The Breath of Corruption
THE body of Father Zossima was prepared for burial according to
the established Ritual. As is well known, the bodies of dead monks and
hermits are not washed. In the words of the Church Ritual: "If any one
of the monks depart in the Lord, the monk designated (that is, whose
office it is) shall wipe the body with warm water, making first the
sign of the cross with a sponge on the forehead of the deceased, on
the breast, on the hands and feet and on the knees, and that is
enough." All this was done by Father Paissy, who then clothed the
deceased in his monastic garb and wrapped him in his cloak, which was,
according to custom, somewhat slit to allow of its being folded
about him in the form of a cross. On his head he put a hood with an
eight-cornered cross. The hood was left open and the dead man's face
was covered with black gauze. In his hands was put an ikon of the
Saviour. Towards morning he was put in the coffin which had been
made ready long before. It was decided to leave the coffin all day
in the cell, in the larger room in which the elder used to receive his
visitors and fellow monks. As the deceased was a priest and monk of
the strictest rule, the Gospel, not the Psalter, had to be read over
his body by monks in holy orders. The reading was begun by Father
Iosif immediately after the requiem service. Father Paissy desired
later on to read the Gospel all day and night over his dead friend,
but for the present he, as well as the Father Superintendent of the
Hermitage, was very busy and occupied, for something extraordinary, an
unheard-of, even "unseemly" excitement and impatient expectation began
to be apparent in the monks, and the visitors from the monastery
hostels, and the crowds of people flocking from the town. And as
time went on, this grew more and more marked. Both the
Superintendent and Father Paissy did their utmost to calm the
general bustle and agitation.
When it was fully daylight, some people began bringing their sick,
in most cases children, with them from the town- as though they had
been waiting expressly for this moment to do so, evidently persuaded
that the dead elder's remains had a power of healing, which would be
immediately made manifest in accordance with their faith. It was
only then apparent how unquestionably everyone in our town had
accepted Father Zossima during his lifetime as a great saint. And
those who came were far from being all of the humbler classes.
This intense expectation on the part of believers displayed with
such haste, such openness, even with impatience and almost insistence,
impressed Father Paissy as unseemly. Though he had long foreseen
something of the sort, the actual manifestation of the feeling was
beyond anything he had looked for. When he came across any of the
monks who displayed this excitement, Father Paissy began to reprove
them. "Such immediate expectation of something extraordinary," he
said, "shows a levity, possible to worldly people but unseemly in us."
But little attention was paid him and Father Paissy noticed it
uneasily. Yet he himself (if the whole truth must be told), secretly
at the bottom of his heart, cherished almost the same hopes and
could not but be aware of it, though he was indignant at the too
impatient expectation around him, and saw in it light-mindedness and
vanity. Nevertheless, it was particularly unpleasant to him to meet
certain persons, whose presence aroused in him great misgivings. In
the crowd in the dead man's cell he noticed with inward aversion
(for which he immediately reproached himself) the presence of
Rakitin and of the monk from Obdorsk, who was still staying in the
monastery. Of both of them Father Paissy felt for some reason suddenly
suspicious- though, indeed, he might well have felt the same about
The monk from Obdorsk was conspicuous as the most fussy in the
excited crowd. He was to be seen everywhere; everywhere he was
asking questions, everywhere he was listening, on all sides he was
whispering with a peculiar, mysterious air. His expression showed
the greatest impatience and even a sort of irritation.
As for Rakitin, he, as appeared later, had come so early to the
hermitage at the special request of Madame Hohlakov. As soon as that
good-hearted but weak-minded woman, who could not herself have been
admitted to the hermitage, waked and heard of the death of Father
Zossima, she was overtaken with such intense curiosity that she
promptly despatched Rakitin to the hermitage, to keep a careful look
out and report to her by letter ever half hour or so "everything
that takes place." She regarded Rakitin as a most religious and devout
young man. He was particularly clever in getting round people and
assuming whatever part he thought most to their taste, if he
detected the slightest advantage to himself from doing so.
It was a bright, clear day, and many of the visitors were
thronging about the tombs, which were particularly numerous round
the church and scattered here and there about the hermitage. As he
walked round the hermitage, Father Paissy remembered Alyosha and
that he had not seen him for some time, not since the night. And he
had no sooner thought of him than he at once noticed him in the
farthest corner of the hermitage garden, sitting on the tombstone of a
monk who had been famous long ago for his saintliness. He sat with his
back to the hermitage and his face to the wall, and seemed to be
hiding behind the tombstone. Going up to him, Father Paissy saw that
he was weeping quietly but bitterly, with his face hidden in his
hands, and that his whole frame was shaking with sobs. Father Paissy
stood over him for a little.
"Enough, dear son, enough, dear," he pronounced with feeling at
last. "Why do you weep? Rejoice and weep not. Don't you know that this
is the greatest of his days? Think only where he is now, at this
Alyosha glanced at him, uncovering his face, which was swollen
with crying like a child's, but turned away at once without uttering a
word and hid his face in his hands again.
"Maybe it is well," said Father Paissy thoughtfully; "weep if
you must; Christ has sent you those tears."
"Your touching tears are but a relief to your spirit and will
serve to gladden your dear heart," he added to himself, walking away
from Alyosha, and thinking lovingly of him. He moved away quickly,
however, for he felt that he too might weep looking at him.
Meanwhile the time was passing; the monastery services and the
requiems for the dead followed in their due course. Father Paissy
again took Father Iosif's place by the coffin and began reading the
Gospel. But before three o'clock in the afternoon that something
took place to which I alluded at the end of the last book, something
so unexpected by all of us and so contrary to the general hope,
that, I repeat, this trivial incident has been minutely remembered
to this day in our town and all the surrounding neighbourhood. I may
add here, for myself personally, that I feel it almost repulsive
that event which caused such frivolous agitation and was such a
stumbling-block to many, though in reality it was the most natural and
trivial matter. I should, of course, have omitted all mention of it in
my story, if it had not exerted a very strong influence on the heart
and soul of the chief, though future, hero of my story, Alyosha,
forming a crisis and turning-point in his spiritual development,
giving a shock to his intellect, which finally strengthened it for the
rest of his life and gave it a definite aim.
And so, to return to our story. When before dawn they laid
Father Zossima's body in the coffin and brought it into the front
room, the question of opening the windows was raised among those who
were around the coffin. But this suggestion made casually by someone
was unanswered and almost unnoticed. Some of those present may perhaps
have inwardly noticed it, only to reflect that the anticipation of
decay and corruption from the body of such a saint was an actual
absurdity, calling for compassion (if not a smile) for the lack of
faith and the frivolity it implied. For they expected something
And, behold, soon after midday there were signs of something, at
first only observed in silence by those who came in and out and were
evidently each afraid to communicate the thought in his mind. But by
three o'clock those signs had become so clear and unmistakable, that
the news swiftly reached all the monks and visitors in the
hermitage, promptly penetrated to the monastery, throwing all the
monks into amazement, and finally, in the shortest possible time,
spread to the town, exciting everyone in it, believers and unbelievers
alike. The unbelievers rejoiced, and as for the believers some of them
rejoiced even more than the unbelievers, for "men love the downfall
and disgrace of the righteous," as the deceased elder had said in
one of his exhortations.
The fact is that a smell of decomposition began to come from the
coffin, growing gradually more marked, and by three o'clock it was
quite unmistakable. In all the past history of our monastery, no
such scandal could be recalled, and in no other circumstances could
such a scandal have been possible, as showed itself in unseemly
disorder immediately after this discovery among the very monks
themselves. Afterwards, even many years afterwards, some sensible
monks were amazed and horrified, when they recalled that day, that the
scandal could have reached such proportions. For in the past, monks of
very holy life had died, God-fearing old men, whose saintliness was
acknowledged by all, yet from their humble coffins, too, the breath of
corruption had come, naturally, as from all dead bodies, but that
had caused no scandal nor even the slightest excitement. Of course,
there had been, in former times, saints in the monastery whose
memory was carefully preserved and whose relics, according to
tradition, showed no signs of corruption. This fact was regarded by
the monks as touching and mysterious, and the tradition of it was
cherished as something blessed and miraculous, and as a promise, by
God's grace, of still greater glory from their tombs in the future.
One such, whose memory was particularly cherished, was an old
monk, Job, who had died seventy years before at the age of a hundred
and five. He had been a celebrated ascetic, rigid in fasting and
silence, and his tomb was pointed out to all visitors on their arrival
with peculiar respect and mysterious hints of great hopes connected
with it. (That was the very tomb on which Father Paissy had found
Alyosha sitting in the morning.) Another memory cherished in the
monastery was that of the famous Father Varsonofy, who was only
recently dead and had preceded Father Zossima in the eldership. He was
reverenced during his lifetime as a crazy saint by all the pilgrims to
the monastery. There was a tradition that both of these had lain in
their coffins as though alive, that they had shown no signs of
decomposition when they were buried and that there had been a holy
light in their faces. And some people even insisted that a sweet
fragrance came from their bodies.
Yet, in spite of these edifying memories, it would be difficult to
explain the frivolity, absurdity and malice that were manifested
beside the coffin of Father Zossima. It is my private opinion that
several different causes were simultaneously at work, one of which was
the deeply rooted hostility to the institution of elders as a
pernicious innovation, an antipathy hidden deep in the hearts of
many of the monks. Even more powerful was jealousy of the dead man's
saintliness, so firmly established during lifetime that it was
almost a forbidden thing to question it. For though the late elder had
won over many hearts, more by love than by miracles, and had
gathered round him a mass of loving adherents, none the less, in fact,
rather the more on that account he had awakened jealousy and so had
come to have bitter enemies, secret and open, not only in the
monastery but in the world outside it. He did no one any harm, but
"Why do they think him so saintly?" And that question alone, gradually
repeated, gave rise at last to an intense, insatiable hatred of him.
That, I believe, was why many people were extremely delighted at the
smell of decomposition which came so quickly, for not a day had passed
since his death. At the same time there were some among those who
had been hitherto reverently devoted to the elder, who were almost
mortified and personally affronted by this incident. This was how
the thing happened.
As soon as signs of decomposition had begun to appear, the whole
aspect of the monks betrayed their secret motives in entering the
cell. They went in, stayed a little while and hastened out to
confirm the news to the crowd of other monks waiting outside. Some
of the latter shook their heads mournfully, but others did not even
care to conceal the delight which gleamed unmistakably in their
malignant eyes. And now no one reproached them for it, no one raised
his voice in protest, which was strange, for the majority of the monks
had been devoted to the dead elder. But it seemed as though God had in
this case let the minority get the upper hand for a time.
Visitors from outside, particularly of the educated class, soon
went into the cell, too, with the same spying intent. Of the peasantry
few went into the cell, though there were crowds of them at the
gates of the hermitage. After three o'clock the rush of worldly
visitors was greatly increased and this was no doubt owing to the
shocking news. People were attracted who would not otherwise have come
on that day and had not intended to come, and among them were some
personages of high standing. But external decorum was still
preserved and Father Paissy, with a stern face, continued firmly and
distinctly reading aloud the Gospel, apparently not noticing what
was taking place around him, though he had, in fact, observed
something unusual long before. But at last the murmurs, first
subdued but gradually louder and more confident, reached even him. "It
shows God's judgment is not as man's," Father Paissy heard suddenly.
The first to give utterance to this sentiment was a layman, an elderly
official from the town, known to be a man of great piety. But he
only repeated aloud what the monks had long been whispering. They
had long before formulated this damning conclusion, and the worst of
it was that a sort of triumphant satisfaction at that conclusion
became more and more apparent every moment. Soon they began to lay
aside even external decorum and almost seemed to feel they had a
sort of right to discard it.
"And for what reason can this have happened," some of the monks
said, at first with a show of regret; "he had a small frame and his
flesh was dried up on his bones, what was there to decay?"
"It must be a sign from heaven," others hastened to add, and their
opinion was adopted at once without protest. For it was pointed out,
too, that if the decomposition had been natural, as in the case of
every dead sinner, it would have been apparent later, after a lapse of
at least twenty-four hours, but this premature corruption "was in
excess of nature," and so the finger of God was evident. It was
meant for a sign. This conclusion seemed irresistible.
Gentle Father Iosif, the librarian, a great favourite of the
dead man's, tried to reply to some of the evil speakers that "this
is not held everywhere alike," and that the incorruptibility of the
bodies of the just was not a dogma of the Orthodox Church, but only an
opinion, and that even in the most Orthodox regions, at Athos for
instance, they were not greatly confounded by the smell of corruption,
and there the chief sign of the glorification of the saved was not
bodily incorruptibility, but the colour of the bones when the bodies
have lain many years in the earth and have decayed in it. "And if
the bones are yellow as wax, that is the great sign that the Lord
has glorified the dead saint, if they are not yellow but black, it
shows that God has not deemed him worthy of such glory- that is the
belief in Athos, a great place, which the Orthodox doctrine has been
preserved from of old, unbroken and in its greatest purity," said
Father Iosif in conclusion.
But the meek Father's words had little effect and even provoked
a mocking retort. "That's all pedantry and innovation, no use
listening to it," the monks decided. "We stick to the old doctrine;
there are all sorts of innovations nowadays, are we to follow them
all?" added others.
"We have had as many holy fathers as they had. There they are
among the Turks, they have forgotten everything. Their doctrine has
long been impure and they have no bells even, the most sneering added.
Father Iosif walked away, grieving the more since he had put
forward his own opinion with little confidence as though scarcely
believing in it himself. He foresaw with distress that something
very unseemly was beginning and that there were positive signs of
disobedience. Little by little, all the sensible monks were reduced to
silence like Father Iosif. And so it came to pass that all who loved
the elder and had accepted with devout obedience the institution of
the eldership were all at once terribly cast down and glanced
timidly in one another's faces, when they met. Those who were
hostile to the institution of elders, as a novelty, held up their
heads proudly. "There was no smell of corruption from the late elder
Varsonofy, but a sweet fragrance," they recalled malignantly. "But
he gained that glory not because he was an elder, but because he was a
And this was followed by a shower of criticism and even blame of
Father Zossima. "His teaching was false; he taught that life is a
great joy and not a vale of tears," said some of the more
unreasonable. "He followed the fashionable belief, he did not
recognise material fire in hell," others, still more unreasonable,
added. "He was not strict in fasting, allowed himself sweet things,
ate cherry jam with his tea, ladies used to send it to him. Is it
for a monk of strict rule to drink tea?" could be heard among some
of the envious. "He sat in pride," the most malignant declared
vindictively; "he considered himself a saint and he took it as his due
when people knelt before him." "He abused the sacrament of
confession," the fiercest opponents of the institution of elders added
in a malicious whisper. And among these were some of the oldest monks,
strictest in their devotion, genuine ascetics, who had kept silent
during the life of the deceased elder, but now suddenly unsealed their
lips. And this was terrible, for their words had great influence on
young monks who were not yet firm in their convictions. The monk
from Obdorsk heard all this attentively, heaving deep sighs and
nodding his head. "Yes, clearly Father Ferapont was right in his
judgment yesterday," and at that moment Father Ferapont himself made
his appearance, as though on purpose to increase the confusion.
I have mentioned already that he rarely left his wooden cell by
the apiary. He was seldom even seen at church and they overlooked this
neglect on the ground of his craziness, and did not keep him to the
rules binding on all the rest. But if the whole truth is to be told,
they hardly had a choice about it. For it would have been
discreditable to insist on burdening with the common regulations so
great an ascetic, who prayed day and night (he even dropped asleep
on his knees). If they had insisted, the monks would have said, "He is
holier than all of us and he follows a rule harder than ours. And if
he does not go to church, it's because he knows when he ought to; he
has his own rule." It was to avoid the chance of these sinful
murmurs that Father Ferapont was left in peace.
As everyone was aware, Father Ferapont particularly disliked
Father Zossima. And now the news had reached him in his hut that
"God's judgment is not the same as man's," and that something had
happened which was "in excess of nature." It may well be supposed that
among the first to run to him with the news was the monk from Obdorsk,
who had visited him the evening before and left his cell
I have mentioned above, that though Father Paissy standing firm
and immovable reading the Gospel over the coffin, could not hear nor
see what was passing outside the cell, he gauged most of it
correctly in his heart, for he knew the men surrounding him well. He
was not shaken by it, but awaited what would come next without fear,
watching with penetration and insight for the outcome of the general
Suddenly an extraordinary uproar in the passage in open defiance
of decorum burst on his ears. The door was flung open and Father
Ferapont appeared in the doorway. Behind him there could be seen
accompanying him a crowd of monks, together with many people from
the town. They did not, however, enter the cell, but stood at the
bottom of the steps, waiting to see what Father Ferapont would say
or do. For they felt with a certain awe, in spite of their audacity,
that he had not come for nothing. Standing in the doorway, Father
Ferapont raised his arms, and under his right arm the keen inquisitive
little eyes of the monk from Obdorsk peeped in. He alone, in his
intense curiosity, could not resist running up the steps after
Father Ferapont. The others, on the contrary, pressed farther back
in sudden alarm when the door was noisily flung open. Holding his
hands aloft, Father Ferapont suddenly roared:
"Casting out I cast out!" and, turning in all directions, he began
at once making the sign of the cross at each of the four walls and
four corners of the cell in succession. All who accompanied Father
Ferapont immediately understood his action. For they knew he always
did this wherever he went, and that he would not sit down or say a
word, till he had driven out the evil spirits.
"Satan, go hence! Satan, go hence!" he repeated at each sign of
the cross. "Casting out I cast out," he roared again.
He was wearing his coarse gown girt with a rope. His bare chest,
covered with grey hair, could be seen under his hempen shirt. His feet
were bare. As soon as he began waving his arms, the cruel irons he
wore under his gown could be heard clanking.
Father Paissy paused in his reading, stepped forward and stood
before him waiting
"What have you come for, worthy Father? Why do you offend
against good order? Why do you disturb the peace of the flock?" he
said at last, looking sternly at him.
"What have I come for? You ask why? What is your faith?" shouted
Father Ferapont crazily. "I've come here to drive out your visitors,
the unclean devils. I've come to see how many have gathered here while
I have been away. I want to sweep them out with a birch broom."
"You cast out the evil spirit, but perhaps you are serving him
yourself," Father Paissy went on fearlessly. "And who can say of
himself 'I am holy'? Can you, Father?"
"I am unclean, not holy. I would not sit in an arm-chair and would
not have them bow down to me as an idol," thundered Father Ferapont.
"Nowadays folk destroy the true faith. The dead man, your saint," he
turned to the crowd, pointing with his finger to the coffin, "did
not believe in devils. He gave medicine to keep off the devils. And so
they have become as common as spiders in the corners. And now he has
begun to stink himself. In that we see a great sign from God."
The incident he referred to was this. One of the monks was haunted
in his dreams and, later on, in waking moments, by visions of evil
spirits. When in the utmost terror he confided this to Father Zossima,
the elder had advised continual prayer and rigid fasting. But when
that was of no use, he advised him while persisting in prayer and
fasting, to take a special medicine. Many persons were shocked at
the time and wagged their heads as they talked over it- and most of
all Father Ferapont, to whom some of the censorious had hastened to
report this "extraordinary" counsel on the part of the elder.
"Go away, Father!" said Father Paissy, in a commanding voice,
"it's not for man to judge but for God. Perhaps we see here a 'sign'
which neither you, nor I, nor anyone of us is able to comprehend.
Go, Father, and do not trouble the flock!" he repeated impressively.
"He did not keep the fasts according to the rule and therefore the
sign has come. That is clear and it's a sin to hide it," the
fanatic, carried away by a zeal that outstripped his reason, would not
be quieted. "He was seduced by sweetmeats, ladies brought them to
him in their pockets, he sipped tea, he worshipped his belly,
filling it with sweet things and his mind with haughty thoughts....
And for this he is put to shame...."
"You speak lightly, Father." Father Paissy, too, raised his voice.
"I admire your fasting and severities, but you speak lightly like some
frivolous youth, fickle and childish. Go away, Father, I command you!"
Father Paissy thundered in conclusion.
"I will go," said Ferapont, seeming somewhat taken aback, but
still as bitter. "You learned men! You are so clever you look down
upon my humbleness. I came hither with little learning and here I have
forgotten what I did know; God Himself has preserved me in my weakness
from your subtlety."
Father Paissy stood over him, waiting resolutely. Father
Ferapont paused and, suddenly leaning his cheek on his hand
despondently, pronounced in a sing-song, voice, looking at the
coffin of the dead elder:
"To-morrow they will sing over him 'Our Helper and Defender'- a
splendid anthem- and over me when I die all they'll sing will be 'What
Earthly Joy'- a little cantical,"* he added with tearful regret.
"You are proud and puffed up, this is a vain place!" he shouted
suddenly like a madman, and with a wave of his hand he turned
quickly and quickly descended the steps. The crowd awaiting him
below wavered; some followed him at once and some lingered, for the
cell was still open, and Father Paissy, following Father Ferapont on
to the steps, stood watching him. the excited old fanatic was not
completely silenced. Walking twenty steps away, he suddenly turned
towards the setting sun, raised both his arms and, as though someone
had cut him down, fell to the ground with a loud scream.
* When a monk's body is carried out from the cell to the church
and from the church to the graveyard, the canticle "What Earthly
Joy..." is sung. If the deceased was a priest as well as a monk the
canticle "Our Helper and Defender" is sung instead.
"My God has conquered! Christ has conquered the setting sun!" he
shouted frantically, stretching up his hands to the sun, and falling
face downwards on the ground, he sobbed like a little child, shaken by
his tears and spreading out his arms on the ground. Then all rushed up
to him; there were exclamations and sympathetic sobs... a kind of
frenzy seemed to take possession of them all.
"This is the one who is a saint! This is the one who is a holy
man!" some cried aloud, losing their fear. "This is he who should be
an elder," others added malignantly.
"He wouldn't be an elder... he would refuse... he wouldn't serve a
cursed innovation... he wouldn't imitate their foolery," other
voices chimed in at once. And it is hard to say how far they might
have gone, but at that moment the bell rang summoning them to service.
All began crossing themselves at once. Father Ferapont, too, got up
and crossing himself went back to his cell without looking round,
still uttering exclamations which were utterly incoherent. A few
followed him, but the greater number dispersed, hastening to
service. Father Paissy let Father Iosif read in his place and went
down. The frantic outcries of bigots could not shake him, but his
heart was suddenly filled with melancholy for some special reason
and he felt that. He stood still and suddenly wondered, "Why am I
sad even to dejection?" and immediately grasped with surprise that his
sudden sadness was due to a very small and special cause. In the crowd
thronging at the entrance to the cell, he had noticed Alyosha and he
remembered that he had felt at once a pang at heart on seeing him.
"Can that boy mean so much to my heart now?" he asked himself,
At that moment Alyosha passed him, hurrying away, but not in the
direction of the church. Their eyes met. Alyosha quickly turned away
his eyes and dropped them to the ground, and from the boy's look
alone, Father Paissy guessed what a great change was taking place in
him at that moment.
"Have you, too, fallen into temptation?" cried Father Paissy. "Can
you be with those of little faith?" he added mournfully.
Alyosha stood still and gazed vaguely at Father Paissy, but
quickly turned his eyes away again and again looked on the ground.
He stood sideways and did not turn his face to Father Paissy, who
watched him attentively.
"Where are you hastening? The bell calls to service," he asked
again, but again Alyosha gave no answer.
"Are you leaving the hermitage? What, without asking leave,
without asking a blessing?"
Alyosha suddenly gave a wry smile, cast a strange, very strange,
look at the Father to whom his former guide, the former sovereign of
his heart and mind, his beloved elder, had confided him as he lay
dying. And suddenly, still without speaking, waved his hand, as though
not caring even to be respectful, and with rapid steps walked
towards the gates away from the hermitage.
"You will come back again!" murmured Father Paissy, looking
after him with sorrowful surprise.
