Chapter 14

The doctor was not yet up, and the footman said that `he had been up late, and had given orders not to be waked, but would get up soon.' The footman was cleaning the lamp chimneys, and seemed very busy about them. This concentration of the footman upon his lamps, and his indifference to what was passing in Levin, at first astounded him, but immediately on considering the question he realized that no one knew or was bound to know his feelings, and that it was all the more necessary to act calmly, sensibly, and resolutely to get through this wall of indifference and attain his aim. `Don't be in a hurry or let anything slip,' Levin said to himself, feeling a greater and greater flow of physical energy and attention to all he had yet to do.

Having ascertained that the doctor was not getting up, Levin considered various plans, and decided on the following one; that Kouzma should go for another doctor, while he himself should go to the chemist's for opium, and if, when he came back, the doctor had not yet begun to get up, he would, either by tipping the footman, or by force, wake the doctor at all hazards.

At the chemist's the lank pharmacist wafered a packet of powders for a coachman who stood waiting, and refused him opium with the same callousness with which the doctor's footman had cleaned his lamp chimneys. Trying not to get flustered or out of temper, Levin mentioned the names of the doctor and midwife, and explaining what the opium was needed for, tried to persuade him. The assistant inquired in German whether he should give it, and receiving an affirmative reply from behind the partition, he took out a bottle and a funnel, deliberately poured the opium from a bigger bottle into a little one, stuck on a label, sealed it up, in spite of Levin's request that he would not do so, and was about to wrap it up too. This was more than Levin could stand; he took the bottle firmly out of his hands, and ran to the big glass doors. The doctor was not even now getting up, and the footman, busy now in putting down the rugs, refused to wake him. Levin deliberately took out a ten-rouble note, and careful to speak slowly, though losing no time over the business, he handed him the note, and explained that Piotr Dmitrievich (what a great and important personage he seemed to Levin now, this Piotr Dmitrievich, who had been of so little consequence in his eyes before) had promised to come at any time; that he would certainly not be angry! And that he must therefore wake him at once.

The footman agreed, and went upstairs, taking Levin into the waiting room.

Levin could hear through the door the doctor coughing, moving about, washing, and saying something. Three minutes passed; it seemed to Levin that more than an hour had gone by. He could not wait any longer.

`Piotr Dmitrievich, Piotr Dmitrievich?' he said in an imploring voice at the open door. `For God's sake, forgive me! See me as you are. It's been going on more than two hours already.'

`In a minute; in a minute!' answered a voice, and to his amazement heard that the doctor was smiling as he spoke.

`For one instant!'...

`In a minute.'

Two minutes more passed while the doctor was putting on his boots, and two minutes more while the doctor put on his coat and combed his hair.

`Piotr Dmitrievich!' Levin was beginning again in a plaintive voice, just as the doctor came in, dressed and ready. `These people have no conscience,' thought Levin. `Combing his hair, while we're dying!'

`Good morning!' the doctor said to him, shaking hands, and, as it were, teasing him with his composure. `There's no hurry. Well, now?'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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