THE CATASTROPHE WITH Liza and the death of Marya Timofyevna made a_verwhelming impression on Shatov. I have already mentioned that that mornin_ met him in passing; he seemed to me not himself. He told me among othe_hings that on the evening before at nine o'clock (that is, three hours befor_he fire had broken out) he had been at Marya Timofyevna's. He went in th_orning to look at the corpses, but as far as I know gave no evidence of an_ort that morning. Meanwhile, towards the end of the day there was a perfec_empest in his soul, and … I think I can say with certainty that there was _oment at dusk when he wanted to get up, go out and tell everything. What tha_verything was, no one but he could say. Of course he would have achieve_othing, and would have simply betrayed himself. He had no proofs whateve_ith which to convict the perpetrators of the crime, and, indeed, he ha_othing but vague conjectures to go upon, though to him they amounted t_omplete certainty. But he was ready to ruin himself if he could only "crus_he scoundrels"his own words. Pyotr Stepanovitch had guessed fairly correctl_t this impulse in him, and he knew himself that he was risking a great dea_n putting off the execution of his new awful project till next day. On hi_ide there was, as usual, great self-confidence and contempt for all these
"wretched creatures" and for Shatov in particular. He had for years despise_hatov for his "whining idiocy," as he had expressed it in former days abroad, and he was absolutely confident that he could deal with such a guileles_reature, that is, keep an eye on him all that day, and put a check on him a_he first sign of danger. Yet what saved "the scoundrels" for a short time wa_omething quite unexpected which they had not foreseen… .
Towards eight o'clock in the evening (at the very time when the quintet wa_eeting at Erkel's, and waiting in indignation and excitement for Pyot_tepanovitch) Shatov was lying in the dark on his bed with a headache and _light chill; he was tortured by uncertainty, he was angry, he kept making u_is mind, and could not make it up finally, and felt, with a curse, that i_ould all lead to nothing. Gradually he sank into a brief doze and ha_omething like a nightmare. He dreamt that he was lying on his bed, tied u_ith cords and unable to stir, and meantime he heard a terrible banging tha_choed all over the house, a banging on the fence, at the gate, at his door, in Kirillov's lodge, so that the whole house was shaking, and a far-awa_amiliar voice that wrung his heart was calling to him piteously. He suddenl_oke and sat up in bed. To his surprise the banging at the gate went on, though not nearly so violent as it had seemed in his dream. The knocks wer_epeated and persistent, and the strange voice "that wrung his heart" coul_till be heard below at the gate, though not piteously but angrily an_mpatiently, alternating with another voice, more restrained and ordinary. H_umped up, opened the casement pane and put his head out.
"Who's there?" he called, literally numb with terror.
"If you are Shatov," the answer came harshly and resolutely from below, "be s_ood as to tell me straight out and honestly whether you agree to let me in o_ot?"
It was true: he recognised the voice!
"Marie! … Is it you?"
"Yes, yes, Marya Shatov, and I assure you I can't keep the driver a minut_onger."
"This minute … I'll get a candle," Shatov cried faintly. Then he rushed t_ook for the matches. The matches, as always happens at such moments, coul_ot be found. He dropped the candlestick and the candle on the floor and a_oon as he heard the impatient voice from below again, he abandoned the searc_nd dashed down the steep stairs to open the gate.
"Be so good as to hold the bag while I settle with this blockhead," was ho_adame Marya Shatov greeted him below, and she thrust into his hands a rathe_ight cheap canvas handbag studded with brass nails, of Dresden manufacture.
She attacked the driver with exasperation.
"Allow me to tell you, you are asking too much. If you've been driving me fo_n extra hour through these filthy streets, that's your fault, because i_eems you didn't know where to find this stupid street and imbecile house.
Take your thirty kopecks and make up your mind that you'll get nothing more."
"Ech, lady, you told me yourself Voznesensky Street and this is Bogoyavlensky; Voznesensky is ever so far away. You've simply put the horse into a steam."
"Voznesensky, Bogoyavlenskyyou ought to know all those stupid names bette_han I do, as you are an inhabitant; besides, you are unfair, I told you firs_f all Filipov's house and you declared you knew it. In any case you can hav_e up to-morrow in the local court, but now I beg you to let me alone."
"Here, here's another five kopecks." With eager haste Shatov pulled a five- kopeck piece out of his pocket and gave it to the driver.
"Do me a favour, I beg you, don't dare to do that!" Madame Shatov flared up, but the driver drove off and Shatov, taking her hand, drew her through th_ate.
"Make haste, Marie, make haste … that's no matter, and … you are wet through.
Take care, we go up here how sorry I am there's no lightthe stairs are steep, hold tight, hold tight! Well, this is my room. Excuse my having no light.
. . One minute!"
He picked up the candlestick but it was a long time before the matches wer_ound. Madame Shatov stood waiting in the middle of the room, silent an_otionless.
"Thank God, here they are at last!" he cried joyfully, lighting up the room.
Marya Shatov took a cursory survey of his abode.
"They told me you lived in a poor way, but I didn't expect it to be as bad a_his," she pronounced with an air of disgust, and she moved towards the bed.
"Oh, I am tired!" she sat down on the hard bed, with an exhausted air. "Pleas_ut down the bag and sit down on the chair yourself. Just as you like though; you are in the way standing there. I have come to you for a time, till I ca_et work, because I know nothing of this place and I have no money. But if _hall be in your way I beg you again, be so good as to tell me so at once, a_ou are bound to do if you are an honest man. I could sell something to-morro_nd pay for a room at an hotel, but you must take me to the hotel yourself… .
Oh, but I am tired!"
Shatov was all of a tremor.
"You mustn't, Marie, you mustn't go to an hotel? An hotel! What for? Wha_or?"
He clasped his hands imploringly… .
"Well, if I can get on without the hotel … I must, any way, explain th_osition. Remember, Shatov, that we lived in Geneva as man and wife for _ortnight and a few days; it's three years since we parted, without an_articular quarrel though. But don't imagine that I've come back to renew an_f the foolishness of the past. I've come back to look for work, and that I'v_ome straight to this town is just because it's all the same to me. I've no_ome to say I am sorry for anything; please don't imagine anything so stupi_s that."
"Oh, Marie! This is unnecessary, quite unnecessary," Shatov muttered vaguely.
"If so, if you are so far developed as to be able to understand that, I ma_llow myself to add, that if I've come straight to you now and am in you_odging, it's partly because I always thought you were far from being _coundrel and were perhaps much better than other … blackguards!"
Her eyes flashed. She must have had to bear a great deal at the hands of some
"And please believe me, I wasn't laughing at you just now when I told you yo_ere good. I spoke plainly, without fine phrases and I can't endure them. Bu_hat's all nonsense. I always hoped you would have sense enough not to peste_e… . Enough, I am tired."
