“Well, kill me. Kill me now,” Smerdyakov said, all at once looking strangely at Ivan. “You won’t dare do that even!” he added, with a bitter smile. “You won’t dare to do anything, you, who used to be so bold!”

“Till to-morrow,” cried Ivan, and moved to go out.

“Stay a moment.… Show me those notes again.”

Ivan took out the notes and showed them to him. Smerdyakov looked at them for ten seconds.

“Well, you can go,” he said, with a wave of his hand. “Ivan Fyodorovitch!” he called after him again.

“What do you want?” Ivan turned without stopping.


“Till to-morrow!” Ivan cried again, and he walked out of the cottage.

The snowstorm was still raging. He walked the first few steps boldly, but suddenly began staggering. “It’s something physical,” he thought with a grin. Something like joy was springing up in his heart. He was conscious of unbounded resolution; he would make an end of the wavering that had so tortured him of late. His determination was taken, “and now it will not be changed,” he thought with relief. At that moment he stumbled against something and almost fell down, stopping short, he made out at his feet the peasant he had knocked down, still lying senseless and motionless. The snow had almost covered his face. Ivan seized him and lifted him in his arms. Seeing a light in the little house to the right he went up, knocked at the shutters, and asked the man to whom the house belonged to help him carry the peasant to the police-station, promising him three roubles. The man got ready and came out. I won’t describe in detail how Ivan succeeded in his object, bringing the peasant to the police-station and arranging for a doctor to see him at once, providing with a liberal hand for the expenses. I will only say that this business took a whole hour, but Ivan was well content with it. His mind wandered and worked incessantly.

“If I had not taken my decision so firmly for to-morrow,” he reflected with satisfaction, “I should not have stayed a whole hour to look after the peasant, but should have passed by, without caring about his being frozen. I am quite capable of watching myself, by the way,” he thought at the same instant, with still greater satisfaction, “although they have decided that I am going out of my mind!”

Just as he reached his own house he stopped short, asking himself suddenly hadn’t he better go at once now to the prosecutor and tell him everything. He decided the question by turning back to the house. “Everything together to-morrow!” he whispered to himself, and, strange to say, almost all his gladness and self-satisfaction passed in one instant.

As he entered his own room he felt something like a touch of ice on his heart, like a recollection or, more exactly, a reminder of something agonising and revolting that was in that room now, at that moment, and had been there before. He sank wearily on his sofa. The old woman brought him a samovar; he made tea, but did not touch it. He sat on the sofa and felt giddy. He felt that he was ill and helpless. He was beginning to drop asleep, but got up uneasily and walked across the room to shake off his drowsiness. At moments he fancied he was delirious, but it was not illness that he thought of most. Sitting down again, he began looking round, as though searching for something. This happened several times. At last his eyes were fastened intently on one point. Ivan smiled, but an angry flush suffused his face. He sat a long time in his place, his head propped on both arms, though he looked sideways at the same point, at the sofa that stood against the opposite wall. There was evidently something, some object, that irritated him there, worried him and tormented him.

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