minute. But, I say, I am keeping you here! Kolya cried suddenly. Youve no overcoat on in this bitter cold. You see what an egoist I am. Oh, we are all egoists, Karamazov!
Dont trouble; it is cold, but I dont often catch cold. Let us go in though, and, by the way, what is your name? I know you are called Kolya, but what else?
NikolayNikolay Ivanovitch Krassotkin, or, as they say in official documents Krassotkin son. Kolya laughed for some reason, but added suddenly, Of course I hate my name Nikolay.
Its so trivial, so ordinary.
You are thirteen? asked Alyosha.
No, fourteenthat is, I shall be fourteen very soon, in a fortnight. Ill confess one weakness of mine, Karamazov, just to you, since its our first meeting, so that you may understand my character at once. I hate being asked my age, more than that and in fact theres a libellous story going about me, that last week I played robbers with the preparatory boys. Its a fact that I did play with them, but its a perfect libel to say I did it for my own amusement. I have reasons for believing that youve heard the story; but I wasnt playing for my own amusement, it was for the sake of the children, because they couldnt think of anything to do by themselves. But theyve always got some silly tale. This is an awful town for gossip, I can tell you.
But what if you had been playing for your own amusement, whats the harm?
Come, I say, for my own amusement! You dont play horses, do you?
But you must look at it like this, said Alyosha, smiling. Grown-up people go to the theatre and there the adventures of all sorts of heroes are representedsometimes there are robbers and battles, tooand isnt that just the same thing, in a different form, of course? And young peoples games of soldiers or robbers in their play-time are also art in its first stage. You know, they spring from the growing artistic instincts of the young. And sometimes these games are much better than performances in the theatre, the only difference is that people go there to look at actors, while in these games the young people are the actors themselves. But thats only natural.
You think so? Is that your idea? Kolya looked at him intently. Oh, you know, thats rather an interesting view. When I go home, Ill think it over. Ill admit I thought I might learn something from you. Ive come to learn of you, Karamazov, Kolya concluded, in a voice full of spontaneous feeling.
And I of you, said Alyosha, smiling and pressing his hand.
Kolya was much pleased with Alyosha. What struck him most was that he treated him exactly like an equal and that he talked to him just as if he were quite grown up.
Ill show you something directly, Karamazov; its a theatrical performance, too, he said, laughing nervously. Thats why Ive come.
Let us go first to the people of the house, on the left. All the boys leave their coats in there, because the room is small and hot.
Oh, Im only coming in for a minute. Ill keep on my overcoat. Perezvon will stay here in the passage and be dead. Ici, Perezvon, lie down and be dead! You see how hes dead. Ill go in first and explore, then Ill whistle to him when I think fit, and youll see, hell dash in like mad. Only Smurov must not forget to open the door at the moment. Ill arrange it all and youll see something.
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