Why Is Such a Man Alive?
DMITRI FYODOROVITCH, a young man of eight and twenty, of medium
height and agreeable countenance, looked older than his years. He
was muscular, and showed signs of considerable physical strength.
Yet there was something not healthy in his face. It was rather thin,
his cheeks were hollow, and there was an unhealthy sallowness in their
colour. His rather large, prominent, dark eyes had an expression of
firm determination, and yet there was a vague look in them, too.
Even when he was excited and talking irritably, his eyes somehow did
not follow his mood, but betrayed something else, sometimes quite
incongruous with what was passing. "It's hard to tell what he's
thinking," those who talked to him sometimes declared. People who
saw something pensive and sullen in his eyes were startled by his
sudden laugh, which bore witness to mirthful and light-hearted
thoughts at the very time when his eyes were so gloomy. A certain
strained look in his face was easy to understand at this moment.
Everyone knew, or had heard of, the extremely restless and
dissipated life which he had been leading of late, as well as of the
violent anger to which he had been roused in his quarrels with his
father. There were several stories current in the town about it. It is
true that he was irascible by nature, "of an unstable and unbalanced
mind," as our justice of the peace, Katchalnikov, happily described
He was stylishly and irreproachably dressed in a carefully
buttoned frock-coat. He wore black gloves and carried a top hat.
Having only lately left the army, he still had moustaches and no
beard. His dark brown hair was cropped short, and combed forward on
his temples. He had the long, determined stride of a military man.
He stood still for a moment on the threshold, and glancing at the
whole party went straight up to the elder, guessing him to be their
host. He made him a low bow, and asked his blessing. Father Zossima,
rising in his chair, blessed him. Dmitri kissed his hand respectfully,
and with intense feeling, almost anger, he said:
"Be so generous as to forgive me for having kept you waiting so
long, but Smerdyakov, the valet sent me by my father, in reply to my
inquiries, told me twice over that the appointment was for one. Now
I suddenly learn- "
"Don't disturb yourself," interposed the elder. "No matter. You
are a little late. It's of no consequence.... "
"I'm extremely obliged to you, and expected no less from your
Saying this, Dmitri bowed once more. Then, turning suddenly
towards his father, made him, too, a similarly low and respectful bow.
He had evidently considered it beforehand, and made this bow in all
seriousness, thinking it his duty to show his respect and good
Although Fyodor Pavlovitch was taken unawares, he was equal to the
occasion. In response to Dmitri's bow he jumped up from his chair
and made his son a bow as low in return. His face was suddenly
solemn and impressive, which gave him a positively malignant look.
Dmitri bowed generally to all present, and without a word walked to
the window with his long, resolute stride, sat down on the only
empty chair, near Father Paissy, and, bending forward, prepared to
listen to the conversation he had interrupted.
Dmitri's entrance had taken no more than two minutes, and the
conversation was resumed. But this time Miusov thought it
unnecessary to reply to Father Paissy's persistent and almost
"Allow me to withdraw from this discussion," he observed with a
certain well-bred nonchalance. "It's a subtle question, too. Here Ivan
Fyodorovitch is smiling at us. He must have something interesting to
say about that also. Ask him."
"Nothing special, except one little remark," Ivan replied at once.
"European Liberals in general, and even our liberal dilettanti,
often mix up the final results of socialism with those of
Christianity. This wild notion is, of course, a characteristic
feature. But it's not only Liberals and dilettanti who mix up
socialism and Christianity, but, in many cases, it appears, the
police- the foreign police, of course- do the same. Your Paris
anecdote is rather to the point, Pyotr Alexandrovitch."
"I ask your permission to drop this subject altogether," Miusov
repeated. "I will tell you instead, gentlemen, another interesting and
rather characteristic anecdote of Ivan Fyodorovitch himself. Only five
days ago, in a gathering here, principally of ladies, he solemnly
declared in argument that there was nothing in the whole world to make
men love their neighbours. That there was no law of nature that man
should love mankind, and that, if there had been any love on earth
hitherto, it was not owing to a natural law, but simply because men
have believed in immortality. Ivan Fyodorovitch added in parenthesis
that the whole natural law lies in that faith, and that if you were to
destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but
every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once
be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would
be lawful, even cannibalism. That's not all. He ended by asserting
that for every individual, like ourselves, who does not believe in God
or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed
into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that
egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognised
as the inevitable, the most rational, even honourable outcome of his
position. From this paradox, gentlemen, you can judge of the rest of
our eccentric and paradoxical friend Ivan Fyodorovitch's theories."
"Excuse me," Dmitri cried suddenly; "if I've heard aright, crime
must not only be permitted but even recognised as the inevitable and
the most rational outcome of his position for every infidel! Is that
so or not?"
"Quite so," said Father Paissy.
"I'll remember it."
Having uttered these words Dmitri ceased speaking as suddenly as
he had begun. Everyone looked at him with curiosity.
"Is that really your conviction as to the consequences of the
disappearance of the faith in immortality?" the elder asked Ivan
"Yes. That was my contention. There is no virtue if there is no
"You are blessed in believing that, or else most unhappy."
"Why unhappy?" Ivan asked smiling.
"Because, in all probability you don't believe yourself in the
immortality of your soul, nor in what you have written yourself in
your article on Church Jurisdiction."
"Perhaps you are right!... But I wasn't altogether joking," Ivan
suddenly and strangely confessed, flushing quickly.
"You were not altogether joking. That's true. The question is
still fretting your heart, and not answered. But the martyr likes
sometimes to divert himself with his despair, as it were driven to
it by despair itself. Meanwhile, in your despair, you, too, divert
yourself with magazine articles, and discussions in society, though
you don't believe your own arguments, and with an aching heart mock at
them inwardly.... That question you have not answered, and it is
your great grief, for it clamours for an answer."
"But can it be answered by me? Answered in the affirmative?"
Ivan went on asking strangely, still looking at the elder with the
same inexplicable smile.
"If it can't be decided in the affirmative, it will never be
decided in the negative. You know that that is the peculiarity of your
heart, and all its suffering is due to it. But thank the Creator who
has given you a lofty heart capable of such suffering; of thinking and
seeking higher things, for our dwelling is in the heavens. God grant
that your heart will attain the answer on earth, and may God bless
The elder raised his hand and would have made the sign of the
cross over Ivan from where he stood. But the latter rose from his
seat, went up to him, received his blessing, and kissing his hand went
back to his place in silence. His face looked firm and earnest. This
action and all the preceding conversation, which was so surprising
from Ivan, impressed everyone by its strangeness and a certain
solemnity, so that all were silent for a moment, and there was a
look almost of apprehension in Alyosha's face. But Miusov suddenly
shrugged his shoulders. And at the same moment Fyodor Pavlovitch
jumped up from his seat.
