capital punishment, have we? But be sure to come, even if it’s at three o’clock at night, at four, at half- past four. … Tell them to wake me, to wake me, to shake me, if I don’t get up … But, good heavens, I shan’t sleep! But wait, hadn’t I better come with you?”

“N—no. But if you would write three lines with your own hand, stating that you did not give Dmitri Fyodorovitch money, it might, perhaps, be of use … in case it’s needed …”

“To be sure!” Madame Hohlakov skipped, delighted, to her bureau. “And you know I’m simply struck, amazed at your resourcefulness, your good sense in such affairs. Are you in the service here? I’m delighted to think that you’re in the service here!”

And still speaking, she scribbled on half a sheet of notepaper the following lines:

“I’ve never in my life lent to that unhappy man, Dmitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov (for, in spite of all, he is unhappy) three thousand roubles to-day. I’ve never given him money, never! That I swear by all that’s holy!

“K. Hohlakov.”

“Here’s the note!” she turned quickly to Pyotr Ilyitch. “Go, save him. It’s a noble deed on your part!”

And she made the sign of the cross three times over him. She ran out to accompany him to the passage.

“How grateful I am to you! You can’t think how grateful I am to you for having come to me, first. How is it I haven’t met you before? I shall feel flattered at seeing you at my house in the future. How delightful it is that you are living here!. … Such precision! Such practical ability! … They must appreciate you, they must understand you. If there’s anything I can do, believe me … oh, I love young people! I’m in love with young people! The younger generation are the one prop of our suffering country. Her one hope. … Oh, go, go!”

But Pyotr Ilyitch had already run away or she would not have let him go so soon. Yet Madame Hohlakov had made a rather agreeable impression on him, which had somewhat softened his anxiety at being drawn into such an unpleasant affair. Tastes differ, as we all know. “She’s by no means so elderly,” he thought, feeling pleased, “on the contrary I should have taken her for her daughter.”

As for Madame Hohlakov she was simply enchanted by the young man. “Such sense! such exactness! in so young a man! in our day! and all that with such manners and appearance! People say the young people of to-day are no good for anything, but here’s an example!” etc., etc. So she simply forgot this “dreadful affair,” and it was only as she was getting into bed, that, suddenly recalling “how near death she had been” she exclaimed: “Ah, it is awful, awful!”

But she fell at once into a sound, sweet sleep.

I would not, however, have dwelt on such trivial and irrelevant details, if this eccentric meeting of the young official with the by no means elderly widow, had not subsequently turned out to be the foundation of the whole career of that practical and precise young man. His story is remembered to this day with amazement in our town, and I shall perhaps have something to say about it, when I have finished my long history of the Brothers Karamazov.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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