What do you think the doctor will say to him? Kolya asked quickly. What a repulsive mug though, hasnt he? I cant endure medicine!
Ilusha is dying. I think thats certain, answered Alyosha mournfully.
They are rogues! Medicines a fraud! I am glad to have made your acquaintance though, Karamazov. I wanted to know you for a long time. I am only sorry we meet in such sad circumstances.
Kolya had a great inclination to say something even warmer and more demonstrative, but he felt ill at ease. Alyosha noticed this, smiled, and pressed his hand.
Ive long learned to respect you as a rare person, Kolya muttered again, faltering and uncertain. I have heard you are a mystic and have been in the monastery. I know you are a mystic but that hasnt put me off. Contact with real life will cure you Its always so with characters like yours.
What do you mean by mystic? Cure me of what? Alyosha was rather astonished.
Oh, God and all the rest of it.
What, dont you believe in God?
Oh, Ive nothing against God. Of course, God is only a hypothesis, but I admit that He is needed for the order of the universe and all that and that if there were no God He would have to be invented, added Kolya, beginning to blush. He suddenly fancied that Alyosha might think he was trying to show off his knowledge and to prove that he was grown up. I havent the slightest desire to show off my knowledge to him, Kolya thought indignantly. And all of a sudden he felt horribly annoyed.
I must confess I cant endure entering on such discussions, he said with a final air. Its possible for one who doesnt believe in God to love mankind, dont you think so? Voltaire didnt believe in God and loved mankind? (I am at it again, he thought to himself.)
Voltaire believed in God, though not very much, I think, and I dont think he loved mankind very much either, said Alyosha quietly, gently, and quite naturally, as though he were talking to some one of his own age, or even older. Kolya was particularly struck by Alyoshas apparent diffidence about his opinion of Voltaire. He seemed to be leaving the question for him, little Kolya, to settle.
Have you read Voltaire? Alyosha finished.
No, not to say read. But Ive read Candide in the Russian translation in an absurd, grotesque, old translation (At it again! again!)
And did you understand it?
Oh, yes, everything. That is Why do you suppose I shouldnt understand it? Theres a lot of nastiness in it, of course. Of course I can understand that its a philosophical novel and written to advocate an idea. Kolya was getting mixed by now. I am a Socialist, Karamazov, I am an incurable Socialist, he announced suddenly, apropos of nothing.
A Socialist? laughed Alyosha. But when have you had time to become one? Why, I thought you are only thirteen?
In the first place I am not thirteen, but fourteen, fourteen in a fortnight, he flushed angrily, and in the second place I am at a complete loss to understand what my age has to do with it? The question is what are my convictions, not what is my age, isnt it?
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