And she bent on him a long, harassed and weary gaze. Shatov stood facing he_t the other end of the room, which was five paces away, and listened to he_imidly with a look of new life and unwonted radiance on his face. Thi_trong, rugged man, all bristles on the surface, was suddenly all softness an_hining gladness. There was a thrill of extraordinary and unexpected feelin_n his soul. Three years of separation, three years of the broken marriage ha_ffaced nothing from his heart. And perhaps every day during those three year_e had dreamed of her, of that beloved being who had once said to him, "I lov_ou." Knowing Shatov I can say with certainty that he could never have allowe_imself even to dream that a woman might say to him, "I love you." He wa_avagely modest and chaste, he looked on himself as a perfect monster, detested his own face as well as his character, compared himself to some frea_nly fit to be exhibited at fairs. Consequently he valued honesty abov_verything and was fanatically devoted to his convictions; he was gloomy, proud, easily moved to wrath, and sparing of words. But here was the one bein_ho had loved him for a fortnight (that he had never doubted, never!), a bein_e had always considered immeasurably above him in spite of his perfectl_ober understanding of her errors; ,a being to whom he could forgiv_verything, everything (of that there could be no question; indeed it wa_uite the other way, his idea was that he was entirely to blame); this woman, this Marya Shatov, was in his house, in his presence again … it was almos_nconceivable! He was so overcome, there was so much that was terrible and a_he same time so much happiness in this event that he could not, perhaps woul_otperhaps was afraid torealise the position. It was a dream. But when sh_ooked at him with that harassed gaze he suddenly understood that this woma_e loved so dearly was suffering, perhaps had been wronged. His heart wen_old. He looked at her features with anguish: the first bloom of youth ha_ong faded from this exhausted face. It's true that she was still good-lookin_n his eyes a beauty, as she had always been. In reality she was a woman o_wenty-five, rather strongly built, above the medium height (taller tha_hatov), with abundant dark brown hair, a pale oval face, and large dark eye_ow glittering with feverish brilliance. But the light-hearted, naive an_ood-natured energy he had known so well in the past was replaced now by _ullen irritability and disillusionment, a sort of cynicism which was not ye_abitual to her herself, and which weighed upon her. But the chief thing wa_hat she was ill, that he could see clearly. In spite of the awe in which h_tood of her he suddenly went up to her and took her by both hands.
"Marie … you know … you are very tired, perhaps, for God's sake, don't b_ngry… . If you'd consent to have some tea, for instance, eh? Tea picks one u_o, doesn't it? If you'd consent!"
"Why talk about consenting! Of course I consent, what a baby you are still.
Get me some if you can. How cramped you are here. How cold it is!"
"Oh, I'll get some logs for the fire directly, some logs … I've got logs."
Shatov was all astir. "Logs … that is … but I'll get tea directly," he wave_is hand as though with desperate determination and snatched up his cap.
"Where are you going? So you've no tea in the house?"
"There shall be, there shall be, there shall be, there shall be everythin_irectly… . I … " he took his revolver from the shelf, "I'll sell thi_evolver directly … or pawn it… ."
' 'What foolishness and what a time that will take! Take my money if you'v_othing, there's eighty kopecks here, I think; that's all I have. This is lik_ madhouse."
"I don't want your money, I don't want it I'll be here directly, in on_nstant. I can manage without the revolver… ."
And he rushed straight to Kirillov's. This was probably two hours before th_isit of Pyotr Stepanovitch and Liputin to Kirillov. Though Shatov an_irillov lived in the same yard they hardly ever saw each other, and when the_et they did not nod or speak: they had been too long "lying side by side" i_merica… .
"Kirillov, you always have tea; have you got tea and a
Kirillov, who was walking up and down the room, as he was in the habit o_oing all night, stopped and looked intently at his hurried visitor, thoug_ithout much surprise.
"I've got tea and sugar and a samovar. But there's no need of the samovar, th_ea is hot. Sit down and simply drink it."
"Kirillov, we lay side by side in America… . My wife has come to me … I … giv_e the tea… . I shall want the samovar."
"If your wife is here you want the samovar. But take it later. I've two. An_ow take the teapot from the table. It's hot, boiling hot. Take everything, take the sugar, all of it. Bread … there's plenty of bread; all of it. There'_ome veal. I've a rouble."
"Give it me, friend, I'll pay it back to-morrow! Ach, Kirillov!"
"Is it the same wife who was in Switzerland? That's a good thing. And you_unning in like this, that's a good thing too."
"Kirillov!" cried Shatov, taking the teapot under his arm and carrying th_read and sugar in both hands. "Kirillov, if … if you could get rid of you_readful fancies and give up your atheistic ravings … oh, what a man you'd be, Kirillov!"
"One can see you love your wife after Switzerland. It's a good thing yo_oafter Switzerland. When you want tea, come again. You can come all night, _on't sleep at all. There'll be a samovar. Take the rouble, here it is. Go t_our wife, I'll stay here and think about you and your wife."
Marya Shatov was unmistakably pleased at her husband's haste and fell upon th_ea almost greedily, but there was no need to run for the samovar; she dran_nly half a cup and swallowed a tiny piece of bread. The veal she refused wit_isgust and irritation.
"You are ill, Marie, all this is a sign of illness," Shatov remarked timidl_s he waited upon her.
"Of course I'm ill, please sit down. Where did you get the tea if you haven'_ny?"
Shatov told her about Kirillov briefly. She had heard something of him.
"I know he is mad; say no more, please; 'there are plenty of fools. So you'v_een in America? I heard, you wrote."
"Yes, I … I wrote to you in Paris."
"Enough, please talk of something else. Are you a Slavophil in you_onvictions?"
"I … 1 am not exactly… . Since I cannot be a Russian, I became a Slavophil."
He smiled a wry smile with the effort of one who feels he has made a straine_nd inappropriate jest.
"Why, aren't you a Russian?"
"No, I'm not."
"Well, that's all foolishness. Do sit down, I entreat you. Why are you al_ver the place? Do you think I am lightheaded? Perhaps I shall be. You sa_here are only you two in the house."
"Yes… . Downstairs … "
"And both such clever people. What is there downstairs? You said downstairs?"
"Why nothing? I want to know."
"I only meant to say that now we are only two in the yard, but that th_ebyadkins used to live downstairs… ."
"That woman who was murdered last night?" she started suddenly. "I heard o_t. I heard of it as soon as I arrived. There was a fire here, wasn't there?"
"Yes, Marie, yes, and perhaps I am doing a scoundrelly thing this moment i_orgiving the scoundrels… ." He stood up suddenly and paced about the room, raising his arms as though in a frenzy.
But Marie had not quite understood him. She heard his answers inattentively; she asked questions but did not listen.
"Fine things are being done among you! Oh, how contemptible it all is! Wha_coundrels men all are! But do sit down, I beg you, oh, how you exasperat_e!" and she let her head sink on the pillow, exhausted.
"Marie, I won't… . Perhaps you'll lie down, Marie?" She made no answer an_losed her eyes helplessly. Her pale face looked death-like. She fell aslee_lmost instantly. Shatov looked round, snuffed the candle, looked uneasily a_er face once , more, pressed his hands tight in front of him and walked o_iptoe out of the room into the passage. At the top of the stairs he stood i_he corner with his face to the wall and remained so for ten minutes withou_ound or movement. He would have stood there longer, but he suddenly caugh_he sound of soft cautious steps below. Some one was coming up the stairs.
Shatov remembered he had forgotten to fasten the gate.
"Who's there?" he asked in a whisper. The unknown visitor went on slowl_ounting the stairs without answering. When he reached the top he stood still; it was impossible to see his face in the dark; suddenly Shatov heard th_autious question:
Shatov said who he was, but at once held out his hand to check his advance.
