Serafima Aleksandrovna remained standing over Lelechka’s bed a long while, and she kept looking at Lelechka with tenderness and fear.
“I’m a mother: is it possible that I shouldn’t be able to protect her?” she thought, as she imagined the various ills that might befall Lelechka.
She prayed long that night, but the prayer did not relieve her sadness.
Several days passed. Lelechka caught cold. The fever came upon her at night. When Serafima Aleksandrovna, awakened by Fedosya, came to Lelechka and saw her looking so hot, so restless, and so tormented, she instantly recalled the evil omen, and a hopeless despair took possession of her from the first moments.
A doctor was called, and everything was done that is usual on such occasions—but the inevitable happened. Serafima Aleksandrovna tried to console herself with the hope that Lelechka would get well, and would again laugh and play—yet this seemed to her an unthinkable happiness! And Lelechka grew feebler from hour to hour.
All simulated tranquillity, so as not to frighten Serafima Aleksandrovna, but their masked faces only made her sad.
Nothing made her so unhappy as the reiterations of Fedosya, uttered between sobs: “She hid herself and hid herself, our Lelechka!”
But the thoughts of Serafima Aleksandrovna were confused, and she could not quite grasp what was happening.
Fever was consuming Lelechka, and there were times when she lost consciousness and spoke in delirium. But when she returned to herself she bore her pain and her fatigue with gentle good nature; she smiled feebly at her mamochka, so that her mamochka should not see how much she suffered. Three days passed, torturing like a nightmare. Lelechka grew quite feeble. She did not know that she was dying.
She glanced at her mother with her dimmed eyes, and lisped in a scarcely audible, hoarse voice: “Tiu-tiu, mamochka! Make tiu-tiu, mamochka!”
Serafima Aleksandrovna hid her face behind the curtains near Lelechka’s bed. How tragic!
“Mamochka!” called Lelechka in an almost inaudible voice.
Lelechka’s mother bent over her, and Lelechka, her vision grown still more dim, saw her mother’s pale, despairing face for the last time.
“A white mamochka!” whispered Lelechka.
Mamochka’s white face became blurred, and everything grew dark before Lelechka. She caught the edge of the bed-cover feebly with her hands and whispered: “Tiu-tiu!”
Something rattled in her throat; Lelechka opened and again closed her rapidly paling lips, and died.
Serafima Aleksandrovna was in dumb despair as she left Lelechka, and went out of the room. She met her husband.
“Lelechka is dead,” she said in a quiet, dull voice.
Sergey Modestovich looked anxiously at her pale face. He was struck by the strange stupor in her formerly animated handsome features.