“Of course not, and I don’t feel much pain now.”

“That’s because your finger is in the water. It must be changed directly for it will get warm in a minute. Yulia, bring some ice from the cellar and another basin of water. Now she is gone, I can speak; will you give me the letter I sent you yesterday, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch—be quick for mamma will be back in a minute and I don’t want—”

“I haven’t got the letter.”

“That’s not true, you have. I knew you would say that. You’ve got it in that pocket. I’ve been regretting that joke all night. Give me back the letter at once, give it me.”

“I’ve left it at home.”

“But you can’t consider me as a child, a little girl, after that silly joke! I beg your pardon for that silliness, but you must bring me the letter, if you really haven’t got it—bring it to-day, you must, you must.”

“To-day, I can’t possibly, for I am going back to the monastery and I shan’t come and see you for the next two days—three or four perhaps—for Father Zossima——

“Four days, what nonsense! Listen. Did you laugh at me very much?”

“I didn’t laugh at all.”

“Why not?”

“Because I believed all you said.”

“You are insulting me!”

“Not at all. As soon as I read it, I thought that all that would come to pass, for as soon as Father Zossima dies, I am to leave the monastery. Then I shall go back and finish my studies, and when you reach the legal age we will be married. I shall love you. Though I haven’t had time to think about it, I believe I couldn’t find a better wife than you, and Father Zossima tells me I must marry.”

“But I am a cripple, wheeled about in a chair,” laughed Lise, flushing crimson.

“I’ll wheel you about myself, but I’m sure you’ll get well by then.”

“But you are mad,” said Lise, nervously, “to make all this nonsense out of a joke! Here’s mamma, very à propos, perhaps. Mamma, how slow you always are, how can you be so long! And here’s Yulia with the ice!”

“Oh, Lise, don’t scream, above all things don’t scream. That scream drives me … How can I help it when you put the lint in another place. I’ve been hunting and hunting—I do believe you did it on purpose.”

“But I couldn’t tell that he would come with a bad finger, or else perhaps I might have done it on purpose. My darling mamma, you begin to say really witty things.”

“Never mind my being witty, but I must say you show nice feeling for Alexey Fyodorovitch’s sufferings! Oh, my dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, what’s killing me is no one thing in particular, not Herzenstube, but everything together, that’s what is too much for me.”

“That’s enough, mamma, enough about Herzenstube,” Lise laughed gaily. “Make haste with the lint and the lotion, mamma. That’s simply Goulard’s water, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I remember the name now, but it’s a splendid lotion. Would you believe it, mamma, on the way here he had a fight with the boys in the

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