The latter took his hand, and Shatov shuddered as though he had touched som_errible reptile.
"Stand here," he whispered quickly. "Don't go in, I can't receive you jus_ow. My wife has come back. I'll fetch the candle."
When he returned with the candle he found a young officer standing there; h_id not know his name but he had seen him before.
"Erkel," said the lad, introducing himself. "You've seen me at Virginsky's."
"I remember; you sat writing. Listen," said Shatov in sudden excitement, goin_p to him frantically, but still talking in a whisper. "You gave me a sig_ust now when you took my hand. But you know I can treat all these signal_ith contempt! I don't acknowledge them… . I don't want them… . I can thro_ou downstairs this minute, do you know that?"
"No, I know nothing about that and I don't know what you are in such a rag_bout," the visitor answered without malice and almost ingenuously. "I hav_nly to give you a message, and that's what I've come for, being particularl_nxious not to lose time. You have a printing press which does not belong t_ou, and of which you are bound to give an account, as you know yourself. _ave received instructions to request you to give it up to-morrow at seve_'clock in the evening to Liputin. I have been instructed to tell you als_hat nothing more will be asked of you."
"Absolutely nothing. Your request is granted, and you are struck off our list.
I was instructed to tell you that positively."
"Who instructed you to tell me?"
"Those who told me the sign."
"Have you come from abroad?"
"I … I think that's no matter to you."
"Oh, hang it! Why didn't you come before if you were told to?"
"I followed certain instructions and was not alone."
"I understand, I understand that you were not alone. Eh … hang it! But wh_idn't Liputin come himself?"
"So I shall come for you to-morrow at exactly six o'clock in the evening, an_e'll go there on foot. There will be no one there but us three."
"Will Verhovensky be there?"
"No, he won't. Verhovensky is leaving the town at eleven o'clock to-morro_orning."
"Just what I thought!" Shatov whispered furiously, and he struck his fist o_is hip. "He's run off, the sneak!"
He sank into agitated reflection. Erkel looked intently at him and waited i_ilence.
"But how will you take it? You can't simply pick it up in your hands and carr_t."
"There will be no need to. You'll simply point out the place and we'll jus_ake sure that it really is buried there. We only know whereabouts the plac_s, we don't know the place itself. And have you pointed the place out t_nyone else yet?" Shatov looked at him.
"You, you, a chit of a boy like you, a silly boy like you, you too have go_aught in that net like a sheep? Yes, that's just the young blood they want!
Well, go along. E-ech! that scoundrel's taken you all in and run away."
Erkel looked at him serenely and calmly but did not seem to understand.
"Verhovensky, Verhovensky has run away!" Shatov growled fiercely.
"But he is still here, he is not gone away. He is not going till to-morrow,"
Erkel observed softly and persuasively. "I particularly begged him to b_resent as a witness; my instructions all referred to him (he explaine_rankly like a young and inexperienced boy). But I regret to say he did no_gree on the ground of his departure, and he really is in a hurry."
Shatov glanced compassionately at the simple youth again, but suddenly gave _esture of despair as though he thought "they are not worth pitying."
"All right, I'll come," he cut him short. "And now get away, be off."
"So I'll come for you at six o'clock punctually." Erkel made a courteous bo_nd walked deliberately downstairs.
"Little fool!" Shatov could not help shouting after him from the top.
"What is it?" responded the lad from the bottom.
"Nothing, you can go."
"I thought you said something."
Erkel was a "little fool" who was only lacking in the higher form of reason, the ruling power of the intellect; but of the lesser, the subordinat_easoning faculties, he had plentyeven to the point of cunning. Fanatically, childishly devoted to "the cause" or rather in reality to Pyotr Verhovensky, he acted on the instructions given to him when at the meeting of the quinte_hey had agreed and had distributed the various duties for the next day. Whe_yotr Stepanovitch gave him the job of messenger, he succeeded in talking t_im aside for ten minutes.
A craving for active service was characteristic of this shallow, unreflectin_ature, which was for ever yearning to follow the lead of another man's will, of course for the good of "the common" or "the great" cause. Not that tha_ade any difference, for little fanatics like Erkel can never imagine servin_ cause except by identifying it with the person who, to their minds, is th_xpression of it. The sensitive, affectionate and kind-hearted Erkel wa_erhaps the most callous of Shatov's would-be murderers, and, though he had n_ersonal spite against him, he would have been present at his murder without- the quiver of an eyelid. He had been instructed; for instance, to have a goo_ook at Shatov's surroundings while carrying out his commission, and whe_hatov, receiving him at the top of the stairs, blurted out to him, probabl_naware in the heat of the moment, that his wife had come back to himErkel ha_he instinctive cunning to avoid displaying the slightest curiosity, thoug_he idea flashed through his mind that the fact of his wife's return was o_reat importance for the success of their undertaking.
And so it was in reality; it was only that fact that saved the "scoundrels"
from Shatov's carrying out his intention, and at the same time helped them "t_et rid of him." To begin with, it agitated Shatov, threw him out of hi_egular routine, and deprived him of his usual clear-sightedness and caution.
Any idea of his own danger would be the last thing to enter his head at thi_oment when he was absorbed with such different considerations. On th_ontrary, he eagerly believed that Pyotr Verhovensky was running away the nex_ay: it fell in exactly with his suspicions! Returning to the room he sat dow_gain in a corner, leaned his elbows on his knees and hid his face in hi_ands. Bitter thoughts tormented him… .
Then he would raise his head again and go on tiptoe to look at her. "Good God!
she will be in a fever by to-morrow morning; perhaps it's begun already! Sh_ust have caught cold. She is not accustomed to this awful climate, and then _hird-class carriage, the storm, the rain, and she has such a thin littl_elisse, no wrap at all… . And to leave her like this, to abandon her in he_elplessness! Her bag, too, her bagwhat a tiny, light thing, all crumpled up, scarcely weighs ten pounds! Poor thing, how worn out she is, how much she'_een through! She is proud, that's why she won't complain. But she i_rritable, very irritable. It's illness; an angel will grow irritable i_llness. What a dry forehead, it must be hothow dark she is under the eyes, and … and yet how beautiful the oval of her face is and her rich hair, how … "
And he made haste to turn away his eyes, to walk away as though he wer_rightened at the very idea of seeing in her anything but an unhappy, exhausted fellow-creature who needed help" how could he think of hopes, oh, how mean, how base is man!" And he would go back to his corner, sit down, hid_is face in his hands and again sink into dreams and reminiscences … and agai_e was haunted by hopes.
"Oh, I am tired, I am tired," he remembered her exclamations, her weak broke_oice. "Good God! Abandon her now, and she has only eighty kopecks; she hel_ut her purse, a tiny old thing! She's come to look for a job. What does sh_now about jobs? What do they know about Russia? Why, they are like naught_hildren, they've nothing but their own fancies made up by themselves, and sh_s angry, poor thing, that Russia is not like their foreign dreams! Th_uckless, innocent creatures! … It's really cold here, though."
He remembered that she had complained, that he had promised to heat the stove.
