“Really. But now I am well, quite well! Where is Katya?”
“She is not at home. I suppose she has gone somewhere from her examination.”
The old lady said this and looked at her stocking; her lips began quivering, she turned away, and suddenly broke into sobs. Forgetting the doctor’s prohibition in her despair, she said:
“Ah, Katya, Katya! Our angel is gone! Is gone!”
She dropped her stocking and bent down to it, and as she did so her cap fell off her head. Looking at her grey head and understanding nothing, Klimov was frightened for Katya, and asked:
“Where is she, aunt?”
The old woman, who had forgotten Klimov and was thinking only of her sorrow, said:
“She caught typhus from you, and is dead. She was buried the day before yesterday.”
This terrible, unexpected news was fully grasped by Klimov’s consciousness; but terrible and startling as it was, it could not overcome the animal joy that filled the convalescent. He cried and laughed, and soon began scolding because they would not let him eat.
Only a week later when, leaning on Pavel, he went in his dressing-gown to the window, looked at the overcast spring sky and listened to the unpleasant clang of the old iron rails which were being carted by, his heart ached, he burst into tears, and leaned his forehead against the window-frame.
“How miserable I am!” he muttered. “My God, how miserable!”
And joy gave way to the boredom of everyday life and the feeling of his irrevocable loss.
SOFYA PETROVNA, the wife of Lubyantsev the notary, a handsome young woman of five-and-twenty, was walking slowly along a track that had been cleared in the wood, with Ilyin, a lawyer who was spending the summer in the neighbourhood. It was five o’clock in the evening. Feathery-white masses of cloud stood overhead; patches of bright blue sky peeped out between them. The clouds stood motionless, as though they had caught in the tops of the tall old pine-trees. It was still and sultry.
Farther on, the track was crossed by a low railway embankment on which a sentinel with a gun was for some reason pacing up and down. Just beyond the embankment there was a large white church with six domes and a rusty roof.
“I did not expect to meet you here,” said Sofya Petrovna, looking at the ground and prodding at the last year’s leaves with the tip of her parasol, “and now I am glad we have met. I want to speak to you seriously and once for all. I beg you, Ivan Mihalovitch, if you really love and respect me, please make an end of this pursuit of me! You follow me about like a shadow, you are continually looking at me not in a nice way, making love to me, writing me strange letters, and . . . and I don’t know where it’s all going to end! Why, what can come of it?”
Ilyin said nothing. Sofya Petrovna walked on a few steps and continued: