincerely?"
  "I agree with you," I answered.  "Then some idea did occur
to her," I thought.  "That's strange!"
  "You kept looking at him . . . so intently."
  "Yes, I thought him rather strange."
   "I thought so too.  He kept on talking so . . . my dear, I'm
tired.  You know, you'd better be going home.  And come to me
to-morrow as early as you can after seeing them.  And one
other thing: it wasn't rude of me to say that I wanted to get
fond of him, was it?"
  "No, why rude?"
  "And not . . . stupid?  You see it was as much as to say
that so far I didn't like him."
  "On the contrary, it was very good, simple, spontaneous.
You looked so beautiful at that moment!  He's stupid if he
doesn't understand that, with his aristocratic breeding!"
  "You seem as though you were angry with him, Vanya.  But
how horrid I am, how suspicious, and vain!  Don't laugh at me;
I hide nothing from you, you know.  Ah, Vanya, my dear!  If I
am unhappy again, if more trouble comes, you'll be here beside
me, I know; perhaps you'll be the only one!  How can I repay
you for everything!  Don't curse me ever, Vanya!"
  Returning home, I undressed at once and went to bed.  My
room was as dark and damp as a cellar.  Many strange thoughts
and sensations were hovering in my mind, and it was long before
I could get to sleep.
  But how one man must have been laughing at us that moment
as he fell asleep in his comfortable bed - that is, if he thought us
worth laughing at!  Probably he didn't.



                        CHAPTER III

AT ten o'clock next morning as I was coming out of my lodgings
hurrying off to the Ichmenyevs in Vassilyevsky Island, and
meaning to go from them to Natasha, I suddenly came upon
my yesterday's visitor, Smith's grandchild, at the door.  She
was coming to see me.  I don't know why, but I remember I
was awfully pleased to see her.  I had hardly had time to get
a good look at her the day before, and by daylight she surprised
me more than ever.  And, indeed, it would have been difficult
to have found a stranger or more original creature - in appear-
ance, anyway.  With her flashing black eyes, which looked
somehow foreign, her thick, dishevelled, black hair, and her
mute, fixed, enigmatic gaze, the little creature might well have
attracted the notice of anyone who passed her in the street.
The expression in her eyes was particularly striking.  There
was the light of intelligence in them, and at the same time an
inquisitorial mistrust, even suspicion.  Her dirty old frock
looked even more hopelessly tattered by daylight.  She seemed
to me to be suffering from some wasting, chronic disease that
was gradually and relentlessly destroying her.  Her pale, thin
face had an unnatural sallow, bilious tinge.  But in spite of all
the ugliness of poverty and illness, she was positively pretty.
Her eyebrows were strongly marked, delicate and beautiful.
Her broad, rather low brow was particularly beautiful, and her
lips were exquisitely formed with a peculiar proud bold line, but
they were pale and colourless.
  "Ah, you again!"  I cried. "Well, I thought you'd come!
Come in!"
  She came in, stepping through the doorway slowly just as
before, and looking about her mistrustfully. She looked care-
fully round the room where her grandfather had lived, as though
noting how far it had been changed by another inmate.
  "Well, the grandchild is just such another as the grandfather,"
I thought. "Is she mad, perhaps?"
  She still remained mute; I waited.
  "For the books!" she whispered at last, dropping her eves.
  "Oh yes, your books; here they are, take them! I've been
keeping them on purpose for you."
  She looked at me inquisitively, and her mouth worked strangely
as though she would venture on a mistrustful smile.  But the
effort at a smile passed and was replaced by the same severe
and enigmatic expression.
  "Grandfather didn't speak to you of me, did he?" she asked,
scanning me ironically from head to foot.
  "No, he didn't speak of you, but . . . "
  "Then how did you know I should come? Who told you?"
she asked, quickly interrupting me.
  "I thought your grandfather couldn't live alone, abandoned
by everyone.  He was so old and feeble; I thought someone
must be looking after him . . . Here are your books, take them.
Are they your lesson-books?"
 "No."
 "What do you want with them, then?"
 "Grandfather taught me when I used to see him."
 "Why did you leave off coming then?"
 "Afterwards . . . I didn't come.  I was ill," she added, as
though defending herself.
 "Tell me, have you a home, a father and mother?"
 She frowned suddenly and looked at me, seeming almost
scared.  Then she looked down, turned in silence and walked
softly out of the room without deigning to reply, just as she had
done the day before.  I looked after her in amazement.  But
she stood still in the doorway.
  "What did he die of?" she asked me abruptly, turning
slightly towards me with exactly the same movement and
gesture as the day before, when she had asked after Azorka,
stopping on her way out with her face to the door.
  I went up to her and began rapidly telling her.  She listened
mutely and with curiosity, her head bowed and her back turned
to me.  I told her, too, how the old man had mentioned Sixth
Street as he was dying.
  "I imagine" I added, "that someone dear to him live
there, and that's why, I expected someone would come to inquire
after him.  He must have loved, you, since he thought of you
at the last moment."
  "No," she whispered, almost unconsciously it seemed; "he
didn't love me."
  She was strangely moved.  As I told my story I bent down
and looked into her face.  I noticed that she was making
great effort to suppress her emotion, as though too proud to let
me see it.  She turned paler and paler and bit her lower lip
But what struck me especially was the strange thumping of her
heart.  It throbbed louder and louder, so that one could hear
it two or three paces off, as in cases of aneurysm.  I thought she
would suddenly burst into tears as she had done the day before
but she controlled herself.
  "And where is the fence?"
  "What fence?"
  "That he died under."
  "I will show you . . . when we go out.  But, tell me, what
do they call you?"
  "No need to."
  "No need to-what?"
  "Never mind . . . it doesn't matter. . . . They don't call
me anything," she brought out jerkily, seeming annoyed, an
she moved to go away.  I stopped her.
  "Wait a minute, you queer little girl!  Why, I only want
to help you.  I felt so sorry for you when I saw you crying in the
corner yesterday.  I can't bear to think of it.  Besides, your
grandfather died in my arms, and no doubt he was thinking of
you when he mentioned Sixth Street, so it's almost as if he
left you in my care.  I dream of him. . . . Here, I've kept
those books for you, but you're such a wild little thing, as though
you were afraid of me.  You must be very poor and an orphan
perhaps living among strangers; isn't that so?"
  I did my utmost to conciliate her, and I don't know how it
was she attracted me so much.  There was something beside
pity in my feeling for her.  Whether it was the mysteriousness
of the whole position, the impression made on me by Smith, or
my own fantastic mood - I can't say; but something drew me
irresistibly to her.  My words seemed to touch her.  She bent on
me a strange look, not severe now, but soft and deliberate, then
looked down again as though pondering.
  "Elena," she brought out unexpectedly, and in an extremely
low voice.
  "That's your name, Elena?"
  "Yes."
  "Well, will you come and see me?"
  "I can't. . . . I don't know . . . . .I will," she whispered,
as though pondering and struggling with herself.
  At that moment a clock somewhere struck.
  She started, and with an indescribable look of heart-sick
anguish she whispered:
  "What time was that?"
  "It must have been half-past ten."
  She gave a cry of alarm.
  "Oh, dear!" she cried and was making away.  But again
I stopped her in the passage.
  "I won't let you go like that," I said.  "What are you
afraid of?  Are you late?"
  "Yes, yes.  I came out secretly.  Let me go!  She'll beat
me," she cried out, evidently saying more than she meant to
and breaking away from me.
  "Listen, and don't rush away; you're going to Vassilyevsky
Island, so am I, to Thirteenth Street.  I'm late, too.  I'm
going to take a cab.  Will you come with me?  I'll take you.
You'll get there quicker than on foot.
  You can't come back with me, you can't!" she cried, even
more panic-stricken.  Her features positively worked with terror
at the thought that I might come to the house where she was
living.
  "But I tell you I'm going to Thirteenth Street on business
of my own.  I'm not coming to your home!  I won't follow
you.  We shall get there sooner with a cab.  Come along!"
  We hurried downstairs.  I hailed the first driver I met with
a miserable droshky.  It was evident Elena was in great haste,
since she consented to get in with me.  What was most baffling
was that I positively did not dare to question her.  She flung
up her arms and almost leapt off the droshky when I asked her
who it was at home she was so afraid of.  "What is the
mystery?" I thought.
   It was very awkward for her to sit on the droshky.  At every
jolt to keep her balance she clutched at my coat with her left
hand, a dirty, chapped little hand.  In the other hand she held
her books tightly.  One could see that those books were very
precious to her.  As she recovered her balance she happened to
show her leg, and to my immense astonishment I saw that she
had no stockings, nothing but torn shoes.  Though I had made
up my mind not to question her, I could not restrain myself
again.
  "Have you really no stockings?" I asked.  "How can you
go about barefoot in such wet weather and when it's so cold?"
  "No," she answered abruptly.
  "Good heavens!  But you must be living with someone!
You ought to ask someone to lend you stockings when you go
out."
  "I like it best. . . ."
  "But you'll get ill.  You'll die"
  "Let me die."
  She evidently did not want to answer and was angry at my
question.
  "Look! this was where he died," I said, pointing out the
house where the old man had died.
  She looked intently, and suddenly turning with an imploring
look, said to me:
  "For God's sake don't follow me.  But I'll come, I'll come
again!  As soon as I've a chance I'll come."
  "Very well.  I've told you already I won't follow you.  But
what are you afraid of?  You must be unhappy in some way.
It makes me sad to look at you."
  "I'm not afraid of anyone," she replied, with a note of irrita-
tion in her voice.
  "But you said just now 'she'll beat me'"
  "Let her beat me!" she answered, and her eyes flashed.
"Let her, let her!" she repeated bitterly, and her upper lip
quivered and was lifted disdainfully.
  At last we reached Vassilyevsky Island.  She stopped the
droshky at the beginning of Sixth Street, and jumped off, looking
anxiously round.
  "Drive away!  I'll come, I'll come," she repeated, terribly
uneasy, imploring me not to follow her.  "Get on, make haste,
make haste!"
  I drove on.  But after driving a few yards further along the
embankment I dismissed the cab, and going back to Sixth Street
ran quickly across the road.  I caught sight of her; she had
not got far away yet, though she was walking quickly, and
continually looking about her.  She even stopped once or twice
to look more carefully whether I were following her or not.  But
I hid in a handy gateway, and she did not see me.  She walked
on.  I followed her, keeping on the other side of the street.
  My curiosity was roused to the utmost.  Though I did not
intend to follow her in, I felt I must find which house she lived
in, to be ready in case of emergency.  I was overcome by a
strange, oppressive sensation, not unlike the impression her
grandfather had made on me when Azorka died in the
restaurant.



                         CHAPTER IV

WE walked a long way, as far as Little Avenue.  She was almost
running.  At last she went into a little shop.  I stood still and
waited.  "Surely she doesn't live at the shop," I thought.
  She did in fact come out a minute later, but without the books.
Instead of the books she had an earthenware cup in her hand.
Going on a little further she went in at the gateway of an un-
attractive-looking house.  It was an old stone house of two
storeys, painted a dirty-yellow colour, and not large.  In one
of the three windows on the ground floor there was a miniature
red coffin - as a sign that a working coffin-maker lived there.
The windows of the upper storey were extremely small and
perfectly square with dingy-green broken panes, through which
I caught a glimpse of pink cotton curtains.  I crossed the road,
went up to the house, and read on an iron plate over the gate,
"Mme.  Bubnov."
  But I had hardly deciphered the inscription when suddenly
I heard a piercing female scream, followed by shouts of abuse
in Mme. Bubnov's yard.  I peeped through the gate.  On the
wooden steps of the house stood a stout woman, dressed like a
working woman with a kerchief on her head, and a green shawl.
Her face was of a revolting purplish colour.  Her little, puffy,
bloodshot eves were gleaming with spite. It was evident that
she was not sober, though it was so early in the day.  She
was shrieking at poor Elena, who stood petrified. before her
with the cup in her hand. A dishevelled female, painted and
rouged, peeped from the stairs behind the purple-faced woman.
  A little later a door opened on the area steps leading to the
basement, and a poorly dressed, middle-aged woman of modest
and decent appearance came out on the steps, probably attracted
by the shouting.  The other inhabitants of the basement, a
decrepit-looking old man and a girl, looked out from the half-
opened door.  A big, hulking peasant, probably the porter,
stood still in the middle of the yard with the broom in his hand,
looking lazily at the scene.
  "Ah, you damned slut, you bloodsucker, you louse!" squealed
the woman, letting out at one breath all her store of abuse, for
the most part without commas or stops, but with a sort of gasp.
  So this is how you repay, me for my care of you, you ragged
wench.  She was just sent for some cucumbers and off she
slipped.  My heart told me she'd slip off when I sent her out!
My heart ached it did!  Only last night I all but pulled her
hair out for it, and here she runs off again to-day.  And
where have you to go, you trollop?  Where have you to go to?
Who do you go to, you damned mummy, you staring viper,
you poisonous vermin, who, who is it?  Speak, you rotten
scum, or I'll choke you where you stand!"
  And the infuriated woman flew at the poor girl, but, seeing the
woman looking at her from the basement steps, she suddenly
checked herself and, addressing her, squealed more shrilly than
ever, waving her arms as though calling her to witness the
monstrous crimes of her luckless victim.
  "Her mother's hopped the twig!  You all know, good neigh-
bours, she's left alone in the world.  I saw she was on your hands,
poor folks as you are, though you'd nothing to eat for yourselves.
There, thought I, for St. Nikolay's sake I'll put myself out and
take the orphan.  So I took her. and would you believe it, here
I've been keeping her these two months, and upon my word she's
been sucking my blood and wearing me to a shadow, the leech,
the rattlesnake, the obstinate limb of Satan.  You may beat her,
or you may let her alone, she won't speak.  She might have a
mouth full of water, the way she holds her tongue!  She breaks
my heart holding her tongue!  What do you take yourself for,
you saucy slut, you green monkey?  If it hadn't been for me
you'd have died of hunger in the street.  You ought to be ready to
wash my feet and drink the water, you monster, you black French
poker!  You'd have been done for but for me!"
  "But why are you upsetting yourself so, Anna Trifonovna?
How's she vexed you again?" respectfully inquired the woman
who had been addressed by the raving fury.
  "You needn't ask, my good soul, that you needn't.  I don't
like people going against me!  I am one for having things my
own way, right or wrong - I'm that sort!  She's almost sent me
to my grave this morning!  I sent her to the shop to get some
cucumbers, and it was three hours before she was back.  I'd a
feeling in my heart when I sent her--it ached it did, didn't it
ache!  Where's she been?  Where did she go?  What protectors
has she found for herself?  As though I'd not been a good friend
to her.  Why, I forgave her slut of a mother a debt of fourteen
roubles, buried her at my own expense, and took the little devil
to bring up, you know that, my dear soul, you know it yourself!
Why, have I no rights over her, after that?  She should feel it,
but instead of feeling it she goes against me!  I wished for her
good.  I wanted to put her in a muslin frock, the dirty slut!  I
bought her boots at the Gostiny Dvor, and decked her out like
a peacock, a sight for a holiday!  And would you believe it, good
friends, two days later she'd torn up the dress, torn it into rags,
and that's how she goes about, that's how she goes about!  And
what do you think, she tore it on purpose - I wouldn't tell a lie, I
saw it myself; as much as to say she would go in rags, she
wouldn't wear muslin!  Well, I paid, her out! I did give her a
drubbing!  Then I called in the doctor afterwards and had to
pay him, too.  If I throttled you, you vermin, I should be quit
with not touching milk for a week; that would be penance
enough for strangling you.  I made her scrub the floor for a
punishment; and what do you think, she scrubbed and scrubbed,
the jade!  It vexed me to see her scrubbing.  Well, thought I,
she'll run away from me now.  And I'd scarcely thought it when
I looked round and off she'd gone, yesterday.  You heard how I
beat her for it yesterday, good friends.  I made my arms ache.
I took away her shoes and stockings - she won't go off barefoot,
thought I; yet she gave me the slip to-day, too!  Where have
you been?  Speak!  Who have you been complaining of me to,
you nettle-seed?  Who have you been telling tales to?  Speak,
you gipsy, you foreign mask!  Speak!
  And in her frenzy, she rushed at the little girl, who stood
petrified with horror, clutched her by the hair, and flung her on
the ground.  The cup with the cucumbers in it was dashed aside
and broken.  This only increased the drunken fury's rage.  She
beat her victim about the face and the head; but Elena remained
obstinately mute; not a sound, not a cry, not a complaint
escaped her, even under the blows.
  I rushed into the yard, almost beside myself with indignation,
and went straight to the drunken woman.
  "What are you about?  How dare you treat a poor orphan
like that?" I cried, seizing the fury by her arm.
  "What's this?  Why, who are you?" she screamed, leaving
Elena, and putting her arms akimbo.  "What do you want in
my house?"
  "To tell you you're a heartless woman." I cried.  "How dare
you bully a poor child like that?  She's not yours. I've just
heard that she's only adopted, a poor orphan."
  "Lord Jesus!" cried the fury. "But who are you, poking
your nose in!  Did you come with her, eh?  I'll go straight to the
police-captain!  Andrey Timofeyitch himself treats me like a
lady.  Why, is it to see you she goes, eh?  Who is it?  He's come
to make an upset in another person's house.  Police!"
  And she flew at me, brandishing her fists.  But at that instant
we heard a piercing, inhuman shriek.  I looked.  Elena, who
had been standing as though unconscious, uttering a strange,
unnatural scream, fell with a thud on the ground, writhing in
awful convulsions.  Her face was working.  She was in an
epileptic fit.  The dishevelled female and the woman from the
basement ran, lifted her up, and hurriedly carried her up the
steps.
  "She may choke for me, the damned slut the woman
shrieked after her.  "That's the third fit this month! ... Get off,
you pickpocket" and she rushed at me again.  "Why are you
standing there, porter?  What do you get your wages for?"
  "Get along, get along!  Do you want a smack on the head?"
the porter boomed out lazily, apparently only as a matter of
form.  "Two's company and three's none.  Make your bow and
take your hook!"
  There was no help for it.  I went out at the gate, feeling that
my interference had been useless.  But I was boiling with indig-
nation.  I stood on, the pavement facing the gateway, and looked
through the gate.  As soon as I had gone out the woman rushed
up the steps, and the porter having done his duty vanished.  Soon
after, the woman who had helped to carry up Elena hurried down
the steps on the way to the basement.  Seeing me she stood still
and looked at me with curiosity.  Her quiet, good-natured face
encouraged me.  I went back into the yard and straight up to her.
  "Allow me to ask," I said, "who is that girl and what is that
horrible woman doing with her?  Please don't imagine that I
ask simply from curiosity.  I've met the girl, and owing to
special circumstances I am much interested in her."
  "If you're interested in her you'd better take her home or
find some place for her than let her come to ruin here," said the
woman with apparent reluctance, making a movement to get
away from me.
  "But if you don't tell me, what can I do?  I tell you I know
nothing about her.  I suppose that's Mme.  Bubnov herself, the
woman of the house?"
  "Yes"
  "Then how did the girl fall into her hands?  Did her mother
die here?"
  "Oh, I can't say.  It's not our business."
  And again she would have moved away.
  "But please do me a kindness.  I tell you it's very interesting
to me.  Perhaps I may be able to do something.  Who is the
girl?  What was her mother?  Do you know?"
  "She looked like a foreigner of some sort; she lived down
below with us; but she was ill; she died of consumption."
  "Then she must have been very poor if she shared a room in
the basement?"
  "Ough ! she was poor!  My heart was always aching for her.
We simply live from hand to mouth, yet she owed us six roubles
in the five months she lived with us.  We buried her, too.  My
husband made the coffin."
  "How was it then that woman said she'd buried her?"
  "As though she'd buried her!"
  "And what was her surname?"
  "I can't pronounce it, sir.  It's difficult.  It must have been
German."
  "Smith?"
  "No, not quite that.  Well, Anna Trifonovna took charge of
the orphan, to bring her up, she says.  But it's not the right
thing at all."
  "I suppose she took her for some object?"
  "She's a woman who's up to no good," answered the woman,
seeming to ponder and hesitate whether to speak or not.  "What
is it to us?  We're outsiders."
  "You'd better keep a check on your tongue," I heard a man's
voice say behind us.
  It was a middle-aged man in a dressing-gown, with a full-coat
over the dressing-gown, who looked like an artisan, the woman's
husband.
  "She's no call to be talking to you, sir; it's not our business,"
he said, looking askance at me.  "And you go in.  Good-bye,
sir; we're coffin-makers.  If you ever need anything in our way
we shall be pleased . . . but apart from that we've nothing to
say.
  I went out, musing, and greatly excited.  I could do nothing,
but I felt that it was hard for me to leave it like this.  Some words
dropped by the coffin-maker's wife revolted me particularly.
There was something wrong here; I felt that.
  I was walking away, looking down and meditating, when
suddenly a sharp voice called me by my surname.  I looked up.
Before me stood a man who had been drinking and was almost
staggering, dressed fairly neatly, though he had a shabby over-
coat and a greasy cap.  His face was very familiar.  I looked
more closely at it.  He winked at me and smiled ironically.
  "Don't you know me?"



                          CHAPTER V

  AH, why it's you, Masloboev!" I cried, suddenly recognizing
him as an old schoolfellow who had been at my provincial
gymnasium.  "Well, this is a meeting! "
  "Yes, a meeting indeed!  We've not met for six years.  Or
rather, we have met, but your excellency hasn't deigned to look
at me.  To be sure, you're a general, a literary one that is, eh!..."
  He smiled ironically as he said it.
  "Come, Masloboev,, old boy, you're talking nonsense!" I
interrupted.  "Generals look very different from me even if they
are literary ones, and besides, let me tell you, I certainly do
remember having met you twice in the street.  But you obviously.
avoided me.  And why should I go up to a man if I see he's
trying to avoid me?  And do you know what I believe?  If you
weren't drunk you wouldn't have called to me even now.  That's
true, isn't it?  Well, how are you?  I'm very, very glad to have
met you, my boy."
  "Really?  And I'm not compromising you by my . . .
'unconventional' appearance?  But there's no need to ask that.
It's not a great matter; I always remember what a jolly chap
you were, old Vanya.  Do you remember you took a thrashing for
me?  You held your tongue and didn't give me away, and,
instead of being grateful, I jeered at you for a week afterwards.
You're a blessed innocent!  Glad to see you, my dear soul!"
(We kissed each other.) "How many years I've been pining in
solitude - 'From morn till night, from dark till light but I've
not forgotten old times.  They're not easy to forget.  But what
have you been doing, what have you been doing?"
  "I?  Why, I'm pining in solitude, too."
  He gave me a long look, full of the deep feeling of a man
slightly inebriated; though he was a very good-natured fellow
at any time.
  "No, Vanya, your case is not like mine," he brought out at
last in a tragic tone.  "I've read it, Vanya, you know, I've read
it, I've read it! ... But I say, let us have a good talk!  Are you
in a hurry?"
  "I am in a hurry, and I must confess I'm very much upset
about something.  I'll tell you what's better.  Where do you
live?"
  "I'll tell you.  But that's not better; shall I tell you what is
better?"
  "Why, what?"
  "Why, this, do you see?" and he pointed out to me a sign a
few yards from where we were standing.  "You see, confec-
tioner's and restaurant; that is simply an eating-house, but it's
a good place.  I tell you it's a decent place, and the vodka -
there's no word for it!  It's come all the way from Kiev on foot.
I've tasted it, many a time I've tasted it, I know; and they
wouldn't dare offer me poor stuff here.  They know Filip
Filippitch. I'm Filip Filippitch, you know. Eh?  You make a
face?  No, let me have my say.  Now it's a quarter past eleven;
I've just looked.  Well, at twenty-five to twelve exactly I'll let
you go.  And in the meantime we'll drain the flowing bowl.
Twenty minutes for an old friend.  Is that right?"
  "If it will really be twenty minutes, all right; because, my
dear chap, I really am busy."
  "Well, that's a bargain.  But I tell you what.  Two words to
begin with: you don't look cheerful ... as though you were put
out about something, is that so?"
  "Yes."
  "I guessed it.   I am going in for the study of physiognomy,
you know; it's an occupation, too.  So, come along, we'll have a
talk.  In twenty minutes I shall have time in the first place to
sip the cup that cheers and to toss off a glass of birch wine, and
another of orange bitters, then a Parfait amour, and anything
else I can think of.  I drink, old man!  I'm good for nothing
except on a holiday before service.  But don't you drink.  I want
you just as you are.  Though if you did drink you'd betray a
peculiar nobility of soul.  Come along!  We'll have a little chat
and then part for another ten years.  I'm not fit company for
you, friend Vanya!"
  "Don't chatter so much, but come along.  You shall have
twenty minutes and then let me go."
  To get to the eating-house we had to go tip a wooden staircase
of two flights, leading from the street to the second storey.  But
on the stairs we suddenly came upon two gentlemen, very drunk.
Seeing us they moved aside, staggering.
  One of them was a very young and youthful-looking lad, with
an exaggeratedly stupid expression of face, with only a faint trace
of moustache and no beard.  He was dressed like a dandy, but
looked ridiculous, as though he were dressed up in someone else's
clothes.  He had expensive-looking rings on his fingers, an
expensive pin in his tie, and his hair was combed up into a crest
which looked particularly absurd.  He kept smiling and
sniggering.  His companion, a thick-set, corpulent, bald-headed
man of fifty, with a puffy, drunken, pock-marked face and a nose
like a button, was dressed rather carelessly, though he, too, had
a big pin in his tie and wore spectacles.  The expression of his
face was malicious and sensual.  His nasty, spiteful and suspicious-
looking little eyes were lost in fat and seemed to be peeping through
chinks.  Evidently they both knew Masloboev, but the fat man
made a momentary grimace of vexation on seeing us, while the
young man subsided into a grin of obsequious sweetness.  He even
took off his cap.  He was wearing a cap.
  "Excuse us, Filip Filippitch," he muttered, gazing tenderly at
him.
  "What's up?"
  "I beg your pardon - I'm . . . . " (He flicked at his collar.).
  Mitroshka's in there.  So it seems he's a scoundrel, Filip
Filippitch.
  "Well, what's the matter?"
  "Why, it seems so.... Why, last week he" (here he nodded
towards his companion) "got his mug smeared with sour cream
in a shocking place, all through that chap Mitroshka . . . khe-e."
  His companion, looking annoyed, poked him with his elbow.
  "You should come with us, Filip Filippitch.  We'd empty a
half-dozen.  May we hope for your company?"
  "No, my dear man, I can't now," answered Masloboev, "I've
business."
   "Khe-e! And I've a little business, too concerning
you...."
  Again his companion nudged him with his elbow.
  "Afterwards!  Afterwards!"
  Masloboev was unmistakably trying not to look at them.  But
no sooner had we entered the outer room, along the whole length
of which ran a fairly clean counter, covered with eatables, pies,
tarts, and decanters of different-coloured liqueurs, when Mas-
loboev drew me into a corner and said:
  "The young fellow's Sizobryuhov, the son of the celebrated
corn-dealer; he came in for half a million when his father died,
and now he's having a good time.  He went to Paris, and there
he got through no end of money.  He'd have spent all there,
perhaps, but he came in for another fortune when his uncle died,
and he came back from Paris.  So he's getting through the rest
of it here. In another year he'll be sending the hat round.
He's as stupid as a goose.  He goes about in the best restaurants
and in cellars and taverns, and with actresses, and he's trying
to get into the hussars - he's just applied for a commission.  The
other, the old fellow, Arhipov, is something in the way of a
merchant, too, or an agent; he had something to do with govern-
ment contracts, too.  He's a beast, a rogue, and now he's a
pal of Sizobryuhov's.  He's a Judas and a Falstaff both at once;
he's twice been made bankrupt, and he's a disgusting, sensual
brute, up to all sorts of tricks. I know one criminal affair in
that line that he was mixed up in ; but he managed to get off.
For one thing, I'm very glad I met him here; I was on the look-
out for him. . . .    He's plucking Sizobryuhov now, of course.
He knows all sorts of queer places, which is what makes him of
use to young fellows like that.  I've had a grudge against him
for ever so long.  Mitroshka's got a bone to pick with him, too
- that dashing-looking fellow with the gipsy face in the smart
tunic, standing by the window.  He deals in horses; he's
known to all the hussars about here.  I tell you, he's such a
clever rogue that he'll make a false bank-note before your very
eyes, and pass it off upon you though you've seen it.  He wears
a tunic, though it's a velvet one, and looks like a Slavophile
(though I think it suits him); but put him into a fine dress-coat,
or something like it, and take him to the English club and call
him the great landowner, count Barabanov; he'll pass for a
count for two hours, play whist, and talk like a count, and they'll
never guess; he'll take them in.  He'll come to a bad end.
Well, Mitroshka's got a great grudge against the fat man, for
Mitroshka's hard up just now.  Sizobryuhov used to be very
thick with him, but the fat man's carried him off before Mitroshka
had time to fleece him.  If they met in the eating-house just
now there must be something up.  I know something about it,
too, and can guess what it is, for Mitroshka and no one else told
me that they'd be here, and be hanging about these parts after
some mischief.  I want to take advantage of Mitroshka's hatred
for Arhipov, for I have my own reasons, and indeed I came here
chiefly on that account.  I don't want to let Mitroshka see, and
don't you keep looking at him, but when we go out he's sure
to come up of himself and tell me what I want to know. . . .
Now come along, Vanya, into the other room, do you see?
Now, Stepan," he said, addressing the waiter, "you understand
what I want."
  "Yes, sir."
  "And you'll bring it."
  "Yes, sir."
  "Mind you do.  Sit down, Vanya.  Why do you keep looking
at me like that?  I see you're looking at me.  Are you surprised?
Don't be surprised.  Anything may happen to a man, even what
he's never dreamed of . . . especially in the days when . . .
well, in the days when we used to cram Cornelius Nepos together.
And, Vanya, be sure of one thing: though Masloboev may have
strayed from the true path his heart is still unchanged, it's only
circumstances that have altered.  Though I may be in the soot
I'm no dirtier than the rest.  I set up for being a doctor, and
I trained as a teacher of Russian literature, and I wrote an article
on Gogol, and thought of going to the gold-diggings, and meant
to get married.  A living soul longs for something sweet in life,
and she consented, though I was so poor I had nothing to tempt
a cat with.  I was on the point of borrowing a pair of good boots
for the marriage ceremony, for mine had been in holes for eighteen
months. . . .   But I didn't get married.  She married a teacher
and I went as a counting-house clerk, not a commercial counting-
house, but just a counting-house.  But then the tune changed.
Years have rolled by, and though I'm not in the service, I make
enough to jog along: I take bribes without ruth and yet
stand firm for the truth.  I hunt with the hounds and I run
with the hare.  I have principles.  I know, for instance, that
one can't fight single-handed, and I mind my own business.
My business is chiefly in the confidential line, you understand."
  "You're not some sort of detective, are you?"
  "No, not exactly a detective, but I do take up jobs, partly
professionally, and partly on my own account, It's this way
Vanya: I drink vodka.  But as I haven't drunk my wits away,
I know what lies before me.  My time is past; there's no wash-
ing a black nag white.  One thing I will say: if the man in me
were not echoing still I should not have come up to you to-day,
Vanya.  You're right, I'd met you and seen you before, and
many a time I longed to speak, but still I didn't dare, and put
it off.  I'm not worthy of you.  And you were right, Vanya,
when you said that I spoke this time only because I was drunk
and though this is all awful rot we'll finish with me now.  We'd
better talk of you.  Well, my dear soul, I've read it! I've read.
it through.  I'm talking of your first-born.  When I read it,
I almost became a respectable man, my friend.  I was almost
becoming one, but I thought better of it, and preferred to remain
a disreputable man.  So there it is. . . ."
  And he said much more.  He got more and more drunk, and
became very maudlin, almost lachrymose.  Masloboev had
always been a capital fellow, but cunning, and as it were pre-
cocious; he had been a shrewd, crafty, artful dodger from his
school-days upwards, but he really had a good heart; he was
a lost man.  Among Russians there are many such.  They often
have great abilities, but everything seems topsy-turvy in them,
and what's more they are quite capable of acting against their
conscience in certain cases through weakness, and not only come
to ruin, but know beforehand that they are on the road to ruin.
Masloboev, for instance, was drowning in vodka.
  "One more word now, friend," he went on.  "I heard what
a noise your fame made at first; I read several criticisms on
you afterwards. (I really did; you imagine I never read any-
thing.) I met you afterwards in shabby boots, in the mud
without goulashes, with a battered hat, and I drew my own
conclusions.  You're going in for being a journalist now, eh?"
  "Yes, Masloboev."
  "Joined the literary hacks, I suppose?"
  "That's about it."
  "Well, I tell you what then, my boy: drinking's better.
Here I drink; I lie on the sofa (and I have a capital sofa with
springs), and I imagine myself Homer, or Dante, or some Frederick
Barbarossa - one can fancy what one likes, you know, but you
can't fancy yourself a Dante, or a Frederick Barbarossa, in the
first place because you want to be yourself, and secondly because
all wishing is forbidden you; for you're a literary hack.  I have
fancy, but you have reality.     Listen, tell me openly straight-
forwardly, speaking as a brother (if you won't you'll offend and
humiliate me for ten years), don't you want money? I've plenty.
Oh, don't make faces.  Take some of it, pay off the entre-
preneurs, throw off the yoke, then, when you're secure of a year's
living, settle down to a cherished idea, write a great book.
Eh? What do you say?"
  "Listen, Masloboev! I appreciate your brotherly offer, but I
can't make any answer at present, and the reason why is a long
story.  There are circumstances.  But I promise that I'll tell you
everything afterwards, like a brother.  I thank you for your offer.
I promise that I'll come to you, and I'll come often. But this is
what I want to tell you.  You have been open with me, and so
I've made up my mind to ask your advice, especially as I believe
you're first-rate in such affairs."
  I told him the whole story of Smith and his granddaughter,
beginning with the scene in the restaurant.  Strange to say, as I
told my tale it seemed to me from his eyes that he knew some-
thing about the story.  I asked him.
  "No, not exactly," he answered, "though I had heard some-
thing about Smith, a story of some old man dying in a restaurant.
But I really do know something about Mme. Bubnov.  Only two
months ago I got some money out of that lady. je prends mon
bien ou je le trouve, and that's the only respect in which I am like
Moliere.  Though I squeezed a hundred roubles out of her, I
vowed at the time I'd wring another five hundred out of her
before I'd done.  She's a nasty woman!  She's in an unmention-
able line of business.  That wouldn't matter, but sometimes it
goes too far.  Don't imagine I'm a Don Quixote, please.  The
point is that I may make a very good thing of it, and when I met
Sizobryuhov half an hour ago I was awfully pleased.  Sizobryuhov
was evidently brought here, and the fat man brought him, and as
I know what the fat man's special trade is, I conclude ... oh,
well, I'll show him up!  I'm very glad I heard from you about
that girl; it's another clue for me.  I undertake all sorts of
private jobs, you know, and I know some queer people!  I in-
vestigated a little affair for a prince not long ago, an affair, I tell
you, one wouldn't have expected from that prince.  Or would you
care to hear another story about a married woman?  You come
and see me, old man, and I shall have subjects ready for you that
people will never believe in if you write about them. . . ."
  "And what was the name of that prince?" I asked, with a
foreboding of something.
  "What do you want to know for? All right, it's Valkovsky."
  "Pyotr?"
  "Yes.  Do you know him?
  "Yes, but not very well.  Well, Masloboev, I shall come to you
to inquire about that gentleman more than once again," I said,
getting up.  "You've interested me greatly."
  "Well, old boy, you can come as often as you like.  I can tell
you fine tales, though only within certain limits, do you under-
stand? Or else one loses one's credit and honour, in business,
that is, and all the rest of it."
  "All right, as far as honour permits."
  I was really agitated.  He noticed it.
  "Well, what do you say about the story I told you? Have
you thought of something?"
  "Your story? Well, wait a couple of minutes.  I will pay."
  He went up to the buffet, and there, as though by chance,
stood close by the young man in the tunic, who was so un-
ceremoniously called Mitroshka.  It seemed to me that Masloboev
knew him a good deal better than he had admitted to me.  Any-
way, it was evident that they were not meeting for the first time.
  Mitroshka was a rather original-looking fellow.  In his sleeve-
less tunic and red silk shirt, with his sharp but handsome features,
with his young-looking, swarthy face, and his bold, sparkling eyes
he made a curious and not unattractive impression.  There was
an assumption of jauntiness in his gestures, and yet at the moment
he was evidently restraining himself, aiming rather at an air of
businesslike gravity and sedateness.
  "Look here, Vanya," said Masloboev, when he rejoined me,
"look me up this evening at seven o'clock, and I may have some-
thing to tell you.  By myself, you see, I'm no use; in old days I
was, but now I'm only a drunkard and have got out of the way
of things.  But I've still kept my old connexions; I may find out
something.  I sniff about among all sorts of sharp people; that's
how I get on.  In my free time, that is when I'm sober, I do some-
thing myself, it's true, through friends, too . . . mostly in the
investigation line.... But that's neither here nor there.  Enough.
Here's my address, in Shestilavotchny Street.  But now, my boy,
I'm really too far gone.  I'll swallow another - and home.  I'll lie
down a bit.  If you come I'll introduce you to Alexandra
Semyonovna, and if there's time we'll discuss poetry."
  "Well, and that too?"
  "All right; that, too, perhaps."
  "Perhaps I will come. I'll certainly come."



                     CHAPTER VI

 ANNA ANDREYEVNA had long been expecting me.  What I had
 told her the day before, about Natasha's note, had greatly excited
 her curiosity; and she had expected me much earlier in the
 morning, by ten o'clock at the latest.  By the time I turned up at
 two o'clock in the afternoon the poor woman's agonies of suspense
had reached an extreme pitch.  She was longing, too, to talk to
me of the new hopes aroused in her the day before, and of Nikolay
Sergeyitch, who had been ailing since then, who was gloomy, and
at the same time seemed specially tender to her. When I made
my appearance she received me with an expression of coldness
and displeasure in her face, hardly opened her mouth, and showed
no sign of interest, almost as though she would ask why I had
come, and what possessed me to drop in every day.  She was
angry at my coming so late.  But I was in a hurry, and without
further delay I described to her the whole scene at Natasha's the
evening before.  As soon as she heard of the elder prince's visit
and his solemn proposal, her assumed indifference vanished
instantly.  I cannot find words to describe how delighted she was;
she seemed quite beside herself, crossed herself, shed tears, bowed
down before the ikons, embraced me, and was on the point of
running to Nikolay Sergeyitch to tell him of her joy.
    Bless me, my dear, why, it's all the insults and humiliation
he's been through that are making him ill, and as soon as he
knows that full reparation will be made to Natasha, he'll forget
it all in a twinkling."
  I had much ado to dissuade her.  Though the good lady had
lived twenty-five years with her husband she did not understand
him.  She was desperately anxious, too, to set off with me
immediately to Natasha's.  I put it to her not only that Nikolay
Sergeyitch would disapprove of her action, but that we might
even ruin the whole business by going.  With difficulty she was
brought to think better of it, but she detained me another half-
hour unnecessarily, talking herself the whole time.
  "With whom shall I be left here?" she said, "sitting alone
within four walls with such joy in my heart?"
  At last I persuaded her to let me go, reminding her that
Natasha must be sick of waiting for me.  She made the sign of
the cross several times to bless me on my way, sent a special
blessing to Natasha, and almost shed tears when I absolutely
refused to come back again that evening, unless anything special
had happened at Natasha's.  I did not see Nicholay Sergeyitch
on this occasion; he had been awake all night, complained of a
headache, a chill, and was now asleep in his study.
  Natasha, too, had been expecting me all the morning.  When
I went in she was, as usual, walking up and down the room, with
her hands clasped, meditating.  Even now when I think of her I
always see her alone in a poor room, dreamy, deserted, waiting
with folded hands and downcast eyes, walking aimlessly up and
down.
  Still walking up and down she asked me in a low voice why I
was so late.  I gave her a brief account of all my adventures, but
she scarcely listened.  One could see she was in great anxiety
about something.
  "Anything fresh?" I asked her.
  "Nothing fresh," she answered.  But I guessed at once from
her face that there was something fresh, and that she was expect-
ing me on purpose to tell me, and she would tell me, not at once
but just as I was going, as she always did.
  That was always our habit.  I was used to her and I waited.
We began, of course, talking of the previous evening.  I was
particularly struck by the fact that we were quite agreed in our
impression of Prince Valkovsky; and she positively disliked him,
disliked him much more than she had at the time.  And when we
analysed the visit, point by point, Natasha suddenly said:
  "Listen, Vanya, you know it's always like that, if one doesn't
like a man at first, it's almost a sure sign that one will like him
afterwards.  That's how it's always been with me, anyway."
  "Let us hope so, Natasha.  And this is my opinion, and it's a
final one.  I went over it all, and what I deduced was that though
the prince was perhaps Jesuitical, he is giving his consent to your
marriage genuinely and in earnest."
  Natasha stood still in the middle of the room and looked at me
sternly.  Her whole face was transformed; her lips twitched a
little.
  "But how could he in a case like this begin deceiving and ...
lying?"
  "Of course not, of course not!"  I assented hurriedly.
  "Of course he wasn't lying.  It seems to me there's no need to
think of that.  There's no excuse to be found for such deception.
And, indeed, am I so abject in his eyes that he could jeer at me
like that? Could any man be capable of such an insult?"
  "Of course not, of course not," I agreed, thinking to myself,
"you're thinking of nothing else as you pace up and down, my
poor girl, and very likely you're more doubtful about it than I
am."
  "Ah, how I could wish he were coming back sooner!" she said.
"He wanted to spend the whole evening with me, and then....
It must have been important business, since he's given it all up
and gone away.  You don't know what it was, Vanya? You
haven't heard anything?"
  "The Lord only knows.  You know he's always making money.
I've heard he's taking up a share in some contract in Petersburg.
We know nothing about business, Natasha."
  "Of course we don't.  Alyosha talked of some letter yesterday."
  "News of some sort. Has Alyosha been here?
  "Yes."
  "Early?"
  "At twelve o'clock; he sleeps late, you know.  He stayed a
little while.  I sent him off to Katerina Fyodorovna.  Shouldn't
I have, Vanya?"
  "Why, didn't he mean to go himself?"
  "Yes, he did."
  She was about to say more, but checked herself.  I looked at
her and waited.  Her face was sad.  I would have questioned her,
but she sometimes particularly disliked questions.
  "He's a strange boy." she said at last, with a slight twist of
her mouth, trying not to look at me.
  "Why? I suppose something's happened?"
  "No, nothing; I just thought so.... He was sweet, though.
. . . But already . . ."
  "All his cares and anxieties are over now," said I.
  Natasha looked intently and searchingly at me.  She felt
inclined perhaps to answer, "he hadn't many cares or anxieties
before," but she fancied that my words covered the same thought.
She pouted.
  But she became friendly and cordial again at once.  This time
she was extraordinarily gentle.  I spent more than an hour with
her.  She was very uneasy.  The prince had frightened her.  I
noticed from some of her questions that she was very anxious to
know what sort of impression she had made on him.  Had she
behaved properly? Hadn't she betrayed her joy too openly?
Had she been too ready to take offence? Or on the contrary too
conciliatory? He mustn't imagine anything.  He mustn't laugh
at her!  He mustn't feel contempt for her! . . . Her cheeks
glowed like fire at the thought!
  How can you be so upset simply at a bad man's imagining
something? Let him imagine anything!" said I.
  "Why is he bad?" she asked.
  Natasha was suspicious but pure-hearted and straightforward.
Her doubts came from no impure source.  She was proud and
with a fine pride, and would not endure what she looked upon as
higher than anything to be turned into a laughing-stock before
her.  She would, of course, have met with contempt the contempt
of a base man, but at the same time her heart would have ached
at mockery of what she thought sacred, whoever had been the
mocker.  This was not due to any lack of firmness.  It arose
partly from too limited a knowledge of the world, from being
unaccustomed to people from having been shut up in her own
little groove.  She had spent all her life in her own little corner
and had hardly left it.  And finally that characteristic of good-
natured people, inherited perhaps from her father - the habit of
thinking highly of people, of persistently thinking them better
that they really are, warmly exaggerating everything good in
them - was highly developed in her.  It is hard for such people
to be disillusioned afterwards; and it is hardest of all when one
feels one is oneself to blame.  Why did one expect more than
could be given?  And such a disappointment is always in store
for such people.  It is best for them to stay quietly in their
corners and not to go out into the world;  I have noticed, in fact,
that they really love their corners so much that they grow shy
and unsociable in them.  Natasha, however, had suffered many
misfortunes, many mortifications, She was already a wounded
creature, and she cannot be blamed, if indeed there be any blame
in what I have said.
  But I was in a hurry and got up to go.  She was surprised and
almost cried at my going, though she had shown no particular
affection for me all the while I was with her; on the contrary,
she seemed rather colder to me than usual.  She kissed me
warmly and looked for a long time into my face.
  "Listen," she said.  "Alyosha was very absurd this morning
and quite surprised me.  He was very sweet, very happy ap-
parently. but flew in, such a butterfly - such a dandy, and kept
prinking before the looking-glass.  He's a little too unceremonious
now....  Yes, and he didn't stay long. Fancy, he brought me
some sweets."
  "Sweets? Why, that's very charming and simple-hearted,
Ah, what a pair you are.  Now you've begun watching and spying
on one another, studying each other's faces, and reading hidden
thoughts in them (and understanding nothing about it).  He's
not different.  He's merry and schoolboyish as he always was.
But you, you!"
  And whenever Natasha changed her tone and came to me with
some complaint against Alyosha, or to ask for a solution of some
ticklish question, or to tell me some secret, expecting me to
understand her at half a word, she always, I remember, looked at
me with a smile, as it were imploring me to answer somehow so
that she should feel happy at heart at once.  And I remember,
too, I always in such cases assumed a severe and harsh tone as
though scolding someone, and this happened quite unconsciously
with me, but it was always successful.  My severity and gravity
were what was wanted; they seemed more authoritative, and
people sometimes feel an irresistible craving to be scolded.
Natasha was sometimes left quite consoled.
  "No, Vanya, you see," she went on, keeping one of her little
hands on my shoulder, while her other pressed my hand and her
eyes looked into mine, "I fancied that he was somehow too little
affected ... he seemed already such a man - you know, as though
he'd been married ten years but was still polite to his wife.  Isn't
that very premature? ...    He laughed, and prinked, but just as
though all that didn't matter, as though it only partly concerned
me, not as it used to be ... he was in a great hurry to see Katerina
Fyodorovna. . . .   If I spoke to him he didn't listen to me, or
began talking of something else, you know, that horrid, aristo-
cratic habit we've both been getting him out of.  In fact, he was
too . . . even indifferent it seemed ... but what am I saying!
Here I'm doing it, here I've begun!  Ah, what exacting, capricious
despots we all are, Vanya! Only now I see it! We can't forgive
a man for a trifling change in his face, and God knows what has
made his face change!  You were right, Vanya, in reproaching me
just now!  It's all my fault!  We make our own troubles and then
we complain of them. . . .      Thanks, Vanya, you have quite
comforted me.  Ah, if he would only come to-day!  But there
perhaps he'll be angry for what happened this morning."
  "Surely you haven't quarrelled already!" I cried with
surprise.
  "I made no sign!  But I was a little sad, and though he came
in so cheerful he suddenly became thoughtful, and I fancied he
said good-bye coldly. Yes, I'll send for him. . . . You come,
too, to-day, Vanya."
  "Yes, I'll be sure to, unless I'm detained by one thing."
  "Why, what thing is it?"
  "I've brought it on myself! But I think I'm sure to come all
 the same. "


                        CHAPTER VII

AT seven o'clock precisely I was at Masloboev's.  He lived in
lodge, a little house, in Shestilavotchny Street.  He had three
rather grubby but not badly furnished rooms.  There was even 
the appearance of some prosperity, at the same time an extreme
slovenliness.  The door was opened by a very pretty girl of
nineteen, plainly but charmingly dressed, clean, and with very
good-natured, merry eyes.  I guessed at once that this was the
Alexandra Semyonovna to whom he had made passing allusion
that morning, holding out an introduction to her as an allurement
to me.  She asked who I was, and hearing my name said that
Masloboev was expecting me, but that he was asleep now in his
room, to which she took me.  Masloboev was asleep on a very
good soft sofa with his dirty great-coat over him, and a shabby
leather pillow under his head.  He was sleeping very lightly.
As soon as we went in he called me by my name.
  "Ah, that was you? I was expecting you.  I was just dreaming
you'd come in and wake me.  So it's time.  Come along."
  "Where are we going?
  "To see a lady."
  "What lady?  Why?"
  "Mme.  Bubnov, to pay her out.  Isn't she a beauty?" he
drawled, turning to Alexandra Semyonovna, and he positively
kissed his finger-tips at the thought of Mme. Bubnov.
  "Get along, you're making it up!" said Alexandra Semyon-
ovna, feeling it incumbent on her to make a show of anger.
  "Don't you know her? Let me introduce you, old man.
Here, Alexandra Semyonovna, let me present to you a literary
general; it's only once a year he's on view for nothing, at other
times you have to pay."
  "Here he is up to his nonsense again! Don't you listen to
him; he's always laughing at me.  How can this gentleman be a
general!"
  "That's just what I tell you, he's a special sort.  But don't
you imagine, your excellency, that we're silly; we are much
cleverer than we seem at first sight."
  "Don't listen to him!  He's always putting me to confusion
before honest folk, the shameless fellow.  He'd much better take
me to the theatre sometimes."
  "Alexandra Semyonovna, love your household.... Haven't
you forgotten what you must love?  Haven't you forgotten the
word? the one I taught you!"
  "Of course I haven't!  It means some nonsense."
  "Well, what was the word then?"
  "As if I were going to disgrace myself before a visitor! Most
likely it means something shameful.  Strike me dumb if I'll say
it!"
  "Well, you have forgotten then."
  "Well, I haven't then, penates! ... love your penates, that's
what he invents!  Perhaps there never were any penates.  An
why should one love them? He's always talking nonsense!"
  "But at Mme.  Bubnov's . . . "
  "Foo! You and your Bubnov!"
  And Alexandra Semyonovna ran out of the room in great
indignation.
  "It's time to go.  Good-bye, Alexandra Semyonovna."
  We went out.
  "Look here, Vanya, first let's get into this cab.  That's right
And secondly, I found out something after I had said good-by
to you yesterday, and not by guesswork, but for a certainty
I spent, a whole hour in Vassilyevsky Island. That fat man
an awful scoundrel, a nasty, filthy brute, up to all sorts of trick
and with vile tastes of all kinds.  This Bubnov has long been
notorious for some shifty doings in the same line.  She was almost
caught over a little girl of respectable family the other day.
The muslin dress she dressed that orphan up in (as you described
this morning) won't let me rest, because I've heard something of
the sort already.  I learnt something else this morning, quite by
chance, but I think I can rely on it.  How old is she?"
  "From her face I should say thirteen."
  "But small for her age.  Well, this is how she'll do, then.
When need be she'll say she's eleven, and another time that
she's fifteen.  And as the poor child has no one to protect her
she's . . ."
  "Is it possible!"
  "What do you suppose?  Mme.  Bubnov wouldn't have
adopted an orphan simply out of compassion.  And if the fat
man's hanging round, you may be sure it's that.  He saw her
yesterday.  And that blockhead Sizobryuhov's been promised a
beauty to-day, a married woman, an officer's wife, a woman of
rank.  These profligate merchants' sons are always keen on that;
they're always on the look-out for rank.  It's like that rule in the
Latin grammar, do you remember: the significance takes pre-
cedence of the ending.  But I believe I'm still drunk from this
morning.  But Bubnov had better not dare meddle in such doings.
She wants to dupe the police, too; but that's rot!  And so I'll
give her a scare, for she knows that for the sake of old scores. . .
and all the rest of it, do you understand?"
  I was terribly shocked.  All these revelations alarmed me.
I kept being afraid we were too late and urged on the cabman.
  "Don't be uneasy.  Measures have been taken," said Mas-
loboev.  "Mitroshka's there.  Sizobryulov will pay for it with
money; but the fat scoundrel with his skin.  That was settled
this morning.  Well, and Bubnov comes to my share . . . for
don't let her dare . . ."
  We drew up at the eating-house; but the man called Mitroshka
was not there.  Telling the cabman to wait for us at the eating-
house steps, we walked to Mme.  Bubnov's.  Mitroshka was
waiting for us at the gate.  There was a bright light in the
windows, and we heard Sizobryuhov's drunken, giggling laugh.
  "They're all here, have been a quarter of an hour," Mitroshka
 announced; "now's the very time."
  "But how shall we get in?" I asked.
  "As visitors," replied Masloboev.  "She knows me, and she
knows Mitroshka, too.  It's true it's all locked up, but not for us."
  He tapped softly at the gate, and it was immediately opened.
The porter opened it and exchanged a signal with Mitroshka.
We went in quietly; we were not heard from the house.  The
porter led us up the steps and knocked.  His name was called
from within.  He answered that a gentleman said he wanted to
speak to her.
  The door was opened and we all went in together.  The porter
vanished.
  "Aie, who's this?" screamed Mme.  Bubnov, standing drunken
and dishevelled in the tiny entry with the candle in her hand.
  "Who?" answered Masloboev quickly.  "How can you ask,
Anna Trifonovna.  Don't you know your honoured guests?
Who, if not me? Filip Filippitch."
  "Ah, Filip Filippitch! It's you ... very welcome.... But
 how is it you....   I don't know  ...  please walk in."
 She was completely taken aback.
 "Where? Here? But there's a partition here!  No, you must
give us a better reception.  We'll have a drop of champagne.
But aren't there any little mam'zelles?"
  The woman regained her confidence at once.
  "Why, for such honoured guests I'd get them if I had to dig
for them underground.  I'd send for them from the kingdom of
China."
  "Two words, Anna Trifonovna, darling; is Sizobryuhov
here?
  "Yes."
  "He's just the man I want.  How dare he go off on the spree
without me, the rascal?"
  "I expect he has not forgotten you.  He seems expecting
someone; it must be you."
  Masloboev pushed the door, and we found ourselves in a small
room with two windows with geraniums in them, with wicker-
work chairs, and a wretched-looking piano; all as one would
expect.  But even before we went in, while we were still talking
in the passage, Mitroshka had disappeared.  I learned afterwards
that he had not come in, but had been waiting behind the door.
He had someone to open it to him afterwards.  The dishevelled
and painted woman I had seen peeping over Mme.  Bubnov's
shoulder that morning was a pal of his.
  Sizobryuhov was sitting on a skimpy little sofa of imitation
mahogany, before a round table with a cloth on it.  On the table
were two bottles of tepid champagne, and a bottle of horrible
rum; and there were plates of sweets from the confectioner's,
biscuits, and nuts of three sorts.  At the table facing Sizobryuhov
sat a repulsive-looking, pock-marked female of forty wearing a
black taffeta dress and a bronze brooch and bracelets.  This was
the "officer's wife," unmistakably a sham.  Sizobryuhov was
drunk and perfectly satisfied.  His fat friend was nor with him.
  "That's how people behave!" Masloboev bawled at the top
of his voice.  "After inviting one to Dussot's, too!"
  "Filip Filippitch, doing us the pleasure?" muttered Sizo-
bryuhov, getting up to meet us with a blissful air.
  "Are you drinking?
  "Excuse me."
  "Don't apologize, but invite your guests to join you.  We've
come to keep it up with you.  Here, I've brought a friend to
join us."
  Masloboev pointed to me.
  "Delighted, that is, you do me pleasure....   K-k-k-he!"
  "Ugh, do you call this champagne? It's more like kvas."
  "You insult me."
  "So you don't dare show yourself at Dussot's! And after
inviting one!"
  "He's just been telling me he's been in Paris," put in the
officer's wife.  "He must be fibbing."
  "Fedosya Titishna, don't insult me.  I have been there.  I've
travelled."
  "A peasant like him in Paris!"
  "We have been!  We could!  Me and Karp Vassilitch - we
cut a dash there.  Do you know Karp Vassilitch?"
  "What do I want with your Karp Vassilitch?"
  "Why, it's only just ... it might be worth your while.  Why,
it was there, in Paris, at Mme. Joubert's, we broke an English
pier-glass."
  "What did you break?"
  A pier-glass.  There was a looking-glass over the whole wall
and Karp Vassilitch was that drunk that he began jabbering
Russian to Mme. Joubert.  He stood by that pier-glass and leaned
his elbow against it.  And Joubert screamed at him in her own
way, that the pier-glass cost seven hundred francs (that is four
hundred roubles), and that he'd break it! He grinned and looked
at me.  And I was sitting on a sofa opposite, and a beauty beside
me, not a mug like this one here, but a stunner, that's the only
word for it.  He cries out, ' Stepan Terentyitch, hi, Stepan
Terentyitch!  We'll go halves, shall we? ' And I said 'Done!'
And then he banged his fist on the looking-glass, crash! The
glass was all in splinters. Joubert squealed and went for him
straight in the face: 'What are you about, you ruffian? ' (In
her own lingo, that is.) 'Mme.  Joubert,' says he, 'here's the
price of it and don't disperse my character.' And on the spot he
forked out six hundred and fifty francs.  They haggled over the
other fifty."
  At that moment a terrible, piercing shriek was heard two or
three rooms away from the one in which we were.  I shuddered,
and I, too, cried out.  I recognized that shriek : it was the voice
of Elena.  Immediately after that pitiful shriek we heard other
outcries, oaths, a scuffle, and finally the loud, resonant, distinct
sound of a slap in the face.  It was probably Mitroshka inflicting
retribution in his own fashion.  Suddenly the door was violently
flung open and Elena rushed into the room with a white face and
dazed eyes in a white muslin dress, crumpled and torn, and her
hair, which had been carefully arranged, dishevelled as though
by a struggle.  I stood facing the door, and she rushed straight
to me and flung her arms round me.  Everyone jumped up.
Everybody was alarmed.  There were shouts and exclamations
when she appeared.  Then Mitroshka appeared in the doorway,
dragging after him by the hair his fat enemy, who was in a
hopelessly dishevelled condition.  He dragged him up to the door
and flung him into the room.
  "Here he is!  Take him!" Mitroshka brought out with an air
of complete satisfaction.
  "I say," said Masloboev, coming quietly up to me and tapping
me on the shoulder, "take our cab, take the child with you and
drive home; there's nothing more for you to do here.  We'll
arrange the rest to-morrow."
  I did not need telling twice.  I seized Elena by the arm and
took her out of that den.  I don't know how things ended there-
No one stopped us.  Mme.  Bubnov was panic-stricken.  Every-
thing had passed so quickly that she did not know how to inter-
fere.  The cab was waiting for us, and in twenty minutes we were
at my lodgings.
  Elena seemed half-dead.  I unfastened the hooks of her dress,
sprinkled her with water, and laid her on the sofa.  She began to
be feverish and delirious.  I looked at her white little face, at her
colourless lips, at her black hair, which had been done up carefully
and pomaded, though it had come down on one side, at her whole
get-up, at the pink bows which still remained here and there on
her dress - and I had no doubt at all about the revolting facts.
Poor little thing!  She grew worse and worse.  I did not leave
her, and I made up my mind not to go to Natasha's that evening.
From time to time Elena raised her long, arrow-like eyelashes to
look at me, and gazed long and intently as though she recognize
me. It was late, past midnight, when at last she fell asleep.  I
slept on the floor not far from her.



                        CHAPTER VIII

I GOT up very early.  I had waked up almost every half hour
through the night, and gone up to look intently at my poor little
visitor.  She was in a fever and slightly delirious.  But towards
morning she fell into a sound sleep.  A good sign, I thought, but
when I waked in the morning I decided to run for the doctor'
while the poor little thing was still asleep.  I knew a doctor, a
very good-natured old bachelor, who with his German house-
keeper had lived in Vladimirsky Street from time immemorial.
I set off to him.  He promised to be with me at ten o'clock.  It
was eight when I reached him.  I felt much inclined to call in at
Masloboev's on the way, but I thought better of it.  He was sure
not to be awake yet after yesterday; besides, Elena might wake
up and be frightened at finding herself alone in my room.  In her
feverish state she might well forget how and when she had come
there.
  She waked up at the moment when I went into the room.
I went up to her and cautiously asked her how she felt.  She did
not answer, but bent a long, long, intent look upon me with her
expressive black eyes.  I thought from the look in her eyes that
she was fully conscious and understood what had happened.
Her not answering me perhaps was just her invariable habit.
Both on the previous day and on the day before that when she
had come to see me she had not uttered a word in answer to some
of my questions, but had only looked into my face with her slow,
persistent stare, in which there was a strange pride as well as
wonder and wild curiosity.  Now I noticed a severity, even a sort
of mistrustfulness in her eyes.  I was putting my hand on her
forehead to feel whether she were still feverish, but quietly, with-
out a word, she put back my hand with her little one and turned
away from me to the wall.  I walked away that I might not worry
her.
  I had a big copper kettle.  I had long used it instead of a
samovar, for boiling water.  I had wood, the porter had brought
me up enough to last for five days.  I lighted the stove, fetched
some water and put the tea-pot on.  I laid the tea-things on the
table.  Elena turned towards me and watched it all with curiosity.
I asked her whether she would not have something.  But again
she turned away from me and made no answer.
  "Why is she angry with me?" I wondered.  "Queer little
girl!"
My old doctor came at ten o'clock as he had promised.
He examined the patient with German thoroughness, and
greatly cheered me by saying that though she was feverish there
was no special danger.  He added that she probably had another
chronic disease, some irregularity in the action of the heart, "but
that point would want special watching, for now she's out of
danger." More from habit than necessity he prescribed her a
mixture and some powders, and at once proceeded to ask me how
she came to be with me.  At the same time he looked about my
room wanderingly.  The old man was an awful chatterbox.
He was struck with Elena.  She pulled her hand away when he
tried to feel her pulse, and would not show him her tongue; to
all his questions she did not answer one word.  All the while she
stared intently at the enormous Stanislav Order that hung upon
his neck.
  "Most likely her head is aching badly," said the old man,
but how she does stare!"
I did not think it necessary to tell him all about Elena, so I
put him off, saying it was a long story.
  "Let me know if there's any need," said he as he went away
"But at present there's no danger."
  I made up my mind to stay all day with Elena, and to leave her
alone as rarely as possible till she was quite well.  But knowing
that Natasha and Anna Andreyevna would be worried if they
expected me in vain, I decided to let Natasha know by post that
I could not be with her that day.  I could not write to Anna
Andreyevna.  She had asked me herself once for all not to send
her letters, after I had once sent her news when Natasha was ill
"My old man scowls when he sees a letter from you," she said
"He wants to know, poor dear, what's in the letter, and he can't
ask, he can't bring himself to.  And so he's upset for the whole
day.  And besides, my dear, you only tantalize me with letters.
What's the use of a dozen lines?  One wants to ask the details and
you're not there." And so I wrote only to Natasha, and when I
took the prescription to the chemist's I posted the letter.
  Meanwhile Elena fell asleep again.  She moaned faintly and
started in her sleep.  The doctor had guessed right, she had a bad
headache.  From time to time she cried out and woke up.  She
looked at me with positive vexation, as though my attention was
particularly irksome.  I must confess this wounded me.
   At eleven o'clock Masloboev turned up.  He was preoccupied
and seemed absent-minded; he only came in for a minute, and
was in a great hurry to get away.
   "Well, brother, I didn't expect that you lived in great style,
he observed, looking round, "but I didn't think I should find you
in such a box.  This is a box, not a lodging.  But that's nothing
though what does matter is that all these outside worries take you
off your work.  I thought of that yesterday when we were driving
to Bubnov's.  By natural temperament, brother, and by social
position I'm one of those people who can do nothing sensible
themselves, but can read sermons to other people.  Now, listen,
I'll look in, perhaps, to-morrow or next day, and you be sure to
come and see me on Sunday morning.  I hope by then the problem
of this child will be completely settled; then we'll talk things over
seriously, for you need looking after in earnest.  You can't go on
living like this.  I only dropped a hint yesterday, but now I'll put
it before you logically.  And tell me, in short, do you look on it
as a dishonour to take money from me for a time?"
   "Come, don't quarrel," I interrupted.  "You'd better tell me
how things ended there yesterday."
   "Well, they ended most satisfactorily.  My object was attained
you understand.  I've no time now.  I only looked in for a
minute to tell you I'm busy and have no time for you, and to find
out by the way whether you're going to place her somewhere, or
whether you mean to keep her yourself.  Because it wants
thinking over and settling."
  "That I don't know for certain yet, and I must own I was
waiting to ask your advice.  How could I keep her?"
  "Why, as a servant. . . ."
  "Please don't speak so loud.  Though she's ill she's quite
conscious, and I noticed she started when she saw you.  No doubt
she remembered yesterday."
  Then I told him about her behaviour and all the peculiarities I
had noticed in her.  Masloboev was interested in what I told him.
I added that perhaps I could place her in a household, and told
him briefly about my old friends.  To my astonishment he knew
something of Natasha's story, and when I asked him how he had
heard of it:
  "Oh," he said, "I heard something about it long ago in con-
nexion with some business.  I've told you already that I know
Prince Valkovsky.  That's a good idea of yours to send her to
those old people.  She'd only be in your way.  And another thing,
she wants some sort of a passport.  Don't you worry about that.
I'll undertake it.  Good-bye.  Come and see me often.  Is she
asleep now?"
  "I think so," I answered.
  But as soon as he had gone Elena called to me.
  "Who's that?" she asked.  Her voice shook, but she looked
at me with the same intent and haughty expression.  I can find
no other word for it.
  I told her Masloboev's name, and said that it was by his help
I got her away from Mme. Bubnov's, and that Mme. Bubnov was
very much afraid of him.  Her cheeks suddenly flushed fiery red,
probably at the recollection of the past.
  "And she will never come here?" asked Elena, with a search-
ing look at me.
  I made haste to reassure her.  She remained silent, and was
taking my hand in her burning fingers, but she dropped it again
at once as though recollecting herself.
  "It cannot be that she really feels such an aversion for me,"
I thought.  "It's her manner, or else ... or else the poor little
thing has had so much trouble that she mistrusts everyone."
  At the hour fixed I went out to fetch the medicine, and at the
same time went into a restaurant where they knew me and gave
me credit.  I took a pot with me, and brought back some chicken
broth for Elena.  But she would not eat, and the soup remained
for the time on the stove.
  I gave her her medicine and sat down to my work.  I though
she was asleep, but chancing to look round at her I saw that she
had raised her head, and was intently watching me write.  I
pretended not to notice her.
  At last she really did fall asleep, and to my great delight she
slept quietly without delirium or moaning.  I fell into a reverie
Natasha, not knowing what was the matter, might well be angry
with me for not coming to-day, would be sure, indeed, I reflected
to be hurt at my neglect, just when, perhaps, she needed me most.
She might at this moment have special worries, perhaps some
service to ask of me, and I was staying away as though expressly.
  As for Anna Andreyevna, I was completely at a loss as to how
I should excuse myself to her next day.  I thought it over and
suddenly made up my mind to run round to both of them.  I
should only be absent about two hours.  Elena was asleep and
would not hear me go out.  I jumped up, took my coat and cap
but just as I was going out Elena called me.  I was surprised.
Could she have been pretending to be asleep?
  I may remark in parenthesis that, though Elena made a show
of not wanting to speak to me, these rather frequent appeals
this desire to apply to me in every difficulty, showed a contrary
feeling, and I confess it really pleased me.
  "Where do you mean to send me?" she asked when I went
up to her.
  She generally asked her questions all of a sudden, when I did
not expect them.  This time I did not take in her meaning at
first.
  "You were telling your friend just now that you meant to
place me in some household.  I don't want to go."
  I bent down to her; she was hot all over, another attack of
fever had come on.  I began trying to soothe and pacify her
assuring her that if she cared to remain with me I would not send
her away anywhere.  Saying this, I took off my coat and cap
I could not bring myself to leave her alone in such a condition.
  "No, go," she said, realizing at once that I was meaning to
stay.  "I'm sleepy; I shall go to sleep directly."
  "But how will you get on alone?" I said, uncertainly.
"Though I'd be sure to be back in two hours' time. . . ."
  "Well, go then.  Suppose I'm ill for a whole year, you can't
stay at home all the time."
  And she tried to smile, and looked strangely at me as though
struggling with some kindly feeling stirring in her heart.  Poor
little thing!  Her gentle, tender heart showed itself in glimpses
in spite of her aloofness and evident mistrust.
  First I ran round to Anna Andreyevna.  She was waiting for
me with feverish impatience and she greeted me with reproaches;
she was in terrible anxiety.  Nikolay Sergeyitch had gone out
immediately after dinner, and she did not know where.  I had
a presentiment that she had not been able to resist telling him
everything in hints, of course, as she always did.  She practically
admitted it herself, telling me that she could not resist sharing
such joyful tidings with him, but that Nikolay Sergeyitch had
become, to use her expression, "blacker than night, that he had
said nothing.  He wouldn't speak, wouldn't even answer my
questions, and suddenly after dinner had got ready and gone out."
When she told me this Anna Andreyevna was almost trembling
with dismay, and besought me to stay with her until Nikolay
Sergeyitch came back.  I excused myself and told her almost
flatly that perhaps I should not come next day either, and that
I had really hurried to her now to tell her so; this time we almost
quarrelled.  She shed tears, reproached me harshly and bitterly,
and only when I was just going out at the door she suddenly
threw herself on my neck, held me tight in both arms and told me
not to be angry with a lonely creature like her, and not to resent
her words.
  Contrary to my expectations, I found Natasha again alone.
And, strange to say, it seemed to me that she was by no means so
pleased to see me as she had been the day before and on other
occasions; as though I were in the way or somehow annoying
her.  When I asked whether Alyosha had been there that day she
answered :
  "Of course he has, but he didn't stay long.  He promised to
look in this evening," she went on, hesitating.
  And yesterday evening, was he here?"
  "N-no.  He was detained," she added quickly.  "Well, Vanya,
how are things going with you?"
I saw that she wanted to stave off our conversation and begin a
fresh subject.  I looked at her more intently.  She was evidently
upset.  But noticing that I was glancing at her and watching her
closely, she looked at me rapidly and, as it were, wrathfully and
with such intensity that her eyes seemed to blaze at me.  "She
is miserable again," I thought, "but she doesn't want to speak
to me about it."
  In answer to her question about my work I told her the whole
story of Elena in full detail.  She was extremely interested and
even impressed by my story.
  "Good heavens!  And you could leave her alone, and ill!
she cried.
   I told her that I had meant not to come at all that day, but
that I was afraid she would be angry with me and that she might
be in need of me.
  "Need," she said to herself as though pondering.  "Perhaps
I do need you, Vanya, but that had better be another time.
Have you been to my people?
  I told her.
  "Yes, God only knows how my father will take the news.
Though what is there to take after all? . . ."
  "What is there to take?" I repeated.  "A transformation
like this!"
  "I don't know about that. . . .     Where can he have gone
again? That time before, you thought he was coming to me.
Do you know, Vanya, come to me to-morrow if you can.  I shall
tell you something perhaps....      Only I'm ashamed to trouble
you.  But now you'd better be going home to your visitor.  I
expect it's two hours since you came out."
  "Yes, it is.  Good-bye, Natasha.  Well, and how was Alyosha
with you to-day?"
  "Oh, Alyosha. All right....     I wonder at your curiosity."
  "Good-bye for now, my friend."
  "Good-bye."
  She gave me her hand carelessly and turned away from my last,
farewell look.  I went out somewhat surprised.  "She has plenty
to think about, though," I thought.  "It's no jesting matter.
To-morrow she'll be the first to tell me all about it."
  I went home sorrowful, and was dreadfully shocked as soon as
I opened the door.  By now it was dark.  I could make out Elena
sitting on the sofa, her head sunk on her breast as though plunged
in deep thought.  She didn't even glance at me.  She seemed lost
to everything.  I went up to her.  She was muttering something
to herself.  "Isn't she delirious?" I thought.
  "Elena, my, dear, what's the matter?" I asked, sitting beside
her and putting my arm round her.
  "I want to go away. . . .  I'd better go to her," she said,
not raising her head to look at me.
  "Where? To whom?" I asked in surprise.
  "To her.  To Bubnov.  She's always saying I owe her a lot of
money; that she buried mother at her expense.  I don't want
her to say nasty things about mother.  I want to work there, and
pay her back. . . .  Then I'll go away of myself. But now I'm
going back to her."
  "Be quiet, Elena, you can't go back to her," I said.  "She'll
torment you.  She'll ruin you."
  "Let her ruin me, let her torment me." Elena caught up the
words feverishly.  "I'm not the first.  Others better than I are
tormented.  A beggar woman in the street told me that.  I'm
poor and I want to be poor.  I'll be poor all my life.  My mother
told me so when she was dying. I'll work....  I don't want to
wear this dress. . . ."
  "I'll buy you another one to-morrow.  And I'll get you your
books.  You shall stay with me.  I won't send you away to any-
unless you want to go.  Don't worry yourself."
  "I'll be a work-girl!"
  "Very well, very well.  Only be quiet.  Lie down.  Go to
sleep."
But the poor child burst into tears.  By degrees her tears passed
to sobs.  I didn't know what to do with her.  I offered her water
and moistened her temples and her head.  At last she sank on the
sofa completely exhausted, and she was overcome by feverish
shivering.  I wrapped her up in what I could find and she fell
into an uneasy sleep, starting and waking up continually.  Though
I had not walked far that day, I was awfully tired, and I decided
to go to bed as early as possible.  Tormenting doubts swarmed in
my brain.  I foresaw that I should have a lot of trouble with this
child.  But my chief anxiety was about Natasha and her troubles.
Altogether, as I remember now, I have rarely been in a mood of
such deep dejection as when I fell asleep that unhappy night.



                     CHAPTER IX

I waked up late, at ten o'clock in the morning, feeling ill.  I felt
giddy and my head was aching; I glanced towards Elena's bed.
The bed was empty.  At the same moment from my little room
on the right sounds reached me as though someone were sweeping
with a broom.  I went to look.  Elena had a broom in her hand
and holding up her smart dress which she had kept on ever since
at evening, she was sweeping the floor.  The wood for the stove
was piled up in the corner.  The table had been scrubbed, the
kettle had been cleaned.     In a word, Elena was doing the
housework.
  "Listen, Elena," I cried.  "Who wants you to sweep the
floor? I don't wish it, you're ill.  Have you come here to be a
drudge for me?"
  "Who is going to sweep the floor here?" she answered,
drawing herself up and looking straight at me.   "I'm not ill
now."
  "But I didn't take you to make you work, Elena.  You seem
to be afraid I shall scold you like Mme. Bubnov for living with
me for nothing.  And where did you get that horrid broom? I
had no broom," I added, looking at her in wonder.
  "It's my broom.  I brought it here myself, I used to sweep
the floor here for grandfather too.  And the broom's been lying
here ever since under the stove."
  I went back to the other room musing.  Perhaps I may have
been in error, but it seemed to me that she felt oppressed by my
hospitality and that she wanted in every possible way to show
me that she was doing something for her living.
  "What an embittered character, if so," I thought.  Two
minutes later she came in and without a word sat down on the
sofa in the same place as yesterday, looking inquisitively at me.
Meanwhile I boiled the kettle, made the tea, poured out a cup
for her and handed it her with a slice of white bread.  She took
it in silence and without opposition.  She had had nothing for
twenty-four hours.
  "See, you've dirtied your pretty dress with that broom," I
said, noticing a streak of dirt on her skirt.
  She looked down and suddenly, to my intense astonishment,
she put down her cup, and, apparently calm and composed, she
picked up a breadth of the muslin skirt in both hands and with
one rip tore it from top to bottom.  When she had done this she
raised her stubborn, flashing eyes to me in silence.  Her face was
pale.
  "What are you about, Elena?" I cried, feeling sure the child
was mad.
  "It's a horrid dress," she cried, almost gasping with excite-
ment.  "Why do you say it's a nice dress? I don't want to wear
it!" she cried suddenly, jumping up from her place.  "I'll tear
it up.  I didn't ask her to dress me up.  She did it herself, by
force. I've torn one dress already. I'll tear this one! I'll tear
it, I'll tear it, I'll tear it! . . ."
  And she fell upon her luckless dress with fury.  In one moment
she had torn it almost into rags.  When she had finished she was
so pale she could hardly stand.  I looked with surprise at such
rage.  She looked at me with a defiant air as though I too had
somehow offended her.  But I knew now what to do.
  I made up my mind to buy her a new dress that morning.  This
wild, embittered little creature must be tamed by kindness.  She
looked as though she had never met anyone kind.  If once already
in spite of severe punishment she had torn another similar dress
to rags, with what fury she must look on this one now, when it
recalled to her those awful moments.
  In Tolkutchy Market one could buy a good, plain dress very
cheaply.  Unfortunately at that moment I had scarcely any
money.  But as I went to bed the night before I had made up my
mind to go that morning to a place where I had hopes of getting
some.  It was fortunately not far from the market.  I took my
hat.  Elena watched me intently as though expecting something.
  "Are you going to lock me in again?" she asked when I took
up the key to lock the door behind me, as I had done the day
before and the day before that.
  "My dear," I said, going up to her.  "Don't be angry at that.
I lock the door because someone might come.  You are ill, and
you'd perhaps be frightened.  And there's no knowing who might
not come.  Perhaps Bubnov might take it into her head to. . . ."
  I said this on purpose.  I locked her in because I didn't trust
her.  I was afraid that she might suddenly take it into her head
to leave me.  I determined to be cautious for a time.  Elena said
nothing and I locked her in again.
  I knew a publisher who had been for the last twelve years
bringing out a compilation in many volumes.  I often used to
get work from him when I was obliged to make money somehow.
He paid regularly.  I applied to him, and he gave me twenty-
five roubles in advance, engaging me to compile an article by the
end of the week.  But I hoped to pick up time on my novel.
I often did this when it came to the last necessity.  Having got
the money I set off to the market.  There I soon found an old
woman I knew who sold old clothes of all sorts.  I gave her
Elena's size approximately, and she instantly picked me out a
light-coloured cotton dress priced extremely cheaply, though it
was quite strong and had not been washed more than once.
While I was about it I took a neckerchief too.  As I paid for them
I reflected that Elena would need a coat, mantle, or something of
that kind.  It was cold weather and she had absolutely nothing.
But I put off that purchase for another time.  Elena was so proud
and ready to take offence.  Goodness knows, I thought, how she'll
take this dress even though I purposely picked out the most
ordinary garment as plain and unattractive as possible.  I did,
however, buy her two pairs of thread stockings and one pair of
woollen.  Those I could give her on the ground that she was ill
and that it was cold in the room.  She would need underclothes
too.  But all that I left till I should get to know her better.  Then
I bought some old curtains for the bed.  They were necessary and
might be a great satisfaction to Elena.
  With all these things I returned home at one o'clock in the
afternoon.  My key turned almost noiselessly in the lock, so that
Elena did not at once hear me come in.  I noticed that she was
standing at the table turning over my books and papers.  Hearing
me she hurriedly closed the book she was reading, and moved
away from the table, flushing all over.  I glanced at the book.
It was my first novel, which had been republished in book form
and had my name on the title-page.
  "Someone knocked here while you were away!" she said in a
tone which seemed to taunt me for having locked her in.
  "Wasn't it the doctor?" I said.  "Didn't you call to him,
Elena?"
  "No!
  I made no answer, but took my parcel, untied it, and took out
the dress I had bought.
  "Here, Elena, my dear!" I said going up to her. "You can't
go about in such rags as you've got on now.  So I've bought you
a dress, an everyday one, very cheap.  So there's no need for you
to worry about it.  It only cost one rouble twenty kopecks.
Wear it with my best wishes."
  I put the dress down beside her.  She flushed crimson and
looked at me for some time with open eyes.
  She was extremely surprised and at the same time it seemed to
me that she was horribly ashamed for some reason.  But there
was a light of something soft and tender in her eyes.  Seeing that
she said nothing I turned away to the table.  What I had done
had evidently impressed her, but she controlled herself with an
effort, and sat with her eyes cast down.
  My head was going round and aching more and more.  The
fresh air had done me no good.  Meanwhile I had to go to
Natasha's.  My anxiety about her was no less than yesterday.
On the contrary it kept growing more and more.  Suddenly I
fancied that Elena called me.  I turned to her.
  "Don't lock me in when you go out," she said, looking away
and picking at the border of the sofa, as though she were entirely
absorbed in doing so.  "I will not go away from you."
  "Very well, Elena, I agree, But what if some stranger comes?
There's no knowing who may!"
  "Then leave me the key and I'll lock myself in and if they
knock I shall say, 'not at home.'"
  And she looked slyly at me as much as to say, "See how simply
that's done!"
  "Who washes your clothes?" she asked suddenly, before I
had had time to answer her.
  "There's a woman here, in this house."
  "I know how to wash clothes.  And where did you get the food
yesterday?"
  "At a restaurant."
  "I know how to cook, too.  I will do your cooking."
  "That will do, Elena.  What can you know about cooking?
You're talking nonsense. . . ."
  Elena looked down and was silent.  She was evidently wounded
at my remark.  Ten minutes at least passed.  We were both
silent.
  "Soup!" she said suddenly, without raising her head.
  "What about soup? What soup?" I asked, surprised.
  "I can make soup.  I used to make it for mother when she
was ill.  I used to go to market too."
  "See, Elena, just see how proud you are," I said, going up to
her and sitting down beside her on the sofa.  "I treat you as my
heart prompts me.  You are all alone, without relations, and
unhappy.  I want to help you.  You'd help me in the same way
if I were in trouble.  But you won't look at it like that, and it's
disagreeable to you to take the smallest present from me.  You
want to repay it at once, to pay for it by work, as though I were
Mme.  Bubnov and would taunt you with it.  If that is so, it's a
shame, Elena."
   She made no answer.  Her lips quivered.  I believe she wanted
to say something; but she controlled herself and was silent.  I
got up to go to Natasha.  That time I left Elena the key, begging
her if anybody should come and knock, to call out and ask who
was there.  I felt perfectly sure that something dreadful was
happening to Natasha, and that she was keeping it dark from me
for the time, as she had done more than once before.  I resolved
in any case to look in only for one moment for fear of irritating
her by my persistence.
  And it turned out I was right.  She met me again with a look
of harsh displeasure.  I ought to have left her at once but my
legs were giving way under me.
  "I've only come for a minute, Natasha," I began, "to ask
your advice what I'm to do with my visitor."
  And I began briefly telling her all about Elena.  Natasha
listened to me in silence.
  "I don't know what to advise you, Vanya," she said.  "Every-
thing shows that she's a very strange little creature.  Perhaps
she has been dreadfully ill-treated and frightened.  Give her time
to get well, anyway.  You think of my people for her?"
  "She keeps saying that she won't go anywhere away from me.
And goodness knows how they'll take her, so I don't know what
to do.  Well, tell me, dear, how you are.  You didn't seem quite
well yesterday," I said timidly.
  "Yes . . . my head aches rather to-day, too," she answered
absent-mindedly.  "Haven't you seen any of our people?"
  "No. I shall go to-morrow.  To-morrow's Saturday, you
know. . . ."
  "Well, what of it?"
  "The prince is coming in the evening."
  "Well? I've not forgotten."
  "No, I only. . . ."
  She stood still, exactly opposite me, and looked for a long time
intently into my face.  There was a look of determination, of
obstinacy, in her eyes, something feverish and wrathful.
  "Look here, Vanya," she said, "be kind, go away, you worry
me."
  I got up from my chair and looked at her, unutterably
astonished.
  "Natasha, dear, what's the matter? What has happened?"
I cried in alarm.
  "Nothing's happened.  You'll know all about it to-morrow,
but now I want to be alone.  Do you hear, Vanya? Go away at
once.  I can't bear, I can't bear to look at you!"
  "But tell me at least ...."
  "You'll know all about it to-morrow!  Oh, my God!  Are
you going?"
  I went out.  I was so overcome that I hardly knew what I was
doing.  Mavra started out into the passage to meet me.
  "What, is she angry?" she asked me.  "I'm afraid to go near
her."
  "But what's the matter with her
  "'Why, our young gentleman hasn't shown his nose here for
the last three days!"
  "Three days!  "I repeated in amazement.  "Why, she told
me yesterday that he had been here in the morning and was
coming again in the evening . . ."
  "She did?  He never came near us in the morning!  I tell you
we haven't set eyes on him for three days.  You don't say she
told you yesterday that he'd been in the morning?"
  "Yes, she said so."
  "Well," said Mavra, musing, "it must have cut her to the
quick if she won't own it even to you.  Well, he's a pretty one!"
  "But what does it mean?" I cried.
  "It means I don't know what to do with her," said Mavra,
throwing up her hands.  "She was sending me to him yesterday,
but twice she turned me back as I was starting.  And to-day she
won't even speak to me.  If only you could see him.  I daren't
leave her now."
  I rushed down the staircase, beside myself.
  "Will you be here this evening?"  Mavra called after me.
  "We'll see then," I called up to her.  "I may just run in to
you to ask how she is.  If only I'm alive myself."
  I really felt as though something had struck me to the very
heart.


                        CHAPTER X

I WENT straight to Alyosha's.  He lived with his father in Little
Morskaya.  Prince Valkovsky had a rather large flat, though he
lived alone.  Alyosha had two splendid rooms in the flat.  I had
very rarely been to see him, only once before, I believe, in fact.
He had come to see me much oftener, especially at first, during
the early period of his connexion with Natasha.
   He was not at home.  I went straight to his rooms and wrote
him the following note:
  "Alyosha, you seem to have gone out of your mind.  As on
Tuesday evening your father himself asked Natasha to do you
the honour of becoming your wife, and you were delighted at his
doing so, as I saw myself, you must admit that your behaviour
is somewhat strange.  Do you know what you are doing to
Natasha? In any case this note will remind you that your
behaviour towards your future wife is unworthy and frivolous in
the extreme.  I am very well aware that I have no right to
lecture you, but I don't care about that in the least.
 "P.S.-She knows nothing about this letter, and in fact it was
not she who told me about you."
  I sealed up the letter and left it on his table.  In answer to my
question the servant said that Alexey Petrovitch was hardly ever
at home, and that he would not be back now till the small hours
of the morning.
  I could hardly get home.  I was overcome with giddiness, and
my legs were weak and trembling.  My door was open.  Nikolay
Sergeyitch Ichmenyev was sitting waiting for me.  He was sitting
at the table watching Elena in silent wonder, and she, too, was
watching him with no less wonder, though she was obstinately
silent.  "To be sure," I thought, "he must think her queer."
  "Well, my boy, I've been waiting for you for a good hour, and
I must confess I had never expected to find things . . . like this,"
he went on, looking round the room, with a scarcely perceptible
sign towards Elena.
  His face expressed his astonishment.  But looking at him more
closely I noticed in him signs of agitation and distress.  His face
was paler than usual.
  "Sit down, sit down," he said with a preoccupied and anxious
air.  "I've come round to you in a hurry.  I've something to say
to you.  But what's the matter? You don't look yourself."
  "I'm not well.  I've been giddy all day."
  "Well, mind, you mustn't neglect that.  Have you caught
cold, or what?"
  "No, it's simply a nervous attack.  I sometimes have them.
But aren't you unwell?"
  "No, no! It's nothing; it's excitement.  I've something to
say.  Sit down."
  I moved a chair over and sat down at the table, facing him.
The old man bent forward to me, and said in a half whisper:
  "Mind, don't look at her, but seem as though we were speaking
of something else.  What sort of visitor is this you've got here?"
  "I'll explain to you afterwards, Nikolay Sergeyitch.  This
poor girl is absolutely alone in the world.  She's the grandchild
of that old Smith who used to live here and died at the con-
fectioner's."
  "Ah, so he had a grandchild!  Well, my boy, she's a queer
little thing! How she stares, how she stares! I tell you plainly
if you hadn't come in I couldn't have stood it another five
minutes.  She would hardly open the door, and all this time not
a word! It's quite uncanny; she's not like a human being.
But how did she come here? I suppose she came to see her
grandfather, not knowing he was died?"
  "Yes, she has been very unfortunate.  The old man thought
of her when he was dying."
  "Hm!  She seems to take after her grandfather.  You'll tell
me all about that later.  Perhaps one could help her somehow,
in some way, if she's so unfortunate.  But now, my boy, can't
you tell her to go away, for I want to talk to you of something
serious."
  "But she's nowhere to go.  She's living here."
  I explained in a few words as far as I could, adding that he
could speak before her, that she was only a child.
  "To be sure . . . she's a child.  But you have surprised
me, my boy.  She's staying with you!  Good heavens!
  And the old man looked at her again in amazement.
  Elena, feeling that we were talking about her, sat silent, with
her head bent, picking at the edge of the sofa with her fingers.
She had already had time to put on her new dress, which fitted
her perfectly.  Her hair had been brushed more carefully than
usual, perhaps in honour of the new dress.  Altogether, if it had
not been for the strange wildness of her expression, she would
have been a very pretty child.
  "Short and clear, that's what I have to tell you," the old man
began again.  "It's a long business, an important business."
  He sat looking down, with a grave and meditative air and in
spite of his haste and his "short and clear," he could find no words
to begin.  "What's coming?" I wondered.
  "Do you know, Vanya, I've come to you to ask a very great
favour.  But first . . . as I realize now myself, I must explain
to you certain circumstances . . . very delicate circumstances."
  He cleared his throat and stole a look at me; looked and
flushed red; flushed and was angry with himself for his
awkwardness; he was angry and pressed on.
  "Well, what is there to explain!  You understand yourself
The long and short of it is, I am challenging Prince Valkovsky
to a duel, and I beg you to make the arrangements and be my
second."
  I fell back in my chair and gazed at him, beside myself with
astonishment.
  "Well, what are you staring at?  I've not gone out of my
mind."
  "But, excuse me, Nikolay Sergeyitch! On what pretext P
With what object? And, in fact, how is it possible?"
  "Pretext! Object!" cried the old man.  "That's good!"
  "Very well, very well.  I know what you'll say; but what
good will you do by your action? What will be gained by the
duel!  I must own I don't understand it."
  "I thought you wouldn't understand.  Listen, our lawsuit
over (that is, it will be over in a few days, There are only a few
formalities to come).  I have lost the case.  I've to pay ten
thousand; that's the decree of the court.  Ichmenyevka is the
security for it.  So now this base man is secure of his money, and
giving up Ichmenyevka I have paid him the damages and become
a free man.  Now I can hold up my head and say, 'You've
been insulting me one way and another, honoured prince, for
the last two years; you have sullied my name and the honour
of my family, and I have been obliged to bear all this!  I could
not then challenge you to a duel.  You'd have said openly then,
'You cunning fellow, you want to kill me in order not to pay me
the money which you foresee you'll be sentenced to pay sooner
or later.  No, first let's see how the case ends and then you can
challenge me.' Now, honoured prince, the case is settled, you
are secure, so now there are no difficulties, and so now will you
be pleased to meet me at the barrier?' That's what I have to
say to you.  What, to your thinking haven't I the right to
avenge myself, for everything, for everything?"
  His eyes glittered.  I looked at him for a long time without
speaking.  I wanted to penetrate to his secret thought.
  "Listen, Nikolay Sergeyitch," I said at last, making up my
mind to speak out on the real point without which we could not
understand each other.  "Can you be perfectly open with me?
  "I can," he answered firmly.
  "Tell me plainly.  Is it only the feeling of revenge that
prompts you to challenge him, or have you other objects in
view?"
  "Vanya," he answered, "you know that I allow no one to
touch on certain points with me, but I'll make an exception in the
present case.  For you, with your clear insight, have seen at once
that we can't avoid the point.  Yes, I have another aim.  That
aim is to save my lost daughter and to rescue her from the path
of ruin to which recent events are driving her now."
  "But how will you save her by this duel?  That's the
question."
  "By hindering all that is being plotted among them now.
Listen; don't imagine that I am actuated by fatherly tenderness
or any weakness of that sort.  All that's nonsense!  I don't
display my inmost heart to anyone.  Even you don't know it.
My daughter has abandoned me, has left my house with a lover,
and I have cast her out of my heart - I cast her out once for all
that very evening - you remember? If you have seen me
sobbing over her portrait, it doesn't follow that I want to forgive
her.  I did not forgive her then.  I wept for my lost happiness,
for my vain dreams, but not for her as she is now.  I often weep
perhaps.  I'm not ashamed to own it, just as I'm not ashamed
to own that I once loved my child more than anything on earth.
All this seems to belie my conduct now.  You may say to me
'If it's so, if you are indifferent to the fate of her whom you no
longer look on as a daughter, why do you interfere in what
they are plotting there?'  I answer: in the first place that I
don't want to let that base and crafty man triumph, and secondly,
from a common feeling of humanity.  If she's no longer my
daughter she's a weak creature, defenceless and deceived, who is
being still more deceived, that she may be utterly ruined.  I
can't meddle directly, but indirectly, by a duel, I can.  If I
am killed or my blood is shed, surely she won't step over our
barrier, perhaps over my corpse, and stand at the altar beside
the son of my murderer, like the daughter of that king (do you
remember in the book you learnt to read out of?) who rode in her
chariot over her father's body? And, besides, if it comes to a
duel, our princes won't care for the marriage themselves.  In
short, I don't want that marriage, and I'll do everything I can
to prevent it.  Do you understand me now?"
  "No. If you wish Natasha well, how can you make up your
mind to hinder her marriage, that is, the one thing that can
establish her good name? She has all her life before her; she
will have need of her good name."
  "She ought to spit on the opinion of the world.  That's how
she ought to look at it.  She ought to realize that the greatest
disgrace of all for her lies in that marriage, in being connected
with those vile people, with that paltry society.  A noble pride -
that should be her answer to the world.  Then perhaps I might
consent to hold out a hand to her, and then we would see who
dared cry shame on my child!"
  Such desperate idealism amazed me.  But I saw at once that
he was not himself and was speaking in anger.
  "That's too idealistic," I answered, "and therefore cruel.
You're demanding of her a strength which perhaps you did not
give her at her birth.  Do you suppose that she is consenting to this
marriage because she wants to be a princess? Why, she's in
love; it's passion; it's fate.  You expect of her a contempt for
public opinion while you bow down before it yourself! The
prince has insulted you, has publicly accused you of a base scheme
to ally yourself with his princely house, and now you are reasoning
that if she refuses them now after a formal offer of marriage from
their side it will, of course, be the fullest and plainest refutation
of the old calumny.  That's what you will gain by it.  You are
deferring to the opinion of the prince himself, and you're struggling
to make him recognize his mistake.  You're longing to turn him
into derision, to revenge yourself on him, and for that you will
sacrifice your daughter's happiness.  Isn't that egoism?"
  The old man sat gloomy and frowning, and for a long time he
answered not a word.
  "You're unjust to me, Vanya," he said at last, and a tear
glistened on his eyelashes.  "I swear you are unjust.  But let us
leave that!  I can't turn my heart inside out before you," he
went on, getting up and taking his hat.  "One thing I will say -
you spoke just now of my daughter's happiness.  I have absolutely
and literally no faith in that happiness.  Besides which, the
marriage will never come off, apart from my interference."
  "How so? What makes you think so?  Perhaps you know
something?" I cried with curiosity.
  "No. I know nothing special.  But that cursed fox can never
have brought himself to such a thing.  It's all nonsense, all a
trap.  I'm convinced of that, and, mark my words, it will turn
out so.  And secondly, even if this marriage did take place, which
could only happen if that scoundrel has some special, mysterious
interests to be served by it - interests which no one knows any-
thing about, and I'm utterly at a loss to understand - tell me,
ask your own heart, will she be happy in that marriage? Taunts,
humiliations, with the partner of her life a wretched boy who is
weary of her love already, and who will begin to neglect her,
insult her, and humiliate her as soon as he is married.  At the
same time her own passion growing stronger as his grows cooler;
jealousy, tortures, hell, divorce, perhaps crime itself. . . . No,
Vanya! If you're all working for that end, and you have a hand
in it, you'll have to answer to God for it.  I warn you, though it
will be too late then!  Good-bye."
  I stopped him.
  "Listen, Nikolay Sergeyitch.  Let us decide to wait a bit.  Let
me assure you that more than one pair of eyes is watching over
this affair.  And perhaps it will be settled of itself in the best
possible way without violence and artificial interference, such as
a duel, for instance.  Time is the very best arbiter.  And, finally,
let me tell you, your whole plan is utterly impossible.  Could you
for a moment suppose that Prince Valkovsky would accept your
challenge?"
  "Not accept it? What do you mean by that?"
  "I swear he wouldn't; and believe me, he'd find a perfectly
satisfactory way out of it; he would do it all with pedantic
dignity and meanwhile you would be an object of derision. . ."
  "Upon my word, my boy, upon my word!  You simply over-
whelm me!  How could he refuse to accept it? No, Vanya,
you're simply a romancer, a regular romancer! Why, do you
suppose there is anything unbecoming in his fighting me? I'm
just as good as he is.  I'm an old man, ail insulted father.  You're
a Russian author, and therefore also a respectable person.  You
can be a second and ... and ... I can't make out what more
you want ......
  "Well, you'll see.  He'll bring forward such excuses that you'll
be the first to see that it will be utterly impossible for you to
fight him."
  "Hm! ... very well, my friend. Have it your own way
wait, for a certain time, that is.  We'll see what time will do.
But one thing, my dear, give me your word of honour that you'll
not speak of this conversation there, nor to Anna Andreyevna."
  "I promise."
  "Do me another favour, Vanya: never begin upon the subject
again."
  "Very well.  I promise."
  "And one more request: I know, my dear, that it's dull for
you perhaps, but come and see us as often as ever you can.  My
poor Anna Andreyevna is so fond of you, and ... and ... she's
so wretched without you.... You understand, Vanya."
  And he pressed my hand warmly.  I promised him with all my
heart.
  "And now, Vanya, the last delicate question.  Have you any
money?
  "Money?" I repeated with surprise.
  "Yes." (And the old man flushed and looked down.) "I look
at you, my boy, at your lodgings ... at your circumstances ...
and when I think that you may have other, outside expenses (and
that you may have them just now), then ... Here, my boy, a
hundred and fifty roubles as a first instalment. . . ."
  "A hundred and fifty! As a first instalment.  And you've
just lost your case!"
  "Vanya, I see you didn't understand me at all! You may
have exceptional calls on you, understand that.  In some cases
money may help to an independent position, an independent
decision.  Perhaps you don't need it now, but won't you need it
for something in the future? In any case I shall leave it with you.
It's all I've been able to get together.  If you don't spend it you
can give it back.  And now good-bye.  My God, how pale you
are!  Why, you're quite ill . . ."
  I took the money without protest.  It was quite clear why he
left it with me.
  "I can scarcely stand up," I answered.
  "You must take care of yourself, Vanya, darling!  Don't go
out to-day.  I shall tell Anna Andreyevna what a state you're in.
Oughtn't you to have a doctor?  I'll see how you are to-morrow;
I'll try my best to come, anyway, if only I can drag my legs
along myself.  Now you'd better lie down ... Well, good-bye.
Good-bye, little girl; she's turned her back!  Listen, my dear,
here are another five roubles.  That's for the child, but don't
tell her I gave it her.  Simply spend it for her.  Get her some shoes
or underclothes.  She must need all sorts of things.  Good-bye,
my dear. . . ."
  I went down to the gate with him.  I had to ask the porter to
go out to get some food for me.  Elena had had no dinner.


                         CHAPTER XI

BUT as soon as I came in again I felt my head going round and
fell down in the middle of the room.  I remember nothing but
Elena's shriek.  She clasped her hands and flew to support me.
That is the last moment that remains in my memory....
  When I regained consciousness I found myself in bed.  Elena
told me later on that, with the help of the porter who came in
with some eatables, she had carried me to the sofa.
  I woke up several times, and always saw Elena's compas-
sionate and anxious little face leaning over me.  But I remember
all that as in a dream, as through a mist, and the sweet face of the
poor child came to me in glimpses, through my stupor, like a
vision, like a picture.  She brought me something to drink,
arranged my bedclothes, or sat looking at me with a distressed
and frightened face, and smoothing my hair with her fingers.
Once I remember her gentle kiss on my face.  Another time,
suddenly waking up in the night, by the light of the smouldering
candle that had been set on a little table by my bedside I saw
Elena lying with her face on my pillow with her warm cheek
resting on her hand, and her pale lips half parted in an uneasy
sleep.  But it was only early next morning that I fully regained
consciousness.  The candle had completely burnt out.  The vivid
rosy beams of early sunrise were already playing on the wall.
Elena was sitting at the table, asleep, with her tired little head
pillowed on her left arm, and I remember I gazed a long time at
her childish face, full, even in sleep, of an unchildlike sadness and
a sort of strange, sickly beauty. It was pale, with long arrowy
eyelashes lying on the thin cheeks, and pitch-black hair that fell
thick and heavy in a careless knot on one side.  Her other arm
lay on my pillow.  Very softly I kissed that thin little arm.  But
the poor child did not wake, though there was a faint glimmer of
a smile on her pale lips.  I went on gazing at her, and so quietly
fell into a sound healing sleep.  This time I slept almost till
midday.  When I woke up I felt almost well again.  A feeling of
weakness and heaviness in my limbs was the only trace left of
my illness, I had had such sudden nervous attacks before; I
knew them very well.  The attack generally passed off within
twenty-four hours, though the symptoms were acute and violent
for that time.
  It was nearly midday.  The first thing I saw was the curtain I
had bought the day before, which was hanging on a string across
the corner.  Elena had arranged it, screening off the corner as a
separate room for herself.  She was sitting before the stove
boiling the kettle.  Noticing that I was awake she smiled cheer-
fully and at once came up to me.
  "My dear," I said, taking her hand, "you've been looking
after me all night.  I didn't know you were so kind."
  "And how do you know I've been looking after you? Perhaps
I've been asleep all night," she said, looking at me with shy and
good-humoured slyness, and at the same time flushing shame-
facedly at her own words.
  "I woke up and saw you.  You only fell asleep at day break."
  "Would you like some tea?" she interrupted, as though feeling
it difficult to continue the conversation, as all delicately modest
and sternly truthful people are apt to when they are praised.
  "I should," I answered, "but did you have any dinner
yesterday?"
  "I had no dinner but I had some supper.  The porter brought
it. But don't you talk.  Lie still.  You're not quite well yet,"
she added, bringing me some tea and sitting down on my bed.
  "Lie still, indeed! I will lie still, though, till it gets dark, and
then I'm going out.  I really must, Lenotchka."
  "Oh, you must, must you! Who is it you're going to see?
Not the gentleman who was here yesterday?"
  "No, I'm not going to him."
  "Well, I'm glad you're not.  It was he upset you yesterday.
To his daughter then?"
  "What do you know about his daughter?
  "I heard all you said yesterday," she answered, looking down.
Her face clouded over.  She frowned.
  "He's a horrid old man," she added.
  "You know nothing about him.  On the contrary, he's a very
kind man."
  "No, no, he's wicked.  I heard," she said with conviction.
  "Why, what did you hear?"
  "He won't forgive his daughter..."
  "But he loves her.  She has behaved badly to him; and he is
anxious and worried about her."
  "Why doesn't he forgive her? If he does forgive her now she
shouldn't go back to him."
  "How so? Why not?"
  "Because he doesn't deserve that she should love him," she
answered hotly.  "Let her leave him for ever and let her go
begging, and let him see his daughter begging, and be miserable."
  Her eyes flashed and her cheeks glowed.  "There must be
something behind her words," I thought.
  "Was it to his home you meant to send me?" she added after
a pause.
  "Yes, Elena."
  "No. I'd better get a place as a servant."
  "Ah, how wrong is all that you're saying, Lenotchka!  And
what nonsense!  Who would take you as a servant?"
  "Any peasant," she answered impatiently, looking more and
more downcast.
  She was evidently hot-tempered.
  "A peasant doesn't want a girl like you to work for him," I
said, laughing.
  "Well, a gentleman's family, then."
  "You live in a gentleman's family, with your temper?"
  "Yes."
  The more irritated she became, the more abrupt were her
answers
  "But you'd never stand it."
  "Yes I would.  They'd scold me, but I'd say nothing on
purpose.  They'd beat me, but I wouldn't speak, I wouldn't
speak.  Let them beat me - I wouldn't cry for anything.  That
would annoy them even more if I didn't cry."
  "Really, Elena!  What bitterness, and how proud you are!
You must have seen a lot of trouble. . . ."
  I got up and went to my big table.  Elena remained on the
sofa, looking dreamily at the floor and picking at the edge of the
sofa. She did not speak.  I wondered whether she were angry
at what I had said.
  Standing by the table I mechanically opened the books I had
brought the day before, for the compilation, and by degrees I
became absorbed in them.  It often happens to me that I go and
open a book to look up something, and go on reading so that I
forget everything.
  "What are you always writing?" Elena asked with a timid
smile, coming quietly to the table.
  "All sorts of things, Lenotchka.  They give me money for it."
  "Petitions?"
  "No, not petitions."
  And I explained to her as far as I could that I wrote all sorts
of stories about different people, and that out of them were made
books that are called novels.  She listened with great curiosity.
  "Is it all true - what you write?"
  "No, I make it up."
  "Why do you write what isn't true?"
  "Why, here, read it.  You see this book; you've looked at it
already.  You can read, can't you?"
  "Yes."
  "Well, you'll see then.  I wrote this book."
  "You? I'll read it .... "
  She was evidently longing to say something, but found it
difficult, and was in great excitement.  Something lay hidden
under her questions.
  "And are you paid much for this?" she asked at last.
  "It's as it happens.  Sometimes a lot, sometimes nothing,
because the work doesn't come off.  It's difficult work,
Lenotchka."
  "Then you're not rich?"
  "No, not rich."
  "Then I shall work and help you."
  She glanced at me quickly, flushed, dropped her eyes, and
taking two steps towards me suddenly threw her arms round me,
and pressed her face tightly against my breast; I looked at her
with amazement.
  "I love you ... I'm not proud," she said.  "You said I was
proud yesterday.  No, no, I'm not like that.  I love you.  You are
the only person who cares for me. . . ."
  But her tears choked her.  A minute later they burst out with
as much violence as the day before.  She fell on her knees before
me, kissed my hands, my feet....
  "You care for me!" she repeated. "You're the only one, the
only one."
  She embraced my knees convulsively.  All the feeling which
she had repressed for so long broke out at once, in an uncon-.
trollable outburst, and I understood the strange stubbornness of
a heart that for a while shrinkingly masked its feeling, the more
harshly, the more stubbornly as the need for expression and
utterance grew stronger, till the inevitable outburst came, when
the whole being forgot itself and gave itself up to the craving for
love, to gratitude, to affection and to tears.  She sobbed till she
became hysterical.  With an effort I loosened her arms, lifted her
up and carried her to the sofa.  For a long time she went on
sobbing, hiding her face in the pillow as though ashamed to look
at me.  But she held my hand tight, and kept it pressed to her
heart.
  By degrees she grew calmer, but still did not raise her face to
me.  Twice her eyes flitted over my face, and there was a great
softness and a sort of timorous and shrinking emotion in them.
  At last she flushed and smiled.
  "Are you better?"  I asked, "my sensitive little Lenotchka,
my sick little child!"
  "Not Lenotchka, no..."  she whispered, still hiding her face
from me.
  "Not Lenotchka? What then?"
  "Nellie."
  "Nellie? Why must it be Nellie? If you like; it's a very
pretty name.  I'll call you so if that's what you wish."
  "That's what mother called me.  And no one else ever called
me that, no one but she.... And I would not have anyone call me
so but mother.  But you call me so.  I want you to.  I will always
love you, always."
  "A loving and proud little heart," I thought.  "And how long
it has taken me to win the right to call you Nellie!"
  But now I knew her heart was gained for ever.
  "Nellie, listen," I said, as soon as she was calmer.  "You say
that no one has ever loved you but your mother.  Is it true your
grandfather didn't love you?"
  "No, he didn't."
  "Yet you cried for him; do you remember, here, on the
stairs?"
  For a minute she did not speak.
  "No, he didn't love me.... He was wicked."
  A look of pain came into her face.
  "But we mustn't judge him too harshly, Nellie, I think he had
grown quite childish with age.  He seemed out of his mind when
he died.  I told you how he died."
  "Yes.  But he had only begun to be quite forgetful in the last
month.  He would sit here all day long, and if I didn't come to
him he would sit on for two or three days without eating or
drinking.  He used to be much better before."
  "What do you mean by 'before'?"
  "Before mother died."
  "Then it was you brought him food and drink, Nellie?"
  "Yes, I used to."
  "Where did you get it? From Mme.  Bubnov?"
  "No, I never took anything from Bubnov," she said emphati-
cally, with a shaking voice.
  "Where did you get it? You had nothing, had you?"
  Nellie turned fearfully pale and said nothing; she bent a long,
long look upon me.
  "I used to beg in the streets.... When I had five kopecks I
used to buy him bread and snuff. . . ."
  "And he let you! Nellie!  Nellie!"
  "At first I did it without telling him, But when he found out
he used to send me out himself.  I used to stand on the bridge
and beg of passers-by, and he used to walk up and down near the
bridge, and when he saw me given anything he used to rush at
me and take the money, as though I wanted to hide it from him,
and were not getting it for him."
  As she said this she smiled a sarcastic, bitter smile.
  "That was all when mother was dead," she added.  "Then he
seemed to have gone quite out of his mind."
  "So he must have loved your mother very much.  How was it
he didn't live with her?
  "No, he didn't love her.... He was wicked and didn't forgive
her ... like that wicked old man yesterday," she said quietly,
almost in a whisper, and grew paler and paler.
  I started.  The plot of a whole drama seemed to flash before my
eyes.  That poor woman dying in a cellar at the coffin-maker's,
her orphan child who visited from time to time the old grand-
father who had cursed her mother, the queer crazy old fellow who
had been dying in the confectioner's shop after his dog's death.
  "And Azorka used to be mother's dog," said Nellie suddenly,
smiling at some reminiscence.  "Grandfather used to be very
fond of mother once, and when mother went away from him she
left Azorka behind.  And that's why he was so fond of Azorka.
He didn't forgive mother, but when the dog died he died too,"
Nellie added harshly, and the smile vanished from her face.
  "What was he in old days, Nellie?" I asked her after a brief
pause.
  "He used to be rich. . . . I don't know what he was," she
answered.  "He had some sort of factory.  So mother told me.
At first she used to think I was too little and didn't tell me every-
thing.  She used to kiss me and say, 'You'll know everything, the
time will come when you'll know everything, poor, unhappy
child!' She was always calling me poor and unhappy.  And
sometimes at night when she thought I was asleep (though I was
only pretending to be asleep on purpose) she used to be always
crying over me, she would kiss me and say 'poor, unhappy
child'!"
  "What did your mother die of?"
  "Of consumption; it's six weeks ago."
  "And you do remember the time when your grandfather was
rich?"
  "But I wasn't born then.  Mother went away from grand-
father before I was born."
  "With whom did she go?
  "I don't know," said Nellie softly, as though hesitating. "She
went abroad and I was born there."
  "Abroad? Where?"
  "In Switzerland.  I've been everywhere.  I've been in Italy
and in Paris too."
  I was surprised.
  "And do you remember it all, Nellie?"
  "I remember a great deal."
  "How is it you know Russian so well, Nellie?
  "Mother used to teach me Russian even then.  She was
Russian because her mother was Russian.  But grandfather was
English, but he was just like a Russian too.  And when we came
to Russia a year and a half ago I learnt it thoroughly.  Mother was
ill even then.  Then we got poorer and poorer.  Mother was
always crying.  At first she was a long time looking for grand-
father here in Petersburg, and always crying and saying that she
had behaved badly to him.  How she used to cry! And when she
knew grandfather was poor she cried more than ever.  She often
wrote letters to him, and he never answered."
  "Why did your mother come back here? Was it only to see
her father?"
  "I don't know.  But there we were so happy." And Nellie's
eyes sparkled.  "Mother used to live alone, with me.  She had
one friend, a kind man like you.  He used to know her before she
went away.  But he died out there and mother came back . . ."
  "So it was with him that your mother went away from your
grandfather?"
  "No, not with him.  Mother went away with someone else,
and he left her . . ."
  "Who was he, Nellie?"
  Nellie glanced at me and said nothing.  She evidently knew the
name of the man with whom her mother had gone away and who
was probably her father.  It was painful to her to speak that name
even to me.
  I did not want to worry her with questions.  Hers was a strange
character, nervous and fiery, though she suppressed her impulses,
lovable, though she entrenched herself behind a barrier of pride
and reserve.  Although she loved me with her whole heart, with
the most candid and ingenuous love, almost as she had loved the
dead mother of whom she could not speak without pain, yet all
the while I knew her she was rarely open with me, and except
on that day she rarely felt moved to speak to me of her past; on
the contrary, she was, as it were, austerely reserved with me, but
on that day through convulsive sobs of misery that interrupted
her story, she told me in the course of several hours all that most
distressed and tortured her in her memories, and I shall never
forget that terrible story, but the greater part of it will be told
later....
  It was a fearful story.  It was the story of a woman abandoned
and living on after the wreck of her happiness, sick, worn out and
forsaken by everyone, rejected by the last creature to whom she
could look - her father, once wronged by her and crazed by
intolerable sufferings and humiliations.  It was the story of a
woman driven to despair, wandering through the cold, filthy
streets of Petersburg, begging alms with the little girl whom she
regarded as a baby; of a woman who lay dying for months in a
damp cellar, while her father, refusing to forgive her to the last
moment of her life, and only at the last moment relenting,
hastened to forgive her only to find a cold corpse instead of the
woman he loved above everything on earth.
  It was a strange story of the mysterious, hardly comprehensible
relations of the crazy old man with the little grandchild who
already understood him, who already, child as she was, under-
stood many things that some men do not attain to in long years
of their smooth and carefully guarded lives.  It was a gloomy
story, one of those gloomy and distressing dramas which are so
often played out unseen, almost mysterious, under the heavy sky
of Petersburg, in the dark secret corners of the vast town, in the
midst of the giddy ferment of life, of dull egoism, of clashing
interests, of gloomy vice and secret crimes, in that lowest hell of
senseless and abnormal life....
  But that story will be told later....