"There are logs here, I can fetch them if only I don't wake her. But I can d_t without waking her. But what shall I do about the veal? When she gets u_erhaps she will be hungry… . Well, that will do later: Kirillov doesn't go t_ed all night. What could I cover her with, she is sleeping so soundly, bu_he must be cold, ah, she must be cold!" And once more he went to look at her; her dress had worked up a little and her right leg was half uncovered to th_nee. He suddenly turned away almost in dismay, took off his warm overcoat, and, remaining in his wretched old jacket, covered it up, trying not to loo_t it.
A great deal of time was spent in righting the fire, stepping about on tiptoe, looking at the sleeping woman, dreaming in the corner, then looking at he_gain. Two or three hours had passed. During that time Verhovensky and Liputi_ad been at Kirillov's. At last he, too, began to doze in the corner. He hear_er groan; she waked up and called him; he jumped up like a criminal.
"Marie, I was dropping asleep.' … Ah, what a wretch I am, Marie!"
She sat up, looking about her with wonder, seeming not to recognise where sh_as, and suddenly leapt up in indignation and anger.
"I've taken your bed, I fell asleep so tired I didn't know what I was doing; how dared you not wake me? How could you dare imagine I meant to be a burde_o you?"
"How could I wake you, Marie?"
"You could, you ought to have! You've no other bed here, and I've taken yours.
You had no business to put me into a false position. Or do you suppose tha_'ve come to take advantage of your charity? Kindly get into your bed at onc_nd I'll lie down in the corner on some chairs."
"Marie, there aren't chairs enough, and there's nothing to put on them."
"Then simply oil the floor. Or you'll have to lie on the floor yourself. _ant to lie on the floor at once, at once!"
She stood up, tried to take a step, but suddenly a violent spasm of pai_eprived her of all power and all determination, and with a loud groan sh_ell back on the bed. Shatov ran up, but Marie, hiding her face in the pillow, seized his hand and gripped and squeezed it with all her might. This lasted _inute.
"Marie darling, there's a doctor Frenzel living here, a friend of mine… . _ould run for him."
"What do you mean by nonsense? Tell me, Marie, what is it hurting you? For w_ight try fomentations … on the stomach for instance… . I can do that withou_ doctor… . Or else mustard poultices."
"What's this," she asked strangely, raising her head and looking at him i_ismay.
"What's what, Marie?" said Shatov, not understanding. "What are you askin_bout? Good heavens! I am quite bewildered, excuse my not understanding."
"Ach, let me alone; it's not your business to understand. And it would be to_bsurd … " she said with a bitter smile. "Talk to me about something. Wal_bout the room and talk. Don't stand over me and don't look at me, _articularly ask you that for the five-hundredth time!"
Shatov began walking up and down the room, looking at the floor, and doing hi_tmost not to glance at her.
"There'sdon't be angry, Marie, I entreat youthere's some veal here, an_here's tea not far off… . You had so little before."
She made an angry gesture of disgust. Shatov bit his tongue in despair.
"Listen, I intend to open a bookbinding business here, on rational co- operative principles. Since you live here what do you think of it, would it b_uccessful?"
"Ech, Marie, people don't read books here, and there are none here at all. An_re they likely to begin binding them!"
"Who are they?"
"The local readers and inhabitants generally, Marie."
"Well, then, speak more clearly. They indeed, and one doesn't know who the_re. You don't know grammar!"
"It's in the spirit of the language," Shatov muttered.
"Oh, get along with your spirit, you bore me. Why shouldn't the loca_nhabitant or reader have his books bound?"
"Because reading books and having them bound are two different stages o_evelopment, and there's a vast gulf between them. To begin with, a ma_radually gets used to reading, in the course of ages of course, but takes n_are of his books and throws them about, not thinking them worth attention.
But binding implies respect for books, and implies that not only he has grow_ond of reading, but that he looks upon it as something of value. That perio_as not been reached anywhere in Russia yet. In Europe books have been boun_or a long while."
"Though that's pedantic, anyway, it's not stupid, and reminds me of the tim_hree years ago; you used to be rather clever sometimes three years ago."
She said this as disdainfully as her other capricious remarks.
"Marie, Marie," said Shatov, turning to her, much moved, "oh, Marie! If yo_nly knew how much has happened in those three years! I heard afterwards tha_ou despised me for changing my convictions. But what are the men I've broke_ith? The enemies of all true life, out-of-date Liberals who are afraid o_heir own independence, the flunkeys of thought, the enemies of individualit_nd freedom, the decrepit advocates of deadness and rottenness! All they hav_o offer is senility, a glorious mediocrity of the most bourgeois kind, contemptible shallowness, a jealous equality, equality without individua_ignity, equality as it's understood by flunkeys or by the French in '93. An_he worst of it is there are swarms of scoundrels among them, swarms o_coundrels!"
"Yes, there are a lot of scoundrels," she brought out abruptly with painfu_ffort. She lay stretched out, motionless, as though afraid to move, with he_ead thrown back on the pillow, rather on one side, staring at the ceilin_ith exhausted but glowing eyes. Her face was pale, her lips were dry and hot.
"You recognise it, Marie, you recognise it," cried Shatov. She tried to shak_er head, and suddenly the same spasm came over her again. Again she hid he_ace in the pillow, and again for a full minute she squeezed .Shatov's han_ill it hurt. He had run up, beside himself with alarm.
"Marie, Marie! But it may be very serious, Marie!"
"Be quiet … I won't have it, I won't have it," she screamed almost furiously, turning her face upwards again. "Don't dare to look at me with your sympathy!
Walk about the room, say something, talk… ."
Shatov began muttering something again, like one distraught.
"What do you do here?" she asked, interrupting him with contemptuou_mpatience.
"I work in a merchant's office. I could get a fair amount of money even her_f I cared to, Marie."
"So much the better for you… ."
"Oh, don't suppose I meant anything, Marie. I said it without thinking."
"And what do you do besides? What are you preaching? You can't exist withou_reaching, that's your character!"
"I am preaching God, Marie."
"In whom you don't believe yourself. I never could see the
idea of that."
"Let's leave that, Marie; we'll talk of that later."
"What sort of person was this Mary a Timofyevna here?"
"We'll talk of that later too, Marie."
"Don't dare to say such things to me! Is it true that her death may have bee_aused by … the wickedness … of these people?"
"Not a doubt of it," growled Shatov.
Marie suddenly raised her head and cried out painfully:
"Don't dare speak of that to me again, don't dare to, never,
And she fell back in bed again, overcome by the same convulsive agony; it wa_he third time, but this time her groans were louder, in fact she screamed.
"Oh, you insufferable man! Oh, you unbearable man," she cried, tossing abou_ecklessly, and pushing away Shatov as he bent over her.
"Marie, I'll do anything you like … . I'll walk about and talk… ."
"Surely you must see that it has begun!"
"What's begun, Marie?"
"How can I tell! Do I know anything about it? … I curse myself! Oh, curse i_ll from the beginning!"
"Marie, if you'd tell me what's beginning … or else I … if you don't, what a_ to make of it?"
"You are a useless, theoretical babbler. Oh, curse everything on earth!"
"Marie, Marie!" He seriously thought that she was beginning to go mad.
"Surely you must see that I am in the agonies of childbirth," she said, sitting up and gazing at him with a terrible, hysterical vindictiveness tha_istorted her whole face. "I curse him before he is born, this child!"
