Ilusha's Funeral. The Speech at the Stone
He really was late. They had waited for him and had already decided to bear the pretty flower-decked little coffin to the church without him. It was the coffin of poor little Ilusha. He had died two days after Mitya was sentenced. At the gate of the house Alyosha was met by the shouts of the boys, Ilushas schoolfellows. They had all been impatiently expecting him and were glad that he had come at last. There were about twelve of them, they all had their school-bags, or satchels on their shoulders. Father will cry, be with father, Ilusha had told them as he lay dying, and the boys remembered it. Kolya Krassotkin was the foremost of them.
How glad I am youve come, Karamazov! he cried, holding out his hand to Alyosha. Its awful here. Its really horrible to see it. Snegiryov is not drunk, we know for a fact hes had nothing to drink to-day, but he seems as if he were drunk I am always manly, but this is awful. Karamazov, if I am not keeping you, one question before you go in?
What is it, Kolya? said Alyosha.
Is your brother innocent or guilty? Was it he killed your father or was it the valet? As you say, so it will be. I havent slept for the last four nights for thinking of it.
The valet killed him, my brother is innocent, answered Alyosha.
Thats what I said, cried Smurov.
So he will perish an innocent victim! exclaimed Kolya; though he is ruined he is happy! I could envy him!
What do you mean? How can you? Why? cried Alyosha surprised.
Oh, if I, too, could sacrifice myself some day for truth! said Kolya with enthusiasm.
But not in such a cause, not with such disgrace and such horror! said Alyosha.
Of course I should like to die for all humanity, and as for disgrace, I dont care about thatour names may perish. I respect your brother!
And so do I! the boy, who had once declared that he knew who had founded Troy, cried suddenly and unexpectedly and he blushed up to his ears like a peony as he had done on that occasion.
Alyosha went into the room. Ilusha lay with his hands folded and his eyes closed in a blue coffin with a white frill round it. His thin face was hardly changed at all, and strange to say there was no smell of decay from the corpse. The expression of his face was serious and, as it were, thoughtful. His hands, crossed over his breast, looked particularly beautiful, as though chiselled in marble. There were flowers in his hands and the coffin, inside and out, was decked with flowers, which had been sent early in the morning by Lise Hohlakov. But there were flowers too from Katerina Ivanovna, and when Alyosha opened the door, the captain had a bunch in his trembling hands and was strewing them again over his dear boy. He scarcely glanced at Alyosha when he came in, and he would not look at any one, even at his crazy weeping wife, mamma, who kept trying to stand on her crippled legs to get a nearer look at her dead boy. Nina had been pushed in her chair by the boys close up to the coffin. She sat with her head pressed to it and she too was no doubt quietly weeping. Snegiryovs face looked eager, yet bewildered and exasperated. There was something crazy about his gestures and the words that broke from him. Old man, dear old man! he exclaimed every minute, gazing at Ilusha. It was his habit to call Ilusha old man, as a term of affection when he was alive.
Father, give me a flower, too; take that white one out of his hand and give it me, the crazy mother begged, whimpering. Either because the little white rose in Ilushas hand had caught her fancy or that she wanted
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