                          PART III

                          CHAPTER I

TWILIGHT had fallen, the evening had come on before I roused
myself from the gloomy nightmare and came back to the present.
  "Nellie," I said, "you're ill and upset, and I must leave you
alone, in tears and distress.  My dear!  Forgive me, and let me
tell you that there's someone else who has been loved and not
forgiven, who is unhappy, insulted and forsaken.  She is expecting
me. And I feel drawn to her now after your story, so that I can't
bear not to see her at once, this very minute."
  I don't know whether she understood all that I said.  I was
upset both by her story and by my illness, but I rushed to
Natasha's.  It was late, nine o'clock, when I arrived.
   In the street I noticed a carriage at the gate of the house where
Natasha lodged, and I fancied that it was the prince's carriage.
The entry was across the courtyard.  As soon as I began to
mount the stairs I heard, a flight above me, someone carefully
feeling his way, evidently unfamiliar with the place.  I imagined
this must be the prince, but I soon began to doubt it.  The
stranger kept grumbling and cursing the stairs as he climbed up,
his language growing stronger and more violent as he proceeded.
Of course the staircase was narrow, filthy, steep, and never
lighted; but the language I heard on the third floor was such that
I could not believe it to be the prince: the ascending gentleman
was swearing like a cabman.  But there was a glimmer of light on
the third floor; a little lamp was burning at Natasha's door.  I
overtook the stranger at the door, and what was my astonishment
when I recognized him as Prince Valkovsky! I fancied he was
extremely annoyed at running up against me so unexpectedly.
At the first moment he did not recognize me, but suddenly his
whole face changed.  His first glance of anger and hatred relaxed
into an affable, good-humoured expression, and he held out both
hands to me with extraordinary delight.
   "Ach, that's you!  And I was just about to kneel down to
thank God my life was safe! Did you hear me swearing?"
   And he laughed in the most good-natured way.  But suddenly
his face assumed an earnest and anxious expression.
  "How could Alyosha let Natalya Nikolaevna live in such a
place!" he said, shaking his head.  "It's just these so-called
trifles that show what a man's made of.  I'm anxious about him.
He is good-natured, he has a generous heart, but here you have an
example: he's frantically in love, yet he puts the girl he loves in
a hole like this.  I've even heard she has sometimes been short of
food," he added in a whisper, feeling for the bell-handle.  "My
head aches when I think about his future and still more of the
future of Anna Nikolaevna when she is his wife. . .
  He used the wrong name, and did not notice it in his evident
vexation at not finding the bell-handle.  But there was no bell.
   I tugged at the door-handle and Mavra at once opened the door
to us, and met us fussily.  In the kitchen, which was divided off
from the tiny entry by a wooden screen, through an open door
some preparations could be seen; everything seemed somehow
different from usual, cleaned and polished; there was a fire in the
stove, and some new crockery on the table.  It was evident that
we were expected.  Mavra flew to help us off with our coats.
  "Is Alyosha here?" I asked her.
  "He has not been," she whispered mysteriously.  We went in
to Natasha.  There was no sign of special preparation in her room.
Everything was as usual.  But everything in her room was always
so neat and charming that there was no need to arrange it.
Natasha met us, facing the door.  I was struck by the wasted
look in her face, and its extreme pallor, though there was a flush
of colour for a moment on her wan cheeks.  Her eyes were
feverish.  Hastily she held out her hand to the prince without
speaking, visibly confused and agitated.  She did not even glance
at me.  I stood and waited in silence.
  "Here I am!" said the prince with friendly gaiety.  "I've
only been back a few hours.  You've never been out of my mind
all these days" (he kissed her hand tenderly) "and how much,
how much I have thought about you.  How much I have thought
of to say to you.... Well, we can talk to our hearts' content! In
the first place my feather-headed youngster who is not here
yet . . ."
  "Excuse me, prince," Natasha interrupted, flushing and em-
barrassed, "I have to say a word to Ivan Petrovitch.  Vanya,
come along ... two words. . ."
  She seized my hand and drew me behind the screen.
  "Vanya," she said in a whisper, leading me to the furthest
comer, "will you forgive me?"
  "Hush, Natasha, what do you mean?"
  "No, no, Vanya, you have forgiven me too much, and too
often.  But there's an end to all patience.  You will never leave
off caring for me, I know.  But you'll call me ungrateful.  And I
was ungrateful to you yesterday and the day before yesterday,
selfish, cruel . . ."
  She suddenly burst into tears and pressed her face on my
shoulder.
  "Hush, Natasha," I hastened to reassure her.  "I've been
very ill all night, and I can hardly stand now; that's why I
didn't come yesterday or to-day, and you've been thinking I
was angry.  Dearest, do you suppose I don't understand what's
going on in your heart now?"
  "Well, that's right then ... then you've forgiven me as you
always do," she said, smiling through her tears, and squeezing
my hand till it hurt.  "The rest later.  I've a lot I must say to
you, Vanya.  But now come back to him..."
  "Make haste, Natasha, we left him so suddenly..."
  "You'll see, you'll see what's coming directly," she whispered
to me.  "Now I understand it all, I see through it all.  It's all
his doing.  A great deal will be decided this evening.  Come
along!"
  I didn't understand, but there was no time to ask.  Natasha
came up to the prince with a serene expression.  He was still
standing with his hat in his hand.  She apologized good-
humouredly, took his hat from him, moved up a chair for him
and we three sat down round her little table.
  "I was beginning about my feather-headed boy," the prince
went on.  "I've only seen him for a moment and that was in the
street when he was getting into his carriage to drive to the
Countess Zinaida Fyodorovna.  He was in a terrible hurry and,
would you believe it, wouldn't even stop to come to my room,
after four days of absence, and I believe it's my fault, Natalya
Nikolaevna, that he's not here and that we've arrived before
him.  I seized the chance.  As I couldn't be at the countess's
myself to-day, I gave him a message to her.  But he will be here
in a minute or two."
  "I supposed he promised you to come to-day?" asked
Natasha, looking at the prince with a look of perfect simplicity.
  "Good heavens, as though he wouldn't have come anyway!
How can you ask!" he exclaimed, looking at her in wonder.     I
understand though, you are angry with him.  Indeed, it does
seem wrong of him to be the last to come.  But I repeat that it's
my fault.  Don't be angry with him.  He's shallow, frivolous
I don't defend him, but certain special circumstances make it
necessary that he should not give up the countess and some other
connexions, but, on the contrary, should go to see them as
often as possible.  And as now he never leaves your side, I
expect, and has forgotten everything else on earth, please do not
be angry if I sometimes take him off for an hour or two, not
more, to do things for me.  I dare say he has not been to see
Princess A. once since that evening, and I'm vexed that I have
not had time to question him yet! . . ."
  I glanced towards Natasha.  She was listening to Prince
Valkovsky with a slight, half-mocking smile.  But he spoke so
frankly, so naturally.  It seemed impossible to suspect him.
  "And did you really not know that he has not been near me all
these days?" asked Natasha in a quiet and gentle voice, as
though she were talking of the most ordinary matter.
  "What? not been here once? Good heavens, what are you
saying!" said the prince, apparently in extreme astonishment.
  "You were with me late on Tuesday evening.  Next morning
he came in to see me for half an hour, and I've not seen him
once since then."
  "But that's incredible! (He was more and more
astonished.) "I expected that he would never leave your side,
Excuse me, this is so strange ... it's simply beyond belief."
  "But it's true, though, and I'm so sorry.  I was looking for-
ward to seeing you.  I was expecting to learn from you where he
has been."
  "Upon my soul!  But he'll be here directly.  But what you
tell me is such a surprise to me that ... I confess I was prepared
for anything from him, but this, this!"
  "How it surprises you!  While I thought that, so far from
being surprised, you knew beforehand that it would be so."
  "Knew!  I? But I assure you, Natalya Nikolaevna, that
I've only seen him for one moment to-day, and I've questioned
no one about him.  And it strikes me as odd that you don't seem
to believe me," he went on, scanning us both.
  "God forbid! " Natasha exclaimed.  "I'm quite convinced
that what you say is true."
  And she laughed again, right in Prince Valkovsky's face, so
that he almost winced.
  "Explain yourself!" he said in confusion.
  "Why, there's nothing to explain.  I speak very simply.
You know how heedless and forgetful he is.  And now that he
has been given complete liberty he is carried away."
  "But to be carried away like that is impossible.  There
something behind it, and as soon as he comes in I'll make him
explain what it is.  But what surprises me most of all is that
you seem to think me somehow to blame, when I've not even
been here.  But I see, Natalya Nikolaevna, that you are very
angry with him-and I can quite understand.  You've every
right to be so, and of course I'm the first person to blame if only
that I'm the first to turn up.  That's how it is, isn't it?"
went on, turning to me, with angry derision.
  Natasha flushed red.
  "Certainly, Natalya Nikolaevna," he continued with dignity
  "I'll admit I am to blame, but only for going away the day after I
made your acquaintance; so with the suspiciousness of character
I observe in you, you have already changed your opinion of me
circumstances, of course, have given some grounds for this.  Had
I not gone away, you would have known me better, and Alyosha
would not have been so heedless with me to look after him.  You
shall hear yourself what I say to him this evening."
  "That is, you'll manage to make him begin to feel me a
burden.  Surely, with your cleverness, you can't imagine that
that would be any help to me."
  "Do you mean to hint that I would intentionally try to make
him feel you a burden? You insult me, Natalya Nikolaevna."
  "I try to speak without hints when I can, whoever the person
may be I am speaking to," answered Natasha.  "I always try,
on the contrary, to be as open as I can, and you will perhaps
be convinced of that this evening.  I don't wish to insult you
and there's no reason I should; if only because you won't be
insulted by my words, whatever I may say.  Of that I am quite
certain, for I quite realize the relation in which we stand to
one another.  You can't take it seriously, can you? But if I
really have been rude to you, I am ready to ask your pardon
that I may not be lacking in any of the obligations of ... hos-
pitality."
  In spite of the light and even jesting tone with which she uttered
these words, and the smile on her lips, I had never seen Natasha
so intensely irritated.  It was only now that I realized what her
heartache must have been during those three days.  Her enig-
matic saying that she knew everything now and that she guessed
it all frightened me; it referred directly to Prince Valkovsky.
She had changed her opinion of him and looked upon him as her
enemy; that was evident.  She apparently attributed her dis-
comfiture with Alyosha to his influence and had perhaps some
grounds for this belief.  I was afraid there might be a scene
between them at any moment.  Her mocking tone was too
manifest, too undisguised.  Her last words to the prince that
he could not take their relations seriously, the phrase about the
obligations of hospitality, her promise, that looked like a threat,
to show him that she knew how to be open - all this was so biting,
so unmistakable, that it was impossible that the prince should
not understand it.  I saw his face change, but he was well able
to control himself.  He at once pretended not to have noticed
these words, not to have seen their significance, and took refuge
course in raillery.
  "God forbid I should ask for apologies!" he cried, laughing.
That's not at all what I wanted, and indeed it's against my rules
to ask apologies from a woman.  At our first interview I warned
you what I was like, so you're not likely to be angry with me for
one observation, especially as it applies to all women.  You
probably agree with this remark," he went on, politely turning
to me.  "I have noticed as a trait in the female character that if
woman is in fault in any way, she will sooner smooth over her
offence with a thousand caresses later on than admit her fault
and ask forgiveness at the moment when she is confronted with
it. And so, supposing even that I have been insulted by you,
I am not anxious for an apology.  It will be all the better for me
later on when you own your mistake and want to make it up to
me ... with a thousand caresses.  And you are so sweet, so pure,
so fresh, so open, that the moment of your penitence will, I
foresee, be enchanting.  You had better, instead of apologizing,
tell me now whether I cannot do something this evening to show
you that I am behaving much more sincerely and straight-
forwardly than you suppose."
  Natasha flushed.  I, too, fancied that there was somewhat too
flippant, even too casual, a tone in Prince Valkovsky's answer, a
rather unseemly jocosity.
  "You want to prove that you are simple and straightforward
with me?" asked Natasha, looking at him with a challenging air.
  "Yes."
  "If so, do what I ask."
  "I promise beforehand."
  "And that is, not by one word, one hint, to worry Alyosha
about me, either to-day or to-morrow.  No reproof for having
forgotten me; no remonstrance.  I want to meet him as though
nothing had happened, so that he may notice nothing.  That's
what I want.  Will you make me such a promise?"
  "With the greatest pleasure," answered Prince Valkovsky
and allow me to add with all my heart that I have rarely met
more sensible and clear-sighted attitude in such circumstances...
But I believe this is Alyosha."
  A sound was in fact heard in the passage.  Natasha started and
seemed to prepare herself for something, Prince Valkovsky sat
with a serious face waiting to see what would happen.  He
watching Natasha intently.  But the door opened and Alyosha
flew in.



                           CHAPTER II

HE literally flew in with a beaming face, gay and joyous.  It was
evident that he had spent those four days gaily and happily.
One could see from his face that he had something he was longing
to tell us.
  "Here I am!" he cried out, addressing us all, "I, who ought
to have been here before anyone.  But I'll tell you everything
directly, everything, everything!  I hadn't time to say two words
to you this morning, daddy, and I had so much to say to you.
It's only in his sweet moments he lets me speak to him like that,"
he interrupted himself, addressing me.  "I assure you at other
times he forbids it! And I'll tell you what he does.  He begins to
use my full name.  But from this day I want him always to have
good minutes, and I shall manage it!  I've become quite a
different person in these last four days, utterly, utterly different,
and I'll tell you all about it.  But that will be presently.  The
great thing now is that she's here.  Her she is!  Again!  Natasha,
darling, how are you, my angel!" he said, sitting down beside her
and greedily kissing her hand.  How I've been missing you all
this time! But there it is! I couldn't help it! I wasn't able to
manage it, my darling! You look a little thinner, you've grown
so pale . . ."
  He rapturously covered her hands with kisses, and looked
eagerly at her with his beautiful eyes, as though he could never
look enough.  I glanced at Natasha, and from her face I guessed
that our thoughts were the same: he was absolutely innocent.
And indeed when and how could this innocent be to blame? A
bright flush suddenly overspread Natasha's pale cheeks, as though
all the blood had suddenly rushed from her heart to her head.
Her eyes flashed and she looked proudly at Prince Valkovsky.
  "But where ... have you been so many days?" she said in
a suppressed and breaking voice.  She was breathing in hard
uneven gasps.  My God, how she loved him!"
  "To be sure I must have seemed to blame, and it's not only
seeming, indeed!  Of course I've been to blame, and I know it
myself, and I've come knowing it.  Katya told me yesterday
to-day that no woman could forgive such negligence (she
knows all that happened here on Tuesday; I told her next day) :
I argued with her, I maintained that there is such a woman and
her name is Natasha, and that perhaps there was only one other
woman equal to her in the world and that was Katya; and I came
here of course knowing I'd won the day.  Could an angel like you
refuse to forgive? 'He's not come, so something must have kept
him. It's not that he doesn't love me!' - that's what my
Natasha will think!  As though one could leave off loving you!
As though it were possible! My whole heart has been aching for
you. I'm to blame all the same.  But when you know all about
it you'll be the first to stand up for me.  I'll tell you all about it
directly; I want to open my heart to you all; that's what I've
come for.  I wanted to fly to you to-day (I was free for half a
minute) to give you a flying kiss, but I didn't succeed even in
that.  Katya sent for me on important business.  That was before
you saw me in the carriage, father.  That was the second time
I was driving to Katya after a second note.  Messengers are
running all day long with notes between the two houses.  Ivan
Petrovitch, I only had time to read your note last night and you
are quite right in all you say in it.  But what could I do? It was
a physical impossibility!  And so I thought 'tomorrow evening
I'll set it all straight,' for it was impossible for me not to come to
you this evening, Natasha."
  "What note?" asked Natasha.
  "He went to my rooms and didn't find me.  Of course he
pitched into me roundly in the letter he left for me for not having
been to see you.  And he's quite right.  It was yesterday."
  Natasha glanced at me.
  "But if you had time to be with Katerina Fyodorovna from
morning till night . . ." Prince Valkovsky began.
  "I know, I know what you'll say," Alyosha interrupted.  "If
I could be at Katya's I ought to have had twice as much reason
to be here.  I quite agree with you and will add for myself not
twice as much reason but a million times as much.  But, to begin
with, there are strange unexpected events in life which upset
everything and turn it topsy-turvy, and it's just things of that
sort that have been happening to me.  I tell you I've become an
utterly different person during the last days.  New all over to the
tips of my fingers.  So they must have been important events!"
  "Oh, dear me, but what has happened to you? Don't keep us
in suspense, please!" cried Natasha, smiling at Alyosha's heat.
  He really was rather absurd, he talked very fast, his words
rushed out pell-mell in a quick, continual patter.  He was
longing to tell us everything, to speak, to talk.  But as he talked
he still held Natasha's hand and continually raised it to his lips
as though he could never kiss it enough.
  "That's the whole point - what has happened to me," Alyosha
went on.  "Ah, my friends, the things I've been seeing and doing,
the people I've got to know!  To begin with Katya!  Such a
perfect creature! I didn't know her a bit, not a bit till now.
Even the other day, that Tuesday when I talked about her, do
you remember, Natasha, with such enthusiasm, even then I
hardly knew her a bit.  She hasn't shown her real self to me till
now.  But now we've got to know each other thoroughly.  We
call each other Katya and Alyosha.  But I'll begin at the
beginning.  To begin with, Natasha, if only you could hear all
that she said to me when I spoke to her about you the other day,
Wednesday it was, and told her all that had happened here....
And by the way, I remember how stupid I was when I came to
see you on Wednesday!  You greeted me with enthusiasm, you
were full of our new position; you wanted to talk to me about it
all; you were sad, and at the same time you were full of mischief
and playing with me; while I was trying to be dignified.  Oh,
fool, fool that I was! Would you believe it, I was longing to
show off, to boast that I was soon to be a husband, a dignified
person, and to think of my showing off to you!  Ah, how you must
have laughed at me, and how I deserved your ridicule!
  Prince Valkovsky sat in silence, looking with a sort of
triumphantly ironical smile at Alyosha.  He seemed to be glad
that his son was showing himself so flighty and even ridiculous.
I watched him carefully all that evening, and came to the con-
clusion that he was not at all fond of his son, though he was
always talking of his warm fatherly devotion to him.
  "From you I went to Katya," Alyosha rattled on.  "I've told
you already that it was only that morning we got to know each
other thoroughly, and it's queer how it happened . . . I don't
remember how it was . . . some warm words, some feelings,
thoughts frankly uttered and we were friends for ever.  You
must know her, you must, Natasha.  How she talked to me, how
she interpreted you to me.  How she explained to me what
a treasure you are.  By degrees she made me understand all her
ideas, all her views of life; she's such an earnest, such an enthu-
siastic girl!  She talked of duty, of our mission in life, of how we
all ought to serve humanity and, as we thoroughly agreed, after
five or six hours of conversation, we ended by swearing eternal
friendship, and that we would work together all our lives!
  "Work at what?" asked his father in astonishment.
  "I'm so changed, father, that all this must surprise you.  I
 know all your objections beforehand," Alyosha responded
triumphantly.  "You are all practical people, you have so many
grave, severe principles that are out of date.  You look with
mistrust, with hostility, with derision at everything new, every-
thing young and fresh.  But I'm not the same now as you knew
me a few days ago.  I'm a different man! I look everything
and everyone in the world boldly in the face.  If I know that
my conviction is right I will follow it up to its utmost limit.
and if I'm not turned aside from my path I'm an honest man.
That's enough for me.  You can say what you like after that.
I believe in myself."
  "Oh-ho!" said the prince jeeringly.
  Natasha looked round at us uneasily.  She was afraid for
Alyosha.  It often happened that he showed to great disadvan-
tage in conversation, and she knew it.  She did not want Alyosha
to make himself ridiculous before us, and especially before his
father.
  "What are you saying, Alyosha? I suppose it's some sort
of philosophy," she said.  "Someone's been lecturing you ...
You'd much better tell us what you've been doing."
  "But I am telling you! " cried Alyosha.  "You see, Katya
has two distant relations, cousins of some sort, called Levinka
and Borinka.  One's a student, the other's simply a young man.
She's on friendly terms with them, and they're simply extra-
ordinary men.  They hardly ever go to the countess's, on prin-
ciple.  When Katya and I talked of the destiny of man, of our
mission in life and all that, she mentioned them to me, and gave
me a note to them at once; I flew immediately to make their ac-
quaintance.  We became close friends that very evening.
There were about twelve fellows of different sorts there.
Students, officers, artists.   There was one author. They all
know you, Ivan Petrovitch.  That is, they've read your books
and expect great things of     you in the future. They told me
so themselves.  I told them I knew you and promised to intro-
duce them to you.  They all received me with open arms like a
brother.  I told them straight off that I should soon be a married
man, so they received me as a married man.  They live on the
fifth storey right under the roof.  They meet as often as they
can, chiefly on Wednesdays at Levinka's and Borinka's.  They're
all fresh young people filled with ardent love for all humanity.
We all talked of our present, of our future, of science and litera-
ture, and talked so well, so frankly and simply. . . . There's,
a high-school boy who comes too.  You should see how they
behave to one another, how generous they are! I've never seen
men like them before! Where have I been all this time? What
have I seen? What ideas have I grown up in? You're the only
one Natasha, who has ever told me anything of this sort.  Ah,
Natasha, you simply must get to know them; Katya knows them
already.  They speak of her almost with reverence.  And Katya's
told Levinka and Borinka already that when she comes into her
property she'll subscribe a million to the common cause at once."
  "And I suppose Levinka and Borinka and all their crew will be
the trustees for that million?" Prince Valkovsky asked.
  "That's false, that's false! It's a shame to talk like that,
father!" Alyosha cried with heat.  "I suspect what you're
thinking! We certainly have talked about that million, and spent
a long time discussing how to use it.  We decided at last on
public enlightenment before everything else ..."
  "Yes, I see that I did not quite know Katerina Fyodorovna,
certainly," Prince Valkovsky observed as it were to himself, still
with the same mocking smile.  "I was prepared for many things
from her, but this ..."
  "Why this?" Alyosha broke in.  "Why do you think it so
odd? Because it goes somewhat beyond your established
routine? because no one has subscribed a million before, and she
subscribes it? What of it! What if she doesn't want to live
at the expense of others, for living on those millions means living
at the expense of others (I've only just found that out).  She
wants to be of service to her country and all, and to give her mite
to the common cause.  We used to read of that mite in our
copy-books, and when that mite means a million you think there's
something wrong about it!  And what does it all rest on, this
common sense that's so much praised and that I believed in
so? Why do you look at me like that, father? As though you
were looking at a buffoon, a fool! What does it matter my being
a fool? Natasha, you should have heard what Katya said about
that, 'It's not the brains that matter most, but that which
guides them - the character, the heart, generous qualities, pro-
gressive ideas.' But better still, Bezmygin has a saying about
that that's full of genius.  Bezmygin is a friend of Levinka's and
Borinka's, and between ourselves he is a man of brains and a real
leader of genius.  Only yesterday he said in conversation, 'The
fool who recognizes that he is a fool is no longer a fool.' How true
that is!  One hears utterances like that from him every minute.
He positively scatters truths."
  "A sign of genius, certainly," observed Prince Valkovsky.
   "You do nothing but laugh.  But I've never heard anything
like that from you, and I've never heard anything like it from
any of your friends either.  On the contrary, in your circle you
seem to be hiding all this, to be grovelling on the ground, so that
all figures, all noses may follow precisely certain measurements,
certain rules - as though that were possible; as though that were
not a thousand times more impossible than what we talk about
and what we think.  And yet they call us Utopian! You should
have heard what they said to me yesterday ..."
  "Well, but what is it you talk and think about? Tell us,
Alyosha.  I can't quite understand yet," said Natasha.
  "Of everything in general that leads up to progress, to
humanity, to love, it's all in relation to contemporary questions.
We talk about the need of a free press, of the reforms that are
beginning, of the love of humanity, of the leaders of to-day; we
criticize them and read them.  But above all we've promised to
be perfectly open with one another and to tell everything about
ourselves, plainly, openly, without hesitation.  Nothing but
openness and straightforwardness can attain our object.  That's
what Bezmygin is striving most for.  I told Katya about that
and she is in complete sympathy with Bezmygin.  And so all
 of us, under Bezmygin's leadership, have promised to act honestly
and straightforwardly all our lives, and not to be disconcerted in
any way, not to be ashamed of our enthusiasm, our fervour, our
mistakes, and to go straight forward whatever may be said of us
and however we may be judged.  If you want to be respected by
others, the great thing is to respect yourself.  Only by that,
only by self-respect, will you compel others to respect you.
That's what Bezmygin says, and Katya agrees with him entirely.
We're agreeing now upon our convictions in general, and have
resolved to pursue the study of ourselves severally, and when we
meet to explain ourselves to each other."
  "What a string of nonsense!" cried Prince Valkovsky uneasily.
"And who is this Bezmygin? No, it can't be left like this ..."
  "What can't be left?" cried Alyosha.  "Listen, father, why 
I say all this before you.  It's because I want and hope to bring
you, too, into our circle.  I've pledged myself in your name
already.  You laugh; well, I knew you'd laugh!  But hear me
out. You are kind and generous, you'll understand.  You don't
know, you've never seen these people, you haven't heard them.
Supposing you have heard of all this and have studied it all, you
are horribly learned, yet you haven't seen them themselves, have
not been in their house, and so how can you judge of them
correctly? You only imagine that you know them.  You be with
them, listen to them, and then - then I'll give you my word you'll
be one of us.  Above all I want to use every means I can to rescue
you from ruin in the circle to which you have so attached yourself,
and so save you from your convictions."
  Prince Valkovsky listened to this sally in silence, with a malig-
nant sneer; there was malice in his face.  Natasha was watching
him with unconcealed repulsion.  He saw it, but pretended not to
notice it.  But as soon as Alyosha had finished, his father broke
into a peal of laughter.  He fell back in his chair as though he
could not control himself.  But the laughter was certainly not
genuine.  He was quite unmistakably laughing simply to wound
and to humiliate his son as deeply as possible.  Alyosha was
certainly mortified.  His whole face betrayed intense sadness.
But he waited patiently until his father's merriment was over.
  "Father," he began mournfully, "why are you laughing at me?
I have come to you frankly and openly.  If, in your opinion, what
I say is silly, teach me better, and don't laugh at me.  And what
do you find to laugh at? At what is for me good and holy now?
Why, suppose I am in error, suppose this is all wrong, mistaken,
suppose I am a little fool as you've called me several times; if
I am making a mistake I'm sincere and honest in it; I've done
nothing ignoble.  I am enthusiastic over lofty ideas.  They may
be mistaken, but what they rest upon is holy.  I've told you that
you and all your friends have never yet said anything to me that
could guide me, or influence me.  Refute them, tell me something
better than they have said, and I will follow you, but do not laugh
at me, for that grieves me very much."
  Alyosha pronounced these words with extreme sincerity and
a sort of severe dignity.  Natasha watched him sympathetically.
The prince heard his son with genuine amazement, and instantly
changed his tone.
  "I did not mean to grieve you, my dear," he answered.  "0n
the contrary I am sorry for you.  You are preparing to take such
a step in life that it is only seemly for you to leave off being such
a feather-headed boy.  That's what is in my mind.  I could not
help laughing, and had no wish to hurt your feelings."
  "Why was it that I thought so?" said Alyosha, with bitter
feeling.  "Why has it seemed for a long time past that you look
at me as though you were antagonistic to me, with cold mockery,
not like a father?  Why is it I feel that if I were in your place I
should not laugh so offensively as you do at me? Listen, let us
speak openly with one another, at once, and for ever, that there
may be no further misunderstanding.  And . . . I want to tell
you the whole truth.  I thought when I came here that there was
some misunderstanding.  It was not like this that I expected
to meet you all together.  Am I right? If I am, wouldn't it be
better for each of us to say openly what he feels.  How much
evil may be averted by openness!"
  "Speak, speak, Alyosha," said Prince Valkovsky.  "What you
propose is very sensible.  Perhaps you ought to have begun with
that," he added, glancing at Natasha.
  "Don't be angry with my perfect frankness," began Alyosha.
"You desire it and call for it yourself.  Listen, you have agreed
to my marriage with Natasha; you've made us happy by doing
so, and for the sake of it you have overcome your own feelings.
You have been magnanimous and we have all appreciated your
generosity.  But why is it now that with a sort of glee you keep
hinting that I'm a ridiculous boy, and am not fit to be a husband?
What's more, you seem to want to humiliate me and make me
ridiculous, and even contemptible, in Natasha's eyes.  You are
always delighted when you can make me look absurd.  I've
noticed that before now, for a long time past.  As though you
were trying for some reason to show us that our marriage is
absurd and foolish, and that we are not fitted for one another.
It's really as though you didn't believe yourself in what you
design for us; as though you look upon it all as a joke, as an
absurd fancy, as a comic farce.  I don't think so only from what
you've said to-day.  That very evening, that Tuesday when I
came back to you from here, I heard some strange expressions from
you which surprised and hurt me.  And on Wednesday, too, as
you were going away you made some allusions to our present
position, and spoke of her, not slightingly, quite the contrary, but
yet not as I would like to hear you speak, somehow too lightly,
without affection, without the respect for her.... It's difficult to
describe, but the tone was clear; one feels it in one's heart.  Tell
me that I'm mistaken.  Reassure me, comfort me and ... and
her, for you've wounded her too.  I guessed that from the first
moment I came in ..."
  Alyosha said this with warmth and resolution.  Natasha
listened to him with a certain triumph, and, her face glowing with
excitement, she said, as though to herself, once or twice during
his speech, "Yes, yes.  That's true." Prince Valkovsky was
taken aback.
  "My dear boy," he answered, "of course I can't remember
everything I've said to you; but it's very strange you should
have taken my words in that way.  I'm quite ready to reassure
you in every way I can.  If I laughed just now that was quite
natural.  I tell you that I tried to hide under a laugh my bitter
feeling.  When I imagine that you are about to be a husband it
seems to me now so utterly incredible, so absurd, excuse my
saying so, even ludicrous.  You reproach me for that laugh, but
I tell you that it is all your doing.  I am to blame, too.  Perhaps I
haven't been looking after you enough of late, and so it's only
this evening that I have found out of what you are capable.  Now
I tremble when I think of your future with Natalya Nikolaevna.
I have been in too great a hurry; I see that there is a great dis-
parity between you.  Love always passes, but incompatibility
remains for ever.  I'm not speaking now of your fate, but if
your intentions are honest, do consider; you will ruin Natalya
Nikolaevna as well as yourself, you certainly will!  Here you've
been talking for an hour of love for humanity, of the loftiness of
your convictions, of the noble people you've made friends with.
But ask Ivan Petrovitch what I said to him just now as we
climbed up that nasty staircase to the fourth storey, and were
standing at the door, thanking God that our lives and limbs were
safe.  Do you know the feeling that came into my mind in spite of
myself? I was surprised that with your love for Natalya
Nikolaevna you could bear to let her live in such a flat.  How is it
you haven't realized that, if you have no means, if you are not in
a position to do your duty, you have no right to be a husband,
you have no right to undertake any responsibilities? Love alone
is a small matter; love shows itself in deeds, but your motto is
'live with me if you have to suffer with me' - that's not humane,
you know, not honourable, to talk of love for all humanity, to
go into raptures over the problems of the universe, and at the
same time to sin against love without noticing it - it's incom-
prehensible! Don't interrupt me, Natalya Nikolaevna, let me
finish.  I feel it too bitterly, I must speak out.  You've been
telling us, Alyosha, that during these last days you've been
attracted by everything that's honourable, fine and noble, and
you have reproached me that among my friends there are no such
attractions, nothing but cold common sense.  Only imagine, to be
attracted by everything lofty and fine, and, after what happened
here on Tuesday, to neglect for four whole days the woman who,
one would have thought, must be more precious to you than
anything on earth.  You positively confess that you argued with
with Katerina Fyodorovna that Natalya Nikolaevna is so
generous and loves you so much that she will forgive you your
behaviour.  But what right have you to reckon on such forgive-
ness, and make bets about it? And is it possible you haven't
once reflected what distress, what bitter feelings, what doubts, what
suspicions you've been inflicting on Natalya Nikolaevna all this
time? Do you think that because you've been fascinated there
by new ideas, you had the right to neglect your first duty?
Forgive me, Natalya Nikolaevna, for breaking my word.  But the
present position is more important than any promise, you will
realize that yourself. . . . Do you know, Alyosha, that I found
Natalya Nikolaevna in such agonies of distress that it was plain
what a hell you had made of these four days for her, which should,
one would have thought, have been the happiest in her life.  Such
conduct on one side, and on the other - words, words, words ...
am I not right? And you can blame me when it's entirely your
own fault?"
  Prince Valkovsky finished.  He was really carried away by his
own eloquence and could not conceal his triumph from us.
When Alyosha heard of Natasha's distress he looked at her with
painful anxiety, but Natasha had already come to a decision.
  "Never mind, Alyosha, don't be unhappy," she said.  "Others
are more to blame than you.  Sit down and listen to what I have
to say to your father.  It's time to make an end of it!"
  "Explain yourself, Natalya Nikolaevna!" cried the prince.
"I beg you most earnestly!  For the last two hours I have been
listening to these mysterious hints.  It is becoming intolerable,
and I must admit I didn't expect such a welcome here."
  "Perhaps; because you expected so to fascinate us with words
that we should not notice your secret intentions.  What is there
to explain to you?  You know it all and understand it all yourself.
Alyosha is right.  Your first desire is to separate us.  You knew
beforehand, almost by heart, everything that would happen here,
after last Tuesday, and you were reckoning on it all.  I have told
you already that you don't take me seriously, nor the marriage
you have planned.  You are making fun of us, you are playing,
and you have your own objects.  Your game is a safe one.
Alyosha was right when he reproached you for looking on all this
as a farce.  You ought, on the contrary, to be delighted and not
scold Alyosha, for without knowing anything about it he has done
all that you expected of him, and perhaps even more."
  I was petrified with astonishment, I had expected some
catastrophe that evening.  But I was utterly astounded at
Natasha's ruthless plain speaking and her frankly contemptuous
tone.  Then she really must know something, I thought, and has
irrevocably determined upon a rupture.  Perhaps she had been
impatiently expecting the prince in order to tell him everything
to his face.  Prince Valkovsky turned a little pale.  Alyosha's
face betrayed naive alarm and agonizing expectation.
  "Think what you have just accused me of," cried the prince,
"and consider your words a little ... I can make nothing of it!"
  "Ah!  So you don't care to understand at a word," said
Natasha.  "Even he, even Alyosha, understood you as I did, and
we are not in any agreement about it.  We have not even seen
each other!  He, too, fancied that you were playing an ignoble
and insulting game with us, and he loves you and believes in you
as though you were a god.  You haven't thought it necessary to
be cautious and hypocritical enough with him, you reckoned that
he would not see through you.  But he has a tender, sensitive,
impressionable heart, and your words, your tone, as he says, have
left a trace in his heart . . ."
  "I don't understand a word of it, not a word of it," repeated
Prince Valkovsky, turning to me with an air of the utmost
perplexity, as though he were calling me to witness.  He was hot
and angry.
  "You are suspicious, you are agitated," he went on, addressing
her.  "The fact is you are jealous of Katerina Fyodorovna, and so
you're ready to find fault with everyone, and me especially ...
and, allow me to say, you give one a strange idea of your character.
... I am not accustomed to such scenes. I would not remain here
another moment if it were not for my son's interests.  I am still
waiting.  Will you condescend to explain?"
  "So you still persist and will not understand though you know
all this by heart.  Do you really want me to speak out?
  "That is all I am anxious for."
  "Very well then, listen," cried Natasha, her eyes flashing with
anger.  "I'll tell you everything, everything."


                       CHAPTER III
SHE got up and began to speak standing, unconscious of doing so
in her excitement.  After listening for a time, Prince Valkovsky
too, stood up.  The whole scene became quite solemn.
  "Remember your own words on Tuesday." Natasha began.
"You said you wanted money, to follow the beaten track,
importance in the world - do you remember?"
  "I remember."
  "Well, to gain that money, to win all that success which was
slipping out of your hands, you came here on Tuesday and made
up this match, calculating that this practical joke would help you
to capture what was eluding you."
  "Natasha!" I cried.  "Think what you're saying!"
  "Joke! Calculating!" repeated the prince with an air of
insulted dignity.
  Alyosha sat crushed with grief and gazed scarcely compre-
hending.
  "Yes, yes, don't stop me.  I have sworn to speak out," Natasha
went on, irritated.  "Remember, Alyosha was not obeying you.
For six whole months you had been doing your utmost to draw
him away from me.  He held out against you.  And at last the
time came when you could not afford to lose a moment.  If you
let it pass, the heiress, the money - above all the money, the
three millions of dowry - would slip through your fingers.  Only
one course was left you, to make Alyosha love the girl you destined
for him; you thought that if he fell in love with her he would
abandon me."
  "Natasha!  Natasha!" Alyosha cried in distress, "what are
you saying?"
  "And you have acted accordingly," she went on, not heeding
Alyosha's exclamation, "but - it was the same old story again!
Everything might have gone well, but I was in the way again.
There was only one thing to give you hope.  A man of your
cunning and experience could not help seeing even then that
Alyosha seemed at times weary of his old attachment.  You
could not fail to notice that he was beginning to neglect me, to
be bored, to stay away for five days at a time.  You thought he
might get tired of it altogether and give me up, when suddenly
on Tuesday Alyosha's decided action came as a shock to you.
What were you to do!"
  "Excuse me," cried Prince Valkovsky, "on the contrary, that
fact . . ."
  "I say," Natasha went on emphatically, "you asked yourself
that evening what you were to do, and resolved to sanction his
marrying me not in reality but only in words, simply to soothe
him.  The date of the wedding could be deferred, you thought,
indefinitely, and meanwhile the new feeling was growing; you
saw that.  And on the growth of this new love you rested all your
hopes."
  "Novels, novels," the prince pronounced, in an undertone, as
though speaking to himself, "solitude, brooding, and novel-
reading."
  "Yes, on this new love you rested everything," Natasha
repeated, without listening or attending to his words, more and
more carried away in a fever of excitement.  "And the chances
in favour of this new love! It had begun before he knew all
the girl's perfections.  At the very moment when he disclosed
to her that evening that he could not love her, that duty and
another love forbade it - the girl suddenly displayed such
nobility of character, such sympathy for him and for her rival,
such spontaneous forgiveness, that though he had believed in
her beauty, he only realized then how splendid she was.  When
he came to me he talked of nothing but her, she had made
such an impression upon him.  Yes, he was bound next day to
feel an irresistible impulse to see this noble being again, if only
from gratitude.  And, indeed, why shouldn't he go to her?
His old love was not in distress now, her future was secured, his
whole life was to be given up to her, while the other would have
only a minute.  And how ungrateful Natasha would be if she
were jealous even of that minute.  And so without noticing it
he robs his Natasha not of a minute, but of one day, two days,
three. . . . And meantime, in those three days, the girl shows
herself to him in a new and quite unexpected light.  She is so
noble, so enthusiastic, and at the same time such a naive child,
and in fact so like himself in character.  They vow eternal
friendship and brotherhood, they wish never to be parted.  In
five or six hours of conversation his soul is opened to new sensa-
tions and his whole heart is won.  The time will come at last,
you reckon, when he will compare his old feeling with his new,
fresh sensations.  There everything is familiar and the same as
usual; there it's all serious and exacting; there he finds
jealousy and reproaches; there he finds tears. . . . Or if there
is lightness and playfulness, he is treated liked a child not an
equal ... But worst of all, its all familiar, the same as ever. . . ."
  Tears and a spasm of bitterness choked her, but Natasha
controlled herself for a minute longer.
  "And what besides!  Why, time.  The wedding with
Natasha is not fixed yet, you think; there's plenty of time and
all will change. . . . And then your words, hints, arguments,
eloquence. . . . You may even be able to trump up something
against that troublesome Natasha.  You may succeed in putting
her in an unfavourable light and . . . there's no telling how
it will be done; but the victory is yours!  Alyosha!  Don't
blame me, my dear!  Don't say that I don't understand your
love and don't appreciate it.  I know you love me even now,
and that perhaps at this moment you don't understand what I
complain of.  I know I've done very wrong to say all this.  But
what am I to do, understanding all this, and loving you more
and more ... simply madly!"
  She hid her face in her hands, fell back in her chair, and sobbed
like a child.  Alyosha rushed to her with a loud exclamation.
He could never see her cry without crying too.
  Her sobs were, I think, of great service to the prince; Natasha's
vehemence during this long explanation, the violence of her
attack on him which he was bound, if only from decorum, to
resent, all this might be set down to an outburst of insane
jealousy, to wounded love, even to illness.  It was positively
appropriate to show sympathy.
  "Calm yourself, don't distress yourself, Natalya Nikolaevna,"
Prince Valkovsky encouraged her.  "This is frenzy, imagina-
tion, the fruits of solitude.  You have been so exasperated by
his thoughtless behaviour.  It is only thoughtlessness on his
part, you know.  The most important fact on which you lay
so much stress, what happened on Tuesday, ought rather to
prove to you the depth of his love for you, while you have been
imagining on the contrary ..."
  "Oh, don't speak to me, don't torture me even now!" cried
Natasha, weeping bitterly.  "My heart has told me everything,
has told me long ago!  Do you suppose I don't understand that
our old love is over here in this room, alone . . . when
he left me, forgot me I have been through everything,
thought over everything What else have I to do? I
don't blame you, Alyosha. . . . Why are you deceiving me?
Do you suppose I haven't tried to deceive myself? Oh how
often, how often! Haven't I listened to every tone of his voice?
Haven't I learnt to read his face, his eyes? It's all, all over.
It's all buried.... Oh! how wretched I am!"
  Alyosha was crying on his knees before her.
  "Yes, yes, it's my fault! It's all my doing!" he repeated
through his sobs.
  "No, don't blame yourself, Alyosha.  It's other people
our enemies.... It's their doing ... theirs!"
  "But excuse me," the prince began at last with some im-
patience, "what grounds have you for ascribing to me all these
. . .  crimes? These are all your conjectures. There's no
proof of them..."
  "No proof!" cried Natasha, rising swiftly from her easy
chair.  "You want proof, treacherous man.  You could have
had no other motive, no other motive when you came here with
your project!  You had to soothe your son, to appease his
conscience-pricks that he might give himself up to Katya with
a freer and easier mind.  Without that he would always have
remembered me, he would have held out against you, and you
have got tired of waiting.  Isn't that true?"
  "I confess," said the prince, with a sarcastic smile, "if I had
wanted to deceive you that would certainly have been my
calculation.  You are very . . . quick-witted, but you ought
to have proofs before you insult people with such reproaches."
  "Proofs!  But all your behaviour in the past when you were
trying to get him away from me.  A man who trains his son to
disregard such obligations, and to play with them for the sake
of worldly advantage, for the sake of money, is corrupting him!
What was it you said just now about the staircase and the
poorness of my lodging? Didn't you stop the allowance you
used to give him, to force us to part through poverty and hunger?
This lodging and the staircase are your fault, and now you
reproach him with it double-faced man!  And what was it
roused in you that night such warmth, such new and uncharac-
teristic convictions?  And why was I so necessary to you?
I've been walking up and down here for these four days; I've
thought over everything, I have weighed every word you uttered,
every expression of your face, and I'm certain that it has all been a
pretence, a sham, a mean, insulting and unworthy farce. . . .
I know you, I've known you for a long time.  Whenever Alyosha
came from seeing you I could read from his face all that you
had been saying to him, all that you had been impressing on him.
No, you can't deceive me! Perhaps you have some other
calculations now; perhaps I haven't said the worst yet; but
no matter!  You have deceived me - that's the chief thing.  I
had to tell you that straight to your face!"
  "Is that all? Is that all the proof you have? But think,
you frantic woman: by that farce, as you call my proposal on
Tuesday, I bound myself too much, it would be too irresponsible
on my part ...
  "How, how did you bind yourself! What does it mean for
you to deceive me? And what does it signify to insult a girl
in my position? A wretched runaway, cast off by her father,
defenceless, who has disgraced herself, immoral! Is there any
need to be squeamish with her if this joke can be of the very
smallest use!"
  "Only think what a position you are putting yourself into,
Natalya Nikolaevna.  You insist that you have been insulted
by me.  But such an insult is so great, so humiliating, that I
can't understand how you can even imagine it, much less insist
on it.  What must you be accustomed to, to be able to suppose
this so easily, if you will excuse my saying so.  I have the right
to reproach you, because you are setting my son against me.  If
he does not attack me now on your account his heart is against
me.
  "No, father, no!" cried Alyosha, "If I haven't attacked
you it's because I don't believe you could be guilty of such an
insult, and I can't believe that such an insult is possible!
  "Do you hear?" cried Prince Valkovsky.
  "Natasha, it's all my fault!  Don't blame him. It's wicked
and horrible."
  "Do you hear, Vanya? He is already against me!" cried
Natasha.
  "Enough!" said the prince.  "We must put an end to this
painful scene. This blind and savage outburst of unbridled
jealousy shows your character in quite a new light. I am
forewarned.  We have been in too great a hurry.  We certainly
have been in too great a hurry.  You have not even noticed
how you have insulted me.  That's nothing to you.  We were
in too great a hurry ... too great a hurry ... my word ought
to be sacred of course, but ... I am a father, and I desire the
happiness of my son . . ."
  "You go back from your word!" cried Natasha, beside herself.
"You are glad of the opportunity.  But let me tell you that
here, alone, I made up my mind two days ago to give him back
his promise, and now I repeat it before every one.  I give him
up!"
  "That is, perhaps, you want to reawaken his old anxieties
again, his feeling of duty, all this worrying about his obligations
(as you expressed it just now yourself), so as to bind him to you
again.  This is the explanation on your own theory.  That is
why I say so; but enough, time will decide.  I will await a
calmer moment for an explanation with you.  I hope we may
not break off all relations.  I hope, too, that you may learn
to appreciate me better.  I meant to-day to tell you of my
projects for your family, which would have shown you.... But
enough!  Ivan Petrovitch," he added, coming up to me, "I
have always wanted to know you better, and now, more than
ever, I should appreciate it.  I hope you understand me.  I shall
come and see you in a day or two if you will allow me."
  I bowed.  It seemed to me, too, that now I could not avoid
making his acquaintance.  He pressed my hand, bowed to
Natasha without a word, and went out with an air of affronted
dignity.



                         CHAPTER IV

FOR some minutes we all said nothing.  Natasha sat in thought,
sorrowful and exhausted.  All her energy had suddenly left her.
She looked straight before her seeing nothing, holding Alyosha's
hand in hers and seeming lost in oblivion.  He was quietly giving
vent to his grief in tears, looking at her from time to time with
timorous curiosity.
  At last he began timidly trying to comfort her, besought her
not to be angry, blamed himself; it was evident that he was
very anxious to defend his father, and that this was very much
on his mind.  He began on the subject several times, but did
not dare to speak out, afraid of rousing Natasha's wrath again.
He protested his eternal unchanging love, and hotly justified
his devotion to Katya, continually repeating that he only loved
Katya as a sister, a dear, kind sister, whom he could not abandon
altogether; that that would be really coarse and cruel on his
part, declaring that if Natasha knew Katya they would be
friends at once, so much so that they would never part and
never quarrel.  This idea pleased him particularly.  The poor
fellow was perfectly truthful.  He did not understand her
apprehensions, and indeed had no clear understanding of what
she had just said to his father.  All he understood was that
they had quarrelled, and that above all lay like a stone on his
heart.
  "You are blaming me on your father's account?" asked
Natasha.
  "How can I blame you?" he said with bitter feeling, "when
I'm the cause, and it's all my fault? It's I who have driven
you into such a fury, and in your anger you blamed him too,
because you wanted to defend me.  You always stand up for
me, and I don't deserve it.  You had to fix the blame on some-
one, so you fixed it on him.  And he's really not to blame!"
cried Alyosha, warming up.  "And was it with that thought
he came here?  Was that what he expected?"
  But seeing that Natasha was looking at him with distress and
reproach, he was abashed at once.
  "Forgive me, I won't, I won't," he said.  "It's all my
fault!"
  "Yes, Alyosha," she went on with bitter feeling.  "Now he
has come between us and spoilt all our peace, for all our lives.
You always believed in me more than in anyone.  Now he has
poured distrust and suspicion of me into your heart; you blame
me; he has already taken from me half your heart.  The black
cat has run between us."
  "Don't speak like that, Natasha.  Why, do you talk of the
black cat?"
  He was hurt by the expression.
  "He's won you by his false kindness, his false generosity,"
Natasha continued.  "And now he will set you more and more
against me."
  "I swear that it isn't so," said Alyosha with still greater
heat.  "He was irritated when he said he was 'in too great a
hurry.' You will see to-morrow, in a day or two, he'll think
better of it; and if he's so angry that he really won't have our
marriage I swear I won't obey him.  I shall have the strength,
perhaps, for that. And do you know who will help us?" he
cried, delighted with his idea.  "Katya will help us!  And
you will see, you will see what a wonderful creature she is!
You will see whether she wants to be your rival and part us.
And how unfair you were just now when you said that I was
one of those who might change the day after marriage! It
was bitter to me to hear that! No, I'm not like that, and if
I went often to see Katya . . ."
  "Hush, Alyosha! Go and see her whenever you like.  That
wasn't what I meant just now.  You didn't understand it all.
Be happy with anyone you like.  I can't ask more of your heart
than it can give me..."
  Mavra came in.
  "Am I to bring in the tea? It's no joke to keep the samovar
boiling for two hours.  It's eleven o'clock."
  She spoke rudely and crossly.  She was evidently out of
humour and angry with Natasha.  The fact was that ever
since Tuesday she had been in the greatest delight that her
young lady (whom she was very fond of) was to be married, and
had already had time to proclaim it all over the house and
neighbourhood, in the shop, and to the porter.  She had been
boasting of it and relating triumphantly that a prince, a man
of consequence, and a general, awfully rich, had come himself
to beg her young lady's consent, and she, Mavra, had heard it
with her own cars; and now, suddenly, it had all ended in smoke.
The prince had gone away furious, and no tea had been offered
to him, and of course it was all her young lady's fault.  Mavra
had heard her speaking disrespectfully to him.
  "Oh ... yes," answered Natasha.
  "And the savouries?"
  "Yes, bring them too."
  Natasha was confused.
  "We've been making such preparations, such preparations,"
Mavra went on.  "I've been run off my feet ever since yester-
day.  I ran to the Nevsky for wine, and here . . ."
  And she went out, slamming the door angrily.
  Natasha reddened and looked at me rather strangely.
  Meanwhile tea was served, and with it savouries.  There was
game, fish of some sort, two bottles of excellent wine from
Eliseyev.  What were all these preparations for, I wondered.
  "You see what I am, Vanya," said Natasha, going up to the
table, and she was ashamed even to face me.  "I foresaw it
would all end as it has ended, you know; and still I thought
that perhaps it wouldn't end so.  I thought Alyosha might
come, and begin to make peace, and we should be reconciled.
All my suspicions would turn out to be unjust.  I should be
convinced . . . and I got a supper ready on the chance.  I
thought perhaps we should sit and talk till late."
  Poor Natasha! She blushed so deeply as she said this.
Alyosha was delighted.
  "There, you see, Natasha! " he cried.  "You didn't believe
it yourself.  Two hours ago you didn't believe in your suspicions
yourself.  Yes, it must all be set right.  I'm to blame.  It's
all my fault and I'll make it all right.  Natasha, let me go
straight to my father.  I must see him; he is hurt, he is offended;
I must comfort him.  I will tell him everything, speaking only
for myself, only for myself! You shan't be mixed up in it.
And I'll settle everything.  Don't be angry with me for being
so anxious to get to him and ready to leave you.  It's not that
at all.  I am sorry for him; he will justify himself to you, you
will see.  To-morrow I'll be with you as soon as it's light, and
I'll spend the whole day with you.  I won't go to Katya's."
  Natasha did not detain him; she even urged him to go.  She
was dreadfully afraid that Alyosha would now force himself to
stay with her from morning till night, and would weary of her.
She only begged him to say nothing in her name, and tried to
smile at him more cheerfully at parting.  He was just on the
point of going, but he suddenly went up to her, took her by
both hands and sat down beside her.  He looked at her with
indescribable tenderness.
  "Natasha, my darling, my angel, don't be angry with me,
and don't let us ever quarrel.  And give me your word that
you'll always believe me, and I will believe you.  There, my
angel, I'll tell you now.  We quarrelled once; I don't remember
what about: it was my fault.  We wouldn't speak to one
another.  I didn't want to be the first to beg pardon and I was
awfully miserable.  I wandered all over the town, lounged about
everywhere, went to see my friends, and my heart was so heavy,
so heavy.... And then the thought came into my mind, what
if you fell ill, for instance, and died? And when I imagined that,
I suddenly felt such despair as though I had really lost you for
ever.  My thoughts grew more and more oppressive and terrible.
And little by little I began to imagine going to your tomb, falling
upon it in despair, embracing it, and swooning with anguish.
I imagined how I would kiss that tomb, and call you out of it,
if only for a moment, and pray God for a miracle that for one
moment you might rise up before me; I imagined how I would
rush to embrace you, press you to me, kiss you, and die, it
seemed, with bliss at being able once more for one instant to
hold you in my arms as before.  And as I was imagining that,
the thought suddenly came to me: why, I shall pray to God
for one minute of you, and meanwhile you have been with me
six months, and during those six months how many times we've
quarrelled, how many days we wouldn't speak to one another.
For whole days we've been on bad terms and despised our happi-
ness, and here I'm praying you to come for one minute from
the tomb, and I'm ready to give my whole life for that minute.
. . . When I fancied all that I couldn't restrain myself, but
rushed to you as fast as I could; I ran here, and you were
expecting me, and when we embraced after that quarrel I
remember I held you in my arms as tightly as though I were
really losing you, Natasha.  Don't let us ever quarrel!  It
always hurts me so.  And, good heavens, how could you
imagine that I could leave you!"
  Natasha was crying.  They embraced each other warmly, and
Alyosha swore once more that he would never leave her.  Then
he flew off to his father.  He was firmly convinced that he would
settle everything, that he would make everything come right.
  "It's all ended!  It's all over!" said Natasha, pressing my
hand convulsively.  "He loves me and he will never cease to love
me. But he loves Katya, too, and in a little time he'll love her
more than me.  And that viper, the prince, will keep his eyes
open, and then . . ."
  "Natasha! I, too, believe that the prince is not acting straight-
forwardly, but . . ."
  "You don't believe all I've said to him!  I saw that from your
face.  But wait a little, you'll see for yourself whether I'm right.
I was only speaking generally, but heaven knows what else he
has in his mind!  He's an awful man.  I've been walking up and
down this room for the last four days, and I see through it all.
He had to set Alyosha free, to relieve his heart from the burden
of sadness that's weighing on his life, from the duty of loving me.
He thought of this project of marriage with the idea, too, of
worming his way in between us and influencing us, and of
captivating Alyosha by his generosity and magnanimity.  That's
the truth, that's the truth, Vanya!  Alyosha's just that sort of
character.  His mind would be set at rest about me, his uneasiness
on my account would be over.  He would think, 'why, she's my
wife now, and mine for life,' and would unconsciously pay more
attention to Katya.  The prince has evidently studied Katya, and
realizes that she's suited to him, and that she may attract him
more than I can.  Ach, Vanya, you are my only hope now! He
wants for some reason to approach you, to get to know you.
Don't oppose this, and for goodness' sake, dear, try to find some
way of going to the countess's soon; make friends with this
Katya, study her thoroughly and tell me what she is like.  I want
to know what you think of her.  No one knows me as you do, and
you will understand what I want.  Find out, too, how far their
friendship goes, how much there is between them, what they talk
about.  It's Katya, Katya, you must observe chiefly.  Show me
this once more, dear, darling Vanya, show me this once more
what a true friend you are to me! You are my hope, my only
hope now."

  It was nearly one O'clock by the time I got home.  Nellie
opened the door to me with a sleepy face.  She smiled and looked
at me brightly.  The poor child was very much vexed with herself
for having fallen asleep.  She had been very anxious to sit up for
me. She told me someone had been and inquired for me, had
sat and waited for a time, and had left a note on the table for me.
The note was from Masloboev.  He asked me to go to him next
day between twelve and one.  I wanted to question Nellie, but
I put it off till next morning, insisting that she should go to bed
at once.  The poor child was tired as it was with sitting up for
me, and had only fallen asleep half an hour before I came in.