"Marie," cried Shatov, realising at last what it meant. "Marie … but wh_idn't you tell me before." He pulled himself together at once and seized hi_ap with an air of vigorous determination.
"How could I tell when I came in here? Should I have come to you if I'd known?
I was told it would be another ten days! Where are you going? … Where are yo_oing? You mustn't dare!"
"To fetch a midwife! I'll sell the revolver. We must get money before anythin_lse now."
"Don't dare to do anything, don't dare to fetch a midwife! Bring a peasan_oman, any old woman, I've eighty kopecks in my purse… . Peasant women hav_abies without midwives… . And if I die, so much the better… ."
"You shall have a midwife and an old woman too. But how am I to leave yo_lone, Marie!"
But reflecting that it was better to leave her alone now in spite of he_esperate state than to leave her without help later, he paid no attention t_er groans, nor her angry exclamations, but rushed downstairs, hurrying all h_ould.
First of all he went to Kirillov. It was by now about one o'clock in th_ight. Kirillov was standing in the middle of the room.
"Kirillov, my wife is in childbirth."
"How do you mean?"
"Childbirth, bearing a child!"
"You … are not mistaken?"
"Oh, no, no, she is in agonies! I want a woman, any old woman, I must have on_t once… . Can you get one now? You used to have a lot of old women… ."
"Very sorry that I am no good at childbearing," Kirillov answere_houghtfully; "that is, not at childbearing, but at doing anything fo_hildbearing … or … no, I don't know how to say it."
"You mean you can't assist at a confinement yourself? But that's not what I'v_ome for. An old woman, I want a woman, a nurse, a servant!"
"You shall have an old woman, but not directly, perhaps … If you like I'l_ome instead… ."
"Oh, impossible; I am running to Madame Virginsky, the midwife, now."
"A horrid woman!"
"Oh, yes, Kirillov, yes, but she is the best of them all. Yes, it'll all b_ithout reverence, without gladness, with contempt, with abuse, with blasphem_n the presence of so great a mystery, the coming of a new creature! Oh, sh_s cursing it already!"
"If you like I'll … "
"No, no, but while I'm running (oh, I'll make Madame Virginsky come), will yo_o to the foot of my staircase and quietly listen? But don't venture to go in, you'll frighten her; don't go in on any account, you must only listen … i_ase anything dreadful happens. If anything very bad happens, then run in."
"I understand. I've another rouble. Here it is. I meant to have a fowl to- morrow, but now I don't want to, make haste, run with all your might. There'_ samovar all the night."
Kirillov knew nothing of 'the present design against Shatov, nor had he ha_ny idea in the past of the degree of danger that threatened him. He only kne_hat Shatov had some old soores with "those people," and although he was t_ome extent involved with them himself through instructions he had receive_rom abroad (not that these were of much consequence, however, for he ha_ever taken any direct share in anything), yet of late he had given it all up, having left off doing anything especially for the "cause," and devoted himsel_ntirely to a life of contemplation. Although Pyotr Stepanovitch had at th_eeting invited Liputin to go with him to Kirillov's to make sure that th_atter would take upon himself, at a given moment, the responsibility for the
"Shatov business," yet in his interview with Kirillov he had said no wor_bout Shatov nor alluded to him in any wayprobably considering it impolitic t_o so, and thinking that Kirillov could not be relied upon. He put of_peaking about it till next day, when it would be all over and would therefor_ot matter to Kirillov; such at least was Pyotr Stepanovitch's judgment o_im. Liputin, too, was struck by the fact that Shatov was not mentioned i_pite of what Pyotr Stepanovitch had promised, but he was too much agitated t_rotest.
Shatov ran like a hurricane to Virginsky's house, cursing the distance an_eeling it endless.
He had to knock a long time at Virginsky's; every one had been asleep a lon_hile. But Shatov did not scruple to bang at the shutters with all his might.
The dog chained up in the yard dashed about barking furiously. The dogs caugh_t up all along the street, and there was a regular babel of barking.
"Why are you knocking and what do you want?" Shatov heard at the window a_ast Virginsky's gentle voice, betraying none of the resentment appropriate t_he "outrage." The shutter was pushed back a little and the casement wa_pened.
"Who's there, what scoundrel is it?" shrilled a female voice which betraye_ll the resentment appropriate to the "outrage." It was the old maid, Virginsky's relation.
"I am Shatov, my wife has come back to me and she is just confined… ."
"Well, let her be, get along."
"I've come for Arina Prohorovna; I won't go without Arina Prohorovna!"
"She can't attend to every one. Practice at night is a special line. Tak_ourself off to Maksheyev's and don't dare to make that din," rattled th_xasperated female voice. He could hear Virginsky checking her; but the ol_aid pushed him away and would not desist.
"I am not going away!" Shatov cried again.
"Wait a little, wait a little," Virginsky cried at last, overpowering th_ady. "I beg you to wait five minutes, Shatov. I'll wake Arina Prohorovna.
Please don't knock and don't shout… . Oh, how awful it all is!"
After five endless minutes, Arina Prohorovna made her appearance.
"Has your wife come?" Shatov heard her voice at the window, . and to hi_urprise it was not at all ill-tempered, only as usual peremptory, but Arin_rohorovna could not speak except in a peremptory tone.
"Yes, my wife, and she is in labour."
"Yes, Marya Ignatyevna. Of course it's Marya Ignatyevna."
A silence followed. Shatov waited. He heard a whispering in the house.
"Has she been here long?" Madame Virginsky asked again.
"She came this evening at eight o'clock. Please make haste."
Again he heard whispering, as though they were consulting. "Listen, you ar_ot making a mistake? Did she send you for me herself?"
"No, she didn't send for you, she wants a peasant woman, so as not to burde_e with expense, but don't be afraid, I'll pay you."
"Very good, I'll come, whether you pay or not. I always thought highly o_arya Ignatyevna for the independence of her sentiments, though perhaps sh_on't remember me. Have you got the most necessary things?"
"I've nothing, but I'll get everything, everything."
"There is something generous even in these people," Shatov reflected, as h_et off to Lyamshin's. "The convictions and the man are two very differen_hings, very likely I've been very unfair to them! … We are all to blame, w_re all to blame … and if only all were convinced of it!"
He had not to knock long at Lyamshin's; the latter, to Shatov's surprise, opened his casement at once, jumping out of bed, barefoot and in his night- clothes at the risk of catching cold; and he was hypochondriacal and alway_nxious about his health. But there was a special cause for such alertness an_aste: Lyamshin had been in a tremor all the evening, and had not been able t_leep for excitement after the meeting of the quintet; he was haunted by th_read of uninvited and undesired visitors. The news of Shatov's givin_nformation tormented him more than anything… . And suddenly there was thi_errible loud knocking at the window as though to justify his fears.
He was so frightened at seeing Shatov that he at once slammed the casement an_umped back into bed. Shatov began furiously knocking and shouting.
"How dare you knock like that in the middle of the night?" shouted Lyamshin, in a threatening voice, though he was numb with fear, when at least tw_inutes later he ventured to open the casement again, and was at las_onvinced that Shatov had come alone.
"Here's your revolver for you; take it back, give me fifteen roubles."
"What's the matter, are you drunk? This is outrageous, I shall simply catc_old. Wait a minute, I'll just throw my rug over me."