A Critical Moment
FATHER PAISSY, of course, was not wrong when he decided that his
"dear boy" would come back again. Perhaps indeed, to some extent, he
penetrated with insight into the true meaning of Alyosha's spiritual
condition. Yet I must frankly own that it would be very difficult
for me to give a clear account of that strange, vague moment in the
life of the young hero I love so much. To Father Paissy's sorrowful
question, "Are you too with those of little faith?" I could, of
course, confidently answer for Alyosha, "No, he is not with those of
little faith. Quite the contrary." Indeed, all his trouble came from
the fact that he was of great faith. But still the trouble was there
and was so agonising that even long afterwards Alyosha thought of that
sorrowful day as one of the bitterest and most fatal days of his life.
If the question is asked: "Could all his grief and disturbance have
been only due to the fact that his elder's body had shown signs of
premature decomposition instead of at once performing miracles?" I
must answer without beating about the bush, "Yes, it certainly was." I
would only beg the reader not to be in too great a hurry to laugh at
my young hero's pure heart. I am far from intending to apologise for
him or to justify his innocent faith on the ground of his youth, or
the little progress he had made in his studies, or any such reason.
I must declare, on the contrary, that I have genuine respect for the
qualities of his heart. No doubt a youth who received impressions
cautiously, whose love was lukewarm, and whose mind was too prudent
for his age and so of little value, such a young man might, I admit,
have avoided what happened to my hero. But in some cases it is
really more creditable to be carried away by an emotion, however
unreasonable, which springs from a great love, than to be unmoved. And
this is even truer in youth, for a young man who is always sensible is
to be suspected and is of little worth- that's my opinion!
"But," reasonable people will exclaim perhaps, "every young man
cannot believe in such a superstition and your hero is no model for
To this I reply again, "Yes! my hero had faith, a faith holy and
steadfast, but still I am not going to apologise for him."
Though I declared above, and perhaps too hastily, that I should
not explain or justify my hero, I see that some explanation is
necessary for the understanding of the rest of my story. Let me say
then, it was not a question of miracles. There was no frivolous and
impatient expectation of miracles in his mind. And Alyosha needed no
miracles at the time, for the triumph of some preconceived idea- oh
no, not at all- what he saw before all was one figure- the figure of
his beloved elder, the figure of that holy man whom he revered with
such adoration. The fact is that all the love that lay concealed in
his pure young heart for everyone and everything had, for the past
year, been concentrated- and perhaps wrongly so- on one being, his
beloved elder. It is true that being had for so long been accepted
by him as his ideal, that all his young strength and energy could
not but turn towards that ideal, even to the forgetting at the
moment "of everyone and everything." He remembered afterwards how,
on that terrible day, he had entirely forgotten his brother Dmitri,
about whom he had been so anxious and troubled the day before; he
had forgotten, too, to take the two hundred roubles to Ilusha's
father, though he had so warmly intended to do so the preceding
evening. But again it was not miracles he needed but only "the
higher justice" which had been in his belief outraged by the blow that
had so suddenly and cruelly wounded his heart. And what does it
signify that this "justice" looked for by Alyosha inevitably took
the shape of miracles to be wrought immediately by the ashes of his
adored teacher? Why, everyone in the monastery cherished the same
thought and the same hope, even those whose intellects Alyosha
revered, Father Paissy himself, for instance. And so Alyosha,
untroubled by doubts, clothed his dreams too in the same form as all
the rest. And a whole year of life in the monastery had formed the
habit of this expectation in his heart. But it was justice, justice,
he thirsted for, not simply miracles.
And now the man who should, he believed, have been exalted above
everyone in the whole world, that man, instead of receiving the
glory that was his due, was suddenly degraded and dishonoured! What
for? Who had judged him? Who could have decreed this? Those were the
questions that wrung his inexperienced and virginal heart. He could
not endure without mortification, without resentment even, that the
holiest of holy men should have been exposed to the jeering and
spiteful mockery of the frivolous crowd so inferior to him. Even had
there been no miracles, had there been nothing marvellous to justify
his hopes, why this indignity, why this humiliation, why this
premature decay, "in excess of nature," as the spiteful monks said?
Why this "sign from heaven," which they so triumphantly acclaimed in
company with Father Ferapont, and why did they believe they had gained
the right to acclaim it? Where is the finger of Providence? Why did
Providence hide its face "at the most critical moment" (so Alyosha
thought it), as though voluntarily submitting to the blind, dumb,
pitiless laws of nature?
That was why Alyosha's heart was bleeding, and, of course, as I
have said already, the sting of it all was that the man he loved above
everything on earth should be put to shame and humiliated! This
murmuring may have been shallow and unreasonable in my hero, but I
repeat again for the third time- and am prepared to admit that it
might be difficult to defend my feeling- I am glad that my hero showed
himself not too reasonable at that moment, for any man of sense will
always come back to reason in time, but, if love does not gain the
upper hand in a boy's heart at such an exceptional moment, when will
it? I will not, however, omit to mention something strange, which came
for a time to the surface of Alyosha's mind at this fatal and
obscure moment. This new something was the harassing impression left
by the conversation with Ivan, which now persistently haunted
Alyosha's mind. At this moment it haunted him. Oh, it was not that
something of the fundamental, elemental, so to speak, faith of his
soul had been shaken. He loved his God and believed in Him
steadfastly, though he was suddenly murmuring against Him. Yet a vague
but tormenting and evil impression left by his conversation with
Ivan the day before, suddenly revived again now in his soul and seemed
forcing its way to the surface of his consciousness.
It had begun to get dusk when Rakitin, crossing the pine copse
from the hermitage to the monastery, suddenly noticed Alyosha, lying
face downwards on the ground under a tree, not moving and apparently
asleep. He went up and called him by his name.
"You here, Alexey? Can you have- " he began wondering but broke
off. He had meant to say, "Can you have come to this?"
Alyosha did not look at him, but from a slight movement Rakitin at
once saw that he heard and understood him.
"What's the matter?" he went on; but the surprise in his face
gradually passed into a smile that became more and more ironical.
"I say, I've been looking for you for the last two hours. You
suddenly disappeared. What are you about? What foolery is this? You
might just look at me..."
Alyosha raised his head, sat up and leaned his back against the
tree. He was not crying, but there was a look of suffering and
irritability in his face. He did not look at Rakitin, however, but
looked away to one side of him.
"Do you know your face is quite changed? There's none of your
famous mildness to be seen in it. Are you angry with someone? Have
they been ill-treating you?"
"Let me alone," said Alyosha suddenly, with a weary gesture of his
hand, still looking away from him.
"Oho! So that's how we are feeling! So you can shout at people
like other mortals. That is a come-down from the angels. I say,
Alyosha, you have surprised me, do you hear? I mean it. It's long
since I've been surprised at anything here. I always took you for an
Alyosha at last looked at him, but vaguely, as though scarcely
understanding what he said.
"Can you really be so upset simply because your old man has
begun to stink? You don't mean to say you seriously believed that he
was going to work miracles?" exclaimed Rakitin, genuinely surprised
"I believed, I believe, I want to believe, and I will believe,
what more do you want?" cried Alyosha irritably.
"Nothing at all, my boy. Damn it all! why, no schoolboy of
thirteen believes in that now. But there... So now you are in a temper
with your God, you are rebelling against Him; He hasn't given
promotion, He hasn't bestowed the order of merit! Eh, you are a set!"
Alyosha gazed a long while with his eyes half closed at Rakitin,
and there was a sudden gleam in his eyes... but not of anger with
"I am not rebelling against my God; I simply 'don't accept His
world.'" Alyosha suddenly smiled a forced smile.
"How do you mean, you don't accept the world?" Rakitin thought a
moment over his answer. "What idiocy is this?"
Alyosha did not answer.
"Come, enough nonsense, now to business. Have you had anything
to eat to-day?"
"I don't remember.... I think I have."
"You need keeping up, to judge by your face. It makes one sorry to
look at you. You didn't sleep all night either, I hear; you had a
meeting in there. And then all this bobbery afterwards. Most likely
you've had nothing to eat but a mouthful of holy bread. I've got
some sausage in my pocket; I've brought it from the town in case of
need, only you won't eat sausage...."
"Give me some."
"I say! You are going it! Why, it's a regular mutiny, with
barricades! Well, my boy, we must make the most of it. Come to my
place... shouldn't mind a drop of vodka myself, I am tired to death.
Vodka is going too far for you, I suppose... or would you like some?"
"Give me some vodka too."
"Hullo! You surprise me, brother!" Rakitin looked at him in
amazement. "Well, one way or another, vodka or sausage, this is a
jolly fine chance and mustn't be missed. Come along."
Alyosha got up in silence and followed Rakitin.
"If your little brother Ivan could see this wouldn't he be
surprised! By the way, your brother Ivan set off to Moscow this
morning, did you know?"
"Yes," answered Alyosha listlessly, and suddenly the image of
his brother Dmitri rose before his mind. But only for a minute, and
though it reminded him of something that must not be put off for a
moment, some duty, some terrible obligation, even that reminder made
no impression on him, did not reach his heart and instantly faded
out of his mind and was forgotten. But, a long while afterwards,
Alyosha remembered this.
"Your brother Ivan declared once that I was a 'liberal booby
with no talents whatsoever.' Once you, too, could not resist letting
me know I was 'dishonourable.' Well! I should like to see what your
talents and sense of honour will do for you now." This phrase
Rakitin finished to himself in a whisper.
"Listen!" he said aloud, "Let's go by the path beyond the
monastery straight to the town. H'm! I ought to go to Madame
Hohlakov's by the way. Only fancy, I've written to tell her everything
that happened, and would you believe it, she answered me instantly
in pencil (the lady has a passion for writing notes) that 'she would
never have expected such conduct from a man of such a reverend
character as Father Zossima.' That was her very word: 'conduct.' She
is angry too. Eh, you are a set! Stay!" he cried suddenly again. He
suddenly stopped and taking Alyosha by the shoulder made him stop too.
"Do you know, Alyosha," he peeped inquisitively into his eyes,
absorbed in a sudden new thought which had dawned on him, and though
he was laughing outwardly he was evidently afraid to utter that new
idea aloud, so difficult he still found it to believe in the strange
and unexpected mood in which he now saw Alyosha. "Alyosha, do you know
where we had better go?" he brought out at last timidly, and
"I don't care... where you like."
"Let's go to Grushenka, eh? Will you come?" pronounced Rakitin
at last, trembling with timid suspense.
"Let's go to Grushenka," Alyosha answered calmly, at once, and
this prompt and calm agreement was such a surprise to Rakitin that
he almost started back.
"Well! I say!" he cried in amazement, but seizing Alyosha firmly
by the arm be led him along the path, still dreading that he would
change his mind.
They walked along in silence; Rakitin was positively afraid to
"And how glad she will be, how delighted!" he muttered, but lapsed
into silence again. And indeed it was not to please Grushenka he was
taking Alyosha to her. He was a practical person and never undertook
anything without a prospect of gain for himself. His object in this
case was twofold, first a revengeful desire to see "the downfall of
the righteous," and Alyosha's fall "from the saints to the sinners,"
over which he was already gloating in his imagination, and in the
second place he had in view a certain material gain for himself, of
which more will be said later.
"So the critical moment has come," he thought to himself with
spiteful glee, "and we shall catch it on the hop, for it's just what
GRUSHENKA lived in the busiest part of the town, near the
cathedral square, in a small wooden lodge in the courtyard belonging
to the house of the widow Morozov. The house was a large stone
building of two stories, old and very ugly. The widow led a secluded
life with her two unmarried nieces, who were also elderly women. She
had no need to let her lodge, but everyone knew that she had taken
in Grushenka as a lodger, four years before, solely to please her
kinsman, the merchant Samsonov, who was known to the girl's protector.
It was said that the jealous old man's object in placing his
"favourite" with the widow Morozov was that the old woman should
keep a sharp eye on her new lodger's conduct. But this sharp eye
soon proved to be unnecessary, and in the end the widow Morozov seldom
met Grushenka and did not worry her by looking after her in any way.
It is true that four years had passed since the old man had brought
the slim, delicate, shy, timid, dreamy, and sad girl of eighteen
from the chief town of the province, and much had happened since then.
Little was known of the girl's history in the town and that little was
vague. Nothing more had been learnt during the last four years, even
after many persons had become interested in the beautiful young
woman into whom Agrafena Alexandrovna had meanwhile developed. There
were rumours that she had been at seventeen betrayed by someone,
some sort of officer, and immediately afterwards abandoned by him. The
officer had gone away and afterwards married, while Grushenka had been
left in poverty and disgrace. It was said, however, that though
Grushenka had been raised from destitution by the old man, Samsonov,
she came of a respectable family belonging to the clerical class, that
she was the daughter of a deacon or something of the sort.
And now after four years the sensitive, injured and pathetic
little orphan had become a plump, rosy beauty of the Russian type, a
woman of bold and determined character, proud and insolent. She had
a good head for business, was acquisitive, saving and careful, and
by fair means or foul had succeeded, it was said, in amassing a little
fortune. There was only, one point on which all were agreed. Grushenka
was not easily to be approached and, except her aged protector,
there had not been one man who could boast of her favours during those
four years. It was a positive fact, for there had been a good many,
especially during the last two years, who had attempted to obtain
those favours. But all their efforts had been in vain and some of
these suitors had been forced to beat an undignified and even comic
retreat, owing to the firm and ironical resistance they met from the
strong-willed young person. It was known, too, that the young person
had, especially of late, been given to what is called "speculation,"
and that she had shown marked abilities in that direction, so that
many people began to say that she was no better than a Jew. It was not
that she lent money on interest, but it was known, for instance,
that she had for some time past, in partnership with old Karamazov,
actually invested in the purchase of bad debts for a trifle, a tenth
of their nominal value, and afterwards had made out of them ten
times their value.
The old widower Samsonov, a man of large fortune, was stingy and
merciless. He tyrannised over his grown-up sons, but, for the last
year during which he had been ill and lost the use of his swollen
legs, he had fallen greatly under the influence of his protegee,
whom he had at first kept strictly and in humble surroundings, "on
Lenten fare," as the wits said at the time. But Grushenka had
succeeded in emancipating herself, while she established in him a
boundless belief in her fidelity. The old man, now long since dead,
had had a large business in his day and was also a noteworthy
character, miserly and hard as flint. Though Grushenka's hold upon him
was so strong that he could not live without her (it had been so
especially for the last two years), he did not settle any considerable
fortune on her and would not have been moved to do so, if she had
threatened to leave him. But he had presented her with a small sum,
and even that was a surprise to everyone when it became known.
"You are a wench with brains," he said to her, when he gave her
eight thousand roubles, "and you must look after yourself, but let
me tell you that except your yearly allowance as before, you'll get
nothing more from me to the day of my death, and I'll leave you
nothing in my will either."
And he kept his word; he died and left everything to his sons,
whom, with their wives and children, he had treated all his life as
servants. Grushenka was not even mentioned in his will. All this
became known afterwards. He helped Grushenka with his advice to
increase her capital and put business in her way.
When Fyodor Pavlovitch, who first came into contact with Grushenka
over a piece of speculation, ended to his own surprise by falling
madly in love with her, old Samsonov, gravely ill as he was, was
immensely amused. It is remarkable that throughout their whole
acquaintance Grushenka was absolutely and spontaneously open with
the old man, and he seems to have been the only person in the world
with whom she was so. Of late, when Dmitri too had come on the scene
with his love, the old man left off laughing. On the contrary, he once
gave Grushenka a stern and earnest piece of advice.
"If you have to choose between the two, father or son, you'd
better choose the old man, if only you make sure the old scoundrel
will marry you and settle some fortune on you beforehand. But don't
keep on with the captain, you'll get no good out of that."
These were the very words of the old profligate, who felt
already that his death was not far off and who actually died five
I will note too, in passing- that although many in our town knew
of the grotesque and monstrous rivalry of the Karamazovs, father and
son, the object of which was Grushenka, scarcely anyone understood
what really underlay her attitude to both of them. Even Grushenka's
two servants (after the catastrophe of which we will speak later)
testified in court that she received Dmitri Fyodorovitch simply from
fear because "he threatened to murder her." These servants were an old
cook, invalidish and almost deaf, who came from Grushenka's old
home, and her granddaughter, a smart young girl of twenty, who
performed the duties of a maid. Grushenka lived very economically
and her surroundings were anything but luxurious. Her lodge
consisted of three rooms furnished with mahogany furniture in the
fashion of 1820, belonging to her landlady.
It was quite dark when Rakitin and Alyosha entered her rooms,
yet they were not lighted up. Grushenka was lying down in her
drawing-room on the big, hard, clumsy sofa, with a mahogany back.
The sofa was covered with shabby and ragged leather. Under her head
she had two white down pillows taken from her bed. She was lying
stretched out motionless on her back with her hands behind her head.
She was dressed as though expecting someone, in a black silk dress,
with a dainty lace fichu on her head, which was very becoming. Over
her shoulders was thrown a lace shawl pinned with a massive gold
brooch. She certainly was expecting someone. She lay as though
impatient and weary, her face rather pale and her lips and eyes hot,
restlessly tapping the arm of the sofa with the tip of her right foot.
The appearance of Rakitin and Alyosha caused a slight excitement. From
the hall they could hear Grushenka leap up from the sofa and cry out
in a frightened voice, "Who's there?" But the maid met the visitors
and at once called back to her mistress.
"It's not he, it's nothing, only other visitors."
"What can be the matter?" muttered Rakitin, leading Alyosha into
Grushenka was standing by the sofa as though still alarmed. A
thick coil of her dark brown hair escaped from its lace covering and
fell on her right shoulder, but she did not notice it and did not
put it back till she had gazed at her visitors and recognised them.
"Ah, it's you, Rakitin? You quite frightened me. Whom have you
brought? Who is this with you? Good heavens, you have brought him!"
she exclaimed, recognising Alyosha.
"Do send for candles!" said Rakitin, with the free-and-easy air of
a most intimate friend, who is privileged to give orders in the house.
"Candles... of course, candles.... Fenya, fetch him a candle....
Well, you have chosen a moment to bring him! she exclaimed again,
nodding towards Alyosha, and turning to the looking-glass she began
quickly fastening up her hair with both hands. She seemed displeased.
"Haven't I managed to please you?" asked Rakitin, instantly almost
You frightened me, Rakitin, that's what it is." Grushenka turned
with a smile to Alyosha. "Don't be afraid of me, my dear Alyosha,
you cannot think how glad I am to see you, my unexpected visitor.
But you frightened me, Rakitin, I thought it was Mitya breaking in.
You see, I deceived him just now, I made him promise to believe me and
I told him a lie. I told him that I was going to spend the evening
with my old man, Kuzma Kuzmitch, and should be there till late
counting up his money. I always spend one whole evening a week with
him making up his accounts. We lock ourselves in and he counts on
the reckoning beads while I sit and put things down in the book. I
am the only person he trusts. Mitya believes that I am there, but I
came back and have been sitting locked in here, expecting some news.
How was it Fenya let you in? Fenya, Fenya, run out to the gate, open
it and look about whether the captain is to be seen! Perhaps he is
hiding and spying, I am dreadfully frightened."
There's no one there, Agrafena Alexandrovna, I've just looked out;
I keep running to peep through the crack; I am in fear and trembling
"Are the shutters fastened, Fenya? And we must draw the
curtains- that's better!" She drew the heavy curtains herself. "He'd
rush in at once if he saw a light. I am afraid of your brother Mitya
Grushenka spoke aloud, and, though she was alarmed, she seemed
very happy about something.
"Why are you so afraid of Mitya to-day?" inquired Rakitin. "I
should have thought you were not timid with him, you'd twist him round
your little finger."
"I tell you, I am expecting news, priceless news, so I don't
want Mitya at all. And he didn't believe, I feel he didn't, that I
should stay at Kuzma Kuzmitch's. He must be in his ambush now,
behind Fyodor Pavlovitch's, in the garden, watching for me. And if
he's there, he won't come here, so much the better! But I really
have been to Kuzma Kuzmitch's, Mitya escorted me there. I told him I
should stay there till midnight, and I asked him to be sure to come at
midnight to fetch me home. He went away and I sat ten minutes with
Kuzma Kuzmitch and came back here again. Ugh, I was afraid, I ran
for fear of meeting him."
"And why are you so dressed up? What a curious cap you've got on!"
"How curious you are yourself, Rakitin! I tell you, I am expecting
a message. If the message comes, I shall fly, I shall gallop away
and you will see no more of me. That's why I am dressed up, so as to
"And where are you flying to?"
"If you know too much, you'll get old too soon."
"Upon my word! You are highly delighted... I've never seen you
like this before. You are dressed up as if you were going to a
ball." Rakitin looked her up and down.
"Much you know about balls."
"And do you know much about them?"
"I have seen a ball. The year before last, Kuzma Kuzmitch's son
was married and I looked on from the gallery. Do you suppose I want to
be talking to you, Rakitin, while a prince like this is standing here.
Such a visitor! Alyosha, my dear boy, I gaze at you and can't
believe my eyes. Good heavens, can you have come here to see me! To
tell you the truth, I never had a thought of seeing you and I didn't
think that you would ever come and see me. Though this is not the
moment now, I am awfully glad to see you. Sit down on the sofa,
here, that's right, my bright young moon. I really can't take it in
even now.... Eh, Rakitin, if only you had brought him yesterday or the
day before! But I am glad as it is! Perhaps it's better he has come
now, at such a moment, and not the day before yesterday."
She gaily sat down beside Alyosha on the sofa, looking at him with
positive delight. And she really was glad, she was not lying when
she said so. Her eyes glowed, her lips laughed, but it was a
good-hearted merry laugh. Alyosha had not expected to see such a
kind expression in her face.... He had hardly met her till the day
before, he had formed an alarming idea of her, and had been horribly
distressed the day before by the spiteful and treacherous trick she
had played on Katerina Ivanovna. He was greatly surprised to find
her now altogether different from what he had expected. And, crushed
as he was by his own sorrow, his eyes involuntarily rested on her with
attention. Her whole manner seemed changed for the better since
yesterday, there was scarcely any trace of that mawkish sweetness in
her speech, of that voluptuous softness in her movements. Everything
was simple and good-natured, her gestures were rapid, direct,
confiding, but she was greatly excited.
"Dear me, how everything comes together to-day!" she chattered
on again. "And why I am so glad to see you, Alyosha, I couldn't say
myself! If you ask me, I couldn't tell you."
"Come, don't you know why you're glad?" said Rakitin, grinning.
"You used to be always pestering me to bring him, you'd some object, I
"I had a different object once, but now that's over, this is not
the moment. I say, I want you to have something nice. I am so
good-natured now. You sit down, too, Rakitin; why are you standing?
You've sat down already? There's no fear of Rakitin's forgetting to
look after himself. Look, Alyosha, he's sitting there opposite us,
so offended that I didn't ask him to sit down before you. Ugh, Rakitin
is such a one to take offence!" laughed Grushenka. "Don't be angry,
Rakitin, I'm kind to-day. Why are you so depressed, Alyosha? Are you
afraid of me?" She peeped into his eyes with merry mockery.
"He's sad. The promotion has not been given," boomed Rakitin.
"His elder stinks."
"What? You are talking some nonsense, you want to say something
nasty. Be quiet, you stupid! Let me sit on your knee, Alyosha, like
this." She suddenly skipped forward and jumped, laughing, on his knee,
like a nestling kitten, with her right arm about his neck. "I'll cheer
you up, my pious boy. Yes, really, will you let me sit on your knee?
You won't be angry? If you tell me, I'll get off?"
Alyosha did not speak. He sat afraid to move, he heard her
words, "If you tell me, I'll get off," but he did not answer. But
there was nothing in his heart such as Rakitin, for instance, watching
him malignantly from his corner, might have expected or fancied. The
great grief in his heart swallowed up every sensation that might
have been aroused, and, if only he could have thought clearly at
that moment, he would have realised that he had now the strongest
armour to protect him from every lust and temptation. Yet in spite
of the vague irresponsiveness of his spiritual condition and the
sorrow that overwhelmed him, he could not help wondering at a new
and strange sensation in his heart. This woman, this "dreadful" woman,
had no terror for him now, none of that terror that had stirred in his
soul at any passing thought of woman. On the contrary, this woman,
dreaded above all women, sitting now on his knee, holding him in her
arms, aroused in him now a quite different, unexpected, peculiar
feeling, a feeling of the intensest and purest interest without a
trace of fear, of his former terror. That was what instinctively
"You've talked nonsense enough," cried Rakitin, "you'd much better
give us some champagne. You owe it me, you know you do!"
