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The Brothers Karamazov

6. A Laceration in the Cottage
HE certainly was really grieved in a way he had seldom been before. He had
rushed in like a fool, and meddled in what? In a love-affair. "But what do I know
about it? What can I tell about such things?" he repeated to himself for the
hundredth time, flushing crimson. "Oh, being ashamed would be nothing; shame
is only the punishment I deserve. The trouble is I shall certainly have caused
more unhappiness.... And Father Zossima sent me to reconcile and bring them
together. Is this the way to bring them together?" Then he suddenly remembered
how he had tried to join their hands, and he felt fearfully ashamed again. "Though
I acted quite sincerely, I must be more sensible in the future," he concluded
suddenly, and did not even smile at his conclusion.
Katerina Ivanovna's commission took him to Lake Street, and his brother Dmitri
lived close by, in a turning out of Lake Street. Alyosha decided to go to him in
any case before going to the captain, though he had a presentiment that he
would not find his brother. He suspected that he would intentionally keep out of
his way now, but he must find him anyhow. Time was passing: the thought of his
dying elder had not left Alyosha for one minute from the time he set off from the
monastery.
There was one point which interested him particularly about Katerina Ivanovna's
commission; when she had mentioned the captain's son, the little schoolboy who
had run beside his father crying, the idea had at once struck Alyosha that this
must be the schoolboy who had bitten his finger when he, Alyosha, asked him
what he had done to hurt him. Now Alyosha felt practically certain of this, though
he could not have said why. Thinking of another subject was a relief, and he
resolved to think no more about the "mischief" he had done, and not to torture
himself with remorse, but to do what he had to do, let come what would. At that
thought he was completely comforted. Turning to the street where Dmitri lodged,
he felt hungry, and taking out of his pocket the roll he had brought from his
father's, he ate it. It made him feel stronger.
Dmitri was not at home. The people of the house, an old cabinet-maker, his son,
and his old wife, looked with positive suspicion at Alyosha. "He hasn't slept here
for the last three nights. Maybe he has gone away," the old man said in answer
to Alyosha's persistent inquiries. Alyosha saw that he was answering in
accordance with instructions. When he asked whether he were not at
Grushenka's or in hiding at Foma's (Alyosha spoke so freely on purpose), all
three looked at him in alarm. "They are fond of him, they are doing their best for
him," thought Alyosha. "That's good."
At last he found the house in Lake Street. It was a decrepit little house, sunk on
one side, with three windows looking into the street, and with a muddy yard, in
 
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