"Most pious and holy elder," he cried pointing to Ivan, "that is
my son, flesh of my flesh, the dearest of my flesh! He is my most
dutiful Karl Moor, so to speak, while this son who has just come in,
Dmitri, against whom I am seeking justice from you, is the undutiful
Franz Moor- they are both out of Schiller's Robbers, and so I am the
reigning Count von Moor! Judge and save us! We need not only your
prayers but your prophecies!"
"Speak without buffoonery, and don't begin by insulting the
members of your family," answered the elder, in a faint, exhausted
voice. He was obviously getting more and more fatigued, and his
strength was failing.
"An unseemly farce which I foresaw when I came here!" cried Dmitri
indignantly. He too leapt up. "Forgive it, reverend Father," he added,
addressing the elder. "I am not a cultivated man, and I don't even
know how to address you properly, but you have been deceived and you
have been too good-natured in letting us meet here. All my father
wants is a scandal. Why he wants it only he can tell. He always has
some motive. But I believe I know why- "
"They all blame me, all of them!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch in his
turn. "Pyotr Alexandrovitch here blames me too. You have been
blaming me, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, you have!" he turned suddenly to
Miusov, although the latter was not dreaming of interrupting him.
"They all accuse me of having hidden the children's money in my boots,
and cheated them, but isn't there a court of law? There they will
reckon out for you, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, from your notes, your
letters, and your agreements, how much money you had, how much you
have spent, and how much you have left. Why does Pyotr
Alexandrovitch refuse to pass judgment? Dmitri is not a stranger to
him. Because they are all against me, while Dmitri Fyodorovitch is
in debt to me, and not a little, but some thousands of which I have
documentary proof. The whole town is echoing with his debaucheries.
And where he was stationed before, he several times spent a thousand
or two for the seduction of some respectable girl; we know all about
that, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, in its most secret details. I'll prove
it.... Would you believe it, holy Father, he has captivated the
heart of the most honourable of young ladies of good family and
fortune, daughter of a gallant colonel, formerly his superior officer,
who had received many honours and had the Anna Order on his breast. He
compromised the girl by his promise of marriage, now she is an
orphan and here; she is betrothed to him, yet before her very eyes
he is dancing attendance on a certain enchantress. And although this
enchantress has lived in, so to speak, civil marriage with a
respectable man, yet she is of an independent character, an
unapproachable fortress for everybody, just like a legal wife- for she
is virtuous, yes, holy Fathers, she is virtuous. Dmitri Fyodorovitch
wants to open this fortress with a golden key, and that's why he is
insolent to me now, trying to get money from me, though he has
wasted thousands on this enchantress already. He's continually
borrowing money for the purpose. From whom do you think? Shall I
"Be silent!" cried Dmitri, "wait till I'm gone. Don't dare in my
presence to asperse the good name of an honourable girl! That you
should utter a word about her is an outrage, and I won't permit it!"
He was breathless.
He was breathless. "Mitya! Mitya!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch
hysterically, squeezing out a tear. "And is your father's blessing
nothing to you? If I curse you, what then?"
"Shameless hypocrite! "exclaimed Dmitri furiously.
"He says that to his father! his father What would he be with
others? Gentlemen, only fancy; there's a poor but honourable man
living here, burdened with a numerous family, a captain who got into
trouble and was discharged from the army, but not publicly, not by
court-martial, with no slur on his honour. And three weeks ago, Dmitri
seized him by the beard in a tavern, dragged him out into the street
and beat him publicly, and all because he is an agent in a little
business of mine."
"It's all a lie! Outwardly it's the truth, but inwardly a lie!"
Dmitri was trembling with rage. "Father, I don't justify my action.
Yes, I confess it publicly, I behaved like a brute to that captain,
and I regret it now, and I'm disgusted with myself for my brutal rage.
But this captain, this agent of yours, went to that lady whom you call
an enchantress, and suggested to her from you, that she should take
I.O.U.s of mine which were in your possession, and should sue me for
the money so as to get me into prison by means of them, if I persisted
in claiming an account from you of my property. Now you reproach me
for having a weakness for that lady when you yourself incited her to
captivate me! She told me so to my face.... She told me the story
and laughed at you.... You wanted to put me in prison because you
are jealous of me with her, because you'd begun to force your
attentions upon her; and I know all about that, too; she laughed at
you for that as well- you hear- she laughed at you as she described
it. So here you have this man, this father who reproaches his
profligate son! Gentlemen, forgive my anger, but I foresaw that this
crafty old man would only bring you together to create a scandal. I
had come to forgive him if he held out his hand; to forgive him, and
ask forgiveness! But as he has just this minute insulted not only
me, but an honourable young lady, for whom I feel such reverence
that I dare not take her name in vain, I have made up my mind to
show up his game, though he is my father...."
He could not go on. His eyes were glittering and he breathed
with difficulty. But everyone in the cell was stirred. All except
Father Zossima got up from their seats uneasily. The monks looked
austere but waited for guidance from the elder. He sat still, pale,
not from excitement but from the weakness of disease. An imploring
smile lighted up his face; from time to time he raised his hand, as
though to check the storm, and, of course, a gesture from him would
have been enough to end the scene; but he seemed to be waiting for
something and watched them intently as though trying to make out
something which was not perfectly clear to him. At last Miusov felt
completely humiliated and disgraced.
"We are all to blame for this scandalous scene," he said hotly.
"But I did not foresee it when I came, though I knew with whom I had
to deal. This must be stopped at once! Believe me, your reverence, I
had no precise knowledge of the details that have just come to
light, I was unwilling to believe them, and I learn for the first
time.... A father is jealous of his son's relation with a woman of
loose behaviour and intrigues with the creature to get his son into
prison! This is the company in which I have been forced to be present!
I was deceived. I declare to you all that I was as much deceived as
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch," yelled Fyodor Pavlovitch suddenly, in an
unnatural voice, "if you were not my son I would challenge you this
instant to a duel... with pistols, at three paces... across a
handkerchief," he ended, stamping with both feet.
With old liars who have been acting all their lives there are
moments when they enter so completely into their part that they
tremble or shed tears of emotion in earnest, although at that very
moment, or a second later, they are able to whisper to themselves,
"You know you are lying, you shameless old sinner! You're acting
now, in spite of your 'holy' wrath."
Dmitri frowned painfully, and looked with unutterable contempt
at his father.
"I thought... I thought," he said. in a soft and, as it were,
controlled voice, "that I was coming to my native place with the angel
of my heart, my betrothed, to cherish his old age, and I find
nothing but a depraved profligate, a despicable clown!"
