And Sergius took off his boots, lay down, and at once fell asleep after a sleepless night and a walk of nearly thirty miles.
When Praskovya Mikhaylovna returned, Sergius was sitting in the little room waiting for her. He did not come out for dinner, but had some soup and gruel which Lukerya brought him.
'How is it that you have come back earlier than you said?' asked Sergius. 'Can I speak to you now?'
'How is it that I have the happiness to receive such a guest? I have missed one of my lessons. That can wait . . . I had always been planning to go to see you. I wrote to you, and now this good fortune has come.'
'Pashenka, please listen to what I am going to tell you as to a confession made to God at my last hour. Pashenka, I am not a holy man, I am not even as good as a simple ordinary man; I am a loathsome, vile, and proud sinner who has gone astray, and who, if not worse than everyone else, is at least worse than most very bad people.'
Pashenka looked at him at first with staring eyes. But she believed what he said, and when she had quite grasped it she touched his hand, smiling pityingly, and said:
'Perhaps you exaggerate, Stiva?'
'No, Pashenka. I am an adulterer, a murderer, a blasphemer, and a deceiver.'