“Who beat the landlady?”
“Just now... half an hour ago, Ilya Petrovitch, the assistant superintendent, on the stairs.... Why was he ill-treating her like that, and... why was he here?”
Nastasya scrutinised him, silent and frowning, and her scrutiny lasted a long time. He felt uneasy, even frightened at her searching eyes.
“Nastasya, why don’t you speak?” he said timidly at last in a weak voice.
“It’s the blood,” she answered at last softly, as though speaking to herself.
“Blood? What blood?” he muttered, growing white and turning towards the wall.
Nastasya still looked at him without speaking.
“Nobody has been beating the landlady,” she declared at last in a firm, resolute voice.
He gazed at her, hardly able to breathe.
“I heard it myself.... I was not asleep... I was sitting