"A duel!" yelled the old wretch again, breathless and
spluttering at each syllable. "And you, Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov,
let me tell you that there has never been in all your family a
loftier, and more honest- you hear- more honest woman than this
'creature,' as you have dared to call her! And you, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch, have abandoned your betrothed for that 'creature,' so
you must yourself have thought that your betrothed couldn't hold a
candle to her. That's the woman called a "creature"
"Shameful!" broke from Father Iosif.
"Shameful and disgraceful!" Kalganov, flushing crimson cried in
a boyish voice, trembling with emotion. He had been silent till that
"Why is such a man alive?" Dmitri, beside himself with rage,
growled in a hollow voice, hunching up his shoulders till he looked
almost deformed. "Tell me, can he be allowed to go on defiling the
earth?" He looked round at everyone and pointed at the old man. He
spoke evenly and deliberately.
"Listen, listen, monks, to the parricide!" cried Fyodor
Pavlovitch, rushing up to Father Iosif. "That's the answer to your
'shameful!' What is shameful? That 'creature,' that 'woman of loose
behaviour' is perhaps holier than you are yourselves, you monks who
are seeking salvation! She fell perhaps in her youth, ruined by her
environment. But she loved much, and Christ himself forgave the
woman 'who loved much.'"
"It was not for such love Christ forgave her," broke impatiently
from the gentle Father Iosif.
"Yes, it was for such, monks, it was! You save your souls here,
eating cabbage, and think you are the righteous. You eat a gudgeon a
day, and you think you bribe God with gudgeon."
"This is unendurable!" was heard on all sides in the cell.
But this unseemly scene was cut short in a most unexpected way.
Father Zossima Father Zossima rose suddenly from his seat. Almost
distracted with anxiety for the elder and everyone else, Alyosha
succeeded, however, in supporting him by the arm. Father Zossima moved
towards Dmitri and reaching him sank on his knees before him.
Alyosha thought that he had fallen from weakness, but this was not so.
The elder distinctly and deliberately bowed down at Dmitri's feet till
his forehead touched the floor. Alyosha was so astounded that he
failed to assist him when he got up again. There was a faint smile
on his lips.
"Good-bye! Forgive me, all of you" he said, bowing on all sides to
Dmitri stood for a few moments in amazement. Bowing down to him-
what did it mean? Suddenly he cried aloud, "Oh God!" hid his face in
his hands, and rushed out of the room. All the guests flocked out
after him, in their confusion not saying good-bye, or bowing to
their host. Only the monks went up to him again for a blessing.
"What did it mean, falling at his feet like that? Was it
symbolic or what?" said Fyodor Pavlovitch, suddenly quieted and trying
to reopen conversation without venturing to address anybody in
particular. They were all passing out of the precincts of the
hermitage at the moment.
"I can't answer for a madhouse and for madmen," Miusov answered at
once ill-humouredly, "but I will spare myself your company, Fyodor
Pavlovitch, and, trust me, for ever. Where's that monk?"
"That monk," that is, the monk who had invited them to dine with
the Superior, did not keep them waiting. He met them as soon as they
came down the steps from the elder's cell, as though he had been
waiting for them all the time.
"Reverend Father, kindly do me a favour. Convey my deepest respect
to the Father Superior, apologise for me, personally, Miusov, to his
reverence, telling him that I deeply regret that owing to unforeseen
circumstances I am unable to have the honour of being present at his
table, greatly I should desire to do so," Miusov said irritably to the
"And that unforeseen circumstance, of course, is myself," Fyodor
Pavlovitch cut in immediately. "Do you hear, Father; this gentleman
doesn't want to remain in my company or else he'd come at once. And
you shall go, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, pray go to the Father Superior and
good appetite to you. I will decline, and not you. Home, home, I'll
eat at home, I don't feel equal to it here, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, my
"I am not your relative and never have been, you contemptible
"I said it on purpose to madden you, because you always disclaim
the relationship, though you really are a relation in spite of your
shuffling. I'll prove it by the church calendar. As for you, Ivan,
stay if you like. I'll send the horses for you later. Propriety
requires you to go to the Father Superior, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, to
apologise for the disturbance we've been making...."
"Is it true that you are going home? Aren't you lying?"
"Pyotr Alexandrovitch! How could I dare after what's happened!
Forgive me, gentlemen, I was carried away! And upset besides! And,
indeed, I am ashamed. Gentlemen, one man has the heart of Alexander of
Macedon and another the heart of the little dog Fido. Mine is that
of the little dog Fido. I am ashamed! After such an escapade how can I
go to dinner, to gobble up the monastery's sauces? I am ashamed, I
can't. You must excuse me!"
"The devil only knows, what if he deceives us?" thought Miusov,
still hesitating, and watching the retreating buffoon with distrustful
eyes. The latter turned round, and noticing that Miusov was watching
him, waved him a kiss.
"Well, are you coming to the Superior?" Miusov asked Ivan
"Why not? I was especially invited yesterday."
"Unfortunately I feel myself compelled to go to this confounded
dinner," said Miusov with the same irritability, regardless of the
fact that the monk was listening. "We ought, at least, to apologise
for the disturbance, and explain that it was not our doing. What do
"Yes, we must explain that it wasn't our doing. Besides, father
won't be there," observed Ivan.
"Well, I should hope not! Confound this dinner!"
They all walked on, however. The monk listened in silence. On
the road through the copse he made one observation however- that the
Father Superior had been waiting a long time, and that they were
more than half an hour late. He received no answer. Miusov looked with
hatred at Ivan.
"Here he is, going to the dinner as though nothing had
happened," he thought. "A brazen face, and the conscience of a
A Young Man Bent on a Career
ALYOSHA helped Father Zossima to his bedroom and seated him on his
bed. It was a little room furnished with the bare necessities. There
was a narrow iron bedstead, with a strip of felt for a mattress. In
the corner, under the ikons, was a reading-desk with a cross and the
Gospel lying on it. The elder sank exhausted on the bed. His eyes
glittered and he breathed hard. He looked intently at Alyosha, as
though considering something.
"Go, my dear boy, go. Porfiry is enough for me. Make haste, you
are needed there, go and wait at the Father Superior's table."
"Let me stay here," Alyosha entreated.
"You are more needed there. There is no peace there. You will
wait, and be of service. If evil spirits rise up, repeat a prayer. And
remember, my son"- the elder liked to call him that- "this is not
the place for you in the future. When it is God's will to call me,
leave the monastery. Go away for good."
