had jumped on the tram and then described the episode of the severed head.
The head and the professor's forecast reminded him of Pontius Pilate, so to
sound more convincing Ivan decided to give the story of the Procurator in
full, from the moment when he had emerged in his white, red-lined cloak into
the arcade of Herod's palace.
Ivan worked hard. He crossed out what he had written, put in new words
and even tried to draw a sketch of Pontius Pilate, then one showing the cat
walking on its hind legs. But his drawings were hopeless and the further he
went the more confused his statement grew.
By the time the storm had begun, Ivan felt that he was exhausted and
would never be able to write a statement. His windblown sheets of paper were
in a complete muddle and he began to weep, quietly and bitterly. The kind
nurse Praskovya Fyodorovna called on the poet during the storm and was
worried to find him crying. She closed the blinds so that the lightning
should not frighten the patient, picked up the sheets of paper and went off
with them to look for the doctor.
The doctor appeared, gave Ivan an injection in his arm and assured
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