                          CHAPTER V

IN the morning Nellie told me some rather strange details about
the visit of the previous evening.  Indeed, the very fact that
Masloboev had taken it into his head to come that evening at all
was strange.  He knew for a fact that I should not be at home.  I
had warned him of it myself at our last meeting, and I remembered
it distinctly.  Nellie told me that at first she had been unwilling
to open the door, because she was afraid - it was eight o'clock in
the evening.  But he persuaded her to do so through the door,
assuring her that if he did not leave a note for me that evening it
would be very bad for me next day.  When she let him in he wrote
the note at once, went up to her, and sat down beside her on the
sofa.
  "I got up, and didn't want to talk to him," said Nellie.  "I
was very much afraid of him; he began to talk of Mme. Bubnov,
telling me how angry she was, that now she wouldn't dare to take
me, and began praising you; said that he was a great friend of
yours and had known you as a little boy.  Then I began to talk
to him.  He brought out some sweets, and asked me to take some.
I didn't want to; then he began to assure me he was a good-
natured man, and that he could sing and dance.  He jumped up
and began dancing.  It made me laugh.  Then he said he'd stay
a little longer - 'I'll wait for Vanya, maybe he'll come in';
and he did his best to persuade me not to be afraid of him, but to
sit down beside him.  I sat down, but I didn't want to say any-
thing to him.  Then he told me he used to know mother and
grandfather and      then I began to talk, And he stayed a long
time ..."
  "What did you talk about?"
  "About mother ... Mme.  Bubnov ... grandfather.  He stayed
two hours."
  Nellie seemed unwilling to say what they had talked about.  I
did not question her, hoping to hear it all from Masloboev.
But it struck me that Masloboev had purposely come when I was
out, in order to find Nellie alone.  "What did he do that for?"
I wondered.
  She showed me three sweetmeats he had given her.  They were
fruit-drops done up in green and red paper, very nasty ones,
probably bought at a greengrocer's shop.  Nellie laughed as she
showed me them.
  "Why didn't you eat them?" I asked.
  "I don't want to," she answered seriously, knitting her brows.
"I didn't take them from him; he left them on the sofa him-
self. . . ."
  I had to run about a great deal that day.  I began saying good-
bye to Nellie.
  "Will you be dull all alone?" I asked her as I went away.
  "Dull and not dull.  I shall be dull because you won't be here
for a long while."
  And with what love she looked at me as she said this.  She had
been looking at me tenderly all that morning, and she seemed so
gay, so affectionate, and at the same time there was something
shamefaced, even timid, in her manner, as though she were afraid
of vexing me in some way, and losing my affection and ... and
of showing her feelings too strongly, as though she were ashamed
of them.
  "And why aren't you dull then? You said you were 'dull
and not dull.'" I could not help asking, smiling to her - she had
grown sweet and precious to me.
  "I know why," she answered laughing and for some reason
abashed again.
  We were talking in the open doorway.  Nellie was standing
before me with her eyes cast down, with one hand on my shoulder,
and with the other pinching my sleeve.
  "What is it, a secret?" I asked.
  "No ... it's nothing.... I've ... I've begun reading your book
while you were away." she brought out in a low voice, and
turning a tender, penetrating look upon me she flushed crimson.
  "Ah, that's it! Well, do you like it?"
  I felt the embarrassment of an author praised to his face, but
I don't know what I would have given to have kissed her at that
moment.  But it seemed somehow impossible to kiss her.  Nellie
was silent for a moment.
  "Why, why did he die?" she asked with an expression of
the deepest sadness, stealing a glance at me and then dropping
her eyes again.
  "Who?"
  "Why, that young man in consumption ... in the book."
  "It couldn't be helped.  It had to be so, Nellie."
  "It didn't have to at all," she answered, hardly above a
whisper, but suddenly, abruptly, almost angrily, pouting and
staring still more obstinately at the floor.
  Another minute passed.
  "And she ... they ... the girl and the old man," she whispered,
still plucking at my sleeve, more hurriedly than before.  Will
they live together? And will they leave off being poor?"
  "No, Nellie, she'll go far away; she'll marry a country gentle-
man, and he'll be left alone," I answered with extreme regret,
really sorry that I could not tell her something more comforting.
  "Oh, dear! ... How dreadful! Ach, what people!  I don't
want to read it now!"
  And she pushed away my arm angrily, turned her back on me
quickly, walked away to the table and stood with her face to the
corner, and her eyes on the ground... She was flushed all over,
and breathed unsteadily, as though from some terrible dis-
appointment.
  "Come, Nellie, you're angry," I said, going up to her. "You
know, it's not true what's written in it, it's all made up; what is
there to be angry about! You're such a sensitive little girl!"
  "I'm not angry," she said timidly, looking up at me with
clear and loving eyes; then she suddenly snatched my hand,
pressed her face to my breast, and for some reason began crying,
  But at the same moment she laughed - laughed and cried
together.  I, too, felt it was funny, and somehow . . . sweet.
But nothing would make her lift her head, and when I began
pulling her little face away from my shoulder she pressed it more
and more closely against me, and laughed more and more.
  At last this sentimental scene was over.  We parted.  I was
in a hurry.  Nellie, flushed, and still seeming as it were shame-
faced, with eyes that shone like stars, ran after me out on the
stairs, and begged me to come back early.  I promised to be sure
to be back to dinner, and as early as possible.
  To begin with I went to the Ichmenyevs.  They were both in
Anna Andreyevna was quite ill; Nikolay Sergeyitch was sitting
in his study.  He heard that I had come, but I knew that, a
usual, he would not come out for a quarter of an hour, so as to
give us time to talk.  I did not want to upset Anna Andreyevna
too much, and so I softened my account of the previous evening
as far as I could, but I told the truth.  To my surprise, though
my old friend was disappointed, she was not astonished to hear
the possibility of a rupture.
  "Well, my dear boy, it's just as I thought," she said.  "When
you'd gone I pondered over it, and made up my mind that it
wouldn't come to pass.  We've not deserved such a blessing,
besides he's such a mean man; one can't expect anything good to
come from him.  It shows what he is that he's taking ten thousand
roubles from us for nothing.  He knows it's for nothing, but he
takes it all the same.  He's robbing us of our last crust of bread.
Ichmenyevka will be sold.  And Natasha's right and sensible not
to believe him.  But do you know, my dear boy," she went on
dropping her voice, "my poor man!  My poor man!  He's
absolutely against this marriage.  He let it out.  'I won't have
it,' said he.  At first I thought it was only foolishness; no,
meant it.  What will happen to her then, poor darling? The
he'll curse her utterly.  And how about Alyosha? What does he
say?"
  And she went on questioning me for a long time, and as usual
she sighed and moaned over every answer I gave her.  Of late I
noticed that she seemed to have quite lost her balance. Every
piece of news upset her.  Her anxiety over Natasha was ruining
her health and her nerves.
  The old man came in in his dressing-gown and slippers.  He
complained of being feverish, but looked fondly at his wife, and
all the time that I was there he was looking after her like a nurse
peeping into her face, and seeming a little timid with her in fact
There was a great deal of tenderness in the way he looked at her
He was frightened at her illness; he felt he would be bereaved of
everything on earth if he lost her.
  I sat with them for an hour.  When I took leave he came into
the passage with me and began speaking of Nellie.  He seriously
thought of taking her into his house to fill the place of his
daughter, Natasha.  He began consulting me how to predispose
Anna Andreyevna in favour of the plan.  With special curiosity
he questioned me about Nellie, asking whether I had found out
anything fresh about her.  I told him briefly, my story made an
impression on him.
  "We'll speak of it again," he said decisively.  "And mean-
while ... but I'll come to you myself, as soon as I'm a little better.
Then we'll settle things."
  At twelve o'clock precisely I reached Masloboev's.  To my
intense amazement the first person I met when I went in was
Prince Valkovsky.  He was putting on his overcoat in the entry,
and Masloboev was officiously helping him and handing him his
cane.  He had already told me that he was acquainted with the
prince, but yet this meeting astonished me extremely.
  Prince Valkovsky seemed confused when he saw me.
  "Ach, that's you!" he cried, with somewhat exaggerated
warmth.  "What a meeting, only fancy!  But I have just heard
from Mr. Masloboev that he knew you.  I'm glad, awfully glad to
have met you.  I was just wishing to see you, and hoping to call
on you as soon as possible.  You will allow me?  I have a favour
to ask of you.  Help me, explain our present position.  You
understand, of course, that I am referring to what happened
yesterday.... You are an intimate friend; you have followed
the whole course of the affair; you have influence... I'm
awfully sorry that I can't stay now... Business ... But in a few
days, and perhaps sooner, I shall have the pleasure of calling on
you.  But now . . ."
  He shook my hand with exaggerated heartiness, exchanged a
glance with Masloboev, and went away.
  "Tell me for mercy's sake..."  I began, as I went into the
room.
  "I won't tell you anything," Masloboev interrupted, hurriedly
snatching up his cap and going towards the entry.  "I've
business.  I must run, too, my boy.  I'm late."
  "Why, you wrote to me yourself to come at twelve o'clock!"
  "What if I did write twelve o'clock? I wrote to you yesterday,
but to-day I've been written to myself, and such a piece of
business that my head's in a whirl!  They're waiting for me.
Forgive me, Vanya, the only thing I can suggest to you by way of
satisfaction is to punch my head for having troubled you for
nothing.  If you want satisfaction, punch it; only, for Christ's
sake, make haste!  Don't keep me.  I've business.  I'm late ..."
  "What should I punch your head for?  Make haste then if
you've business . . . things unforeseen may happen to anyone.
Only . . ."
  "Yes, as for that only, let me tell you," he interrupted,
dashing out into the entry and putting on his coat (I followed
his example).  "I have business with you, too; very important
business; that's why I asked you to come; it directly concerns
you and your interests.  And as it's impossible to tell you about
it in one minute now, for goodness' sake promise me to come to
me to-day at seven o'clock, neither before nor after.  I'll be at
home."
  "To-day," I said uncertainly. "Well, old man, I did mean
this evening to go . . ."
  "Go at once, dear boy., where you meant to go this evening,
and come this evening to me.  For you can't imagine, Vanya,
the things I have to tell you."
  "But I say, what is it? I confess you make me curious."
  Meanwhile we had come out of the gate and were standing on
the pavement.
  "So you'll come?" he asked insistently.
  "I've told you I will."
  "No, give me your word of honour."
  "Foo! what a fellow!  Very well, my word of honour."
  "Noble and excellent. Which way are you going?"
  "This way," I answered, pointing to the right.
  "Well, this is my way," said he, pointing to the left. "Good-
bye, Vanya.  Remember, seven o'clock."
  "Strange," thought I, looking after him.
  I had meant to be at Natasha's in the evening.  But as now I
had given my word to Masloboev, I decided to call on Natasha at
once.  I felt sure I should find Alyosha there.  And, as a fact, he
was there, and was greatly delighted when I came in.
  He was very charming, extremely tender with Natasha, and
seemed positively to brighten up at my arrival.  Though Natasha
tried to be cheerful it was obviously an effort.  Her face looked
pale and ill, and she had slept badly.  To Alyosha she showed an
exaggerated tenderness.
  Though Alyosha said a great deal and told her all sorts of
things, evidently trying to cheer her up and to bring a smile to
her lips, which seemed set in unsmiling gravity, he obviously
avoided speaking of Katya or of his father.  Evidently his efforts
at reconciliation had not succeeded.
  "Do you know what? He wants dreadfully to get away from
me," Natasha whispered to me hurriedly when he went out for a
minute to give some order to Mavra.  "But he's afraid.  And I'm
afraid to tell him to go myself, for then perhaps he'll stay on
purpose; but what I'm most afraid of is his being bored with me,
and getting altogether cold to me through that! What am I to
do?"
  "Good heavens, what a position you've put yourselves in!
And how suspicious, how watchful you are of one another.  Simply
explain to him and have done with it.  Why, he may well be
weary of such a position."
  "What's to be done?" she cried, panic-stricken.
  "Wait a minute.  I'll arrange it all for you."
  And I went into the kitchen on the pretext of asking Mavra to
clean one of my overshoes which was covered with mud.
  "Be careful, Vanya," she cried after me.
  As soon as I went out to Mavra, Alyosha flew up to me as
though he had been waiting for me.
  "Ivan Petrovitch, my dear fellow, what am I to do?  Do
advise me.  I promised yesterday to be at Katya's just at this
time to-day.  I can't avoid going.  I love Natasha beyond
expression; I would go through the fire for her, but you'll
admit that I can't throw up everything over there ..."
  "Well, go then."
  "But what about Natasha? I shall grieve her, you know.
Ivan Petrovitch, do get me out of it somehow. . . ."
  "I think you'd much better go.  You know how she loves
you; she will be thinking all the while that you are bored with
her and staying with her against your will.  It's better to be
more unconstrained.  Come along, though.  I'll help you."
  "Dear Ivan Petrovitch, how kind you are!"
  We went back; a minute later I said to him:
  "I saw your father just now."
  "Where?" he cried, frightened.
  "In the street, by chance.  He stopped to speak to me a
minute, and asked again to become better acquainted with me.
He was asking about you, whether I knew where you were now.
He was very anxious to see you, to tell you something."
  "Ach, Alyosha, you'd better go and show yourself," Natasha
put in, understanding what I was leading up to.
  "But where shall I meet him now? Is he at home?"
  "No, I remember he said he was going to the countess's."
  "What shall I do, then?" Alyosha asked naively, looking
mournfully at Natasha.
  "Why, Alyosha, what's wrong?" she said.  "Do you really
mean to give up that acquaintance to set my mind at rest?
Why, that's childish.  To begin with, it's impossible, and
secondly, it would be ungrateful to Katya.  You are friends -
it's impossible to break off relations so rudely.  You'll offend
me at last if you think I'm so jealous.  Go at once, go, I beg
you, and satisfy your father."
  "Natasha, you're an angel, and I'm not worth your little
finger," cried Alyosha rapturously and remorsefully. "You
are so kind, while I . . . I . . . well, let me tell you, I've just
been asking Ivan Petrovitch out there in the kitchen to help
me to get away.  And this was his plan.  But don't be hard on
me, Natasha, my angel!  I'm not altogether to blame, for I
love you a thousand times more than anything on earth, and
so I've made a new plan - to tell Katya everything and describe
to her our present position and all that happened here yesterday.
She'll think of something to save us; she's devoted to us, heart
and soul..."
  "Well, go along," said Natasha, smiling.  "And I tell you
what, I am very anxious to make Katya's acquaintance myself.
How can we arrange it?"
  Alyosha's enthusiasm was beyond all bounds.  He began at
once making plans for bringing about a meeting.  To his mind
it was very simple; Katya would find a way.  He enlarged on
his idea warmly, excitedly.  He promised to bring an answer
that day, within a couple of hours, and to spend the evening
with Natasha.
  "Will you really come?" asked Natasha, as she let him out.
  "Can you doubt it? Good-bye, Natasha, good-bye my
darling, my beloved for ever.  Good-bye, Vanya.  Ach, I called
you Vanya by mistake.  Listen, Ivan Petrovitch, I love you.
Let me call you Vanya.  Let's drop formality."
  "Yes, let us."
  "Thank goodness!  It's been in my mind a hundred times,
but I've never somehow dared to speak of it.  Ivan Petrovitch -
there I've done it again.  You know, it's so difficult to say
Vanya all at once.  I think that's been described somewhere
by Tolstoy: two people promise to call each other by their
pet names, but they can't do it and keep avoiding using any
name at all.  Ach, Natasha, do let's read over 'Childhood and
Boyhood' together.  It is so fine."
  "Come, be off, be off I" Natasha drove him away, laughing.
"He's babbling with delight . . . ."
  "Good-bye.  In two hours time I shall be with you."
  He kissed her hand and hastened away.
  "You see, you see, Vanya," said she, and melted into tears.
  I stayed with her for about two hours, tried to comfort her
and succeeded in reassuring her.  Of course, she was right about
everything, in all her apprehensions.  My heart was wrung with
anguish when I thought of her present position.  I was afraid
but what could I do?
  Alyosha seemed strange to me, too.  He loved her no less
than before; perhaps, indeed, his feeling was stronger, more
poignant than ever, from remorse and gratitude.  But at the
same time, his new passion was taking a strong hold on his
heart.  It was impossible to see how it would end.  I felt very
inquisitive to see Katya.  I promised Natasha again that I
would make her acquaintance.
  Natasha seemed to be almost cheerful at last.  Among other
things I told her all about Nellie, about Masloboev, and Mme.
Bubnov, about my meeting Prince Valkovsky that morning at
Masloboev's, and the appointment I had made with the latter at
seven o'clock.  All this interested her extremely.  I talked a
little about her parents, but I said nothing for the present about
her father's visit to me; his project of a duel with the prince
might have frightened her.  She, too, thought it very strange
that the prince should have anything to do with Masloboev,
and that he should display such a great desire to make friends
with me, though this could be to some extent explained by the
position of affairs. . . .
  At three o'clock I returned home.  Nellie met me with her
bright little face.


                      Chapter VI

AT seven o'clock punctually I was at Masloboev's.  He greeted
me with loud exclamations and open arms.  He was, of course,
half drunk.  But what stuck me most was the extraordinary
preparation that had been made for my visit.  It was evident
that I was expected.  A pretty brass samovar was boiling on 
a little round table covered with a handsome and expensive
tablecloth.  The tea-table glittered with crystal, silver and china.
On another table, which was covered with a tablecloth of a 
different kind, but no less gorgeous, stood plates of excellent
sweets, Kiev preserves both dried and liquid, fruit-paste, jelly,
French preserves, oranges, apples, and three or four sorts of
nuts; in fact, a regular fruit-shop.  On a third table, covered
with a snow-white cloth, there were savouries of different sorts -
caviar, cheese, a pie, sausage, smoked ham, fish and a row of
fine glass decanters containing spirits of many sorts, and of the
most attractive colours - green, ruby, brown and gold.  Finally
on a little table on one side - also covered with a white cloth -
there were two bottles of champagne.  On a table before the sofa
there were three bottles containing Sauterne, Lafitte, and
Cognac, very expensive brands from Eliseyev's.  Alexandra
Semyonovna was sitting at the tea-table, and though her dress
and general get-up was simple, they had evidently been the
subject of thought and attention, and the result was indeed
very successful.  She knew what suited her, and evidently took
pride in it.  She got up to meet me with some ceremony.  Her
fresh little face beamed with pleasure and satisfaction.  Maslo-
boev was wearing gorgeous Chinese slippers, a sumptuous dressing-
gown, and dainty clean linen.  Fashionable studs and buttons
were conspicuous on his shirt everywhere where they could
possibly be attached.  His hair had been pomaded, and combed
with a fashionable side parting.
  I was so much taken aback that I stopped short in the middle
of the room and gazed open-mouthed, first at Masloboev and
then at Alexandra Semyonovna, who was in a state of blissful
satisfaction.
  "What's the meaning of this, Masloboev? Have you got
a party this evening?" I cried with some uneasiness.
  "No, only you!" he answered solemnly.
  "But why is this?" I asked (pointing to the savouries). "Why,
you've food enough for a regiment!"
  "And drink enough!  You've forgotten the chief thing-
drink!" added Masloboev.
  "And  is this only on my account?
  "And Alexandra Semyonovna's.  It was her pleasure to
get it all up."
  "Well, upon my word.  I knew that's how it would be,"
exclaimed Alexandra Semyonovna, flushing, though she looked
just as satisfied.  "I can't receive a visitor decently, or I'm
in fault at once."
  "Ever since the morning, would you believe it, as soon as
she knew you were coming for the evening, she's been bustling
about; she's been in agonies . . . ."
  "And that's a fib! It's not since early morning, it's since
last night.  When you came in last night you told me the gentle-
man was coming to spend the whole evening."
  "You misunderstood me."
  "Not a bit of it.  That's what you said.  I never tell lies.  And
why shouldn't I welcome a guest? We go on and on, and no one
ever comes to see us, though we've plenty of everything.  Let our
friends see that we know how to live like other people."
  "And above all see what a good hostess and housekeeper you
are," added Masloboev.  "Only fancy, my friend, I've come in
for something too.  She's crammed me into a linen shirt, stuck
in studs - slippers, Chinese dressing-gown - she combed my hair
herself and pomaded it with bergamot; she wanted to sprinkle
me with scent - creme brulee, but I couldn't stand that.  I
rebelled and asserted my conjugal authority."
  "It wasn't bergamot.  It was the best French pomatum out of
a painted china pot," retorted Alexandra Semyonovna, firing up.
"You judge, Ivan Petrovitch; he never lets me go to a theatre,
or a dance, he only gives me dresses, and what do I want with
dresses? I put them on and walk about the room alone.  The
other day I persuaded him and we were all ready to go to the
theatre.  As soon as I turned to fasten my brooch he went to the
cupboard, took one glass after another until he was tipsy.  So we
stayed at home.  No one, no one, no one ever comes to see us.
Only of a morning people of a sort come about business, and I'm
sent away.  Yet we've samovars, and a dinner service and good
cups - we've everything, all presents.  And they bring us things
to eat too.  We scarcely buy anything but the spirits; and the
pomade and the savouries there, the pie, the ham and sweets we
bought for you.  If anyone could see how we live! I've been
thinking for a whole year: if a visitor would come, a real visitor,
we could show him all this and entertain him.  And folks would
praise things and we should be pleased.  And as for my pomading
him, the stupid, he doesn't deserve it.  He'd always go about in
dirty clothes.  Look what a dressing-gown he's got on.  It was a
present.  But does he deserve a dressing-gown like that? He'd
rather be tippling than anything.  You'll see.  He'll ask you to
take vodka before tea."
  "Well!  That's sense indeed! Let's have some of the silver
seal and some of the gold, Vanya, and then with souls refreshed
we'll fall upon the other beverages."
  "There, I knew that's how it would be!
  "Don't be anxious, Sashenka.  We'll drink a cup of tea, too,
with brandy in it, to your health."
  "Well, there it is! " she cried, clasping her hands.  "It's
caravan tea, six roubles the pound, a merchant made us a present
of it the day before yesterday, and he wants to drink it with
brandy.  Don't listen to him, Ivan Petrovitch, I'll pour you out
a cup directly.  You'll see . . . you'll see for yourself what it's
like!"
  And she busied herself at the samovar,
  I realized that they were reckoning on keeping me for the whole
evening.  Alexandra Semyonovna had been expecting visitors
for a whole year, and was now prepared to work it all off on me
This did not suit me at all.
  "Listen, Masloboev," I said, sitting down.  "I've not come
to pay you a visit.  I've come on business; you invited me
yourself to tell me something. . . ."
  "Well, business is business, but there's a time for friendly
conversation too."
  "No, my friend, don't reckon upon me.  At half-past eight I
must say good-bye.  I've an appointment.  It's a promise."
  "Not likely.  Good gracious, what a way to treat me!  What
a way to treat Alexandra Semyonovna.  Just look at her, she's
overwhelmed.  What has she been pomading me for: why I'm.
covered with bergamot.  Just think!"
  "You do nothing but make jokes, Masloboev.  I swear to
Alexandra Semyonovna that.  I'll dine with you next week, or
Friday if you like.  But now, my boy, I've given my word; or
rather it's absolutely necessary for me to be at a certain place,
You'd better explain what you meant to tell me."
  "Then can you really only stay till half-past eight?" cried
Alexandra Semyonovna in a timid and plaintive voice, almost
weeping as she handed me a cup of excellent tea.
  "Don't be uneasy, Sashenka; that's all nonsense"  Masloboev
put in.  "He'll stay.  That's nonsense.  But I'll tell you what,
Vanya, you'd much better let me know where it is you always go.
What is your business? May I know? You keep running off
somewhere every day.  You don't work. . . ."
  "But why do you want to know?  I'll tell you perhaps
afterwards.  You'd better explain why you came to see me
yesterday when I told you myself I shouldn't be at home."
  "I remembered afterwards.  But I forgot at the time.  I
really did want to speak to you about something.  But before
everything I had to comfort Alexandra Semyonovna.  'Here,'
says she, 'is a person, a friend, who has turned up.  Why not
invite him?' And here she's been pestering me about you for
the last four days.  No doubt they'll let me off forty sins for the
bergamot in the next world, but I thought why shouldn't he
spend an evening with us in a friendly way? So I had recourse
to strategy : I wrote to you that I had such business that if you
didn't come it would quite upset our apple-cart."
  I begged him not to do like this in the future, but to speak to
me directly.  But this explanation did not altogether satisfy me.
  "Well, but why did you run away from me this morning?"
I asked.
  "This morning I really had business.  I'm not telling the least
little fib."
  "Not with the prince?"
  "Do you like our tea?" Alexandra Semyonovna asked, in
honied accents.  For the last five minutes she had been waiting
for me to praise the tea, but it never occurred to me.
  "It's splendid, Alexandra Semyonovna, superb.  I have never
drunk anything like it."
   Alexandra Semyonovna positively glowed with satisfaction and
flew to pour me out some more.
   "The prince!" cried Masloboev, "the prince!  That prince,
my boy, is a rogue, a rascal such as ... Well!  I can tell you, my
boy, though I'm a rogue myself, from a mere sense of decency
I shouldn't care to be in his skin.  But enough.  Mum's the
word!  That's all I can tell you about him."
  "But I've come, among other things, on purpose to ask you
about him.  But that will do later.  Why did you give my Elena
sweetmeats and dance for her when I was away yesterday?  And
what can you have been talking about for an hour and a half!"
  "Elena is a little girl of twelve, or perhaps eleven, who is living
for the time at Ivan Petrovitch's," Masloboev exclaimed, sud-
denly addressing Alexandra Semyonovna.  "Look, Vanya,
look," he went on, pointing at her, "how she flushed up when
she heard I had taken sweets to an unknown girl.  Didn't she
give a start and turn red as though we'd fired a pistol at her?
... I say, her eyes are flashing like coals of fire! It's no use,
Alexandra Semyonovna, it's no use to try and hide it! She's
jealous.  If I hadn't explained that it was a child of eleven she'd
have pulled my hair and the bergamot wouldn't have saved me!"
  "It won't save you as it is!"
  And with these words Alexandra Semyonovna darted at one
bound from behind the tea-table, and before Masloboev had
time to protect his head she snatched at a tuft of his hair and gave
it a good pull.
  "So there! So there! Don't dare to say I'm jealous before a
visitor! Don't you dare! Don't you dare! Don't you dare! "
  She was quite crimson, and though she laughed, Masloboev
caught it pretty hotly.
  "He talks of all sorts of shameful things," she added serious]
turning to me.
  "Well, Vanya, you see the sort of life I lead!  That's
I must have a drop of vodka," Masloboev concluded, setting
his hair straight and going almost at a trot to the decanter
But Alexandra Semyonovna was beforehand with him.  She
skipped up to the table, poured some out herself, handed it
him, and even gave him a friendly pat on the cheek.  Masloboev
winked at me, triumphantly clicked with his tongue, an
solemnly emptied his glass.
  "As for the sweets, it's difficult to say," he began, sitting down
on the sofa beside me.  "I bought them at a greengrocer's
shop the other day when I was drunk, I don't know why.  Per-
haps it was to support home industries and manufactures,
don't know for sure.  I only remember that I was walking along
the street drunk, fell in the mud, clutched at my hair and cried
at being unfit for anything.  I forgot about the sweets, of course
so they remained in my pocket till yesterday when I sat down
on your sofa and sat on them.  The dances, too, were a question
of inebriety.  Yesterday I was rather drunk, and when I'm
drunk, if I'm contented with my lot I sometimes dance.  That's
all.  Except, perhaps, that that little orphan excited my pity
besides, she wouldn't talk to me, she seemed cross.  And so
danced to cheer her up and gave her the fruit-drops."
  "And you weren't bribing her to try and find something out
from her? Own up, honestly, didn't you come then on purpose
knowing I shouldn't be at home, to talk to her tete-a-tete,
to get something out of her? You see, I know you spent an
hour and a half with her, declared that you had known her
dead mother, and that you questioned her about something."
  Masloboev screwed up his eyes and laughed roguishly.
  "Well, it wouldn't have been a bad idea," he said.
"Vanya, that was not so.  Though, indeed, why shouldn't I
question her if I got a chance; but it wasn't that.  Listen, my
friend, though as usual I'm rather drunk now, yet you may be
sure that with evil intent Filip will never deceive you, with
evil intent, that is."
  "Yes, but without evil intent?
  "Well . . . even without evil intent.  But, damn it all, let's
have a drink and then to business.  It's not a matter of much
consequence," he went on after a drink; "that Bubnov woman
had no sort of right to keep the girl.  I've gone into it all.
There was no adoption or anything of that sort.  The mother
owed her money, and so she got hold of the child.  Though the
Bubnov woman's a sly hag and a wicked wretch, she's a silly
woman like all women.  The dead woman had a good passport
and so everything was all right.  Elena can live with you, though
it would be a very good thing if some benevolent people with
a family would take her for good and bring her up.  But mean-
while, let her stay with you.  That's all right.  I'll arrange it all
for you.  The Bubnov woman won't dare to stir a finger.  I've
found out scarcely anything certain about Elena's mother.
She was a woman of the name of Salzmann."
  "Yes, so Nellie told me."
  "Well, so there the matter ends.  Now, Vanya," he began
with a certain solemnity, "I've one great favour to ask of you.
Mind you grant it.  Tell me as fully as you can what it is you're
busy about, where you're going, and where you spend whole
days at a time.  Though I have heard something, I want to
know about it much more fully."
  Such solemnity surprised me and even made me uneasy.
  "But what is it? Why do you want to know? You ask
so solemnly."
  "Well, Vanya, without wasting words, I want to do you a
service.  You see, my dear boy, if I weren't straight with you I
could get it all out of you without being so solemn.  But you
suspect me of not being straight - just now, those fruit-drops;
I understood.  But since I'm speaking with such seriousness,
you may be sure it's not my interest but yours I'm thinking of.
So don't have any doubts, but speak out the whole truth."
  "But what sort of service? Listen, Masloboev, why won't
you tell me anything about the prince? That's what I want.
That would be a service to me."
  "About the prince? H'm! Very well, I'll tell you straight
out.  I'm going to question you in regard to the prince now."
  "How so?"
  "I'll tell you how.  I've noticed, my boy, that he seems to be
somehow mixed up in your affairs; for instance, he questioned me
about you.  How he found out that we knew each other is not
your business.  The only thing that matters is that you should
be on your guard against that man.  He's a treacherous Judas,
and worse than that too.  And so, when I saw that he was
mixed up in your affairs I trembled for you.  But of course I
knew nothing about it; that's why I asked you to tell me,
that I may judge. . . . And that's why I asked you to come her
to-day.  That's what the important business is.  I tell you
straight out."
  "You must tell me something, anyway, if only why I need to
be afraid of the prince."
  "Very good, so be it.  I am sometimes employed, my boy,
in certain affairs.   But I'm trusted by certain persons just
because I'm not a chatterbox.  Judge for yourself whether I
should talk to you.  So you mustn't mind if I speak somewhat
generally, very generally in fact, simply to show what a scoundrel
he is.  Well, to begin with, you tell your story."
  I decided there was really no need to conceal anything in my
affairs from Masloboev.  Natasha's affairs were not a secret;
moreover I might expect to get some help for her from Masloboev.
Of course I passed over certain points as far as possible in my
story.  Masloboev listened particularly attentively to all that
related to Prince Valkovsky; he stopped me in many places,
asked me about several points over again, so that in the end I
told him the story rather fully.  The telling of it lasted half an
hour.
  "H'm!  That girl's got a head," Masloboev commented.
  "If she hasn't guessed quite correctly about the prince, it's
a good thing anyway that she recognized from the first the
sort of man she had to deal with, and broke off all relations with
him.  Bravo, Natalya Nikolaevna!  I drink to her health."
(He took a drink.) "It's not only brains, it must have been
her heart too, that saved her from being deceived.  And her
heart didn't mislead her.  Of course her game is lost.  The
prince will get his way and Alyosha will give her up.  I'm only
sorry for Ichmenyev - to pay ten thousand to that scoundrel.
Why, who took up his case, who acted for him? Managed it
himself, I bet!  E-ech! just like all these noble, exalted
people! They're no good for anything!  That's not the way
to deal with the prince.  I'd have found a nice little lawyer for
Ichmenyev - ech!"
  And he thumped on the table with vexation.
  "Well, now about Prince Valkovsky?"
  "Ah, you're still harping on the prince.  But what am I to
say about him? I'm sorry I've offered to, I only wanted, Vanya,
to warn you against that swindler, to protect you, so to say,
from his influence.  No one is safe who comes in contact with
him.  So keep your eyes open, that's all.  And here you've been
imagining I had some mysteries of Paris I wanted to reveal to
you.  One can see you're a novelist.  Well, what am I to tell
you about the villain? The villain's a villain. . . . Well, for
example, I'll tell you one little story, of course without men-
tioning places, towns, or persons, that is, without the exactitude
of a calendar.  You know that when he was very young and had
to live on his official salary, he married a very rich merchant's
daughter.  Well, he didn't treat that lady very ceremoniously,
and though we're not discussing her case now, I may mention
in passing, friend Vanya, that he has all his life been particularly
fond of turning such affairs to profit.  Here's another example
of it.  He went abroad.  There. . . ."
  "Stop, Masloboev, what journey abroad are you speaking of?
In what year?"
  "Just ninety-nine years and three months ago.  Well, there
he seduced the daughter of a certain father, and carried her off
with him to Paris.  And this is what he did! The father was
some sort of a manufacturer, or was a partner in some enterprise
of that sort.  I don't know for sure.  What I tell you is what
I've gathered from my own conjectures, and what I've concluded
from other facts.  Well, the prince cheated him, worming himself
into his business too.  He swindled him out and out, and got hold
of his money.  The old man, of course, had some legal documents
to prove that the prince had had the money from him.  The prince
didn't want to give it back; that is, in plain Russian, wanted to
steal it.  The old man had a daughter, and she was a beauty,
and she had an ideal lover, one of the Schiller brotherhood, a
poet, and at the same time a merchant, a young dreamer; in short
a regular German, one Pfefferkuchen."
  "Do you mean to say Pfefferkuchen was his surname?"
  "Well, perhaps it wasn't Pfefferkuchen.  Hang the man, he
doesn't matter.  But the prince made up to the daughter, and
so successfully that she fell madly in love with him.  The prince
wanted two things at that time, first to possess the daughter,
and secondly the documents relating to the money he had had
from the old man.  All the old man's keys were in his daughter's
keeping.  The old man was passionately fond of his daughter, so
much so that he didn't want her to be married.  Yes, really.  He
was jealous of every suitor she had, he didn't contemplate
parting with her, and he turned Pfefferkuchen out.  He was a
queer fish the father, an Englishman. . . ."
  "An Englishman? But where did it all happen?"
  "I only called him an Englishman, speaking figuratively,
and you catch me up.  It happened in the town of Santa-fe-da-
Bogota, or perhaps it was Cracow, but more likely it was in the
principality of Nassau, like the label on the seltzer-water
bottles; certainly it was Nassau.  Is that enough for you?
Well, so the prince seduced the girl and carried her off from her
father, and managed to induce the girl to lay hands on the
documents and take them with her.  There are cases of love like
that, you know, Vanya.  Fugh!  God have mercy upon us!
She was an honest girl, you know, noble, exalted.  It's true
she very likely didn't know much about the documents.  The
only thing that troubled her was that her father might curse
her.  The prince was equal to the occasion this time too; he
gave her a formal, legal promise of marriage in writing.  By
so doing he persuaded her that they were only going abroad
for a time, for a holiday tour, and that when the old father's
anger had subsided they would return to him married, and
would, the three of them, live happy ever after, and so on, to
infinity.  She ran away, the old father cursed her and went
bankrupt.  She was followed to Paris by Frauenmilch, who
chucked up everything, chucked up his business even; he was
very much in love with her."
  "Stop, who's Frauenmilch?"
  "Why, that fellow!  Feurbach, wasn't it? Damn the
fellow, Pfefferkuchen!  Well, of course, the prince couldn't
marry her: what would Countess Hlestov* have said? What
would Baron Slops have thought?  So he had to deceive her.
And he did deceive her, too brutally.  To begin with, he almost
beat her, and secondly, he purposely invited Pfefferkuchen to
visit them.  Well, he used to go and see them and became her friend.
They would spend whole evenings alone, whimpering together,
weeping over their troubles, and he would comfort her.  To
be sure, dear, simple souls! The prince brought things to this
pass on purpose.  Once, he found them late at night, and pre-
tended that they had an intrigue, caught at some pretext;
said he'd seen it with his own eyes.  Well, he turned them both
out of the house, and took his departure to London for a time.
She was just on the eve of her confinement; when he turned
her out she gave birth to a daughter, that is, not a daughter
but a son, to be sure, a little son.  He was christened Volodka.
Pfefferkuchen stood godfather.  Well, so she went off with
Pfefferkuchen.  He had a little money.  She travelled in Switzer-
land and Italy, through all the poetical places to be sure, most

*The Russian "Mrs. Grundy."-Translator's note.

appropriately.  She cried all the time, and Pfefferkuchen
whimpered, and many years passed like that, and the baby
grew into a little girl.  And everything went right for the prince,
only one thing was wrong, he hadn't succeeded in getting back
the promise of marriage.  'You're a base man,' she had said to
him at parting.  'You have robbed me, you have dishonoured
me and now you abandon me.  Good-bye.  But I won't give
you back your promise.  Not because I ever want to marry
you, but because you're afraid of that document.  So I shall
always keep it in my hands.' She lost her temper in fact, but
the prince felt quite easy.  Such scoundrels always come off
well in their dealings with so-called lofty souls.  They're so
noble that it's always easy to deceive them, and besides they
invariably confine themselves to lofty and noble contempt
instead of practically applying the law to the case if it can be
applied.  That young mother, for instance, she took refuge in
haughty contempt, and though she kept the promise of marriage,
the prince knew, of course, that she'd sooner hang herself than
make use of it; so he felt secure for the time.  And though she
spat in his nasty face, she had her Volodka left on her hands; if
she had died what would have become of him?  But she didn't
think about that.  Bruderschaft, too, encouraged her and didn't
think about it. They read Schiller.  At last Bruderschaft
sickened of something and died."
  "You mean Pfefferkuchen?"
  "To be sure-hang him!  And she . . ."
  "Stay.  How many years had they been travelling?"
  "Exactly two hundred.  Well, she went back to Cracow.
Her father wouldn't receive her, cursed her.  She died, and the
prince crossed himself for joy.  I was there too, drank goblets
not a few, our ears full of mead, but our mouths full of need;
they gave me a flip, and I gave them the slip. . . . Let's drink,
brother Vanya."
  "I suspect that you are helping him in that business,
Masloboev."
  "You will have it so, will you?
  "Only I can't understand what you can do in it."
  "Why, you see, when she went back under another name to
Madrid after being away for ten years, all this had to be verified,
and about Bruderschaft too, and about the old man and about the
kid, and whether she was dead, and whether she'd any papers, and
so on, to infinity.  And something else besides, too.  He's a
horrid man, be on your guard, Vanya, and remember one thing
about Masloboev, don't let anything make you call him a
scoundrel.  Though he's a scoundrel (to my thinking there's
no man who isn't) he's not a scoundrel in his dealings with you.
I'm very drunk, but listen.  If ever, sooner or later, now or
next year, it seems to you that Masloboev has hoodwinked you
(and please don't forget that word hoodwinked), rest assured
that it's with no evil intent.  Masloboev is watching over you.
And so don't believe your suspicions, but come to Masloboev
and have it out with him like a friend.  Well, now, will you
have a drink?"
  "No."
  "Something to eat?"
  "No, brother, excuse me."
  "Well then, get along with you.  It's a quarter to nine and
you're in a hurry.  It's time for you to go."
  "Well, what next? He's been drinking till he's drunk and
now he sends away a guest.  He's always like that.  Ach, you
shameless fellow!" cried Alexandra Semyonovna, almost in
tears.
  "A man on foot's poor company for a man on horseback,
Alexandra Semyonovna; we shall be left alone to adore on
another.  And this is a general! No, Vanya, I'm lying, you're
not a general, but I'm a scoundrel! Only see what I look like
now!  What am I beside you?  Forgive me, Vanya, don't
judge me and let me pour out . . ."
  He embraced me and burst into tears.  I prepared to go away.
  "Good heavens!  And we've prepared supper for you!"
cried Alexandra Semyonovna in terrible distress.  "And will
you come to us on Friday?"
  "I will, Alexandra Semyonovna.  Honour bright, I will."
  "Perhaps you look down on him because he's so . . . tipsy.
Don't look down upon him, Ivan Petrovitch!  He's a good-
hearted man, such a good-hearted man, and how he loves you.
He talks to me about you day and night, nothing but you.  He
bought your books on purpose for me.  I haven't read the
yet.  I'm going to begin to-morrow.  And how glad I shall be
when you come!  I never see anyone.  No one ever comes
to sit with us.  We've everything we can want, but we're
always alone.  Here I've been sitting listening all the while
you've been talking, and how nice it's been. . . .   So good-by
till Friday."

                        CHAPTER VII
I WENT out and hurried home.  Masloboev's words had made a
great impression on me.   All sorts of ideas occurred to me. . . .
As luck would have it, at home an incident awaited me which
startled me like an electric shock.
  Exactly opposite the gate of the house where I lodged stood a
street-lamp. just as I was in the gateway a strange figure
rushed out from under the street-lamp, so strange that I uttered
a cry.  It was a living thing, terror-stricken, shaking, half-
crazed, and it caught at my hand with a scream.  I was over-
whelmed with horror.  It was Nellie.
  "Nellie, what is it?" I cried. "What's the matter?"
  "There, upstairs . . . he's in our . . . rooms."
  "Who is it? Come along, come with me."
  "I won't, I won't.  I'll wait till he's gone away . . . in the
passage . . . I won't."
  I went up to my room with a strange foreboding in my heart,
opened the door and saw Prince Valkovsky.  He was sitting at
the table reading my novel.  At least, the book was open.
  "Ivan Petrovitch," he cried, delighted.  "I'm so glad you've
come back at last.  I was on the very point of going away.  I've
been waiting over an hour for you.  I promised the countess at her
earnest and particular wish to take you to see her this evening.
She begged me so specially, she's so anxious to make your
acquaintance.  So as you had already promised me I thought
I would come and see you earlier before you'd had time to go
out anywhere, and invite you to come with me.  Imagine my
distress.  When I arrived your servant told me you were not
at home.  What could I do?  I had given my word of honour
that I'd take you with me.  And so I sat down to wait for you,
making up my mind to wait a quarter of an hour for you.  But
it's been a long quarter of an hour!  I opened your novel and
forgot the time, reading it.  Ivan Petrovitch! It's a master-
piece!  They don't appreciate you enough! You've drawn
tears from me, do you know? Yes, I've been crying, and I
don't often cry,"
  "So you want me to come?  I must confess that just now . . .
not that I'm against it, but . . ."
  "For God's sake let us go!  What a way to treat me!  Why,
I have been waiting an hour and a half for you. . . . Besides, I
do so want to talk to you.  You know what about.  You under-
stand the whole affair better than I do. . . . Perhaps we shall
decide on something, come to some conclusion.  Only think of it
For God's sake, don't refuse."
  I reflected that sooner or later I should have to go.  Of course
Natasha was alone now, and needed me, but she had herself
charged me to get to know Katya as soon as possible.  Besides,
Alyosha might be there.  I knew that Natasha would not be
satisfied till I had brought her news of Katya, and I decided
to go.  But I was worried about Nellie.
  "Wait a minute," I said to the prince, and I went out on
the stairs.  Nellie was standing there in a dark comer.
  "Why won't you come in, Nellie? What did he do? What
did he say to you?"
  "Nothing. . . . I don't want to, I won't . . ." she repeated.
  "I'm afraid."
  I tried hard to persuade her, but nothing was any use.  I
agreed with her that as soon as I had gone out with the prince
she should return and lock herself in.
  "And don't let anyone in, Nellie, however much they try and
persuade you."
  "But are you going with him?"
  "Yes."
  She shuddered and clutched at my arm, as though to beg me
not to go, but she didn't utter one word.  I made up my mind to
question her more minutely next day.
  Apologizing to the prince, I began to dress.  He began assuring
me that I had no need to dress, no need to get myself up to go
to the countess.
  "Perhaps something a little more spruce," he added, eyeing
me inquisitively from head to foot.  "You know . . . these
conventional prejudices . . . it's impossible to be rid of them
altogether.  It'll be a long time before we get to that ideal state
in our society," he concluded, seeing with satisfaction that I had
a dress-coat.
  We went out.  But I left him on the stairs, went back into the
room into which Nellie had already slipped, and said good-bye
to her again.  She was terribly agitated.  Her face looked livid.
I was worried about her; I disliked having to leave her.
  "That's a queer servant of yours," the prince said as we went
downstairs.  "I suppose that little girl is your servant?
  "No . . . she . . . is staying with me for the time."
  "Queer little girl.  I'm sure she's mad.  Only fancy, at first
she answered me civilly, but afterwards when she'd looked at me
she rushed at me, screaming and trembling, clung to me . . .
tried to say something, but couldn't.  I must own I was scared.
I wanted to escape from her, but thank God she ran away herself.
I was astounded.  How do you manage to get on with her?"
  "She has epileptic fits," I answered.
  "Ah, so that's it!  Well, it's no wonder then . . . if she has
fits."
  The idea suddenly struck me that Masloboev's visit of the
previous day when he knew I was not at home, my visit to
Masloboev that morning, the story that Masloboev had just
told me, when he was drunk and against his will, his pressing
invitation for me to come at seven o'clock that evening, his urging
me not to believe in his hoodwinking me and, finally, the prince's
waiting for an hour and a half for me while perhaps he knew
I was at Masloboev's, and while Nellie had rushed away from
him into the street, that all these facts were somehow connected.
I had plenty to think about.
  Prince Valkovsky's carriage was waiting at the gate.  We
got in and drove off.

                       CHAPTER VIII

WE had not far to go, to the Torgovoy Bridge.  For the first
minute we were silent.  I kept wondering how he would begin.
I fancied that he would try me, sound me, probe me.  But he
spoke without any beating about the bush, and went straight
to the point.
  "I am very uneasy about one circumstance, Ivan Petrovitch,"
he began, "about which I want to speak to you first of all, and
to ask your advice.  I made up my mind some time ago to forgo
what I have won from my lawsuit and to give up the disputed
ten thousand to Ichmenyev.  How am I to do this?"
  "It cannot be that you really don't know how to act," was the
thought that flashed through my mind.  "Aren't you making
fun of me?"
  "I don't know, prince," I answered as simply as I could; "in
something else, that is, anything concerning Natalya Nikolaevna,
I am ready to give you any information likely to be of use to you
or to us, but in this matter you must know better than I do."
  "No, no, I don't know so well, of course not.  You know
them, and perhaps Natalya Nikolaevna may have given you
her views on the subject more than once, and they would be my
guiding principle.  You can be a great help to me.  It's an
extremely difficult matter.  I am prepared to make a conces-
sion.  I'm even determined to make a concession, however other
matters may end.  You understand?  But how, and in what
form, to make that concession?  That's the question.  The
old man's proud and obstinate.  Very likely he'll insult me for
my good-nature, and throw the money in my face."
  "But excuse me.  How do you look upon that money?  As
your own or as his?"
  "I won the lawsuit, so the money's mine."
  "But in your conscience?"
  "Of course I regard it as mine," he answered, somewhat
piqued at my unceremoniousness.  "But I believe you don't
know all the facts of the case.  I don't accuse the old man of
intentional duplicity, and I will confess I've never accused
him.  It was his own choice to take it as an insult.  He was to
blame for carelessness, for not looking more sharply after busi-
ness entrusted to him.  And by our agreement he was bound
to be responsible for some of his mistakes.  But, do you know,
even that's not really the point.  What was really at the bottom
of it was our quarrelling, our mutual recriminations at the time,
in fact, wounded vanity on both sides.  I might not have
taken any notice of that paltry ten thousand, but you know, of
course, how the whole case began and what it arose from.  I'm
ready to admit that I was suspicious and perhaps unjust (that
is, unjust at the time), but I wasn't aware of it, and in my
vexation and resentment of his rudeness I was unwilling to let
the chance slip, and began the lawsuit.  You may perhaps think
all that not very generous on my part.  I don't defend myself;
only I may observe that anger, or, still more, wounded pride is
not the same as lack of generosity, but is a natural human thing,
and I confess, I repeat again, that I did not know Ichmenyev
at all, and quite believed in those rumours about Alyosha and
his daughter, and so was able to believe that the money had
been intentionally stolen. . . . But putting that aside, the real
question is, what am I to do now? I might refuse the money,
but if at the same time I say that I still consider my claim was
a just one, it comes to my giving him the money, and, add to
that the delicate position in regard to Natalya Nikolaevna, he'll
certainly fling the money in my face. . . ."
  "There, you see, you say yourself he'll fling it in your face
so you do consider him an honest man, and that's why you can be
perfectly certain that he did not steal your money.  And if so,
why shouldn't you go to him and tell him straight out that you
consider your claim as unjustified.  That would be honourable,
and Ichmenyev would not perhaps find it difficult then to accept
his money."
  "Hm! His money . . . that's just the question; what sort
of position do you put me into? Go to him and tell him I con-
sider my claim illegal.  'Why did you make it then, if you
considered it illegal?' that's what every one would say to my
face.  And I've not deserved it, for my claim was legal.  I have
never said and never written that he stole the money, but I am
still convinced of his carelessness, his negligence, and incapacity
in managing business.  That money is undoubtedly mine, and
therefore it would be mortifying to make a false charge against
myself, and finally, I repeat, the old man brought the ignominy
of it upon himself, and you want to force me to beg his pardon
for that ignominy - that's hard."
  "It seems to me that if two men wanted to be reconciled,
then . . ."
  "You think it's easy?
  "Yes."
  "No, sometimes it's very far from easy, especially . . ."
  "Especially if there are other circumstances connected with
it. Yes, there I agree with you, prince.  The position of
Natalya Nikolaevna and of your son ought to be settled by you
in all those points that depend upon you, and settled so as to be
fully satisfactory to the Ichmenyevs.  Only then can you be
quite sincere with Ichmenyev about the lawsuit too.  Now,
while nothing has been settled, you have only one course open to
you: to acknowledge the injustice of your claim, and to acknow-
ledge it openly, and if necessary even publicly, that's my opinion.
I tell you so frankly because you asked me my opinion yourself.
And probably you do not wish me to be insincere with you.
And this gives me the courage to ask you why you are troubling
your head about returning this money to Ichmenyev? If you
consider that you were just in your claim, why return it? For-
give my being so inquisitive, but this has such an intimate
bearing upon other circumstances."
  "And what do you think?" he asked suddenly, as though he
had not heard my question.  "Are you so sure that old Ichmenyev
would refuse the ten thousand if it were handed to him without
any of these evasions and . . . and . . . and blandishments?"
  "Of course he would refuse it."
  I flushed crimson and positively trembled with indignation.
This impudently sceptical question affected me as though he had
spat into my face.  My resentment was increased by something
else: the coarse, aristocratic manner in which, without answering
my question, and apparently without noticing it, he interrupted
it with another, probably to give me to understand that I had
gone too far and had been too familiar in venturing to ask him
such a question.  I detested, I loathed that aristocratic manoeuvre
and had done my utmost in the past to get Alyosha out of it.
  "Hm!  You are too impulsive, and things are not done in
real life as you imagine," the prince observed calmly, at my
exclamation.  "But I think that Natalya Nikolaevna might do
something to decide the question; you tell her that she might
give some advice."
  "Not a bit of it," I answered roughly.  "You did not deign to
listen to what I was saying to you just now, but interrupted
me.  Natalya Nikolaevna will understand that if you return the
money without frankness and without all those blandishments,
as you call them, it amounts to your paying the father for the
loss of his daughter, and her for the loss of Alyosha - in other
words your giving them money compensation . . ."
  "Hm! . . . so that's how you understand me, my excellent
Ivan Petrovitch," the prince laughed.  Why did he laugh?
  "And meanwhile," he went on, "there are so many, many
things we have to talk over together.  But now there's no time.
I only beg you to understand one thing: Natalya Nikolaevna
and her whole future are involved in the matter, and all this
depends to some extent on what we decide.  You are indis-
pensable, you'll see for yourself.  So if you are still devoted to
Natalya Nikolaevna, you can't refuse to go frankly into things
with me, however little sympathy you may feel for me.  But
here we are . . . a bientot."