"What is it? This is not your place for the time. I bless you
for great service in the world. Yours will be a long pilgrimage. And
you will have to take a wife, too. You will have to bear all before
you come back. There will be much to do. But I don't doubt of you, and
so I send you forth. Christ is with you. Do not abandon Him and He
will not abandon you. You will see great sorrow, and in that sorrow
you will be happy. This is my last message to you: in sorrow seek
happiness. Work, work unceasingly. Remember my words, for although I
shall talk with you again, not only my days but my hours are
Alyosha's face again betrayed strong emotion. The corners of his
"What is it again?" Father Zossima asked, smiling gently. "The
worldly may follow the dead with tears, but here we rejoice over the
father who is departing. We rejoice and pray for him. Leave me, I must
pray. Go, and make haste. Be near your brothers. And not near one
only, but near both."
Father Zossima raised his hand to bless him. Alyosha could make no
protest, though he had a great longing to remain. He longed, moreover,
to ask the significance of his bowing to Dmitri, the question was on
the tip of his tongue, but he dared not ask it. He knew that the elder
would have explained it unasked if he had thought fit. But evidently
it was not his will. That action had made a terrible impression on
Alyosha; he believed blindly in its mysterious significance.
Mysterious, and perhaps awful.
As he hastened out of the hermatage precincts to reach the
monastery in time to serve at the Father Superior's dinner, he felt
a sudden pang at his heart, and stopped short. He seemed to hear again
Father Zossima's words, foretelling his approaching end. What he had
foretold so exactly must infallibly come to pass. Alyosha believed
that implicitly. But how could he go? He had told him not to weep, and
to leave the monastery. Good God! It was long since Alyosha had
known such anguish. He hurried through the copse that divided the
monastery from the hermitage, and unable to bear the burden of his
thoughts, he gazed at the ancient pines beside the path. He had not
far to go- about five hundred paces. He expected to meet no one at
that hour, but at the first turn of the path he noticed Rakitin. He
was waiting for someone.
"Are you waiting for me?" asked Alyosha, overtaking him.
"Yes," grinned Rakitin. "You are hurrying to the Father
Superior, I know; he has a banquet. There's not been such a banquet
since the Superior entertained the Bishop and General Pahatov, do
you remember? I shan't be there, but you go and hand the sauces.
Tell me one thing, Alexey, what does that vision mean? That's what I
want to ask you."
"That bowing to your brother, Dmitri. And didn't he tap the ground
with his forehead, too!"
"You speak of Father Zossima?"
"Yes, of Father Zossima,"
"Tapped the ground?"
"Ah, an irreverent expression! Well, what of it? Anyway, what does
that vision mean?"
"I don't know what it means, Misha."
"I knew he wouldn't explain it to you There's nothing wonderful
about it, of course, only the usual holy mummery. But there was an
object in the performance. All the pious people in the town will
talk about it and spread the story through the province, wondering
what it meant. To my thinking the old man really has a keen nose; he
sniffed a crime. Your house stinks of it."
Rakitin evidently had something he was eager to speak of.
"It'll be in your family, this crime. Between your brothers and
your rich old father. So Father Zossima flopped down to be ready for
what may turn up. If something happens later on, it'll be: 'Ah, the
holy man foresaw it, prophesied it!' though it's a poor sort of
prophecy, flopping like that. 'Ah, but it was symbolic,' they'll
say, 'an allegory,' and the devil knows what all! It'll be
remembered to his glory: 'He predicted the crime and marked the
criminal!' That's always the way with these crazy fanatics; they cross
themselves at the tavern and throw stones at the temple. Like your
elder, he takes a stick to a just man and falls at the feet of a
"What crime? What do you mean?"
Alyosha stopped dead. Rakitin stopped, too.
"What murderer? As though you didn't know! I'll bet you've thought
of it before. That's interesting, too, by the way. Listen, Alyosha,
you always speak the truth, though you're always between two stools.
Have you thought of it or not? Answer."
"I have," answered Alyosha in a low voice. Even Rakitin was
"What? Have you really?" he cried.
"I... I've not exactly thought it," muttered Alyosha, "but
directly you began speaking so strangely, I fancied I had thought of
"You see? (And how well you expressed it!) Looking at your
father and your brother Mitya to-day you thought of a crime. Then
I'm not mistaken?"
"But wait, wait a minute," Alyosha broke in uneasily, "What has
led you to see all this? Why does it interest you? That's the first
"Two questions, disconnected, but natural. I'll deal with them
separately. What led me to see it? I shouldn't have seen it, if I
hadn't suddenly understood your brother Dmitri, seen right into the
very heart of him all at once. I caught the whole man from one
trait. These very honest but passionate people have a line which
mustn't be crossed. If it were, he'd run at your father with a
knife. But your father's a drunken and abandoned old sinner, who can
never draw the line- if they both themselves go, they'll both come
"No, Misha, no. If that's all, you've reassured me. It won't
come to that."
"But why are you trembling? Let me tell you; he may be honest, our
Mitya (he is stupid, but honest), but he's- a sensualist. That's the
very definition and inner essence of him. It's your father has
handed him on his low sensuality. Do you know, I simply wonder at you,
Alyosha, how you can have kept your purity. You're a Karamazov too,
you know! In your family sensuality is carried to a disease. But
now, these three sensualists are watching one another, with their
knives in their belts. The three of them are knocking their heads
together, and you may be the fourth."
"You are mistaken about that woman. Dmitri despises her," said
Alyosha, with a sort of shudder.
"Grushenka? No, brother, he doesn't despise her. Since he has
openly abandoned his betrothed for her, he doesn't despise her.
There's something here, my dear boy, that you don't understand yet.
A man will fall in love with some beauty, with a woman's body, or even
with a part of a woman's body (a sensualist can understand that),
and he'll abandon his own children for her, sell his father and
mother, and his country, Russia, too. If he's honest, he'll steal;
if he's humane, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive.
Pushkin, the poet of women's feet, sung of their feet in his verse.
Others don't sing their praises, but they can't look at their feet
without a thrill- and it's not only their feet. Contempt's no help
here, brother, even if he did despise Grushenka. He does, but he can't
tear himself away."
"I understand that," Alyosha jerked out suddenly.
"Really? Well, I dare say you do understand, since you blurt it
out at the first word," said Rakitin, malignantly. "That escaped you
unawares, and the confession's the more precious. So it's a familiar
subject; you've thought about it already, about sensuality, I mean!
Oh, you virgin soul! You're a quiet one, Alyosha, you're a saint, I
know, but the devil only knows what you've thought about, and what you
know already! You are pure, but you've been down into the depths....
