At Grushenka's

Alyosha went towards the cathedral square to the widow Morozov’s house to see Grushenka, who had sent Fenya to his early in the morning with an urgent message begging him to come. Questioning Fenya, Alyosha learned that her mistress had been particularly distressed since the previous day. During the two months that had passed since Mitya’s arrest, Alyosha had called frequently at the widow Morozov’s house, both from his own inclination and to take message for Mitya. Three days after Mitya’s arrest, Grushenka was taken very ill and was ill for nearly five weeks For one whole week she was unconscious. She was very much changed—thinner and a little sallow, though she had for the past fortnight been well enough to go out. But to Alyosha her face was even more attractive than before, and he like to meet her eyes when he went in to her. A look of firmness and intelligent purpose had developed in her face. There were signs of a spiritual transformation in her, and a steadfast, fine and humble determination that nothing could shake could be discerned in her. There was a small vertical line between her brows which gave her charming face a look of concentrated thought, almost austere at the first glance. There was scarcely a trace of her former frivolity.

It seemed strange to Alyosha, too, that in spite of the calamity that had overtaken the poor girl, betrothed to a man who had been arrested for a terrible crime, almost at the instant of their betrothal, in spite of her illness and the almost inevitable sentence hanging over Mitya, Grushenka had yet not lost her youthful cheerfulness. There was a soft light in the once proud eyes, thought at times they gleamed with the odd vindictive fire when she was visited by one disturbing thought stronger than ever in her heart. The object of that uneasiness was the same as ever—Katerina Ivanovna, of whom Grushenka had even raved when she lay in delirium. Alyosha knew that she was fearfully jealous of her. Yet Katerina Ivanovna had not once visited Mitya in his prison, though she might have done it whenever she liked. All this made a difficult problem for Alyosha, for he was the only person to whom Grushenka opened her heart and from whom she was continually asking advice. Sometimes he was unable to say anything.

Full of anxiety he entered her lodging. She was at home. she had returned from seeing Mitya half an hour before, and from the rapid movement with which she leapt up from her chair to meet him he saw that she had been expecting him with great impatience. A pack of cards dealt for a game of “fools” lay on the table. A bed had been made up on the leather sofa on the other side and Maximov lay, half- reclining, on it. He wore a dressing-gown and a cotton nightcap, and was evidently il and weak. though he was smiling blissfully. When the homeless old man returned with Grushenka from Mokroe two months before, he had simply stayed on and was still staying with her. He arrived with her in rain and sleet, sat down on the sofa, drenched and scared, and gazed mutely at her with a timid, appealing smile. Grushenka, who was in terrible grief and in the first stage of fever, almost forgot his existence in all she had to do the first half-hour after her arrival. Suddenly she chanced to look at him intently: he laughed a pitiful, helpless little laugh. She called Fenya and told her to give him something to eat. All the day he sat in the same place, almost without stirring. When it got dark and the shutters were closed, Fenya asked her mistress:

“Is the gentleman going to stay the night, mistress?”

“Yes; make him a bed on the sofa,” answered Grushenka.

Questioning him more in detail, Grushenka learned from him that he had literally nowhere to go, and that “Mr. Kalganov, my benefactor, told me straight that he wouldn’t receive me again and gave me five roubles.”

“Well, God bless you, you’d better stay then,” Grushenka decided in her grief, smiling compassionately at him. Her smile wrung the old man’s heart and his lips twitched with grateful tears. And so the destitute wanderer had stayed with her ever since. He did not leave the house even when she was ill. Fenya and her grandmother, the cook, did not turn him out, but went on serving his meals and making up his bed on the sofa. Grushenka had grown used to him, and coming back from seeing Mitya (Whom she had begun to visit in prison before she was really well) She would sit down and begin talking to “Maximushka” about trifling matters, to keep her from thinking of her sorrow. The old man turned out to be

  By PanEris using Melati.

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