The Brothers Karamazov
4. At the Hohlakovs'
ALYOSHA soon reached Madame Hohlakov's house, a handsome stone house
of two stories, one of the finest in our town. Though Madame Hohlakov spent
most of her time in another province where she had an estate, or in Moscow,
where she had a house of her own, yet she had a house in our town too,
inherited from her forefathers. The estate in our district was the largest of her
three estates, yet she had been very little in our province before this time. She
ran out to Alyosha in the hall.
"Did you get my letter about the new miracle?" She spoke rapidly and nervously.
"Did you show it to everyone? He restored the son to his mother!"
"He is dying to-day," said Alyosha.
"I have heard, I know, oh, how I long to talk to you, to you or someone, about all
this. No, to you, to you! And how sorry I am I can't see him! The whole town is in
excitement, they are all suspense. But now -- do you know Katerina Ivanovna is
"Ah, that's lucky," cried Alyosha. "Then I shall see her here. She told me
yesterday to be sure to come and see her to-day."
"I know, I know all. I've heard exactly what happened yesterday- and the
atrocious behaviour of that -- creature. C'est tragique, and if I'd been in her place
I don't know what I should have done. And your brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch, what
do you think of him? -- my goodness! Alexey Fyodorovitch, I am forgetting, only
fancy; your brother is in there with her, not that dreadful brother who was so
shocking yesterday, but the other, Ivan Fyodorovitch, he is sitting with her talking;
they are having a serious conversation. If you could only imagine what's passing
between them now -- it's awful, I tell you it's lacerating, it's like some incredible
tale of horror. They are ruining their lives for no reason anyone can see. They
both recognise it and revel in it. I've been watching for you! I've been thirsting for
you! It's too much for me. that's the worst of it. I'll tell you all about it presently,
but now I must speak of something else, the most important thing -- I had quite
forgotten what's most important. Tell me, why has Lise been in hysterics? As
soon as she heard you were here, she began to be hysterical!"
"Maman, it's you who are hysterical now, not I," Lise's voice carolled through a
tiny crack of the door at the side. Her voice sounded as though she wanted to