I've been watching you a long time. You're a Karamazov yourself;
you're a thorough Karamazov- no doubt birth and selection have
something to answer for. You're a sensualist from your father, a crazy
saint from your mother. Why do you tremble? Is it true, then? Do you
know, Grushenka has been begging me to bring you along. 'I'll pull off
his cassock,' she says. You can't think how she keeps begging me to
bring you. I wondered why she took such an interest in you. Do you
know, she's an extraordinary woman, too!"
"Thank her and say I'm not coming," said Alyosha, with a
strained smile. "Finish what you were saying, Misha. I'll tell you. my
"There's nothing to finish. It's all clear. It's the same old
tune, brother. If even you are a sensualist at heart, what of your
brother, Ivan? He's a Karamazov, too. What is at the root of all you
Karamazovs is that you're all sensual, grasping and crazy! Your
brother Ivan writes theological articles in joke, for some idiotic,
unknown motive of his own, though he's an atheist, and he admits
it's a fraud himself- that's your brother Ivan. He's trying to get
Mitya's betrothed for himself, and I fancy he'll succeed, too. And
what's more, it's with Mitya's consent. For Mitya will surrender his
betrothed to him to be rid of her, and escape to Grushenka. And he's
ready to do that in spite of all his nobility and disinterestedness.
Observe that. Those are the most fatal people! Who the devil can
make you out? He recognises his vileness and goes on with it! Let me
tell you, too, the old man, your father, is standing in Mitya's way
now. He has suddenly gone crazy over Grushenka. His mouth waters at
the sight of her. It's simply on her account he made that scene in the
cell just now, simply because Miusov called her an 'abandoned
creature.' He's worse than a tom-cat in love. At first she was only
employed by him in connection with his taverns and in some other shady
business, but now he has suddenly realised all she is and has gone
wild about her. He keeps pestering her with his offers, not honourable
ones, of course. And they'll come into collision, the precious
father and son, on that path! But Grushenka favours neither of them,
she's still playing with them, and teasing them both, considering
which she can get most out of. For though she could filch a lot of
money from the papa he wouldn't marry her, and maybe he'll turn stingy
in the end, and keep his purse shut. That's where Mitya's value
comes in; he has no money, but he's ready to marry her. Yes, ready
to marry her! to abandon his betrothed, a rare beauty, Katerina
Ivanovna, who's rich, and the daughter of a colonel, and to marry
Grushenka, who has been the mistress of a dissolute old merchant,
Samsonov, a coarse, uneducated, provincial mayor. Some murderous
conflict may well come to pass from all this, and that's what your
brother Ivan is waiting for. It would suit him down to the ground.
He'll carry off Katerina Ivanovna, for whom he is languishing, and
pocket her dowry of sixty thousand. That's very alluring to start
with, for a man of no consequence and a beggar. And, take note, he
won't be wronging Mitya, but doing him the greatest service. For I
know as a fact that Mitya only last week, when he was with some
Gipsy girls drunk in a tavern, cried out aloud that he was unworthy of
his betrothed, Katya, but that his brother Ivan, he was the man who
deserved her. And Katerina Ivanovna will not in the end refuse such
a fascinating man as Ivan. She's hesitating between the two of them
already. And how has that Ivan won you all, so that you all worship
him? He is laughing at you, and enjoying himself at your expense."
"How do you know? How can you speak so confidently?" Alyosha asked
"Why do you ask, and are frightened at my answer? It shows that
you know I'm speaking the truth."
"You don't like Ivan. Ivan wouldn't be tempted by money."
"Really? And the beauty of Katerina Ivanovna? It's not only the
money, though a fortune of sixty thousand is an attraction."
"Ivan is above that. He wouldn't make up to anyone for
thousands. It is not money, it's not comfort Ivan is seeking.
Perhaps it's suffering he is seeking."
"What wild dream now? Oh, you- aristocrats!"
"Ah, Misha, he has a stormy spirit. His mind is in bondage. He
is haunted by a great, unsolved doubt. He is one of those who don't
want millions, but an answer to their questions."
"That's plagiarism, Alyosha. You're quoting your elder's
phrases. Ah, Ivan has set you a problem!" cried Rakitin, with
undisguised malice. His face changed, and his lips twitched. "And
the problem's a stupid one. It is no good guessing it. Rack your
brains- you'll understand it. His article is absurd and ridiculous.
And did you hear his stupid theory just now: if there's no immortality
of the soul, then there's no virtue, and everything is lawful. (And by
the way, do you remember how your brother Mitya cried out: 'I will
remember!') An attractive theory for scoundrels!- (I'm being
abusive, that's stupid.) Not for scoundrels, but for pedantic poseurs,
'haunted by profound, unsolved doubts.' He's showing off, and what
it all comes to is, 'on the one hand we cannot but admit' and 'on
the other it must be confessed!' His whole theory is a fraud! Humanity
will find in itself the power to live for virtue even without
believing in immortality. It will find it in love for freedom, for
equality, for fraternity."
Rakitin could hardly restrain himself in his heat, but,
suddenly, as though remembering something, he stopped short.
"Well, that's enough," he said, with a still more crooked smile.
"Why are you laughing? Do you think I'm a vulgar fool?"
"No, I never dreamed of thinking you a vulgar fool. You are clever
but... never mind, I was silly to smile. I understand your getting hot
about it, Misha. I guess from your warmth that you are not indifferent
to Katerina Ivanovna yourself; I've suspected that for a long time,
brother, that's why you don't like my brother Ivan. Are you jealous of
"And jealous of her money, too? Won't you add that?"
"I'll say nothing about money. I am not going to insult you."
"I believe it, since you say so, but confound you, and your
brother Ivan with you. Don't you understand that one might very well
dislike him, apart from Katerina Ivanovna. And why the devil should
I like him? He condescends to abuse me, you know. Why haven't I a
right to abuse him?"
"I never heard of his saying anything about you, good or bad. He
doesn't speak of you at all."
"But I heard that the day before yesterday at Katerina
Ivanovna's he was abusing me for all he was worth- you see what an
interest he takes in your humble servant. And which is the jealous one
after that, brother, I can't say. He was so good as to express the
opinion that, if I don't go in for the career of an archimandrite in
the immediate future and don't become a monk, I shall be sure to go to
Petersburg and get on to some solid magazine as a reviewer, that I
shall write for the next ten years, and in the end become the owner of
the magazine, and bring it out on the liberal and atheistic side, with
a socialistic tinge, with a tiny gloss of socialism, but keeping a
sharp lookout all the time, that is, keeping in with both sides and
hoodwinking the fools. According to your brother's account, the
tinge of socialism won't hinder me from laying by the proceeds and
investing them under the guidance of some Jew, till at the end of my
career I build a great house in Petersburg and move my publishing
offices to it, and let out the upper stories to lodgers. He has even
chosen the place for it, near the new stone bridge across the Neva,
which they say is to be built in Petersburg."
