“If you would kindly listen, Madame, for half a moment, I’ll explain it all in a couple of words,” answered Perhotin, firmly. “At five o’clock this afternoon Dmitri Fyodorovitch borrowed ten roubles from me; and I know for a fact he had no money. Yet at nine o’clock, he came to see me with a bundle of hundred- rouble notes in his hand, about two or three thousand roubles. His hands and face were all covered with blood, and he looked like a madman. When I asked him where he had got so much money, he answered that he had just received it from you, that you had given him a sum of three thousand to go to the gold-mines …”

Madame Hohlakov’s face assumed an expression of intense and painful excitement.

“Good God! He must have killed his old father!” she cried, clasping her hands. “I have never given him money, never! Oh, run, run! … Don’t say another word! Save the old man … run to his father … run!”

“Excuse me, Madame, then you did not give him money? You remember for a fact that you did not give him any money?”

“No, I didn’t, I didn’t! I refused to give it him, for he could not appreciate it. He ran out in a fury, stamping. He rushed at me, but I slipped away … And let me tell you, as I wish to hide nothing from you now, that he positively spat at me. Can you fancy that! But why are we standing? Ah, sit down. … Excuse me, I … or better run, run, you must run and save the poor old man from an awful death!”

“But if he has killed him already?”

“Ah, good heavens, yes! Then what are we to do now? What do you think we must do now?”

Meantime she had made Pyotr Ilyitch sit down and sat down herself, facing him. Briefly, but fairly clearly, Pyotr Ilyitch told her the history of the affair, that part of it at least which he had himself witnessed. He described, too, his visit to Fenya, and told her about the pestle. All these details produced an overwhelming effect on the distracted lady, who kept uttering shrieks, and covering her face with her hands. …

“Would you believe it, I foresaw all this! I have that special faculty, whatever I imagine comes to pass. And how often I’ve looked at that awful man and always thought, that man will end by murdering me. And now it’s happened … that is, if he hasn’t murdered me, but only his own father, it’s only because the finger of God preserved me, and what’s more, he was ashamed to murder me because, on this very place, I put the holy ikon from the relics of the holy martyr, Saint Varvara, on his neck. … And to think how near I was to death at that minute, I went close up to him and he stretched out his neck to me! … Do you know, Pyotr Ilyitch (I think you said your name was Pyotr Ilyitch), I don’t believe in miracles, but that ikon and this unmistakable miracle with me now—that shakes me, and I’m ready to believe in anything you like. Have you heard about Father Zossima? … But I don’t know what I’m saying … and only fancy, with the ikon on his neck he spat at me. … He only spat, it’s true, he didn’t murder me and … he dashed away! but what shall we do, what must we do now? What do you think?”

Pyotr Ilyitch got up, and announced that he was going straight to the police captain, to tell him all about it, and leave him to do what he thought fit.

“Oh, he’s an excellent man, excellent! Mihail Makarovitch, I know him. Of course, he’s the person to go to. How practical you are, Pyotr Ilyitch! How well you’ve thought of everything! I should never have thought of it in your place!”

“Especially as I know the police captain very well, too,” observed Pyotr Ilyitch, who still continued to stand, and was obviously anxious to escape as quickly as possible from the impulsive lady, who would not let him say good-bye and go away.

“And be sure, be sure,” she prattled on, “to come back and tell me what you see there, and what you find out … what comes to light … how they’ll try him … and what he’s condemned to … Tell me, we have no

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