Jennka straightened up on the bed, fixed Liubka with her dry, burning, yet seemingly weeping eyes, and asked brokenly:
“Have you eaten anything to-day?”
“No. Neither yesterday, nor to-day. Nothing.”
“Listen, Jennechka,” asked Vanda quietly, “suppose I give her some white wine? And Verka meanwhile will run to the kitchen for meat? What?”
“Do as you know best. Of course, that’s all right. And give a look, girlies, why, she’s all wet. Oh, what a booby! Well! Lively! Undress yourself! Little White Manka, or you, Tamarochka, give her dry drawers, warm stockings and slippers. Well, now,” she turned to Liubka, “tell us, you idiot, all that happened to you!”
On that early morning when Lichonin so suddenly, and, perhaps, unexpectedly even to himself, had carried off Liubka from the gay establishment of Anna Markovna it was the height of summer. The trees still remained green, but in the scent of the air, the leaves, and the grass there was already to be felt, as though from afar, the tender, melancholy, and at the same time bewitching scent of the nearing autumn. With wonder the student gazed at the trees, so clean, innocent and quiet, as though God, imperceptibly to men, had planted them about here at night; and the trees themselves were looking around with wonder upon the calm blue water, that still seemed slumbering in the pools and ditches and under the wooden bridge thrown across the shallow river; upon the lofty, as though newly washed sky, which had just awakened, and, in the glow of dawn, half asleep, was smiling with a rosy, lazy, happy smile in greeting to the kindling sun.
The heart of the student expanded and quivered; both from the beauty of the beatific morning, and from the joy of existence, and from the sweet air, refreshing his lungs after the night, passed without sleep, in a crowded and smoke-filled compartment. But the beauty and loftiness of his own action moved him still more.
Yes, he had acted like a man, like a real man, in the highest sense of that word! Even now he is not repenting of what he had done. It’s all right for them (to whom this “them” applied, Lichonin did not properly understand even himself), it’s all right for them to talk about the horrors of prostitution; to talk, sitting at tea, with rolls and sausage, in the presence of pure and cultured girls. But had any one of his colleagues taken some actual step toward liberating a woman from perdition? Eh, now? And then there is also—the sort that will come to this same Sonechka Marmeladova, will tell her all sorts of taradiddles, describe all kinds of horrors to her, butt into her soul, until he brings her to tears; and right off will start in crying himself and begin to console her, embrace her, pat her on the head, kiss her at first on the cheek, then on the lips; well, and everybody knows what happens next! Faugh! But with him, with Lichonin, the word and the deed were never at odds.