"Yes, I really do. Do you know, Alyosha, I promised him
champagne on the top of everything, if he'd bring you? I'll have
some too! Fenya, Fenya, bring us the bottle Mitya left! Look sharp!
Though I am so stingy, I'll stand a bottle, not for you, Rakitin,
you're a toadstool, but he is a falcon! And though my heart is full of
something very different, so be it, I'll drink with you. I long for
"But what is the matter with you? And what is this message, may
I ask, or is it a secret?" Rakitin put in inquisitively, doing his
best to pretend not to notice the snubs that were being continually
aimed at him.
"Ech, it's not a secret, and you know it, too," Grushenka said, in
a voice suddenly anxious, turning her head towards Rakitin, and
drawing a little away from Alyosha, though she still sat on his knee
with her arm round his neck. "My officer is coming, Rakitin, my
officer is coming."
"I heard he was coming, but is he so near?"
"He is at Mokroe now; he'll send a messenger from there, so he
wrote; I got a letter from him to-day. I am expecting the messenger
"You don't say so! Why at Mokroe?"
"That's a long story, I've told you enough."
"Mitya'll be up to something now- I say! Does he know or doesn't
"He know! Of course he doesn't. If he knew, there would be murder.
But I am not afraid of that now, I am not afraid of his knife. Be
quiet, Rakitin, don't remind me of Dmitri Fyodorovitch, he has bruised
my heart. And I don't want to think of that at this moment. I can
think of Alyosha here, I can look at Alyosha... smile at me, dear,
cheer up, smile at my foolishness, at my pleasure.... Ah, he's
smiling, he's smiling! How kindly he looks at me! And you know,
Alyosha, I've been thinking all this time you were angry with me,
because of the day before yesterday, because of that young lady. I was
a cur, that's the truth.... But it's a good thing it happened so. It
was a horrid thing, but a good thing too." Grushenka smiled dreamily
and a little cruel line showed in her smile. "Mitya told me that she
screamed out that I 'ought to be flogged.' I did insult her
dreadfully. She sent for me, she wanted to make a conquest of me, to
win me over with her chocolate.... No, it's a good thing it did end
like that." She smiled again. "But I am still afraid of your being
"Yes, that's really true," Rakitin put in suddenly with genuine
surprise. "Alyosha, she is really afraid of a chicken like you."
"He is a chicken to you, Rakitin... because you've no
conscience, that's what it is! You see, I love him with all my soul,
that's how it is! Alyosha, do you believe I love you with all my
"Ah, you shameless woman! She is making you a declaration,
"Well, what of it, I love him!"
"And what about your officer? And the priceless message from
"That is quite different."
"That's a woman's way of looking at it!"
"Don't you make me angry, Rakitin." Grushenka caught him up hotly.
"This is quite different. I love Alyosha in a different way. It's
true, Alyosha, I had sly designs on you before. For I am a horrid,
violent creature. But at other times I've looked upon you, Alyosha, as
my conscience. I've kept thinking 'how anyone like that must despise a
nasty thing like me.' I thought that the day before yesterday, as I
ran home from the young lady's. I have thought of you a long time in
that way, Alyosha, and Mitya knows; I've talked to him about it. Mitya
understands. Would you believe it, I sometimes look at you and feel
ashamed, utterly ashamed of myself.... And how, and since when, I
began to think about you like that, I can't say, I don't remember...."
Fenya came in and put a tray with an uncorked bottle and three
glasses of champagne on the table.
"Here's the champagne!" cried Rakitin. "You're excited, Agrafena
Alexandrovna, and not yourself. When you've had a glass of
champagne, you'll be ready to dance. Eh, they can't even do that
properly," he added, looking at the bottle. "The old woman's poured it
out in the kitchen and the bottle's been brought in warm and without a
cork. Well, let me have some, anyway."
He went up to the table, took a glass, emptied it at one gulp
and poured himself out another.
"One doesn't often stumble upon champagne," he said, licking his
lips. "Now, Alyosha, take a glass, show what you can do! What shall we
drink to? The gates of paradise? Take a glass, Grushenka, you drink to
the gates of paradise, too."
"What gates of paradise?"
She took a glass, Alyosha took his, tasted it and put it back.
"No, I'd better not," he smiled gently.
"And you bragged!" cried Rakitin.
"Well, if so, I won't either," chimed in Grushenka, "I really
don't want any. You can drink the whole bottle alone, Rakitin. If
Alyosha has some, I will."
"What touching sentimentality!" said Rakitin tauntingly; "and
she's sitting on his knee, too! He's got something to grieve over, but
what's the matter with you? He is rebelling against his God and
ready to eat sausage...."
"His elder died to-day, Father Zossima, the saint."
"So Father Zossima is dead," cried Grushenka. "Good God, I did not
know!" She crossed herself devoutly. "Goodness, what have I been
doing, sitting on his knee like this at such a moment! She started
up as though in dismay, instantly slipped off his knee and sat down on
Alyosha bent a long wondering look upon her and a light seemed
to dawn in his face.
"Rakitin," he said suddenly, in a firm and loud voice; "don't
taunt me with having rebelled against God. I don't want to feel
angry with you, so you must be kinder, too; I've lost a treasure
such as you have never had, and you cannot judge me now. You had
much better look at her- do you see how she has pity on me? I came
here to find a wicked soul- I felt drawn to evil because I was base
and evil myself, and I've found a true sister; I have found a
treasure- a loving heart. She had pity on me just now.... Agrafena
Alexandrovna, I am speaking of you. You've raised my soul from the
Alyosha's lips were quivering and he caught his breath.
"She has saved you, it seems," laughed Rakitin spitefully. "And
she meant to get you in her clutches, do your realise that?"
"Stay, Rakitin." Grushenka jumped up. "Hush, both of you. Now I'll
tell you all about it. Hush, Alyosha, your words make me ashamed,
for I am bad and not good- that's what I am. And you hush, Rakitin,
because you are telling lies. I had the low idea of trying to get
him in my clutches, but now you are lying, now it's all different. And
don't let me hear anything more from you, Rakitin."
All this Grushenka said with extreme emotion.
"They are both crazy," said Rakitin, looking at them with
amazement. "I feel as though I were in a madhouse. They're both
getting so feeble they'll begin crying in a minute."
"I shall begin to cry, I shall," repeated Grushenka. "He called me
his sister and I shall never forget that. Only let me tell you,
Rakitin, though I am bad, I did give away an onion."
"An onion? Hang it all, you really are crazy."
Rakitin wondered at their enthusiasm. He was aggrieved and
annoyed, though he might have reflected that each of them was just
passing through a spiritual crisis such as does not come often in a
lifetime. But though Rakitin was very sensitive about everything
that concerned himself, he was very obtuse as regards the feelings and
sensations of others- partly from his youth and inexperience, partly
from his intense egoism.
"You see, Alyosha," Grushenka turned to him with a nervous
laugh. "I was boasting when I told Rakitin I had given away an
onion, but it's not to boast I tell you about it. It's only a story,
but it's a nice story. I used to hear it when I was a child from
Matryona, my cook, who is still with me. It's like this. Once upon a
time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And
she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils
caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian
angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to
tell to God; 'She once pulled up an onion in her garden,' said he,
'and gave it to a beggar woman.' And God answered: 'You take that
onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold
and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her
come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay
where she is.' The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to
her. 'Come,' said he, 'catch hold and I'll pull you out.' he began
cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the
other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began
catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a
very wicked woman and she began kicking them. 'I'm to be pulled out,
not you. It's my onion, not yours.' As soon as she said that, the
onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there
to this day. So the angel wept and went away. So that's the story,
Alyosha; I know it by heart, for I am that wicked woman myself. I
boasted to Rakitin that I had given away an onion, but to you I'll
say: 'I've done nothing but give away one onion all my life, that's
the only good deed I've done.' don't praise me, Alyosha, don't think
me good, I am bad, I am a wicked woman and you make me ashamed if
you praise me. Eh, I must confess everything. Listen, Alyosha. I was
so anxious to get hold of you that I promised Rakitin twenty-five
roubles if he would bring you to me. Stay, Rakitin, wait!"
She went with rapid steps to the table, opened a drawer, pulled
out a purse and took from it a twenty-five rouble note.
"What nonsense! What nonsense!" cried Rakitin, disconcerted.
"Take it. Rakitin, I owe it you, there's no fear of your
refusing it, you asked for it yourself." And she threw the note to
"Likely I should refuse it," boomed Rakitin, obviously abashed,
but carrying off his confusion with a swagger. "That will come in very
handy; fools are made for wise men's profit."
"And now hold your tongue, Rakitin, what I am going to say now
is not for your ears. Sit down in that corner and keep quiet. You
don't like us, so hold your tongue."
"What should I like you for?" Rakitin snarled, not concealing
his ill-humour. He put the twenty-five rouble note in his pocket and
he felt ashamed at Alyosha's seeing it. He had reckoned on receiving
his payment later, without Alyosha's knowing of it, and now, feeling
ashamed, he lost his temper. Till that moment he had thought it
discreet not to contradict Grushenka too flatly in spite of her
snubbing, since he had something to get out of her. But now he, too,
"One loves people for some reason, but what have either of you
done for me?"
"You should love people without a reason, as Alyosha does."
"How does he love you? How has he shown it, that you make such a
fuss about it?"
Grushenka was standing in the middle of the room; she spoke with
heat and there were hysterical notes in her voice.
"Hush, Rakitin, you know nothing about us! And don't dare to speak
to me like that again. How dare you be so familiar! Sit in that corner
and be quiet, as though you were my footman! And now, Alyosha, I'll
tell you the whole truth, that you may see what a wretch I am! I am
not talking to Rakitin, but to you. I wanted to ruin you, Alyosha,
that's the holy truth; I quite meant to. I wanted to so much, that I
bribed Rakitin to bring you. And why did I want to do such a thing?
You knew nothing about it, Alyosha, you turned away from me; if you
passed me, you dropped your eyes. And I've looked at you a hundred
times before to-day; I began asking everyone about you. Your face
haunted my heart. 'He despises me,' I thought; 'he won't even look
at me.' And I felt it so much at last that I wondered at myself for
being so frightened of a boy. I'll get him in my clutches and laugh at
him. I was full of spite and anger. Would you believe it, nobody
here dares talk or think of coming to Agrafena Alexandrovna with any
evil purpose. Old Kuzma is the only man I have anything to do with
here; I was bound and sold to him; Satan brought us together, but
there has been no one else. But looking at you, I thought, I'll get
him in my clutches and laugh at him. You see what a spiteful cur I am,
and you called me your sister! And now that man who wronged me has
come; I sit here waiting for a message from him. And do you know
what that man has been to me? Five years ago, when Kuzma brought me
here, I used to shut myself up, that no one might have sight or
sound of me. I was a silly slip of a girl; I used to sit here sobbing;
I used to lie awake all night, thinking: 'Where is he now, the man who
wronged me? He is laughing at me with another woman, most likely. If
only I could see him, if I could meet him again, I'd pay him out,
I'd pay him out!' At night I used to lie sobbing into my pillow in the
dark, and I used to brood over it; I used to tear my heart on
purpose and gloat over my anger. 'I'll pay him out, I'll pay him
out! That's what I used to cry out in the dark. And when I suddenly
thought that I should really do nothing to him, and that he was
laughing at me then, or perhaps had utterly forgotten me, I would
fling myself on the floor, melt into helpless tears, and lie there
shaking till dawn. In the morning I would get up more spiteful than
a dog, ready to tear the whole world to pieces. And then what do you
think? I began saving money, I became hardhearted, grew stout- grew
wiser, would you say? No, no one in the whole world sees it, no one
knows it, but when night comes on, I sometimes lie as I did five years
ago, when I was a silly girl, clenching my teeth and crying all night,
thinking, 'I'll pay him out, I'll pay him out!' Do you hear? Well
then, now you understand me. A month ago a letter came to me- he was
coming, he was a widower, he wanted to see me. It took my breath away;
then I suddenly thought: 'If he comes and whistles to call me, I shall
creep back to him like a beaten dog.' I couldn't believe myself. Am
I so abject? Shall I run to him or not? And I've been in such a rage
with myself all this month that I am worse than I was five years
ago. Do you see now, Alyosha, what a violent, vindictive creature I
am? I have shown you the whole truth! I played with Mitya to keep me
from running to that other. Hush, Rakitin, it's not for you to judge
me, I am not speaking to you. Before you came in, I was lying here
waiting, brooding, deciding my whole future life, and you can never
know what was in my heart. Yes, Alyosha, tell your young lady not to
be angry with me for what happened the day before yesterday.... Nobody
in the whole world knows what I am going through now, and no one
ever can know.... For perhaps I shall take a knife with me to-day, I
can't make up my mind..."
And at this "tragic" phrase Grushenka broke down, hid her face
in her hands, flung herself on the sofa pillows, and sobbed like a
Alyosha got up and went to Rakitin.
"Misha," he said, "don't be angry. She wounded you, but don't be
angry. You heard what she said just now? You mustn't ask too much of
human endurance, one must be merciful."
Alyosha said this at the instinctive prompting of his heart. He
felt obliged to speak and he turned to Rakitin. If Rakitin had not
been there, he would have spoken to the air. But Rakitin looked at him
ironically and Alyosha stopped short.
"You were so primed up with your elder's reading last night that
now you have to let it off on me, Alexey, man of God!" said Rakitin,
with a smile of hatred.
"Don't laugh, Rakitin, don't smile, don't talk of the dead- he was
better than anyone in the world!" cried Alyosha, with tears in his
voice. "I didn't speak to you as a judge but as the lowest of the
judged. What am I beside her? I came here seeking my ruin, and said to
myself, 'What does it matter?' in my cowardliness, but she, after five
years in torment, as soon as anyone says a word from the heart to her-
it makes her forget everything, forgive everything, in her tears!
The man who has wronged her has come back, he sends for her and she
forgives him everything, and hastens joyfully to meet him and she
won't take a knife with her. She won't! No, I am not like that. I
don't know whether you are, Misha, but I am not like that. It's a
lesson to me.... She is more loving than we.... Have you heard her
speak before of what she has just told us? No, you haven't; if you
had, you'd have understood her long ago... and the person insulted the
day before yesterday must forgive her, too! She will, when she
knows... and she shall know.... This soul is not yet at peace with
itself, one must be tender with... there may be a treasure in that
Alyosha stopped, because he caught his breath. In spite of his
ill-humour Rakitin looked at him with astonishment. He had never
expected such a tirade from the gentle Alyosha.
"She's found someone to plead her cause! Why, are you in love with
her? Agrafena Alexandrovna, our monk's really in love with you, you've
made a conquest!" he cried, with a coarse laugh.
Grushenka lifted her head from the pillow and looked at Alyosha
with a tender smile shining on her tear-stained face.
"Let him alone, Alyosha, my cherub; you see what he is, he is
not a person for you to speak to. Mihail Osipovitch," she turned to
Rakitin, "I meant to beg your pardon for being rude to you, but now
I don't want to. Alyosha, come to me, sit down here." She beckoned
to him with a happy smile. "That's right, sit here. Tell me," she took
him by the hand and peeped into his face, smiling, "tell me, do I love
that man or not? The man who wronged me, do I love him or not?
Before you came, I lay here in the dark, asking my heart whether I
loved him. Decide for me, Alyosha, the time has come, it shall be as
you say. Am I to forgive him or not?"
"But you have forgiven him already," said Alyosha, smiling.
"Yes, I really have forgiven him," Grushenka murmured
thoughtfully. "What an abject heart! To my abject heart!" She snatched
up a glass from the table, emptied it at a gulp, lifted it in the
air and flung it on the floor. The glass broke with a crash. A
little cruel line came into her smile.
"Perhaps I haven't forgiven him, though," she said, with a sort of
menace in her voice, and she dropped her eyes to the ground as
though she were talking to herself. "Perhaps my heart is only
getting ready to forgive. I shall struggle with my heart. You see,
Alyosha, I've grown to love my tears in these five years.... Perhaps I
only love my resentment, not him..."
"Well, I shouldn't care to be in his shoes," hissed Rakitin.
"Well, you won't be, Rakitin, you'll never be in his shoes. You
shall black my shoes, Rakitin, that's the place you are fit for.
You'll never get a woman like me... and he won't either, perhaps..."
"Won't he? Then why are you dressed up like that?" said Rakitin,
with a venomous sneer.
"Don't taunt me with dressing up, Rakitin, you don't know all that
is in my heart! If I choose to tear off my finery, I'll tear it off at
once, this minute," she cried in a resonant voice. "You don't know
what that finery is for, Rakitin! Perhaps I shall see him and say:
'Have you ever seen me look like this before?' He left me a thin,
consumptive cry-baby of seventeen. I'll sit by him, fascinate him
and work him up. 'Do you see what I am like now?' I'll say to him;
'well, and that's enough for you, my dear sir, there's many a slip
twixt the cup and the lip! That may be what the finery is for,
Rakitin." Grushenka finished with a malicious laugh. "I'm violent
and resentful, Alyosha, I'll tear off my finery, I'll destroy my
beauty, I'll scorch my face, slash it with a knife, and turn beggar.
If I choose, I won't go anywhere now to see anyone. If I choose,
I'll send Kuzma back all he has ever given me, to-morrow, and all
his money and I'll go out charing for the rest of my life. You think I
wouldn't do it, Rakitin, that I would not dare to do it? I would, I
would, I could do it directly, only don't exasperate me... and I'll
send him about his business, I'll snap my fingers in his face, he
shall never see me again!"
She uttered the last words in an hysterical scream, but broke down
again, hid her face in her hands, buried it in the pillow and shook
Rakitin got up.
"It's time we were off," he said, "it's late, we shall be shut out
of the monastery."
Grushenka leapt up from her place.
"Surely you don't want to go, Alyosha!" she cried, in mournful
surprise. "What are you doing to me? You've stirred up my feeling,
tortured me, and now you'll leave me to face this night alone!"
"He can hardly spend the night with you! Though if he wants to,
let him! I'll go alone," Rakitin scoffed jeeringly.
"Hush, evil tongue!" Grushenka cried angrily at him; "you never
said such words to me as he has come to say."
"What has he said to you so special?" asked Rakitin irritably.
"I can't say, I don't know. I don't know what he said to me, it
went straight to my heart; he has wrung my heart.... He is the
first, the only one who has pitied me, that's what it is. Why did
you not come before, you angel?" She fell on her knees before him as
though in a sudden frenzy. "I've been waiting all my life for
someone like you, I knew that someone like you would come and
forgive me. I believed that, nasty as I am, someone would really
love me, not only with a shameful love!"
"What have I done to you?" answered Alyosha, bending over her with
a tender smile, and gently taking her by the hands; "I only gave you
an onion, nothing but a tiny little onion, that was all!"
He was moved to tears himself as he said it. At that moment
there was a sudden noise in the passage, someone came into the hall.
Grushenka jumped up, seeming greatly alarmed. Fenya ran noisily into
the room, crying out:
"Mistress, mistress darling, a messenger has galloped up," she
cried, breathless and joyful. "A carriage from Mokroe for you, Timofey
the driver, with three horses, they are just putting in fresh
horses.... A letter, here's the letter, mistress."
A letter was in her hand and she waved it in the air all the while
she talked. Grushenka snatched the letter from her and carried it to
the candle. It was only a note, a few lines. She read it in one
"He has sent for me," she cried, her face white and distorted,
with a wan smile; "he whistles! Crawl back, little dog!"
But only for one instant she stood as though hesitating;
suddenly the blood rushed to her head and sent a glow to her cheeks.
"I will go," she cried; "five years of my life! Good-bye!
Good-bye, Alyosha, my fate is sealed. Go, go, leave me all of you,
don't let me see you again! Grushenka is flying to a new life....
Don't you remember evil against me either, Rakitin. I may be going
to my death! Ugh! I feel as though I were drunk!"
She suddenly left them and ran into her bedroom.
"Well, she has no thoughts for us now!" grumbled Rakitin. "Let's
go, or we may hear that feminine shriek again. I am sick of all
these tears and cries."
Alyosha mechanically let himself be led out. In the yard stood a
covered cart. Horses were being taken out of the shafts, men were
running to and fro with a lantern. Three fresh horses were being led
in at the open gate. But when Alyosha and Rakitin reached the bottom
of the steps, Grushenka's bedroom window was suddenly opened and she
called in a ringing voice after Alyosha:
"Alyosha, give my greetings to your brother Mitya and tell him not
to remember evil against me, though I have brought him misery. And
tell him, too, in my words: 'Grushenka has fallen to a scoundrel,
and not to you, noble heart.' And add, too, that Grushenka loved him
only one hour, only one short hour she loved him- so let him
remember that hour all his life-say, 'Grushenka tells you to!'
She ended in a voice full of sobs. The window was shut with a
"H'm, h'm!" growled Rakitin, laughing, "she murders your brother
Mitya and then tells him to remember it all his life! What ferocity!"
Alyosha made no reply, he seemed not to have heard. He walked fast
beside Rakitin as though in a terrible hurry. He was lost in thought
and moved mechanically. Rakitin felt a sudden twinge as though he
had been touched on an open wound. He had expected something quite
different by bringing Grushenka and Alyosha together. Something very
different from what he had hoped for had happened.
"He is a Pole, that officer of hers," he began again,
restraining himself; "and indeed he is not an officer at all now. He
served in the customs in Siberia, somewhere on the Chinese frontier,
some puny little beggar of a Pole, I expect. Lost his job, they say.
He's heard now that Grushenka's saved a little money, so he's turned
up again- that's the explanation of the mystery."
Again Alyosha seemed not to hear. Rakitin could not control
"Well, so you've saved the sinner?" he laughed spitefully. "Have
you turned the Magdalene into the true path? Driven out the seven
devils, eh? So you see the miracles you were looking out for just
now have come to pass!"
"Hush, Rakitin," Alyosha, answered with an aching heart.
"So you despise me now for those twenty-five roubles? I've sold my
friend, you think. But you are not Christ, you know, and I am not
"Oh, Rakitin, I assure you I'd forgotten about it," cried Alyosha,
"you remind me of it yourself..."
But this was the last straw for Rakitin.
"Damnation take you all and each of you" he cried suddenly, "why
the devil did I take you up? I don't want to know you from this time
forward. Go alone, there's your road!" And he turned abruptly into
another street, leaving Alyosha alone in the dark. Alyosha came out of
the town and walked across the fields to the monastery.
Cana of Galilee
IT was very late, according to the monastery ideas, when Alyosha
returned to the hermitage; the door-keeper let him in by a special
entrance. It had struck nine o'clock- the hour of rest and repose
after a day of such agitation for all. Alyosha timidly opened the door
and went into the elder's cell where his coffin was now standing.
There was no one in the cell but Father Paissy, reading the Gospel
in solitude over the coffin, and the young novice Porfiry, who,
exhausted by the previous night's conversation and the disturbing
incidents of the day, was sleeping the deep sound sleep of youth on
the floor of the other room. Though Father Paissy heard Alyosha come
in, he did not even look in his direction. Alyosha turned to the right
from the door to the corner, fell on his knees and began to pray.
His soul was overflowing but with mingled feelings; no single
sensation stood out distinctly; on the contrary, one drove out another
in a slow, continual rotation. But there was a sweetness in his
heart and, strange to say, Alyosha was not surprised at it. Again he
saw that coffin before him, the hidden dead figure so precious to him,
but the weeping and poignant grief of the morning was no longer aching
in his soul. As soon as he came in, he fell down before the coffin
as before a holy shrine, but joy, joy was glowing in his mind and in
his heart. The one window of the cell was open, the air was fresh
and cool. "So the smell must have become stronger, if they opened
the window," thought Alyosha. But even this thought of the smell of
corruption, which had seemed to him so awful and humiliating a few
hours before, no longer made him feel miserable or indignant. He began
quietly praying, but he soon felt that he was praying almost
mechanically. Fragments of thought floated through his soul, flashed
like stars and went out again at once, to be succeeded by others.
But yet there was reigning in his soul a sense of the wholeness of
things- something steadfast and comforting- and he was aware of it
himself. Sometimes he began praying ardently, he longed to pour out
his thankfulness and love...
