You were walking in the streets?
Yes, Sonia whispered abruptly, again overcome with confusion and looking down.
Katerina Ivanovna used to beat you, I dare say?
Oh no, what are you saying? No! Sonia looked at him almost with dismay.
You love her, then?
Love her? Of course! said Sonia with plaintive emphasis, and she clasped her hands in distress. Ah, you dont. If you only knew! You see, she is quite like a child. Her mind is quite unhinged, you see from sorrow. And how clever she used to be how generous how kind! Ah, you dont understand, you dont understand!
Sonia said this as though in despair, wringing her hands in excitement and distress. Her pale cheeks flushed, there was a look of anguish in her eyes. It was clear that she was stirred to the very depths, that she was longing to speak, to champion, to express something. A sort of insatiable compassion, if one may so express it, was reflected in every feature of her face.
Beat me! how can you? Good heavens, beat me! And if she did beat me, what then? What of it? You know nothing, nothing about it. She is so unhappy ah, how unhappy! And ill. She is seeking righteousness, she is pure. She has such faith that there must be righteousness everywhere and she expects it. And if you were to torture her, she wouldnt do wrong. She doesnt see that its impossible for people to be righteous and she is angry at it. Like a child, like a child. She is good!
And what will happen to you?
Sonia looked at him inquiringly.
They are left on your hands, you see. They were all on your hands before, though. And your father came to you to beg for drink. Well, how will it be now?
I dont know, Sonia articulated mournfully.
Will they stay there?
I dont know. They are in debt for the lodging, but the landlady, I hear, said to-day that she wanted to get rid of them, and Katerina Ivanovna says that she wont stay another minute.
How is it she is so bold? She relies upon you?
Oh, no, dont talk like that. We are one, we live like one. Sonia was agitated again and even angry, as though a canary or some other little bird were to be angry. And what could she do? What, what could she do? she persisted, getting hot and excited. And how she cried to-day! Her mind is unhinged, havent you noticed it? At one minute she is worrying like a child that everything should be right to- morrow, the lunch and all that. Then she is wringing her hands, spitting blood, weeping, and all at once she will begin knocking her head against the wall, in despair. Then she will be comforted again. She builds all her hopes on you; she says that you will help her now and that she will borrow a little money somewhere and go to her native town with me and set up a boarding school for the daughters of gentlemen and take me to superintend it, and we will begin a new splendid life. And she kisses and hugs me, comforts me, and you know she has such faith, such faith in her fancies! One cant contradict her. And all the day long she has been washing, cleaning, mending. She dragged the wash tub into the room with her feeble hands and sank on the bed, gasping for breath. We went this morning to the shops to buy shoes for Polenka and Lida for theirs are quite worn out. Only the money wed reckoned wasnt enough, not nearly enough. And she picked out such dear little boots, for she has taste, you dont know. And there
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