All of us in the room were silent. “But where is your picture of the saints?” he inquired, gazing about: “we must cleanse ourselves.”
In one corner he began to pray, crossing himself humbly, so that he touched first one shoulder, then another. “Have mercy, Lord! on my, on my—” My father, who had watched closely without speaking a word, suddenly started, came near him, and began to cross himself. Then he turned and bowed so low that his hand nearly touched the floor, and said, “Do you also forgive me, Martinian Gavrilitsch,” and he kissed his shoulder. Latkin answered by kissing in the air and winking his eyes: he evidently hardly knew what he was doing. Then my father turned to all who were in the room—to David, Raissa and me. “Do what you please, do whatever you think you may,” he said in a low, sad voice, and he left the room, completely broken down.
“Lord my! Lord my! have mercy on me!” repeated Latkin. “I am a man.”
“Good-bye, David,” said Raissa, leaving the room with her father.
“I’ll be with you to-morrow,” shouted David after her; and turning his face to the wall he muttered, “I am very tired: I should like to go to sleep;” and he became quiet.
For a long time I lingered there. I could not forget my father’s threat. But my fears proved groundless. He met me, but he uttered no word. He too seemed uncomfortable. Besides, it soon was night and all in the house went to rest.
The next day David got up as if nothing had happened, and not long afterward, on one and the same day, two important events took place: in the morning died the old Latkin, Raissa’s father, and in the evening Jegor, David’s father, arrived. Since he had not sent any letter or told any one, he took us all by surprise. My father exerted himself actively to give him a warm reception. He flew about as if he were crazy, and was as attentive as if he owed him money. But all his brother’s efforts seemed to leave my uncle cold: he kept saying, “Why do you do that?” or, “I don’t need anything.” He was even cooler with my aunt; besides, he paid very little attention to her. In her eyes he was an atheist, a heretic, a Voltairian (in fact, he had learned French in order to read Voltaire in the original). I found Uncle Jegor as David had described him. He was a large, heavy man, with a broad, pock-marked face, grave and serious. He always wore a hat with a feather in it, frills and ruffles, and a tobacco-colored jacket, with a steel sword by his side. David took a great deal of pleasure in him: he even grew more cheerful and better-looking, and his eyes changed: they became merry, quick and brilliant. But he always tried to moderate his joy and not to give it expression: he was afraid of appearing weak. The first evening after my uncle’s return they two, father and son, shut themselves! up in a separate room and talked together in a low