"Ah, Misha, that's just what will really happen, every word of
it," cried Alyosha, unable to restrain a good-humoured smile.
"You are pleased to be sarcastic, too, Alexey Fyodorovitch."
"No, no, I'm joking, forgive me. I've something quite different in
my mind. But, excuse me, who can have told you all this? You can't
have been at Katerina Ivanovna's yourself when he was talking about
"I wasn't there, but Dmitri Fyodorovitch was; and I heard him tell
it with my own ears; if you want to know, he didn't tell me, but I
overheard him, unintentionally, of course, for I was sitting in
Grushenka's bedroom and I couldn't go away because Dmitri Fyodorovitch
was in the next room."
"Oh yes, I'd forgotten she was a relation of yours."
"A relation! That Grushenka a relation of mine!" cried Rakitin,
turning crimson. "Are you mad? You're out of your mind!"
"Why, isn't she a relation of yours? I heard so."
"Where can you have heard it? You Karamazovs brag of being an
ancient, noble family, though your father used to run about playing
the buffoon at other men's tables, and was only admitted to the
kitchen as a favour. I may be only a priest's son, and dirt in the
eyes of noblemen like you, but don't insult me so lightly and
wantonly. I have a sense of honour, too, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I
couldn't be a relation of Grushenka, a common harlot. I beg you to
Rakitin was intensely irritated.
"Forgive me, for goodness' sake, I had no idea... besides... how
can you call her a harlot? Is she... that sort of woman?" Alyosha
flushed suddenly. "I tell you again, I heard that she was a relation
of yours. You often go to see her, and you told me yourself you're not
her lover. I never dreamed that you of all people had such contempt
for her! Does she really deserve it?"
"I may have reasons of my own for visiting her. That's not your
business. But as for relationship, your brother, or even your
father, is more likely to make her yours than mine. Well, here we are.
You'd better go to the kitchen. Hullo! what's wrong, what is it? Are
we late? They can't have finished dinner so soon! Have the
Karamazovs been making trouble again? No doubt they have. Here's
your father and your brother Ivan after him. They've broken out from
the Father Superior's. And look, Father Isidor's shouting out
something after them from the steps. And your father's shouting and
waving his arms. I expect he's swearing. Bah, and there goes Miusov
driving away in his carriage. You see, he's going. And there's old
Maximov running!- there must have been a row. There can't have been
any dinner. Surely they've not been beating the Father Superior! Or
have they, perhaps, been beaten? It would serve them right!"
There was reason for Rakitin's exclamations. There had been a
scandalous, an unprecedented scene. It had all come from the impulse
of a moment.
The Scandalous Scene
MIUSOV, as a man of breeding and delicacy, could not but feel some
inward qualms, when he reached the Father Superior's with Ivan: he
felt ashamed of having lost his temper. He felt that he ought to
have disdained that despicable wretch, Fyodor Pavlovitch, too much
to have been upset by him in Father Zossima's cell, and so to have
forgotten himself. "The monks were not to blame, in any case," he
reflected, on the steps. "And if they're decent people here (and the
Father Superior, I understand, is a nobleman) why not be friendly
and courteous with them? I won't argue, I'll fall in with
everything, I'll win them by politeness, and... and... show them
that I've nothing to do with that Aesop, that buffoon, that Pierrot,
and have merely been taken in over this affair, just as they have."
He determined to drop his litigation with the monastery, and
relinquish his claims to the wood-cutting and fishery rights at
once. He was the more ready to do this because the rights had become
much less valuable, and he had indeed the vaguest idea where the
wood and river in question were.
These excellent intentions were strengthened when he entered the
Father Superior's dining-room, though, strictly speaking, it was not a
dining-room, for the Father Superior had only two rooms altogether;
they were, however, much larger and more comfortable than Father
Zossima's. But there was no great luxury about the furnishing of these
rooms either. The furniture was of mahogany, covered with leather,
in the old-fashioned style of 1820 the floor was not even stained, but
everything was shining with cleanliness, and there were many choice
flowers in the windows; the most sumptuous thing in the room at the
moment was, of course, the beautifully decorated table. The cloth
was clean, the service shone; there were three kinds of well-baked
bread, two bottles of wine, two of excellent mead, and a large glass
jug of kvas- both the latter made in the monastery, and famous in
the neighbourhood. There was no vodka. Rakitin related afterwards that
there were five dishes: fish-soup made of sterlets, served with little
fish patties; then boiled fish served in a special way; then salmon
cutlets, ice pudding and compote, and finally, blanc-mange. Rakitin
found out about all these good things, for he could not resist peeping
into the kitchen, where he already had a footing. He had a footing
everywhere, and got information about everything. He was of an
uneasy and envious temper. He was well aware of his own considerable
abilities, and nervously exaggerated them in his self-conceit. He knew
he would play a prominent part of some sort, but Alyosha, who was
attached to him, was distressed to see that his friend Rakitin was
dishonourable, and quite unconscious of being so himself, considering,
on the contrary, that because he would not steal money left on the
table he was a man of the highest integrity. Neither Alyosha nor
anyone else could have influenced him in that.
Rakitin, of course, was a person of too little consequence to be
invited to the dinner, to which Father Iosif, Father Paissy, and one
other monk were the only inmates of the monastery invited. They were
already waiting when Miusov, Kalganov, and Ivan arrived. The other
guest, Maximov, stood a little aside, waiting also. The Father
Superior stepped into the middle of the room to receive his guests. He
was a tall, thin, but still vigorous old man, with black hair streaked
with grey, and a long, grave, ascetic face. He bowed to his guests
in silence. But this time they approached to receive his blessing.
Miusov even tried to kiss his hand, but the Father Superior drew it
back in time to avoid the salute. But Ivan and Kalganov went through
the ceremony in the most simple-hearted and complete manner, kissing
his hand as peasants do.
"We must apologise most humbly, your reverence," began Miusov,
simpering affably, and speaking in a dignified and respectful tone.
"Pardon us for having come alone without the gentleman you invited,
Fyodor Pavlovitch. He felt obliged to decline the honour of your
hospitality, and not without reason. In the reverend Father
Zossima's cell he was carried away by the unhappy dissension with
his son, and let fall words which were quite out of keeping... in
fact, quite unseemly... as"- he glanced at the monks- "your
reverence is, no doubt, already aware. And therefore, recognising that
he had been to blame, he felt sincere regret and shame, and begged me,
and his son Ivan Fyodorovitch, to convey to you his apologies and
regrets. In brief, he hopes and desires to make amends later. He
asks your blessing, and begs you to forget what has taken place."