"Give me fifteen roubles at once. If you don't give it me, I'll knock an_hout till daybreak; I'll break your window-frame."
"And I'll shout police and you'll be taken to the lock-up."
"And am I dumb? Can't I shout 'police' too? Which of us has most reason to b_fraid of the police, you or I?"
"And you can hold such contemptible opinions! I know what you are hinting at… . Stop, stop, for God's sake don't go on knocking! Upon my word, who has mone_t night? What do you want money for, unless you are drunk?"
"My wife has come back. I've taken ten roubles off the price, I haven't fire_t once; take the revolver, take it this minute!"
Lyamshin mechanically put his hand out of the casement and took the revolver; he waited a little, and suddenly thrusting his head out of the casement, an_ith a shiver running down his spine, faltered as though he were besid_imself.
"You are lying, your wife hasn't come back to you… . It's … it's simply tha_ou want to run away."
"You are a fool. Where should I run to? It's for your Pyotr Verhovensky to ru_way, not for me. I've just been to the midwife, Madame Virginsky, and sh_onsented at once to come to me. You can ask them. My wife is in agony; I nee_he money; give it me!"
A swarm of ideas flared up in Lyamshin's crafty mind like a shower o_ireworks. It all suddenly took a different colour, though still pani_revented him from reflecting.
"But how … you are not living with your wife?"
"I'll break your skull for questions like that."
"Oh dear, I understand, forgive me, I was struck all of a heap… . But _nderstand, I understand … is Arina Prohorovna really coming? You said jus_ow that she had gone? You know, that's not true. You see, you see, you se_hat lies you tell at every step."
"By now, she must be with my wife … don't keep me … it's not my fault you ar_ fool."
"That's a lie, I am not a fool. Excuse me, I really can't … "
And utterly distraught he began shutting the casement again for the thir_ime, but Shatov gave such a yell that he put his head out again.
"But this is simply an unprovoked assault! What do you want of me, what is it, what is it, formulate it? And think, only think, it's the middle of th_ight!"
"I want fifteen roubles, you sheep's-head!"
"But perhaps I don't care to take back the revolver. You have no right t_orce me. You bought the thing and the matter is settled, and you've no right… . I can't give you a sum like that in the night, anyhow. Where am I to get _um like that?"
"You always have money. I've taken ten roubles off the price, but every on_nows you are a skinflint."
"Come the day after to-morrow, do you hear, the day after to-morrow at twelv_'clock, and I'll give you the whole of it, that will do, won't it?"
Shatov knocked furiously at the window-frame for the third time.
"Give me ten roubles, and to-morrow early the other five."
"No, the day after to-morrow the other five, to-morrow I swear I shan't hav_t. You'd better not come, you'd better not come."
"Give me ten, you scoundrel!"
"Why are you so abusive. Wait a minute, I must light a candle; you've broke_he window… . Nobody swears like that at night. Here you are!" He held a not_o him out of the window.
Shatov seized itit was a note for five roubles.
"On my honour I can't do more, if you were to murder me, I couldn't; the da_fter to-morrow I can give you it all, but now I can do nothing."
"I am not going away!" roared Shatov.
"Very well, take it, here's some more, see, here's some more, and I won't giv_ore. You can shout at the top of your voice, but I won't give more, I won't, whatever happens, I won't, I won't."
He was in a perfect frenzy, desperate and perspiring. The two notes he ha_ust given him were each for a rouble. Shatov had seven roubles altogethe_ow.
"Well, damn you, then, I'll come to-morrow. I'll thrash you, Lyamshin, if yo_on't give me the other eight."
"You won't find me at home, you fool!" Lyamshin reflected quickly.
"Stay, stay!" he shouted frantically after Shatov, who was already runnin_ff. "Stay, come back. Tell me please, is it true what you said that your wif_as come back?"
"Fool!" cried Shatov, with a gesture of disgust, and ran home as hard as h_ould.
I may mention that Anna Prohorovna knew nothing of the resolutions that ha_een taken at the meeting the day before. On returning home overwhelmed an_xhausted, Virginsky had not ventured to tell her of the decision that ha_een taken, yet he could not refrain from telling her halfthat is, all tha_erhovensky had told them of the certainty of Shatov's intention to betra_hem; but he added at the same time that he did not quite believe it. Arin_rohorovna was terribly alarmed. This was why she decided at once to go whe_hatov came to fetch her, though she was tired out, as she had been hard a_ork at a confinement ah! the night before. She had always been convinced that
"a wretched creature like Shatov was capable of any political baseness," bu_he arrival of Marya Ignatyevna put things in a different light. Shatov'_larm, the despairing tone of his entreaties, the way he begged for help, clearly showed a complete change of feeling in the traitor: a man who wa_eady to betray himself merely for the sake of ruining others would, sh_hought, have had a different air and tone. In short, Arina Prohorovn_esolved to look into the matter for herself, with her own eyes.* Virginsk_as very glad of her decision, he felt as though a hundredweight had bee_ifted off him! He even began to feel hopeful: Shatov's appearance seemed t_im utterly incompatible with Verhovensky's supposition.
Shatov was not mistaken: on getting home he found Arina Prohorovna alread_ith Marie. She had just arrived, had contemptuously dismissed Kirillov, who_he found hanging about the foot of the stairs, had hastily introduced hersel_o Marie, who had not recognised her as her former acquaintance, found her in
"a very bad way," that is ill-tempered, irritable and in "a state of cowardl_espair," and within five minutes had completely silenced all her protests.
"Why do you keep on that you don't want an expensive midwife?" she was sayin_t the moment when Shatov came in. "That's perfect nonsense, it's a false ide_rising from the abnormality of your condition. In the hands of some ordinar_ld woman, some peasant midwife, you'd have fifty chances of going wrong an_hen you'd have more bother and expense than with a regular midwife. How d_ou know I am an expensive midwife? You can pay afterwards; I won't charge yo_uch and I answer for my success; you won't die in my hands, I've seen wors_ases than yours. And I can send the baby to a foundling asylum to-morrow, i_ou like, and then to be brought up in the country, and that's all it wil_ean. And meantime you'll grow strong again, take up some rational work, an_n a very short time you'll repay Shatov for sheltering you and for th_xpense, which will not be so great."
"It's not that … I've no right to be a burden… ."
"Rational feelings and worthy of a citizen, but you can take my word for it, Shatov will spend scarcely anything, if he is willing to become ever so littl_ man of sound ideas instead of the fantastic person he is. He has only not t_o anything stupid, not to raise an alarm, not to run about the town with hi_ongue out. If we don't restrain him he will be knocking up all the doctors o_he town before the morning; he waked all the dogs in my street. There's n_eed of doctors I've said already. I'll answer for everything. You can hire a_ld woman if you like to wait on you, that won't cost much. Though he too ca_o something besides the silly things he's been doing. He's got hands an_eet, he can run to the chemist's without offending your feelings by being to_enevolent. As though it were a case of benevolence! Hasn't he brought yo_nto this position? Didn't he make you break with the family in which you wer_ governess, with the egoistic object of marrying you? We heard of it, yo_now … though he did run for me like one possessed and yell so all the stree_ould hear. I won't force myself upon anyone and have come only for your sake, on the principle that all of us are bound to hold together! And I told him s_efore I left the house. If you think I am in the way, good-bye, I only hop_ou won't have trouble which might so easily be averted."
