The Schoolboy

But Kolya did not hear her. At last he could go out. As he went out at the gate he looked round him, shrugged up his shoulders, and saying “It is freezing,” went straight along the street and turned off to the right towards the market-place. When he reached the last house but one before the market-place he stopped at the gate, pulled a whistle out of his pocket, and whistled with all his might as though giving a signal. He had not to wait more than a minute before a rosy-cheeked boy of about eleven, wearing a warm, neat, and even stylish coat, darted out to meet him. This was Smurov, a boy in the preparatory class (two classes below Kolya Krassotkin), son of a well-to-do official. Apparently he was forbidden by his parents to associate with Krassotkin, who was well known to be a desperately naughty boy, so Smurov was obviously slipping out on the sly. He was—if the reader has not forgotten—one of the group of boys who two months before had thrown stones at Ilusha. He was the one who told Alyosha Karamazov about Ilusha.

“I’ve been waiting for you for the last hour, Krassotkin,” said Smurov stolidly, and the boys strode towards the market-place.

“I am late,” answered Krassotkin. “I was detained by circumstances. You won’t be thrashed for coming with me?”

“Come, I say, I’m never thrashed! And you’ve got Perezvon with you?”


“You’re taking him, too?


“Ah! if it were only Zhutchka!”

“That’s impossible. Zhutchka’s non-existent. Zhutchka is lost in the mists of obscurity.”

“Ah! couldn’t we do this?” Smurov suddenly stood still.

“You see Ilusha says that Zhutchka was a shaggy, greyish, smoky-looking dog like Perezvon. Couldn’t you tell him this is Zhutchka, and he might believe you?”

“Boy, shun a lie, that’s one thing; even with a good object—that’s another. Above all, I hope you’ve said nothing about my coming.”

“Heaven forbid! I know what I am about. But you won’t comfort him with Perezvon,” said Smurov, with a sigh. “You know his father, the captain, ‘the wisp of tow,’ told us that he was going to bring him a real mastiff pup, with a black nose, to-day. He thinks that would comfort Ilusha; but I doubt it.”

“And how is Ilusha?”

“Ah, he is bad, very bad! I believe he’s in consumption: he is quite conscious, but his breathing! His breathing’s gone wrong. The other day he asked to have his boots on to be led round the room. He tried to walk, but he couldn’t stand. ‘Ah, I told you before, father,’ he said, ‘that those boots were no good. I could never walk properly in them.’ He fancied it was his boots that made him stagger, but it was simply weakness, really. He won’t live another week. Herzenstube is looking after him. Now they are rich again—they’ve got heaps of money.”

“They are rogues.”

“Who are rogues?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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