At the Hohlakovs'
Alyosha soon reached Madame Hohlakovs house, a handsome stone house of two storeys, one of the finest in our town. Though Madame Hohlakov spent most of her time in another province where she had an estate, or in Moscow, where she had a house of her own, yet she had a house in our town too, inherited from her forefathers. The estate in our district was the largest of her three estates, yet she had been very little in our province before this time. She ran out to Alyosha in the hall.
Did you get my letter about the new miracle? She spoke rapidly and nervously.
Did you show it to every one? He restored the son to his mother!
He is dying to-day, said Alyosha.
I have heard, I know, oh, how I long to talk to you, to you, or some one about all this. No, to you, to you! And how sorry I am I cant see him! The whole town is in excitement, they are all suspense. But nowdo you know Katerina Ivanovna is here now?
Ah, thats lucky, cried Alyosha. Then I shall see her here. She told me yesterday to be sure to come and see her to-day.
I know, I know all. Ive heard exactly what happened yesterdayand the atrocious behaviour of thatcreature. Cest tragique, and if Id been in her place I dont know what I should have done. And your brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch, what do you think of him?my goodness! Alexey Fyodorovitch, I am forgetting, only fancy; your brother is in there with her, not that dreadful brother who was so shocking yesterday, but the other, Ivan Fyodorovitch, he is sitting with her talking; they are having a serious conversation. If you could only imagine whats passing between them nowits awful, I tell you its lacerating; its like some incredible tale of horror. They are ruining their lives for no reason any one can see. They both recognise it and revel in it. Ive been watching for you! Ive been thirsting for you! Its too much for me, thats the worst of it. Ill tell you all about it presently, but now I must speak of something else, the most important thingI had quite forgotten whats most important. Tell me; why has Lise been in hysterics? As soon as she heard you were here, she began to be hysterical!
Maman, its you who are hysterical now, not I. Lises voice carolled through a tiny crack of the door at the side. Her voice sounded as though she wanted to laugh, but was doing her utmost to control it. Alyosha at once noticed the crack, and no doubt Lise was peeping through it, but that he could not see.
And no wonder, Lise, no wonder your caprices will make me hysterical too. But she is so ill, Alexey Fyodorovitch, she has been so ill all night, feverish and moaning! I could hardly wait for the morning and for Herzenstube to come. He says that he can make nothing of it, that we must wait. Herzenstube always comes and says that he can make nothing of it. As soon as you approached the house, she screamed, fell into hysterics, and insisted on being wheeled back into this room here.
Mamma, I didnt know he had come. It wasnt on his account I wanted to be wheeled into this room.
Thats not true, Lise, Yulia ran to tell you that Alexey Fyodorovitch was coming. She was on the look- out for you.
My darling mamma, its not at all clever of you. But if you want to make up for it and say something very clever, dear mamma, youd better tell our honoured visitor, Alexey Fyodorovitch, that he has shown his want of wit by venturing to us after what happened yesterday and although every one is laughing at him.
Lise, you go too far. I declare I shall have to be severe. Who laughs at him? I am so glad he has come, I need him, I cant do without him. Oh, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I am exceedingly unhappy!
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