Some days passed by. I remember that on one of them there came a great piece of news: the emperor Paul was dead, and his son Alexander, of whose generosity and humanity much had been said, had ascended the throne. This news greatly excited David, and awoke in him the hope of again seeing his father, and of seeing him soon. My father too was very glad. “All the exiles will now be allowed to return from Siberia, and they won’t forget my brother Jegor,” he repeated, rubbing his hands, but with a somewhat anxious expression. David I and I stopped working, and we did not even make a pretence of going to the gymnasium; indeed, we did not even go out to walk, but we used to hang about the house and conjecture and reckon in how many months, how many weeks, how many days “brother Jegor” would return—where we should write to him, how we would receive him, and how we should live then. “Brother Jegor” was an architect, and we both decided that he should move to Moscow and build there great schools for the poor, and we should be his assistants. The watch meanwhile we had entirely forgotten, but it was determined to recall itself to our memory.
One morning, just after breakfast, I was sitting alone in the window thinking of my uncle’s return. The April thaw was dripping and sparkling without, when my aunt, Pulcheria Petrovna, rushed suddenly into the room. She was always very excitable and complaining, and she always spoke with a shrill voice, gesticulating a great deal; but this time she pounced upon me. “Come, come, go to your father this minute, young sir,” she sputtered out. “What tricks you’ve been up to, you shameless boy! But you’ll catch it, both of you. Nastasa Nastasaitch has discovered all your goings on. Go! Your father has sent for you: go this moment.”
I mechanically followed my aunt, without in the least understanding what it was all about, and as I crossed the thresh-hold I saw my father with his hair on end walking up and down the room with long strides. Juschka was in tears near the door, and my godfather was sitting on a stool in the corner with a very malicious expression in his open nostrils and wandering eyes. My father flew at me as soon as I entered the room: “Did you give Juschka the watch? What?”
I looked at Juschka.
“Tell me,” repeated my father, stamping with his feet.
“Yes,” I answered, and immediately received a violent box on the ear, which gave my aunt a great deal of satisfaction. I heard her smack her lips with pleasure, as if she had just taken a good swallow of hot tea. My father rushed from me to Juschka. “You rascal! you ought not to have taken the watch,” he cried, seizing him by the hair; “and you sold it to the watchmaker, you good-for-nothing fellow!”
Juschka, in fact, as I afterward learned, had in the simplicity of his heart sold my watch to a neighboring watchmaker. The watchmaker had hung it up in his window, where Nastasa had seen it. He bought it and brought it back to us. Juschka and I were not detained long: my father got out of breath and began to cough, and besides it was not his way to be cross.