Levin went to his brother's room. He had not in the least
expected what he saw and felt in his brother's room. He had
expected to find him in the same state of self-deception which he
had heard was so frequent with the consumptive, and which had
struck him so much during his brother's visit in the autumn. He
had expected to find the physical signs of the approach of death
more marked--greater weakness, greater emaciation, but still
almost the same condition of things. He had expected himself to
feel the same distress at the loss of the brother he loved and
the same horror in face of death as he had felt then, only in a
greater degree. And he had prepared himself for this; but he
found something utterly different.
In a little dirty room with the painted panels of its walls
filthy with spittle, and conversation audible through the thin
partition from the next room, in a stifling atmosphere saturated
with impurities, on a bedstead moved away from the wall, there
lay covered with a quilt, a body. One arm of this body was above
the quilt, and the wrist, huge as a rake-handle, was attached,
inconceivably it seemed, to the thin, long bone of the arm smooth
from the beginning to the middle. The head lay sideways on the
pillow. Levin could see the scanty locks wet with sweat on the
temples and tense, transparent-looking forehead.
"It cannot be that that fearful body was my brother Nikolay?"
thought Levin. But he went closer, saw the face, and doubt
became impossible. In spite of the terrible change in the face,
Levin had only to glance at those eager eyes raised at his
approach, only to catch the faint movement of the mouth under the
sticky mustache, to realize the terrible truth that this
death-like body was his living brother.
The glittering eyes looked sternly and reproachfully at his
brother as he drew near. And immediately this glance established
a living relationship between living men. Levin immediately felt
the reproach in the eyes fixed on him, and felt remorse at his
When Konstantin took him by the hand, Nikolay smiled. The smile
was faint, scarcely perceptible, and in spite of the smile the
stern expression of the eyes was unchanged.