But whats the matter with you, mamma, darling?
Ah, your caprices, Lise, your fidgetiness, your illness, that awful night of fever, that awful everlasting Herzenstube, everlasting, everlasting, thats the worst of it! Everything, in fact, everything. Even that miracle, too! Oh, how it has upset me, how it has shattered me, that miracle, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch! And that tragedy in the drawing-room, its more than I can bear, I warn you. I cant bear it. A comedy, perhaps, not a tragedy. Tell me, will Father Zossima live till to-morrow, will he? Oh, my God! What is happening to me? Every minute I close my eyes and see that its all nonsense, all nonsense.
I should be very grateful, Alyosha interrupted suddenly, if you could give me a clean rag to bind up my finger with. I have hurt it, and its very painful.
Alyosha unbound his bitten finger. The handkerchief was soaked with blood. Madame Hohlakov screamed and shut her eyes.
Good heavens, what a wound, how awful!
But as soon as Lise saw Alyoshas finger through the crack, she flung the door wide open.
Come, come here, she cried, imperiously. No nonsense now! Good heavens, why did you stand there saying nothing about it all this time? He might have bled to death, mamma! How did you do it? Water, water! You must wash it first of all, simply hold it in cold water to stop the pain, and keep it there, keep it there. Make haste, mamma, some water in a slop basin. But do make haste, she finished nervously. She was quite frightened at the sight of Alyoshas wound.
Shouldnt we send for Herzenstube? cried Madame Hohlakov.
Mamma, youll be the death of me. Your Herzenstube will come and say that he can make nothing of it! Water, water! Mamma, for goodness sake go yourself and hurry Yulia, she is such a slowcoach and never can come quickly! Make haste, mamma, or I shall die.
Why, its nothing much, cried Alyosha, frightened at this alarm.
Yulia ran in with water and Alyosha put his finger in it.
Some lint, mamma, for mercys sake, bring some lint and that muddy caustic lotion for wounds, whats it called? Weve got some. You know where the bottle is, mamma; its in your bedroom in the right-hand cup-board, theres a big bottle of it there with the lint.
Ill bring everything in a minute, Lise, only dont scream and dont fuss. You see how bravely Alexey Fyodorovitch bears it. Where did you get such a dreadful wound, Alexey Fyodorovitch?
Madame Hohlakov hastened away. This was all Lise was waiting for.
First of all, answer the question, where did you get hurt like this? she asked Alyosha, quickly. And then Ill talk to you about something quite different. Well?
Instinctively feeling that the time of her mothers absence was precious for her, Alyosha hastened to tell her of his enigmatic meeting with the schoolboys in the fewest words possible. Lise clasped her hands at his story.
How can you, and in that dress too, associate with schoolboys! she cried angrily, as though she had a right to control him. You are nothing but a boy yourself if you can do that, a perfect boy! But you must find out for me about that horrid boy and tell me all about it, for theres some mystery in it. Now for the second thing, but first a question: does the pain prevent you talking about utterly unimportant things, but talking sensibly?
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