                        CHAPTER IX

THE countess lived in good style.  The rooms were furnished
comfortably and with taste, though not at all luxuriously.
Everything, however, had the special character of a temporary
residence, not the permanent established habitation of a wealthy
family with all the style of the aristocracy, and all the whims
that they take for necessities.  There was a rumour that the
countess was going in the summer to her ruined and mortgaged
property in the province of Simbirsk, and that the prince would
accompany her.  I had heard this already, and wondered un-
easily how Alyosha would behave when Katya went away with
the countess, I had not vet spoken of this to Natasha.  I was
afraid to.  But from some signs I had noticed, I fancied that
she, too, knew of the rumour.  But she was silent and suffered
in secret.
  The countess gave me an excellent reception, held out her
hand to me cordially, and repeated that she had long wished to,
make my acquaintance.  She made tea herself from a handsome
silver samovar, round which we all sat, the prince, and I and
another gentleman, elderly and extremely aristocratic wearing
a star on his breast, somewhat starchy and diplomatic in his
manners.  This visitor seemed an object of great respect.  The
countess had not, since her return from abroad, had time that
winter to make a large circle of acquaintances in Petersburg
and to establish her position as she had hoped and reckoned
upon doing.  There was no one besides this gentleman, and no
one else came in all the evening.  I looked about for Katerina
Fyodorovna; she was in the next room with Alyosha, but
hearing that we had arrived she came in at once.  The prince
kissed her hand politely, and the countess motioned her towards
me. The prince at once introduced us.  I looked at her with
impatient attention.  She was a short, soft little blonde dressed
in a white frock, with a mild and serene expression of face, with
eyes of perfect blue, as Alyosha had said, she had the beauty
of youth, that was all.  I had expected to meet the perfection
of beauty, but it was not a case of beauty.  The regular, softly
outlined oval of the face, the fairly correct features, the thick
and really splendid hair, the simple and homely style in which
it was arranged, the gentle, attentive expression - all this I
should have passed by without paying special attention to it if I
had met her elsewhere.  But this was only the first impression,
and I succeeded in getting a fuller insight into her in the course
of that evening.  The very way in which she shook hands with
me, standing looking into my face with a sort of naively exag-
gerated intentness, without saying a word, impressed me by its
strangeness, and I could not help smiling at her.  It was evident,
I felt at once, that I had before me a creature of the purest
heart.  The countess watched her intently.  After shaking
hands Katya walked away from me somewhat hurriedly, and
sat down at the other end of the room with Alyosha.  As he
greeted me Alyosha whispered: "I'm only here for a minute.
I'm just going there."
  The "diplomat," I don't know his name and call him a
diplomat simply to call him something, talked calmly and
majestically, developing some idea.  The countess listened to
him attentively.  The prince gave him an encouraging and
flattering smile.  The orator often addressed himself to him,
apparently appreciating him as a listener worthy of his attention.
They gave me some tea and left me in peace, for which I was
very thankful.  Meanwhile I was looking at the countess.  At
first sight she attracted me in spite of myself.  Perhaps she was
no longer young, but she seemed to me not more than twenty-
eight.  Her face was still fresh, and in her first youth she must
have been very beautiful.  Her dark. brown hair was still fairly
thick; her expression was extremely kindly, but frivolous, and
mischievously mocking.  But just now she was evidently
keeping herself in check.  There was a look of great intelligence,
too, in her eyes, but even more of good-nature and gaiety.  It
seemed to me that her predominant characteristic was a certain
levity, an eagerness for enjoyment, and a sort of good-natured
egoism; a great deal of egoism, perhaps, She was absolutely
guided by the prince, who had an extraordinary influence on
her.  I knew that they had a liaison; I had heard, too, that he
had been anything but a jealous lover while they had been
abroad; but I kept fancying, and I think so still, that apart
from their former relations there was something else, some
rather mysterious tie binding them together, something like a
mutual obligation resting upon motives of self-interest . . . in
fact there certainly was something of the sort.  I knew, too,
that by now the prince was tired of her, and yet their relations
had not been broken off.  Perhaps what kept them together
especially was their design for Katya,, which must have owed its
initiative to the prince.  By persuading her to help him bring
about Alyosha's marriage with her stepdaughter, the prince
had good reasons for getting out of marriage with the countess,
which she really had urged upon him.  So, at least, I concluded
from facts dropped in all simplicity by Alyosha; even he could
not help noticing something.  I kept fancying, too, partly from
Alyosha's talk, that although the countess was completely under
the prince's control he had some reason for being afraid of her.
Even Alyosha had noticed this.  I learnt afterwards that the
prince was very anxious to get the countess married to someone
else, and that it was partly with that object he was sending
her off to Simbirsk, hoping to pick up a suitable husband for her
in the province.
  I sat still and listened, not knowing how I could quickly secure
a tete-a-tete interview with Katerina Fyodorovna.  The diplomat
was answering some questions of the countess's about the present
political position, about the reforms that were being instituted,
and whether they were to be dreaded or not.  He said a great
deal at great length, calmly, like one having authority.  He
developed his idea subtly and cleverly, but the idea was a
repulsive one.  He kept insisting that the whole spirit of reform
and improvement would only too soon bring forth certain results,
that seeing those results "they would come to their senses,"
and that not only in society (that is, of course, in a certain part
of it) would this spirit of reform pass away, but they would
learn their mistake from experience, and then with redoubled
energy would return to the old traditions; that the experience,
though distressing, would be of great benefit, because it would
teach them to maintain that salutary tradition, would give fresh
grounds for doing so, and that consequently it was to be hoped
that the extreme limit of recklessness would be reached as soon
as possible.  "They cannot get on without us," he concluded
that no society has ever stood its ground without us.  We shall
lose nothing.  On the contrary we stand to win.  We shall rise
to the surface, and our motto at the moment should be 'pire ca
va, mieux ca est!'  Prince Valkovsky smiled to him with revolting
sympathy.  The orator was completely satisfied with himself.
I was so stupid as to want to protest; my heart was boiling.
But what checked me was the malignant expression of the prince;
he stole a glance in my direction, and it seemed to me that he
was just expecting some strange and youthful outburst from me.
Perhaps he even wanted this in order to enjoy my compromising
myself.  Meanwhile I felt convinced that the diplomat would
not notice my protest, nor perhaps me either.  It was revolting
for me to sit with them; but Alyosha rescued me.
  He came up to me quietly, touched me on the shoulder, and
asked to have a few words with me.  I guessed he came with a
message from Katya.  And so it was.  A minute later I was
sitting beside her.  At first she kept watching me intently as
though saying to herself: "So that's what you're like," and
for the first minute neither of us could find words to begin our
conversation.  I felt sure though that when once she began
she would be ready to go on without stopping till next morning.
The "five or six hours talk" of which Alyosha had spoken came
back to my mind.  Alyosha sat by us, waiting impatiently for
us to begin.
  "Why don't you say something?" he began, looking at us
with a smile.  "They come together and sit silent."
  "Ach, Alyosha, how can you . . . we'll begin directly,"
answered Katya.  "We have so much to talk over together,
Ivan Petrovitch, that I don't know where to begin.  We've been
late in getting to know one another; we ought to have met
long ago, though I've known you for ages.  And I was very
anxious to see you! I was even thinking of writing you a
letter . . ."
  "What about?" I asked, smiling involuntarily.
  "Ever so many things," she answered earnestly.  "Why, if
only to know whether it's true what Alyosha says, that Natalya
Nikolaevna is not hurt at his leaving her alone at such a time.
Can anyone behave as he does? Why are you here now, tell
me that, please?"
  "Why, good heavens, I'm just going!  I just said that I should
only be here for a minute, simply to look at you two and see
how you talk to one another, and then I'll be off to Natasha."
  "Well, here we are together, we're sitting here, do you see?
He's always like that," she added, flushing a little and pointing
her finger at him.  "'One minute,' he always says, 'just one
minute' and, mind, he'll stay on till midnight and then it's too
late to go there.  'She won't be angry,' he says, 'she's kind.'
That's how he looks at it.  Is that right? Is that generous?"
  "Well, I'll go if you like," Alyosha responded plaintively,
"but I do want dreadfully to stay with you two. . . ."
  "What do you want with us? On the contrary we must
talk of lots of things alone.  Listen, don't be cross.  It's neces-
sary - take that in thoroughly."
  "If it's necessary I'll be off at once - what is there to be
cross at? I'll just look in for a minute on Levinka, and then go
on to her at once.  I say, Ivan Petrovitch," he added, taking up
his hat to go, "do you know that my father wants to refuse to
take the money he won by his lawsuit with Ichmenyev?
  "I know.  He told me."
  "How generous he is in doing that.  Katya won't believe
that he's acting generously.  Talk to her about that.  Good-
bye, Katya, and please don't doubt that I love Natasha.  And
why do you both always tie me down like this, scold me, and
look after me - as though you had to watch over me? She knows
how I love her, and is sure of me, and I'm sure that she's sure of
me.  I love her, apart from anything, apart from any obliga-
tions.  I don't know how I love her, I simply love her.  And
so there's no need to question me as though I were to blame.
You can ask Ivan Petrovitch, he's here now and he will confirm
what I say, that Natasha's jealous, and though she loves me so
much there's a great deal of egoism in her love, for she will
never sacrifice anything for me."
  "What's that?" I asked in amazement, hardly able to
believe my ears.
  "What are you saying, Alyosha?"  Katya almost screamed,
clasping her hands.
  "Why, what is there so surprising in that? Ivan Petrovitch
knows it.  She's always insisting that I should stay with her.
Not that she insists, exactly, but one can see that's what she
wants."
  "Aren't you ashamed? Aren't you ashamed?" said Katya,
turning crimson with anger.
  "What is there to be ashamed of? What a person you are,
really, Katya!  I love her more than she thinks, and if she
really loves me as I love her, she certainly would sacrifice her
pleasure to me.  It's true she lets me go herself, but I see from
her face that she hates doing it, so that it comes to the same
thing as if she didn't let me."
  "Oh, there's something behind that," cried Katya, turning
to me again with flashing, angry eyes.  "Own up, Alyosha,
own up at once, it's your father who has put all that into your
head.  He's been talking to you to-day, hasn't he? And please
don't try and deceive me: I shall find out directly!  Is it so
or not?"
  "Yes, he has been talking," Alyosha answered in confusion,
"what of it? He talked in such a kind and friendly way to-day,
and kept praising her to me.  I was quite surprised, in fact, that
he should praise her like that after she had insulted him so."
  "And you, you believed it?" said I. "You, for whom she
has given up everything she could give up!  And even now,
this very day, all her anxiety was on your account, that you
might not be bored, that you might not be deprived of the
possibility of seeing Katerina Fyodorovna.  She said that to me
to-day herself.  And you believe those false insinuations at
once.  Aren't you ashamed?"
  "Ungrateful boy!  But that's just it.  He's never ashamed
of anything," said Katya, dismissing him with a wave of her
hand, as though he were lost beyond all hope.
  "But really, how you talk!" Alyosha continued in a plaintive
voice.  "And you're always like that, Katya! You're always
suspecting me of something bad... . . I don't count, Ivan Petro-
vitch! You think I don't love Natasha.  I didn't mean that
when I said she was an egoist.  I only meant that she loves
me too much, so that it's all out of proportion, and I suffer for it,
and she too.  And my father never does influence me, though
he's tried to.  I don't let him.  He didn't say she was an egoist
in any bad sense; I understood him.  He said exactly what I
said just now: that she loves me so much, too much, so intensely,
that it amounts to simple egoism and that that makes me suffer
and her too, and that I shall suffer even more hereafter.  He
told the truth, and spoke from love of me, and it doesn't at all
follow that he meant anything offensive to Natasha; on the
contrary, he saw the strength of her love, her immense, almost
incredible love . . ."
  But Katya interrupted him and would not let him finish.  She
began hotly upbraiding him, and maintaining that the prince
had only praised Natasha to deceive him by a show of kind-
ness, all in order to destroy their attachment, with the idea
of invisibly and imperceptibly turning Alyosha against her.
Warmly and cleverly she argued that Natasha loved him, that no
love could forgive the way he was treating her, and that he
himself, Alyosha, was the real egoist.  Little by little Katya
reduced him to utter misery and complete penitence.  He sat
beside us, utterly crushed, staring at the floor with a look of
suffering on his face and gave up attempting to answer. But
Katya was relentless.  I kept looking at her with the greatest
interest.  I was eager to get to know this strange girl.  She
was quite a child, but a strange child, a child of convictions,
with steadfast principles, and with a passionate, innate love
of goodness and justice.  If one really might call her a child
she belonged to that class of thinking children who are fairly
numerous in our Russian families.  It was evident that she had
pondered on many subjects.  It would have been interesting
to peep into that little pondering head and to see the mixture
there of quite childish images and fancies with serious ideas
and notions gained from experience of life (for Katya really had
lived), and at the same time with ideas of which she had no real
knowledge or experience, abstract theories she had got out of
books, though she probably mistook them for generalizations
gained by her own experience.  These abstract ideas must
have been very numerous.  In the course of that evening and
subsequently I studied her, I believe, pretty thoroughly; her
heart was ardent and receptive.  In some cases she, as it were,
disdained self-control, putting genuineness before everything,
and looking upon every restraint on life as a conventional
prejudice.  And she seemed to pride herself on that conviction,
which is often the case indeed with persons of ardent tempera-
ment, even in those who are not very young.  But it was just that
that gave her a peculiar charm.  She was very fond of thinking
and getting at the truth of things, but was so far from being
pedantic, so full of youthful ways that from the first moment
one began to love all these originalities in her, and to accept them.
I thought of Levinka and Borinka, and it seemed to me that
that was all in the natural order of things.  And, strange to say,
her face, in which I had seen nothing particularly handsome at
first sight, seemed that evening to grow finer and more attractive
every minute.  This naive combination in her of the child and the
thinking woman, this childlike and absolutely genuine thirst for
truth and justice, and absolute faith in her impulses - all this
lighted up her face with a fine glow of sincerity, giving it a lofty,
spiritual beauty, and one began to understand that it was not so
easy to gauge the full significance of that beauty which was not
all at once apparent to every ordinary unsympathetic eye.  And I
realized that Alyosha was bound to be passionately attached
to her.  If he was himself incapable of thought and reasoning
he was especially attracted by those who could do his thinking,
and even wishing, for him, and Katya had already taken him
under her wing.  His heart was generous, and it instantly
surrendered without a struggle to everything that was fine and
honourable.  And Katya had spoken openly of many things
before him already with sympathy and all the sincerity of a
child.  He was absolutely without a will of his own.  She had
a very great deal of strong, insistent, and fervidly concentrated
will; and Alyosha would only attach himself to one who could
dominate and even command him.  It was partly through this
that Natasha had attracted him at the beginning of their relations,
but Katya had a great advantage over Natasha in the fact
that she was still a child herself and seemed likely to remain so
for a long time.  This childishness, her bright intelligence, and at
the same time a certain lack of judgement, all this made her
more akin to Alyosha.  He felt this, and so Katya attracted
him more and more.  I am certain that when they talked alone
together, in the midst of Katya's earnest discussion of "propa-
ganda" they sometimes relapsed into childish trivialities.  And
though Katya probably often lectured Alyosha and already
had him under her thumb, he was evidently more at home with
her than with Natasha.  They were more equals, and that
meant a great deal.
  "Stop, Katya, stop.  That's enough; you always have the
best of it, and I'm always wrong, That's because your heart is
purer than mine," said Alyosha, getting up and giving her his
hand at parting.  I'm going straight to her and I won't look
in on Levinka. . ."
  "There's nothing for you to do at Levinka's.  But you're
very sweet to obey and go now."
  "And you're a thousand times sweeter than anybody,"
answered Alyosha sadly.  "Ivan Petrovitch, I've a word or two
I want to say to you."
  We moved a couple of paces away.
  "I've behaved shamefully to-day," he whispered to me.
"I've behaved vilely, I've sinned against everyone in the world,
and these two more than all.  After dinner to-day father intro-
duced me to Mlle.  Alexandrine (a French girl) - a fascinating
creature. I  . . . was carried away and . . . but what's the
good of talking  . . . .I'm unworthy to be with them. . . .
Good-bye, Ivan Petrovitch!"
  "He's a kind, noble-hearted boy," Katya began hurriedly,
when I had sat down beside her again, "but we'll talk a great
deal about him later; first of all we must come to an under-
standing; what is your opinion of the prince?
  "He's a very horrid man."
  "I think so too.  So we're agreed about that, and so we shall
be able to decide better.  Now, of Natalya Nikolaevna . . .
Do you know, Ivan Petrovitch, I am still, as it were, in the
dark; I've been looking forward to you to bring me light.  You
must make it all clear to me, for about many of the chief points
I can judge only by guesswork from what Alyosha tells me.
There is no one else from whom I can learn anything.  Tell me,
in the first place (this is the chief point) what do you think:
will Alyosha and Natasha be happy together or not? That's
what I must know before everything, that I may make up my
mind once for all how I must act."
  "How can one tell that with any certainty?"
  "No, of course, not with certainty," she interrupted, "but
what do you think, for you are a very clever man?"
  "I think that they can't be happy."
  "Why?"
  "They're not suited."
  "That's just what I thought"
  And she clasped her hands as though deeply distressed.
  "Tell me more fully.  Listen, I'm awfully anxious to see
Natasha, for there's a great deal I must talk over with her, and
it seems to me that she and I can settle everything together.  I
keep picturing her to myself now.  She must be very clever,
serious, truthful, and beautiful.  Isn't she?"
  "Yes."
  "I was sure of it.  Well, if she is like that how could she love
a baby like Alyosha? Explain that.  I often wonder about
it."
  "That can't be explained, Katerina Fyodorovna.  It's
difficult to imagine how people can fall in love and what makes
them.  Yes, he's a child.  But you know how one may love a
child." (My heart melted looking at her and at her eyes fastened
upon me intently with profound, earnest and impatient atten-
tion.) "And the less Natasha herself is like a child, the more
serious she is, the more readily she might fall in love with him.
He's truthful, sincere, awfully naive, and sometimes charmingly
naive! Perhaps she fell in love with him - how shall I express
it? - as it were from a sort of compassion.  A generous heart
may love from compassion.  I feel though that I can't give
any explanation, but I'll ask you instead: do you love him?"
  I boldly asked her this question and felt that I could not
disturb the infinite childlike purity of her candid soul by the
abruptness of such a question.
  "I really don't know yet," she answered me quietly, looking
me serenely in the face, "but I think I love him very much. . . ."
  "There, you see.  And can you explain why you love him?"
  "There's no falsehood in him," she answered after thinking
a moment, "and I like it when he looks into my eyes and says
something.  Tell me, Ivan Petrovitch, here I'm talking about
this to you, I'm a girl and you're a man, am I doing right in this,
or not?"
  "Why, what is there in it?"
  "Nothing.  Of course there's nothing in it.  But they," she 
glanced at the group sitting round the samovar, "they would
certainly say it was wrong.  Are they right or not?"
  "No.  Why, you don't feel in your heart you've done wrong,
so . . ."
  "That's how I always do," she broke in, evidently in haste
to get in as much talk with me as she could.  "When I'm con-
fused about anything I always look into my own heart, and
when it's at ease then I'm at ease.  That's how I must always
behave. And I speak as frankly to you as I would speak to
myself because for one thing you are a splendid man and I know
about your past, with Natasha, before Alyosha's time, and I
cried when I heard about it."
 "Why, who told you?"
  "Alyosha, of course, and he had tears in his eyes himself when
he told me.  That was very nice of him, and I liked him for it.
I think he likes you better than you like him, Ivan Petrovitch.
It's in things like that I like him.  And another reason why I
am so open with you is that you're a very clever man, and you
can give me advice and teach me about a great many things."
  "How do you know that I'm clever enough to teach you?"
  "Oh, well, you needn't ask!"
  She grew thoughtful.
  "I didn't mean to talk about that really.  Let's talk of what
matters most.  Tell me, Ivan Petrovitch; here I feel now that
I'm Natasha's rival, I know I am, how am I to act? That's
why I asked you: would they be happy.  I think about it day
and night.  Natasha's position is awful, awful!  He has quite
left off loving her, you know, and he loves me more and more.
That is so, isn't it?"
  "It seems so."
  "Yet he is not deceiving her.  He doesn't know that he is
ceasing to love her, but no doubt she knows it.  How miserable
she must be!"
  "What do you want to do, Katerina Fyodorovna?
  "I have a great many plans," she answered seriously, "and
meanwhile I'm all in a muddle.  That's why I've been so im-
patient to see you, for you to make it all clear to me.  You know
all that so much better than I do.  You're a sort of divinity to
me now, you know.  Listen, this is what I thought at first: if
they love one another they must be happy, and so I ought to
sacrifice myself and help them - oughtn't I?"
  "I know you did sacrifice yourself."
  "Yes, I did.  But afterwards when he began coming to me
and caring more and more for me, I began hesitating, and I'm
still hesitating whether I ought to sacrifice myself or not.  That's
very wrong, isn't it?"
  "That's natural," I answered, "that's bound to be so
and it's not your fault."
  "I think it is.  You say that because you are very kind.  I
think it is because my heart is not quite pure.  If I had a pure
heart I should know how to behave.  But let us leave that.
Afterwards I heard more about their attitude to one another,
from the prince, from maman, from Alyosha himself, and guessed
they were not suited, and now you've confirmed it.  I hesitated
more than ever, and now I'm uncertain what to do.  If they're
going to be unhappy, you know, why, they had better part.  And
so I made up my mind to ask you more fully about it, and to go
myself to Natasha, and to settle it all with her."
  "But settle it how? That's the question."
  "I shall say to her, 'You love him more than anything, don't
you, and so you must care more for his happiness than your own,
and therefore you must part from him.'"
  "Yes, but how will she receive that? And even if she agrees
with you will she be strong enough to act on it?"
  "That's what I think about day and night, and ... and ..."
  And she suddenly burst into tears.
  "You don't know how sorry I am for Natasha," she whispered,
her lips quivering with tears.
  There was nothing more to be said.  I was silent, and I too felt
inclined to cry as I watched her, for no particular reason, from
a vague feeling like tenderness. what a charming child she
was! I no longer felt it necessary to ask her why she thought
she could make Alyosha happy.
  "Are you fond of music?" she asked, growing a little calmer,
though she was still subdued by her recent tears.
  "Yes," I answered, with some surprise.
  "If there were time I'd play you Beethoven's third concerto.
That's what I'm playing now.  All those feelings are in it . . .
just as I feel them now.  So it seems to me.  But that must be
another time, now we must talk."
  We began discussing how she could meet Natasha, and how it
was all to be arranged.  She told me that they kept a watch on
her, and though her stepmother was kind and fond of her, she
would never allow her to make friends with Natalya Nikolaevna,
and so she had decided to have recourse to deception.  She
sometimes went a drive in the morning, but almost always with
the countess.  Sometimes the countess didn't go with her but
sent her out alone with a French lady, who was ill just now.
Sometimes the countess had headaches, and so she would have
to wait until she had one.  And meanwhile she would over-
persuade her Frenchwoman (an old lady who was some sort of
companion), for the latter was very good-natured.  The upshot
of it was that it was impossible to fix beforehand what day
she would be able to visit Natasha.
  "You won't regret making Natasha's acquaintance," I said.
"She is very anxious to know you too, and she must, if only to
know to whom she is giving up Alyosha.  Don't worry too much
about it all.  Time will settle it all, without your troubling
You are going into the country, aren't you?"
  "Quite soon.  In another month perhaps," she answered
"And I know the prince is insisting on it."
  "What do you think - will Alyosha go with you?
  "I've thought about that," she said, looking intently at me
"He will go, won't he?"
  "Yes, he will."
  "Good heavens, how it will all end I don't know.  I tell you
what, Ivan Petrovitch, I'll write to you about everything, I'll
write to you often, fully.  Now I'm going to worry you, too.
Will you often come and see us?"
  "I don't know, Katerina Fyodorovna.  That depends upon
circumstances.  Perhaps I may not come at all."
  "Why not?"
  "It will depend on several considerations, and chiefly what
terms I am on with the prince."
  "He's a dishonest man," said Katya with decision. "I tell
you what, Ivan Petrovitch, how if I should come to see you?
Will that be a good thing, or not?"
  "What do you think yourself?"
  "I think it would be a good thing.  In that way I could
bring you news," she added with a smile.  "And I say this
because I like you very much as well as respect you.  And
could learn a great deal from you.  And I like you. . . . And
it's not disgraceful my speaking of it, is it?"
  "Why should it be? You're as dear to me already as on
of my own family."
  "Then you want to be my friend?
  "Oh yes, yes!" I answered.
  "And they would certainly say it was disgraceful and that
a young girl ought not to behave like this," she observed, again
indicating the group in conversation at the tea-table.
  I may mention here that the prince seemed purposely to
leave us alone that we might talk to our heart's content.
  "I know very well," she added, "that the prince wants my
money.  They think I'm a perfect baby, and in fact they tell
me so openly.  But I don't think so.  I'm not a child now.
They're strange people:  they're like children themselves
What are they in such a fuss about?"
  "Katerina Fyodorovna, I forgot to ask you, who are these
Levinka and Borinka whom Alyosha goes to see so often?"
  "They're distant relations.  They're very clever and very
honest, but they do a dreadful lot of talking. . . . I know
them . . ."
  And she smiled.
  "Is it true that you mean to give them a million later on?
  "Oh, well, you see, what if I do? They chatter so much about
that million that it's growing quite unbearable.  Of course I
shall be delighted to contribute to everything useful; what's the
good of such an immense fortune? But what though I am going
to give it some day, they're already dividing it, discussing it,
shouting, disputing what's the best use to make of it, they even
quarrel about it, so that it's quite queer.  They're in too great a
hurry.  But they're honest all the same and clever.  They are
studying.  That's better than going on as other people do.
Isn't it?"
  And we talked a great deal more.  She told me almost her
whole life, and listened eagerly to what I told her.  She kept
insisting that I should tell her more about Natasha and Alyosha.
It was twelve o'clock when Prince Valkovsky came and let me
know it was time to take leave.  I said good-bye.  Katya
pressed my hand warmly and looked at me expressively.  The
countess asked me to come again; the prince and I went out.
  I cannot refrain from one strange and perhaps quite inappro-
priate remark.  From my three hours' conversation with
Katya I carried away among other impressions the strange but
positive conviction that she was still such a child that she had no
idea of the inner significance of the relations of the sexes.  This
gave an extraordinarily comic flavour to some of her reflections,
and in general to the serious tone in which she talked of many
very important matters.



                       CHAPTER X

"I TELL you what," said Prince Valkovsky, as he seated himself
beside me in the carriage, "what if we were to go to supper now,
hein? What do you say to that?"
  "I don't know, prince," I answered, hesitating, "I never
eat supper."
  "Well, of course, we'll have a talk, too, over supper," he
added, looking intently and slyly into my face.
  There was no misunderstanding! "He means to speak out,"
I thought; "and that's just what I want." I agreed.
  "That's settled, then.  To B.'s, in Great Morskaya."
  "A restaurant?" I asked with some hesitation.
  "Yes, why not? I don't often have supper at home.  Surely
you won't refuse to be my guest?"
  "But I've told you already that I never take supper."
  "But once in a way doesn't matter; especially as I'm inviting
you. . ."
  Which meant he would pay for me.  I am certain that he added
that intentionally.  I allowed myself to be taken, but made up
my mind to pay for myself in the restaurant.  We arrived.  The
prince engaged a private room, and with the taste of a connois-
seur selected two or three dishes.  They were expensive and so
was the bottle of delicate wine which he ordered.  All this was
beyond my means.  I looked at the bill of fare and ordered
half a woodcock and a glass of Lafitte.  The prince looked
at this.
  "You won't sup with me!  Why, this is positively ridiculous!
Pardon, mon ami, but this is . . . revolting punctiliousness.
It's the paltriest vanity.  There's almost a suspicion of class
feeling about this.  I don't mind betting that's it.  I assure
you you're offending me."
  But I stuck to my point.
  "But, as you like," he added. "I won't insist. . . . Tell
me, Ivan Petrovitch, may I speak to you as a friend?"
  "I beg you to do so."
  "Well, then, to my thinking such punctiliousness stands in
your way.  All you people stand in your own light in that way.
You are a literary man; you ought to know the world, and you
hold yourself aloof from everything.  I'm not talking of your
woodcock now, but you are ready to refuse to associate with
our circle altogether, and that's against your interests.  Apart
from the fact that you lose a great deal, a career, in fact, if only
that you ought to know what you're describing, and in novels
we have counts and princes and boudoirs. . . . But what am I
saying!  Poverty is all the fashion with you now, lost coats,*
inspectors, quarrelsome officers, clerks, old times, dissenters,
I know, I know. . . ."
  "But you are mistaken, prince.  If I don't want to get into
your so-called 'higher circle,' it's because in the first place it's
boring, and in the second I've nothing to do there; though,
after all, I do sometimes. . . ."

*The reference is to Gogol's story "The Lost Coat."-Translator's note

  "I know; at Prince R.'s, once a year.  I've met you there.
But for the rest of the year you stagnate in your democratic
pride, and languish in your garrets, though not all of you behave
like that.  Some of them are such adventurers that they sicken
me. . . ."
  "I beg you, prince, to change the subject and not to return
to our garrets."
  "Dear me, now you're offended.  But you know you gave
me permission to speak to you as a friend.  But it's my fault;
I have done nothing to merit your friendship.  The wine's very
decent.  Try it."
  He poured me out half a glass from his bottle.
  "You see, my dear Ivan Petrovitch, I quite understand that
to force one's friendship upon anyone is bad manners.  We're
not all rude and insolent with you as you imagine.  I quite
understand that you are not sitting here from affection for me,
but simply because I promised to talk to you.  That's so, isn't
it?"
  He laughed.
  "And as you're watching over the interests of a certain person
you want to hear what I am going to say.  That's it, isn't it?"
he added with a malicious smile.
  "You are not mistaken," I broke in impatiently. (I saw that
he was one of those men who if anyone is ever so little in their
power cannot resist making him feel it.  I was in his power.  I
could not get away without hearing what he intended to say, and
he knew that very well.  His tone suddenly changed and became
more and more insolently familiar and sneering.) "You're not
mistaken, prince, that's just what I've come for, otherwise I
should not be sitting here . . . so late."
  I had wanted to say "I would not on any account have been
supping with you," but I didn't say this, and finished my phrase
differently, not from timidity, but from my cursed weakness
and delicacy.  And really, how can one be rude to a man to
his face, even if he deserves it, and even though one may wish
to be rude to him? I fancied the prince detected this from my
eyes, and looked at me ironically as I finished my sentence, as
though enjoying my faintheartedness, and as it were challenging
me with his eyes: "So you don't dare to be rude; that's it,
my boy!" This must have been so, for as I finished he chuckled,
and with patronizing friendliness slapped me on the knee.
  "You're amusing, my boy!" was what I read in his eyes.
  "Wait a bit!" I thought to myself.
  "I feel very lively to-night!" said he," and I really don't
know why.  Yes, yes, my boy!  It was just that young person
I wanted to talk to you about.  We must speak quite frankly;
talk till we reach some conclusion, and I hope that this time you
will thoroughly understand me.  I talked to you just now about
that money and that old fogey of a father, that babe of sixteen
summers. . . . Well!  It's not worth mentioning it now.
That was only talk, you know!  Ha-ha-ha!  You're a literary
man, you ought to have guessed that."
  I looked at him with amazement, I don't think he was
drunk.
  "As for that girl, I respect her, I assure you; I like her in
fact.  She's a little capricious but 'there's no rose without
thorn,' as they used to say fifty years ago, and it was well said
too: thorns prick.  But that's alluring and though my Alexey's
a fool, I've forgiven him to some extent already for his good
taste.  In short, I like such young ladies, and I have" (and
he compressed his lips with immense significance) "views of
my own, in fact. . . . But of that later. . . ."
  "Prince!  Listen, prince! " I cried.  "I don't understand
your quick change of front but . . . change the subject, if you
please."
  "You're getting hot again!  Very good. . . . I'll change it,
I'll change it! But I'll tell you what I want to ask you, my
good friend: have you a very great respect for her?"
  "Of course," I answered, with gruff impatience.
  "Ah, indeed.  And do you love her?" he continued, grinning
revoltingly and screwing up his eyes.
  "You are forgetting yourself!" I cried.
  "There, there, I won't! Don't put yourself out! I'm in
wonderful spirits to-day.  I haven't felt so gay for a long time.
Shall we have some champagne? What do you say, my poet?
  "I won't have any. I don't want it."
  "You don't say so! You really must keep me company to-
day.  I feel so jolly, and as I'm soft-hearted to sentimentality
I can't bear to be happy alone.  Who knows, we may come to
drinking to our eternal friendship.  Ha-ha-ha!  No, my young
friend, you don't know me yet!  I'm certain you'll grow to
love me.  I want you this evening to share my grief and my
joy, my tears and my laughter, though I hope that I at least
may not shed any.  Come, what do you say, Ivan Petrovitch?
You see, you must consider that if I don't get what I want,
all my inspiration may pass, be wasted and take wing and
you'll hear nothing.  And you know you're only sitting here in
the hope of hearing something.  Aren't you?" he added, winking
at me insolently again.  "So make your choice."
  The threat was a serious one.  I consented.  "Surely he
doesn't want to make me drunk?" I thought.  This is the
place, by the way, to mention a rumour about the prince which
had reached me long before.  It was said that though he was
so elegant and decorous in society he sometimes was fond of
getting drunk at night, of drinking like a fish, of secret de-
bauchery, of loathsome and mysterious vices. . . . I had heard
awful rumours about him.  It was said that Alyosha knew his
father sometimes drank, and tried to conceal the fact from
everyone, especially from Natasha.    Once he let something slip
before me, but immediately changed the subject and would
not answer my questions.  I had not heard it from him, however,
and I must admit I had not believed it.  Now I waited to see
what was coming.
  The champagne was brought; the prince poured out a glass
for himself and another for me.
  "A sweet, sweet girl, though she did scold me," he went on,
sipping his wine with relish, "but these sweet creatures are
particularly sweet just at those moments. . . . And, you know,
she thought no doubt she had covered me with shame; do you
remember that evening when she crushed me to atoms? Ha-
ha-ha!  And how a blush suits her!  Are you a connoisseur
in women? Sometimes a sudden flush is wonderfully becoming
to a pale cheek.  Have you noticed that? Oh dear, I believe
you're angry again!"
  "Yes, I am angry!" I cried, unable to restrain myself.  "And
I won't have you speak of Natalya Nikolaevna . . . that is,
speak in that tone . . . I . . . I won't allow you to do it!"
  "Oho!  Well, as you like, I'll humour you and change the
conversation.  I am as yielding and soft as dough.  Let's talk
of you.  I like you, Ivan Petrovitch.  If only you knew what a
friendly, what a sincere interest I take in you."
  "Prince, wouldn't it be better to keep to the point?" I
interrupted.
  "You mean talk of our affair.  I understand you with half a
word, mon ami, but you don't know how closely we are touching
on the point if we speak of you and you don't interrupt me of
course.  And so I'll go on.  I wanted to tell you, my priceless
Ivan Petrovitch, that to live as you're living is simply self-
destruction, Allow me to touch on this delicate subject; I
speak as a friend.  You are poor, you ask your publisher for
money in advance, you pay your trivial debts, with what's left
you live for six months on tea, and shiver in your garret while
you wait for your novel to be written for your publisher's
magazine.  That's so, isn't it?
  "If it is so, anyway it's . . ."
  "More creditable than stealing, cringing, taking bribes,
intriguing and so on, and so on.  I know, I know what you
want to say, all that's been printed long ago."
  "And so there's no need for you to talk about my affairs.
Surely, prince, I needn't give you a lesson in delicacy!"
  "Well, certainly you needn't.  But what's to be done if it's
just that delicate chord we must touch upon? There's no
avoiding it.  But there, let's leave garrets alone.  I'm by no
means fond of them, except in certain cases," he added with a
loathsome laugh.  "But what surprises me is that you should
be so set on playing a secondary part.  Certainly one of you
authors, I remember, said somewhere that the greatest achieve-
ment is for a man to know how to restrict himself to a secondary
role in life. . . . I believe it's something of that sort.  I've
heard talk of that somewhere too, but you know Alyosha has
carried off your fiancee.  I know that, and you, like some Schiller,
are ready to go to the stake for them, you're waiting upon them,
and almost at their beck and call. . . . You must excuse me,
my dear fellow, but it's rather a sickening show of noble feeling.
I should have thought you must be sick of it! It's really
shameful!  I believe I should die of vexation in your place,
and worst of all the shame of it, the shame of it!"
  "Prince, you seem to have brought me here on purpose to
insult me!" I cried, beside myself with anger.
  "Oh no, my dear boy, not at all.  At this moment I am
simply a matter-of-fact person, and wish for nothing but your
happiness.  In fact I want to put everything right.  But let's
lay all that aside for a moment; you hear me to the end, try not
to lose your temper if only for two minutes.  Come, what do
you think, how would it be for you to get married? You see,
I'm talking of quite extraneous matters now.  Why do you
look at me in such astonishment?"
  "I'm waiting for you to finish," I said, staring at him indeed
with astonishment.
  "But there's no need to enlarge.  I simply wanted to know
what you'd say if any one of your friends, anxious to secure your
genuine permanent welfare, not a mere ephemeral happiness,
were to offer you a girl, Young and pretty, but ... of some
little experience; I speak allegorically but you'll understand,
after the style of Natalya Nikolaevna, say, of course with a
suitable compensation (observe I am speaking of an irrelevant
case, not of our affair); well, what would you say?"
  "I say you're . . . mad."
  "Ha-ha-ha!  Bah!  Why, you're almost ready to beat
me!"
  I really was ready to fall upon him.  I could not have
restrained myself longer.  He produced on me the impression
of some sort of reptile, some huge spider, which I felt an intense
desire to crush.  He was enjoying his taunts at me.  He was
playing with me like a cat with a mouse, supposing that I was
altogether in his power.  It seemed to me (and I understood it)
that he took a certain pleasure, found a certain sensual gratifica-
tion in the shamelessness, in the insolence, in the cynicism with
which at last he threw off his mask before me.  He wanted to
enjoy my surprise, my horror.  He had a genuine contempt
for me and was laughing at me.
  I had a foreboding from the very beginning that this was all
premeditated, and that there was some motive behind it, but I
was in such a position that whatever happened I was bound to
listen to him.  It was in Natasha's interests and I was obliged
to make up my mind to everything and endure it, for perhaps
the whole affair was being settled at that moment.  But how
could I listen to his base, cynical jeers at her expense, how could
I endure this coolly!  And, to make things worse, he quite
realized that I could not avoid listening to him, and that re-
doubled the offensiveness of it.  Yet he is in need of me himself,
I reflected, and I began answering him abruptly and rudely.
He understood it.
  "Look here, my young friend," he began, looking at me
seriously, "we can't go on like this, you and I, and so we'd
better come to an understanding.  I have been intending, you
see, to speak openly to you about something, and you are bound
to be so obliging as to listen, whatever I may say.  I want to
speak as I choose and as I prefer; yes, in the present case that's
necessary.  So how is it to be, my young friend, will you be so
obliging?"
  I controlled myself and was silent, although he was looking
at me with such biting mockery, as though he were challenging
me to the most outspoken protest.  But he realized that I had
already agreed not to go, and he went on,
  "Don't be angry with me, my friend!  You are angry at
something, aren't you?  Merely at something external, isn't
it? Why, you expected nothing else of me in substance, how-
ever I might have spoken to you, with perfumed courtesy, or
as now; so the drift would have been the same in any case.
You despise me, don't you? You see how much charming
simplicity there is in me, what candour, what bonhomie! I
confess everything to you, even my childish caprices.  Yes,
mon cher, yes, a little more bonhomie on your side too, and we
should agree and get on famously, and understand one another
perfectly in the end.  Don't wonder at me.  I am so sick of
all this innocence, all these pastoral idyllics of Alyosha's, all
this Schillerism, all the loftiness of this damnable intrigue with
this Natasha (not that she's not a very taking little girl) that I
am, so to speak, glad of an opportunity to have my fling at
them.  Well, the opportunity has come.  Besides, I am longing
to pour out my heart to you.  Ha! ha! ha!"
  "You surprise me, prince, and I hardly recognize you.  You
are sinking to the level of a Polichinello.  These unexpected
revelations. . . ."
  "Ha! ha! ha! to be sure that's partly true!  A charming
comparison, ha-ha-ha! I'm out for a spree, my boy, I'm out
for a spree!  I'm enjoying myself!  And you, my poet, must
show me every possible indulgence.  But we'd better drink,"
he concluded filling up his glass, perfectly satisfied with himself.
"I tell you what, my boy, that stupid evening at Natasha's,
do you remember, was enough to finish me off completely.  It's
true she was very charming in herself, but I came away feeling
horribly angry, and I don't want to forget it.  Neither to forget
it nor to conceal it.  Of course our time will come too, and
it's coming quickly indeed, but we'll leave that for now.  And
among other things, I wanted to explain to you that I have one
peculiarity of which you don't know yet, that is my hatred for
all these vulgar and worthless naivities and idyllic nonsense;
and one of the enjoyments I relish most has always been putting
on that style myself, falling in with that tone, making much of
some ever-young Schiller, and egging him on, and then, suddenly,
all at once, crushing him at one blow, suddenly taking off my mask
before him, and suddenly distorting my ecstatic countenance into
a grimace, putting out my tongue at him when he is least of all
expecting such a surprise.  What? You don't understand that,
you think it nasty, stupid, undignified perhaps, is that it?"
  "Of course it is."
  "You are candid.  I dare say, but what am I to do if they
plague me? I'm stupidly candid too, but such is my character.
But I want to tell you some characteristic incidents in my life.
It will make you understand me better, and it will be very
interesting.  Yes, I really am, perhaps, like a Polichinello to-
day, but a Polichinello is candid, isn't he?"
  "Listen, prince, it's late now, and really ..."
  "What? Good heavens, what impatience!  Besides what's
the hurry? You think I'm drunk.  Never mind.  So much
the better.  Ha-ha-ha! These friendly interviews are always
remembered so long afterwards, you know, one recalls them
with such enjoyment.  You're not a good-natured man, Ivan
Petrovitch.  There's no sentimentality, no feeling about you.
What is a paltry hour or two to you for the sake of a friend
like me? Besides, it has a bearing on a certain affair. . . . Of
course you must realize that, and you a literary man too; yes,
you ought to bless the chance.  You might create a type from
me, ha-ha-ha! My word, how sweetly candid I am to-day!"
  He was evidently drunk.  His face changed and began to
assume a spiteful expression.  He was obviously longing to
wound, to sting, to bite, to jeer.  "In a way it's better he's
drunk," I thought, "men always let things out when they're
drunk." But he knew what he was about.
  "My young friend," he began, unmistakably enjoying himself,
"I made you a confession just now, perhaps an inappropriate
one, that I sometimes have an irresistible desire to put out my
tongue at people in certain cases.  For this naive and simple-
hearted frankness you compare me to Polichinello, which really
amuses me.  But if you wonder or reproach me for being rude
to you now, and perhaps as unmannerly as a peasant, with having
changed my tone to you in fact, in that case you are quite unjust.
In the first place it happens to suit me, and secondly I am not
at home, but out with you . . . by which I mean we're out for
a spree together like good friends, and thirdly I'm awfully
given to acting on my fancies.  Do you know that once I had a
fancy to become a metaphysician and a philanthropist, and came
round almost to the same ideas as you? But that was ages ago,
in the golden days of my youth.  I remember at that time
going to my home in the country with humane intentions, and
was, of course, bored to extinction.  And you wouldn't believe
what happened to me then.  In my boredom I began to make the
acquaintance of some pretty little girls . . . What, you're not
making faces already?  Oh, my young friend!  Why, we're
talking as friends now!  One must sometimes enjoy oneself,
one must sometimes let oneself go!  I have the Russian tem-
perament, you know, a genuine Russian temperament, I'm a
patriot, I love to throw off everything; besides one must snatch
the moment to enjoy life.. We shall die - and what comes
then! Well, so I took to dangling after the girls.  I remember
one little shepherdess had a husband, a handsome lad he was.
I gave him a sound thrashing and meant to send him for a
soldier (past pranks, my poet), but I didn't send him for a soldier.
He died in my hospital.  I had a hospital in the village, with
twelve beds, splendidly fitted up; such cleanliness, parquet
floors.  I abolished it long ago though, but at that time I was
proud of it: I was a philanthropist.  Well, I nearly flogged
the peasant to death on his wife's account. . . . Why are you
making faces again? It disgusts you to hear about it? It
revolts your noble feelings? There, there, don't upset yourself!
All that's a thing of the past.  I did that when I was in my
romantic stage.  I wanted to be a benefactor of humanity, to
found a philanthropic society. . . . That was the groove I was
in at that time.  And then it was I went in for thrashing.
Now I never do it; now one has to grimace about it; now we
all grimace about it - such are the times.... But what amuses
me most of all now is that fool Ichmenyev.  I'm convinced
that he knew all about that episode with the peasant . . . and
what do you think?  In the goodness of his heart, which is
made, I do believe, of treacle, and because he was in love with
me at that time, and was cracking me up to himself, he made
up his mind not to believe a word of it, and he didn't believe a
word of it; that is, he refused to believe in the fact and for
twelve years he stood firm as a rock for me, till he was touched
himself.  Ha-ha-ha! But all that's nonsense!  Let us drink,
my young friend.  Listen: are you fond of women?"
  I made no answer.  I only listened to him.  He was already
beginning the second bottle.
  "Well, I'm fond of talking about them over supper.  I could
introduce you after supper to a Mlle.  Philiberte I know.  Hein?
What do you say? But what's the matter? You won't even
look at me ... hm!"
  He seemed to ponder.  But he suddenly raised his head,
glanced at me as it were significantly, and went on:
  "I tell you what, my poet, I want to reveal to you a mystery
of nature of which it seems to me you are not in the least aware,
I'm certain that you're calling me at this moment a sinner,
perhaps even a scoundrel, a monster of vice and corruption.
But I can tell you this.  If it were only possible (which, however,
from the laws of human nature never can be possible), if it were
possible for every one of us to describe all his secret thoughts,
without hesitating to disclose what he is afraid to tell and would
not on any account tell other people, what he is afraid to tell
his best friends, what, indeed, he is even at times afraid to
confess to himself, the world would be filled with such a stench
that we should all be suffocated.  That's why, I may observe
in parenthesis, our social proprieties and conventions are so
good.  They have a profound value, I won't say for morality,
but simply for self-preservation, for comfort, which, of course,
is even more, since morality is really that same comfort, that is,
it's invented simply for the sake of comfort.  But we'll talk of
the proprieties later; I'm wandering from the point, remind
me later.  I will conclude by saying: you charge me with vice,
corruption, immorality, but perhaps I'm only to blame for being
more open than other people, that's all; for not concealing
what other people hide even from themselves, as I said before.
... It's horrid of me but it's what I want to do just now. But
don't be uneasy," he added with an ironical smile, "I said 'to
blame' but I'm not asking forgiveness.  Note this too: I'm
not putting you to the blush.  I'm not asking you whether you
haven't yourself some such secrets, in order to justify myself.
I am behaving quite nicely and honourably.  I always behave
like a gentleman ..."
  "This is simply silly talk," I said, looking at him with con-
tempt.
  "Silly talk!  Ha-ha-ha!  But shall I tell you what you're
thinking? You're wondering why I brought you here, and am
suddenly, without rhyme or reason, beginning to be so open with
you.  Isn't that it?"
  "Yes."
  "Well, that you will find out later."
  "The simplest explanation is that you've drunk two bottles
and ... are not sober."
  "You mean I'm simply drunk.  That maybe, too.  'Not
sober!' That's a milder way of putting it than drunk.  Oh,
youth, brimming over with delicacy!  But . . . we seem to
have begun abusing one another again, and we were talking of
something so interesting.  Yes, my poet, if there is anything
sweet and pretty left in the world it's women."
  "Do you know, prince, I still can't understand why you have
selected me as a confidant of your secrets and your amorous
propensities."
  "Hm!  But I told you that you'd learn that later on, Don't
excite yourself; but what if I've no reason; you're a poet,
you'll understand me, but I've told you that already.  There's
a peculiar gratification in suddenly removing the mask, in the
cynicism with which a man suddenly exposes himself before
another without even deigning to consider decency in his presence.
I'll tell you an anecdote.  There was a crazy official in Paris,
who was afterwards put into a madhouse when it was realized
that he was mad.  Well, when he went out of his mind this is
what he thought of to amuse himself.  He undressed at home,
altogether, like Adam, only keeping on his shoes and socks, put
on an ample cloak that came down to his heels, wrapped himself
round in it, and with a grave and majestic air went out into the
street.  Well, if he's looked at sideways - he's a man like anyone
else, going for a walk in a long cloak to please himself.  But
whenever he met anyone in a lonely place where there was no one
else about, he walked up to him in silence, and with the most
serious and profoundly thoughtful air suddenly stopped before
him, threw open his cloak and displayed himself in all the . . .
purity of his heart! That used to last for a minute, then he
would wrap himself up again, and in silence, without moving
a muscle of his face, he would stalk by the petrified spectator,
as grave and majestic as the ghost in Hamlet.  That was how
he used to behave with everyone, men, women, and children, and
that was his only pleasure.  Well, some degree of the same
pleasure may be experienced when one flabbergasts some romantic
Schiller, by putting out one's tongue at him when he least expects
it. Flabbergast - what a word!  I met it somewhere in one
of you modern writers!"
  "Well, that was a madman, but you. . ."
  "I'm in my right mind?"
  "Yes."
  Prince Valkovsky chuckled.
  "You're right there, my boy!" he added, with a most
insolent expression of face.
  "Prince," I said, angered by his insolence, "you hate us
all, including me, and you're revenging yourself on me for
everyone and everything.  It all comes from your petty vanity.
You're spiteful, and petty in your spite.  We have enraged
you, and perhaps what you are most angry about is that evening.
Of course, there's no way in which you could pay me out more
effectually than by this absolute contempt.  You throw off
the most ordinary, universally obligatory civility which we
all owe to one another.  You want to show me clearly that
you don't even deign to consider decency before me, so openly
and unexpectedly throwing off your filthy mask before me, and
exhibiting yourself in such moral cynicism ..."
  "Why are you saying all this to me?" he asked, looking
rudely and maliciously at me.  "To show your insight?"
  "To show that I understand you, and to put it plainly before
you."
  "Quelle idle, mon cher," he went on, changing his note and
suddenly reverting to his former light-hearted, chatty and good-
humoured tone.  "You are simply turning me from my subject.
Buvons, mon ami, allow me to fill your glass.  I only wanted
to tell you about a charming and most curious adventure.  I
will tell it you in outline.  I used at one time to know a lady;
she was not in her first youth, but about twenty-seven or twenty-
eight.  She was a beauty of the first rank.  What a bust, what
a figure, what a carriage! Her eyes were as keen as an eagle's,
but always stem and forbidding; her manner was majestic
and unapproachable.  She was reputed to be as cold as the driven
snow, and frightened everyone by her immaculate, her
menacing virtue.  Menacing's the word.  There was no one in
the whole neighbourhood so harsh in judgement as she.  She
punished not only vice, but the faintest weakness in other
women, and punished it inflexibly, relentlessly.  She had great
influence in her circle.  The proudest and most terribly virtuous
old women respected her and even made up to her.  She looked
upon everyone with impartial severity, like the abbess of a
mediaeval convent.  Young women trembled before her glances
and her criticism.  A single remark, a single hint, from her was
able to ruin a reputation, so great was her influence in society;
even men were afraid of her.  Finally she threw herself into a
sort of contemplative mysticism of the same calm dignified
character. . . . And, would you believe?  You couldn't have
found a sinner more profligate than she was, and I was so happy
as to gain her complete confidence.  I was, in fact, her secret
and mysterious lover.  Our meetings were contrived in such a
clever, masterly fashion that none even of her own household
could have the slightest suspicion of them.  Only her maid, a
very charming French girl, was initiated into all her secrets,
but one could rely on that girl absolutely.  She had her share
in the proceedings - in what way? - I won't enter into that now.
My lady's sensuality was such that even the Marquis de Sade
might have taken lessons from her.  But the intensest, the most
poignant thrill in this sensuality was its secrecy, the audacity of
the deception.  This jeering at everything which in public the
countess preached as being lofty, transcendent and inviolable, this
diabolic inward chuckle, in fact, and conscious trampling on
everything held sacred, and all this unbridled and carried to the
utmost pitch of licentiousness such as even the warmest imagina-
tion could scarcely conceive - in that, above all, lay the keenness
of the gratification.  Yes, she was the devil incarnate, but it was
a devil supremely fascinating.  I can't think of her now without
ecstasy.  In the very heat of voluptuousness she would suddenly
laugh like one possessed, and I understood it thoroughly, I under-
stood that laughter and laughed too.  It makes me sigh now
when I think of it, though it's long ago now.  She threw me over
in a year.  If I had wanted to injure her I couldn't have.  Who
would have believed me? A character like hers.  What do
you say, my young friend?"
  "Foo, how disgusting!" I answered, listening to this avowal
with repulsion.
  "You wouldn't be my young friend if your answer were
different.  I knew you'd say that.  Ha-ha-ha!  Wait a bit,
mon ami, live longer and you'll understand, but now, now you
still need gilt on your gingerbread.  No, you're not a poet if
that's what you say.  That woman understood life and knew
how to make the most of it."
  "But why descend to such beastliness?"
  "What beastliness?"
  "To which that woman descended, and you with her."
  "Ah, you call that beastliness - a sign that you are still in
bonds and leading-strings.  Of course, I recognize that in-
dependence may be shown in quite an opposite direction.  Let's
talk more straightforwardly, my friend. . . . you must admit
yourself that all that's nonsense."
  "What isn't nonsense?"
  "What isn't nonsense is personality - myself.  All is for me,
the whole world is created for me.  Listen, my friend, I still
believe that it's possible to live happily on earth.  And that's
the best faith, for without it one can't even live unhappily:
there's nothing left but to poison oneself.  They say that this
was what some fool did.  He philosophised till he destroyed
everything, everything, even the obligation of all normal and
natural human duties, till at last he had nothing left.  The sum
total came to nil, and so he declared that the best thing in life
was prussic acid.  You say that's Hamlet.  That's terrible
despair in fact, something so grand that we could never dream
of it.  But you're a poet, and I'm a simple mortal, and so I say
one must look at the thing from the simplest, most practical
point of view. I, for instance, have long since freed myself
from all shackles, and even obligations.  I only recognize
obligations when I see I have something to gain by them.  You,
of course, can't look at things like that, your legs are in fetters,
and your taste is morbid.  You talk of the ideal, of virtue.
Well, my dear fellow, I am ready to admit anything you tell me
to, but what am I to do if I know for a fact that at the root of
all human virtues lies the completest egoism? And the more
virtuous anything is, the more egoism there is in it.  Love
yourself, that's the one rule I recognize.  Life is a commercial
transaction, don't waste your money, but kindly pay for your
entertainment, and you will be doing your whole duty to your
neighbour.  Those are my morals, if you really want to know
them, though I confess that to my thinking it is better not to pay
one's neighbour, but to succeed in making him do things for
nothing.  I have no ideals and I don't want to have them;
I've never felt a yearning for them.  One can live such a gay
and charming life without ideals . . . and, en somme, I'm very
glad that I can get on without prussic acid.  If I were a little
more virtuous I could not perhaps get on without it, like that
fool philosopher (no doubt a German).  No! There's still so
much that's good left in life!  I love consequence, rank, a
mansion, a huge stake at cards (I'm awfully fond of cards).
But best of all, best of all - woman . . . and woman in all her
aspects: I'm even fond of secret, hidden vice, a bit more strange
and original, even a little filthy for variety, ha-ha-ha!  I'm
looking at your face: with what contempt you are looking at
me now!"
   "You are right," I answered.
  "Well, supposing you are right, anyway filth is better than
prussic acid, isn't it?"
  "No. Prussic acid is better."
  "I asked you 'isn't it' on purpose to enjoy your answer
knew what you'd say.  No, my young friend.  If you're a genuine
lover of humanity, wish all sensible men the same taste as mine,
even with a little filth, or sensible men will soon have nothing to
do in the world and there'll be none but the fools left.  It will be
good luck for them.  Though, indeed, there's a proverb even now
that fools are lucky.  And do you know there's nothing pleasanter
than to live with fools and to back them up; it pays!  You
needn't wonder at my valuing convention, keeping up certain
traditions, struggling for influence; I see, of course, that I'm
living in a worthless world; but meanwhile it's snug there and I
back it up, and show I stand firm for it.  Though I'd be the first
to leave it if occasion arose.  I know all your modern ideas,
though I've never worried about them, and had no reason to.
I've never had any conscience-pricks about anything.  I'll agree
to anything so long as I'm all right, and there are legions like me,
and we really are all right.  Everything in the world may perish,
but we shall not perish.  We shall exist as long as the world exists.
All the world may sink, but we shall float, we shall always float
to the top.  Consider, by the way, one thing: how full of life
people like us are.  We are pre-eminently, phenomenally
tenacious of life; has that ever struck you?  We live to be
eighty, ninety.  So nature itself protects us, he-he-he! I particu-
larly want to live to be ninety.  I'm not fond of death, and I'm
afraid of it.  The devil only knows what dying will be like.  But
why talk of it? It's that philosopher who poisoned himself that
has put me on that track.  Damn philosophy!  Buvons, mon cher.
We began talking about pretty girls... Where are you off to?"
  "I'm going home, and it's time for you to go."
  "Nonsense, nonsense! I've, so to speak, opened my whole
heart to you, and you don't seem to feel what a great proof of
friendship it is.  He-he-he!  There's not much love in you, my
poet. But wait a minute, I want another bottle ..."
  "A third?"
  "Yes, As for virtue, my young hopeful (you will allow me to
call you by that sweet name), who knows, maybe my precepts
may come in useful one day.  And so, my young hopeful, about
virtue I have said already: the more virtuous virtue is, the more
egoism there is in it.  I should like to tell you a very pretty story
apropos of that.  I once loved a young girl, and loved her almost
genuinely.  She even sacrificed a great deal for me."
  "Is that the one you robbed?" I asked rudely, unwilling to
restrain myself longer.
  Prince Valkovsky started, his face changed, and he fixed his
blood-shot eyes on me.  There was amazement and fury in them.
  "Wait a minute, wait a minute," he said as though to himself,
"let me consider, I really am drunk, and it's difficult for me to
reflect."
  He paused, and looked searchingly, with the same spitefulness,
at me, holding my hand in his as though afraid I should go away.
I am convinced that at that moment he was going over things in
his mind, trying to discover where I could have heard of this
affair which scarcely anyone knew; and whether there were any
danger in my knowing of it.  This lasted for a minute; but
suddenly his face changed quickly. The same mocking, drunken,
good-humoured expression appeared in his eyes.  He laughed.
  "Ha-ha-ha! You're a Talleyrand, there's no other word for
you.  Why, I really stood before her dumbfounded when she
sprang it upon me that I had robbed her! How she shrieked then,
how she scolded!  She was a violent woman and with no self-
control.  But, judge for yourself : in the first place I hadn't
robbed her as you expressed it just now.  She gave me her money
herself, and it was mine.  Suppose you were to give me your best
dress-coat" (as he said this he looked at my only and rather un-
shapely dress-coat which had been made for me three years ago
by a tailor called Ivan Skornyagin), "that I thanked you and
wore it and suddenly a year later you quarrel with me and ask
for it back again when I've worn it out. . . . That would be
ungentlemanly; why give it at all? And, secondly, though the
money was mine I should certainly have returned it, but think:
where could I have got hold of such a sum all at once? And,
above all, I can't endure all this Schillerism and idyllic nonsense :
I've told you so already - and that was at the back of it all.
You can't imagine how she posed for my benefit, protesting that
she would give me the money (which was mine already).  I got
angry at last and I suddenly succeeded in judging the position
quite correctly, for I never lose my presence of mind; I reflected
that by giving her back the money I should perhaps make her
unhappy.  I should have deprived her of the enjoyment of being
miserable entirely owing to me, and of cursing me for it all her
life.  Believe me, my young friend, there is positively a lofty
ecstasy in unhappiness of that kind, in feeling oneself magnani-
mous and absolutely in the right, and in having every right to
call one's opponent a scoundrel.  This ecstasy of spite is often to
be met with in these Schilleresque people, of course; afterwards
perhaps she may have had nothing to cat, but I am convinced
that she was happy.  I did not want to deprive her of that
happiness and I did not send her back the money.  And this fully
justified my maxim that the louder and more conspicuous a
person's magnanimity, the greater the amount of revolting
egoism underlying it... Surely that's clear to you... But
... you wanted to catch me, ha-ha-ha! ... Come, confess you
were trying to catch me.... Oh, Talleyrand!
  "Good-bye," I slid, getting up.
  "One minute! Two words in conclusion!" he shouted,
suddenly dropping his disgusting tone and speaking seriously.
"Listen to my last words: from all I have said to you it follows
clearly and unmistakably (I imagine you have observed it your-
self) that I will never give up what's to my advantage for anyone.
I'm fond of money and I need it.  Katerina Fyodorovna has
plenty.  Her father held a contract for the vodka tax for ten
years.  She has three millions and those three millions would be
very useful to me.  Alyosha and Katya are a perfect match for
one another; they are both utter fools; and that just suits me.
And, therefore, I desire and intend their marriage to take place
as soon as possible.  In a fortnight or three weeks the countess
and Katya are going to the country.  Alyosha must escort them.
Warn Natalya Nikolaevna that there had better be no idyllic
nonsense, no Schillerism, that they had better not oppose me.
I'm revengeful and malicious; I shall stand up for myself.  I'm
not afraid of her.  Everything will no doubt be as I wish it, and
therefore if I warn her now it is really more for her sake.  Mind
there's no silliness, and that she behaves herself sensibly.  Other-
wise it will be a bad look-out for her, very.  She ought to be
grateful to me that I haven't treated her as I ought to have done,
by law.  Let me tell you, my poet, that the law protects the peace
of the family, it guaranteed a son's obedience to his father, and
that those who seduce children from their most sacred duties to
their parents are not encouraged by the laws.  Remember, too,
that I have connexions, that she has none, and ... surely you
must realize what I might do to her.... But I have not done it,
for so far she has behaved reasonably.  Don't be uneasy.  Every
moment for the last six months, every action they have taken has
been watched by sharp eyes.  And I have known everything to
the smallest trifle.  And so I have waited quietly for Alyosha to
drop her of himself, and that process is beginning and mean-
while it has been a charming distraction for him.  I have re-
mained a humane father in his imagination, and I must have
him think of me like that.  Ha-ha-ha!  When I remember that
I was almost paying her compliments the other evening for having
been so magnanimous and disinterested as not to marry him!
I should like to know how she could have married him.  As for
my visit to her then, all that was simply because the time had
come to put an end to the connexion.  But I wanted to verify
everything with my own eyes, my own experience.  Well, is that
enough for you?  Or perhaps you want to know too why I
brought you here, why I have carried on like this before you,
why I have been so simple and frank with you, when all this
might have been said without any such frank avowals - yes?"
  "Yes."
  I controlled myself and listened eagerly.  I had no need to
answer more.
  "Solely, my young friend, that I have noticed in you more
common sense and clear-sightedness about things than in either
of our young fools.  You might have known before the sort of
man I am, have made surmises and conjectures about me, but I
wanted to save you the trouble, and resolved to show you face to
face who it is you hare to deal with.  A first-hand impression is
a great thing.  Understand me, mon ami: you know whom you
have to deal with, you love her, and so I hope now that you will
use all your influence (and you have an influence over her) to
save her from certain* unpleasantness.  Otherwise there will be
such unpleasantness, and I assure you, I assure you it will be no
joking matter.  Finally, the third reason for my openness with
you . . . (but of course you've guessed that, my dear boy) yes,
I really did want to spit upon the whole business and to spit upon
it before your eyes, too!"
  "And you've attained your object, too," said I, quivering with
excitement.  "I agree that you could not have shown your spite
and your contempt for me and for all of us better than by your
frankness to me.  Far from being apprehensive that your frank-
ness might compromise you in my eyes, you are not even ashamed
to expose yourself before me.  You have certainly been like that
madman in the cloak.  You have not considered me as a human
being."
  "You have guessed right, my young friend," he said, getting
up, "you have seen through it all.  You are not an author for
nothing.  I hope that we are parting as friends.  Shan't we drink
bruderschaft together?"
  "You are drunk, and that is the only reason that I don't
answer you as you deserve. . . ."
  "Again a figure of silence! - you haven't said all you might
have said.  Ha-ha-ha!  You won't allow me to pay for you?"

*Under the Russian system of regulation a girl in an irregular position
may easily become the object of persecution and blackmail on the part of
the police de moeurs, and this is what is suggested here.-Translator's note.

 "Don't trouble yourself.  I'll pay for myself."
 "Ah, no doubt of it.  Aren't we going the same way?"
 "I am not coming with you."
 "Farewell, my poet.  I hope you've understood me. . . ."
 He went out, stepping rather unsteadily and not turning to me
again.  The footman helped him into his carriage.  I went my
way.  It was nearly three o'clock in the morning.  It was raining
The night was dark . . . .


                           PART IV

                          CHAPTER I

I WON'T attempt to describe my exasperation.  Though I might
have expected anything, it was a blow; it was as though he had
appeared before me quite suddenly in all his hideousness.  But
I remember my sensations were confused, as though I had been
knocked down, crushed by something, and black misery gnawed
more and more painfully at my heart.  I was afraid for Natasha.
I foresaw much suffering for her in the future, and I cast about
in perplexity for some way by which to avoid it, to soften these
last moments for her, before the final catastrophe.  Of that catas-
trophe there could be no doubt.  It was near at hand, and it was
impossible not to see the form it would take.
  I did not notice how I reached home, though I was getting wet
with the rain all the way.  It was three o'clock in the morning.
I had hardly knocked at the door of my room when I heard a
moan, and the door was hurriedly unlocked, as though Nellie had
not gone to bed but had been watching for me all the time at the
door.  There was a candle alight.  I glanced into Nellie's face and
was dismayed; it was completely transformed; her eyes were
burning as though in fever, and had a wild look as though she did
not recognize me.  She was in a high fever.
  "Nellie, what's the matter, are you ill?" I asked, bending
down and putting my arm round her.
  She nestled up to me tremulously as though she were afraid of
something, said something, rapidly and impetuously, as though
she had only been waiting for me to come to tell me it.  But her
words were strange and incoherent; I could understand nothing.
She was in delirium.
  I led her quickly to bed.  But she kept starting up and clinging
to me as though in terror, as though begging me to protect her
from someone, and even when she was lying in bed she kept
seizing my hand and holding it tightly as though afraid that I
might go away again.  I was so upset and my nerves were so
shaken that I actually began to cry as I looked at her.  I was ill
myself.  Seeing my tears she looked fixedly at me for some time
with strained, concentrated attention, as though trying to grasp
and understand something.  It was evident that this cost her
great effort.  At last something like a thought was apparent in
her face. After a violent epileptic fit she was usually for some
time unable to collect her thoughts or to articulate distinctly.
And so it was now.  After making an immense effort to say some-
thing to me and realizing that I did not understand, she held out
her little hand and began to wipe away my tears, then put her
arm round my neck, drew me down to her and kissed me.
  It was clear that she had had a fit in my absence, and it had
taken place at the moment when she had been standing at the
door.  Probably on recovery she had been for a long time unable
come to herself.  At such times reality is mixed up with delirium
and she had certainly imagined something awful, some horror.
At the same time she must have been dimly aware that I was to
come back and should knock at the door, and so, lying right in
the doorway on the floor, she had been on the alert for my coming
and had stood up at my first tap.
  "But why was she just at the door," I wondered, and suddenly
I noticed with amazement that she was wearing her little wadded
coat. (I had just got it for her from an old pedlar woman I knew
who sometimes came to my room to offer me goods in repayment
of money I had lent her.) So she must have been meaning to go
out, and had probably been already unlocking the door when she
was suddenly struck down by the fit.  Where could she have been
meaning to go? Was she already in delirium?
  Meanwhile the fever did not leave her, and she soon sank into
delirium and unconsciousness.  She had twice already had a fit
in my flat, but it had always passed off harmlessly; now, however,
she seemed in a high fever.  After sitting beside her for half an
hour I pushed a chair up to the sofa and lay down, as I was,
without undressing, close beside her that I might wake the more
readily if she called me.  I did not even put the candle out.  I
looked at her many times again before I fell asleep myself.  She
was pale; her lips were parched with fever and stained with
blood, probably from the fall.  Her face still retained the look
of terror and a sort of poignant anguish which seemed to be still
haunting her in her sleep, I made up my mind to go as early as
possible next morning for the doctor, if she were worse.  I was
afraid that it might end in actual brain fever.
  "It must have been the prince frightened her!" I thought,
with a shudder, and I thought of his story of the woman who had
thrown the money in his face.

