"It Was He Who Said That"

Alyosha coming in told Ivan that a little over an hour ago Marya Kondratyevna had run to his rooms and informed him Smerdyakov had taken his own life. “I went in to clear away the samovar and he was hanging on a nail in the wall.” On Alyosha’s inquiring whether she had informed the police, she answered that she had told no one, “but I flew straight to you, I’ve run all the way.” She seemed perfectly crazy, Alyosha reported, and was shaking like a leaf. When Alyosha ran with her to the cottage, he found Smerdyakov still hanging. On the table lay a note: “I destroy my life of my own will and desire, so as to throw no blame on any one.” Alyosha left the note on the table and went straight to the police captain and told him all about it. “And from him I’ve come straight to you,” said Alyosha, in conclusion, looking intently into Ivan’s face. He had not taken his eyes off him while he told his story, as though struck by something in his expression.

“Brother,” he cried suddenly, “you must be terribly ill. You look and don’t seem to understand what I tell you.”

“It’s a good thing you came,” said Ivan, as though brooding, and not hearing Alyosha’s exclamation. “I knew he had hanged himself.”

“From whom?”

“I don’t know. But I knew. Did I know? Yes, he told me. He told me so just now.”

Ivan stood in the middle of the room, and still spoke in the same brooding tone, looking at the ground.

“Who is he?” asked Alyosha, involuntarily looking round.

“He’s slipped away.”

Ivan raised his head and smiled softly.

“He was afraid of you, of a dove like you. You are a ‘pure cherub.’ Dmitri calls you a cherub. Cherub!…the thunderous rapture of the seraphim. What are seraphim? Perhaps a whole constellation. But perhaps that constellation is only a chemical molecule. There’s a constellation of the Lion and the Sun. Don’t you know it?”

“Brother, sit down,” said Alyosha in alarm. “For goodness sake, sit down on the sofa! You are delirious; put your head on the pillow, that’s right. Would you like a wet towel on your head? Perhaps it will do you good.”

“Give me the towel: it’s here on the chair. I just threw it down there.”

“It’s not here. Don’t worry yourself. I know where it is—here,” said Alyosha, finding a clean towel folded up and unused, by Ivan’s dressing-table in the other corner of the room. Ivan looked strangely at the towel: recollection seemed to come back to him for an instant.

“Stay”—he got up from the sofa—“an hour ago I took that new towel from there and wetted it. I wrapped it round my head and threw it down here…How is it it’s dry? There was no other.”

“You put that towel on your head?” asked Alyosha.

“Yes, and walked up and down the room an hour ago…Why have the candles burnt down so? What’s the time?”

“Nearly twelve.”

“No, no, no!” Ivan cried suddenly. “It was not a dream. He was here; he was sitting here, on that sofa. When you knocked at the window, I threw a glass at him…this one. Wait a minute. I was asleep last time,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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