And she positively got up from the chair. Marie was so helpless, in such pain, andthe truth must be confessedso frightened of what was before her that sh_ared not let her go. But this woman was suddenly hateful to her, what sh_aid was not what she wanted, there was something quite different in Marie'_oul. Yet the prediction that she might possibly die in the hands of a_nexperienced peasant woman overcame her aversion. But she made up for it b_eing more exacting and more ruthless than ever with Shatov. She ended b_orbidding him not only to look at her but even to stand facing her. Her pain_ecame more violent. Her curses, her abuse became more and more frantic.
"Ech, we'll send him away," Arina Prohorovna rapped out. "I don't know what h_ooks like, he is simply frightening you; he is as white as a corpse! What i_t to you, tell me please, you absurd fellow? What a farce!"
Shatov made no reply, he made up his mind to say nothing. "I've seen many _oolish father, half crazy in such cases. But they, at any rate … "
"Be quiet or leave me to die! Don't say another word! I won't have it, I won'_ave it!" screamed Marie.
"It's impossible not to say another word, if you are not out of your mind, a_ think you are in your condition. We must talk of what we want, anyway: tel_e, have you anything ready? You answer, Shatov, she is incapable."
"Tell me what's needed?"
"That means you've nothing ready." She reckoned up all that was quit_ecessary, and one must do her the justice to say she only asked for what wa_bsolutely indispensable, the barest necessaries. Some things Shatov had.
Marie took out her key and held it out to him, for him to look in her bag. A_is hands shook he was longer than he should have been opening the unfamilia_ock. Marie flew into a rage, but when Arina Prohorovna rushed up to take th_ey from him, she would not allow her on any account to look into her bag an_ith peevish cries and tears insisted that no one should open the bag bu_hatov.
Some things he had to fetch from Kirillov's. No sooner had Shatov turned to g_or them than she began frantically calling him back and was only quieted whe_hatov had rushed impetuously back from the stairs, and explained that h_hould only be gone a minute to fetch something indispensable and would b_ack at once.
"Well, my lady, it's hard to please you," laughed Arina Prohorovna, "on_inute he must stand with his face to the wall and not dare to look at you, and the next he mustn't be gone for a minute, or you begin crying. He ma_egin to imagine something. Come, come, don't be silly, don't blubber, I wa_aughing, you know."
"He won't dare to imagine anything."
"Tut, tut, tut, if he didn't love you like a sheep he wouldn't run about th_treets with his tongue out and wouldn't have roused all the dogs in the town.
He broke my window-frame."
He found Kirillov still pacing up and down his room so preoccupied that he ha_orgotten the arrival of Shatov's wife, and heard what he said withou_nderstanding him.
"Oh, yes!" he recollected suddenly, as though tearing himself with an effor_nd only for an instant from some absorbing idea, "yes … an old woman… . _ife or an old woman? Stay a minute: a wife and an old woman, is that it? _emember. I've been, the old woman will come, only not just now. Take th_illow. Is there anything else? Yes… . Stay, do you have moments of th_ternal harmony, Shatov?"
"You know, Kirillov, you mustn't go on staying up every night."
Kirillov came out of his reverie and, strange to say, spoke far mor_oherently than he usually did; it was clear that he had formulated it lon_go and perhaps written it down.
"There are secondsthey come five or six at a timewhen you suddenly feel th_resence of the eternal harmony perfectly attained. It's something no_arthlyI don't mean in the sense that it's heavenlybut in that sense that ma_annot endure it in his earthly aspect. He must be physically changed or die.
This feeling is clear and unmistakable; it's as though you apprehend al_ature and suddenly say, 'Yes, that's right.' God, when He created the world, said at the end of each day of creation, 'Yes, it's right, it's good.' It … it's not being deeply moved, but simply joy. You don't forgive anythin_ecause there is no more need of forgiveness. It's not that you loveoh, there's something in it higher than lovewhat's most awful is that it'_erribly clear and such joy. If it lasted more than five seconds, the sou_ould not endure it and must perish. In those five seconds I live through _ifetime, and I'd give my whole life for them, because they are worth it. T_ndure ten seconds one must be physically changed. I think man ought to giv_p having childrenwhat's the use of children, what's the use of evolution whe_he goal has been attained? In the gospel it is written that there will be n_hild-bearing in the resurrection, but that men will be like the angels of th_ord. That's a hint. Is your wife bearing a child?"
"Kirillov, does this often happen?"
"Once in three days, or once a week."
"Don't you have fits, perhaps?"
"Well, you will. Be careful, Kirillov. I've heard that's just how fits begin.
An epileptic described exactly that sensation before a fit, word for word a_ou've done. He mentioned five seconds, too, and said that more could not b_ndured. Remember Mahomet's pitcher from which no drop of water was spil_hile he circled Paradise on his horse. That was a case of five seconds too; that's too much like your eternal harmony, and Mahomet was an epileptic. B_areful, Kirillov, it's. epilepsy!"
"It won't have time," Kirillov smiled gently.
The night was passing. Shatov was sent hither and thither, abused, calle_ack. Marie was reduced to the most abject terror for life. She screamed tha_he wanted to live, that "she must, she must," and was afraid to die. "I don'_ant to, I don't want to!" she repeated. If Arina Prohorovna had not bee_here, things would have gone very badly. By degrees she gained complet_ontrol of the patientwho began to obey every word, every order from her lik_ child. Arina Prohorovna ruled by sternness not by kindness, but she wa_irst-rate at her work. It began to get light … Arina Prohorovna suddenl_magined that Shatov had just run out on to the stairs to say his prayers an_egan laughing. Marie laughed too, spitefully, malignantly, as though suc_aughter relieved her. At last they drove Shatov away altogether. A damp, col_orning dawned. He pressed his face to the wall in the corner just as he ha_one the evening before when Erkel came. He was trembling like a leaf, afrai_o think, but his mind caught at every thought as it does in dreams.
He was continually being carried away by day-dreams, which snapped off shor_ike a rotten thread. From the room came no longer groans but awful anima_ries, unendurable, incredible. He tried to stop up his ears, but could not, and he fell on his knees, repeating unconsciously, "Marie, Marie!" The_uddenly he heard a cry, a new cry, which made Shatov start and jump up fro_is knees, the cry of a baby, a weak discordant cry. He crossed himself an_ushed into the room. Arina Prohorovna held in her hands a little red wrinkle_reature, screaming, and moving its little arms and legs, fearfully helpless, and looking as though it could be blown away by a puff of wind, but screamin_nd seeming to assert its full right to live. Marie was lying as thoug_nsensible, but a minute later she opened her eyes, and bent a strange, strange look on Shatov: it was something quite new, that look. What it mean_xactly he was not able to understand yet, but he had never known such a loo_n her face before.
"Is it a boy? Is it a boy?" she asked Arina Prohorovna in an exhausted voice.
"It is a boy," the latter shouted in reply, as she bound up the child.
When she had bound him up and was about to lay him across the bed between th_wo pillows, she gave him to Shatov for a minute to hold. Marie signed to hi_n the sly as though afraid of Arina Prohorovna. He understood at once an_rought the baby to show her.
"How … pretty he is," she whispered weakly with a smile.
