On returning from the Hay Market he flung himself on the sofa and sat for a whole hour without stirring. Meanwhile it got dark; he had no candle and, indeed, it did not occur to him to light up. He could never recollect whether he had been thinking about anything at that time. At last he was conscious of his former fever and shivering, and he realised with relief that he could lie down on the sofa. Soon heavy, leaden sleep came over him, as it were crushing him.
He slept an extraordinarily long time and without dreaming. Nastasya, coming into his room at ten oclock the next morning, had difficulty in rousing him. She brought him in tea and bread. The tea was again the second brew and again in her own tea-pot.
My goodness, how he sleeps! she cried indignantly. And he is always asleep.
He got up with an effort. His head ached, he stood up, took a turn in his garret and sank back on the sofa again.
Going to sleep again, cried Nastasya. Are you ill, eh?
He made no reply.
Do you want some tea?
Afterwards, he said with an effort, closing his eyes again and turning to the wall.
Nastasya stood over him.
Perhaps he really is ill, she said, turned and went out. She came in again at two oclock with soup. He was lying as before. The tea stood untouched. Nastasya felt positively offended and began wrathfully rousing him.
Why are you lying like a log? she shouted, looking at him with repulsion.
He got up, and sat down again, but said nothing and stared at the floor.
Are you ill or not? asked Nastasya and again received no answer. Youd better go out and get a breath of air, she said after a pause. Will you eat it or not?
Afterwards, he said weakly. You can go.
And he motioned her out.
She remained a little longer, looked at him with compassion and went out.
A few minutes afterwards, he raised his eyes and looked for a long while at the tea and the soup. Then he took the bread, took up a spoon and began to eat.
He ate a little, three or four spoonfuls, without appetite, as it were mechanically. His head ached less. After his meal he stretched himself on the sofa again, but now he could not sleep; he lay without stirring, with his face in the pillow. He was haunted by day-dreams and such strange day-dreams; in one, that kept recurring, he fancied that he was in Africa, in Egypt, in some sort of oasis. The caravan was resting, the camels were peacefully lying down; the palms stood all around in a complete circle; all the party were at dinner. But he was drinking water from a spring which flowed gurgling close by. And it was so cool, it was wonderful, wonderful, blue, cold water running among the parti-coloured stones and over the clean sand which glistened here and there like gold. Suddenly he heard a clock strike. He started, roused himself, raised his head, looked out of the window, and seeing how late it was, suddenly jumped up wide awake as though someone had pulled him off the sofa. He crept on tiptoe to the door, stealthily opened it and began listening on the staircase. His heart beat terribly. But all was quiet on the stairs
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