But when he had begun to pray, he passed suddenly to something
else, and sank into thought, forgetting both the prayer and what had
interrupted it. He began listening to what Father Paissy was
reading, but worn out with exhaustion he gradually began to doze.
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee,"
read Father Paissy. "And the mother of Jesus was there; And both Jesus
was there; And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the
"Marriage? What's that?... A marriage!" floated whirling through
Alyosha's mind. "There is happiness for her, too... She has gone to
the feast.... No, she has not taken the knife.... That was only a
tragic phrase.... Well... tragic phrases should be forgiven, they must
be. Tragic phrases comfort the heart... Without them, sorrow would
be too heavy for men to bear. Rakitin has gone off to the back
alley. As long as Rakitin broods over his wrongs, he will always go
off to the back alley.... But the high road... The road is wide and
straight and bright as crystal, and the sun is at the end of it....
Ah!... What's being read?"...
"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him,
They have no wine"... Alyosha heard.
"Ah, yes, I was missing that, and I didn't want to miss it, I love
that passage: it's Cana of Galilee, the first miracle.... Ah, that
miracle! Ah, that sweet miracle! It was not men's grief, but their joy
Christ visited, He worked His first miracle to help men's gladness....
'He who loves men loves their gladness, too'... He was always
repeating that, it was one of his leading ideas... 'There's no
living without joy,' Mitya says.... Yes, Mitya.... 'Everything that is
true and good is always full of forgiveness,' he used to say that,
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what has it to do
with thee or me? Mine hour not yet come.
"His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever
he saith unto you, do it". . .
"Do it.... Gladness, the gladness of some poor, very poor,
people.... Of course they were poor, since they hadn't wine enough
even at a wedding.... The historians write that, in those days, the
people living about the Lake of Gennesaret were the poorest that can
possibly be imagined... and another great heart, that other great
being, His Mother, knew that He had come not only to make His great
terrible sacrifice. She knew that His heart was open even to the
simple, artless merrymaking of some obscure and unlearned people,
who had warmly bidden Him to their poor wedding. 'Mine hour is not yet
come,' He said, with a soft smile (He must have smiled gently to her).
And, indeed, was it to make wine abundant at poor weddings He had come
down to earth? And yet He went and did as she asked Him.... Ah, he
is reading again"...
"Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water.
And they filled them up to the brim.
"And he saith unto them, Draw out now and bear unto
the governor of the feast. And they bear it.
"When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water
that was made wine, and knew not whence it was
(but the servants which drew the water knew);
the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
"And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth
set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk,
that which is worse; but thou hast kept
the good wine until now."
"But what's this, what's this? Why is the room growing wider?...
Ah, yes... It's the marriage, the wedding... yes, of course. Here
are the guests, here are the young couple sitting, and the merry crowd
and... Where is the wise governor of the feast? But who is this?
Who? Again the walls are receding.... Who is getting up there from the
great table? What!... He here, too? But he's in the coffin... but he's
here, too. He has stood up, he sees me, he is coming here.... God!"...
Yes, he came up to him, to him, he, the little, thin old man, with
tiny wrinkles on his face, joyful and laughing softly. There was no
coffin now, and he was in the same dress as he had worn yesterday
sitting with them, when the visitors had gathered about him. His
face was uncovered, his eyes were shining. How was this, then? He,
too, had been called to the feast. He, too, at the marriage of Cana in
"Yes, my dear, I am called, too, called and bidden," he heard a
soft voice saying over him. "Why have you hidden yourself here, out of
sight? You come and join us too."
It was his voice, the voice of Father Zossima. And it must be
he, since he called him!
The elder raised Alyosha by the hand and he rose from his knees.
"We are rejoicing," the little, thin old man went on. "We are
drinking the new wine, the wine of new, great gladness; do you see how
many guests? Here are the bride and bridegroom, here is the wise
governor of the feast, he is tasting the new wine. Why do you wonder
at me? I gave an onion to a beggar, so I, too, am here. And many
here have given only an onion each- only one little onion.... What are
all our deeds? And you, my gentle one, you, my kind boy, you too
have known how to give a famished woman an onion to-day. Begin your
work, dear one, begin it, gentle one! Do you see our Sun, do you see
"I am afraid... I dare not look," whispered Alyosha.
"Do not fear Him. He is terrible in His greatness, awful in His
sublimity, but infinitely merciful. He has made Himself like unto us
from love and rejoices with us. He is changing the water into wine
that the gladness of the guests may not be cut short. He is
expecting new guests, He is calling new ones unceasingly for ever
and ever.... There they are bringing new wine. Do you see they are
bringing the vessels..."
Something glowed in Alyosha's heart, something filled it till it
ached, tears of rapture rose from his soul.... He stretched out his
hands, uttered a cry and waked up.
Again the coffin, the open window, and the soft, solemn,
distinct reading of the Gospel. But Alyosha did not listen to the
reading. It was strange, he had fallen asleep on his knees, but now he
was on his feet, and suddenly, as though thrown forward, with three
firm rapid steps he went right up to the coffin. His shoulder
brushed against Father Paissy without his noticing it. Father Paissy
raised his eyes for an instant from his book, but looked away again at
once, seeing that something strange was happening to the boy.
Alyosha gazed for half a minute at the coffin, at the covered,
motionless dead man that lay in the coffin, with the ikon on his
breast and the peaked cap with the octangular cross on his head. He
had only just been hearing his voice, and that voice was still ringing
in his ears. He was listening, still expecting other words, but
suddenly he turned sharply and went out of the cell.
He did not stop on the steps either, but went quickly down; his
soul, overflowing with rapture, yearned for freedom, space,
openness. The vault of heaven, full of soft, shining stars,
stretched vast and fathomless above him. The Milky Way ran in two pale
streams from the zenith to the horizon. The fresh, motionless, still
night enfolded the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the
cathedral gleamed out against the sapphire sky. The gorgeous autumn
flowers, in the beds round the house, were slumbering till morning.
The silence of earth seemed to melt into the silence of the heavens.
The mystery of earth was one with the mystery of the stars....
Alyosha stood, gazed, and suddenly threw himself down on the
earth. He did not know why he embraced it. He could not have told
why he longed so irresistibly to kiss it, to kiss it all. But he
kissed it weeping, sobbing, and watering it with his tears, and
vowed passionately to love it, to love it for ever and ever. "Water
the earth with the tears of your joy and love those tears," echoed
in his soul.
What was he weeping over?
Oh! in his rapture he was weeping even over those stars, which
were shining to him from the abyss of space, and "he was not ashamed
of that ecstasy." There seemed to be threads from all those
innumerable worlds of God, linking his soul to them, and it was
trembling all over "in contact with other worlds." He longed to
forgive everyone and for everything, and to beg forgiveness. Oh, not
for himself, but for all men, for all and for everything. "And
others are praying for me too," echoed again in his soul. But with
every instant he felt clearly and, as it were, tangibly, that
something firm and unshakable as that vault of heaven had entered into
his soul. It was as though some idea had seized the sovereignty of his
mind- and it was for all his life and for ever and ever. He had fallen
on the earth a weak boy, but he rose up a resolute champion, and he
knew and felt it suddenly at the very moment of his ecstasy. And
never, never, his life long, could Alyosha forget that minute.
"Someone visited my soul in that hour," he used to say afterwards,
with implicit faith in his words.
Within three days he left the monastery in accordance with the
words of his elder, who had bidden him "sojourn in the world."
BUT Dmitri, to whom Grushenka, flying away to a new life, had left
her last greetings, bidding him remember the hour of her love for
ever, knew nothing of what had happened to her, and was at that moment
in a condition of feverish agitation and activity. For the last two
days he had been in such an inconceivable state of mind that he
might easily have fallen ill with brain fever, as he said himself
afterwards. Alyosha had not been able to find him the morning
before, and Ivan had not succeeded in meeting him at the tavern on the
same day. The people at his lodgings, by his orders, concealed his
He had spent those two days literally rushing in all directions,
"struggling with his destiny and trying to save himself," as he
expressed it himself afterwards, and for some hours he even made a
dash out of the town on urgent business, terrible as it was to him
to lose sight of Grushenka for a moment. All this was explained
afterwards in detail, and confirmed by documentary evidence; but for
the present we will only note the most essential incidents of those
two terrible days immediately preceding the awful catastrophe that
broke so suddenly upon him.
Though Grushenka had, it is true, loved him for an hour, genuinely
and sincerely, yet she tortured him sometimes cruelly and mercilessly.
The worst of it was that he could never tell what she meant to do.
To prevail upon her by force or kindness was also impossible: she
would yield to nothing. She would only have become angry and turned
away from him altogether, he knew that well already. He suspected,
quite correctly, that she, too, was passing through an inward
struggle, and was in a state of extraordinary indecision, that she was
making up her mind to something, and unable to determine upon it.
And so, not without good reason, he divined, with a sinking heart,
that at moments she must simply hate him and his passion. And so,
perhaps, it was, but what was distressing Grushenka he did not
understand. For him the whole tormenting question lay between him
and Fyodor Pavlovitch.
Here, we must note, by the way, one certain fact: he was firmly
persuaded that Fyodor Pavlovitch would offer, or perhaps had
offered, Grushenka lawful wedlock, and did not for a moment believe
that the old voluptuary hoped to gain his object for three thousand
roubles. Mitya had reached this conclusion from his knowledge of
Grushenka and her character. That was how it was that he could believe
at times that all Grushenka's uneasiness rose from not knowing which
of them to choose, which was most to her advantage.
Strange to say, during those days it never occurred to him to
think of the approaching return of the "officer," that is, of the
man who had been such a fatal influence in Grushenka's life, and whose
arrival she was expecting with such emotion and dread. It is true that
of late Grushenka had been very silent about it. Yet he was
perfectly aware of a letter she had received a month ago from her
seducer, and had heard of it from her own lips. He partly knew, too,
what the letter contained. In a moment of spite Grushenka had shown
him that letter, but to her astonishment he attached hardly any
consequence to it. It would be hard to say why this was. Perhaps,
weighed down by all the hideous horror of his struggle with his own
father for this woman, he was incapable of imagining any danger more
terrible, at any rate for the time. He simply did not believe in a
suitor who suddenly turned up again after five years' disappearance,
still less in his speedy arrival. Moreover, in the "officer's" first
letter which had been shown to Mitya, the possibility of his new
rival's visit was very vaguely suggested. The letter was very
indefinite, high-flown, and full of sentimentality. It must be noted
that Grushenka had concealed from him the last lines of the letter, in
which his return was alluded to more definitely. He had, besides,
noticed at that moment, he remembered afterwards, a certain
involuntary proud contempt for this missive from Siberia on
Grushenka's face. Grushenka told him nothing of what had passed
later between her and this rival; so that by degrees he had completely
forgotten the officer's existence.
He felt that whatever might come later, whatever turn things might
take, his final conflict with Fyodor Pavlovitch was close upon him,
and must be decided before anything else. With a sinking heart he
was expecting every moment Grushenka's decision, always believing that
it would come suddenly, on the impulse of the moment. All of a
sudden she would say to him: "Take me, I'm yours for ever," and it
would all be over. He would seize her and bear her away at once to the
ends of the earth. Oh, then he would bear her away at once, as far,
far away as possible; to the farthest end of Russia, if not of the
earth, then he would marry her, and settle down with her incognito, so
that no one would know anything about them, there, here, or
anywhere. Then, oh then, a new life would begin at once!
Of this different, reformed and "virtuous" life ("it must, it must
be virtuous") he dreamed feverishly at every moment. He thirsted for
that reformation and renewal. The filthy morass, in which he had
sunk of his own free will, was too revolting to him, and, like very
many men in such cases, he put faith above all in change of place.
If only it were not for these people, if only it were not for these
circumstances, if only he could fly away from this accursed place-
he would be altogether regenerated, would enter on a new path. That
was what he believed in, and what he was yearning for.
But all this could only be on condition of the first, the happy
solution of the question. There was another possibility, a different
and awful ending. Suddenly she might say to him: "Go away. I have just
come to terms with Fyodor Pavlovitch. I am going to marry him and
don't want you"- and then... but then... But Mitya did not know what
would happen then. Up to the last hour he didn't know. That must be
said to his credit. He had no definite intentions, had planned no
crime. He was simply watching and spying in agony, while he prepared
himself for the first, happy solution of his destiny. He drove away
any other idea, in fact. But for that ending a quite different anxiety
arose, a new, incidental, but yet fatal and insoluble difficulty
If she were to say to him: "I'm yours; take me away," how could he
take her away? Where had he the means, the money to do it? It was just
at this time that all sources of revenue from Fyodor Pavlovitch, doles
which had gone on without interruption for so many years, ceased.
Grushenka had money, of course, but with regard to this Mitya suddenly
evinced extraordinary pride; he wanted to carry her away and begin the
new life with her himself, at his own expense, not at hers. He could
not conceive of taking her money, and the very idea caused him a
pang of intense repulsion. I won't enlarge on this fact or analyse
it here, but confine myself to remarking that this was his attitude at
the moment. All this may have arisen indirectly and unconsciously from
the secret stings of his conscience for the money of Katerina Ivanovna
that he had dishonestly appropriated. "I've been a scoundrel to one of
them, and I shall be a scoundrel again to the other directly," was his
feeling then, as he explained after: "and when Grushenka knows, she
won't care for such a scoundrel."
Where then was he to get the means, where was he to get the
fateful money? Without it, all would be lost and nothing could be
done, "and only because I hadn't the money. Oh, the shame of it!"
To anticipate things: he did, perhaps, know where to get the
money, knew, perhaps, where it lay at that moment. I will say no
more of this here, as it will all be clear later. But his chief
trouble, I must explain however obscurely, lay in the fact that to
have that sum he knew of, to have the right to take it, he must
first restore Katerina Ivanovna's three thousand- if not, "I'm a
common pick-pocket, I'm a scoundrel, and I don't want to begin a new
life as a scoundrel," Mitya decided. And so he made up his mind to
move heaven and earth to return Katerina Ivanovna that three thousand,
and that first of all. The final stage of this decision, so to say,
had been reached only during the last hours, that is, after his last
interview with Alyosha, two days before, on the high-road, on the
evening when Grushenka had insulted Katerina Ivanovna, and Mitya,
after hearing Alyosha's account of it, had admitted that he was a
scoundrel, and told him to tell Katerina Ivanovna so, if it could be
any comfort to her. After parting from his brother on that night, he
had felt in his frenzy that it would be better "to murder and rob
someone than fail to pay my debt to Katya. I'd rather everyone thought
me a robber and a murderer; I'd rather go to Siberia than that Katya
should have the right to say that I deceived her and stole her
money, and used her money to run away with Grushenka and begin a new
life! That I can't do!" So Mitya decided, grinding his teeth, and he
might well fancy at times that his brain would give way. But meanwhile
he went on struggling....
Strange to say, though one would have supposed there was nothing
left for him but despair- for what chance had he, with nothing in
the world, to raise such a sum?- yet to the very end he persisted in
hoping that he would get that three thousand, that the money would
somehow come to him of itself, as though it might drop from heaven.
That is just how it is with people who, like Dmitri, have never had
anything to do with money, except to squander what has come to them by
inheritance without any effort of their own, and have no notion how
money is obtained. A whirl of the most fantastic notions took
possession of his brain immediately after he had parted with Alyosha
two days before, and threw his thoughts into a tangle of confusion.
This is how it was he pitched first on a perfectly wild enterprise.
And perhaps to men of that kind in such circumstances the most
impossible, fantastic schemes occur first, and seem most practical.
He suddenly determined to go to Samsonov, the merchant who was
Grushenka's protector, and to propose a "scheme" to him, and by
means of it to obtain from him at once the whole of the sum
required. Of the commercial value of his scheme he had no doubt, not
the slightest, and was only uncertain how Samsonov would look upon his
freak, supposing he were to consider it from any but the commercial
point of view. Though Mitya knew the merchant by sight, he was not
acquainted with him and had never spoken a word to him. But for some
unknown reason he had long entertained the conviction that the old
reprobate, who was lying at death's door, would perhaps not at all
object now to Grushenka's securing a respectable position, and
marrying a man "to be depended upon." And he believed not only that he
would not object, but that this was what he desired, and, if
opportunity arose, that he would be ready to help. From some rumour,
or perhaps from some stray word of Grushenka's, he had gathered
further that the old man would perhaps prefer him to Fyodor Pavlovitch
Possibly many of the readers of my novel will feel that in
reckoning on such assistance, and being ready to take his bride, so to
speak, from the hands of her protector, Dmitri showed great coarseness
and want of delicacy. I will only observe that Mitya looked upon
Grushenka's past as something completely over. He looked on that
past with infinite pity and resolved with all the fervour of his
passion that when once Grushenka told him she loved him and would
marry him, it would mean the beginning of a new Grushenka and a new
Dmitri, free from every vice. They would forgive one another and would
begin their lives afresh. As for Kuzma Samsonov, Dmitri looked upon
him as a man who had exercised a fateful influence in that remote past
of Grushenka's, though she had never loved him, and who was now
himself a thing of the past, completely done with, and, so to say,
non-existent. Besides, Mitya hardly looked upon him as a man at all,
for it was known to everyone in the town that he was only a
shattered wreck, whose relations with Grushenka had changed their
character and were now simply paternal, and that this had been so
for a long time.
In any case there was much simplicity on Mitya's part in all this,
for in spite of all his vices, he was a very simple-hearted man. It
was an instance of this simplicity that Mitya was seriously
persuaded that, being on the eve of his departure for the next
world, old Kuzma must sincerely repent of his past relations with
Grushenka, and that she had no more devoted friend and protector in
the world than this, now harmless, old man.
After his conversation with Alyosha, at the cross-roads, he hardly
slept all night, and at ten o'clock next morning, he was at the
house of Samsonov and telling the servant to announce him. It was a
very large and gloomy old house of two stories, with a lodge and
outhouses. In the lower story lived Samsonov's two married sons with
their families, his old sister, and his unmarried daughter. In the
lodge lived two of his clerks, one of whom also had a large family.
Both the lodge and the lower story were overcrowded, but the old man
kept the upper floor to himself, and would not even let the daughter
live there with him, though she waited upon him, and in spite of her
asthma was obliged at certain fixed hours, and at any time he might
call her, to run upstairs to him from below.
This upper floor contained a number of large rooms kept purely for
show, furnished in the old-fashioned merchant style, with long
monotonous rows of clumsy mahogany chairs along the walls, with
glass chandeliers under shades, and gloomy mirrors on the walls. All
these rooms were entirely empty and unused, for the old man kept to
one room, a small, remote bedroom, where he was waited upon by an
old servant with a kerchief on her head, and by a lad, who used to sit
on the locker in the passage. Owing to his swollen legs, the old man
could hardly walk at all, and was only rarely lifted from his
leather armchair, when the old woman supporting him led him up and
down the room once or twice. He was morose and taciturn even with this
When he was informed of the arrival of the "captain," he at once
refused to see him. But Mitya persisted and sent his name up again.
Samsonov questioned the lad minutely: What he looked like? Whether
he was drunk? Was he going to make a row? The answer he received
was: that he was sober, but wouldn't go away. The old man again
refused to see him. Then Mitya, who had foreseen this, and purposely
brought pencil and paper with him, wrote clearly on the piece of paper
the words: "On most important business closely concerning Agrafena
Alexandrovna," and sent it up to the old man.
After thinking a little Samsonov told the lad to take the
visitor to the drawing-room, and sent the old woman downstairs with
a summons to his younger son to come upstairs to him at once. This
younger son, a man over six foot and of exceptional physical strength,
who was closely-shaven and dressed in the European style, though his
father still wore a kaftan and a beard, came at once without a
comment. All the family trembled before the father. The old man had
sent for this giant, not because he was afraid of the "captain" (he
was by no means of a timorous temper), but in order to have a
witness in case of any emergency. Supported by his son and the servant
lad, he waddled at last into the drawing-room. It may be assumed
that he felt considerable curiosity. The drawing-room in which Mitya
was awaiting him was a vast, dreary room that laid a weight of
depression on the heart. It had a double row of windows, a gallery,
marbled walls, and three immense chandeliers with glass lustres
covered with shades.
Mitya was sitting on a little chair at the entrance, awaiting
his fate with nervous impatience. When the old man appeared at the
opposite door, seventy feet away, Mitya jumped up at once, and with
his long, military stride walked to meet him. Mitya was well
dressed, in a frock-coat, buttoned up, with a round hat and black
gloves in his hands, just as he had been three days before at the
elder's, at the family meeting with his father and brothers. The old
man waited for him, standing dignified and unbending, and Mitya felt
at once that he had looked him through and through as he advanced.
Mitya was greatly impressed, too, with Samsonov's immensely swollen
face. His lower lip, which had always been thick, hung down now,
looking like a bun. He bowed to his guest in dignified silence,
motioned him to a low chair by the sofa, and, leaning on his son's arm
he began lowering himself on to the sofa opposite, groaning painfully,
so that Mitya, seeing his painful exertions, immediately felt
remorseful and sensitively conscious of his insignificance in the
presence of the dignified person he had ventured to disturb.
"What is it you want of me, sir?" said the old man,
deliberately, distinctly, severely, but courteously, when he was at
Mitya started, leapt up, but sat down again. Then he began at once
speaking with loud, nervous haste, gesticulating, and in a positive
frenzy. He was unmistakably a man driven into a corner, on the brink
of ruin, catching at the last straw, ready to sink if he failed. Old
Samsonov probably grasped all this in an instant, though his face
remained cold and immovable as a statue's.
"Most honoured sir, Kuzma Kuzmitch, you have no doubt heard more
than once of my disputes with my father, Fyodor Pavlovitch
Karamazov, who robbed me of my inheritance from my mother... seeing
the whole town is gossiping about it... for here everyone's
gossiping of what they shouldn't... and besides, it might have reached
you through Grushenka... I beg your pardon, through Agrafena
Alexandrovna... Agrafena Alexandrovna, the lady of whom I have the
highest respect and esteem..."
So Mitya began, and broke down at the first sentence. We will
not reproduce his speech word for word, but will only summarise the
gist of it. Three months ago, he said, he had of express intention
(Mitya purposely used these words instead of "intentionally")
consulted a lawyer in the chief town of the province, "a distinguished
lawyer, Kuzma Kuzmitch, Pavel Pavlovitch Korneplodov. You have perhaps
heard of him? A man of vast intellect, the mind of a statesman... he
knows you, too... spoke of you in the highest terms..." Mitya broke
down again. But these breaks did not deter him. He leapt instantly
over the gaps, and struggled on and on.
This Korneplodov, after questioning him minutely, and inspecting
the documents he was able to bring him (Mitya alluded somewhat vaguely
to these documents, and slurred over the subject with special
haste), reported that they certainly might take proceedings concerning
the village of Tchermashnya, which ought, he said, to have come to
him, Mitya, from his mother, and so checkmate the old villain, his
father... "because every door was not closed and justice might still
find a loophole." In fact, he might reckon on an additional sum of six
or even seven thousand roubles from Fyodor Pavlovitch, as Tchermashnya
was worth, at least, twenty-five thousand, he might say twenty-eight
thousand, in fact, "thirty, thirty, Kuzma Kuzmitch, and would you
believe it, I didn't get seventeen from that heartless man!" So he,
Mitya, had thrown the business up for the time, knowing nothing
about the law, but on coming here was struck dumb by a cross- claim
made upon him (here Mitya went adrift again and again took a flying
leap forward), "so will not you, excellent and honoured Kuzma
Kuzmitch, be willing to take up all my claims against that unnatural
monster, and pay me a sum down of only three thousand?... You see, you
cannot, in any case, lose over it. On my honour, my honour, I swear
that. Quite the contrary, you may make six or seven thousand instead
of three." Above all, he wanted this concluded that very day.
"I'll do the business with you at a notary's, or whatever it is...
in fact, I'm ready to do anything. .. I'll hand over all the
deeds... whatever you want, sign anything... and we could draw up
the agreement at once... and if it were possible, if it were only
possible, that very morning.... You could pay me that three
thousand, for there isn't a capitalist in this town to compare with
you, and so would save me from... save me, in fact... for a good, I
might say an honourable action.... For I cherish the most honourable
feelings for a certain person, whom you know well, and care for as a
father. I would not have come, indeed, if it had not been as a father.
