He said to himself: “I will wait. Either this is all nonsense ... or she is here. She will not play with me like a cat with a mouse!” He waited, waited a long time ... so long that the hand on which he was propping his head became numb ... but not a single one of his previous sensations was repeated. A couple of times his eyes closed.... He immediately opened them ... at least, it seemed to him that he opened them. Gradually they became riveted on the door and so remained. The candle burned out and the room became dark once more ... but the door gleamed like a long, white spot in the midst of the gloom. And lo! that spot began to move, it contracted, vanished ... and in its place, on the threshold, a female form made its appearance. Aratoff looked at it intently ... it was Clara! And this time she was gazing straight at him, she moved toward him.... On her head was a wreath of red roses.... It kept undulating, rising....
Before him stood his aunt in her nightcap, with a broad red ribbon, and in a white wrapper.
“Platosha!” he enunciated with difficulty.—“Is it you?”
“It is I,” replied Platonida Ivanovna.... “It is I, Yashyonotchek, it is I.”
“Why have you come?”
“Why, thou didst wake me. At first thou seemedst to be moaning all the while ... and then suddenly thou didst begin to shout: ’Save me! Help me!’”
“Yes, thou didst shout, and so hoarsely: ’Save me!’—I thought: ’O Lord! Can he be ill?’ So I entered. Art thou well?”
“Come, that means that thou hast had a bad dream. I will fumigate with incense if thou wishest—shall I?”
Again Aratoff gazed intently at his aunt, and burst into a loud laugh.... The figure of the kind old woman in nightcap and wrapper, with her frightened, long-drawn face, really was extremely comical. All that mysterious something which had surrounded him, had stifled him, all those delusions dispersed on the instant.
“No, Platosha, my dear, it is not necessary,” he said.—“Forgive me for having involuntarily alarmed you. May your rest be tranquil—and I will go to sleep also.”
Platonida Ivanovna stood a little while longer on the spot where she was, pointed at the candle, grumbled: “Why dost thou not extinguish it? ... there will be a catastrophe before long!”—and as she retired, could not refrain from making the sign of the cross over him from afar.
Aratoff fell asleep immediately, and slept until morning. He rose in a fine frame of mind ... although he regretted something.... He felt light and free. “What romantic fancies one does devise,” he said to himself with a smile. He did not once glance either at the stereoscope or the leaf which he had torn out. But immediately after breakfast he set off to see Kupfer.
What drew him thither ... he dimly recognised.