'Pashenka, I have come to you! Take me in . . .'
His beautiful black eyes, shining with the tears that started in them, were fixed on her with imploring insistence. And under his greyish moustache his lips quivered piteously.
Praskovya Mikhaylovna pressed her hands to her withered breast, opened her mouth, and stood petrified, staring at the pilgrim with dilated eyes.
'It can't be! Stepa! Sergey! Father Sergius!'
'Yes, it is I,' said Sergius in a low voice. 'Only not Sergius, or Father Sergius, but a great sinner, Stepan Kasatsky--a great and lost sinner. Take me in and help me!'
'It's impossible! How have you so humbled yourself? But come in.'
She reached out her hand, but he did not take it and only followed her in.
But where was she to take him? The lodging was a small one. Formerly she had had a tiny room, almost a closet, for herself, but later she had given it up to her daughter, and Masha was now sitting there rocking the baby.