"Poo, what does he look like," Arina Prohorovna laughed gaily in triumph, glancing at Shatov's face. "What a funny face!"
"You may be merry, Arina Prohorovna… . It's a great joy," Shatov faltered wit_n expression of idiotic bliss, radiant at the phrase Marie had uttered abou_he child.
"Where does the great joy come in?" said Arina Prohorovna good-humouredly, bustling about, clearing up, and working like a convict.
"The mysterious coming of a new creature, a great and inexplicable mystery; and what a pity it is, Arina Prohorovna, that you don't understand it."
Shatov spoke in an incoherent, stupefied and ecstatic way. Something seemed t_e tottering in his head and welling up from his soul apart from his own will.
"There were two and now there's a third human being, a new spirit, finishe_nd complete, unlike the handiwork of man; a new thought and a new love … it'_ositively frightening… . And there's nothing grander in the world."
"Ech, what nonsense he talks! It's simply a further development of th_rganism, and there's nothing else in it, no mystery," said Arina Prohorovn_ith genuine and good-humoured laughter. "If you talk like that, every fly i_ mystery. But I tell you what: superfluous people ought not to be born. W_ust first remould everything so that they won't be superfluous and then brin_hem into the world. As it is, we shall have to take him to the Foundling, th_ay after to-morrow… . Though that's as it should be."
"I will never let him go to the Foundling," Shatov pronounced resolutely, staring at the floor.
"You adopt him as your son?"
"He is my son."
"Of course he is a Shatov, legally he is a Shatov, and there's no need for yo_o pose as a humanitarian. Men can't get on without fine words. There, there, it's all right, but look here, my friends," she added, having finishe_learing up at last, "it's time for me to go. I'll come again this morning, and again in the evening if necessary, but now, since everything has gone of_o well, I must run off to my other patients, they've been expecting me lon_go. I believe you got an old woman somewhere, Shatov; an old woman is al_ery well, but don't you, her tender husband, desert her; sit beside her, yo_ay be of use; Marya Ignatyevna won't drive you away, I fancy… . There, there, I was only laughing."
At the gate, to which Shatov accompanied her, she added to him alone.
"You've given me something to laugh at for the rest of my life; I shan'_harge you anything; I shall laugh at you in my sleep! I have never see_nything funnier than you last night."
She went off very well satisfied. Shatov's appearance and conversation made i_s clear as daylight that this man "was going in for being a father and was _inny." She ran home on purpose to tell Virginsky about it, though it wa_horter and more direct to go to another patient.
"Marie, she told you not to go to sleep for a little time, though, I see, it'_ery hard for you," Shatov began timidly. "I'll sit here by the window an_ake care of you, shall I?"
And he sat down, by the window behind the sofa so that she could not see him.
But before a minute had passed she called him and fretfully asked him t_rrange the pillow. He began arranging it. She looked angrily at the wall.
"That's not right, that's not right… . What hands!"
Shatov did it again.
"Stoop down to me," she said wildly, trying hard not to look at him.
He started but stooped down.
"More … not so … nearer," and suddenly her left arm was impulsively throw_ound his neck and he felt her warm moist kiss on his forehead.
Her lips were quivering, she was struggling with herself, but suddenly sh_aised herself and said with flashing eyes:
"Nikolay Stavrogin is a scoundrel!" And she fell back helplessly with her fac_n the pillow, sobbing hysterically, and tightly squeezing Shatov's hand i_ers.
From that moment she would not let him leave her; she insisted on his sittin_y her pillow. She could not talk much but she kept gazing at him and smilin_lissfully. She seemed suddenly to have become a silly girl. Everything seeme_ransformed. Shatov cried like a boy, then talked of God knows what, wildly, crazily, with inspiration, kissed her hands; she listened entranced, perhap_ot understanding him, but caressingly ruffling his hair with her weak hand, smoothing it and admiring it. He talked about Kirillov, of how they would no_egin "a new life" for good, of the existence of God, of the goodness of al_en… . She took out the child again to gaze at it rapturously.
"Marie," he cried, as he held the child in his arms, "all the old madness, shame, and deadness is over, isn't it? Let us work hard and begin a new life, the three of us, yes, yes! … Oh, by the way, what shall we call him, Marie?"
"What shall we call him?" she repeated with surprise, and there was a sudde_ook of terrible grief in her face.
She clasped her hands, looked reproachfully at Shatov and hid her face in th_illow.
"Marie, what is it?" he cried with painful alarm.
"How could you, how could you … Oh, you ungrateful man!"
"Marie, forgive me, Marie … I only asked you what his name should be. I don'_now… ."
"Ivan, Ivan." She raised her flushed and tear-stained face. How could yo_uppose we should call him by another horrible name?"
"Marie, calm yourself; oh, what a nervous state you are in!"
"That's rude again, putting it down to my nerves. I bet that if I'd said hi_ame was to be that other … horrible name, you'd have agreed at once and no_ave noticed it even! Oh, men, the mean ungrateful creatures, they are al_like!"
A minute later, of course, they were reconciled. Shatov persuaded her to hav_ nap. She fell asleep but still kept his hand in hers; she waked u_requently, looked at him, as though afraid he would go away, and droppe_sleep again.
Kirillov sent an old woman "to congratulate them," as well as some hot tea, some freshly cooked cutlets, and some broth and white bread for Mary_gnatyevna. The patient sipped the broth greedily, the old woman undid th_aby's wrappings and swaddled it afresh, Marie made Shatov have a cutlet too.
Time was passing. Shatov, exhausted, fell asleep himself in his chair, wit_is head on Marie's pillow. So they were found by Arina Prohorovna, who kep_er word. She waked them up gaily, asked Marie some necessary questions, examined the baby, and again forbade Shatov to leave her. Then, jesting at the
"happy couple," with a shade of contempt and superciliousness she went away a_ell satisfied as before.
It was quite dark when Shatov waked up. He made haste to light the candle an_an for the old woman; but he had hardly begun to go down the stairs when h_as struck by the sound of the soft, deliberate steps of some one coming u_owards him. Erkel came in.
"Don't come in," whispered Shatov, and impulsively seizing him by the hand h_rew him back towards the gate. "Wait here, I'll come directly, I'd completel_orgotten you, completely! Oh, how you brought it back!"
He was in such haste that he did not even run in to Kirillov's, but onl_alled the old woman. Marie was in despair and indignation that "he coul_ream of leaving her alone."
"But," he cried ecstatically, "this is the very last step! And then for a ne_ife and we'll never, never think of the old horrors again!"
He somehow appeased her and promised to be back at nine o'clock; he kissed he_armly, kissed the baby and ran down quickly to Erkel.
They set off together to Stavrogin's park at Skvoreshniki, where, in _ecluded place at the very edge of the park where it adjoined the pine wood, he had, eighteen months before, buried the printing press which had bee_ntrusted to him. It was a wild and deserted place, quite hidden and at som_istance from the Stavrogins' house. It was two or perhaps three miles fro_ilipov's house.
"Are we going to walk all the way? I'll take a cab."
"I particularly beg you not to," replied Erkel. '' They insisted on that. _abman would be a witness."
"Well … bother! I don't care, only to make an end of
They walked very fast.
"Erkel, you little boy," cried Shatov, "have you ever been happy?"
"You seem to be very happy just now," observed Erkel with curiosity.