                         CHAPTER II

A FORTNIGHT passed by.  Nellie was recovering.  She did not
develop brain fever but she was seriously ill. She began to get
up again on a bright sunny day at the end of April.  It was
Passion Week.
  Poor little creature.  I cannot go on with my story in the same
consecutive way.  Now that I am describing all this it is long
past, but to this very minute I recall with an oppressive heart.
rending anguish that pale, thin little face, the searching, intent
gaze of her black eyes when we were sometimes left alone together
and she fixed upon me from her bed a prolonged gaze as though
challenging me to guess what was in her mind; but seeing that I
did not guess and was still puzzled she would smile gently, as it
were, to herself, and would suddenly hold out to me her hot little
hand, with its thin, wasted little fingers.  Now it is all over, and
everything is understood, but to this day I do not know the
secrets of that sick, tortured and outraged little heart.
  I feel that I am digressing, but at this moment I want to think
only of Nellie.  Strange to say, now that I am lying alone on a
hospital bed, abandoned by all whom I loved so fondly and
intensely, some trivial incident of that past, often unnoticed at
the time and soon forgotten, comes back all at once to my mind
and suddenly takes quite a new significance, completing and
explaining to me what I had failed to understand till now.
  For the first four days of her illness, we, the doctor and I, were
in great alarm about her, but on the fifth day the doctor took me
aside and told me that there was no reason for anxiety and she
would certainly recover.  This doctor was the one I had known
so long, a good-natured and eccentric old bachelor whom I had
called in in Nellie's first illness, and who had so impressed her by
the huge Stanislav Cross on his breast.
  "So there's no reason for anxiety," I said, greatly relieved.
  "No, she'll get well this time, but afterwards she will soon die."
  "Die!  But why?" I cried, overwhelmed at this death
sentence.
  "Yes, she is certain to die very soon.  The patient has an
organic defect of the heart, and at the slightest unfavourable
circumstance she'll be laid up again.  She will perhaps get better,
but then she'll be ill again and at last she'll die."
  "Do you mean nothing can be done to save her? Surely that's
impossible. "
  "But it's inevitable.  However, with the removal of un-
favourable circumstances, with a quiet and easy life with more
pleasure in it, the patient might yet be kept from death and there
even are cases . . . unexpected . . . strange and exceptional . . .
in fact the patient may be saved by a concatenation of favourable
conditions, but radically cured - never."
  "But, good heavens, what's to be done now?"
  "Follow my advice, lead a quiet life, and take the powders
regularly.  I have noticed this girl's capricious, of a nervous
temperament, and fond of laughing.  She much dislikes taking
her powders regularly and she has just refused them absolutely."
  "Yes, doctor.  She certainly is strange, but I put it all down
to her invalid state.  Yesterday she was very obedient; to-day,
when I gave her her medicine she pushed the spoon as though by
accident and it was all spilt over.  When I wanted to mix another
powder she snatched the box away from me, threw it on the
ground and then burst into tears.  Only I don't think it was
because I was making her take the powders," I added, after a
moment's thought.
  "Hm! Irritation! Her past great misfortunes." (I had told
the doctor fully and frankly much of Nellie's history and my
story had struck him very much.) "All that in conjunction, and
from it this illness.  For the time the only remedy is to take the
powders, and she must take the powders.  I will go and try once
more to impress on her the duty to obey medical instructions,
and ... that is, speaking generally . . . take the powders."
  We both came out of the kitchen (in which our interview had
taken place) and the doctor went up to the sick child's bedside
again.  But I think Nellie must have overheard.  Anyway she
had raised her head from the pillow and turned her ear in our
direction, listening keenly all the time.  I noticed this through
the crack of the half-opened door.  When we went up to her the
rogue ducked under the quilt, and peeped out at us with a mocking
smile.  The poor child had grown much thinner during the four
days of her illness.  Her eyes were sunken and she was still
feverish, so that the mischievous expression and glittering, defiant
glances so surprising to the doctor, who was one of the most good-
natured Germans in Petersburg, looked all the more incongruous
on her face.
  Gravely, though trying to soften his voice as far as he could, he
began in a kind and caressing voice to explain how essential and
efficacious the powders were, and consequently how incumbent it
was on every invalid to take them.  Nellie was raising her head,
but suddenly, with an apparently quite accidental movement of
her arm, she jerked the spoon, and all the medicine was spilt on
the floor again.  No doubt she did it on purpose.
  "That's very unpleasant carelessness," said the old man
quietly, "and I suspect that you did it on purpose; that's very
reprehensible.  But . . . we can set that right and prepare an-
other powder."
  Nellie laughed straight in his face.  The doctor shook his head
methodically.
  "That's very wrong," he said, opening another powder, "very,
very reprehensible."
  "Don't be angry with me," answered Nellie, and vainly tried
not to laugh again. "I'll certainly take it. . . . But do you
like me?"
  "If you will behave yourself becomingly I shall like you very
much."
  "Very much?"
  "Very much."
  "But now, don't you like me?"
  "Yes, I like you even now."
  "And will you kiss me if I want to kiss you?"
  "Yes, if you desire it."
   At this Nellie could not control herself and laughed again.
  "The patient has a merry disposition, but now this is nerves
and caprice," the doctor whispered to me with a most serious air.
  "All right, I'll take the powder," Nellie cried suddenly, in her
weak little voice.  "But when I am big and grown up will you
marry me?"
  Apparently the invention of this new fancy greatly delighted
her; her eyes positively shone and her lips twitched with laughter
as she waited for a reply from the somewhat astonished doctor,
  "Very well," he answered, smiling in spite of himself at this
new whim, "very well, if you turn out a good, well-brought-up
young lady, and will be obedient and will..."
  "Take my powders?" put in Nellie.
  "0-ho!  To he sure, take your powders.  A good girl," he
whispered to me again; "there's a great deal, a great deal in
her ... that's good and clever but ... to get married ... what
a strange caprice . . ."
   And he took her the medicine again.  But this time she made
no pretence about it but simply jerked the spoon up from below
with her hand and all the medicine was splashed on the poor
doctor's shirt-front and in his face.  Nellie laughed aloud, but
not with the same merry, good-humoured laugh as before.  There
was a look of something cruel and malicious in her face.  All this
time she seemed to avoid my eyes, only looked at the doctor, and
with mockery, through which some uneasiness was discernible,
waited to see what the "funny" old man would do next.
  "Oh! You've done it again! . . .         What a misfortune!
But . . . I can mix you another powder! " said the old man,
wiping his face and his shirt-front with his handkerchief.
  This made a tremendous impression on Nellie.  She had been
prepared for our anger, thought that we should begin to scold and
reprove her, and perhaps she was unconsciously longing at that
moment for some excuse to cry, to sob hysterically, to upset some
more powders as she had just now and even to break something
in her vexation, and with all this to relieve her capricious and
aching little heart.  Such capricious humours are to be found not
only in the sick and not only in Nellie.  How often I have walked
up and down the room with the unconscious desire for someone
to insult me or to utter some word that I could interpret as an
insult in order to vent my anger upon someone.  Women, venting
their anger in that way, begin to cry, shedding the most genuine
tears, and the more emotional of them even go into hysterics.
It's a very simple and everyday experience, and happens most
often when there is some other, often a secret, grief in the heart,
to which one longs to give utterance but cannot.
  But, struck by the angelic kindness of the old doctor and the
patience with which he set to work to mix her another powder
without uttering one word of reproach, Nellie suddenly subsided.
The look of mockery vanished from her lips, the colour rushed to
her face, her eyes grew moist.  She stole a look at me and turned
away at once.  The doctor brought her the medicine.  She took
it meekly and shyly, seized the old man's plump red hand, and
looked slowly into his face.
  "You . . . are angry that I'm horrid," she tried to say, but
could not finish; she ducked under the quilt, hid her head and
burst into loud, hysterical sobs.
  "Oh, my child, don't weep! . . . It is nothing . . . It's
nerves, drink some water."
  But Nellie did not hear.
  "Be comforted ... don't upset yourself," he went on, almost
whimpering over her, for he was a very sensitive man.  "I'll
forgive you and be married to you if, like a good, well-brought-
up girl, you'll . . ."
  "Take my powders," came from under the quilt with a little
nervous laugh that tinkled like a bell, and was broken by sobs -
a laugh I knew very well.
  "A good-hearted, grateful child!" said the doctor trium-
phantly, almost with tears in his eyes.  "Poor girl!"
  And a strange and wonderful affection sprang up from that day
between him and Nellie.  With me, on the contrary, Nellie
became more and more sullen, nervous, and irritable.  I didn't
know what to ascribe this to, and wondered at her, especially as
this change in her seemed to happen suddenly.  During the first
days of her illness she was particularly tender and caressing with
me; it seemed as though she could not take her eyes off me; she
would not let me leave her side, clutched my hand in her feverish
little hand and made me sit beside her, and if she noticed that I
was gloomy and anxious she tried to cheer me up, made jokes,
played with me and smiled at me, evidently making an effort to
overcome her own sufferings.  She did not want me to work at
night, or to sit up to look after her, and was grieved because I
would not listen to her.  Sometimes I noticed an anxious look in
her face; she began to question me, and tried to find out why I
was sad, what was in my mind.  But strange to say, when
Natasha's name was mentioned she immediately dropped the
conversation or began to speak of something else.  She seemed to
avoid speaking of Natasha, and that struck me.  When I came
home she was delighted.  When I took up my hat she looked at
me dejectedly and rather strangely, following me with her eyes,
as it were reproachfully.
  On the fourth day of her illness, I spent the whole evening
with Natasha and stayed long after midnight.  There was some-
thing we had to discuss.  As I went out I said to my invalid that
I should be back very soon, as indeed I reckoned on being.  Being
detained almost unexpectedly at Natasha's, I felt quite easy in my
mind about Nellie.  Alexandra Semyonovna was sitting up with
her, having heard from Masloboev, who came in to see me for a
moment, that Nellie was ill and that I was in great difficulties
and absolutely without help.  Good heavens, what a fuss kind-
hearted Alexandra Semyonovna was in!
  "So of course he won't come to dinner with us now! Ach,
mercy on us!  And he's all alone, poor fellow, all alone!  Well,
now we can show how kindly we feel to him.  Here's the oppor-
tunity.  We mustn't let it slip."
  She immediately appeared at my flat, bringing with her in a
cab a regular hamper.  Declaring at the first word that she was
going to stay and had come to help me in my trouble, she undid
her parcels.  In them there were syrups and preserves for the
invalid, chickens and a fowl in case the patient began to be
convalescent, apples for baking, oranges, dry Kiev preserves (in
case the doctor would allow them) and finally linen, sheets, dinner
napkins, nightgowns, bandages, compresses - an outfit for a
whole hospital.
  "We've got everything," she said to me, articulating every
word as though in haste, "and, you see, you live like a bachelor.
You've not much of all this.  So please allow me ... and Filip
Filippovitch told me to.  Well, what now ... make haste, make
haste, what shall I do now? How is she? Conscious? Ah, how
uncomfortably she is lying! I must put her pillow straight that
she may lie with her head low, and, what do you think, wouldn't
a leather pillow be better? The leather is cooler.  Ah, what a
fool I am!  It never occurred to me to bring one.  I'll go and get
it. Oughtn't we to light a fire?  I'll send my old woman to you.
I know an old woman.  You've no servant, have you? . . . Well,
what shall I do now? What's that? Herbs . . . did the doctor
prescribe them? For some herb tea, I suppose? I'll go at once
and light the fire."
  But I reassured her, and she was much surprised and even
rather chagrined that there turned out to be not so very much to
do. But this did not discourage her altogether.  She made friends
with Nellie at once and was a great help to me all through her
illness.  She visited us almost every day and she always used to
come in looking as though something had been lost or had gone
astray and she must hasten to catch it up.  She always added
that Filip Filippovitch had told her to come.  Nellie liked her
very much.  They took to each other like two sisters, and I fancy
that in many things Alexandra Semyonovna was as much of a
baby as Nellie.  She used to tell the child stories and amuse her,
and Nellie often missed her when she had gone home.  Her first
appearance surprised my invalid, but she quickly guessed why
the uninvited visitor had come, and as usual frowned and became
silent and ungracious.
  "Why did she come to see us?" asked Nellie, with an air of
displeasure after Alexandra Semyonovna had gone away.
  "To help you Nellie, and to look after you."
  "Why? What for? I've never done anything like that for
her."
  "Kind people don't wait for that, Nellie.  They like to help
people who need it, without that.  That's enough, Nellie; there
are lots of kind people in the world.  It's only your misfortune
that you haven't met them and didn't meet them when you
needed them."
  Nellie did not speak.  I walked away from her.  But a quarter
of an hour later she called me to her in a weak voice, asked for
something to drink, and all at once warmly embraced me and for
a long while would not let go of me.  Next day, when Alexandra
Semyonovna appeared, she welcomed her with a joyful smile
I though she still seemed for some reason shamefaced with her.


                          CHAPTER III

IT was on that day that I was the whole evening at Natasha's
I arrived home late.  Nellie was asleep.  Alexandra Semyonovna
was sleepy too, but she was still sitting up with the invalid waiting
for me to come in.  At once in a hurried whisper she began to
tell me that Nellie had at first been in very good spirits, even
laughing a great deal, but afterwards she was depressed and, as
I did not come back, grew silent and thoughtful. "Then she
began complaining that her head ached, began to cry, and sobbed
so that I really didn't know what to do with her," Alexandra
Semyonovna added.  "She began talking to me about Natalya
Nikolaevna, but I could not tell her anything.  She left off
questioning me but went on crying afterwards, so that she fell
asleep in tears.  Well, good-bye, Ivan Petrovitch.  She's better
anyway, I can see that, and I must go home.  Filip Filippovitch
told me to.  I must confess that this time he only let me come for
two hours but I stayed on of myself.  But never mind, don't
worry about me.  He doesn't dare to be angry.... Only perhaps....
Ach, my goodness, Ivan Petrovitch, darling, what am I to do?
He always comes home tipsy now!  He's very busy over some-
thing, he doesn't talk to me, he's worried, he's got some important
business in his mind; I can see that; but yet he is drunk every
evening.... What I'm thinking is, if he has come home, who will
put him to bed?  Well, I'm going, I'm going, good-bye.  Good-bye
Ivan Petrovitch.  I've been looking at your books here.  What a
lot of books you've got, and they must all be clever.  And I'm
such a fool I've never read anything... Well, till to-morrow..."
  But next morning Nellie woke up depressed and sullen, and
answered me unwillingly.  She did not speak to me of her own
accord, but seemed to be angry with me.  Yet I noticed some
looks bent upon me stealthily, as it were, on the sly; in those
looks there was so much concealed and heart-felt pain, yet there
was in them an unmistakable tenderness which was not apparent
when she looked at me directly.  It was on that day that the
scene over the medicine took place with the doctor.  I did not
know what to think.
  But Nellie was entirely changed to me.  Her strange ways,
her caprices, at times almost hatred for me, continued up to the
day when she ceased to live with me, till the catastrophe which
was the end of our romance, But of that later.
  It happened, however, sometimes that she would be for an
hour as affectionate to me as at first.  Her tenderness was
redoubled at such moments; most often at such times she wept
bitterly.  But these hours soon passed and she sank back into the
same misery as before, and looked at me with hostility again or
was as capricious as she had been with the doctor, or suddenly
noticing that I did not like some new naughtiness on her part,
she would begin laughing, and almost always end in tears.
  She once quarrelled even with Alexandra Semyonovna, and
told her that she wanted nothing from her.  When I began to
scold her in Alexandra Semyonovna's presence she grew angry,
answered with an outburst of accumulated spite, but suddenly
relapsed into silence and did not say another word to me for
two days, would not take one of her medicines, was unwilling
even to eat and drink and no one but the old doctor was able to
bring her round and make her ashamed.
  I have mentioned already that from the day of the scene over
the medicine a surprising affection had sprung up between the
doctor and her.  Nellie was very fond of him and always greeted
him with a good-humoured smile however sad she had been
before he came.  For his part the old man began coming to us
every day and sometimes even twice a day even when Nellie had
begun to get up and had quite recovered, and she seemed to
have so bewitched him that he could not spend a day without
hearing her laugh and make fun of him, sometimes very amusingly.
He began bringing her picture-books, always of an edifying
character.  One of them he bought on purpose for her.  Then
he began bringing her dainties, sweetmeats in pretty boxes.
On such occasions he would come in with an air of triumph, as
though it were his birthday, and Nellie guessed at once that he
had come with a present.  But he did not display the presents,
but only laughed slyly, seated himself beside Nellie, hinting that
if a certain young lady knew how to behave herself and had been
deserving of commendation in his absence the young lady in
question would merit a handsome reward.  And all the while he
looked at her so simply and good-naturedly that though Nellie
laughed at him in the frankest way, at the same time there was
a glow of sincere and affectionate devotion in her beaming eyes
at that moment.  At last the old man solemnly got up from his
chair, took out a box of sweets and as he handed it to Nellie
invariably added: "To my future amiable spouse." At that
moment he was certainly even happier than Nellie.
  Then they began to talk, and every time he earnestly and
persuasively exhorted her to take care of her health and gave
her impressive medical advice.
  "Above all one must preserve one's health," he declared
dogmatically, "firstly and chiefly in order to remain alive, and
secondly in order to be always healthy and so to attain happiness
in life.  If you have any sorrows, my dear child, forget them,
and best of all try not to think of them.  If you have no sorrows
. . . well, then too, don't think about them, but try to think
only of pleasant things ... of something cheerful and amusing."
  "And what shall I think of that's cheerful and amusing?
Nellie would ask.
  The doctor was at once nonplussed.
  "Well . . .of some innocent game appropriate to your age
or, well ... something of that . . ."
  "I don't want to play games, I don't like games," said Nellie.
"I like new dresses better."
  "New dresses!  Hm!  Well, that's not so good.  We should
in all things be content with a modest lot in life.  However ...
maybe ... there's no harm in being fond of new dresses."
  "And will you give me a lot of dresses when I'm married to
you?
  "What an idea!" said the doctor and he could not help
frowning.  Nellie smiled slyly and, even forgetting herself for
a minute, glanced at me.
  "However, I'll give you a dress if you deserve it by your con-
duct," the doctor went on.
  "And must I take my medicine every day when I'm married
to you?"
  "Well, then, perhaps you may not have to take medicine
always."
  And the doctor began to smile.
  Nellie interrupted the conversation by laughing.  The old man
laughed with her, and watched her merriment affectionately.
  "A playful sportive mind!" he observed, turning to me.
"But still one can see signs of caprice and a certain whimsicalness
and irritability."
  He was right.  I could not make out what was happening to
her.  She seemed utterly unwilling to speak to me, as though I
had treated her badly in some way.  This was very bitter to me.
I frowned myself, and once I did not speak to her for a whole
day, but next day I felt ashamed.  She was often crying and I
hadn't a notion how to comfort her.  On one occasion, however,
she broke her silence with me.
  One afternoon I returned home just before dusk and saw
Nellie hurriedly hide a book under the pillow.  It was my novel
which she had taken from the table and was reading in my
absence.  What need had she to hide it from me?" just as
though she were ashamed," I thought, but I showed no sign of
having noticed anything.  A quarter of an hour later when I went
out for a minute into the kitchen she quickly jumped out of bed
and put the novel back where it had been before; when I came
back I saw it lying on the table.  A minute later she called me
to her; there was a ring of some emotion in her voice.  For the
last four days she had hardly spoken to me.
  "Are you ... to-day ... going to see Natasha?" she asked
me in a breaking voice,
  "Yes, Nellie.  It's very necessary for me to see her to-day."
Nellie did not speak.
  "You ... are very ... fond of her?" she asked again, in a
faint voice.
  "Yes, Nellie, I'm very fond of her."
  "I love her too," she added softly.
  A silence followed again.
  "I want to go to her and to live with her," Nellie began again,
looking at me timidly.
  "That's impossible, Nellie," I answered, looking at her with
some surprise.  "Are you so badly off with me?"
  "Why is it impossible?" And she flushed crimson.  "Why,
you were persuading me to go and live with her father; I don't
want to go there.  Has she a servant?
  "Yes."
  "Well, let her send her servant away, and I'll be her servant.
I'll do everything for her and not take any wages.  I'll love her,
and do her cooking.  You tell her so to-day."
  "But what for? What a notion, Nellie! And what an idea
you must have of her; do you suppose she would take you as a
cook? If she did take you she would take you as an equal, as
her younger sister."
  "No, I don't want to be an equal.  I don't want it like
that . . ."
  "Why?"
  Nellie was silent.  Her lips were twitching.  She was on the
point of crying.
  "The man she loves now is going away from her and leaving
her alone now?" she asked at last.
  I was surprised.
  "Why, how do you know, Nellie?"
  "You told me all about it yourself; and the day before
yesterday when Alexandra Semyonovna's husband came in the
morning I asked him; he told me everything."
  "Why, did Masloboev come in the morning?"
  "Yes," she answered, dropping her eyes.
  "Why didn't you tell me he'd been here?"
  "I don't know ... "
  I reflected for a moment.  "Goodness only knows why Maslo-
boev is turning up with his mysteriousness.  What sort of terms
has he got on to with her? I ought to see him," I thought.
  "Well, what is it to you, Nellie, if he does desert her?"
  "Why, you love her so much," said Nellie, not lifting her eyes
to me.  "And if you love her you'll marry her when he goes
away."
  "No, Nellie, she doesn't love me as I love her, and I ... no,
that won't happen, Nellie."
  "And I would work for you both as your servant and you'd
live and be happy," she said, almost in a whisper, not looking at
me.
  "What's the matter with her? What's the matter with her?"
I thought, and I had a disturbing pang at my heart.  Nellie was
silent and she didn't say another word all the evening.  When I
went out she had been crying, and cried the whole evening, as
Alexandra Semyonovna told me, and so fell asleep, crying.  She
even cried and kept saying something at night in her sleep.
  But from that day she became even more sullen and silent,
and didn't speak to me at all.   It is true I caught two or three
glances stolen at me on the sly, and there was such tenderness
in those glances.  But this passed, together with the moment
that called forth that sudden tenderness, and as though in oppo-
sition to this impulse Nellie grew every hour more gloomy even
with the doctor, who was amazed at the change in her character.
Meanwhile she had almost completely recovered, and the doctor,
at last allowed her to go for a walk in the open air, but only for
a very short time.  It was settled weather, warm and bright.
It was Passion Week, which fell that year very late; I went out
in the morning; I was obliged to be at Natasha's and I intended
to return earlier in order to take Nellie out for a walk.  Meantime
I left her alone at home.
  I cannot describe what a blow was awaiting me at home.  I
hurried back.  When I arrived I saw that the key was sticking
in the outside of the lock.  I went in.  There was no one there.
I was numb with horror.  I looked, and on the table was a piece
of paper, and written in pencil in a big, uneven handwriting:
  "I have gone away, and I shall never come back to you.  But
I love you very much. --- Your faithful Nellie."
  I uttered a cry of horror and rushed out of the flat.


                          CHAPTER IV

BEFORE I had time to run out into the street, before I had time
to consider how to act, or what to do, I suddenly saw a droshky
standing at the gate of our buildings, and Alexandra Semyonovna
getting out of it leading Nellie by the arm.  She was holding her
tightly as though she were afraid she might run away again.  I
rushed up to them.
  "Nellie, what's the matter?" I cried, "where have you been,
why did you go?"
  "Stop a minute, don't be in a hurry; let's make haste up-
stairs.  There you shall hear all about it," twittered Alexandra
Semyonovna.  "The things I have to tell you, Ivan Petrovitch,"
she whispered hurriedly on the way.  "One can only wonder ...
Come along, you shall hear immediately."
  Her face showed that she had extremely important news.
  "Go along, Nellie, go along.  Lie down a little," she said as
soon as we got into the room, "you're tired, you know; it's no
joke running about so far, and it's too much after an illness; lie
down, darling, lie down.  And we'll go out of the room for a
little, we won't get in her way; let her have a sleep."
  And she signed to me to go into the kitchen with her.
  But Nellie didn't lie down, she sat down on the sofa and hid
her face in her hands.
  We went into the other room, and Alexandra Semyonovna
told me briefly what had happened.  Afterwards I heard about
it more in detail.  This is how it had been.
  Going out of the flat a couple of hours before my return and
leaving the note for me, Nellie had run first to the old doctor's.
She had managed to find out his address beforehand.  The doctor
told me that he was absolutely petrified when he saw her, and
"could not believe his eyes" all the while she was there.  "I
can't believe it even now," he added, as he finished his story
"and I never shall believe it." And yet Nellie actually had been
at his house.  He had been sitting quietly in the armchair in his
study in his dressing-gown, drinking his coffee, when she ran in
and threw herself on his neck before he had time to realize it.
She was crying, she embraced and kissed him, kissed his hands,
and earnestly though incoherently begged him to let her stay
with him, declaring that she wouldn't and couldn't live with me
any longer, and that's why she had left me; that she was un-
happy; that she wouldn't laugh at him again or talk about new
dresses, but would behave well and learn her lessons, that she
would learn to "wash and get up his shirt-front" (probably she
had thought over her whole speech on the way or perhaps even
before), and that, in fact, she would be obedient and would take
as many powders as he liked every day; and that as for her
saying she wanted to marry him that had only been a joke, and
she had no idea of the kind.  The old German was so dumb-
founded that he sat open-mouthed the whole time, forgetting
the cigar he held in his hand till it went out.
  "Mademoiselle," he brought out at last, recovering his powers
of speech, "so far as I can understand you, you ask me to give
you a situation in my household.  But that's impossible.  As
you see, I'm very much cramped and have not a very considerable
income ... and, in fact, to act so rashly without reflection ...
is awful!  And, in fact, you, so far as I can see, have run away
from home.  That is reprehensible and impossible. . . . And
what's more, I only allowed you to take a short walk in charge
of your benefactor, and you abandon your benefactor, and run
off to me when you ought to be taking care of yourself and ...
and ... taking your medicine.  And, in fact ... in fact ... I can
make nothing of it . . ."
  Nellie did not let him finish.  She began to cry and implored
him again, but nothing was of use.  The old man was more and
more bewildered, and less and less able to understand.  At last
Nellie gave him up and crying "Oh, dear!" ran out of the room.
"I was ill all that day," the old doctor said in conclusion, "and
had taken a decoction in the evening . . ."
  Nellie rushed off to the Masloboevs.  She had provided herself
with their address too, and she succeeded in finding them, though
not without trouble.  Masloboev was at home.  Alexandra
Semyonovna clasped her hands in amazement when she heard
Nellie beg them to take her in.  When she asked her why she
wanted it, what was wrong, whether she was unhappy with me,
Nellie had made no answer, but flung herself sobbing on a chair.
"She sobbed so violently, so violently," said Alexandra Semyon-
ovna, "that I thought she would have died." Nellie begged to
be taken if only as a housemaid or a cook, said she would sweep
the floors and learn to do the washing (she seemed to rest her
hopes especially on the washing and seemed for some reason to
think this a great inducement for them to take her).  Alexandra
Semyonovna's idea was to keep her till the matter was cleared up,
meanwhile letting me know.  But Filip Filippovitch had abso-
lutely forbidden it, and had told her to bring the runaway to me
at once.  On the way Alexandra Semyonovna had kissed and
embraced her, which had made Nellie cry more than ever.
Looking at her, Alexandra Semyonovna too had shed tears.  So
both of them had been crying all the way in the cab.
  "But why, Nellie, why don't you want to go on staying with
him? What has he done. Is he unkind to you?" Alexandra
Semyonovna asked, melting into tears.
  "No."
  "Well, why then?"
  "Nothing ... I don't want to stay with him ... I'm always
so nasty with him and he's so kind ... but with you I won't be
nasty, I'll work," she declared, sobbing as though she were in
hysterics.
  "Why are you so nasty to him, Nellie?"
  "Nothing ..."
  And that was all I could get out of her," said Alexandra
Semyonovna, wiping her tears.  "Why is she such an unhappy
little thing? Is it her fits? What do you think, Ivan Petro-
vitch?"
  We went in to Nellie.  She lay with her face hidden in the
pillow, crying.  I knelt down beside her, took her hands, and
began to kiss them.  She snatched her hands from me and
sobbed more violently than ever.  I did not know what to say.
At that moment old Ichmenyev walked in.
  "I've come to see you on business, Ivan, how do you do?
he said, staring at us all, and observing with surprise that I was
on my knees.
  The old man had been ill of late.  He was pale and thin, but as
though in defiance of someone, he neglected his illness, refused
to listen to Anna Andreyevna's exhortations, went about his
daily affairs as usual, and would not take to his bed.
  "Good-bye for the present," said Alexandra Semyonovna,
staring at the old man.  "Filip Filippovitch told me to be back
as quickly as possible.  We are busy.  But in the evening at dusk
I'll look in on you, and stay an hour or two."
  "Who's that?" the old man whispered to me, evidently
thinking of something else.
  I explained.
  "Hm!  Well, I've come on business, Ivan."
  I knew on what business he had come, and had been expecting
his visit.  He had come to talk to me and Nellie and to beg her to
go to them.  Anna Andreyevna had consented at last to adopt
an orphan girl.  This was a result of secret confabulations be-
tween us.  I had persuaded the old lady, telling her that the
sight of the child, whose mother, too, had been cursed by an
unrelenting father, might turn our old friend's heart to other
feelings.  I explained my plan so clearly that now she began of
herself to urge her husband to take the child.  The old man
readily fell in with it; in the first place he wanted to please his
Anna Andreyevna, and he had besides motives of his own ...
But all this I will explain later and more fully.  I have mentioned
already that Nellie had taken a dislike to the old man at his
first visit.  Afterwards I noticed that there was a gleam almost
of hatred in her face when Ichmenyev's name was pronounced
in her presence.  My old friend began upon the subject at once,
without beating about the bush.  He went straight up to Nellie,
who was still lying down, hiding her head in the pillow, and
taking her by the hand asked her whether she would like to
come and live with him and take the place of his daughter.
  "I had a daughter.  I loved her more than myself," the old
man finished up, "but now she is not with me.  She is dead.
Would you like to take her place in my house and . . . in my
heart?" And in his eyes that looked dry and inflamed from
fever there gleamed a tear.
  "No, I shouldn't," Nellie answered, without raising her head.
  "Why not, my child? You have nobody belonging to you.
Ivan cannot keep you with him for ever, and with me you'd be
as in your own home."
  "I won't, because you're wicked.  Yes, wicked, wicked," she
added, lifting up her head, and facing the old man.  "I am
wicked, we're all wicked, but you're more wicked than anyone."
  As she said this Nellie turned pale, her eyes flashed; even her
quivering lips turned pale, and were distorted by a rush of strong
feeling.  The old man looked at her in perplexity.
  "Yes, more wicked than I am, because you won't forgive your
daughter.  You want to forget her altogether and take another
child.  How can you forget your own child? How can you love
me?  Whenever you look at me you'll remember I'm a stranger
and that you had a daughter of your own whom you'd forgotten,
for you're a cruel man.  And I don't want to live with cruel
people.  I won't!  I won't!"
  Nellie gave a sob and glanced at me.
  "The day after to-morrow is Easter; all the people will be
kissing and embracing one another, they all make peace, they
all forgive one another ... I know.... But you ... only you . . .
ugh, cruel man!  Go away!"
  She melted into tears.  She must have made up that speech
beforehand and have learnt it by heart in case my old friend
should ask her again.
  My old friend was affected and he turned pale.  His face
betrayed the pain he was feeling.
  "And why, why does everybody make such a fuss over me?
I won't have it, I won't have it!" Nellie cried suddenly, in a sort
of frenzy.  "I'll go and beg in the street."
  "Nellie, what's the matter?  Nellie, darling," I cried in-
voluntarily, but my exclamation only added fuel to the flames,
  "Yes, I'd better go into the street and beg.  I won't stay
here!" she shrieked sobbing.  "My mother begged in the street
too, and when she was dying she said to me, 'Better be poor and
beg in the street than . . .' 'It's not shameful to beg.  I beg of
all, and that's not the same as begging from one.  To beg of one
is shameful, but it's not shameful to beg of all'; that's what
one beggar-girl said to me.  I'm little, I've no means of earning
money.  I'll ask from all.  I won't!  I won't!  I'm wicked, I'm
wickeder than anyone.  See how wicked I am!"
  And suddenly Nellie quite unexpectedly seized a cup from the
table and threw it on the floor.
  "There, now it's broken," she added, looking at me with a sort
of defiant triumph.  "There are only two cups," she added, "I'll
break the other ... and then how will you drink your tea?"
  She seemed as though possessed by fury, and seemed to get
enjoyment from that fury, as though she were conscious that it
was shameful and wrong, and at the same time were spurring
herself on to further violence.
  "She's ill, Vanya, that's what it is," said the old man, "or ...
or I don't understand the child.  Good-bye!"
  He took his cap and shook hands with me.  He seemed crushed.
Nellie had insulted him horribly.  Everything was in a turmoil
within me.
  "You had no pity on him, Nellie!" I cried when we were
left alone.  "And aren't you ashamed? Aren't you ashamed
No, you're not a good girl!  You really are wicked!"
  And just as I was, without my hat, I ran after the old man,
I wanted to escort him to the gate, and to say at least a few
words to comfort him.  As I ran down the staircase I was
haunted by Nellie's face, which had turned terribly white at my
reproaches.
   I quickly overtook my old friend.
   "The poor girl has been ill-treated, and has sorrow of her own,
believe me, Ivan, and I began to tell her of mine," he said with
a bitter smile.  "I touched upon her sore place.  They say that
the well-fed cannot understand the hungry, but I would add
that the hungry do not always under-stand the hungry.  Well,
good-bye!"
  I would have spoken of something else; but the old man waved
me off.
  "Don't try to comfort me.  You'd much better look out that
your girl doesn't run away from you.  She looks like it," he
added with a sort of exasperation, and he walked away from me
with rapid steps, brandishing his stick and tapping it on the
pavement.
  He had no idea of being a prophet.
  What were my feelings when, on returning to my room, I
found, to my horror, that Nellie had vanished again! I rushed
into the passage, looked for her on the stairs, called her name,
even knocked at the neighbours' doors and inquired about her.
I could not and would not believe that she had run away again.
And how could she have run away? There was only one gate-
way to the buildings; she must have slipped by us when I was
talking to my old friend.  But I soon reflected, to my great
distress, that she might first have hidden somewhere on the stairs
till I had gone back, and then have slipped off so that I should
not meet her.  In any case she could not have gone far.
  In great anxiety I rushed off to search for her again, leaving
my rooms unfastened in case she should return.
  First of all I went to the Masloboevs'.  I did not find either of
them at home.  Leaving a note for them in which I informed
them of this fresh calamity, and begging them if Nellie came to let
me know at once, I went to the doctor's.  He was not at home
either.  The servant told me that there had been no visit since
that of the day before.  What was to be done? I set off for Mme.
Bubnov's and learnt from my friend, the coffin-maker's wife,
that her landlady had for some reason been detained at the
police-station for the last two days; and Nellie had not been
seen there since that day.  Weary and exhausted I went back to
the Masloboevs'.  The same answer, no one had come, and they
had not returned home themselves.  My note lay on the table.
What was I to do?
  In deadly dejection I returned home late in the evening.  I
ought to have been at Natasha's that evening; she had asked me
in the morning.  But I had not even tasted food that day.  The
thought of Nellie set my whole soul in a turmoil.
  "What does it mean?" I wondered.  "Could it be some
strange consequence of her illness? Wasn't she mad, or going
out of her mind? But, good God, where was she now? Where 
should I look for her?" I had hardly said this to myself when I
caught sight of Nellie a few steps from me on the V-m Bridge.
She was standing under a street lamp and she did not see me.  I
was on the point of running to her but I checked myself.  "What
can she be doing here now?" I wondered in perplexity, and
convinced that now I should not lose her, I resolved to wait and
watch her.  Ten minutes passed.  She was still standing, watch-
ing the passers-by.   At last a well-dressed old gentleman
passed and Nellie went up to him.  Without stopping he took
something out of his pocket and gave it to her.  She curtsied to
him.  I cannot describe what I felt at that instant.  It sent an
agonizing pang to my heart, as if something precious, something
I loved, had fondled and cherished, was disgraced and spat upon
at that minute before my very eyes.  At the same time I felt
tears dropping.
  Yes, tears for poor Nellie, though at the same time I felt
great indignation; she was not begging through need; she was
not forsaken, not abandoned by someone to the caprice of destiny.
She was not escaping from cruel oppressors, but from friends who
loved and cherished her.  It was as though she wanted to shock
or alarm someone by her exploits, as though she were showing off
before someone.  But there was something secret maturing in
her heart.... Yes, my old friend was right; she had been ill-
treated; her hurt could not be healed, and she seemed purposely
trying to aggravate her wound by this mysterious behaviour, this
mistrustfulness of us all; as though she enjoyed her own pain
by this egoism of suffering, if I may so express it.  This aggrava-
tion of suffering and this rebelling in it I could understand; it is
the enjoyment of man, of the insulted and injured, oppressed
by destiny, and smarting under the sense of its injustice.  But of
what injustice in us could Nellie complain? She seemed trying
to astonish and alarm us by her exploits, her caprices and wild
pranks, as though she really were asserting herself against us ...
But no!  Now she was alone.  None of us could see that she was
begging.  Could she possibly have found enjoyment in it on her
own account? Why did she want charity? What need had she
of money? After receiving the gift she left the bridge and walked
to the brightly lighted window of a shop.  There she proceeded
to count her gains.  I was standing a dozen paces from her.  She
had a fair amount of money in her hand already.  She had
evidently been begging since the morning.  Closing her hand
over it she crossed the road and went into a small fancy shop.  I
went up at once to the door of the shop, which stood wide open,
and looked to see what she was doing there.
  I saw that she laid the money on the counter and was handed
a cup, a plain tea-cup, very much like the one she had broken
that morning, to show Ichmenyev and me how wicked she was.
The cup was worth about fourpence, perhaps even less.  The
shopman wrapped it in paper, tied it up and gave it to Nellie,
who walked hurriedly out of the shop, looking satisfied.
  "Nellie!" I cried when she was close to me, "Nellie!"
  She started, glanced at me, the cup slipped from her hands,
fell on the pavement and was broken.  Nellie was pale; but
looking at me and realizing that I had seen and understood every-
thing she suddenly blushed.  In that blush could be detected an
intolerable, agonizing shame.  I took her hand and led her home.
We had not far to go.  We did not utter one word on the way.
On reaching home I sat down.  Nellie stood before me, brooding
and confused, as pale as before, with her eyes fixed on the floor.
She could not look at me.
  "Nellie, you were begging?"
  "Yes," she whispered and her head drooped lower than ever.
  "You wanted to get money to buy a cup for the one broken
this morning?
  "Yes . . ."
  "But did I blame you, did I scold you, about that cup?
Surely, Nellie, you must see what naughtiness there is in your
behaviour? Is it right? Aren't you ashamed? Surely . . ."
  "Yes," she whispered, in a voice hardly audible, and a tear
trickled down her cheek.
  "Yes . . ." I repeated after her. "Nellie, darling, if I've not
been good to you, forgive me and let us make friends."
  She looked at me, tears gushed from her eyes, and she flung
herself on my breast.
  At that instant Alexandra Semyonovna darted in.
  "What? She's home? Again? Ach, Nellie, Nellie, what is
the matter with you? Well, it's a good thing you're at home,
anyway.  Where did you find her, Ivan Petrovitch?"
  I signed to Alexandra Semyonovna not to ask questions and
she understood me.  I parted tenderly from Nellie, who was still
weeping bitterly, and asking kind-hearted Alexandra Semyonovna
to stay with her till I returned home, I ran off to Natasha's.  I
was late and in a hurry.
  That evening our fate was being decided.  There was a great
deal for Natasha and me to talk over.  Yet I managed to slip in
a word about Nellie and told her all that had happened in full
detail.  My story greatly interested Natasha and made a great
impression on her, in fact.
  "Do you know what, Vanya," she said to me after a moment's
thought.  "I believe she's in love with you."
  "What ... how can that be?" I asked, wondering.
  "Yes, it's the beginning of love, real grown-up love."
  "How can you, Natasha! Nonsense!  Why, she's a child!"
  "A child who will soon be fourteen.  This exasperation is at
your not understanding her love; and probably she doesn't
understand it herself.  It's an exasperation in which there's a
great deal that's childish, but it's in earnest, agonizing.  Above
all she's jealous of me.  You love me so that probably even when
you're at home you're always worrying, thinking and talking
about me, and so don't take much notice of her.  She has seen
that and it has stung her.  She wants perhaps to talk to you,
longs to open her heart to you, doesn't know how to do it, is
ashamed, and doesn't understand herself; she is waiting for
an opportunity, and instead of giving her such an opportunity
you keep away from her, run off to me, and even when she was
ill left her alone for whole days together.  She cries about it;
she misses you, and what hurts her most of all is that you don't
notice it.  Now, at a moment like this, you have left her alone
for my sake.  Yes, she'll be ill to-morrow because of it.  And
how could you leave her? Go back to her at once. . ."
  "I should not have left her, but . . ."
  "Yes, I know.  I begged you to come, myself.  But now go."
  "I will, but of course I don't believe a word of it."
  "Because it's all so different from other people.  Remember
her story, think it all over and you will believe, it.  She has not
grown up as you and I did."
  I got home late, however.  Alexandra Semyonovna told me
that again Nellie had, as on the previous evening, been crying a
great deal and "had fallen asleep in tears," as before.
  "And now I'm going, Ivan Petrovitch, as Filip Filippovitch
told me.  He's expecting me, poor fellow."
  I thanked her and sat down by Nellie's pillow.  It seemed
dreadful to me myself that I could have left her at such a moment.
For a long time, right into the night, I sat beside her, lost in
thought.... It was a momentous time for us all.
  But I must describe what had been happening during that
fortnight.


                           CHAPTER V

AFTER the memorable evening I had spent with Prince Valkovsky
at the restaurant, I was for some days in continual apprehension
on Natasha's account.  With what evil was that cursed prince
threatening her, and in what way did he mean to revenge himself
on her, I asked myself every minute, and I was distracted by
suppositions of all sorts.  I came at last to the conclusion that
his menaces were not empty talk, not mere bluster, and that as
long as she was living with Alyosha, the prince might really
bring about much unpleasantness for her.  He was petty, vindic-
tive, malicious, and calculating, I reflected.  It would be difficult
for him to forget an insult and to let pass any chance of avenging
it. He had in any case brought out one point, and had expressed
himself pretty clearly on that point : he insisted absolutely on
Alyosha's breaking off his connexion with Natasha, and was
expecting me to prepare her for the approaching separation, and
so to prepare her that there should be "no scenes, no idyllic
nonsense, no Schillerism." Of course, what he was most solicitous
for was that Alyosha should remain on good terms with him, and
should still consider him an affectionate father.  This was very
necessary to enable him the more conveniently to get control of
Katya's money.  And so it was my task to prepare Natasha for
the approaching separation.  But I noticed a great change in
Natasha; there was not a trace now of her old frankness with me;
in fact, she seemed to have become actually mistrustful of me.
My efforts to console her only worried her; my questions annoyed
her more and more, and even vexed her.  I would sit beside her
sometimes, watching her.  She would pace from one corner of
the room to the other with her arms folded, pale and gloomy, as
though oblivious of everything, even forgetting that I was there
beside her.  When she Happened to look at me (and she even
avoided my eves), there was a gleam of impatient vexation in
her face, and she turned away quickly.  I realized that she was
perhaps herself revolving some plan of her own for the approach-
ing separation, and how could she think of it without pain and
bitterness? And I was convinced that she had already made up
her mind to the separation.  Yet I was worried and alarmed by
her gloomy despair.  Moreover sometimes I did not dare to talk
to her or try to comfort her, and so waited with terror for the end.
  As for her harsh and forbidding manner with me, though that
worried me and made me uneasy, yet I had faith in my Natasha's
heart.  I saw that she was terribly wretched and that she was
terribly overwrought.  Any outside interference only excited
vexation and annoyance.  In such cases, especially, the inter-
vention of friends who know one's secrets is more annoying than
anything.  But I very well knew, too, that at the last minute
Natasha would come back to me, and would seek comfort in my
affection.
  Of my conversation with the prince I said nothing, of course;
my story would only have excited and upset her more.  I only
mentioned casually that I had been with the prince at the
countess's and was convinced that he was an awful scoundrel.
She did not even question me about him, of which I was very
glad; but she listened eagerly to what I told her of my interview
with Katya. When she heard my account of it she said nothing
about her either, but her pale face flushed, and on that day she
seemed especially agitated.  I concealed nothing about Katya,
and openly confessed that even upon me she had made an
excellent impression.  Yes, and what was the use of hiding it?
Natasha would have guessed, of course, that I was hiding some-
thing, and would only have been angry with me.  And so I
purposely told her everything as fully as possible, trying to
anticipate her questions, for in her position I should have felt it
hard to ask them; it could scarcely be an easy task to inquire
with an air of unconcern into the perfections of one's rival.
  I fancied that she did not know yet that the prince was in-
sisting on Alyosha's accompanying the countess and Katya into
the country, and took great pains to break this to her so as to
soften the blow.  But what was my amazement when Natasha
stopped me at the first word and said that there was no need to
comfort her and that she had known of this for the last five days.
  "Good heavens!" I cried, "why, who told you?"
  "Alyosha!"
  "What? He has told you so already?"
  "Yes, and I have made up my mind about everything, Vanya,"
she added, with a look which clearly, and, as it were, impatiently
warned me not to continue the conversation.
  Alyosha came pretty often to Natasha's, but always only for a
minute; only on one occasion he stayed with her for several
hours at a time, but that was when I was not there.  He usually
came in melancholy and looked at her with timid tenderness;
but Natasha met him so warmly and affectionately that he
always forgot it instantly and brightened up.  He had taken to
coming to see me very frequently too, almost every day.  He
was indeed terribly harassed and he could not remain a single
moment alone with his distress, and kept running to me every
minute for consolation.
  What could I say to him? He accused me of coldness, of
indifference, even of ill-feeling towards him; he grieved, he shed
tears, went off to Katya's, and there was comforted.
  On the day that Natasha told me that she knew that Alyosha
was going away (it was a week after my conversation with the
prince) he ran in to me in despair, embraced me, fell on my
neck, and sobbed like a child.  I was silent, and waited to see
what he would say.
  "I'm a low, abject creature, Vanya," he began.  "Save me
from myself.  I'm not crying because I'm low and abject,
but because through me Natasha will be miserable.  I am leaving
her to misery ... Vanya, my dear, tell me, decide for me, which
of them do I love most, Natasha or Katya?"
  "That I can't decide, Alyosha," I answered.  "You ought to
know better than I . . ."
  "No, Vanya, that's not it; I'm not so stupid as to ask such a
question; but the worst of it is that I can't tell myself.  I ask
myself and I can't answer.  But you look on from outside and
may see more clearly than I do.... Well, even though you don't
know, tell me how it strikes you?"
  "It seems to me you love Katya best."
  "You think that! No, no, not at all!  You've not guessed
right.  I love Natasha beyond everything.  I can never leave
her, nothing would induce me; I've told Katya so, and she
thoroughly agrees with me.  Why are you silent? I saw you
smile just now.  Ech Vanya, you have never comforted me when
I've been too miserable, as I am now.... Good-bye!"
  He ran out of the room, having made an extraordinary im-
pression on the astonished Nellie, who had been listening to our
conversation in silence.  At the time she was still ill, and was
lying in bed and taking medicine.  Alyosha never addressed
her, and scarcely took any notice of her on his visits.
  Two hours later he turned up again, and I was amazed at his
joyous countenance.  He threw himself on my neck again and
embraced me.
  "The thing's settled," he cried, "all misunderstandings are
over.  I went straight from you to Natasha.  I was upset, I
could not exist without her.  When I went in I fell at her feet and
kissed them; I had to do that, I longed to do it.  If I hadn't I
should have died of misery.  She embraced me in silence, crying.
Then I told her straight out that I loved Katya more than I love
her."
  "What did she say?
  "She said nothing, she only caressed me and comforted me--
me, after I had told her that!  She knows how to comfort one,
Ivan Petrovitch! Oh, I wept away all my sadness with her - I
told her everything.  I told her straight out that I was awfully
fond of Katya, but however much I loved her, and whomever I
loved, I never could exist without her, Natasha, that I should
die without her.  No, Vanya, I could not live without her, I feel
that; no!  And so we made up our minds to be married at once,
and as it can't be done before I go away because it's Lent now,
and we can't get married in Lent, it shall be when I come back,
and that will be the first of June.  My father will allow it, there
can be no doubt of that.  And as for Katya, well, what of it!  I
can't live without Natasha, you know.... We'll be married, and
go off there at once to Katya's ..."
  Poor Natasha! What it must have cost her to comfort this
boy, to bend over him, listen to his confession and invent the
fable of their speedy marriage to comfort the naive egoist.
Alyosha really was comforted for some days.  He used to fly
round to Natasha's because his faint heart was not equal to
bearing his grief alone.  But yet, as the time of their separation
grew nearer, he relapsed into tears and fretting again, and would
again dash round to me and pour out his sorrow.  Of late he had
become so bound up with Natasha that he could not leave her
for a single day, much less for six weeks.  He was fully convinced,
however, up to the very last minute, that he was only leaving
her for six weeks and that their wedding would take place on his
return.  As for Natasha, she fully realized that her whole life was
to be transformed, that Alyosha would never come back to her,
and that this was how it must be.
  The day of their separation was approaching.  Natasha was
ill, pale, with feverish eyes and parched lips.  From time to
time she talked to herself, from time to time threw a rapid and
searching glance at me.  She shed no tears, did not answer my
questions, and quivered like a leaf on a tree when she heard
Alyosha's ringing voice; she glowed like a sunset and flew to
meet him; kissed and embraced him hysterically, laughed . . .
Alyosha gazed at her, asking with anxiety after her health, tried
to comfort her by saying that he was not going for long, and
that then they would be married.  Natasha made a visible effort,
controlled herself, and suppressed her tears.  She did not cry
before him.
  Once he said that he must leave her money enough for all the
time he was away, and that she need not worry, because his
father had promised to give him plenty for the journey.  Natasha
frowned.  When we were left alone I told her I had a hundred
and fifty roubles for her in case of need.  She did not ask where
the money came from.  This was two days before Alyosha's
departure, and the day before the first and last meeting between
Natasha and Katya.  Katya had sent a note by Alyosha in
which she asked Natasha's permission to visit her next day, and
at the same time she wrote to me and begged me, too, to be
present at their interview.
  I made up my mind that I would certainly be at Natasha's
by twelve o'clock (the hour fixed by Katya) regardless of all
obstacles; and there were many difficulties and delays.  Apart
from Nellie, I had for the last week had a great deal of worry with
the Ichmenyevs.
  Anna Andreyevna sent for me one morning, begging me to
throw aside everything and hasten to her at once on account of a
matter of urgency which admitted of no delay.  When I arrived
I found her alone.  She was walking about the room in a fever of
agitation and alarm, in tremulous expectation of her husband's
return.  As usual it was a long time before I could get out of her
what was the matter and why she was in such a panic, and at
the same time it was evident that every moment was precious.
At last after heated and irrelevant reproaches such as "Why
didn't I come, why did I leave her all alone in her sorrow?" so
that "Goodness knows what had been happening in my absence,"
she told me that for the last three days Nikolay Sergeyitch had
been in a state of agitation "that was beyond all description."
  "He's simply not like himself," she said, "he's in a fever, at
night he prays in secret on his knees before the ikons.  He
babbles in his sleep, and by day he's like some one half crazy.
We were having soup yesterday, and he couldn't find the spoon
set beside him; you ask him one thing and he answers another.
He has taken to running out of the house every minute, he always
says 'I'm going out on business, I must see the lawyer,' and this
morning he locked himself up in his study.  'I have to write an
important statement relating to my legal business,' he said.
Well, thinks I, how are you going to write a legal statement when
you can't find your spoon?  I looked through the keyhole, though
he was sitting writing, and he all the while crying his eyes out.
A queer sort of business statement he'll write like that, thinks I.
Though maybe he's grieving for our Ichmenyevka.  So it's quite
lost then!  While I was thinking that, he suddenly jumped up
from the table and flung the pen down on the table; he turned
crimson and his eyes flashed, he snatched up his cap and came
out to me.  'I'm coming back directly, Anna Andreyevna,' he
said.  He went out and I went at once to his writing-table.
There's such a mass of papers relating to our lawsuit lying
there that he never lets me touch it.  How many times have I
asked him: 'Do let me lift up those papers, if it's only for once,
I want to dust the table', 'Don't you dare!' he shouts, and
waves his arms.  He's become so impatient here in Petersburg
and so taken to shouting, So I went up to the table and began
to look what paper it was he had been writing.  For I knew for a
fact he had not taken it with him but had thrust it under another
paper when he got up from the table.  And here, look, Ivan
Petrovitch, dear, what I have found."
  And she gave me a sheet of note-paper half covered with
writing but so blotted that in some places it was illegible.
  Poor old man! From the first line one could tell what and to
whom he was writing.  It was a letter to Natasha, his adored
Natasha.  He began warmly and tenderly, he approached her
with forgiveness, and urged her to come to him.  It was difficult
to make out the whole letter, it was written jerkily and unevenly,
with numerous blots.  It was only evident that the intense
feeling which had led him to take up the pen and to write the first
lines, full of tenderness, was quickly followed by other emotions.
The old man began to reproach his daughter, describing her
wickedness in the bitterest terms, indignantly reminding her of
her obstinacy, reproaching her for heartlessness in not having
once, perhaps, considered how she was treating her father and
mother.  He threatened her with retribution and a curse for her
pride, and ended by insisting that she should return home
promptly and submissively, "and only then perhaps after a new
life of humility and exemplary behaviour in the bosom of your
family we will decide to forgive you," he wrote.  It was evident
that after the first few lines he had taken his first generous feeling
for weakness, had begun to be ashamed of it, and finally, suffering
from tortures of wounded pride, he had ended in anger and
threats.  Anna Andreyevna stood facing me with her hand
clasped, waiting in an agony of suspense to hear what I should
say about the letter.
  I told her quite truly how it struck me, that is that her husband
could not bear to go on living without Natasha, and that one
might say with certainty that their speedy reconciliation was
inevitable, though everything depended on circumstances,
expressed at the same time my conjecture that probably the
failure of his lawsuit had been a great blow and shock to him, to
say nothing of the mortification of his pride at the prince's triumph
over him, and his indignation at the way the case had been
decided.  At such a moment the heart cannot help seeking for
sympathy, and he thought with a still more passionate longing
of her whom he had always loved more than anyone on earth.
And perhaps too he might have heard (for he was on the alert and
knew all about Natasha) that Alyosha was about to abandon her.
He might realize what she was going through now and how much
she needed to be comforted.  But yet he could not control him-
self, considering that he had been insulted and injured by his
daughter.  It had probably occurred to him that she would not
take the first step, that possibly she was not thinking of him and
felt no longing for reconciliation.  "That's what he must have
thought," I said in conclusion, "and that's why he didn't finish
his letter, and perhaps it would only lead to fresh mortification
which would be felt even more keenly than the first, and might,
who knows, put off the reconciliation indefinitely . . ."
   Anna Andreyevna cried as she listened to me.  At last, when
I said that I had to go at once to Natasha's, and that I was late,
she started, and informed me that she had forgotten the chief
thing.  When she took the paper from the table she had upset
the ink over it.  One corner was indeed covered with ink, and
the old lady was terribly afraid that her husband would find out
from this blot that she had been rummaging among his paper
when he was out and had read his letter to Natasha.  There were
good grounds for her alarm; the very fact that we knew his
secret might lead him through shame and vexation to persist in
his anger, and through pride to be stubborn and unforgiving.
  But on thinking it over I told my old friend not to worry
herself.  He had got up from his letter in such excitement that
he might well have no clear recollection of details and would
probably now think that he had blotted the letter himself.
Comforting Anna Andreyevna in this way, I helped her to put
the letter back where it had been before, and I bethought me to
speak to her seriously about Nellie.  It occurred to me that the
poor forsaken orphan whose own mother had been cursed by an
unforgiving father might, by the sad and tragic story of her life
and of her mother's death, touch the old man and move him to
generous feelings.  Everything was ready: everything was ripe
in his heart; the longing for his daughter had already begun to
get the upper hand of his pride and his wounded sanity.  All
that was needed was a touch, a favourable chance, and that
chance might be provided by Nellie, My old friend listened to me
with extreme attention.  Her whole face lighted up with hope
and enthusiasm.  She began at once to reproach me for not
having told her before; began impatiently questioning me about
Nellie and ended by solemnly promising that she would of her
own accord urge her husband to take the orphan girl into their
house.  She began to feel a genuine affection for Nellie, was sorry
to hear that she was ill, questioned me about her, forced me to
take the child a pot of jam which she ran herself to fetch from
the store-room, brought me five roubles, thinking I shouldn't
have enough money for the doctor, and could hardly be pacified
when I refused to take it, but consoled herself with the thought
that Nellie needed clothes, so that she could be of use to her in
that way.  Then she proceeded to ransack all her chests and to
overhaul all her wardrobe, picking out things she might give to
the orphan.
  I went off to Natasha's.  As I mounted the last flight of the
staircase, which, as I have said, went round in a spiral, I noticed
at her door a man who was on the point of knocking, but hearing
my step he checked himself.  Then, after some hesitation he
apparently abandoned his intention and ran downstairs.  I came
upon him at the turn of the stairs, and what was my astonishment
when I recognized Ichmenyev.  It was very dark on the stairs
even in the daytime.  He shrank back against the wall to let me
pass; and I remember the strange glitter in his eyes as he looked
at me intently.  I fancied that he flushed painfully.  But anyway
he was terribly taken aback, and even overcome with confusion.
  "Ech, Vanya, why, it's you!" he brought out in a shaky voice.
"I've come here to see someone . . . a copying-clerk . . . on
business ... he's lately moved ... somewhere this way ... but he
doesn't live here it seems ... I've made a mistake ... good-bye."
  And he ran quickly down the stairs.
  I decided not to tell Natasha as yet of this meeting, but to
wait at any rate till Alyosha had gone and she was alone.  At
the moment she was so unhinged that, though she would have
understood and have realized the full importance of the fact, she
would not have been capable of taking it in and feeling it as she
would do at the moment of the last overwhelming misery and
despair.  This was not the moment.
  I might have gone to the Ichmenyevs' again that day and I
felt a great inclination to do so.  But I did not.  I fancied my old
friend would feel uncomfortable at the sight of me.  He might
even imagine that my coming was the result of having met him.
I did not go to see them till two days later; my old friend was
depressed, but he met me with a fairly unconcerned air and
talked of nothing but his case.
  "And I say, who was it you were going to see so high up, when
we met, do you remember - when was it? - the day before
yesterday, I fancy," he asked suddenly, somewhat carelessly,
though he avoided looking at me.
  "A friend of mine lives there," I answered, also keeping my
eyes turned away.
  "Ah! And I was looking for my clerk, Astafyev; I was told it
was that house ... but it was a mistake.  Well, as I was just
telling you . . in the Senate the decision . ." and so on, and so on.
  He positively crimsoned as he turned the subject.
  I repeated all this to Anna Andreyevna the same day, to cheer
her up.  I besought her among other things not to look at him
just now with a significant air, not to sigh, or drop hints; in fact,
not to betray in any way that she knew of this last exploit of
his.  My old friend was so surprised and delighted that at first
she would not even believe me.  She, for her part, told me that
she had already dropped a hint to Nikolay Sergeyitch about the
orphan, but that he had said nothing, though till then he had
always been begging her to let them adopt the child.  We decided
that next day she should speak to him openly, without any hints
or beating about the bush.  But next day we were both in terrible
alarm and anxiety.
  What happened was that Ichmenyev had an interview in the
morning with the man who had charge of his case, and the latter
had informed him that he had seen the prince, and that, though
the prince was retaining possession of Ichmenyevka, yet, "in
consequence of certain family affairs," he had decided to com-
pensate the old man and to allow him the sum of ten thousand
roubles.  The old man came straight from this visit to me, in a
terrible state of excitement, his eyes were flashing with fury.  He
called me, I don't know why, out of my flat on to the stairs and
began to insist that I should go at once to the prince and take him
a challenge to a duel.
  I was so overwhelmed that for a long time I could not collect
my ideas. I began trying to dissuade him, But my old friend
became so furious that he was taken ill.  I rushed into the flat
for a glass of water, but when I came back I found Ichmenyev
no longer on the stairs.
  Next day I went to see him, but he was not at home.  He
disappeared for three whole days.
  On the third day we learnt what had happened.  He had
hurried off from me straight to the prince's, had not found him at
home and had left a note for him.  In his letter he said he had heard
of the prince's intentions, that he looked upon them as a deadly
insult, and on the prince as a low scoundrel, and that he therefore
challenged him to a duel, warning him not to dare decline the
challenge or he should be publicly disgraced.
  Anna Andreyevna told me that he returned home in such a
state of perturbation and excitement that he had to go to bed.
He had been very tender with her, but scarcely answered her
questions, and was evidently in feverish expectation of some-
thing.  Next morning a letter came by the post.  On reading it
he had cried out aloud and clutched at his head.  Anna Andrey-
evna was numb with terror.  But he at once snatched up his hat
and stick and rushed out.
  The letter was from the prince.  Dryly, briefly, and courteously
he informed Ichmenyev that he, Prince Valkovsky, was not
bound to give any account to anyone of what he had said to the
lawyer, that though he felt great sympathy with Ichmenyev for
the loss of his case, he could not feel it just for the man who had
lost a case to be entitled to challenge his rival to a duel by way
of revenge.  As for the "public disgrace" with which he was
threatened, the prince begged Ichmenyev not to trouble himself
about it, for there would be, and could be, no public disgrace,
that the letter would be at once sent to the proper quarter, and
that the police would no doubt be equal to taking steps for
preserving law and order.
  Ichmenyev with the letter in his hand set off at once for the
prince's.  Again he was not at home, but the old man learnt
from the footman that the prince was probably at Count Nainsky's.
Without wasting time on thought he ran to the count's.  The
count's porter stopped him as he was running up the staircase.
Infuriated to the utmost the old man hit him a blow with his
stick.  He was at once seized, dragged out on to the steps and
handed over to a police officer, who took him to the police station.
The count was informed.  When the prince, who was present,
explained to the old profligate that this was Ichmenyev, the
father of the charming young person (the prince had more than
once been of service to the old count in such enterprises), the
great gentleman only laughed and his wrath was softened.  The
order was given that Ichmenyev should be discharged.  But he
was not released till two days after, when (no doubt by the
prince's orders) Ichmenyev was informed that the prince had
himself begged the count to be lenient to him.
  The old man returned home in a state bordering on insanity,
rushed to his bed and lay for a whole hour without moving.  At
last he got up, and to Anna Andreyevna's horror announced that
he should curse his daughter for ever and deprive her of his
fatherly blessing.
  Anna Andreyevna was horrified, but she had to look after the
old man, and, hardly knowing what she was doing, she waited
upon him all that day and night, wetting his head with vinegar
and putting ice on it.  He was feverish and delirious.  It was
past two o'clock in the night when I left them.  But next morning
Ichmenyev got up, and he came the same day to me to take
Nellie home with him for good.  I have already described his
scene with Nellie.  This scene shattered him completely.  When
he got home he went to bed.  All this happened on Good Friday,
the day fixed for Katya to see Natasha, and the day before
Alyosha and Katya were to leave Petersburg.  I was present at
the interview.   It took place early in the morning, before
Ichmenyev's visit, and before Nellie ran away the first time.