And, indeed, it's a struggle of three in this business, for it's fate-
that's a fearful thing, Kuzma Kuzmitch! A tragedy, Kuzma Kuzmitch, a
tragedy! And as you've dropped out long ago, it's a tug-of-war between
two. I'm expressing it awkwardly, perhaps, but I'm not a literary man.
You see, I'm on the one side, and that monster on the other. So you
must choose. It's either I or the monster. It all lies in your
hands-.the fate of three lives, and the happiness of two.... Excuse
me, I'm making a mess of it, but you understand... I see from your
venerable eyes that you understand... and if you don't understand, I'm
done for... so you see!"
Mitya broke off his clumsy speech with that, "so you see!" and
jumping up from his seat, awaited the answer to his foolish
proposal. At the last phrase he had suddenly become hopelessly aware
that it had all fallen flat, above all, that he had been talking utter
"How strange it is! On the way here it seemed all right, and now
it's nothing but nonsense." The idea suddenly dawned on his despairing
mind. All the while he had been talking, the old man sat motionless,
watching him with an icy expression in his eyes. After keeping him for
a moment in suspense, Kuzma Kuzmitch pronounced at last in the most
positive and chilling tone:
"Excuse me, we don't undertake such business."
Mitya suddenly felt his legs growing weak under him.
"What am I to do now, Kuzma Kuzmitch?" he muttered, with a pale
smile. "I suppose it's all up with me- what do you think?"
Mitya remained standing, staring motionless. He suddenly noticed a
movement in the old man's face. He started.
"You see, sir, business of that sort's not in our line," said
the old man slowly. "There's the court, and the lawyers- it's a
perfect misery. But if you like, there is a man here you might apply
"Good heavens! Who is it? You're my salvation, Kuzma Kuzmitch,"
"He doesn't live here, and he's not here just now. He is a
peasant, he does business in timber. His name is Lyagavy. He's been
haggling with Fyodor Pavlovitch for the last year, over your copse
at Tchermashnya. They can't agree on the price, maybe you've heard?
Now he's come back again and is staying with the priest at
Ilyinskoe, about twelve versts from the Volovya station. He wrote to
me, too, about the business of the copse, asking my advice. Fyodor
Pavlovitch means to go and see him himself. So if you were to be
beforehand with Fyodor Pavlovitch and to make Lyagavy the offer you've
made me, he might possibly- "
"A brilliant idea!" Mitya interrupted ecstatically. "He's the very
man, it would just suit him. He's haggling with him for it, being
asked too much, and here he would have all the documents entitling him
to the property itself. Ha ha ha!"
And Mitya suddenly went off into his short, wooden laugh,
"How can I thank you, Kuzma Kuzmitch?" cried Mitya effusively.
"Don't mention it," said Samsonov, inclining his head.
"But you don't know, you've saved me. Oh, it was a true
presentiment brought me to you.... So now to this priest!
"No need of thanks."
"I'll make haste and fly there. I'm afraid I've overtaxed your
strength. I shall never forget it. It's a Russian says that, Kuzma
Kuzmitch, a R-r-russian!"
"To be sure!" Mitya seized his hand to press it, but there was a
malignant gleam in the old man's eye. Mitya drew back his hand, but at
once blamed himself for his mistrustfulness.
"It's because he's tired," he thought.
"For her sake! For her sake, Kuzma Kuzmitch! You understand that
it's for her," he cried, his voice ringing through the room. He bowed,
turned sharply round, and with the same long stride walked to the door
without looking back. He was trembling with delight.
"Everything was on the verge of ruin and my guardian angel saved
me," was the thought in his mind. And if such a business man as
Samsonov (a most worthy old man, and what dignity!) had suggested this
course, then... then success was assured. He would fly off
immediately. "I will be back before night, I shall be back at night
and the thing is done. Could the old man have been laughing at me?"
exclaimed Mitya, as he strode towards his lodging. He could, of
course, imagine nothing but that the advice was practical "from such a
business man" with an understanding of the business, with an
understanding of this Lyagavy (curious surname!). Or- the old man
was laughing at him.
Alas! The second alternative was the correct one. Long afterwards,
when the catastrophe had happened, old Samsonov himself confessed,
laughing, that he had made a fool of the "captain." He was a cold,
spiteful and sarcastic man, liable to violent antipathies. Whether
it was the "captain's" excited face, or the foolish conviction of
the "rake and spendthrift," that he, Samsonov, could be taken in by
such a cock-and-bull story as his scheme, or his jealousy of
Grushenka, in whose name this "scapegrace" had rushed in on him with
such a tale to get money which worked on the old man, I can't tell.
But at the instant when Mitya stood before him, feeling his legs
grow weak under him, and frantically exclaiming that he was ruined, at
that moment the old man looked at him with intense spite, and resolved
to make a laughing-stock of him. When Mitya had gone, Kuzma
Kuzmitch, white with rage, turned to his son and bade him see to it
that that beggar be never seen again, and never admitted even into the
yard, or else he'd-
He did not utter his threat. But even his son, who often saw him
enraged, trembled with fear. For a whole hour afterwards, the old
man was shaking with anger, and by evening he was worse, and sent
for the doctor.
SO he must drive at full speed, and he had not the money for
horses. He had forty copecks, and that was all, all that was left
after so many years of prosperity! But he had at home an old silver
watch which had long ceased to go. He snatched it up and carried it to
a Jewish watch maker who had a shop in the market-place. The Jew
gave him six roubles for it.
"And I didn't expect that cried Mitya, ecstatically. (He was still
in a state of ecstasy.) He seized his six roubles and ran home. At
home he borrowed three roubles from the people of the house, who loved
him so much that they were pleased to give it him, though it was all
they had. Mitya in his excitement told them on the spot that his
fate would be decided that day, and he described, in desperate
haste, the whole scheme he had put before Samsonov, the latter's
decision, his own hopes for the future, and so on. These people had
been told many of their lodger's secrets before, and so looked upon
him as a gentleman who was not at all proud, and almost one of
themselves. Having thus collected nine roubles Mitya sent for
posting-horses to take him to the Volovya station. This was how the
fact came to be remembered and established that "at midday, on the day
before the event, Mitya had not a farthing, and that he had sold his
watch to get money and had borrowed three roubles from his landlord,
all in the presence of witnesses."
I note this fact, later on it will be apparent why I do so.
Though he was radiant with the joyful anticipation that he would
at last solve all his difficulties, yet, as he drew near Volovya
station, he trembled at the thought of what Grushenka might be doing
in his absence. What if she made up her mind to-day to go to Fyodor
Pavlovitch? This was why he had gone off without telling her and why
he left orders with his landlady not to let out where he had gone,
if anyone came to inquire for him.
"I must, I must get back to-night," he repeated, as he was
jolted along in the cart, "and I dare say I shall have to bring this
Lyagavy back here... to draw up the deed." So mused Mitya, with a
throbbing heart, but alas! his dreams were not fated to be carried
To begin with, he was late, taking a short cut from Volovya
station which turned out to be eighteen versts instead of twelve.
Secondly, he did not find the priest at home at Ilyinskoe; he had gone
off to a neighbouring village. While Mitya, setting off there with the
same exhausted horses, was looking for him, it was almost dark.
The priest, a shy and amiable looking little man, informed him
at once that though Lyagavy had been staying with him at first, he was
now at Suhoy Possyolok, that he was staying the night in the
forester's cottage, as he was buying timber there too. At Mitya's
urgent request that he would take him to Lyagavy at once, and by so
doing "save him, so to speak," the priest agreed, after some demur, to
conduct him to Suhoy Possyolok; his curiosity was obviously aroused.
But, unluckily, he advised their going on foot, as it would not be
"much over" a verst. Mitya, of course, agreed, and marched off with
his yard-long strides, so that the poor priest almost ran after him.
He was a very cautious man, though not old.
Mitya at once began talking to him, too, of his plans, nervously
and excitedly asking advice in regard to Lyagavy, and talking all
the way. The priest listened attentively, but gave little advice. He
turned off Mitya's questions with: "I don't know. Ah, I can't say. How
can I tell?" and so on. When Mitya began to speak of his quarrel
with his father over his inheritance, the priest was positively
alarmed, as he was in some way dependent on Fyodor Pavlovitch. He
inquired, however, with surprise, why he called the peasant-trader
Gorstkin, Lyagavy, and obligingly explained to Mitya that, though
the man's name really was Lyagavy, he was never called so, as he would
be grievously offended at the name, and that he must be sure to call
him Gorstkin, "or you'll do nothing with him; he won't even listen
to you," said the priest in conclusion.
Mitya was somewhat surprised for a moment, and explained that that
was what Samsonov had called him. On hearing this fact, the priest
dropped the subject, though he would have done well to put into
words his doubt whether, if Samsonov had sent him to that peasant,
calling him Lyagavy, there was not something wrong about it and he was
turning him into ridicule. But Mitya had no time to pause over such
trifles. He hurried, striding along, and only when he reached Suhoy
Possyolok did he realise that they had come not one verst, nor one and
a half, but at least three. This annoyed him, but he controlled
They went into the hut. The forester lived in one half of the hut,
and Gorstkin was lodging in the other, the better room the other
side of the passage. They went into that room and lighted a tallow
candle. The hut was extremely overheated. On the table there was a
samovar that had gone out, a tray with cups, an empty rum bottle, a
bottle of vodka partly full, and some half-eaten crusts of wheaten
bread. The visitor himself lay stretched at full length on the
bench, with his coat crushed up under his head for a pillow, snoring
heavily. Mitya stood in perplexity.
"Of course, I must wake him. My business is too important. I've
come in such haste. I'm in a hurry to get back to-day," he said in
great agitation. But the priest and the forester stood in silence, not
giving their opinion. Mitya went up and began trying to wake him
himself; he tried vigorously, but the sleeper did not wake.
"He's drunk," Mitya decided. "Good Lord! What am I to do? What
am I to do?" And, terribly impatient, he began pulling him by the
arms, by the legs, shaking his head, lifting him up and making him sit
on the bench. Yet, after prolonged exertions, he could only succeed in
getting the drunken man to utter absurd grunts, and violent, but
"No, you'd better wait a little," the priest pronounced at last,
"for he's obviously not in a fit state."
"He's been drinking the whole day," the forester chimed in.
"Good heavens!" cried Mitya. "If only you knew how important it is
to me and how desperate I am!"
"No, you'd better wait till morning," the priest repeated.
"Till morning? Mercy! that's impossible!" And in his despair he
was on the point of attacking the sleeping man again, but stopped
short at once, realising the uselessness of his efforts. The priest
said nothing, the sleepy forester looked gloomy.
"What terrible tragedies real life contrives for people," said
Mitya, in complete despair. The perspiration was streaming down his
face. The priest seized the moment to put before him, very reasonably,
that, even if he succeeded in wakening the man, he would still be
drunk and incapable of conversation. "And your business is important,"
he said, "so you'd certainly better put it off till morning." With a
gesture of despair Mitya agreed.
"Father, I will stay here with a light, and seize the favourable
moment. As soon as he wakes I'll begin. I'll pay you for the light,"
he said to the forester, "for the night's lodging, too; you'll
remember Dmitri Karamazov. Only Father, I don't know what we're to
do with you. Where will you sleep?"
"No, I'm going home. I'll take his horse and get home," he said,
indicating the forester. "And now I'll say good-bye. I wish you all
So it was settled. The priest rode off on the forester's horse,
delighted to escape, though he shook his head uneasily, wondering
whether he ought not next day to inform his benefactor Fyodor
Pavlovitch of this curious incident, "or he may in an unlucky hour
hear of it, be angry, and withdraw his favour."
The forester, scratching himself, went back to his room without
a word, and Mitya sat on the bench to "catch the favourable moment,"
as he expressed it. Profound dejection clung about his soul like a
heavy mist. A profound, intense dejection! He sat thinking, but
could reach no conclusion. The candle burnt dimly, a cricket
chirped; it became insufferably close in the overheated room. He
suddenly pictured the garden, the path behind the garden, the door
of his father's house mysteriously opening and Grushenka running in.
He leapt up from the bench.
"It's a tragedy!" he said, grinding his teeth. Mechanically he
went up to the sleeping man and looked in his face. He was a lean,
middle-aged peasant, with a very long face, flaxen curls, and a
long, thin, reddish beard, wearing a blue cotton shirt and a black
waistcoat, from the pocket of which peeped the chain of a silver
watch. Mitya looked at his face with intense hatred, and for some
unknown reason his curly hair particularly irritated him.
What was insufferably humiliating was that, after leaving things
of such importance and making such sacrifices, he, Mitya, utterly worn
out, should with business of such urgency be standing over this dolt
on whom his whole fate depended, while he snored as though there
were nothing the matter, as though he'd dropped from another planet.
"Oh, the irony of fate!" cried Mitya, and, quite losing his
head, he fell again to rousing the tipsy peasant. He roused him with a
sort of ferocity, pulled at him, pushed him, even beat him; but
after five minutes of vain exertions, he returned to his bench in
helpless despair, and sat down.
"Stupid! Stupid!" cried Mitya. "And how dishonourable it all
is!" something made him add. His head began to ache horribly.
"Should he fling it up and go away altogether?" he wondered. "No, wait
till to-morrow now. I'll stay on purpose. What else did I come for?
Besides, I've no means of going. How am I to get away from here now?
Oh, the idiocy of it" But his head ached more and more. He sat without
moving, and unconsciously dozed off and fell asleep as he sat. He
seemed to have slept for two hours or more. He was waked up by his
head aching so unbearably that he could have screamed. There was a
hammering in his temples, and the top of his head ached. It was a long
time before he could wake up fully and understand what had happened to
At last he realised that the room was full of charcoal fumes
from the stove, and that he might die of suffocation. And the
drunken peasant still lay snoring. The candle guttered and was about
to go out. Mitya cried out, and ran staggering across the passage into
the forester's room. The forester waked up at once, but hearing that
the other room was full of fumes, to Mitya's surprise and annoyance,
accepted the fact with strange unconcern, though he did go to see to
"But he's dead, he's dead! and... what am I to do then?" cried
They threw open the doors, opened a window and the chimney.
Mitya brought a pail of water from the passage. First he wetted his
own head, then, finding a rag of some sort, dipped it into the
water, and put it on Lyagavy's head. The forester still treated the
matter contemptuously, and when he opened the window said grumpily:
"It'll be all right, now."
He went back to sleep, leaving Mitya a lighted lantern. Mitya
fussed about the drunken peasant for half an hour, wetting his head,
and gravely resolved not to sleep all night. But he was so worn out
that when he sat down for a moment to take breath, he closed his eyes,
unconsciously stretched himself full length on the bench and slept
like the dead.
It was dreadfully late when he waked. It was somewhere about
nine o'clock. The sun was shining brightly in the two little windows
of the hut. The curly-headed peasant was sitting on the bench and
had his coat on. He had another samovar and another bottle in front of
him. Yesterday's bottle had already been finished, and the new one was
more than half empty. Mitya jumped up and saw at once that the
cursed peasant was drunk again, hopelessly and incurably. He stared at
him for a moment with wide opened eyes. The peasant was silently and
slyly watching him, with insulting composure, and even a sort of
contemptuous condescension, so Mitya fancied. He rushed up to him.
"Excuse me, you see... I... you've most likely heard from the
forester here in the hut. I'm Lieutenant Dmitri Karamazov, the son
of the old Karamazov whose copse you are buying."
"That's a lie!" said the peasant, calmly and confidently.
"A lie? You know Fyodor Pavlovitch?"
"I don't know any of your Fyodor Pavlovitches," said the
peasant, speaking thickly.
"You're bargaining with him for the copse, for the copse. Do
wake up, and collect yourself. Father Pavel of Ilyinskoe brought me
here. You wrote to Samsonov, and he has sent me to you," Mitya
"You're lying!" Lyagavy blurted out again. Mitya's legs went cold.
"For mercy's sake! It isn't a joke! You're drunk, perhaps. Yet you
can speak and understand... or else... I understand nothing!"
"You're a painter!"
"For mercy's sake! I'm Karamazov, Dmitri Karamazov. I have an
offer to make you, an advantageous offer... very advantageous offer,
concerning the copse!"
The peasant stroked his beard importantly.
"No, you've contracted for the job and turned out a scamp.
You're a scoundrel!"
"I assure you you're mistaken," cried Mitya, wringing his hands in
despair. The peasant still stroked his beard, and suddenly screwed
up his eyes cunningly.
"No, you show me this: you tell me the law that allows roguery.
D'you hear? You're a scoundrel! Do you understand that?"
Mitya stepped back gloomily, and suddenly "something seemed to hit
him on the head," as he said afterwards. In an instant a light
seemed to dawn in his mind, "a light was kindled and I grasped it
all." He stood, stupefied, wondering how he, after all a man of
intelligence, could have yielded to such folly, have been led into
such an adventure, and have kept it up for almost twenty-four hours,
fussing round this Lyagavy, wetting his head.
"Why, the man's drunk, dead drunk, and he'll go on drinking now
for a week; what's the use of waiting here? And what if Samsonov
sent me here on purpose? What if she- ? Oh God, what have I done?"
The peasant sat watching him and grinning. Another time Mitya
might have killed the fool in a fury, but now he felt as weak as a
child. He went quietly to the bench, took up his overcoat, put it on
without a word, and went out of the hut. He did not find the
forester in the next room; there was no one there. He took fifty
copecks in small change out of his pocket and put them on the table
for his night's lodging, the candle, and the trouble he had given.
Coming out of the hut he saw nothing but forest all round. He walked
at hazard, not knowing which way to turn out of the hut, to the
right or to the left. Hurrying there the evening before with the
priest, he had not noticed the road. He had no revengeful feeling
for anybody, even for Samsonov, in his heart. He strode along a narrow
forest path, aimless, dazed, without heeding where he was going. A
child could have knocked him down, so weak was he in body and soul. He
got out of the forest somehow, however, and a vista of fields, bare
after the harvest, stretched as far as the eye could see.
"What despair! What death all round!" he repeated, striding on and
He was saved by meeting an old merchant who was being driven
across country in a hired trap. When he overtook him, Mitya asked
the way and it turned out that the old merchant, too, was going to
Volovya. After some discussion Mitya got into the trap. Three hours
later they arrived. At Volovya, Mitya at once ordered posting-horses
to drive to the town, and suddenly realised that he was appallingly
hungry. While the horses were being harnessed, an omelette was
prepared for him. He ate it all in an instant, ate a huge hunk of
bread, ate a sausage, and swallowed three glasses of vodka. After
eating, his spirits and his heart grew lighter. He flew towards the
town, urged on the driver, and suddenly made a new and "unalterable"
plan to procure that "accursed money" before evening. "And to think,
only to think that a man's life should be ruined for the sake of
that paltry three thousand!" he cried, contemptuously. "I'll settle it
to-day." And if it had not been for the thought of Grushenka and of
what might have happened to her, which never left him, he would
perhaps have become quite cheerful again.... But the thought of her
was stabbing him to the heart every moment, like a sharp knife.
At last they arrived, and Mitya at once ran to Grushenka.
THIS was the visit of Mitya of which Grushenka had spoken to
Rakitin with such horror. She was just then expecting the "message,"
and was much relieved that Mitya had not been to see her that day or
the day before. She hoped that "please God he won't come till I'm gone
away," and he suddenly burst in on her. The rest we know already. To
get him off her hands she suggested at once that he should walk with
her to Samsonov's, where she said she absolutely must go "to settle
his accounts," and when Mitya accompanied her at once, she said
good-bye to him at the gate, making him promise to come at twelve
o'clock to take her home again. Mitya, too, was delighted at this
arrangement. If she was sitting at Samsonov's she could not be going
to Fyodor Pavlovitch's, "if only she's not lying," he added at once.
But he thought she was not lying from what he saw.
He was that sort of jealous man who, in the absence of the beloved
woman, at once invents all sorts of awful fancies of what may be
happening to her, and how she may be betraying him, but, when
shaken, heartbroken, convinced of her faithlessness, he runs back to
her, at the first glance at her face, her gay, laughing,
affectionate face, he revives at once, lays aside all suspicion and
with joyful shame abuses himself for his jealousy.
After leaving Grushenka at the gate he rushed home. Oh, he had
so much still to do that day! But a load had been lifted from his
"Now I must only make haste and find out from Smerdyakov whether
anything happened there last night, whether, by any chance, she went
to Fyodor Pavlovitch; ough!" floated through his mind.
Before he had time to reach his lodging, jealousy had surged up
again in his restless heart.
Jealousy! "Othello was not jealous, he was trustful," observed
Pushkin. And that remark alone is enough to show the deep insight of
our great poet. Othello's soul was shattered and his whole outlook
clouded simply because his ideal was destroyed. But Othello did not
begin hiding, spying, peeping. He was trustful, on the contrary. He
had to be led up, pushed on, excited with great difficulty before he
could entertain the idea of deceit. The truly jealous man is not
like that. It is impossible to picture to oneself the shame and
moral degradation to which the jealous man can descend without a qualm
of conscience. And yet it's not as though the jealous were all
vulgar and base souls. On the contrary, a man of lofty feelings, whose
love is pure and full of self-sacrifice, may yet hide under tables,
bribe the vilest people, and be familiar with the lowest ignominy of
spying and eavesdropping.
Othello was incapable of making up his mind to faithlessness-
not incapable of forgiving it, but of making up his mind to it- though
his soul was as innocent and free from malice as a babe's. It is not
so with the really jealous man. It is hard to imagine what some
jealous men can make up their mind to and overlook, and what they
can forgive! The jealous are the readiest of all to forgive, and all
women know it. The jealous man can forgive extraordinarily quickly
(though, of course, after a violent scene), and he is able to
forgive infidelity almost conclusively proved, the very kisses and
embraces he has seen, if only he can somehow be convinced that it
has all been "for the last time," and that his rival will vanish
from that day forward, will depart to the ends of the earth, or that
he himself will carry her away somewhere, where that dreaded rival
will not get near her. Of course the reconciliation is only for an
hour. For, even if the rival did disappear next day, he would invent
another one and would be jealous of him. And one might wonder what
there was in a love that had to be so watched over, what a love
could be worth that needed such strenuous guarding. But that the
jealous will never understand. And yet among them are men of noble
hearts. It is remarkable, too, that those very men of noble hearts,
standing hidden in some cupboard, listening and spying, never feel the
stings of conscience at that moment, anyway, though they understand
clearly enough with their "noble hearts" the shameful depths to
which they have voluntarily sunk.
At the sight of Grushenka, Mitya's jealousy vanished, and, for
an instant he became trustful and generous, and positively despised
himself for his evil feelings. But it only proved that, in his love
for the woman, there was an element of something far higher than he
himself imagined, that it was not only a sensual passion, not only the
"curve of her body," of which he had talked to Alyosha. But, as soon
as Grushenka had gone, Mitya began to suspect her of all the low
cunning of faithlessness, and he felt no sting of conscience at it.
And so jealousy surged up in him again. He had, in any case, to
make haste. The first thing to be done was to get hold of at least a
small, temporary loan of money. The nine roubles had almost all gone
on his expedition. And, as we all know, one can't take a step
without money. But he had thought over in the cart where he could
get a loan. He had a brace of fine duelling pistols in a case, which
he had not pawned till then because he prized them above all his
In the Metropolis tavern he had some time since made
acquaintance with a young official and had learnt that this very
opulent bachelor was passionately fond of weapons. He used to buy
pistols, revolvers, daggers, hang them on his wall and show them to
acquaintances. He prided himself on them, and was quite a specialist
on the mechanism of the revolver. Mitya, without stopping to think,
went straight to him, and offered to pawn his pistols to him for ten
roubles. The official, delighted, began trying to persuade him to sell
them outright. But Mitya would not consent, so the young man gave
him ten roubles, protesting that nothing would induce him to take
interest. They parted friends.