As he uttered the last word of his tirade, Miusov completely
recovered his self-complacency, and all traces of his former
irritation disappeared. He fully and sincerely loved humanity again.
The Father Superior listened to him with dignity, and, with a
slight bend of the head, replied:
"I sincerely deplore his absence. Perhaps at our table he might
have learnt to like us, and we him. Pray be seated, gentlemen."
He stood before the holy image, and began to say grace, aloud. All
bent their heads reverently, and Maximov clasped his hands before him,
with peculiar fervour.
It was at this moment that Fyodor Pavlovitch played his last
prank. It must be noted that he really had meant to go home, and
really had felt the impossibility of going to dine with the Father
Superior as though nothing had happened, after his disgraceful
behaviour in the elder's cell. Not that he was so very much ashamed of
himself- quite the contrary perhaps. But still he felt it would be
unseemly to go to dinner. Yet his creaking carriage had hardly been
brought to the steps of the hotel, and he had hardly got into it, when
he suddenly stopped short. He remembered his own words at the elder's:
"I always feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that
they all take me for a buffoon; so I say let me play the buffoon,
for you are, every one of you, stupider and lower than I." He longed
to revenge himself on everyone for his own unseemliness. He suddenly
recalled how he had once in the past been asked, "Why do you hate so
and so, so much?" And he had answered them, with his shameless
impudence, "I'll tell you. He has done me no harm. But I played him
a dirty trick, and ever since I have hated him."
Remembering that now, he smiled quietly and malignantly,
hesitating for a moment. His eyes gleamed, and his lips positively
"Well, since I have begun, I may as well go on," he decided. His
predominant sensation at that moment might be expressed in the
following words, "Well, there is no rehabilitating myself now. So
let me shame them for all I am worth. I will show them I don't care
what they think- that's all!"
He told the coachman to wait, while with rapid steps he returned
to the monastery and straight to the Father Superior's. He had no
clear idea what he would do, but he knew that he could not control
himself, and that a touch might drive him to the utmost limits of
obscenity, but only to obscenity, to nothing criminal, nothing for
which he could be legally punished. In the last resort, he could
always restrain himself, and had marvelled indeed at himself, on
that score, sometimes. He appeared in the Father Superior's
dining-room, at the moment when the prayer was over, and all were
moving to the table. Standing in the doorway, he scanned the
company, and laughing his prolonged, impudent, malicious chuckle,
looked them all boldly in the face. "They thought I had gone, and here
I am again," he cried to the whole room.
For one moment everyone stared at him without a word; and at
once everyone felt that something revolting, grotesque, positively
scandalous, was about to happen. Miusov passed immediately from the
most benevolent frame of mind to the most savage. All the feelings
that had subsided and died down in his heart revived instantly.
"No! this I cannot endure!" he cried. "I absolutely cannot! and...
I certainly cannot!"
The blood rushed to his head. He positively stammered; but he
was beyond thinking of style, and he seized his hat.
"What is it he cannot?" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, "that he
absolutely cannot and certainly cannot? Your reverence, am I to come
in or not? Will you receive me as your guest?"
"You are welcome with all my heart," answered the Superior.
"Gentlemen!" he added, "I venture to beg you most earnestly to lay
aside your dissensions, and to be united in love and family harmony-
with prayer to the Lord at our humble table."
"No, no, it is impossible!" cried Miusov, beside himself.
"Well, if it is impossible for Pyotr Alexandrovitch, it is
impossible for me, and I won't stop. That is why I came. I will keep
with Pyotr Alexandrovitch everywhere now. If you will go away, Pyotr
Alexandrovitch, I will go away too, if you remain, I will remain.
You stung him by what you said about family harmony, Father
Superior, he does not admit he is my relation. That's right, isn't it,
von Sohn? Here's von Sohn. How are you, von Sohn?"
"Do you mean me?" muttered Maximov, puzzled.
"Of course I mean you," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch. "Who else? The
Father Superior could not be von Sohn."
"But I am not von Sohn either. I am Maximov."
"No, you are von Sohn. Your reverence, do you know who von Sohn
was? It was a famous murder case. He was killed in a house of
harlotry- I believe that is what such places are called among you-
he was killed and robbed, and in spite of his venerable age, he was
nailed up in a box and sent from Petersburg to Moscow in the luggage
van, and while they were nailing him up, the harlots sang songs and
played the harp, that is to say, the piano. So this is that very von
Solin. He has risen from the dead, hasn't he, von Sohn?"
"What is happening? What's this?" voices were heard in the group
"Let us go," cried Miusov, addressing Kalganov.
"No, excuse me," Fyodor Pavlovitch broke in shrilly, taking
another step into the room. "Allow me to finish. There in the cell you
blamed me for behaving disrespectfully just because I spoke of
eating gudgeon, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. Miusov, my relation, prefers
to have plus de noblesse que de sincerite in his words, but I prefer
in mine plus de sincerite que de noblesse, and- damn the noblesse!
That's right, isn't it, von Sohn? Allow me, Father Superior, though
I am a buffoon and play the buffoon, yet I am the soul of honour,
and I want to speak my mind. Yes, I am the soul of honour, while in
Pyotr Alexandrovitch there is wounded vanity and nothing else. I
came here perhaps to have a look and speak my mind. My son, Alexey, is
here, being saved. I am his father; I care for his welfare, and it
is my duty to care. While I've been playing the fool, I have been
listening and having a look on the sly; and now I want to give you the
last act of the performance. You know how things are with us? As a
thing falls, so it lies. As a thing once has fallen, so it must lie
for ever. Not a bit of it! I want to get up again. Holy Father, I am
indignant with you. Confession is a great sacrament, before which I am
ready to bow down reverently; but there in the cell, they all kneel
down and confess aloud. Can it be right to confess aloud? It was
ordained by the holy Fathers to confess in secret: then only your
confession will be a mystery, and so it was of old. But how can I
explain to him before everyone that I did this and that... well, you
understand what- sometimes it would not be proper to talk about it- so
it is really a scandal! No, Fathers, one might be carried along with
you to the Flagellants, I dare say.... at the first opportunity I
shall write to the Synod, and I shall take my son, Alexey, home."