                         CHAPTER VI

ALYOSHA had come an hour before the interview to prepare
Natasha.  I arrived at the very moment when Katya's carriage
drew up at the gate.  Katya was accompanied by an old French
lady, who after many persuasions and much hesitation had con-
sented at last to accompany her.  She had even agreed to let
Katya go up to Natasha without her, but only on condition that
Alyosha escorted her while she remained in the carriage.  Katya
beckoned to me, and without getting out of the carriage asked me
to call Alyosha down.  I found Natasha in tears.  Alyosha and
she were both crying.  Hearing that Katya was already there,
she got up from the chair, wiped her eyes, and in great excitement
stood up, facing the door.  She was dressed that morning all in
white.  Her dark brown hair was smoothly parted and gathered
back in a thick knot.  I particularly liked that way of doing her
hair.  Seeing that I was remaining with her, Natasha asked me,
too, to go and meet the visitor.
  "I could not get to Natasha's before," said Katya as she
mounted the stairs.  "I've been so spied on that it's awful.  I've
been persuading Mme. Albert for a whole fortnight, and at last
she consented.  And you have never once been to see me, Ivan
Petrovitch! I couldn't write to you either, and I don't feel
inclined to.  One can't explain anything in a letter.  And how I
wanted to see you.... Good heavens, how my heart is beating."
  "The stairs are steep," I answered.
  "Yes . . . the stairs . . . . tell me, what do you think, won't
Natasha be angry with me?"
  "No, why?"
  "Well . . . why should she after all? I shall see for myself
directly.  There's no need to ask questions."
  I gave her my arm.  She actually turned pale, and I believe
she was very much frightened.  On the last landing she stopped
to take breath; but she looked at me and went up resolutely.
  She stopped once more at the door and whispered to me. "I
shall simply go in and say I had such faith in her that I was not
afraid to come. . . . But why am I talking? I'm certain that
Natasha is the noblest creature, Isn't she?"
  She went in timidly as though she were a culprit, and looked
intently at Natasha, who at once smiled at her.  Then Katya
ran swiftly to her, seized her hand and pressed her plump little
lips to Natasha's.  Then without saying a word to Natasha, she
turned earnestly and even sternly to Alyosha and asked him to
leave us for half an hour alone.
  "Don't be cross, Alyosha," she added, "it's because I have a
great deal to talk about with Natasha, of very important and
serious things, that you ought not to hear.  Be good, and go
away.  But you stay, Ivan Petrovitch.  You must hear all our
conversation. "
  "Let us sit down," she said to Natasha when Alyosha had left
the room.  "I'll sit like this, opposite you, I want to look at
you first."
  She sat down almost exactly opposite Natasha, and gazed at
her for some minutes.  Natasha responded with an involuntary
smile.
  "I have seen your photograph already," said Katya.  "Alyosha
showed it to me."
  "Well, am I like my portrait?"
  "You are nicer," said Katya earnestly and decisively.  "And
I thought you would be nicer."
  "Really? And I keep looking at you.  How pretty you are!"
  "Me!  How can you ...! You darling!" she added, taking
Natasha's hand with her own, which trembled, and both relapsed
into silence, gazing at each other.
  "I must tell you, my angel," Katya broke the silence, "we
have only half an hour to be together; Mme. Albert would
hardly consent to that, and we have a great deal to discuss....
I want ... I must ... Well, I'll simply ask you - do you care
very much for Alyosha?"
  "Yes, very much."
  "If so ... if you care very much for Alyosha ... then ... you
must care for his happiness too," she added timidly, in a whisper.
  "Yes.  I want him to be happy. . ."
  "Yes.... But this is the question - shall I make him happy?
Have I the right to say so, for I'm taking him away from you.
If you think, and we decide now, that he will be happier with
you, then ... then . . ."
  "That's settled already, Katya dear.  You see yourself that
it's all settled," Natasha answered softly, and she bowed her
head.  It was evidently difficult for her to continue the con-
versation.
  Katya, I fancy, was prepared for a lengthy discussion on the
question which of them would make Alyosha happy and which
of them ought to give him up.  But after Natasha's answer she
understood that everything was settled already and there was
nothing to discuss.  With her pretty lips half opened, she gazed
with sorrow and perplexity at Natasha, still holding her hand.
  "And you love him very much?" Natasha asked suddenly.
  "Yes; and there's another thing I wanted to ask you, and I
came on purpose: tell me, what do you love him for exactly?"
  "I don't know," answered Natasha, and there was a note of
bitter impatience in her voice.
  "Is he clever; what do you think?" asked Katya.
  "No, I simply love him . . ."
  "And I too.  I always feel somehow sorry for him."
  "So do I," answered Natasha.
  "What's to be done with him now? And how he could leave
you for me I can't understand!" cried Katya.  "Now that I've
seen you I can't understand!"
  Natasha looked on the ground and did not answer.  Katya
was silent for a time, and then getting up from her chair she
gently embraced her.  They embraced each other and both shed
tears.  Katya sat on the arm of Natasha's chair still holding her
in her embrace, and began kissing her hands.
  "If you only knew how I love you! " she said, weeping. "Let
us be sisters, let us always write to one another ... and I will
always love you.... I shall love you so ... love you so ..."
  "Did he speak to you of our marriage in June?" asked
Natasha.
  "Yes.  He said you'd consented.  That's all just...to comfort
him, isn't it?"
  "Of course."
  "That's how I understood it.  I will love him truly, Natasha,
and write to you about everything.  It seems as though he will
soon be my husband; it's coming to that; and they all say so.
Darling Natasha, surely you will go ... home now?"
  Natasha did not answer, but kissed her warmly in silence.
  "Be happy!" she said.
  "And ... and you ... and you too!" said Katya.
  At that moment the door opened and Alyosha came in.  He
had been unable to wait the whole half-hour, and seeing them in
each other's arms and both crying, he fell on his knees before
Natasha and Katya in impotent anguish.
  "Why are you crying?" Natasha said to him.  "Because
you're parting from me? But it's not for long.  Won't you be
back in June?"
  "And then your marriage," Katya hastened to add through
her tears, also to comfort Alyosha.
  "But I can't leave you, I can't leave you for one day, Natasha.
I shall die without you ... You don't know how precious you
are to me now! especially now!"
  "Well, then, this is what you must do," said Natasha, suddenly
reviving, "the countess will stay for a little while in Moscow,
won't she?"
  "Yes, almost a week," put in Katya.
  "A week!  Then what could be better: you'll escort her to
Moscow to-morrow; that will only take one day and then you
can come back here at once.  When they have to leave Moscow,
we will part finally for a month and you will go back to Moscow
to accompany them."
  "Yes, that's it, that's it ... and you will have an extra four
days to be together, anyway," said Katya, enchanted, exchanging
a significant glance with Natasha.
  I cannot describe Alyosha's rapture at this new project.  He
was at once completely comforted.  His face was radiant with
delight, he embraced Natasha, kissed Katya's hands, embraced
me. Natasha looked at him with a mournful smile, but Katya
could not endure it.  She looked at me with feverish and glittering
eyes, embraced Natasha, and got up to go.  At that moment
the Frenchwoman appropriately sent a servant to request her to
cut the interview short and to tell her that the half-hour agreed
upon was over.
  Natasha got up.  The two stood facing one another, holding
hands, and seemed trying to convey with their eyes all that was
stored up in their souls.
  "We shall never see each other again, I suppose," said Katya.
  "Never, Katya," answered Natasha.
  "Well, then, let us say good-bye!
  They embraced each other.
  "Do not curse me," Katya whispered hurriedly,  I'll . . .
always ... you may trust me ... he shall be happy . . . Come,
Alyosha, take me down!" she articulated rapidly, taking his arm.
  "Vanya," Natasha said to me in agitation and distress when
they had gone, "you follow them . . . and don't come back.
Alyosha will be with me till the evening, till eight o'clock.  But
he can't stay after.  He's going away.  I shall be left alone
come at nine o'clock, please!"
  When at nine o'clock, leaving Nellie with Alexandra Semyo-
novna (after the incident with the broken cup), I reached
Natasha's, she was alone and impatiently expecting me.  Mavra
set the samovar for us.  Natasha poured me out tea, sat down
on the sofa, and motioned me to come near her.  "So everything
is over," she said, looking intently at me.  Never shall I forget
that look.
  "Now our love, too, is over.  Half a year of life!  And it's my
whole life," she added, gripping my hands.
  Her hand was burning.  I began persuading her to wrap herself
up and go to bed.
  "Presently, Vanya, presently, dear friend.  Let me talk and
recall things a little.  I feel as though I were broken to pieces
now ... to-morrow I shall see him for the last time at ten o'clock,
for the last time!"
  "Natasha, you're in a fever.  You'll be shivering directly.
... Do think of yourself."
  "Well, I've been waiting for you now, Vanya, for this half-
hour, since he went away.  And what do you think I've been
thinking about? What do you think I've been wondering? I've
been wondering, did I love him? Or didn't I? And what sort of
thing our love was? What, do you think it's absurd, Vanya,
that I should only ask myself that now?"
  "Don't agitate yourself, Natasha."
  "You see, Vanya, I decided that I didn't love him as an
equal, as a woman usually loves a man.  I loved him like . . .
almost like a mother.... I even fancy that there's no love in the
world in which two love each other like equals.  What do you
think?"
  I looked at her with anxiety, and was afraid that it might be
the beginning of brain-fever.  Something seemed to carry her
away.  She seemed to be impelled to speech.  Some of her words
were quite incoherent, and at times she even pronounced them
indistinctly.  I was very much alarmed.
  "He was mine," she went on. "Almost from the first time I
met him I had an overwhelming desire that he should be mine,
mine at once, and that he should not look at anyone, should not
know anyone but me. . . . Katya expressed it very well this
morning.  I loved him, too, as though I were always sorry for
him . . . I always had an intense longing, a perfect agony of
longing when I was alone that he should be always happy, awfully
happy.  His face (you know the expression of his face, Vanya), I
can't look at it without being moved; no one else has such an
expression, and when he laughs it makes me turn cold and
shudder... Really!..."
  "Natasha, listen..."
  "People say about him . . . and you've said it, that he has no
will and that he's ... not very clever, like a child.  And that's
what I loved in him more than anything.... would you believe
it? I don't know, though, whether I loved that one thing; I
just simply loved him altogether, and if he'd been different in
some way, if he'd had will or been cleverer, perhaps I shouldn't
have loved him so.  Do you know, Vanya, I'll confess one thing
to you.  Do you remember we had a quarrel three months ago
when he'd been to see that - what's her name - that Minna ... I
knew of it, I found it out, and would you believe it, it hurt me
horribly, and yet at the same time I was somehow pleased at
it.... I don't know why ... the very thought that he was amusing
himself - or no, it's not that - that, like a grown-up man together
with other men he was running after pretty girls, that he too went
to Minnas! I ... what bliss I got out of that quarrel; and then
forgiving him . . . oh, my dear one!"
  She looked into my face and laughed strangely.  Then she
sank into thought as though recalling everything.  And for a
long time she sat like that with a smile on her face, dreaming of
the past.
  "I loved forgiving him, Vanya," she went on.  Do you know
when he left me alone I used to walk about the room, fretting
and crying, and then I would think that the worse he treated me
the better ... yes!  And do you know, I always picture him as a
little boy.  I sit and he lays his head on my knees and falls asleep,
and I stroke his head softly and caress him ... I always imagined
him like that when he was not with me ... Listen, Vanya," she
added suddenly, "what a charming creature Katya is!"
  It seemed to me that she was lacerating her own wounds on
purpose, impelled to this by a sort of yearning, the yearning of
despair and suffering.... and how often that is so with a heart
that has suffered great loss.
  "Katya, I believe, can make him happy," she went on.
  She has character and speaks as though she had such convic-
tion, and with him she's so grave and serious - and always talks
to him about such clever things, as though she were grown up.
And all the while she's a perfect child herself! The little dear,
the little dear!  Oh, I hope they'll be happy! I hope so, I hope
so!"
  And her tears and sobs burst out in a perfect torrent.  It was
quite half an hour before she came to herself and recovered some
degree of self-control.
  My sweet angel, Natasha! Even that evening in spite of her
own grief she could sympathize with my anxieties, when, seeing
that she was a little calmer, or, rather, wearied out, thinking to
distract her mind I told her about Nellie.  We parted that
evening late.  I stayed till she fell asleep, and as I went out I
begged Mavra not to leave her suffering mistress all night.
  "Oh ... for the end of this misery," I cried as I walked home.
"To have it over quickly, quickly!  Any end, anyhow, if only it
can be quick!"
  Next morning at nine o'clock precisely I was with her again.
Alyosha arrived at the same time ... to say good-bye.  I will not
describe this scene, I don't want to recall it.  Natasha seemed to
have resolved to control herself, to appear cheerful and un-
concerned, but she could not.  She embraced Alyosha pas-
sionately, convulsively.  She did not say much to him, but for a
long while she looked intently at him with an agonizing and
almost frantic gaze.  She hung greedily on every word he uttered,
and yet seemed to take in nothing that he said.  I remember he
begged her to forgive him, to forgive him for his love, and for all
the injury he had done her, to forgive his infidelities, his love for
Katya, his going away . . . he spoke incoherently, his tears
choked him.  He sometimes began suddenly trying to comfort
her, saying that he was only going away for a month, or at the
most five weeks; that he would be back in the summer, when
they would be married, and that his father would consent, and
above all that the day after to-morrow he would come back from
Moscow, and then they would have four whole days together
again, so now they were only being parted for one day....
  It was strange! He fully believed in what he said, and that he
would certainly return from Moscow in two days.... My then
was he so miserable and crying?
  At last eleven o'clock struck.  It was with difficulty I per-
suaded him to go.  The Moscow train left exactly at midday.
There was only an hour left.  Natasha said afterwards that she
did not remember how she had looked at him for the last time.
I remember that she made the sign of the cross over him, kissed
him, and hiding her face in her hands rushed back into the room.
I had to see Alyosha all the way downstairs to his carriage, or he
would certainly have returned and never have reached the
bottom.
  "You are our only hope," he said, as we went downstairs.
  "Dear Vanya!  I have injured you, and can never deserve your
love; but always be a brother to me; love her, do not abandon
her, write to me about everything as fully, as minutely as possible,
write as much as you can.  The day after tomorrow I shall be
here again for certain; for certain; for certain! But afterwards,
when I go away, write to me!"
  I helped him into his carriage.
  "Till the day after to-morrow," he shouted to me as he drove
off.  "For certain!"
  With a sinking heart I went upstairs, back to Natasha.  She
was standing in the middle of the room with her arms folded,
gazing at me with a bewildered look, as though she didn't recog-
nize me.  Her coil of hair had fallen to one side; her eyes looked
vacant and wandering.  Mavra stood in the doorway gazing at
her, panic-stricken.
  Suddenly Natasha's eyes flashed.
  "Ah!  That's you!  You!" she screamed at me.  "Now you
are left alone!  You hate him!  You never could forgive him for
my loving him. . . Now you are with me again! He's come to
comfort me again, to persuade me to go back to my father, who
flung me off and cursed me.  I knew it would be so, yesterday,
two months ago.... I won't, I won't.  I curse them, too... Go
away! I can't bear the sight of you! Go away!  Go away!"
  I realized that she was frantic, and that the sight of me roused
her anger to an intense pitch, I realized that this was bound to
be so, and thought it better to go.  I sat down. on the top stair
outside and waited.  From time to time I got up, opened the
door, beckoned to Mavra and questioned her.  Mavra was in
tears.
  An hour and a half passed like this.  I cannot describe what I
went through in that time.  My heart sank and ached with an
intolerable pain.  Suddenly the door opened and Natasha ran
out with her cape and hat on.  She hardly seemed to know what
she was doing, and told me herself afterwards that she did not
know where she was running, or with what object.
  Before I had time to jump up and hide myself, she saw me and
stopped before me as though suddenly struck by something.  "I
realized all at once," she told me afterwards, "that in my cruelty
and madness I had actually driven you away, you, my friend,
my brother, my saviour!  And when I saw that you, poor boy,
after being insulted by me had not gone away, but were sitting
on the stairs, waiting till I should call you back, my God! if you
knew, Vanya, what I felt then! It was like a stab at my heart..."
  "Vanya, Vanya!" she cried, holding out her hands to me.
"You are here!"
  And she fell into my arms.
  I caught her up and carried her into the room.  She was faint-
ing! "What shall I do?" I thought.  "She'll have brain-fever
for certain!"
  I decided to run for a doctor; something must be done to
check the illness.  I could drive there quickly.  My old German
was always at home till two o'clock.  I flew to him, begging
Mavra not for one minute, not for one second, to leave Natasha,
and not to let her go out.  Fortune favoured me.  A little later
and I should not have found my old friend at home.  He was
already in the street, just coming out of his house, when I met
him.  Instantly I put him in my cab, before he had time to be
surprised, and we hastened back to Natasha.
  Yes, fortune did favour me!  During the half-hour of my
absence something had happened to Natasha which might have
killed her outright if the doctor and I had not arrived in the nick
of time.  Not a quarter of an hour after I had gone Prince
Valkovsky had walked in.  He had just been seeing the others off
and had come to Natasha's straight from the railway station.
This visit had probably been planned and thought out by him
long before.  Natasha told me that for the first minute she was
not even surprised to see the prince.  "My brain was in a whirl"
she said.
  He sat facing her, looking at her with a caressing and pathetic
expression.
  "My dear," he said, sighing, "I understand your grief; I
know how hard it must be for you at this moment, and so I felt
it my duty to come to you.  Be comforted, if you can, if only
that by renouncing Alyosha you have secured his happiness.
But you understand that better than I, for you resolved on your
noble action . . ."
  "I sat and listened," Natasha told me, "but at first I really
did not understand him.  I only remember that I stared and
stared at him.  He took my hand and began to press it in his.  He
seemed to find this very agreeable.  I was so beside myself that I
never thought of pulling my hand away."
  "You realized," he went on, "that by becoming Alyosha's
wife you might become an object of hatred to him later on, and
you had honourable pride enough to recognize this, and make up
your mind . . . but - I haven't come here to praise you.  I only
wanted to tell you that you will never, anywhere, find a truer
friend than me! I sympathize with you and am sorry for you.
I have been forced to have a share in all this against my will, but
I have only done my duty.  Your excellent heart will realize
that and make peace with mine.... But it has been harder for me
than for you - believe me."
  "Enough, prince," said Natasha, "leave me in peace."
  "Certainly, I will go directly," he answered, "but I love you
as though you were my own daughter, and you must allow me
to come and see you.  Look upon me now as though I were your
father and allow me be of use to you."
  "I want nothing.  Leave me alone," Natasha interrupted
again.
  "I know you are proud ... But I'm speaking sincerely, from
my heart.  What do you intend to do now? To make peace with
your parents? That would be a good thing.  But your father is
unjust, proud and tyrannical; forgive me, but that is so.  At
home you would meet now nothing but reproaches and fresh
suffering.  But you must be independent, and it is my obligation,
my sacred duty to look after you and help you now.  Alyosha
begged me not to leave you but to be a friend to you.  But
besides me there are people prepared to be genuinely devoted to
you.  You will, I hope, allow me to present to you Count Nainsky.
He has the best of hearts, he is a kinsman of ours, and I may even
say has been the protector of our whole family.  He had done a
great deal for Alyosha. Alyosha had the greatest respect and
affection for him.  He is a very powerful man with great influence,
an old man, and it is quite possible for a girl, like you, to receive
him.  I have talked to him about you already.  He can establish
you, and, if you wish it, find you an excellent position ... with
one of his relations.  I gave him a full and straightforward
account of our affair long ago, and I so enlisted his kind and
generous feelings that now he keeps begging me to introduce him
to you as soon as possible.... He is a man who has a feeling for
everything beautiful, believe me - he is a generous old man,
highly respected, able to recognize true worth, and indeed, not
long ago he behaved in a most generous way to your father in
certain case."
  Natasha jumped up as though she had been stung.  Now, at
last, she understood him.
  "Leave me, leave me at once!" she cried.
  "But, my dear, you forget, the count may be of use to you
father too ..."
  "My father will take nothing from you.  Leave me!"
Natasha cried again.
  "Oh, how unjust and mistrustful you are!  How have I
deserved this!" exclaimed the prince, looking about him with
some uneasiness.  "You will allow me in any case," he went on
taking a large roll out of his pocket, "you will allow me in any
case to leave with you this proof of my sympathy, and especially
the sympathy of Count Nainsky, on whose suggestion I am acting.
This roll contains ten thousand roubles.  Wait a moment, my
dear," he said hurriedly, seeing that Natasha had jumped up from
her seat angrily.  "Listen patiently to everything.  You know
your father lost a lawsuit against me.  This ten thousand will
serve as a compensation which . . ."
  "Go away!" cried Natasha, "take your money away!  I see
through you!  Oh, base, base, base, man!"
  Prince Valkovsky got up from his chair, pale with anger.
  Probably he had come to feel his way, to survey the position, and
no doubt was building a great deal on the effect of the ten
thousand roubles on Natasha, destitute, and abandoned by
everyone.  The vile and brutal man had often been of service to
Count Nainsky, a licentious old reprobate, in enterprises of this
kind.  But he hated Natasha, and realizing that things were not
going smoothly he promptly changed his tone, and with spiteful
joy hastened to insult her, that he might anyway not have come for
nothing.
  "That's not the right thing at all, my dear, for you to lose you
temper," he brought out in a voice quivering with impatience to
enjoy the effect of his insult, "that's not the right thing at all
You are offered protection and you turn up your little nose...
Don't you realize that you ought to be grateful to me? I might
have put you in a penitentiary long ago, as the father of the
young man you have led astray, but I haven't done it, he-he-he!
  But by now we had come in.  Hearing the voices while still in
the kitchen, I stopped the doctor for a second and overheard the
prince's last sentence.  It was followed by his loathsome chuckle
and a despairing cry from Natasha.  "Oh, my God!" At that
moment I opened the door and rushed at the prince.
  I spat in his face, and slapped him on the cheek with all my
might.  He would have flung himself upon me, but seeing that
there were two of us he took to his heels snatching up the roll of
notes from the table.  Yes, he did that.  I saw it myself.  I threw
after him the rolling-pin, which I snatched from the kitchen
table.... When I ran back into the room I saw the doctor was
supporting Natasha, who was writhing and struggling out of his
arms as though in convulsions.  For a long time we could not
soothe her; at last we succeeded in getting her to bed; she
seemed to be in the delirium of brain-fever.
  "Doctor, what's the matter with her? I asked with a sinking
heart.
  "Wait a little," he answered, "I must watch the attack more
closely and then form my conclusions... but speaking generally
things are very bad.  It may even end in brain-fever ... But we
will take measures however ..."
  A new idea had dawned upon me.  I begged the doctor to
remain with Natasha for another two or three hours, and made
him promise not to leave her for one minute.  He promised me
and I ran home.
  Nellie was sitting in a corner, depressed and uneasy, and she
looked at me strangely.  I must have looked strange myself.
  I took her hand, sat down on the sofa, took her on my knee,
and kissed her warmly.  She flushed.
  "Nellie, my angel!" I said to her, "would you like to be our
salvation?  Would you like to save us all?"
  She looked at me in amazement.
  "Nellie, you are my one hope now! There is a father, you've
seen him and know him.  He has cursed his daughter, and he
came yesterday to ask you to take his daughter's place.  Now
she, Natasha (and you said you loved her), has been abandoned
by the man she loved, for whose sake she left her father.  He's
the son of that prince who came, do you remember one evening,  
to see me, and found you alone, and you ran away from him and
were ill afterwards ... you know him, don't you? He's a wicked
man!"
  "I know," said Nellie, trembling and turning pale.
  "Yes, he's a wicked man.  He hates Natasha because his son
Alyosha wanted to marry her.  Alyosha went away to-day, and
an hour later his father went to Natasha and insulted her, and
threatened to put her in a penitentiary, and laughed at her.  Do
you understand me, Nellie?"
  Her black eyes flashed, but she dropped them at once.
  "I understand," she whispered, hardly audibly.
  "Now Natasha is alone, ill.  I've left her with our doctor
while I ran to you myself.  Listen, Nellie, let us go to Natasha's
father.  You don't like him, you didn't want to go to him.  But
now let us go together.  We'll go in and I'll tell them that you
want to stay with them now and to take the place of their
daughter Natasha.  Her father is ill now, because he has cursed
Natasha, and because Alyosha's father sent him a deadly insult
the other day.  He won't hear of his daughter now, but he loves
her, he loves her, Nellie, and wants to make peace with her.  I
know that.  I know all that!  That is so.  Do you hear, Nellie?
  "I hear," she said in the same whisper.
  I spoke to her with my tears flowing.  She looked timidly at
me.
  "Do you believe it?"
  "Yes."
  "So I'll go in with you, I'll take you in and they'll receive
you, make much of you and begin to question you.  Then I'll
turn the conversation so that they will question you about your
past life; about your mother and your grandfather.  Tell them,
Nellie, everything, just as you told it to me.  Tell them simply,
and don't keep anything back.  Tell them how your mother was
abandoned by a wicked man, how she died in a cellar at Mme.
Bubnov's, how your mother and you used to go about the streets
begging, what she said, and what she asked you to do when she
was dying... Tell them at the same time about your grandfather,
how he wouldn't forgive your mother, and how she sent you to
him just before her death how she died.  Tell them everything,
everything!  And when you tell them all that, the old man will
feel it all, in his heart, too.  You see, he knows Alyosha has left
her to-day and she is left insulted and injured, alone and helpless,
with no one to protect her from the insults of her enemy.  He
knows all that . . . Nellie, save Natasha! Will you go?"
  "Yes." she answered, drawing a painful breath, and she
looked at me with a strange, prolonged gaze.  There was some-
thing like reproach in that gaze, and I felt it in my heart.
  But I could not give up my idea.  I had too much faith in it.
I took Nellie by the arm and we went out.  It was past two
o'clock in the afternoon.  A storm was coming on.  For some
time past the weather had been hot and stifling, but now we
heard in the distance the first rumble of early spring thunder.
The wind swept through the dusty streets.
  We got into a droshky.  Nellie did not utter a word all the
way, she only looked at me from time to time with the same
strange and enigmatic eyes.  Her bosom was heaving, and, holding
her on the droshky, I felt against my hand the thumping of her
little heart, which seemed as though it would leap out of her body.


                          CHAPTER VII

THE way seemed endless to me.  At last we arrived and I went
in to my old friends with a sinking at my heart.  I did not know
what my leave-taking would be like, but I knew that at all costs
I must not leave their house without having won forgiveness and
reconciliation.
  It was by now past three.  My old friends were, as usual,
sitting alone.  Nikolay Sergeyitch was unnerved and ill, and lay
pale and exhausted, half reclining in his comfortable easy-chair,
with his head tied up in a kerchief.  Anna Andreyevna was
sitting beside him, from time to time moistening his forehead with
vinegar, and continually peeping into his face with a questioning
and commiserating expression, which seemed to worry and even
annoy the old man.  He was obstinately silent, and she dared
not be the first to speak.  Our sudden arrival surprised them
both.  Anna Andreyevna, for some reason, took fright at once
on seeing me with Nellie, and for the first minute looked at us as
though she suddenly felt guilty.
  "You see, I've brought you my Nellie," I said, going in.
  She has made up her mind, and now she has come to you of
her own accord.  Receive her and love her. . . ."
  The old man looked at me suspiciously, and from his eyes
alone one could divine that he knew all, that is that Natasha
was now alone, deserted, abandoned, and by now perhaps
insulted.  He was very anxious to learn the meaning of our
arrival, and he looked inquiringly at both of us.  Nellie was
trembling, and tightly squeezing my hand in hers she kept her
eyes on the ground and only from time to time stole frightened
glances about her like a little wild creature in a snare.  But
Anna Andreyevna soon recovered herself and grasped the situa-
tion.  She positively pounced on Nellie, kissed her, petted her,
even cried over her, and tenderly made her sit beside her, keeping
the child's hand in hers.  Nellie looked at her askance with
curiosity and a sort of wonder.  But after fondling Nellie and
making her sit beside her, the old lady did not know what to do
next and began looking at me with naive expectation.  The old
man frowned, almost suspecting why I had brought Nellie.
Seeing that I was noticing his fretful expression and frowning
brows, he put his hand to his head and said:
  "My head aches, Vanya."
  All this time we sat without speaking.  I was considering how
to begin.  It was twilight in the room, a black storm-cloud was
coming over the sky, and there came again a rumble of thunder
in the distance.
  "We're getting thunder early this spring," said the old man.
But I remember in '37 there were thunderstorms even earlier."
  Anna Andreyevna sighed.
  "Shall we have the samovar?" she asked timidly, but no one
answered, and she turned to Nellie again.
  "What is your name, my darling?" she asked.
  Nellie uttered her name in a faint voice, and her head drooped
lower than ever.  The old man looked at her intently.
  "The same as Elena, isn't it?" Anna Andreyevna went on
with more animation..
  "Yes," answered Nellie.
  And again a moment of silence followed.
  "Praskovya Andreyevna's sister had a niece whose name was
Elena; and she used to be called Nellie, too, I remember."
observed Nikolay Sergeyitch.
  "And have you no relations, my darling, neither father nor
mother?" Anna Andreyevna asked again.
  "No," Nellie jerked out in a timid whisper.
  "I'd heard so, I'd heard so.  Is it long since your mother
died?"
  "No, not long."
  "Poor darling, poor little orphan," Anna Andreyevna went
on, looking at her compassionately.
  The old man was impatiently drumming on the table with his
fingers.
  "Your mother was a foreigner, wasn't she? You told me so,
didn't you, Ivan Petrovitch?" the old lady persisted timidly.
  Nellie stole a glance at me out of her black eyes, as though
begging me to help her.  She was breathing in hard, irregular
gasps.
  "Her mother was the daughter of an Englishman and a
Russian woman; so she was more a Russian, Anna Andreyevna.
Nellie was born abroad."
  "Why, did her mother go to live abroad when she was
married?"
  Nellie suddenly flushed crimson.  My old friend guessed at
once, that she had blundered, and trembled under a wrathful
glance from her husband.  He looked at her severely and turned
away to the window.
  "Her mother was deceived by a base, bad man," he brought
out suddenly, addressing Anna Andreyevna.  "She left her
father on his account, and gave her father's money into her
lover's keeping; and he got it from her by a trick, took her
abroad, robbed and deserted her.  A good friend remained true
to her and helped her up to the time of his death.  And when
he died she came, two years ago, back to Russia, to her father.
Wasn't that what you told us, Vanya?" he asked me abruptly.
  Nellie got up in great agitation, and tried to move towards the
door.
  "Come here, Nellie," said the old man, holding out his hand
to her at last.  "Sit here, sit beside me, here, sit down."
  He bent down, kissed her and began softly stroking her head.
Nellie was quivering all over, but she controlled herself.  Anna
Andreyevna with emotion and joyful hope saw how her Nikolay
Sergeyitch was at last beginning to take to the orphan.
  "I know, Nellie, that a wicked man, a wicked, unprincipled
man ruined your mother, but I know, too, that she loved and
honoured her father," the old man, still stroking Nellie's head,
brought out with some excitement, unable to resist throwing
down this challenge to us.
  A faint flush suffused his pale cheeks, but he tried not to look
at us.
  "Mother loved grandfather better than he loved her," Nellie
asserted timidly but firmly.  She, too, tried to avoid looking at
anyone.
  "How do you know?" the old man asked sharply, as impul-
sive as a child, though he seemed ashamed of his impatience.
  "I know," Nellie answered jerkily. "He would not receive
mother, and ... turned her away. . . ."
  I saw that Nikolay Sergeyitch was on the point of saying
something, making some reply such as that the father had good
reason not to receive her, but he glanced at us and was silent.
  "Why, where were you living when your grandfather wouldn't
receive you?" asked Anna Andreyevna, who showed a sudden
obstinacy and desire to continue the conversation on that
subject.
  "When we arrived we were a long while looking for grand-
father," answered Nellie; "but we couldn't find him anyhow.
Mother told me then that grandfather had once been very rich,
and meant to build a factory, but that now he was very poor
because the man that mother went away with had taken all
grandfather's money from her and wouldn't give it back.  She
told me that herself."
  "Hm!" responded the old man.
  "And she told me, too," Nellie went on, growing more and
more earnest, and seeming anxious to answer Nikolay Sergeyitch,
though she addressed Anna Andreyevna, "she told me that
grandfather was very angry with her, and that she had behaved
very wrongly to him; and that she had no one in the whole
world but grandfather.  And when she told me this she cried.
'He will never forgive me,' she said when first we arrived,
but perhaps he will see you and love you, and for your sake
he will forgive me,' Mother was very fond of me, and she always
used to kiss me when she said this, and she was very much afraid
of going to grandfather.  She taught me to pray for grandfather,
she used to pray herself, and she told me a great deal of how
she used to live in old days with grandfather, and how grand-
father used to love her above everything.  She used to play the
piano to him and read to him in the evening, and grandfather used
to kiss her and give her lots of presents.  He used to give her
everything; so that one day they had a quarrel on mother's
nameday, because grandfather thought mother didn't know
what present he was going to give her, and mother had found
out long before.  Mother wanted ear-rings, and grandfather tried
to deceive her and told her it was going to be a brooch, not
ear-rings; and when he gave her the ear-rings and saw that mother
knew that it was going to be ear-rings and not a brooch, he was
angry that mother had found out and wouldn't speak to her for
half the day, but afterwards he came of his own accord to kiss
her and ask her forgiveness."
  Nellie was carried away by her story, and there was a flush on
her pale, wan little cheek.  It was evident that more than once in
their corner in the basement the mother had talked to her little
Nellie of her happy days in the past, embracing and kissing the
little girl who was all that was left to her in life, and weeping
over her, never suspecting what a powerful effect these stories
had on the frail child's morbidly sensitive and prematurely
developed feelings.
  But Nellie seemed suddenly to check herself.  She looked
mistrustfully around and was mute again.  The old man frowned
and drummed on the table again.  A tear glistened in Anna
Andreyevna's eye, and she silently wiped it away with her
handkerchief.
  "Mother came here very ill," Nellie went on in a low voice.
  Her chest was very bad.  We were looking for grandfather a
long time and we couldn't find him; and we took a corner in an
underground room."
  "A corner, an invalid!" cried Anna Andreyevna.
  "Yes ... a corner . .    answered Nellie. "Mother was poor.
Mother told me," she added with growing earnestness, "that it's
no sin to be poor, but it's a sin to be rich and insult people, and
that God was punishing her."
  "It was in Vassilyevsky Island you lodged?  At Mme. Bubnov's,
wasn't it?" the old man asked, turning to me, trying to throw a
note of unconcern into his question.  He spoke as though he felt
it awkward to remain sitting silent.
  "No, not there.  At first it was in Myestchansky Street,"
Nellie answered.  "It was very dark and damp there," she
added after a pause, "and mother got very ill there, though she
was still walking about then.  I used to wash the clothes for her,
and she used to cry.  There used to be an old woman living there,
too, the widow of a captain; and there was a retired clerk, and
he always came in drunk and made a noise every night.  I was
dreadfully afraid of him.  Mother used to take me into her bed
and hug me, and she trembled all over herself while he used to
shout and swear.  Once he tried to beat the captain's widow,
and she was a very old lady and walked with a stick.  Mother
was sorry for her, and she stood up for her; the man hit mother,
too, and I hit him. . ."
  Nellie stopped.  The memory agitated her; her eyes were
blazing.
  "Good heavens!" cried Anna Andreyevna, entirely absorbed
in the story and keeping her eyes fastened upon Nellie, who
addressed her principally.
  "Then mother went away from there," Nellie went on, "and
took me with her.  That was in the daytime.  We were walking
about the streets till it was quite evening, and mother was
walking about and crying all the time, and holding my hand.  I
was very tired.  We had nothing to eat that day.  And mother
kept talking to herself and saying to me: 'Be poor, Nellie, and
when I die don't listen to anyone or anything.  Don't go to anyone,
be alone and poor, and work, and if you can't get work beg alms,
don't go to him.' It was dusk when we crossed a big street;
suddenly mother cried out, 'Azorka! Azorka!' And a big dog,
whose hair had all come off, ran up to mother, whining and
jumping up to her.  And mother was frightened; she turned
pale, cried out, and fell on her knees before a tall old man, who
walked with a stick, looking at the ground.  And the tall old man
was grandfather, and he was so thin and in such poor clothes.
That was the first time I saw grandfather.  Grandfather was very
much frightened, too, and turned very pale, and when he saw
mother kneeling before him and embracing his feet he tore himself
away, pushed mother off, struck the pavement with his stick,
and walked quickly away from us.  Azorka stayed behind and
kept whining and licking mother, and then ran after grandfather
and took him by his coat-tail and tried to pull him back.  And
grandfather hit him with his stick.  Azorka was going to run back
to us, but grandfather called to him; he ran after grandfather
and kept whining.  And mother lay as though she were dead; a
crowd came round and the police came.  I kept calling out and
trying to get mother up.  She got up, looked round her, and
followed me.  I led her home.  People looked at us a long while
and kept shaking their heads."
  Nellie stopped to take breath and make a fresh effort.  She
was very pale, but there was a gleam of determination in her eyes.
It was evident that she had made up her mind at last to tell all.
There was something defiant about her at this moment.
  "Well," observed Nikolay Sergeyitch in an unsteady voice,
with a sort of irritable harshness.  "Well, your mother had
injured her father, and he had reason to repulse her."
  "Mother told me that, too," Nellie retorted sharply; "and
as she walked home she kept saying 'That's your grandfather,
Nellie, and I sinned against him; and he cursed me, and that's
why God has punished me.' And all that evening and all the
next day she kept saying this.  And she talked as though she
didn't know what she was saying. . ."
  The old man remained silent.
  "And how was it you moved into another lodging? " asked
Anna Andreyevna, still crying quietly.
  "That night mother fell ill, and the captain's widow found
her a lodging at Mme. Bubnov's, and two days later we moved,
and the captain's widow with us; and after we'd moved mother
was quite ill and in bed for three weeks, and I looked after her.
All our money had gone, and we were helped by the captain's
widow and Ivan Alexandritch."
  "The coffin-maker, their landlord," I explained.
  "And when mother got up and began to go about she told me
all about Azorka."
  Nellie paused. The old man seemed relieved to turn the
conversation to the dog.
  "What did she tell you about Azorka?" he asked, bending
lower in his chair, so as to look down and hide his face more
completely.
  "She kept talking to me about grandfather," answered Nellie;
and when she was ill she kept talking about him, and as soon
as she began to get better she used to tell me how she used to
live... Then she told me about Azorka, because some horrid
boys tried once to drown Azorka in the river outside the town,
and mother gave them some money and bought Azorka.  And
when grandfather saw Azorka he laughed very much.  Only
Azorka ran away.  Mother cried; grandfather was frightened
and promised a hundred roubles to anyone who would bring
back Azorka.  Two days after, Azorka was brought back.
Grandfather gave a hundred roubles for him, and from that time
he got fond of Azorka.  And mother was so fond of him that she
used even to take him to bed with her.  She told me that Azorka
had been used to performing in the street with some actors, and
knew how to do his part, and used to have a monkey riding on
his back, and knew how to use a gun and lots of other things.
And when mother left him, grandfather kept Azorka with him
and always went out with him, so that as soon as mother saw
Azorka in the street she guessed at once that grandfather was
close by."
  The old man had evidently not expected this about Azorka,
and he scowled more and more. He asked no more questions.
  "So you didn't see your grandfather again?" asked Anna
Andreyevna.
  "Yes, when mother had begun to get better I met grandfather
again.  I was going to the shop to get some bread.  Suddenly I
saw a man with Azorka; I looked closer and saw it was grand-
father.  I stepped aside and squeezed up against the wall,
Grandfather looked at me; he looked so hard at me and was so
terrible that I was awfully afraid of him, and walked by.  Azorka
remembered me, and began to jump about me and lick my hands.
I went home quickly, looked back, and grandfather went into
the shop.  Then I thought, 'he's sure to make inquiries,' and I
was more frightened than ever, and when I went home I said
nothing to mother for fear she should be ill again.  I didn't go to
the shop next day; I said I had a headache; and when I went
the day after I, met no one; I was terribly frightened so that I
ran fast.  But a day later I went, and I'd hardly got round the
corner when grandfather stood before me with Azorka.  I ran
and turned into another street and went to the shop a different
way; but I suddenly came across him again, and was so frightened
that I stood quite still and couldn't move.  Grandfather stood
before me and looked at me a long time and afterwards stroked
my head, took me by the hand and led me along, while Azorka
followed behind wagging his tail.  Then I saw that grandfather
couldn't walk properly, but kept leaning on his stick, and his
hands were trembling all the time.  He took me to a stall at
the corner of the street where ginger-bread and apples were
sold.  Grandfather bought a ginger-bread cock and a fish, and a
sweetmeat, and an apple; and when he took the money out
of his leather purse, his hands shook dreadfully and he dropped
a penny, and I picked it up.  He gave me that penny and
gave me the ginger-bread, and stroked me on the head; but
still he said nothing, but walked away.
  "Then I went to mother and told her all about grandfather,
and how frightened I had been of him at first and had hidden
from him.  At first mother didn't believe me, but afterwards
she was so delighted that she asked me questions all the evening,
kissed me and cried; and when I had told her all about it she
told me for the future not to be afraid of him, and that grand-
father must love me since he came up to me on purpose.  And
she told me to be nice to grandfather and to talk to him.  And
next day she sent me out several times in the morning, though
I told her that grandfather never went out except in the evening.
She followed me at a distance, hiding behind a corner.  Next
day she did the same, but grandfather didn't come, and it
rained those days, and mother caught a bad cold coming down
to the gate with me, and had to go to bed again.
  "Grandfather came a week later, and again bought me a ginger-
bread, fish and an apple, and said nothing that time either.  And
when he walked away I followed him quietly, because I had
made up my mind beforehand that I'd find out where grand-
father lived and tell mother.  I walked a long way behind on
the other side of the street so that grandfather didn't see me.
And he lived very far away, not where he lived afterwards and
died, but in another big house in Gorohovoy Street, on the fourth
storey.  I found out all that, and it was late when I got home.
Mother was horribly frightened, for she didn't know where I
was.  When I told her she was delighted again and wanted to
go to see grandfather next day, The next day she began to
think and be afraid, and went on being afraid for three whole
days, so she didn't go at all.  And then she called me and said,
'Listen, Nellie, I'm ill now and can't go, but I've written a
letter to your grandfather, go to him and give him the letter.
And see, Nellie, how he reads it, and what he says, and what
he'll do; and you kneel down and kiss him and beg him to forgive
your mother.' And mother cried dreadfully and kept kissing
me, and making the sign of the cross and praying, and she
made me kneel down with her before the ikon, and though she
was very ill she went with me as far as the gate; and when I
looked round she was still standing watching me go...
  "I went to grandfather's and opened the door; the door
had no latch.  Grandfather was sitting at the table eating bread
and potatoes; and Azorka stood watching him eat and wagging
his tail.  In that lodging, too, the windows were low and dark,
and there, too, there was only one table and one chair.  And
he lived alone.  I went in, and he was so frightened that he
turned white and began to tremble.  I was frightened, too,
and didn't say a word.  I only went up to the table and put
down the letter.  When grandfather saw the letter he was so
angry that he jumped up, lifted his stick and shook it at me;
but he didn't hit me, he only led me into the passage and pushed
me.  Before I had got down the first flight of stairs he opened
the door again and threw the letter after me without opening
it. I went home and told mother all about it.  Then mother
was ill in bed again..."


                       CHAPTER VIII

AT that moment there was a rather loud peal of thunder, and
heavy raindrops pattered on the window-panes.  The room
grew dark.  Anna Andreyevna seemed alarmed and crossed
herself.  We were all startled.
  "It will soon be over," said the old man, looking towards the
window.  Then he got up and began walking up and down the
room.
  Nellie looked askance at him.  She was in a state of extreme
abnormal excitement.  I saw that, though she seemed to avoid
looking at me.
  "Well, what next?" asked the old man, sitting down in his
easy-chair again.
  Nellie looked round timidly.
  "So you didn't see your grandfather again?"
  "Yes, I did..."
  "Yes, yes!  Tell us, darling, tell us," Anna Andreyevna put
in hastily.
  "I didn't see him for three weeks," said Nellie, "not till it
was quite winter.  It was winter then and the snow had fallen.
When I met grandfather again at the same place I was awfully
pleased . . . for mother was grieving that he didn't come.
When I saw him I ran to the other side of the street on purpose
that he might see I ran away from him.  Only I looked round
and saw that grandfather was following me quickly, and then
ran to overtake me, and began calling out to me, 'Nellie, Nellie!'
And Azorka was running after me.  I felt sorry for him and I
stopped.  Grandfather came up, took me by the hand and led
me along, and when he saw I was crying, he stood still, looked
at me, bent down and kissed me.  Then he saw that my shoes
were old, and he asked me if I had no others.  I told him as
quickly as I could that mother had no money, and that the
people at our lodging only gave us something to eat out of pity.
Grandfather said nothing, but he took me to the market and
bought me some shoes and told me to put them on at once, and
then he took me home with him, and went first into a shop and
bought a pie and two sweetmeats, and when we arrived he told
me to eat the pie; and he looked at me while I ate it, and then
gave me the sweetmeats.  And Azorka put his paws on the table
and asked for some pie, too; I gave him some, and grandfather
laughed.  Then he took me, made me stand beside him, began
stroking my head, and asked me whether I had learnt anything
and what I knew.  I answered him, and he told me whenever
I could to come at three o'clock in the afternoon, and that he
would teach me himself.  Then he told me to turn away and
look out of the window till he told me to look round again.  I
did as he said, but I peeped round on the sly, and I saw him
unpick the bottom corner of his pillow and take out four roubles.
Then he brought them to me and said, 'That's only for you.'
I was going to take them, but then I changed my mind and said,
'If it's only for me I won't take them.' Grandfather was sud-
denly angry, and said to me, 'Well do as you please, go away.'
I went away, and he didn't kiss me.
  "When I got home I told mother everything.  And mother
kept getting worse and worse.  A medical student used to come
and see the coffin-maker; he saw mother and told her to take
medicine.
  "I used to go and see grandfather often.  Mother told me
to. Grandfather bought a New Testament and a geography
book, and began to teach me; and sometimes he used to tell
me what countries there are, and what sort of people live in
them, and all the seas, and how it used to be in old times, and
how Christ forgave us all.  When I asked him questions he was
very much pleased, and so I often asked him questions, and
he kept telling me things, and he talked a lot about God.  And.
sometimes we didn't have lessons, but played with Azorka.
Azorka began to get fond of me and I taught him to jump over
a stick, and grandfather used to laugh and pat me on the head.
Only grandfather did not often laugh.  One time he would talk
a great deal, and then he would suddenly be quiet and seem to
fall asleep, though his eyes were open.  And so he would sit
till it was dark, and when it was dark he would become so dread-
ful, so old.... Another time I'd come and find him sitting in
his chair thinking, and he'd hear nothing; and Azorka would be
lying near him.  I would wait and wait and cough; and still
grandfather wouldn't look round.  And so I'd go away.  And
at home mother would be waiting for me.  She would he there,
and I would tell her everything, everything, so that night would
come on - while I'd still be telling her and she'd still be listening
about grandfather; what he'd done that day, and what he'd
said to me, the stories he had told and the lessons he'd given
me. And when I told her how I'd made Azorka jump over a
stick and how grandfather had laughed, she suddenly laughed,
too, and she would laugh and be glad for a long time and make
me repeat it again and then begin to pray.  And I was always
thinking that mother loved grandfather so much and grand-
father didn't love her at all, and when I went to grandfather's
I told him on purpose how much mother loved him and was
always asking about him.  He listened, looking so angry, but
still he listened and didn't say a word.  Then I asked him why
it was that mother loved him so much that she was always ask-
ing about him, while he never asked about mother.  Grand-
father got angry and turned me out of the room.  I stood outside
the door for a little while; and he suddenly opened the door
and called me in again; and still he was angry and silent.  And
afterwards when we began reading the Gospel I asked him
again why Jesus Christ said 'Love one another and forgive
injuries' and yet he wouldn't forgive mother.  Then he
jumped up and said that mother had told me that, put me
out again and told me never to dare come and see him again.
And I said that I wouldn't come and see him again anyhow,
and went away. . . . And next day grandfather moved from
his lodgings."
  "I said the rain would soon he over; see it is over, the sun's
come out . . . look, Vanya," said Nikolay Sergeyitch, turning
to the window.
  Anna Andreyevna turned to him with extreme surprise, and
suddenly there was a flash of indignation in the eyes of the old
lady, who had till then been so meek and over-awed.  Silently
she took Nellie's hand and made her sit on her knee.
  "Tell me, my angel" she said, "I will listen to you. Let the
hardhearted . . ."
  She burst into tears without finishing.  Nellie looked question-
ingly at me, as though in hesitation and dismay.  The old man
looked at me, seemed about to shrug his shoulders, but at once
turned away.
  "Go on, Nellie," I said.
  "For three days I didn't go to grandfather," Nellie began
again; "and at that time mother got worse.  All our money
was gone and we had nothing to buy medicine with, and nothing
to eat, for the coffin-maker and his wife had nothing either,
and they began to scold us for living at their expense.  Then
on the third day I got up and dressed.  Mother asked where
I was going.  I said to grandfather to ask for money, and she
was glad, for I had told mother already about how he had turned
me out, and had told her that I didn't want to go to him again,
though she cried and tried to persuade me to go.  I went and
found out that grandfather had moved, so I went to look for
him in the new house.  As soon as I went in to see him in his
new lodging he jumped up, rushed at me and stamped; and I
told him at once that mother was very ill, that we couldn't get
medicine without money, fifty kopecks, and that we'd nothing
to eat . . .  Grandfather shouted and drove me out on to the
stairs and latched the door behind me.  But when he turned
me out I told him I should sit on the stairs and not go away
until he gave me the money.  And I sat down on the stairs.
In a little while he opened the door, and seeing I was sitting
there he shut it again.  Then, after a long time he opened it
again, saw me, and shut it again.  And after that he opened it
several times and looked out.  Afterwards he came out with
Azorka, shut the door and passed by me without saying a word.
And I didn't say a word, but went on sitting there and sat
there till it got dark."
  "My darling!" cried Anna Andreyevna, "but it must have
been so cold on the staircase!"
  "I had on a warm coat," Nellie answered.
  "A coat, indeed! . . . Poor darling, what miseries you've
been through!  What did he do then, your grandfather?"
  Nellie's lips began to quiver, but she made an extraordinary
effort and controlled herself.
  "He came back when it was quite dark and stumbled against
me as he came up, and cried out, 'Who is it?' I said it was
I. He must have thought I'd gone away long ago, and when
he saw I was still there he was very much surprised, and for
a long while he stood still before me.  Suddenly he hit the
steps with his stick, ran and opened his door, and a minute
later brought me out some coppers and threw them to me on
the stairs.
  "'Here, take this!'  he cried. 'That's all I have, take it
and tell your mother that I curse her.' And then he slammed
the door.  The money rolled down the stairs.  I began picking
it up in the dark.  And grandfather seemed to understand that
he'd thrown the money about on the stairs, and that it was
difficult for me to find it in the dark; he opened the door and
brought out a candle, and by candlelight I soon picked it up.
And grandfather picked some up, too, and told me that it was
seventy kopecks altogether, and then he went away.  When
I got home I gave mother the money and told her everything;
and mother was worse, and I was ill all night myself, and next
day, too, I was all in a fever.  I was angry with grandfather.
I could think of nothing else; and when mother was asleep I
went out to go to his lodging, and before I got there I stopped
on the bridge, and then he passed by. . ."
  "Arhipov," I said.  "The man I told you about, Nikolay
Sergeyitch - the man who was with the young merchant at
Mme. Bubnov's and who got a beating there.  Nellie saw him
then for the first time ...  Go on, Nellie."
  "I stopped him and asked him for some money, a silver rouble.
He said, 'A silver rouble?' I said, 'Yes.' Then he laughed
and said, 'Come with me.' I didn't know whether to go.  An
old man in gold spectacles came up and heard me ask for the
silver rouble.  He stooped down and asked me why I wanted
so much.  I told him that mother was ill and that I wanted as
much for medicine.  He asked where we lived and wrote down
the address, and gave me a rouble note.  And when the other
man saw the gentleman in spectacles he walked away and didn't
ask me to come with him any more.  I went into a shop and
changed the rouble.  Thirty kopecks I wrapped up in paper
and put apart for mother, and seventy kopecks I didn't put in
paper, but held it in my hand on purpose and went to grand-
father's.  When I got there I opened the door, stood in the
doorway, and threw all the money into the room, so that it
rolled about the floor.
  "'There, take your money' I said to him. 'Mother doesn't
want it since you curse her.' Then I slammed the door and
ran away at once."
  Her eyes flashed, and she looked with naive defiance at the
old man.
  "Quite right, too," said Anna Andreyevna, not looking at
Nikolay Sergeyitch and pressing Nellie in her arms. "It
served him right. Your grandfather was wicked and cruel-
hearted. . ."
  "H'm!" responded Nikolay Sergeyitch.
  "Well, what then, what then?" Anna Andreyevna asked
impatiently.
  "I left off going to see grandfather and he left off coming
to meet me," said Nellie.
  "Well, how did you get on then - your mother and you? Ah,
poor things, poor things!"
  "And mother got worse still, and she hardly ever got up,"
Nellie went on, and her voice quivered and broke.  "We had no
more money, and I began to go out with the captain's widow.
She used to go from house to house, and stop good people in the
street, too, begging; that was how she lived.  She used to tell
me she wasn't a beggar, that she had papers to show her rank,
and to show that she was poor, too.  She used to show these
papers, and people used to give her money for that.  She used to
tell me that there was no disgrace in begging from all.  I used to
go out with her, and people gave us money, and that's how we
lived.  Mother found out about it because the other lodgers
blamed her for being a beggar, and Mme. Bubnov herself came
to mother and said she'd better let me go for her instead of begging
in the street.  She'd been to see mother before and brought her
money, and when mother wouldn't take it from her she said why
was she so proud, and sent her things to eat.  And when she
said this about me mother was frightened and began to cry;
and Mme.  Bubnov began to swear at her, for she was drunk, and
told her that I was a beggar anyway and used to go out with the
captain's widow,' and that evening she turned the captain's
widow out of the house.  When mother heard about it she began
to cry; then she suddenly got out of bed, dressed, took my
hand and led me out with her.  Ivan Alexandritch tried to stop
her, but she wouldn't listen to him, and we went out.  Mother
could scarcely walk, and had to sit down every minute or two in
the street, and I supported her.  Mother kept saying that she
would go to grandfather and that I was to take her there, and
by then it was quite night.  Suddenly we came into a big street;
there a lot of carriages were waiting outside one of the houses,
and a great many people were coming out; there were lights in
all the windows and one could hear music.  Mother stopped,
clutched me and said to me then, 'Nellie, be poor, be poor all
your life; don't go to him, whoever calls you, whoever comes to
you.  You might be there, rich and finely dressed, but I don't
want that.  They are cruel and wicked, and this is what I bid you:
remain poor, work, and ask for alms, and if anyone comes after
you say 'I won't go with you!' That's what mother said to
me when she was ill, and I want to obey her all my life," Nellie
added, quivering with emotion, her little face glowing; "and I'll
work and be a servant all my life, and I've come to you, too, to
work and be a servant. I don't want to be like a daughter. . ."
  "Hush, hush, my darling, hush!" cried Anna Andreyevna,
clasping Nellie warmly.  "Your mother was ill, you know, when
she said that."
  "She was out of her mind," said the old man sharply.
  "What if she were!" cried Nellie, turning quickly to him.
"If she were out of her mind she told me so, and I shall do it all
my life.  And when she said that to me she fell down fainting."
  "Merciful heavens!" cried Anna Andreyevna.  "Ill, in the
street, in winter!"
  "They would have taken us to the police, but a gentleman
took our part, asked me our address, gave me ten roubles, and
told them to drive mother to our lodging in his carriage, Mother
never got up again after that, and three weeks afterwards she
died ..."
  "And her father? He didn't forgive her after all, then?"
cried Anna Andreyevna.
  "He didn't forgive her," answered Nellie, mastering herself
with a painful effort.  "A week before her death mother called
me to her and said, 'Nellie, go once more to your grandfather,
the last time, and ask him to come to me and forgive me.  Tell
him in a few days I shall be dead, leaving you all alone in the
world.  And tell him, too, that it's hard for me to die. . . .' I
went and knocked at grandfather's door.  He opened it, and as
soon as he saw me he meant to shut it again, but I seized the door
with both hands and cried out to him:
  "'Mother's dying, she's asking for you; come along.' But he
pushed me away and slammed the door.  I went back to mother,
lay down beside her, hugged her in my arms and said nothing.
Mother hugged me, too, and asked no questions."
  At this point Nikolay Sergeyitch leant his hands heavily on
the table and stood up, but after looking at us all with strange,
lustreless eyes, sank back into his easy-chair helplessly.  Anna
Andreyevna no longer looked at him.  She was, sobbing over
Nellie...
  "The last day before mother died, towards evening she called
me to her, took me by the hand and said:
  "'I shall die to-day, Nellie.'"
  "She tried to say something more, but she couldn't.  I looked
at her, but she seemed not to see me, only she held my hand
tight in hers.  I softly pulled away my hand and ran out of the
house, and ran all the way to grandfather's.  When he saw me
he jumped up from his chair and looked at me, and was so
frightened that he turned quite pale and trembled.  I seized his
hand and only said:
  "'She's just dying.'
  "'Then all of a sudden in a flurry he picked up his stick and
ran after me; he even forgot his hat, and it was cold.  I picked
up his hat and put it on him, and we ran off together.  I hurried
him and told him to take a sledge because mother was just dying,
but grandfather only had seven kopecks, that was all he had.
He stopped a cab and began to bargain, but they only laughed at
him and laughed at Azorka; Azorka was running with us, and
we all ran on and on. Grandfather was tired and breathing
hard, but he still hurried on, running.  Suddenly he fell down,
and his hat fell off.  I helped him up and put his hat on, and led
him by the hand, and only towards night we got home.  But
mother was already lying dead.  When grandfather saw her he
flung up his hands, trembled, and stood over her, but said
nothing.  Then I went up to my dead mother, seized grandfather's
hand and cried out to him:
  "'See, you wicked, cruel man.  Look! ... Look!
  "Then grandfather screamed and fell down as though he were
dead ..."
  Nellie jumped up, freed herself from Anna Andreyevna's arms,
and stood in the midst of us, pale, exhausted, and terrified.  But
Anna Andreyevna flew to her, and embracing her again cried as
though she were inspired.
  "I'll be a mother to you now, Nellie, and you shall be my
child.  Yes, Nellie, let us go, let us give up these cruel, wicked
people.. Let them mock at people; God will requite them.
Come, Nellie, come away from here, come!"
  I have never, before or since, seen her so agitated, and I had
never thought she could be so excited.  Nikolay Sergeyitch sat
up in his chair, stood up, and in a breaking voice asked:
  "Where are you going, Anna Andreyevna?"
  "To her, to my daughter, to Natasha!"  she exclaimed,
drawing Nellie after her to the door.
  "Stay, stay!  Wait!"
  "No need to wait, you cruel, cold-hearted man!  I have waited
too long, and she has waited, but now, good-bye! ..."
  Saying this, Anna Andreyevna turned away, glanced at her
husband, and stopped, petrified.  Nikolay Sergeyitch was reaching
for his hat, and with feeble, trembling hands was pulling on his
coat.
  "You, too! ... You coming with us, too!" she cried, clasping
her hands in supplication, looking at him incredulously as though
she dared not believe in such happiness.
  "Natasha!  Where is my Natasha? Where is she? Where's
my daughter?" broke at last from the old man's lips.  "Give
me back my Natasha!  Where, where is she?"
  And seizing his stick, which I handed him, he rushed to the
door.
  "He has forgiven!  Forgiven!" cried Anna Andreyevna.
  But the old man did not get to the door.  The door opened
quickly and Natasha dashed into the room, pale, with flashing
eyes as though she were in a fever.  Her dress was crumpled and
soaked with rain.  The handkerchief with which she had covered
her head had slipped on to her neck, and her thick, curly hair
glistened with big raindrops.  She ran in, saw her father, and
falling on her knees before him, stretched out her hands to him.