Mitya was in haste; he rushed towards Fyodor Pavlovitch's by the
back way, to his arbour, to get hold of Smerdyakov as soon as
possible. In this way the fact was established that three or four
hours before a certain event, of which I shall speak later on, Mitya
had not a farthing, and pawned for ten roubles a possession he valued,
though, three hours later, he was in possession of thousands.... But I
am anticipating. From Marya Kondratyevna (the woman living near Fyodor
Pavlovitch's) he learned the very disturbing fact of Smerdyakov's
illness. He heard the story of his fall in the cellar, his fit, the
doctor's visit, Fyodor Pavlovitch's anxiety; he heard with interest,
too, that his brother Ivan had set off that morning for Moscow.
"Then he must have driven through Volovya before me," thought
Dmitri, but he was terribly distressed about Smerdyakov. "What will
happen now? Who'll keep watch for me? Who'll bring me word?" he
thought. He began greedily questioning the women whether they had seen
anything the evening before. They quite understood what he was
trying to find out, and completely reassured him. No one had been
there. Ivan Fyodorovitch had been there that night; everything had
been perfectly as usual. Mitya grew thoughtful. He would certainly
have to keep watch to-day, but where? Here or at Samsonov's gate? He
decided that he must be on the lookout both here and there, and
meanwhile... meanwhile... The difficulty was that he had to carry
out the new plan that he had made on the journey back. He was sure
of its success, but he must not delay acting upon it. Mitya resolved
to sacrifice an hour to it: "In an hour I shall know everything, I
shall settle everything, and then, then, then, first of all to
Samsonov's. I'll inquire whether Grushenka's there and instantly be
back here again, stay till eleven, and then to Samsonov's again to
bring her home." This was what he decided.
He flew home, washed, combed his hair, brushed his clothes,
dressed, and went to Madame Hohlakov's. Alas! he had built his hopes
on her. He had resolved to borrow three thousand from that lady. And
what was more, he felt suddenly convinced that she would not refuse to
lend it to him. It may be wondered why, if he felt so certain, he
had not gone to her at first, one of his own sort, so to speak,
instead of to Samsonov, a man he did not know, who was not of his
own class, and to whom he hardly knew how to speak.
But the fact was that he had never known Madame Hohlakov well, and
had seen nothing of her for the last month, and that he knew she could
not endure him. She had detested him from the first because he was
engaged to Katerina Ivanovna, while she had, for some reason, suddenly
conceived the desire that Katerina Ivanovna should throw him over, and
marry the "charming, chivalrously refined Ivan, who had such excellent
manners." Mitya's manners she detested. Mitya positively laughed at
her, and had once said about her that she was just as lively and at
her ease as she was uncultivated. But that morning in the cart a
brilliant idea had struck him: "If she is so anxious I should not
marry Katerina Ivanovna" (and he knew she was positively hysterical
upon the subject) "why should she refuse me now that three thousand,
just to enable me to leave Katya and get away from her for ever. These
spoilt fine ladies, if they set their hearts on anything, will spare
no expense to satisfy their caprice. Besides, she's so rich," Mitya
As for his "plan" it was just the same as before; it consisted
of the offer of his rights to Tchermashnya- but not with a
commercial object, as it had been with Samsonov, not trying to
allure the lady with the possibility of making a profit of six or
seven thousand- but simply as a security for the debt. As he worked
out this new idea, Mitya was enchanted with it, but so it always was
with him in all his undertakings, in all his sudden decisions. He gave
himself up to every new idea with passionate enthusiasm. Yet, when
he mounted the steps of Madame Hohlakov's house he felt a shiver of
fear run down his spine. At that moment he saw fully, as a
mathematical certainty, that this was his last hope, that if this
broke down, nothing else was left him in the world but to "rob and
murder someone for the three thousand." It was half-past seven when he
rang at the bell.
At first fortune seemed to smile upon him. As soon as he was
announced he was received with extraordinary rapidity. "As though
she were waiting for me," thought Mitya, and as soon as he had been
led to the drawing-room, the lady of the house herself ran in, and
declared at once that she was expecting him.
"I was expecting you! I was expecting you! Though I'd no reason to
suppose you would come to see me, as you will admit yourself. Yet, I
did expect you. You may marvel at my instinct, Dmitri Fyodorovitch,
but I was convinced all the morning that you would come."
"That is certainly wonderful, madam," observed Mitya, sitting down
limply, "but I have come to you on a matter of great importance.... On
a matter of supreme importance for me, that is, madam... for me
alone... and I hasten- "
"I know you've come on most important business. Dmitri
Fyodorovitch; it's not a case of presentiment, no reactionary
harking back to the miraculous (have you heard about Father Zossima?).
This is a case of mathematics: you couldn't help coming, after all
that has passed with Katerina Ivanovna; you couldn't, you couldn't,
that's a mathematical certainty."
"The realism of actual life, madam, that's what it is. But allow
me to explain-"
"Realism indeed, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. I'm all for realism now.
I've seen too much of miracles. You've heard that Father Zossima is
"No, madam, it's the first time I've heard of it." Mitya was a
little surprised. The image of Alyosha rose to his mind.
"Last night, and only imagine-"
"Madam," said Mitya, "I can imagine nothing except that I'm in a
desperate position, and that if you don't help me, everything will
come to grief, and I first of all. Excuse me for the triviality of the
expression, but I'm in a fever-"
"I know, I know that you're in a fever. You could hardly fail to
be, and whatever you may say to me, I know beforehand. I have long
been thinking over your destiny, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, I am watching
over it and studying it.... Oh, believe me, I'm an experienced
doctor of the soul, Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
"Madam, if you are an experienced doctor, I'm certainly an
experienced patient," said Mitya, with an effort to be polite, "and
I feel that if you are watching over my destiny in this way, you
will come to my help in my ruin, and so allow me, at least to
explain to you the plan with which I have ventured to come to you...
and what I am hoping of you.... I have come, madam-"
"Don't explain it. It's of secondary importance. But as for
help, you're not the first I have helped, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. You
have most likely heard of my cousin, Madame Belmesov. Her husband
was ruined, 'had come to grief,' as you characteristically express it,
Dmitri Fyodorovitch. I recommended him to take to horse-breeding,
and now he's doing well. Have you any idea of horse-breeding, Dmitri
"Not the faintest, madam; ah, madam, not the faintest!" cried
Mitya, in nervous impatience, positively starting from his seat. "I
simply implore you, madam, to listen to me. Only give me two minutes
of free speech that I may just explain to you everything, the whole
plan with which I have come. Besides, I am short of time. I'm in a
fearful hurry," Mitya cried hysterically, feeling that she was just
going to begin talking again, and hoping to cut her short. "I have
come in despair... in the last gasp of despair, to beg you to lend
me the sum of three thousand, a loan, but on safe, most safe security,
madam, with the most trustworthy guarantees! Only let me explain-"
"You must tell me all that afterwards, afterwards!" Madame
Hohlakov with a gesture demanded silence in her turn, "and whatever
you may tell me, I know it all beforehand; I've told you so already.
You ask for a certain sum, for three thousand, but I can give you
more, immeasurably more; I will save you, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, but you
must listen to me."
Mitya started from his seat again.
"Madam, will you really be so good!" he cried, with strong
feeling. "Good God, you've saved me! You have saved a man from a
violent death, from a bullet.... My eternal gratitude "I will give you
more, infinitely more than three thousand!" cried Madame Hohlakov,
looking with a radiant smile at Mitya's ecstasy.
"Infinitely? But I don't need so much. I only need that fatal
three thousand, and on my part I can give security for that sum with
infinite gratitude, and I propose a plan which-"
"Enough, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, it's said and done." Madame Hohlakov
cut him short, with the modest triumph of beneficence. "I have
promised to save you, and I will save you. I will save you as I did
Belmesov. What do you think of the gold mines, Dmitri Fyodorovitch?"
"Of the gold mines, madam? I have never thought anything about
"But I have thought of them for you. Thought of them over and over
again. I have been watching you for the last month. I've watched you a
hundred times as you've walked past, saying to myself: That's a man of
energy who ought to be at the gold mines. I've studied your gait and
come to the conclusion: that's a man who would find gold."
"From my gait, madam?" said Mitya, smiling.
"Yes, from your gait. You surely don't deny that character can
be told from the gait, Dmitri Fyodorovitch? Science supports the idea.
I'm all for science and realism now. After all this business with
Father Zossima, which has so upset me, from this very day I'm a
realist and I want to devote myself to practical usefulness. I'm
cured. 'Enough!' as Turgeney says."
"But madam, the three thousand you so generously promised to
"It is yours, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," Madame Hohlakov cut in at
once. "The money is as good as in your pocket, not three thousand, but
three million, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, in less than no time. I'll make
you a present of the idea: you shall find gold mines, make millions,
return and become a leading man, and wake us up and lead us to
better things. Are we to leave it all to the Jews? You will found
institutions and enterprises of all sorts. You will help the poor, and
they will bless you. This is the age of railways, Dmitri Fyodorovitch.
You'll become famous and indispensable to the Department of Finance,
which is so badly off at present. The depreciation of the rouble keeps
me awake at night, Dmitri Fyodorovitch; people don't know that side of
"Madam, madam! Dmitri interrupted with an uneasy presentiment.
"I shall indeed, perhaps, follow your advice, your wise advice,
madam.... I shall perhaps set off... to the gold mines.... I'll come
and see you again about it... many times, indeed... but now, that
three thousand you so generously... oh, that would set me free, and if
you could to-day... you see, I haven't a minute, a minute to lose
"Enough, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, enough!" Madame Hohlakov interrupted
emphatically. "The question is, will you go to the gold mines or
not; have you quite made up your mind? Answer yes or no."
"I will go, madam, afterwards.... I'll go where you like... but
"Wait!" cried Madame Hohlakov. And jumping up and running to a
handsome bureau with numerous little drawers, she began pulling out
one drawer after another, looking for something with desperate haste.
"The three thousand," thought Mitya, his heart almost stopping,
"and at the instant... without any papers or formalities... that's
doing things in gentlemanly style! She's a splendid woman, if only she
didn't talk so much!"
"Here!" cried Madame Hohlakov, running back joyfully to Mitya,
"here is what I was looking for!"
It was a tiny silver ikon on a cord, such as is sometimes worn
next the skin with a cross.
"This is from Kiev, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," she went on
reverently, "from the relics of the Holy Martyr, Varvara. Let me put
it on your neck myself, and with it dedicate you to a new life, to a
And she actually put the cord round his neck, and began
arranging it. In extreme embarrassment, Mitya bent down and helped
her, and at last he got it under his neck-tie and collar through his
shirt to his chest.
"Now you can set off," Madame Hohlakov pronounced, sitting down
triumphantly in her place again.
"Madam, I am so touched. I don't know how to thank you,
indeed... for such kindness, but... If only you knew how precious time
is to me.... That sum of money, for which I shall be indebted to
your generosity... Oh, madam, since you are so kind, so touchingly
generous to me," Mitya exclaimed impulsively, "then let me reveal to
you... though, of course, you've known it a long time... that I love
somebody here.... I have been false to Katya... Katerina Ivanovna I
should say.... Oh, I've behaved inhumanly, dishonourably to her, but I
fell in love here with another woman... a woman whom you, madam,
perhaps, despise, for you know everything already, but whom I cannot
leave on any account, and therefore that three thousand now-"
"Leave everything, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," Madame Hohlakov
interrupted in the most decisive tone. "Leave everything, especially
women. Gold mines are your goal, and there's no place for women there.
Afterwards, when you come back rich and famous, you will find the girl
of your heart in the highest society. That will be a modern girl, a
girl of education and advanced ideas. By that time the dawning woman
question will have gained ground, and the new woman will have
"Madam, that's not the point, not at all.... Mitya clasped his
hands in entreaty.
"Yes it is, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, just what you need; the very
thing you're yearning for, though you don't realise it yourself. I
am not at all opposed to the present woman movement, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch. The development of woman, and even the political
emancipation of woman in the near future- that's my ideal. I've a
daughter myself, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, people don't know that side of
me. I wrote a letter to the author, Shtchedrin, on that subject. He
has taught me so much, so much about the vocation of woman. So last
year I sent him an anonymous letter of two lines: 'I kiss and
embrace you, my teacher, for the modern woman. Persevere.' And I
signed myself, 'A Mother.' I thought of signing myself 'A contemporary
Mother,' and hesitated, but I stuck to the simple 'Mother'; there's
more moral beauty in that, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. And the word
'contemporary' might have reminded him of The Contemporary- a
painful recollection owing to the censorship.... Good Heavens, what is
"Madam!" cried Mitya, jumping up at last, clasping his hands
before her in helpless entreaty. "You will make me weep if you delay
what you have so generously-"
"Oh, do weep, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, do weep! That's a noble
feeling... such a path lies open before you! Tears will ease your
heart, and later on you will return rejoicing. You will hasten to me
from Siberia on purpose to share your joy with me-"
"But allow me, too!" Mitya cried suddenly.
"For the last time I entreat you, tell me, can I have the sum
you promised me to-day, if not, when may I come for it?"
"What sum, Dmitri Fyodorovitch?"
"The three thousand you promised me... that you so generously-"
"Three thousand? Roubles? Oh, no, I haven't got three thousand,"
Madame Hohlakov announced with serene amazement. Mitya was stupefied.
"Why, you said just now you said... you said it was as good as
in my hands-"
"Oh, no, you misunderstood me, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. In that case
you misunderstood me. I was talking of the gold mines. It's true I
promised you more, infinitely more than three thousand, I remember
it all now, but I was referring to the gold mines."
"But the money? The three thousand?" Mitya exclaimed, awkwardly.
"Oh, if you meant money, I haven't any. I haven't a penny,
Dmitri Fyodorovitch. I'm quarrelling with my steward about it, and
I've just borrowed five hundred roubles from Miusov, myself. No, no,
I've no money. And, do you know, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, if I had, I
wouldn't give it to you. In the first place I never lend money.
Lending money means losing friends. And I wouldn't give it to you
particularly. I wouldn't give it you, because I like you and want to
save you, for all you need is the gold mines, the gold mines, the gold
"Oh, the devil!" roared Mitya, and with all his might brought
his fist down on the table.
"Aie! Aie!" cried Madame Hohlakov, alarmed, and she flew to the
other end of the drawing-room.
Mitya spat on the ground, and strode rapidly out of the room,
out of the house, into the street, into the darkness! He walked like
one possessed, and beating himself on the breast, on the spot where he
had struck himself two days previously, before Alyosha, the last
time he saw him in the dark, on the road. What those blows upon his
breast signified, on that spot, and what he meant by it- that was, for
the time, a secret which was known to no one in the world, and had not
been told even to Alyosha. But that secret meant for him more than
disgrace; it meant ruin, suicide. So he had determined, if he did
not get hold of the three thousand that would pay his debt to Katerina
Ivanovna, and so remove from his breast, from that spot on his breast,
the shame he carried upon it, that weighed on his conscience. All this
will be fully explained to the reader later on, but now that his
last hope had vanished, this man, so strong in appearance, burst out
crying like a little child a few steps from the Hohlakovs' house. He
walked on, and not knowing what he was doing, wiped away his tears
with his fist. In this way he reached the square, and suddenly
became aware that he had stumbled against something. He heard a
piercing wail from an old woman whom he had almost knocked down.
"Good Lord, you've nearly killed me! Why don't you look where
you're going, scapegrace?"
"Why, it's you!" cried Mitya, recognising the old woman in the
dark. It was the old servant who waited on Samsonov, whom Mitya had
particularly noticed the day before.
"And who are you, my good sir?" said the old woman in quite a
different voice. "I don't know you in the dark."
"You live at Kuzma Kuzmitch's. You're the servant there?"
"Just so, sir, I was only running out to Prohoritch's... But I
don't know you now."
"Tell me, my good woman, is Agrafena Alexandrovna there now?" said
Mitya, beside himself with suspense. "I saw her to the house some time
"She has been there, sir. She stayed a little while, and went
"What? Went away?" cried Mitya. "When did she go?"
"Why, as soon as she came. She only stayed a minute. She only told
Kuzma Kuzmitch a tale that made him laugh, and then she ran away."
"You're lying, damn you!" roared Mitya.
"Aie! Aie!" shrieked the old woman, but Mitya had vanished.
He ran with all his might to the house where Grushenka lived. At
the moment he reached it, Grushenka was on her way to Mokroe. It was
not more than a quarter of an hour after her departure.
Fenya was sitting with her grandmother, the old cook, Matryona, in
the kitchen when "the captain" ran in. Fenya uttered a piercing shriek
on seeing him.
"You scream?" roared Mitya, "where is she?"
But without giving the terror-stricken Fenya time to utter a word,
he fell all of a heap at her feet.
"Fenya, for Christ's sake, tell me, where is she?"
"I don't know. Dmitri Fyodorovitch, my dear, I don't know. You may
kill me but I can't tell you." Fenya swore and protested. "You went
out with her yourself not long ago-"
"She came back!"
"Indeed she didn't. By God I swear she didn't come back."
"You're lying!" shouted Mitya. "From your terror I know where
He rushed away. Fenya in her fright was glad she had got off so
easily. But she knew very well that it was only that he was in such
haste, or she might not have fared so well. But as he ran, he
surprised both Fenya and old Matryona by an unexpected action. On
the table stood a brass mortar, with a pestle in it, a small brass
pestle, not much more than six inches long. Mitya already had opened
the door with one hand when, with the other, he snatched up the
pestle, and thrust it in his side-pocket.
"Oh Lord! He's going to murder someone!" cried Fenya, flinging
up her hands.
In the Dark
WHERE was he running? "Where could she be except at Fyodor
Pavlovitch's? She must have run straight to him from Samsonov's,
that was clear now. The whole intrigue, the whole deceit was
evident."... It all rushed whirling through his mind. He did not run
to Marya Kondratyevna's. "There was no need to go there... not the
slightest need... he must raise no alarm... they would run and tell
directly.... Marya Kondratyevna was clearly in the plot, Smerdyakov
too, he too, all had been bought over!"
He formed another plan of action: he ran a long way round Fyodor
Pavlovitch's house, crossing the lane, running down Dmitrovsky Street,
then over the little bridge, and so came straight to the deserted
alley at the back, which was empty and uninhabited, with, on one
side the hurdle fence of a neighbour's kitchen-garden, on the other
the strong high fence that ran all round Fyodor Pavlovitch's garden.
Here he chose a spot, apparently the very place, where according to
the tradition, he knew Lizaveta had once climbed over it: "If she
could climb over it," the thought, God knows why, occurred to him,
"surely I can." He did in fact jump up, and instantly contrived to
catch hold of the top of the fence. Then he vigorously pulled
himself up and sat astride on it. Close by, in the garden stood the
bathhouse, but from the fence he could see the lighted windows of
the house too.
"Yes, the old man's bedroom is lighted up. She's there! and he
leapt from the fence into the garden. Though he knew Grigory was ill
and very likely Smerdyakov, too, and that there was no one to hear
him, he instinctively hid himself, stood still, and began to listen.
But there was dead silence on all sides and, as though of design,
complete stillness, not the slightest breath of wind.
"And naught but the whispering silence," the line for some
reason rose to his mind. "If only no one heard me jump over the fence!
I think not." Standing still for a minute, he walked softly over the
grass in the garden, avoiding the trees and shrubs. He walked
slowly, creeping stealthily at every step, listening to his own
footsteps. It took him five minutes to reach the lighted window. He
remembered that just under the window there were several thick and
high bushes of elder and whitebeam. The door from the house into the
garden on the left-hand side was shut; he had carefully looked on
purpose to see, in passing. At last he reached the bushes and hid
behind them. He held his breath. "I must wait now," he thought, "to
reassure them, in case they heard my footsteps and are listening... if
only I don't cough or sneeze."
He waited two minutes. His heart was beating violently, and, at
moments, he could scarcely breathe. "No, this throbbing at my heart
won't stop," he thought. "I can't wait any longer." He was standing
behind a bush in the shadow. The light of the window fell on the front
part of the bush.
"How red the whitebeam berries are!" he murmured, not knowing why.
Softly and noiselessly, step by step, he approached the window, and
raised himself on tiptoe. All Fyodor Pavlovitch's bedroom lay open
before him. It was not a large room, and was divided in two parts by a
red screen, "Chinese," as Fyodor Pavlovitch used to call it. The
word "Chinese" flashed into Mitya's mind, "and behind the screen, is
Grushenka," thought Mitya. He began watching Fyodor Pavlovitch who was
wearing his new striped-silk dressing-gown, which Mitya had never
seen, and a silk cord with tassels round the waist. A clean, dandified
shirt of fine linen with gold studs peeped out under the collar of the
dressing-gown. On his head Fyodor Pavlovitch had the same red
bandage which Alyosha had seen.
"He has got himself up," thought Mitya.
His father was standing near the window, apparently lost in
thought. Suddenly he jerked up his head, listened a moment, and
hearing nothing went up to the table, poured out half a glass of
brandy from a decanter and drank it off. Then he uttered a deep
sigh, again stood still a moment, walked carelessly up to the
looking-glass on the wall, with his right hand raised the red
bandage on his forehead a little, and began examining his bruises
and scars, which had not yet disappeared.
"He's alone," thought Mitya, "in all probability he's alone."
Fyodor Pavlovitch moved away from the looking-glass, turned
suddenly to the window and looked out. Mitya instantly slipped away
into the shadow.
"She may be there behind the screen. Perhaps she's asleep by now,"
he thought, with a pang at his heart. Fyodor Pavlovitch moved away
from the window. "He's looking for her out of the window, so she's not
there. Why should he stare out into the dark? He's wild with
impatience."... Mitya slipped back at once, and fell to gazing in at
the window again. The old man was sitting down at the table,
apparently disappointed. At last he put his elbow on the table, and
laid his right cheek against his hand. Mitya watched him eagerly.
"He's alone, he's alone!" he repeated again. "If she were here,
his face would be different."
Strange to say, a queer, irrational vexation rose up in his
heart that she was not here. "It's not that she's not here," he
explained to himself, immediately, "but that I can't tell for
certain whether she is or not." Mitya remembered afterwards that his
mind was at that moment exceptionally clear, that he took in
everything to the slightest detail, and missed no point. But a feeling
of misery, the misery of uncertainty and indecision, was growing in
his heart with every instant. "Is she here or not?" The angry doubt
filled his heart, and suddenly, making up his mind, he put out his
hand and softly knocked on the window frame. He knocked the signal the
old man had agreed upon with Smerdyakov, twice slowly and then three
times more quickly, the signal that meant "Grushenka is here!"
The old man started, jerked up his head, and, jumping up
quickly, ran to the window. Mitya slipped away into the shadow. Fyodor
Pavlovitch opened the window and thrust his whole head out.
"Grushenka, is it you? Is it you?" he said, in a sort of trembling
half-whisper. "Where are you, my angel, where are you?" He was
fearfully agitated and breathless.
"He's alone," Mitya decided.
"Where are you?" cried the old man again; and he thrust his head
out farther, thrust it out to the shoulders, gazing in all directions,
right and left. "Come here, I've a little present for you. Come,
I'll show you..."
"He means the three thousand," thought Mitya.
"But where are you? Are you at the door? I'll open it directly."
And the old man almost climbed out of the window, peering out to
the right, where there was a door into the garden, trying to see
into the darkness. In another second he would certainly have run out
to open the door without waiting for Grushenka's answer.
Mitya looked at him from the side without stirring. The old
man's profile that he loathed so, his pendent Adam's apple, his hooked
nose, his lips that smiled in greedy expectation, were all brightly
lighted up by the slanting lamplight falling on the left from the
room. A horrible fury of hatred suddenly surged up in Mitya's heart:
"There he was, his rival, the man who had tormented him, had ruined
his life!" It was a rush of that sudden, furious, revengeful anger
of which he had spoken, as though foreseeing it, to Alyosha, four days
ago in the arbour, when, in answer to Alyosha's question, "How can you
say you'll kill our father?" "I don't know, I don't know," he had said
then. "Perhaps I shall not kill him, perhaps I shall. I'm afraid he'll
suddenly be so loathsome to me at that moment. I hate his double chin,
his nose, his eyes, his shameless grin. I feel a personal repulsion.
That's what I'm afraid of, that's what may be too much for me."...
This personal repulsion was growing unendurable. Mitya was beside
himself, he suddenly pulled the brass pestle out of his pocket.
