A carriage belonging to Madame Hohlakov drove up to the gate. The captain, who had been expecting the doctor all the morning, rushed headlong out to meet him. “Mamma” pulled herself together and assumed a dignified air. Alyosha went up to Ilusha and began setting his pillows straight. Nina, from her invalid chair, anxiously watched him putting the bed tidy. The boys hurriedly took leave. Some of them promised to come again in the evening. Kolya called Perezvon and the dog jumped off the bed.

“I won’t go away, I won’t go away,” Kolya said hastily to Ilusha. “I’ll wait in the passage and come back when the doctor’s gone, I’ll come back with Perezvon.”

But by now the doctor had entered, an important looking person with long, dark whiskers and a shiny, shaven chin, wearing a bear-skin coat. As he crossed the threshold he stopped, taken aback; he probably fancied he had come to the wrong place. “How is this? Where am I?” he muttered, not removing his coat nor his peaked sealskin cap. The crowd, the poverty of the room, the washing hanging on a line in the corner, puzzled him. The captain, bent double, was bowing low before him.

“It’s here, sir, here, sir,” he muttered cringingly; “it’s here, you’ve come right, you were coming to us…”

“Sne-gi-ryov?” the doctor said loudly and pompously. “Mr. Snegiryov—is that you?”

“That’s me, sir!”


The doctor looked round the room with a squeamish air once more and threw off his coat, displaying to all eyes the grand decoration at his neck. The captain caught the fur coat in the air, and the doctor took off his cap.

“Where is the patient?” he asked emphatically.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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