                           CHAPTER IX

BUT he was already holding her in his arms!
  He lifted her up like a child and carried her to his chair, sat
her down, and fell on his knees before her.  He kissed her hands
and her feet, he hastened to kiss her, hastened to gaze at her as
though he could not yet believe that she was with him, that he
saw and heard her again - her, his daughter, his Natasha.  Anna
Andreyevna embraced her, sobbing, pressed her head to her
bosom and seemed almost swooning in these embraces and unable
to utter a word.
  "My dear! ... My life! ... My joy! ..." the old man exclaimed
incoherently, clasping Natasha's hands and gazing like a lover
at her pale, thin, but lovely face, and into her eyes which glistened
with tears.  "My joy, my child!" he repeated, and paused
again, and with reverent Transports gazed at her.  "Why, why
did you tell me she was thinner?" he said, turning to us with a
hurried, childlike smile, though he was still on his knees before
her.  "She's thin, it's true, she's pale, but look how pretty she
is! Lovelier than she used to be, yes, even lovelier!" he added,
his voice breaking from the joyful anguish which seemed rending
his heart in two.
  "Get up, father.  Oh, do get up," said Natasha. "I want
to kiss you, too. . ."
  "Oh, the darling!  Do you hear, Annushka, do you hear how
sweetly she said that."
  And he embraced her convulsively.
  "No, Natasha, it's for me, for me to lie at your feet, till my
heart tells me that you've forgiven me, for I can never, never
deserve your forgiveness now!  I cast you off, I cursed you; do
you hear, Natasha, I cursed you! I was capable of that! . . .
And you, you, Natasha, could you believe that I had cursed you!
She did believe it, yes, she did!  She ought not to have believed
it! She shouldn't have believed it, she simply shouldn't!  Cruel
little heart! why didn't you come to me? You must have known
I should receive you.... Oh, Natasha, you must remember how
I used to love you!  Well, now I've loved you all this time twice
as much, a thousand times as much as before.  I've loved you
with every drop of my blood.  I would have torn my heart out,
torn it into shreds and laid it at your feet.  Oh! my joy!"
  "Well, kiss me then, you cruel man, kiss me on any lips, on
my face, as mother kisses me!" exclaimed Natasha in a faint,
weak voice, full of joyful tears.
  "And on your dear eyes, too!  Your dear eyes! As I used to,
do you remember?" repeated the old man after a long, sweet
embrace.  "Oh, Natasha! Did you sometimes dream of us? I
dreamed of you almost every night, and every night you came to
me and I cried over you.  Once you came as a little thing, as you
were when you were ten years old and were just beginning to
have music lessons, do you remember? I dreamed you came in
a short frock, with pretty little shoes on, and red little hands ...
she used to have such red little hands then, do you remember,
Annushka?  She came up to me, sat on my knee and put her
arms round me... And you, you bad girl!  You could believe I
cursed you, that I wouldn't have welcomed you if you'd come?
Why, I . . . listen Natasha, why, I often went to see you, and
your mother didn't know, and no one knew; sometimes I'd
stand under your windows, sometimes I'd wait half a day,
somewhere on the pavement near your gate, on the chance of
seeing you in the distance if you came out! Often in the evening
there would be a light burning in your window; how often I
went to your window, Natasha, only to watch your light, only
to see your shadow on the window-pane, to bless you for the
night.  And did you bless me at night, did you think of me?
Did your heart tell you that I was at the window?  And how often
in the winter I went up your stairs, and stood on the dark landing
listening at your door, hoping to hear your voice.  Aren't you
laughing? Me curse you? Why, one evening I came to you; I
wanted to forgive you, and only turned back at the door... Oh,
Natasha!"
  He got up, lifted her out of the chair and held her close, close
to his heart.
  "She is here, near my heart again!"  he cried. "Oh Lord, I
thank Thee for all, for all, for Thy wrath and for Thy mercy!
. . .And for Thy sun which is shining upon us again after the
storm!  For all this minute I thank Thee!  Oh, we may be
insulted and injured, but we're together again, and now the proud
and haughty who have insulted and injured us may triumph!
Let them throw stones at us! Have no fear, Natasha.... We
will go hand in hand and I will say to them, 'This is my darling,
this is my beloved daughter, my innocent daughter whom you
have insulted and injured, but whom I love and bless for ever
and ever!'"
  "Vanya, Vanya," Natasha cried in a weak voice, holding out
her hand to me from her father's arms.
  Oh, I shall never forget that at that moment she thought of
me and called to me!
  "Where is Nellie?" asked the old man, looking round.
  "Ah, where is she?" cried his wife.  "My darling! We're
forgetting her!"
  But she was not in the room.  She had slipped away unnoticed
into the bedroom.  We all went in.  Nellie was standing in the
comer behind the door, hiding from us in a frightened way.
  "Nellie, what's the matter with you, my child?"  cried the
old man, trying to put his arm round her.
  But she bent on him a strange, long gaze.
  "Mother, where's mother?" she brought out, as though in
delirium. "Mere is my mother?" she cried once more,
stretching out her trembling hands to us.
  And suddenly a fearful, unearthly shriek broke from her
bosom; her face worked convulsively, and she fell on the floor in
a terrible fit.

                         EPILOGUE

                  LAST RECOLLECTIONS

IT was the beginning of June.  The day was hot and stifling; it
was impossible to remain in town, where all was dust, plaster,
scaffolding, burning pavements, and tainted atmosphere . . .
But now! Oh joy!-there was the rumble of thunder in the
distance; there came a breath of wind driving clouds of town
dust before it.  A few big raindrops fell on the ground, and then
the whole sky seemed to open and torrents of water streamed
upon the town.  When, half an hour later, the sun came out
again I opened my garret window and greedily drew the fresh
air into my exhausted lungs.  In my exhilaration I felt ready to
throw up my writing, my work, and my publisher, and to rush
off to my friends at Vassilyevsky Island.  But great as the tempt-
ation was, I succeeded in mastering myself and fell upon my work
again with a sort of fury.  At all costs I had to finish it.  My
publisher had demanded it and would not pay me without.  I
was expected there, but, on the other hand, by the evening I
should be free, absolutely free as the wind, and that evening
would make up to me for the last two days and nights, during
which I had written three and a half signatures.
  And now at last the work was finished.  I threw down my pen
and got up, with a pain in my chest and my back and a heaviness
in my head.  I knew that at that moment my nerves were
strained to the utmost pitch, and I seemed to hear the last words
my old doctor had said to me.
  "No, no health could stand such a strain, because it's im-
possible."
  So far, however, it had been possible! My head was going
round, I could scarcely stand upright, but my heart was filled
with joy, infinite joy.  My novel was finished and, although I
owed my publisher a great deal, he would certainly give me
something when he found the prize in his hands - if only fifty
roubles, and it was ages since I had had so much as that.  Freedom
and money!  I snatched up my hat in delight, and with my
manuscript under my arm I ran at full speed to find our precious
Alexandr Petrovitch at home.
  I found him, but he was on the point of going out.  He, too,
had just completed a very profitable stroke of business, though
not a literary one, and as he was at last escorting to the door a
swarthy-faced Jew with whom he had been sitting for the last
two hours in his study, he shook hands with me affably, and in
his soft pleasant bass inquired after my health.  He was a very
kind-hearted man, and, joking apart, I was deeply indebted to
him.  Was it his fault that he was all his life only a publisher?
He quite understood that literature needs Publishers, and under-
stood it very opportunely, all honour and glory to him for it!
  With an agreeable smile he heard that the novel was finished
and that therefore the next number of his journal was safe as far
as its principal item was concerned, and wondered how I could
ever end anything and made a very amiable joke on the subject.
Then he went to his iron strong-box to get me the fifty roubles
he had promised me, and in the meantime held out to me another
thick, hostile journal and pointed to a few lines in the critical
column, where there were a few words about my last novel.
  I looked: it was an article by "Copyist." He neither directly
abused me nor praised me, and I was very glad.  But "Copyist"
said among other things that my works generally "smelt of
sweat"; that is, that I so sweated and struggled over them, so
worked them up and worked them over, that the result was
mawkish.
  The publisher and I laughed.  I informed him that my last
story had been written in two nights, and that I had now written
three and a half signatures in two days and two nights, and if
only "Copyist," who blamed me for the excessive laboriousness
and solid deliberation of my work, knew that!
  "It's your own fault though, Ivan Petrovitch," said he.  "Why
do you get so behindhand with your work that you have to sit up
at night?"
  Alexandr Petrovitch is a most charming person, of course,
though he has one particular weakness - that is, boasting of
his literary judgement, especially before those whom he suspects
of knowing him through and through.  But I had no desire to
discuss literature with him; I took the money and picked up my
hat.  Alexandr Petrovitch was going to his villa on the Island,
and hearing that I, too, was bound for Vassilyevsky, he amiably
offered to take me in his carriage.
  "I've got a new carriage," he said, "you've not seen it. It's
very nice."
  We set off.  The carriage was certainly delightful, and in the
early days of his possession of it Alexandr Petrovitch took
particular pleasure in driving his friends in it and even felt a
spiritual craving to do so.
  In the carriage Alexandr Petrovitch several times fell to
criticizing contemporary literature again.  He was quite at his
ease with me, and calmly enunciated various second-hand
opinions which he had heard a day or two before from literary
people whom he believed in and whose ideas he respected.  This
led him sometimes to repeat very extraordinary notions.  It
sometimes happened, too, that he got an idea wrong or mis-
applied it, so that he made nonsense of it.  I sat listening in
silence, marvelling at the versatility and whimsicality of the
passions of mankind.  "Here's a man," I thought to myself,
"who might make money and has made it; but no, he must
have fame too, literary fame, the fame of a leading publisher, a
critic!"
  At the actual moment he was trying to expound minutely a
literary theory which he had heard three days before from me
myself, which he had argued against then, though now he was
giving it out as his own.  But such forgetfulness is a frequent
phenomenon in Alexandr Petrovitch, and he is famous for this
innocent weakness among all who know him.  How happy he
was then, holding forth in his own carriage, how satisfied with his
lot, how benign!  He was maintaining a highly cultured, literary
conversation, even his soft, decorous bass had the note of culture.
Little by little he drifted into liberalism, and then passed to the
mildly sceptical proposition that no honesty or modesty was
possible in our literature, or indeed in any other, that there
could be nothing but "slashing at one another," especially where
the system of signed articles was prevalent.  I reflected to myself
that Alexandr Petrovitch was inclined to regard every honest
and sincere writer as a simpleton, if not a fool, on account of his
very sincerity and honesty.  No doubt such an opinion was the
direct result of his extreme guilelessness.
   But I had left off listening to him.  When we reached Vas-
silyevsky Island he let me get out of the carriage, and I ran to my
friends.  Now I had reached Thirteenth Street; here was their
little house.  Seeing me Anna Andreyevna shook her finger at me,
waved her hand, and said "Ssh!" to me, to be quiet.
  "Nellie's only just fallen asleep, poor little thing!" she
whispered to me hurriedly.  "For mercy's sake, don't wake her!
But she's very worn, poor darling! We're very anxious about
her.  The doctor says it's nothing for the time, One can get
nothing out of your doctor.  And isn't it a shame of you, Ivan
Petrovitch!  We've been expecting you! We expected you to
dinner.... You've not been here for two days!"
  "But I told you the day before yesterday that I shouldn't be
here for two days," I whispered to Anna Andreyevna.  "I had to
finish my work ..."
  "But you know you promised to be here to dinner to-day!
Why didn't you come? Nellie got up on purpose, the little
angel! - and we put her in the easy-chair, and carried her in to
dinner.  'I want to wait for Vanya with you,' she said; but our
Vanya never came.  Why, it'll soon be six o'clock!  Where have
you been gadding, you sinner? She was so upset that I didn't
know how to appease her.... Happily, she's gone to sleep, poor
darling.  And here's Nikolay Sergeyitch gone to town, too (he'll
be back to tea).  I'm fretting all alone.... A post has turned up
for him, Ivan Petrovitch; only when I think it's in Perm it sends
a cold chill to my heart..."
  "And where's Natasha?"
  "In the garden, the darling!  Go to her.... There's something
wrong with her, too. . . . I can't make her out. . . . Oh, Ivan
Petrovitch, my heart's very heavy! She declares she's cheerful
and content, but I don't believe her.  Go to her, Vanya, and tell
me quietly what's the matter with her.... Do you hear?"
  But I was no longer listening to Anna Andreyevna.  I was
running to the garden.  The little garden belonged to the house.
It was twenty-five paces long and as much in breadth, and it was
all overgrown with green.  There were three old spreading trees,
a few young birch-trees, a few bushes of lilac and of honeysuckle;
there was a patch of raspberries in the corner, two beds of straw-
berries, and two narrow, winding paths crossing the garden both
ways.  The old man declared with delight that it would soon
grow mushrooms.  The great thing was that Nellie was fond of
the garden and she was often carried out in the easy-chair on to
the garden path.  Nellie was by now the idol of the house.
  But now I came upon Natasha.  She met me joyfully, holding
out her hands.  How thin she was, how pale!  She, too, had only
just recovered from an illness.
  "Have you quite finished, Vanya?" she asked me.
  "Quite, quite! And I am free for the whole evening."
  "Well, thank God!  Did you hurry? Have you spoilt it?"
  "What could I do?  It's all right, though.  My nerves get
strung up to a peculiar tension by working at such a strain; I
imagine more clearly, I feel more vividly and deeply, and even
my style is more under my control, so that work done under
pressure always turns out better.  It's all right. . ."
  "Ah, Vanya, Vanya! . . ."
  I had noticed that of late Natasha had been keeping a jealous
and devoted watch over my literary success and reputation.
She read over everything I had published in the last year, was
constantly asking me about my plans for the future, was interested
in every criticism, was angry at some; and was desperately
anxious that I should take a high place in the literary world.
Her desire was expressed so strongly and insistently that I was
positively astonished at her feeling.
  "You'll simply write yourself out, Vanya," she said to me.
"You're overstraining yourself, and you'll write yourself out;
and what's more, you're ruining your health.  S. now only writes
a novel a year, and N. has only written one novel in ten years.
See how polished, how finished, their work is.  You won't find
one oversight."
  "Yes, but they are prosperous and don't write up to time;
while I'm a hack.  But that's no matter!  Let's drop that, my
dear. Well, is there no news?"
  "A great deal.  In the first place a letter from him."
  "Again?"                                   I
  "Yes, again."
  And she gave me a letter from Alyosha.  It was the third she
had had since their separation.  The first was written from
Moscow, and seemed to be written in a kind of frenzy.  He
informed her that things had turned out so that it was impossible
for him to come from Moscow to Petersburg, as they had planned
at parting.  In the second letter he announced that he was
coming to us in a few days to hasten his marriage to Natasha,
that this was settled and that nothing could prevent it.  And
yet it was clear from the whole tone of the letter that he was in
despair, that outside influences were weighing heavily upon him,
and that he did not believe what he said.  He mentioned among
other things that Katya was his Providence and she was his only
support and comfort.  I eagerly opened this third letter.
  It covered two sheets of paper and was written disconnectedly
and untidily in a hurried, illegible scrawl, smudged with ink and
tears.  It began with Alyosha's renouncing Natasha, and begging
her to forget him.  He attempted to show that their marriage
was impossible, that outside, hostile influences were stronger
than anything, and that, in fact, it must be so; and that Natasha
and he would be unhappy together because they were not equals.
But he could not keep it up, and suddenly abandoning his
arguments and reasoning, without tearing up or discarding the
first half of his letter, he confessed that he had behaved criminally
to Natasha, that he was a lost soul, and was incapable of standing
out against his father, who had come down to the country.  He
wrote that he could not express his anguish, admitted among
other things that he felt confident he could make Natasha happy,
began to prove that they were absolutely equals and obstinately
and angrily refuted his father's arguments; he drew a despairing
picture of the blissful existence that might have been in store for
them both, himself and Natasha, if they had married; cursed
himself for his cowardice, and said farewell for ever! The letter
had been written in distress; he had evidently been beside
himself when he wrote.  Tears started to my eyes.  Natasha
handed me another letter, from Katya.  This letter had come in
the same envelope as Alyosha's, though it was sealed up separate-
ly. Somewhat briefly in a few lines, Katya informed Natasha
that Alyosha really was much depressed, that he cried a great
deal and seemed in despair, was even rather unwell, but that she
was with him and that he would be happy.  Among other things,
Katya endeavoured to persuade Natasha not to believe that
Alyosha could be so quickly comforted and that his grief was
not serious.  "He will never forget you," added Katya; "indeed,
he never can forget you, for his heart is not like that.  He loves
you immeasurably; he will always love you, so that if he ever
ceased to love you, if he ever left off grieving at the thought of
you, I should cease to love him for that, at once. . . ."
  I gave both letters back to Natasha; we looked at one another
and said nothing; it had been the same with the other two
letters; and in general we avoided talking of the past, as though
this had been agreed upon between us.  She was suffering in-
tolerably, I saw that, but she did not want to express it even
before me.  After her return to her father's house she had been in
bed for three weeks with a feverish attack, and was only just
getting over it.  We did not talk much either of the change in
store for us, though she knew her father had obtained a situation
and that we soon had to part.  In spite of that she was so tender
to me all that time, so attentive, and took such interest in all
that I was doing; she listened with such persistence, such
obstinate attention, to all I had to tell her about myself that at
first it rather weighed upon me; it seemed to me that she was
trying to make up to me for the past.  But this feeling soon
passed off.  I realized that she wanted something quite different,
that it was simply that she loved me, loved me immensely, could
not live without me and without being interested in everything
that concerned me; and I believed that no sister ever loved a
brother as Natasha loved me.  I knew quite well that our
approaching separation was a load on her heart, that Natasha
was miserable; she knew, too, that I could not live without her;
but of that we said nothing, though we did talk in detail of the
events before us.
  I asked after Nikolay Sergeyitch.
  "I believe he'll soon be back," said Natasha; "he promised
to be in to tea."
  "He's still trying to get that job?"
  "Yes; but there's no doubt about the job now; and I don't
think there's really any reason for him to go to-day," she added,
musing.  "He might have gone to-morrow."
  "Why did he go, then?"
  "Because I got a letter. . . . He's so ill over me," Natasha
added, "that it's really painful to me, Vanya.  He seems to
dream of nothing but me.  I believe that he never thinks of
anything except how I'm getting on, how I'm feeling, what I'm
thinking.  Every anxiety I have raises an echo in his heart.  I
see how awkwardly he sometimes tries to control himself, and
to make a pretence of not grieving about me, how he affects to be
cheerful, tries to laugh and amuse us.  Mother is not herself either
at such moments and doesn't believe in his laugh either, and
sighs.... She's so awkward ... an upright soul." she added with
a laugh.  "So when I got a letter to-day he had to run off at
once to avoid meeting my eyes.  I love him more than myself,
more than anyone in the world, Vanya," she added, dropping her
head and pressing my hand, "even more than you..."
  We had walked twice up and down the garden before she began
to speak.
  "Masloboev was here to-day, and yesterday too," she said.
  "Yes, he has been to see you very often lately."
  "And do you know why he comes here? Mother believes in
him beyond everything.  She thinks he understands all this sort
of thing so well (the laws and all that), that he can arrange any-
thing.  You could never imagine what an idea is brewing in
mother!  In her heart of hearts she is very sore and sad that I
haven't become a princess.  That idea gives her no peace, and I
believe she has opened her heart to Masloboev.  She is afraid to
speak to father about it and wonders whether Masloboev couldn't
do something for her, whether nothing could be done through the
law.  I fancy Masloboev doesn't contradict her, and she regales
him with wine," Natasha added with a laugh.
  "That's enough for the rogue!  But how do you know?"
  "Why, mother has let it out to me herself . . . in hints."
  "What about Nellie? How is she?" I asked.
  "I wonder at you, Vanya.  You haven't asked about her till
now," said Natasha reproachfully.
   Nellie was the idol of the whole household.  Natasha had
become tremendously fond of her, and Nellie was absolutely
devoted to her.  Poor, child!  She had never expected to find
such friends, to win such love, and I saw with joy that her em-
bittered little heart was softening and her soul was opening to us
all. She responded with painful and feverish eagerness to the
love with which she was surrounded in such contrast to all her
past, which had developed mistrust, resentment, and obstinacy.
Though even now Nellie held out for a long time; for a long time
she intentionally concealed from us her tears of reconciliation, and
only at last surrendered completely.  She grew very fond of
Natasha, and later on of Nikolay Sergeyitch.  I had become so
necessary to her that she grew worse when I stayed away.  When
last time I parted from her for two days in order to finish my
novel I had much ado to soothe her . . . indirectly, of course.
Nellie was still ashamed to express her feelings too openly, too
unrestrainedly.
  She made us all very uneasy.  Without any discussion it was
tacitly settled that she should remain for ever in Nikolay Serge-
yitch's family; and meantime the day of departure was drawing
nearer, and she was getting worse and worse.  She had been ill
from the day when I took her to Nikolay Sergeyitch's, the day of
his reconciliation with Natasha, though, indeed, she had always
been ill.  The disease had been gradually gaining ground before,
but now it grew worse with extraordinary rapidity.  I don't
understand and can't exactly explain her complaint.  Her fits,
it is true, did occur somewhat more frequently than before, but
the most serious symptom was a sort of exhaustion and failure
of strength, a perpetual state of fever and nervous exhaustion,
which had been so bad of late that she had been obliged to stay in
bed.  And, strange to say, the more the disease gained upon her,
the softer, sweeter and more open she became with us.  Three
days before, as I passed her bedside, she held out her hand to me
and drew me to her.  There was no one in the room.  She had
grown terribly thin, her face was flushed, her eyes burned with
a glow of fever.  She pressed me to her convulsively, and when I
bent down to her she clasped me tightly round the neck with her
dark-skinned little arms, and kissed me warmly, and then at
once she asked for Natasha to come to her.  I called her; Nellie
insisted on Natasha sitting down on the bed, and gazed at her...
  "I want to look at you," she said.  "I dreamed of you last
night and I shall dream of you again to-night . . . I often
dream of you ... every night ..."
  She evidently wanted to say something; she was overcome
by feeling, but she did not understand her own feelings and
could not express them...
  She loved Nikolay Sergeyitch almost more than anyone except
me. It must be said that Nikolay Sergeyitch loved her almost
as much as Natasha.  He had a wonderful faculty for cheering
and amusing Nellie.  As soon as he came near her there were
sounds of laughter and even mischief.  The sick girl was as
playful as a little child, coquetted with the old man, laughed at
him, told him her dreams, always had some new invention and
made him tell her stories, too; and the old man was so pleased,
so happy, looking at his "little daughter, Nellie," that he was
more and more delighted with her every day.
  "God has sent her to us to make up to us all for our suffering,"
he said to me once as he left Nellie at night, after making the
sign of the cross over her as usual.
  In the evenings, when we were all together (Masloboev was
there too, almost every evening), our old doctor often dropped
in. He had become warmly attached to the Ichmenyevs.  Nellie
was carried up to the round table in her easy-chair.  The door
was opened on to the veranda.  We had a full view of the green
garden in the light of the setting sun, and from it came the
fragrance of the fresh leaves and the opening lilac.  Nellie sat
in her easy-chair, watching us all affectionately and listening
to our talk; sometimes she grew more animated, and gradually
joined in the conversation, too.  But at such moments we all
usually listened to her with uneasiness, because in her reminis-
cences there were subjects we did not want touched upon.
Natasha and I and the Ichmenyevs all felt guilty and recognized
the wrong we had done her that day when, tortured and quivering,
she had been forced to tell us all her story.  The doctor was
particularly opposed to these reminiscences and usually tried
to change the conversation.  At such times Nellie tried to seem
as though she did not notice our efforts, and would begin laughing
with the doctor or with Nikolay Sergeyitch.
  And yet she grew worse and worse.  We became extraordinarily
impressionable.  Her heart was beating irregularly.  The doctor
told me, indeed, that she might easily die at any moment.
  I did not tell the Ichmenyevs this for fear of distressing them,
Nikolay Sergeyitch was quite sure that she would recover in
time for the journey.
  "There's father come in," said Natasha, hearing his voice.
"Let us go, Vanya."
  Nikolay Sergeyitch, as usual, began talking loudly as soon as
he had crossed the threshold.  Anna Andreyevna was gesticu-
lating at him.  The old man subsided at once and, seeing
Natasha and me, began with a hurried air telling us in a whisper
of the result of his expedition.  He had received the post he was
trying for and was much pleased.
  "In a fortnight we can set off," he said, rubbing his hands
and anxiously glancing askance at Natasha.
  But she responded with a smile and embraced him so that his
doubts were instantly dissipated.
  "We'll be off, we'll be off, my dears!" he said joyfully.  It's
only you, Vanya, leaving you, that's the rub... (I may
add that he never once suggested that I should go with them,
which, from what I know of his character, he certainly would
have done . . . under other circumstances, that is, if he had
not been aware of my love for Natasha.)
  "Well, it can't be helped, friends, it can't be helped!  It
grieves me, Vanya; but a change of place will give us all new
life ... A change of place means a change of everything!" he
added, glancing once more at his daughter.
  He believed that and was glad to believe it.
  "And Nellie?" said Anna Andreyevna.
  "Nellie? Why . . . the little darling's still poorly, but by
that time she'll certainly be well again.  She's better already,
what do you think, Vanya?" he said, as though alarmed, and
he looked at me uneasily, as though it was for me to set his
doubts at rest.
  "How is she? How has she slept? Has anything gone
wrong with her? Isn't she awake now? Do you know what,
Anna Andreyevna, we'll move the little table out on to the
veranda, we'll take out the samovar; our friends will be coming,
we'll all sit there and Nellie can come out to us . . . That'll
be nice.  Isn't she awake yet? I'll go in to her.  I'll only have
a look at her.  I won't wake her.  Don't be uneasy!" he added,
seeing that Anna Andreyevna was making signals to him again.
But Nellie was already awake.  A quarter of an hour later
we were all sitting as usual round the samovar at evening tea.
Nellie was carried out in her chair.  The doctor and Masloboev
made their appearance.  The latter brought a big bunch of lilac
for Nellie, but he seemed anxious and annoyed about something,
Masloboev, by the way, came in almost every evening.  I have
mentioned already that all of them liked him very much,
especially Anna Andreyevna, but not a word was spoken among
us about Alexandra Semyonovna.  Masloboev himself made no
allusion to her.  Anna Andreyevna, having learned from me that
Alexandra Semyonovna had not yet succeeded in becoming his
legal wife, had made up her mind that it was impossible to receive
her or speak of her in the house.  This decision was maintained,
and was very characteristic of Anna Andreyevna.  But for
Natasha's being with her, and still more for all that had hap-
pened, she would perhaps not have been so squeamish.
  Nellie was particularly depressed that evening and even
preoccupied.  It was as though she had had a bad dream and
was brooding over it.  But she was much delighted with
Masloboev's present and looked with pleasure at the flowers,
which we put in a glass before her.
  "So you're very fond of flowers, Nellie." said the old man.
"just wait," he said eagerly. "Tomorrow ... well, you shall
see. . ."
  "I am fond of them," answered Nellie, "and I remember
how we used to meet mother with flowers.  When we were out
there, ( "out there" meant now abroad) "mother was very ill
once for a whole month.  Heinrich and I agreed that when she
got up and came for the first time out of her bedroom, which
she had not left for a whole month, we would decorate all the
rooms with flowers.  And so we did.  Mother told us overnight
that she would be sure to come down to lunch next day.  We
got up very, very early.  Heinrich brought in a lot of flowers,
and we decorated all the rooms with green leaves and garlands.
There was ivy and something else with broad leaves I don't
know the name of, and some other leaves that caught in every-
thing, and there were big white flowers and narcissus - and I
like them better than any other flower - and there were roses,
such splendid loses, and lots and lots of flowers, We hung them
all up in wreaths or put them in pots, and there were flowers
that were like whole trees in big tubs; we put them in the corners
and by mother's chair, and when mother came in she was
astonished and awfully delighted, and Heinrich was glad . . .
I remember that now . . ."
  That evening Nellie was particularly weak and nervous.  The
doctor looked at her uneasily.  But she was very eager to talk.
And for a long time, till it was dark, she told us about her former
life out there; we did not interrupt her.  She and her mother
and Heinrich had travelled a great deal together, and recollec-
tions of those days remained vivid in her memory.  She talked
eagerly of the blue skies, of the high mountains with snow and
ice on them which she had seen and passed through, of the
waterfalls in the mountains; and then of the lakes and valleys
of Italy, of the flowers and trees, of the villagers, of their dress,
their dark faces, and black eyes.  She told us about various
incidents and adventures with them.  Then she talked of great
tombs and palaces, of a tall church with a dome, which was
suddenly illuminated with lights of different colours; then of
a hot, southern town with blue skies and a blue sea.... Never
had Nellie talked to us with such detail of what she remembered.
We listened to her with intense interest.  Till then we had heard
only of her experiences of a different kind, in a dark, gloomy
town, with its crushing, stupefying atmosphere, its pestilential
air, its costly palaces, always begrimed with dirt; with its pale
dim sunlight, and its evil, half-crazy inhabitants, at whose hands
she and her mother had suffered so much.  And I pictured how
on damp, gloomy evenings in their filthy cellar, lying together
on their poor bed, they had recalled past days, their lost Heinrich,
and the marvels of other lands.  I pictured Nellie alone, too,
without her mother, remembering all this, while Mme.  Bubnov
was trying by blows and brutal cruelty to break her spirit and
force her into a vicious life....
  But at last Nellie felt faint, and she was carried indoors.
Nikolay Sergeyitch was much alarmed and vexed that we had
let her talk so much.  She had a sort of attack or fainting-fit.
She had had such attacks several times.  When it was over
Nellie asked earnestly to see me.  She wanted to say something
to me alone.  She begged so earnestly for this that this time the
doctor himself insisted that her wish should be granted, and
they all went out of the room.
  "Listen, Vanya," said Nellie, when we were left alone.  "I
know they think that I'm going with them, but I'm not going
because I can't and I shall stay for the time with you.  I wanted
to tell you so..."
  I tried to dissuade her.  I told her that the Ichmenyevs loved
her and looked on her as a daughter; that they would all be
very sorry to lose her.  That, on the other hand, it would be
hard for her to live with me; and that, much as I loved her,
there was no hope for it - we must part.
  "No, it's impossible!" Nellie answered emphatically; "for
I often dream of mother now, and she tells me not to go with them
but to stay here.  She tells me that I was very sinful to leave
grandfather alone, and she always cries when she says that.
I want to stay here and look after grandfather, Vanya."
  "But you know your grandfather is dead, Nellie," I answered,
listening to her with amazement.
  She thought a little and looked at me intently.
  "Tell me, Vanya, tell me again how grandfather died," she
said. "Tell me all about it, don't leave anything out."
  I was surprised at this request, but I proceeded to tell her the
story in every detail.  I suspected that she was delirious, or at
least that after her attack her brain was not quite clear.
  She listened attentively to all I told her, and I remember how
her black eyes, glittering with the light of fever, watched me
intently and persistently all the while I was talking.  It was
dark by now in the room.
  "No, Vanya, he's not dead," she said positively, when she
had heard it all and reflected for a while.  "Mother often tells
me about grandfather, and when I said to her yesterday, 'but
grandfather's dead,' she was dreadfully grieved; she cried and
told me he wasn't, that I had been told so on purpose, and that
he was walking about the streets now, begging 'just as we used
to beg,' mother said to me; 'and he keeps walking about the
place where we first met him, and I fell down before him, and
Azorka knew me. . . .'"
  "That was a dream, Nellie, a dream that comes from illness,
for you are ill," I said to her.
  "I kept thinking it was only a dream myself," said Nellie,
"and I didn't speak of it to anyone.  I only wanted to tell
you.  But to-day when you didn't come, and I fell asleep, I
dreamed of grandfather himself.  He was sitting at home, waiting
for me, and was so thin and dreadful; and he told me he'd had
nothing to eat for two days, nor Azorka either, and he was very
angry with me, and scolded me.  He told me, too, that he had
no snuff at all, and that he couldn't live without it.  And he
did really say that to me once before, Vanya, after mother died,
when I went to see him.  Then he was quite ill and hardly under-
stood anything.  When I heard him say that to-day, I thought
I would go on to the bridge and beg for alms, and then buy him
bread and baked potatoes and snuff.  So I went and stood there,
and then I saw grandfather walking near, and he lingered a
little and then came up to me, and looked how much I'd got and
took it.  'That will do for bread,' he said; 'now get some for
snuff.' I begged the money, and he came up and took it from me.
I told him that I'd give it him all, anyway, and not hide any-
thing from him.  'No' he said, 'you steal from me.  Mme.
Bubnov told me you were a thief; that's why I shall never
take you to live with me.  Where have you put that other
copper?' I cried because he didn't believe me, but he wouldn't
listen to me and kept shouting, 'You've stolen a penny!' And
he began to beat me there on the bridge, and hurt me.  And I
cried very much . . . And so I've begun to think, Vanya, that
he must be alive, and that he must be walking about somewhere
waiting for me to come."
  I tried once more to soothe her and to persuade her she was
wrong, and at last I believe I succeeded in convincing her.  She
said that she was afraid to go to sleep now because she would
dream of her grandfather.  At last she embraced me warmly.
  "But anyway, I can't leave you, Vanya," she said, pressing
her little face to mine.  "Even if it weren't for grandfather I
wouldn't leave you."
  Everyone in the house was alarmed at Nellie's attack.  I told
the doctor apart all her sick fancies, and asked him what he
thought of her state.
  "Nothing is certain yet," he answered, considering.  "So far,
I can only surmise, watch, and observe; but nothing is certain.
Recovery is impossible, anyway.  She will die.  I don't tell them
because you begged me not to, but I am sorry and I shall suggest
a consultation to-morrow.  Perhaps the disease will take a
different turn after a consultation.  But I'm very sorry for the
little girl, as though she were my own child... She's a dear,
dear child! And with such a playful mind!"
  Nikolay Sergeyitch was particularly excited.
  "I tell you what I've thought of, Vanya," he said.  "She's
very fond of flowers.  Do you know what? Let us prepare for
her to-morrow when she wakes up a welcome with towers such
as she and that Heinrich prepared for her mother, as she described
to-day.... She spoke of it with such emotion. . . ."
  "I dare say she did," I said.  "But emotion's just what's bad
for her now."
  "Yes, but pleasant emotion is a different matter.  Believe
me, my boy, trust my experience; pleasurable emotion does no
harm; it may even cure, it is conducive to health."
  The old man was, in fact, so fascinated by his own idea that
he was in a perfect ecstasy about it.  It was impossible to
dissuade him, I questioned the doctor about it, but before the
latter had time to consider the matter, Nikolay Sergeyitch had
taken his cap and was running to make arrangements.
  "You know," he said to me as he went out, "there's a hot-
house near here, a magnificent shop.  The nurserymen sell
flowers; one can get them cheap.  It's surprising how cheap
they are, really   . . . You impress that on Anna Andreyevna,
or else she'll be angry directly at the expense.  So, I tell you
what.... I tell you what, my dear boy, where are you off to now?
You are free now, you've finished your work, so why need you
hurry home? Sleep the night here, upstairs in the attic; where
you slept before, do you remember.  The bedstead's there and
the mattress just as it was before... nothing's been touched.
You'll sleep like the King of France.  Eh? Do stay.  To-morrow
we'll get up early.  They'll bring the flowers, and by eight o'clock
we'll arrange the whole room together.  Natasha will help us.
She'll have more taste than you and I.  Well, do you agree?
Will you stay the night?"
  It was settled that I should stay the night.  Nikolay Serge-
yitch went off to make his arrangements.  The doctor and
Masloboev said good-bye and went away.  The Ichmenyevs
went to bed early, at eleven o'clock.  As he was going, Masloboev
seemed hesitating and on the point of saying something, but he
put it off.  But when after saying good-night to the old people I
went up to my attic, to my surprise I found him there.  He was
sitting at the little table, turning over the leaves of a book and
waiting for me.
  "I turned back on the way, Vanya, because it's better to tell
you now.  Sit down.  It's a stupid business, you see, vexatiously
so, in fact."
  "Why, what's the matter?"
  "Why, your scoundrel of a prince flew into a rage a fortnight
ago; and such a rage that I'm angry still."
  "Why, what's the matter? Surely you're not still on terms
with the prince?"
  "There you go with your 'what's the matter?' as though
something extraordinary had happened.  You're for all the
world like my Alexandra Semyonovna and all these insufferable
females! ... I can't endure females... If a crow calls, it's 'what's
the matter? ' with them."
  "Don't be angry."
  "I'm not a bit angry; but every sort of affair ought to be
looked at reasonably, and not exaggerated ... that's what I say."
  He paused a little, as though he were still feeling vexed with me.
I did not interrupt him.
  "You see, Vanya," he began again, "I've come upon a clue.
That's to say, I've not really come upon it, and it's not really a
clue.  But that's how it struck me ... that is, from certain con-
siderations I gather that Nellie ... perhaps ... well, in fact, is
the prince's legitimate daughter."
  "What are you saying?"
  "There you go roaring again, 'what are you saying?'  So
that one really can't say anything to people like this!" he
shouted, waving his hand frantically.  Have I told you any-
thing positive, you feather-head? Did I tell you she's been
proved to be the prince's legitimate daughter? Did I, or did I
not?"
  "Listen, my dear fellow," I said to him in great excitement.
For God's sake don't shout, but explain things clearly and
precisely.  I swear I shall understand you.  You must realize
how important the matter is, and what consequences..."
  "Consequences, indeed, of what? Where are the proofs?
Things aren't done like that, and I'm telling you a secret now.
And why I'm telling you I'll explain later.  You may be sure
there's a reason for it.  Listen and hold your tongue and under-
stand that all this is a secret.... This is how it was, you see.  As
soon as the prince came back from Warsaw in the winter, before
Smith died, he began to go into this business.  That is, he had
begun it much earlier, during the previous year.  But at that
time he was on the look-out for one thing, and later he was on
the look-out for something else.  What mattered was that he'd
lost the thread.  It was thirteen years since he parted from
Nellie's mother in Paris and abandoned her, but all that time he
had kept an incessant watch on her; he knew that she was living
with Heinrich, whom Nellie was talking about to-day; he knew
she had Nellie, he knew she was ill; he knew everything, in fact,
but then he suddenly lost the thread.  And this seems to have
happened soon after the death of Heinrich, when she came to
Petersburg.  In Petersburg, of course, he would very soon have
found her, whatever name she went by in Russia; but the thing
was that his agents abroad misled him with false information,
informing him that she was living in an out-of-the-way little
town in South Germany.  They deceived him through carelessness.
They mistook another woman for her.  So it went on for a year
or more.  But during the previous year the prince had begun to
have doubts; certain facts had led him even earlier to suspect
that it was not the right woman.  Then the question arose:
where was the real lady? And it occurred to him (though he'd
nothing to go upon) to wonder whether she were not in Petersburg.
Inquiries were being made meanwhile abroad, and he set other
inquiries on foot here; but apparently he did not care to make
use of the official channels, and he became acquainted with me.
He was recommended to me: he was told this and that about
me, that I took up detective work as an amateur, and so on, and
so on... Well, so he explained the business to me; only vaguely,
damn the fellow; he explained it vaguely and ambiguously.
He made a lot of mistakes, repeated himself several times; he
represented facts in different lights at the same time... Well,
as we all know, if you're ever so cunning you can't hide every
track.  Well, of course, I began, all obsequiousness and simplicity
of heart, slavishly devoted, in fact.  But I acted on a principle
I've adopted once for all, and a law of nature, too (for it is a law of
nature), and considered in the first place whether he had told me
what he really wanted, and secondly whether, under what he had
told me, there lay concealed something else he hadn't told me.
For in the latter case, as probably even you, dear son, with your
poetical brain, can grasp, he was cheating me: for while one job
is worth a rouble, say, another may be worth four times as much;
so I should be a fool if I gave him for a rouble what was worth
four.  I began to look into it and make my conjectures, and bit
by bit I began to come upon traces, one thing I'd get out of him,
another out of some outsider, and I'd get at a third by my own
wits.  If you ask me what was my idea in so doing, I'll answer,
well, for one thing that the prince seemed somewhat too keen
about it; he seemed in a great panic about something.  For
after all, what had he to be frightened of?  He'd carried a girl off
from her father, and when she was with child he had abandoned
her.  What was there remarkable in that?  A charming, pleasant
bit of mischief, and nothing more.  That was nothing for a man
like the prince to be afraid of!  Yet he was afraid... And that
made me suspicious.  I came on some very interesting traces, my
boy, through Heinrich, among other things.  He was dead, of
course, but from one of his cousins (now married to a baker here,
in Petersburg) who had been passionately in love with him in old
days, and had gone on loving him for fifteen years, regardless of
the stout papa baker to whom she had incidentally borne eight
children - from this cousin, I say, I managed by means of many
and various manoeuvres to learn an important fact, that Heinrich,
after the German habit, used to write her letters and diaries, and
before his death he sent her some of his papers. She was a fool.
She didn't understand what was important in the letters, and
only understood the parts where he talked of the moon, of 'mein
lieber Augustin,' and of Wieland, too, I believe.  But I got hold
of the necessary facts, and through those letters I hit on a new
clue.  I found out, too, about Mr. Smith, about the money filched
from him by his daughter, and about the prince's getting hold of
that money; at last, in the midst of exclamations, rigmaroles,
and allegories of all sorts, I got a glimpse of the essential truth;
that is, Vanya, you understand, nothing positive.  Silly Heinrich
purposely concealed that, and only hinted at it; well, and these
hints, all this taken together, began to blend into a heavenly
harmony in my mind.  The prince was legally married to the
young lady.  Where they were married, how, when precisely,
whether abroad or here, the whereabouts of the documents is
all unknown.  In fact, friend Vanya, I've torn my hair out in
despair, searching for them in vain; in fact, I've hunted day and
night.  I unearthed Smith at last, but he went and died.  I
hadn't even time to get a look at him.  Then, through chance, I
suddenly learned that a woman I had suspicions of had died in
Vassilyevsky Island.  I made inquiries and got on the track.  I
rushed off to Vassilyevsky, and there it was, do, you remember,
we met.  I made a big haul that time.  In short, Nellie was a
great help to me at that point ..."
  "Listen," I interrupted, "surely you don't suppose that
Nellie knows?"
  "What?"
  "That she is Prince Valkovsky's daughter?
  "Why, you know yourself that she's the prince's daughter,"
he answered, looking at me with a sort of angry reproach.  "Why
ask such idle questions, you foolish fellow?  What matters is not
simply that she's the prince's daughter, but that she's his
legitimate daughter - do you understand that?
  "Impossible!" I cried.
  "I told myself it was 'impossible' at first.  But it turns out
that it is possible and in all probability is true,"
"No, Masloboev, that's not so, your fancy is running away
with you!" I cried.  "She doesn't know anything about it, and
what's more she's his illegitimate daughter.  If the mother had
had any sort of documentary evidence to produce, would she
have put up with the awful life she led here in Petersburg, and
what's more, have left her child to such an utterly forlorn fate
Nonsense!  It's impossible!"
  "I've thought the same myself; in fact, it's a puzzle to me
this day.  But then, again, the thing is that Nellie's mother was
the craziest and most senseless woman in the world.  She was
extraordinary woman; consider all the circumstances, her
romanticism, all that star-gazing nonsense in it's wildest and
craziest form.  Take one point : from the very beginning she
dreamed of something like a heaven upon earth, of angels; her
love was boundless, her faith was limitless, and I'm convinced
that she went mad afterwards, not because he got tired of her
and cast her off, but because she was deceived in him, because
he was capable of deceiving her and abandoning her, because her
idol was turned into clay, had spat on her, and humiliated her
Her romantic and irrational soul could not endure this trans-
formation, and the insult besides.  Do you realize what an insult
it was? In her horror and, above all, her pride, she drew back
from him with infinite contempt.  She broke all ties, tore up
her papers, spat upon his money, forgetting that it was not her
money, but her father's, refused it as so much dirt in order to
crush her seducer by her spiritual grandeur, to look upon him
having robbed her, and to have the right to despise him all her
life.  And very likely she said that she considered it a dishonour
to call herself his wife.  We have no divorce in Russia, but de
facto they were separated, and how could she ask him for her
after that! Remember that the mad creature said to Nellie on
her death-bed, 'Don't go to him; work, perish, but don't go to
him, whoever may try to take you.' So that even then she was
dreaming that she would be sought out, and so would be able
once more to avenge herself by crushing the seeker with her
contempt.  In short, she fed on evil dreams instead of bread.
I've got a great deal out of Nellie, brother; in fact, I get a good
deal still.  Her mother was ill, of course, in consumption;, the
disease specially develops bitterness and every sort of irritability
yet I know for certain, through a crony of the woman Bubnov's
that she did write to the prince, yes, to the prince, actually to the
prince..."
  "She wrote! And did he get the letter?" I cried.
  "That's just it.  I don't know whether he did or not.  On one
occasion Nellie's mother approached that crony. (Do you
remember that painted wench? Now she's in the penitentiary.)
Well, she'd written the letter and she gave it to her to take, but
didn't send it after all and took it back.  That was three weeks
before her death. . . a significant fact; if once she brought
herself to send it, even though she did take it back, she might
have sent it again - I don't know; but there is one reason for
believing that she really did not send it, for the prince, I fancy,
only found out for certain that she had been in Petersburg, and
where she'd been living, after her death.  He must have been
relieved!"
  "Yes, I remember Alyosha mentioned some letter that his
father was very much pleased about, but that was quite lately,
not more than two months ago.  Well, go on, go on.  What of
your dealings with the prince?
  "My dealings with the prince?  Understand, I had a complete
moral conviction, but not a single positive proof, not a single one,
in spite of all my efforts.  A critical position! I should have had
to make inquiries abroad.  But where? - I didn't know.  I
realized, of course, that there I should have a hard fight for it,
that I could only scare him by hints, pretend I knew more than
I really did. . ."
  "Well, what then?"
  "He wasn't taken in, though he was scared; so scared that
he's in a funk even now.  We had several meetings.  What a
leper he made himself out!  Once in a moment of effusion he fell
to telling me the whole story.  That was when he thought I knew
all about it.  He told it well, frankly, with feeling - of course he
was lying shamelessly.  It was then I took the measure of his
fear for me.  I played the simpleton one time to him, and let him
see I was shamming.  I played the part awkwardly - that is,
awkwardly on purpose.  I purposely treated him to a little
rudeness, began to threaten him, all that he might take me for a
simpleton and somehow let things out.  He saw through it, the
scoundrel!  Another time I pretended to be drunk.  That didn't
answer either - he's cunning.  You can understand that, Vanya.
I had to find out how far he was afraid of me; and at the same
time to make him believe I knew more than I did."
  "Well, and what was the end of it?"
  "Nothing came of it.  I needed proofs and I hadn't got them.
He only realized one thing, that I might make a scandal.  And,
of course, a scandal was the one thing he was afraid of, and he
was the more afraid of it because he had began to form ties here.
You know he's going to be married, of course?"
  "No."
  "Next year.  He looked out for his bride when he was here
last year; she was only fourteen then.  She's fifteen by now,
still in pinafores, poor thing!  Her parents were delighted.  You
can imagine how anxious he must have been for his wife to die.
She's a general's daughter, a girl with money - heaps of money!
You and I will never make a marriage like that, friend Vanya ...
Only there's something I shall never forgive myself for as long as
I live!" cried Masloboev, bringing his fist down on the table.
That he got the better of me a fortnight ago ... the scoundrel!"
  "How so?"
  "It was like this.  I saw he knew I'd nothing positive to go
upon; and I felt at last that the longer the thing dragged on the
more he'd realize my helplessness.  Well, so I consented to take
two thousand from him."
  "You took two thousand!"
  "In silver, Vanya; it was against the grain, but I took it.
As though such a job were worth no more than two thousand!
It was humiliating to take it.  I felt as though he'd spat upon
me.  He said to me: 'I haven't paid you yet, Masloboev, for
the work you did before.' (But he had paid long ago the hundred
and fifty roubles we'd agreed upon.) 'Well, now I'm going
away; here's two thousand, and so I hope everything's settled
between us.' So I answered, 'Finally settled, prince,' and I
didn't dare to look into his ugly face.  I thought it was plainly
written upon it, 'Well, he's got enough.  I'm simply giving it to
the fool out of good-nature.'  I don't remember how I got
away from him!"
  "But that was disgraceful, Masloboev," I cried.  "What
about Nellie! "
  "It wasn't simply disgraceful ... it was criminal ... it was
loathsome.  It was ... it was ... there's no word to describe it!"
  "Good heavens!  He ought at least to provide for Nellie!"
  "Of course he ought! But how's one to force him to?
Frighten him? Not a bit of it, he won't be frightened; you
see, I've taken the money.  I admitted to him myself that all he
had to fear from me was only worth two thousand roubles.  I
fixed that price on myself!  How's one going to frighten him
now?"
  "And can it be that everything's lost for Nellie?" I cried,
almost in despair.
  "Not a bit of it! " cried Masloboev hotly, starting up.  "No,
I won't let him off like that.  I shall begin all over again, Vanya.
I've made up my mind to.  What if I have taken two thousand?
Hang it all!  I took it for the insult, because he cheated me, the
rascal; he must have been laughing at me.  He cheated me and
laughed at me, too!  No, I'm not going to let myself be laughed
at.... Now, I shall start with Nellie, Vanya.  From things I've
noticed I'm perfectly sure that she has the key to the whole
situation.  She knows all - all about it! Her mother told her.
In delirium, in despondency, she might well have told her.  She
had no one to complain to.  Nellie was at hand, so she told
Nellie.  And maybe we may come upon some documents," he
added gleefully, rubbing his hands.  "You understand now,
Vanya, why I'm always hanging about here? In the first place,
because I'm so fond of you, of course; but chiefly to keep a
watch on Nellie; and another thing, Vanya, whether you like it
or not, you must help me, for you have an influence on Nellie!..."
  "To be sure I will, I swear!" I cried.  "And I hope, Maslo-
-boev, that you'll do your best for Nellie's sake, for the sake of
the poor, injured orphan, and not only for your own advantage."
  "What difference does it make to you whose advantage I do
my best for, you blessed innocent? As long as it's done, that's
what matters! Of course it's for the orphan's sake, that's only
common humanity.  But don't you judge me too finally, Vanya,
if I do think of myself.  I'm a poor man, and he mustn't dare to
insult the poor.  He's robbing me of my own, and he's cheated
me into the bargain, the scoundrel.  So am I to consider a
swindler like that, to your thinking? Morgen fruh!"
	.	.	.	.	.	.
  But our flower festival did not come off next day.  Nellie was
worse and could not leave her room.
  And she never did leave that room again.
  She died a fortnight later.  In that fortnight of her last agony
she never quite came to herself, or escaped from her strange
fantasies.  Her intellect was, as it were, clouded.  She was firmly
convinced up to the day of her death that her grandfather was
calling her and was angry with her for not coming, was rapping
with his stick at her, and was telling her to go begging to get
bread and snuff for him.  She often began crying in her sleep,
and when she waked said that she had seen her mother.
  Only at times she seemed fully to regain her faculties.  Once
we were left alone together.  She turned to me and clutched my
hand with her thin, feverishly hot little hand.
  "Vanya," she said, "when I die, marry Natasha."
  I believe this idea had been constantly in her mind for a long
time.  I smiled at her without speaking.  Seeing my smile, she
smiled too; with a mischievous face she shook her little finger
at me and at once began kissing me.
  On an exquisite summer evening three days before her death
she asked us to draw the blinds and open the windows in her
bedroom.  The windows looked into the garden.  She gazed a
long while at the thick, green foliage, at the setting sun, and
suddenly asked the others to leave us alone.
  "Vanya," she said in a voice hardly audible, for she was very
weak by now, "I shall die soon, very soon.  I should like you to
remember me.  I'll leave you this as a keepsake." (And she
showed me a little bag which hung with a cross on her breast.)
"Mother left it me when she was dying.  So when I die you take
this from me, take it and read what's in it.  I shall tell them all
to-day to give it to you and no one else.  And when you read
what's written in it, go to him and tell him that I'm dead, and
that I haven't forgiven him.  Tell him, too, that I've been
reading the Gospel lately.  There it says we must forgive all our
enemies.  Well, I've read that, but I've not forgiven him all the
same; for when mother was dying and still could talk, the last
thing she said was: 'I curse him.' And so I curse him, not on
my own account but on mother's.  Tell him how mother died,
how I was left alone at Mme.  Bubnov's; tell him how you saw
me there, tell him all, all, and tell him I liked better to be at Mme.
Bubnov's than to go to him..."
  As she said this, Nellie turned pale, her eyes flashed, her heart
began beating so violently that she sank back on the pillow, and
for two minutes she could not utter a word.
  "Call them, Vanya," she said at last in a faint voice.  "I
want to say good-bye to them all.  Good-bye, Vanya!"
  She embraced me warmly for the last time.  All the others
came in.  Nikolay Sergeyitch could not realize that she was
dying; he could not admit the idea.  Up to the last moment he
refused to agree with us, maintaining that she would certainly
get well.  He was quite thin with anxiety; he sat by Nellie's
bedside for days and even nights together.  The last night he
didn't sleep at all.  He tried to anticipate Nellie's slightest
wishes, and wept bitterly when he came out to us from her, but
he soon began hoping again that she would soon get well.  He
filled her room with flowers.  Once he bought her a great bunch
of exquisite white and red roses; he went a long way to get them
and bring them to his little Nellie... He excited her very much
by all this.  She could not help responding with her whole heart
to the love that surrounded her on all sides.  That evening, the
evening of her good-bye to us, the old man could not bring
himself to say good-bye to her for ever.  Nellie smiled at him,
and all the evening tried to seem cheerful; she joked with him
and even laughed... We left her room, feeling almost hopeful,
but next day she could not speak.  And two days later she died.
  I remember how the old man decked her little coffin with
flowers, and gazed in despair at her wasted little face, smiling in
death, and at her hands crossed on her breast.  He wept over
her as though she had been his own child.  Natasha and all of us
tried to comfort him, but nothing could comfort him, and he was
seriously ill after her funeral.
  Anna Andreyevna herself gave me the little bag off Nellie's
neck.  In it was her mother's letter to Prince Valkovsky.  I read
it on the day of Nellie's death.  She cursed the prince, said she
could not forgive him, described all the latter part of her life, all
the horrors to which she was leaving Nellie, and besought him to
do something for the child.
  "She is yours," she wrote.  "She is your daughter, and you
know that she is really your daughter, I have told her to go to
you when I am dead and to give you this letter.  If you do not
repulse Nellie, perhaps then I shall forgive you, and at the
judgement day I will stand before the throne of God and pray for
your sins to be forgiven.  Nellie knows what is in this letter.  I
have read it to her, I have told her all; she knows everything,
everything.
  But Nellie had not done her mother's bidding.  She knew all,
but she had not gone to the prince, and had died unforgiving.
  When we returned from Nellie's funeral, Natasha and I went
out into the garden.  It was a hot, sunny day.  A week later they
were to set off.  Natasha turned a long, strange look upon me.
  "Vanya," she said, "Vanya, it was a dream, you know."
  "What was a dream?" I asked.
  "All, all," she answered, "everything, all this year.  Vanya,
why did I destroy your happiness?"
  And in her eyes I read:
    "We might have been happy together for ever."