"God was watching over me then," Mitya himself said afterwards. At
that very moment Grigory waked up on his bed of sickness. Earlier in
the evening he had undergone the treatment which Smerdyakov had
described to Ivan. He had rubbed himself all over with vodka mixed
with a secret, very strong decoction, had drunk what was left of the
mixture while his wife repeated a "certain prayer" over him, after
which he had gone to bed. Marfa Ignatyevna had tasted the stuff,
too, and, being unused to strong drink, slept like the dead beside her
But Grigory waked up in the night, quite suddenly, and, after a
moment's reflection, though he immediately felt a sharp pain in his
back, he sat up in bed. Then he deliberated again, got up and
dressed hurriedly. Perhaps his conscience was uneasy at the thought of
sleeping while the house was unguarded "in such perilous times."
Smerdyakov, exhausted by his fit, lay motionless in the next room.
Marfa Ignatyevna did not stir. "The stuff's been too much for the
woman," Grigory thought, glancing at her, and groaning, he went out on
the steps. No doubt he only intended to look out from the steps, for
he was hardly able to walk, the pain in his back and his right leg was
intolerable. But he suddenly remembered that he had not locked the
little gate into the garden that evening. He was the most punctual and
precise of men, a man who adhered to an unchangeable routine, and
habits that lasted for years. Limping and writhing with pain he went
down the steps and towards the garden. Yes, the gate stood wide
open. Mechanically he stepped into the garden. Perhaps he fancied
something, perhaps caught some sound, and, glancing to the left he saw
his master's window open. No one was looking out of it then.
"What's it open for? It's not summer now," thought Grigory, and
suddenly, at that very instant he caught a glimpse of something
extraordinary before him in the garden. Forty paces in front of him
a man seemed to be running in the dark, a sort of shadow was moving
"Good Lord!" cried Grigory beside himself, and forgetting the pain
in his back, he hurried to intercept the running figure. He took a
short cut, evidently he knew the garden better; the flying figure went
towards the bath-house, ran behind it and rushed to the garden
fence. Grigory followed, not losing sight of him, and ran,
forgetting everything. He reached the fence at the very moment the man
was climbing over it. Grigory cried out, beside himself, pounced on
him, and clutched his leg in his two hands.
Yes, his foreboding had not deceived him. He recognised him; it
was he, the "monster," the "parricide."
"Parricide! the old man shouted so that the whole neighbourhood
could hear, but he had not time to shout more, he fell at once, as
though struck by lightning.
Mitya jumped back into the garden and bent over the fallen man. In
Mitya's hands was a brass pestle, and he flung it mechanically in
the grass. The pestle fell two paces from Grigory, not in the grass
but on the path, in a most conspicuous place. For some seconds he
examined the prostrate figure before him. The old man's head was
covered with blood. Mitya put out his hand and began feeling it. He
remembered afterwards clearly that he had been awfully anxious to make
sure whether he had broken the old man's skull, or simply stunned
him with the pestle. But the blood was flowing horribly; and in a
moment Mitya's fingers were drenched with the hot stream. He
remembered taking out of his pocket the clean white handkerchief
with which he had provided himself for his visit to Madame Hohlakov,
and putting it to the old man's head, senselessly trying to wipe the
blood from his face and temples. But the handkerchief was instantly
soaked with blood.
"Good heavens! What am I doing it for?" thought Mitya, suddenly
pulling himself together. "If I have broken his skull, how can I
find out now? And what difference does it make now?" he added,
hopelessly. "If I've killed him, I've killed him.... You've come to
grief, old man, so there you must lie!" he said aloud. And suddenly
turning to the fence, he vaulted over it into the lane and fell to
running- the handkerchief soaked with blood he held, crushed up in his
right fist, and as he ran he thrust it into the back pocket of his
coat. He ran headlong, and the few passers-by who met him in the dark,
in the streets, remembered afterwards that they had met a man
running that night. He flew back again to the widow Morozov's house.
Immediately after he had left it that evening, Fenya had rushed to
the chief porter, Nazar Ivanovitch, and besought him, for Christ's
sake, "not to let the captain in again to-day or to-morrow." Nazar
Ivanovitch promised, but went upstairs to his mistress who had
suddenly sent for him, and meeting his nephew, a boy of twenty, who
had recently come from the country, on the way up told him to take his
place, but forgot to mention "the captain." Mitya, running up to the
gate, knocked. The lad instantly recognised him, for Mitya had more
than once tipped him. Opening the gate at once, he let him in, and
hastened to inform him with a good-humoured smile that "Agrafena
Alexandrovna is not at home now, you know."
"Where is she then, Prohor?" asked Mitya, stopping short.
"She set off this evening, some two hours ago, with Timofey, to
"What for?" cried Mitya.
"That I can't say. To see some officer. Someone invited her and
horses were sent to fetch her."
Mitya left him, and ran like a madman to Fenya.
A Sudden Resolution
SHE was sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother; they were
both just going to bed. Relying on Nazar Ivanovitch, they had not
locked themselves in. Mitya ran in, pounced on Fenya and seized her by
"Speak at once! Where is she? With whom is she now, at Mokroe?" he
Both the women squealed.
"Aie! I'll tell you. Aie! Dmitri Fyodorovitch, darling, I'll
tell you everything directly, I won't hide anything," gabbled Fenya,
frightened to death; "she's gone to Mokroe, to her officer."
"What officer?" roared Mitya.
"To her officer, the same one she used to know, the one who
threw her over five years ago," cackled Fenya, as fast as she could
Mitya withdrew the hands with which he was squeezing her throat.
He stood facing her, pale as death, unable to utter a word, but his
eyes showed that he realised it all, all, from the first word, and
guessed the whole position. Poor Fenya was not in a condition at
that moment to observe whether he understood or not. She remained
sitting on the trunk as she had been when he ran into the room,
trembling all over, holding her hands out before her as though
trying to defend herself. She seemed to have grown rigid in that
position. Her wide-opened, scared eyes were fixed immovably upon
him. And to make matters worse, both his hands were smeared with
blood. On the way, as he ran, he must have touched his forehead with
them, wiping off the perspiration, so that on his forehead and his
right cheek were bloodstained patches. Fenya was on the verge of
hysterics. The old cook had jumped up and was staring at him like a
mad woman, almost unconscious with terror.
Mitya stood for a moment, then mechanically sank on to a chair
next to Fenya. He sat, not reflecting but, as it were,
terror-stricken, benumbed. Yet everything was clear as day: that
officer, he knew about him, he knew everything perfectly, he had known
it from Grushenka herself, had known that a letter had come from him a
month before. So that for a month, for a whole month, this had been
going on, a secret from him, till the very arrival of this new man,
and he had never thought of him! But how could he, how could he not
have thought of him? Why was it he had forgotten this officer, like
that, forgotten him as soon as he heard of him? That was the
question that faced him like some monstrous thing. And he looked at
this monstrous thing with horror, growing cold with horror.
But suddenly, as gently and mildly as a gentle and affectionate
child, he began speaking to Fenya as though he had utterly forgotten
how he had scared and hurt her just now. He fell to questioning
Fenya with an extreme preciseness, astonishing in his position, and
though the girl looked wildly at his blood-stained hands, she, too,
with wonderful readiness and rapidity, answered every question as
though eager to put the whole truth and nothing but the truth before
him. Little by little, even with a sort of enjoyment, she began
explaining every detail, not wanting to torment him, but, as it
were, eager to be of the utmost service to him. She described the
whole of that day, in great detail, the visit of Rakitin and
Alyosha, how she, Fenya, had stood on the watch, how the mistress
had set off, and how she had called out of the window to Alyosha to
give him, Mitya, her greetings, and to tell him "to remember for
ever how she had loved him for an hour."
Hearing of the message, Mitya suddenly smiled, and there was a
flush of colour on his pale cheeks. At the same moment Fenya said to
him, not a bit afraid now to be inquisitive:
"Look at your hands, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. They're all over blood!
"Yes," answered Mitya mechanically. He looked carelessly at his
hands and at once forgot them and Fenya's question.
He sank into silence again. Twenty minutes had passed since he had
run in. His first horror was over, but evidently some new fixed
determination had taken possession of him. He suddenly stood up,
"What has happened to you, sir?" said Fenya, pointing to his hands
again. She spoke compassionately, as though she felt very near to
him now in his grief. Mitya looked at his hands again.
"That's blood, Fenya," he said, looking at her with a strange
expression. "That's human blood, and my God! why was it shed? But...
Fenya... there's a fence here" (he looked at her as though setting her
a riddle), "a high fence, and terrible to look at. But at dawn
to-morrow, when the sun rises, Mitya will leap over that fence.... You
don't understand what fence, Fenya, and, never mind.... You'll hear
to-morrow and understand... and now, good-bye. I won't stand in her
way. I'll step aside, I know how to step aside. Live, my joy.... You
loved me for an hour, remember Mityenka Karamazov so for ever....
She always used to call me Mityenka, do you remember?"
And with those words he went suddenly out of the kitchen. Fenya
was almost more frightened at this sudden departure than she had
been when he ran in and attacked her.
Just ten minutes later Dmitri went in to Pyotr Ilyitch Perhotin,
the young official with whom he had pawned his pistols. It was by
now half-past eight, and Pyotr Ilyitch had finished his evening tea,
and had just put his coat on again to go to the Metropolis to play
billiards. Mitya caught him coming out.
Seeing him with his face all smeared with blood, the young man
uttered a cry of surprise.
"Good heavens! What is the matter?"
"I've come for my pistols," said Mitya, "and brought you the
money. And thanks very much. I'm in a hurry, Pyotr Ilyitch, please
Pyotr Ilyitch grew more and more surprised; he suddenly caught
sight of a bundle of banknotes in Mitya's hand, and what was more,
he had walked in holding the notes as no one walks in and no one
carries money: he had them in his right hand, and held them
outstretched as if to show them. Perhotin's servant-boy, who met Mitya
in the passage, said afterwards that he walked into the passage in the
same way, with the money outstretched in his hand, so he must have
been carrying them like that even in the streets. They were all
rainbow-coloured hundred-rouble notes, and the fingers holding them
were covered with blood.
When Pyotr Ilyitch was questioned later on as to the sum of money,
he said that it was difficult to judge at a glance, but that it
might have been two thousand, or perhaps three, but it was a big,
"fat" bundle. "Dmitri Fyodorovitch," so he testified afterwards,
"seemed unlike himself, too; not drunk, but, as it were, exalted, lost
to everything, but at the same time, as it were, absorbed, as though
pondering and searching for something and unable to come to a
decision. He was in great haste, answered abruptly and very strangely,
and at moments seemed not at all dejected but quite cheerful."
"But what is the matter with you? What's wrong?" cried Pyotr
Ilyitch, looking wildly at his guest. "How is it that you're all
covered with blood? Have you had a fall? Look at yourself!"
He took him by the elbow and led him to the glass.
Seeing his blood-stained face, Mitya started and scowled
"Damnation! That's the last straw," he muttered angrily, hurriedly
changing the notes from his right hand to the left, and impulsively
jerked the handkerchief out of his pocket. But the handkerchief turned
out to be soaked with blood, too (it was the handkerchief he had
used to wipe Grigory's face). There was scarcely a white spot on it,
and it had not merely begun to dry, but had stiffened into a
crumpled ball and could not be pulled apart. Mitya threw it angrily on
"Oh, damn it!" he said. "Haven't you a rag of some sort... to wipe
"So you're only stained, not wounded? You'd better wash," said
Pyotr Ilyitch. "Here's a wash-stand. I'll pour you out some water."
"A wash-stand? That's all right... but where am I to put this?"
With the strangest perplexity he indicated his bundle of
hundred-rouble notes, looking inquiringly at Pyotr Ilyitch as though
it were for him to decide what he, Mitya, was to do with his own
"In your pocket, or on the table here. They won't be lost."
"In my pocket? Yes, in my pocket. All right.... But, I say, that's
all nonsense," he cried, as though suddenly coming out of his
absorption. "Look here, let's first settle that business of the
pistols. Give them back to me. Here's your money... because I am in
great need of them... and I haven't a minute, a minute to spare."
And taking the topmost note from the bundle he held it out to
"But I shan't have change enough. Haven't you less?"
"No," said Mitya, looking again at the bundle, and as though not
trusting his own words he turned over two or three of the topmost
"No, they're all alike," he added, and again he looked inquiringly
at Pyotr Ilyitch.
"How have you grown so rich?" the latter asked. "Wait, I'll send
my boy to Plotnikov's, they close late- to see if they won't change
it. Here, Misha!" he called into the passage.
"To Plotnikov's shop- first-rate!" cried Mitya, as though struck
by an idea. "Misha," he turned to the boy as he came in, "look here,
run to Plotnikov's and tell them that Dmitri Fyodorovitch sends his
greetings, and will be there directly.... But listen, listen, tell
them to have champagne, three dozen bottles, ready before I come,
and packed as it was to take to Mokroe. I took four dozen with me
then," he added (suddenly addressing Pyotr Ilyitch); "they know all
about it, don't you trouble, Misha," he turned again to the boy.
"Stay, listen; tell them to put in cheese, Strasburg pies, smoked
fish, ham, caviare, and everything, everything they've got, up to a
hundred roubles, or a hundred and twenty as before.... But wait: don't
let them forget dessert, sweets, pears, watermelons, two or three or
four- no, one melon's enough, and chocolate, candy, toffee,
fondants; in fact, everything I took to Mokroe before, three hundred
roubles' worth with the champagne... let it be just the same again.
And remember, Misha, if you are called Misha- His name is Misha, isn't
it?" He turned to Pyotr Ilyitch again.
"Wait a minute," Pyotr Ilyitch intervened listening and watching
him uneasily, "you'd better go yourself and tell them. He'll muddle
"He will, I see he will! Eh, Misha! Why, I was going to kiss you
for the commission.... If you don't make a mistake, there's ten
roubles for you, run along, make haste.... Champagne's the chief
thing, let them bring up champagne. And brandy, too, and red and white
wine, and all I had then.... They know what I had then."
"But listen!" Pyotr Ilyitch interrupted with some impatience. "I
say, let him simply run and change the money and tell them not to
close, and you go and tell them.... Give him your note. Be off, Misha!
Put your best leg forward!"
Pyotr Ilyitch seemed to hurry Misha off on purpose, because the
boy remained standing with his mouth and eyes wide open, apparently
understanding little of Mitya's orders, gazing up with amazement and
terror at his bloodstained face and the trembling blood-stained
fingers that held the notes.
"Well, now come and wash," said Pyotr Ilyitch sternly. "Put the
money on the table or else in your pocket.... That's right, come
along. But take off your coat."
And beginning to help him off with his coat, he cried out again:
"Look, your coat's covered with blood, too!"
"That... it's not the coat. It's only a little here on the
sleeve.... And that's only here where the handkerchief lay. It must
have soaked through. I must have sat on the handkerchief at Fenya's,
and the blood's come through," Mitya explained at once with a
child-like unconsciousness that was astounding. Pyotr Ilyitch
"Well, you must have been up to something; you must have been
fighting with someone," he muttered.
They began to wash. Pyotr Ilyitch held the jug and poured out
the water. Mitya, in desperate haste, scarcely soaped his hands
(they were trembling, and Pyotr Ilyitch remembered it afterwards). But
the young official insisted on his soaping them thoroughly and rubbing
them more. He seemed to exercise more and more sway over Mitya, as
time went on. It may be noted in passing that he was a young man of
"Look, you haven't got your nails clean. Now rub your face;
here, on your temples, by your ear.... Will you go in that shirt?
Where are you going? Look, all the cuff of your right sleeve is
covered with blood."
"Yes, it's all bloody," observed Mitya, looking at the cuff of his
"Then change your shirt."
"I haven't time. You see I'll..." Mitya went on with the same
confiding ingenuousness, drying his face and hands on the towel, and
putting on his coat. "I'll turn it up at the wrist. It won't be seen
under the coat.... You see!"
"Tell me now, what game have you been up to? Have you been
fighting with someone? In the tavern again, as before? Have you been
beating that captain again?" Pyotr Ilyitch asked him reproachfully.
"Whom have you been beating now... or killing, perhaps?"
"Nonsense!" said Mitya.
"Don't worry," said Mitya, and he suddenly laughed. "I smashed
an old woman in the market-place just now."
"Smashed? An old woman?"
"An old man!" cried Mitya, looking Pyotr Ilyitch straight in the
face, laughing, and shouting at him as though he were deaf.
"Confound it! An old woman, an old man.... Have you killed
"We made it up. We had a row- and made it up. In a place I know
of. We parted friends. A fool.... He's forgiven me.... He's sure to
have forgiven me by now... if he had got up, he wouldn't have forgiven
me"- Mitya suddenly winked- "only damn him, you know, I say, Pyotr
Ilyitch, damn him! Don't worry about him! I don't want to just now!"
Mitya snapped out, resolutely.
"Whatever do you want to go picking quarrels with everyone for?...
Just as you did with that captain over some nonsense.... You've been
fighting and now you're rushing off on the spree- that's you all over!
Three dozen champagne- what do you want all that for?"
"Bravo! Now give me the pistols. Upon my honour I've no time
now. I should like to have a chat with you, my dear boy, but I haven't
the time. And there's no need, it's too late for talking. Where's my
money? Where have I put it?" he cried, thrusting his hands into his
"You put it on the table... yourself.... Here it is. Had you
forgotten? Money's like dirt or water to you, it seems. Here are
your pistols. It's an odd thing, at six o'clock you pledged them for
ten roubles, and now you've got thousands. Two or three I should say."
"Three, you bet," laughed Mitya, stuffing the notes into the
side-pocket of his trousers.
"You'll lose it like that. Have you found a gold mine?"
"The mines? The gold mines?" Mitya shouted at the top of his voice
and went off into a roar of laughter. "Would you like to go to the
mines, Perhotin? There's a lady here who'll stump up three thousand
for you, if only you'll go. She did it for me, she's so awfully fond
of gold mines. Do you know Madame Hohlakov?"
"I don't know her, but I've heard of her and seen her. Did she
really give you three thousand? Did she really?" said Pyotr Ilyitch,
eyeing him dubiously.
"As soon as the sun rises to-morrow, as soon as Phoebus, ever
young, flies upwards, praising and glorifying God, you go to her, this
Madame Hohlakov, and ask her whether she did stump up that three
thousand or not. Try and find out."
"I don't know on what terms you are... since you say it so
positively, I suppose she did give it to you. You've got the money
in your hand, but instead of going to Siberia you're spending it
all.... Where are you really off to now, eh?"
"To Mokroe? But it's night!"
"Once the lad had all, now the lad has naught," cried Mitya
"How 'naught'? You say that with all those thousands!"
"I'm not talking about thousands. Damn thousands! I'm talking of
Fickle is the heart of woman
Treacherous and full of vice;
I agree with Ulysses. That's what he says."
"I don't understand you!"
"Am I drunk?"
"Not drunk, but worse."
"I'm drunk in spirit, Pyotr Ilyitch, drunk in spirit! But that's
"What are you doing, loading the pistol?"
"I'm loading the pistol."
Unfastening the pistol-case, Mitya actually opened the powder
horn, and carefully sprinkled and rammed in the charge. Then he took
the bullet and, before inserting it, held it in two fingers in front
of the candle.
"Why are you looking at the bullet?" asked Pyotr Ilyitch, watching
him with uneasy curiosity.
"Oh, a fancy. Why, if you meant to put that bullet in your
brain, would you look at it or not?"
"Why look at it?"
"It's going into my brain, so it's interesting to look and see
what it's like. But that's foolishness, a moment's foolishness. Now
that's done," he added, putting in the bullet and driving it home with
the ramrod. "Pyotr Ilyitch, my dear fellow, that's nonsense, all
nonsense, and if only you knew what nonsense! Give me a little piece
of paper now."
"Here's some paper."
"No, a clean new piece, writing-paper. That's right."
And taking a pen from the table, Mitya rapidly wrote two lines,
folded the paper in four, and thrust it in his waistcoat pocket. He
put the pistols in the case, locked it up, and kept it in his hand.
Then he looked at Pyotr Ilyitch with a slow, thoughtful smile.
"Now, let's go."
"Where are we going? No, wait a minute.... Are you thinking of
putting that bullet in your brain, perhaps?" Pyotr Ilyitch asked
"I was fooling about the bullet! I want to live. I love life,
You may be sure of that. I love golden-haired Phorbus and his warm
light.... Dear Pyotr Ilyitch, do you know how to step aside?"
"What do you mean by 'stepping aside'?"
"Making way. Making way for a dear creature, and for one I hate.
And to let the one I hate become dear- that's what making way means!
And to say to them: God bless you, go your way, pass on, while I-"
"That's enough, let's go."
"Upon my word. I'll tell someone to prevent your going there,"
said Pyotr Ilyitch, looking at him. "What are you going to Mokroe for,
"There's a woman there, a woman. That's enough for you. You shut
"Listen, though you're such a savage I've always liked you.... I
"Thanks, old fellow. I'm a savage you say. Savages, savages!
That's what I am always saying. Savages! Why, here's Misha! I was
Misha ran in, post-haste, with a handful of notes in change, and
reported that everyone was in a bustle at the Plotnikovs'; "They're
carrying down the bottles, and the fish, and the tea; it will all be
ready directly." Mitya seized ten roubles and handed it to Pyotr
Ilyitch, then tossed another ten-rouble note to Misha.
"Don't dare to do such a thing!" cried Pyotr Ilyitch. "I won't
have it in my house, it's a bad, demoralising habit. Put your money
away. Here, put it here, why waste it? It would come in handy
to-morrow, and I dare say you'll be coming to me to borrow ten roubles
again. Why do you keep putting the notes in your side pocket? Ah,
you'll lose them!"
"I say, my dear fellow, let's go to Mokroe together."
"What should I go for?"
"I say, let's open a bottle at once, and drink to life! I want
to drink, and especially to drink with you. I've never drunk with you,
"Very well, we can go to the Metropolis. I was just going there."
"I haven't time for that. Let's drink at the Plotnikovs', in the
back room. Shall I ask you a riddle?"
Mitya took the piece of paper out of his waistcoat pocket,
unfolded it and showed it. In a large, distinct hand was written: "I
punish myself for my whole life; my whole life I punish!"
"I will certainly speak to someone. I'll go at once," said Pyotr
Ilyitch, after reading the paper.
"You won't have time, dear boy, come and have a drink. March!"
Plotnikov's shop was at the corner of the street, next door but
one to Pyotr Ilyitch's. It was the largest grocery shop in our town,
and by no means a bad one, belonging to some rich merchants. They kept
everything that could be got in a Petersburg shop, grocery of all
sort, wines "bottled by the brothers Eliseyev," fruits, cigars, tea,
coffee, sugar, and so on. There were three shop-assistants and two
errand boys always employed. Though our part of the country had
grown poorer, the landowners had gone away, and trade had got worse,
yet the grocery stores flourished as before, every year with
increasing prosperity; there were plenty of purchasers for their
They were awaiting Mitya with impatience in the shop. They had
vivid recollections of how he had bought, three or four weeks ago,
wine and goods of all sorts to the value of several hundred roubles,
paid for in cash (they would never have let him have anything on
credit, of course). They remembered that then, as now, he had had a
bundle of hundred-rouble notes in his hand, and had scattered them
at random, without bargaining, without reflecting, or caring to
reflect what use so much wine and provisions would be to him. The
story was told all over the town that, driving off then with Grushenka
to Mokroe, he had "spent three thousand in one night and the following
day, and had come back from the spree without a penny." He had
picked up a whole troop of gypsies (encamped in our neighbourhood at
the time), who for two days got money without stint out of him while
he was drunk, and drank expensive wine without stint. People used to
tell, laughing at Mitya, how he had given champagne to grimy-handed
peasants, and feasted the village women and girls on sweets and
Strasburg pies. Though to laugh at Mitya to his face was rather a
risky proceeding, there was much laughter behind his back,
especially in the tavern, at his own ingenuous public avowal that
all he had got out of Grushenka by this "escapade" was "permission
to kiss her foot, and that was the utmost she had allowed him."
