“You stood before me last time and understood it all, and you understand it now.”

“All I understand is that you are mad.”

“Aren’t you tired of it? Here we are face to face; what’s the use of going on keeping up a farce to each other? Are you still trying to throw it all on me, to my face? You murdered him; you are the real murderer, I was only your instrument, your faithful servant, and it was following your words I did it.”

“Did it? Why, did you murder him?” Ivan turned cold.

Something seemed to give way in his brain, and he shuddered all over with a cold shiver. Then Smerdyakov himself looked at him wonderingly; probably the genuineness of Ivan’s horror struck him.

“You don’t mean to say you really did not know?” he faltered mistrustfully, looking with a forced smile into his eyes. Ivan still gazed at him, and seemed unable to speak.

Ach, Vanka’s gone to Petersburg
I won’t wait till he comes back

suddenly echoed in his head.

“Do you know, I am afraid that you are a dream, a phantom sitting before me,” he muttered.

“There’s no phantom here, but only us two and one other. No doubt he is here, that third, between us.”

“Who is he? Who is here? What third person?” Ivan cried in alarm, looking about him, his eyes hastily searching in every corner.

“That third is God Himself, providence. He is the third beside us now. Only don’t look for him, you won’t find him.”

“It’s a lie that you killed him!” Ivan cried madly. “You are mad, or teasing me again!”

Smerdyakov, as before, watched him curiously, with no sign of fear. He could still scarcely get over his incredulity; he still fancied that Ivan knew everything and was trying to “throw it all on him to his face.”

“Wait a minute,” he said at last in a weak voice, and suddenly bringing up his left leg from under the table, he began turning up his trouser leg. He was wearing long white stockings and slippers. Slowly he took off his garter and fumbled to the bottom of his stocking. Ivan gazed at him, and suddenly shuddered in a paroxysm of terror.

“He’s mad!” he cried, and rapidly jumping up, he drew back, so that he knocked his back against the wall and stood up against it, stiff and straight. He looked with insane terror at Smerdyakov, who, entirely unaffected by his terror, continued fumbling in his stocking, as though he were making an effort to get hold of something with his fingers and pull it out. At last he got hold of it and began pulling it out. Ivan saw that it was a piece of paper, or perhaps a roll of papers. Smerdyakov pulled it out and laid it on the table.

“Here,” he said quietly.

“What is it?” responded Ivan, trembling.

“Kindly look at it,” Smerdyakov answered, still in the same low tone.

Ivan stepped up to the table, took up the roll of paper and began unfolding it, but suddenly he drew back his fingers, as though from contact with a loathsome reptile.

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