We must note here that Fyodor Pavlovitch knew where to look for
the weak spot. There had been at one time malicious rumours which
had even reached the Archbishop (not only regarding our monastery, but
in others where the institution of elders existed) that too much
respect was paid to the elders, even to the detriment of the authority
of the Superior, that the elders abused the sacrament of confession
and so on and so on- absurd charges which had died away of
themselves everywhere. But the spirit of folly, which had caught up
Fyodor Pavlovitch and was bearing him on the current of his own nerves
into lower and lower depths of ignominy, prompted him with this old
slander. Fyodor Pavlovitch did not understand a word of it, and he
could not even put it sensibly, for on this occasion no one had been
kneeling and confessing aloud in the elder's cell, so that he could
not have seen anything of the kind. He was only speaking from confused
memory of old slanders. But as soon as he had uttered his foolish
tirade, he felt he had been talking absurd nonsense, and at once
longed to prove to his audience, and above all to himself, that he had
not been talking nonsense. And, though he knew perfectly well that
with each word he would be adding more and more absurdity, he could
not restrain himself, and plunged forward blindly.
"How disgraceful!" cried Pyotr Alexandrovitch.
"Pardon me!" said the Father Superior. "It was said of old,
'Many have begun to speak against me and have uttered evil sayings
about me. And hearing it I have said to myself: it is the correction
of the Lord and He has sent it to heal my vain soul.' And so we humbly
thank you, honoured guest!" and he made Fyodor Pavlovitch a low bow.
"Tut- tut- tut- sanctimoniousness and stock phrases! Old phrases
and old gestures. The old lies and formal prostrations. We know all
about them. A kiss on the lips and a dagger in the heart, as in
Schiller's Robbers. I don't like falsehood, Fathers, I want the truth.
But the truth is not to be found in eating gudgeon and that I proclaim
aloud! Father monks, why do you fast? Why do you expect reward in
heaven for that? Why, for reward like that I will come and fast too!
No, saintly monk, you try being virtuous in the world, do good to
society, without shutting yourself up in a monastery at other people's
expense, and without expecting a reward up aloft for it- you'll find
that a bit harder. I can talk sense, too, Father Superior. What have
they got here?" He went up to the table. "Old port wine, mead brewed
by the Eliseyev Brothers. Fie, fie, fathers! That is something
beyond gudgeon. Look at the bottles the fathers have brought out, he
he he! And who has provided it all? The Russian peasant, the labourer,
brings here the farthing earned by his horny hand, wringing it from
his family and the tax-gatherer! You bleed the people, you know,
"This is too disgraceful!" said Father Iosif.
Father Paissy kept obstinately silent. Miusov rushed from the
room, and Kalgonov after him.
"Well, Father, I will follow Pyotr Alexandrovitch! I am not coming
to see you again. You may beg me on your knees, I shan't come. I
sent you a thousand roubles, so you have begun to keep your eye on me.
He he he! No, I'll say no more. I am taking my revenge for my youth,
for all the humiliation I endured." He thumped the table with his fist
in a paroxysm of simulated feeling. "This monastery has played a great
part in my life! It has cost me many bitter tears. You used to set
my wife, the crazy one, against me. You cursed me with bell and
book, you spread stories about me all over the place. Enough, fathers!
This is the age of Liberalism, the age of steamers and railways.
Neither a thousand, nor a hundred roubles, no, nor a hundred farthings
will you get out of me!"
It must be noted again that our monastery never had played any
great part in his life, and he never had shed a bitter tear owing to
it. But he was so carried away by his simulated emotion, that he was
for one moment almost believing it himself. He was so touched he was
almost weeping. But at that very instant, he felt that it was time
to draw back.
The Father Superior bowed his head at his malicious lie, and again
"It is written again, 'Bear circumspectly and gladly dishonour
that cometh upon thee by no act of thine own, be not confounded and
hate not him who hath dishonoured thee.' And so will we."
"Tut, tut, tut! Bethinking thyself and the rest of the
rigmarole. Bethink yourselves Fathers, I will go. But I will take my
son, Alexey, away from here for ever, on my parental authority. Ivan
Fyodorovitch, my most dutiful son, permit me to order you to follow
me. Von Sohn, what have you to stay for? Come and see me now in the
town. It is fun there. It is only one short verst; instead of lenten
oil, I will give you sucking-pig and kasha. We will have dinner with
some brandy and liqueur to it.... I've cloudberry wine. Hey, von Sohn,
don't lose your chance." He went out, shouting and gesticulating.
It was at that moment Rakitin saw him and pointed him out to
"Alexey!" his father shouted, from far off, catching sight of him.
"You come home to me to-day, for good, and bring your pillow and
mattress, and leave no trace behind."
Alyosha stood rooted to the spot, watching the scene in silence.
Meanwhile, Fyodor Pavlovitch had got into the carriage, and Ivan was
about to follow him in grim silence without even turning to say
good-bye to Alyosha. But at this point another almost incredible scene
of grotesque buffoonery gave the finishing touch to the episode.
Maximov suddenly appeared by the side of the carriage. He ran up,
panting, afraid of being too late. Rakitin and Alyosha saw him
running. He was in such a hurry that in his impatience he put his foot
on the step on which Ivan's left foot was still resting, and clutching
the carriage he kept trying to jump in. "I am going with you! " he
kept shouting, laughing a thin mirthful laugh with a look of
reckless glee in his face. "Take me, too."
"There!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, delighted. "Did I not say he was
von Sohn. It is von Sohn himself, risen from the dead. Why, how did
you tear yourself away? What did you von Sohn there? And how could you
get away from the dinner? You must be a brazen-faced fellow! I am that
myself, but I am surprised at you, brother! Jump in, jump in! Let
him pass, Ivan. It will be fun. He can lie somewhere at our feet. Will
you lie at our feet, von Sohn? Or perch on the box with the
coachman. Skip on to the box, von Sohn!"
But Ivan, who had by now taken his seat, without a word gave
Maximov a violent punch in the breast and sent him flying. It was
quite by chance he did not fall.
"Drive on!" Ivan shouted angrily to the coachman.
"Why, what are you doing, what are you about? Why did you do
that?" Fyodor Pavlovitch protested.
But the carriage had already driven away. Ivan made no reply.
"Well, you are a fellow," Fyodor Pavlovitch said again.
After a pause of two minutes, looking askance at his son, "Why, it
was you got up all this monastery business. You urged it, you approved
of it. Why are you angry now?"
"You've talked rot enough. You might rest a bit now," Ivan snapped
Fyodor Pavlovitch was silent again for two minutes.
"A drop of brandy would be nice now," he observed sententiously,
but Ivan made no response.
"You shall have some, too, when we get home."
Ivan was still silent.
Fyodor Pavlovitch waited another two minutes.
"But I shall take Alyosha away from the monastery, though you will
dislike it so much, most honoured Karl von Moor."
Ivan shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, and turning away
stared at the road. And they did not speak again all the way home.