By the time Mitya and Pyotr Ilyitch reached the shop, they found a
cart with three horses harnessed abreast with bells, and with
Andrey, the driver, ready waiting for Mitya at the entrance. In the
shop they had almost entirely finished packing one box of
provisions, and were only waiting for Mitya's arrival to nail it
down and put it in the cart. Pyotr Ilyitch was astounded.
"Where did this cart come from in such a hurry?" he asked Mitya.
"I met Andrey as I ran to you, and told him to drive straight here
to the shop. There's no time to lose. Last time I drove with
Timofey, but Timofey now has gone on before me with the witch. Shall
we be very late, Andrey?"
"They'll only get there an hour at most before us, not even that
maybe. I got Timofey ready to start. I know how he'll go. Their pace
won't be ours, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. How could it be? They won't get
there an hour earlier!" Andrey, a lanky, red-haired, middle-aged
driver, wearing a full-skirted coat, and with a kaftan on his arm,
"Fifty roubles for vodka if we're only an hour behind them."
"I warrant the time, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. Ech, they won't be
half an hour before us, let alone an hour."
Though Mitya bustled about seeing after things, he gave his orders
strangely, as it were, disconnectedly, and inconsecutively. He began a
sentence and forgot the end of it. Pyotr Ilyitch found himself obliged
to come to the rescue.
"Four hundred roubles' worth, not less than four hundred
roubles' worth, just as it was then," commanded Mitya. "Four dozen
champagne, not a bottle less."
"What do you want with so much? What's it for? Stay!" cried
Pyotr Ilyitch. "What's this box? What's in it? Surely there isn't four
hundred roubles' worth here?"
The officious shopmen began explaining with oily politeness that
the first box contained only half a dozen bottles of champagne, and
only "the most indispensable articles," such as savouries, sweets,
toffee, etc. But the main part of the goods ordered would be packed
and sent off, as on the previous occasion, in a special cart also with
three horses travelling at full speed, so that it would arrive not
more than an hour later than Dmitri Fyodorovitch himself.
"Not more than an hour! Not more than an hour! And put in more
toffee and fondants. The girls there are so fond of it," Mitya
"The fondants are all right. But what do you want with four
dozen of champagne? One would be enough," said Pyotr Ilyitch, almost
angry. He began bargaining, asking for a bill of the goods, and
refused to be satisfied. But he only succeeded in saving a hundred
roubles. In the end it was agreed that only three hundred roubles'
worth should be sent.
"Well, you may go to the devil!" cried Pyotr Ilyitch, on second
thoughts. "What's it to do with me? Throw away your money, since
it's cost you nothing."
"This way, my economist, this way, don't be angry." Mitya drew him
into a room at the back of the shop. "They'll give us a bottle here
directly. We'll taste it. Ech, Pyotr Ilyitch, come along with me,
for you're a nice fellow, the sort I like."
Mitya sat down on a wicker chair, before a little table, covered
with a dirty dinner-napkin. Pyotr Ilyitch sat down opposite, and the
champagne soon appeared, and oysters were suggested to the
gentlemen. "First-class oysters, the last lot in."
"Hang the oysters. I don't eat them. And we don't need
anything," cried Pyotr Ilyitch, almost angrily.
"There's no time for oysters," said Mitya. "And I'm not hungry. Do
you know, friend," he said suddenly, with feeling, "I never have liked
all this disorder."
"Who does like it? Three dozen of champagne for peasants, upon
my word, that's enough to make anyone angry!"
"That's not what I mean. I'm talking of a higher order. There's no
order in me, no higher order. But... that's all over. There's no
need to grieve about it. It's too late, damn it! My whole life has
been disorder, and one must set it in order. Is that a pun, eh?"
"You're raving, not making puns!
"Glory be to God in Heaven,
Glory be to God in me. . .
"That verse came from my heart once, it's not a verse, but a
tear.... I made it myself... not while I was pulling the captain's
"Why do you bring him in all of a sudden?"
"Why do I bring him in? Foolery! All things come to an end; all
things are made equal. That's the long and short of it."
"You know, I keep thinking of your pistols."
"That's all foolery, too! Drink, and don't be fanciful. I love
life. I've loved life too much, shamefully much. Enough! Let's drink
to life, dear boy, I propose the toast. Why am I pleased with
myself? I'm a scoundrel, but I'm satisfied with myself. And yet I'm
tortured by the thought that I'm a scoundrel, but satisfied with
myself. I bless the creation. I'm ready to bless God and His
creation directly, but... I must kill one noxious insect for fear it
should crawl and spoil life for others.... Let us drink to life,
dear brother. What can be more precious than life? Nothing! To life,
and to one queen of queens!"
"Let's drink to life and to your queen, too, if you like."
They drank a glass each. Although Mitya was excited and expansive,
yet he was melancholy, too. It was as though some heavy,
overwhelming anxiety were weighing upon him.
"Misha... here's your Misha come! Misha, come here, my boy,
drink this glass to Phoebus the golden-haired, of to-morrow morn..."
"What are you giving it him for?" cried Pyotr Ilyitch, irritably.
"Yes, yes, yes, let me! I want to!"
Misha emptied the glass, bowed, and ran out.
"He'll remember it afterwards," Mitya remarked. "Woman, I love
woman! What is woman? The queen of creation! My heart is sad, my heart
is sad, Pyotr Ilyitch. Do you remember Hamlet? 'I am very sorry,
good Horatio! Alas, poor Yorick!' Perhaps that's me, Yorick? Yes,
I'm Yorick now, and a skull afterwards."
Pyotr Ilyitch listened in silence. Mitya, too, was silent for a
"What dog's that you've got here?" he asked the shopman, casually,
noticing a pretty little lap-dog with dark eyes, sitting in the
"It belongs to Varvara Alexyevna, the mistress," answered the
clerk. "She brought it and forgot it here. It must be taken back to
"I saw one like it... in the regiment... " murmured Mitya
dreamily, "only that one had its hind leg broken.... By the way, Pyotr
Ilyitch, I wanted to ask you: have you ever stolen anything in your
"What a question!"
"Oh, I didn't mean anything. From somebody's pocket, you know. I
don't mean government money, everyone steals that, and no doubt you
"You go to the devil."
"I'm talking of other people's money. Stealing straight out of a
pocket? Out of a purse, eh?"
"I stole twenty copecks from my mother when I was nine years
old. I took it off the table on the sly, and held it tight in my
"Well, and what happened?"
"Oh, nothing. I kept it three days, then I felt ashamed,
confessed, and gave it back."
"And what then?"
"Naturally I was whipped. But why do you ask? Have you stolen
"I have," said Mitya, winking slyly.
"What have you stolen?" inquired Pyotr Ilyitch curiously.
"I stole twenty copecks from my mother when I was nine years
old, and gave it back three days after."
As he said this, Mitya suddenly got up.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, won't you come now?" called Andrey from
the door of the shop.
"Are you ready? We'll come!" Mitya started. "A few more last words
and- Andrey, a glass of vodka at starting. Give him some brandy as
well! That box" (the one with the pistols) "put under my seat.
Good-bye, Pyotr Ilyitch, don't remember evil against me."
"But you're coming back to-morrow?"
"Will you settle the little bill now?" cried the clerk,
"Oh yes, the bill. Of course."
He pulled the bundle of notes out of his pocket again, picked
out three hundred roubles, threw them on the counter, and ran
hurriedly out of the shop. Everyone followed him out, bowing and
wishing him good luck. Andrey, coughing from the brandy he had just
swallowed, jumped up on the box. But Mitya was only just taking his
seat when suddenly to his surprise he saw Fenya before him. She ran up
panting, clasped her hands before him with a cry, and plumped down
at his feet.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, dear good Dmitri Fyodorovitch, don't harm my
mistress. And it was I told you all about it.... And don't murder him,
he came first, he's hers! He'll marry Agrafena Alexandrovna now.
That's why he's come back from Siberia. Dmitri Fyodorovitch, dear,
don't take a fellow creature's life!"
"Tut-tut-tut! That's it, is it? So you're off there to make
trouble!" muttered Pyotr Ilyitch. "Now, it's all clear, as clear as
daylight. Dmitri Fyodorovitch, give me your pistols at once if you
mean to behave like a man," he shouted aloud to Mitya. "Do you hear,
"The pistols? Wait a bit, brother, I'll throw them into the pool
on the road," answered Mitya. "Fenya, get up, don't kneel to me. Mitya
won't hurt anyone, the silly fool won't hurt anyone again. But I
say, Fenya," he shouted, after having taken his seat. "I hurt you just
now, so forgive me and have pity on me, forgive a scoundrel.... But it
doesn't matter if you don't. It's all the same now. Now then,
Andrey, look alive, fly along full speed!"
Andrey whipped up the horses, and the bells began ringing.
"Good-bye, Pyotr Ilyitch! My last tear is for you!..."
"He's not drunk, but he keeps babbling like a lunatic," Pyotr
Ilyitch thought as he watched him go. He had half a mind to stay and
see the cart packed with the remaining wines and provisions, knowing
that they would deceive and defraud Mitya. But, suddenly feeling vexed
with himself, he turned away with a curse and went to the tavern to
"He's a fool, though he's a good fellow," he muttered as he
went. "I've heard of that officer, Grushenka's former flame. Well,
if he has turned up.... Ech, those pistols! Damn it all! I'm not his
nurse! Let them do what they like! Besides, it'll all come to nothing.
They're a set of brawlers, that's all. They'll drink and fight,
fight and make friends again. They are not men who do anything real.
What does he mean by 'I'm stepping aside, I'm punishing myself'? It'll
come to nothing! He's shouted such phrases a thousand times, drunk, in
the taverns. But now he's not drunk. 'Drunk in spirit'- they're fond
of fine phrases, the villains. Am I his nurse? He must have been
fighting, his face was all over blood. With whom? I shall find out
at the Metropolis. And his handkerchief was soaked in blood.... It's
still lying on my floor.... Hang it!"
He reached the tavern in a bad humour and at once made up a
game. The game cheered him. He played a second game, and suddenly
began telling one of his partners that Dmitri Karamazov had come in
for some cash again- something like three thousand roubles, and had
gone to Mokroe again to spend it with Grushenka.... This news roused
singular interest in his listeners. They all spoke of it, not
laughing, but with a strange gravity. They left off playing.
"Three thousand? But where can he have got three thousand?"
Questions were asked. The story of Madame Hohlakov's present was
received with scepticism.
"Hasn't he robbed his old father?- that's the question."
"Three thousand! There's something odd about it."
"He boasted aloud that he would kill his father; we all heard him,
here. And it was three thousand he talked about..."
Pyotr Ilyitch listened. All at once he became short and dry in his
answers. He said not a word about the blood on Mitya's face and hands,
though he had meant to speak of it at first.
They began a third game, and by degrees the talk about Mitya
died away. But by the end of the third game, Pyotr Ilyitch felt no
more desire for billiards; he laid down the cue, and without having
supper as he had intended, he walked out of the tavern. When he
reached the market-place he stood still in perplexity, wondering at
himself. He realised that what he wanted was to go to Fyodor
Pavlovitch's and find out if anything had happened there. "On
account of some stupid nonsense as it's sure to turn out- am I going
to wake up the household and make a scandal? Fooh! damn it, is it my
business to look after them?"
In a very bad humour he went straight home, and suddenly
remembered Fenya. "Damn it all! I ought to have questioned her just
now," he thought with vexation, "I should have heard everything."
And the desire to speak to her, and so find out, became so pressing
and importunate that when he was halfway home he turned abruptly and
went towards the house where Grushenka lodged. Going up to the gate he
knocked. The sound of the knock in the silence of the night sobered
him and made him feel annoyed. And no one answered him; everyone in
the house was asleep.
"And I shall be making a fuss!" he thought, with a feeling of
positive discomfort. But instead of going away altogether, he fell
to knocking again with all his might, filling the street with clamour.
"Not coming? Well, I will knock them up, I will!" he muttered at
each knock, fuming at himself, but at the same time he redoubled his
knocks on the gate.
"I Am Coming, Too!"
BUT Dmitri Fyodorovitch was speeding along the road. It was a
little more than twenty versts to Mokroe, but Andrey's three horses
galloped at such a pace that the distance might be covered in an
hour and a quarter. The swift motion revived Mitya. The air was
fresh and cool, there were big stars shining in the sky. It was the
very night, and perhaps the very hour, in which Alyosha fell on the
earth, and rapturously swore to love it for ever and ever.
All was confusion, confusion in Mitya's soul, but although many
things were goading his heart, at that moment his whole being was
yearning for her, his queen, to whom he was flying to look on her
for the last time. One thing I can say for certain; his heart did
not waver for one instant. I shall perhaps not be believed when I
say that this jealous lover felt not the slightest jealousy of this
new rival, who seemed to have sprung out of the earth. If any other
had appeared on the scene, he would have been jealous at once, and
would-perhaps have stained his fierce hands with blood again. But as
he flew through the night, he felt no envy, no hostility even, for the
man who had been her first lover.... It is true he had not yet seen
"Here there was no room for dispute: it was her right and his;
this was her first love which, after five years, she had not
forgotten; so she had loved him only for those five years, and I,
how do I come in? What right have I? Step aside, Mitya, and make
way! What am I now? Now everything is over apart from the officer even
if he had not appeared, everything would be over..."
These words would roughly have expressed his feelings, if he had
been capable of reasoning. But he could not reason at that moment. His
present plan of action had arisen without reasoning. At Fenya's
first words, it had sprung from feeling, and been adopted in a
flash, with all its consequences. And yet, in spite of his resolution,
there was confusion in his soul, an agonising confusion: his
resolution did not give him peace. There was so much behind that
tortured him. And it seemed strange to him, at moments, to think
that he had written his own sentence of death with pen and paper: "I
punish myself," and the paper was lying there in his pocket, ready;
the pistol was loaded; he had already resolved how, next morning, he
would meet the first warm ray of "golden-haired Phoebus."
And yet he could not be quit of the past, of all that he had
left behind and that tortured him. He felt that miserably, and the
thought of it sank into his heart with despair. There was one moment
when he felt an impulse to stop Andrey, to jump out of the cart, to
pull out his loaded pistol, and to make an end of everything without
waiting for the dawn. But that moment flew by like a spark. The horses
galloped on, "devouring space," and as he drew near his goal, again
the thought of her, of her alone, took more and more complete
possession of his soul, chasing away the fearful images that had
been haunting it. Oh, how he longed to look upon her, if only for a
moment, if only from a distance!
"She's now with him," he thought, "now I shall see what she
looks like with him, her first love, and that's all I want." Never had
this woman, who was such a fateful influence in his life, aroused such
love in his breast, such new and unknown feeling, surprising even to
himself, a feeling tender to devoutness, to self-effacement before
her! "I will efface myself!" he said, in a rush of almost hysterical
They had been galloping nearly an hour. Mitya was silent, and
though Andrey was, as a rule, a talkative peasant, he did not utter
a word, either. He seemed afraid to talk, he only whipped up smartly
his three lean, but mettlesome, bay horses. Suddenly Mitya cried out
in horrible anxiety:
"Andrey! What if they're asleep?"
This thought fell upon him like a blow. It had not occurred to him
"It may well be that they're gone to bed by now, Dmitri
Mitya frowned as though in pain. Yes, indeed... he was rushing
there... with such feelings... while they were asleep... she was
asleep, perhaps, there too.... An angry feeling surged up in his
"Drive on, Andrey! Whip them up! Look alive!" he cried, beside
"But maybe they're not in bed!" Andrey went on after a pause.
"Timofey said they were a lot of them there-."
"At the station?"
"Not at the posting-station, but at Plastunov's, at the inn, where
they let out horses, too."
"I know. So you say there are a lot of them? How's that? Who are
they?" cried Mitya, greatly dismayed at this unexpected news.
"Well, Timofey was saying they're all gentlefolk. Two from our
town- who they are I can't say- and there are two others, strangers,
maybe more besides. I didn't ask particularly. They've set to
playing cards, so Timofey said."
"So, maybe they're not in bed if they're at cards. It's most
likely not more than eleven."
"Quicker, Andrey! Quicker!" Mitya cried again, nervously.
"May I ask you something, sir?" said Andrey, after a pause.
"Only I'm afraid of angering you, sir."
"What is it?"
"Why, Fenya threw herself at your feet just now, and begged you
not to harm her mistress, and someone else, too... so you see, sir-
It's I am taking you there... forgive me, sir, it's my conscience...
maybe it's stupid of me to speak of it-."
Mitya suddenly seized him by the shoulders from behind.
"Are you a driver?" he asked frantically.
"Then you know that one has to make way. What would you say to a
driver who wouldn't make way for anyone, but would just drive on and
crush people? No, a driver mustn't run over people. One can't run over
a man. One can't spoil people's lives. And if you have spoilt a
life- punish yourself.... If only you've spoilt, if only you've ruined
anyone's life- punish yourself and go away."
These phrases burst from Mitya almost hysterically. Though
Andrey was surprised at him, he kept up the conversation.
"That's right, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, you're quite right, one
mustn't crush or torment a man, or any kind of creature, for every
creature is created by God. Take a horse, for instance, for some
folks, even among us drivers, drive anyhow. Nothing will restrain
them, they just force it along."
"To hell?" Mitya interrupted, and went off into his abrupt,
short laugh. "Andrey, simple soul," he seized him by the shoulders
again, "tell me, will Dmitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov go to hell, or
not, what do you think?"
"I don't know, darling, it depends on you, for you are... you see,
sir, when the Son of God was nailed on the Cross and died, He went
straight down to hell from the Cross, and set free all sinners that
were in agony. And the devil groaned, because he thought that he would
get no more sinners in hell. And God said to him, then, 'Don't
groan, for you shall have all the mighty of the earth, the rulers, the
chief judges, and the rich men, and shall be filled up as you have
been in all the ages till I come again.' Those were His very words..."
"A peasant legend! Capital! Whip up the left, Andrey!"
"So you see, sir, who it is hell's for," said Andrey, whipping
up the left horse, "but you're like a little child... that's how we
look on you... and though you're hasty-tempered, sir, yet God will
forgive you for your kind heart."
"And you, do you forgive me, Andrey?"
"What should I forgive you for, sir? You've never done me any
"No, for everyone, for everyone, you here alone, on the road, will
you forgive me for everyone? Speak, simple peasant heart!"
"Oh, sir! I feel afraid of driving you, your talk is so strange."
But Mitya did not hear. He was frantically praying and muttering
"Lord, receive me, with all my lawlessness, and do not condemn me.
Let me pass by Thy judgment... do not condemn me, for I have condemned
myself, do not condemn me, for I love Thee, O Lord. I am a wretch, but
I love Thee. If Thou sendest me to hell, I shall love Thee there,
and from there I shall cry out that I love Thee for ever and
ever.... But let me love to the end.... Here and now for just five
hours... till the first light of Thy day... for I love the queen of my
soul... I love her and I cannot help loving her. Thou seest my whole
heart... I shall gallop up, I shall fall before her and say, 'You
are right to pass on and leave me. Farewell and forget your
victim... never fret yourself about me!'"
"Mokroe!" cried Andrey, pointing ahead with his whip.
Through the pale darkness of the night loomed a solid black mass
of buildings, flung down, as it were, in the vast plain. The village
of Mokroe numbered two thousand inhabitants, but at that hour all were
asleep, and only here and there a few lights still twinkled.
"Drive on, Andrey, I come!" Mitya exclaimed, feverishly.
"They're not asleep," said Andrey again, pointing with his whip to
the Plastunovs' inn, which was at the entrance to the village. The six
windows, looking on the street, were all brightly lighted up.
"They're not asleep," Mitya repeated joyously. "Quicker, Andrey!
Gallop! Drive up with a dash! Set the bells ringing! Let all know that
I have come. I'm coming! I'm coming, too!"
Andrey lashed his exhausted team into a gallop, drove with a
dash and pulled up his steaming, panting horses at the high flight
Mitya jumped out of the cart just as the innkeeper, on his way
to bed, peeped out from the steps curious to see who had arrived.
"Trifon Borissovitch, is that you?"
The innkeeper bent down, looked intently, ran down the steps,
and rushed up to the guest with obsequious delight.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, your honour! Do I see you again?"
Trifon Borissovitch was a thick-set, healthy peasant, of middle
height, with a rather fat face. His expression was severe and
uncompromising, especially with the peasants of Mokroe, but he had the
power of assuming the most obsequious countenance, when he had an
inkling that it was to his interest. He dressed in Russian style, with
a shirt buttoning down on one side, and a full-skirted coat. He had
saved a good sum of money, but was for ever dreaming of improving
his position. More than half the peasants were in his clutches,
everyone in the neighbourhood was in debt to him. From the
neighbouring landowners he bought and rented lands which were worked
by the peasants, in payment of debts which they could never shake off.
He was a widower, with four grown-up daughters. One of them was
already a widow and lived in the inn with her two children, his
grandchildren, and worked for him like a charwoman. Another of his
daughters was married to a petty official, and in one of the rooms
of the inn, on the wall could be seen, among the family photographs, a
miniature photograph of this official in uniform and official
epaulettes. The two younger daughters used to wear fashionable blue or
green dresses, fitting tight at the back, and with trains a yard long,
on Church holidays or when they went to pay visits. But next morning
they would get up at dawn, as usual, sweep out the rooms with a
birch-broom, empty the slops, and clean up after lodgers.
In spite of the thousands of roubles he had saved, Trifon
Borissovitch was very fond of emptying the pockets of a drunken guest,
and remembering that not a month ago he had, in twenty-four hours,
made two if not three hundred roubles out of Dmitri, when he had
come on his escapade with Grushenka, he met him now with eager
welcome, scenting his prey the moment Mitya drove up to the steps.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, dear sir, we see you once more!"
"Stay, Trifon Borissovitch," began Mitya, "first and foremost,
where is she?"
"Agrafena Alexandrovna?" The inn-keeper understood at once,
looking sharply into Mitya's face. "She's here, too..."
"With whom? With whom?"
"Some strangers. One is an official gentleman, a Pole, to judge
from his speech. He sent the horses for her from here; and there's
another with him, a friend of his, or a fellow traveller, there's no
telling. They're dressed like civilians."
"Well, are they feasting? Have they money?"
"Poor sort of a feast! Nothing to boast of, Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
"Nothing to boast of? And who are the others?"
"They're two gentlemen from the town.... They've come back from
Tcherny, and are putting up here. One's quite a young gentleman, a
relative of Mr. Miusov he must be, but I've forgotten his name...
and I expect you know the other, too, a gentleman called Maximov. He's
been on a pilgrimage, so he says, to the monastery in the town. He's
travelling with this young relation of Mr. Miusov."
"Is that all?"
"Stay, listen, Trifon Borissovitch. Tell me the chief thing:
What of her? How is she?"
"Oh, she's only just come. She's sitting with them."
"Is she cheerful? Is she laughing?"
"No, I think she's not laughing much. She's sitting quite dull.
She's combing the young gentleman's hair."
"The Pole- the officer?"
"He's not young, and he's not an officer, either. Not him, sir.
It's the young gentleman that's Mr. Miusov's relation. I've
forgotten his name."
"That's it, Kalganov!"
"All right. I'll see for myself. Are they playing cards?"
"They have been playing, but they've left off. They've been
drinking tea, the official gentleman asked for liqueurs."
"Stay, Trifon Borissovitch, stay, my good soul, I'll see for
myself. Now answer one more question: are the gypsies here?"
"You can't have the gypsies now, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. The
authorities have sent them away. But we've Jews that play the
cymbals and the fiddle in the village, so one might send for them.
"Send for them. Certainly send for them!" cried Mitya. "And you
can get the girls together as you did then, Marya especially,
Stepanida, too, and Arina. Two hundred roubles for a chorus!"
"Oh, for a sum like that I can get all the village together,
though by now they're asleep. Are the peasants here worth such
kindness, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, or the girls either? To spend a sum
like that on such coarseness and rudeness! What's the good of giving a
peasant a cigar to smoke, the stinking ruffian! And the girls are
all lousy. Besides, I'll get my daughters up for nothing, let alone
a sum like that. They've only just gone to bed, I'll give them a
kick and set them singing for you. You gave the peasants champagne
to drink the other day, e-ech!"
For all his pretended compassion for Mitya, Trifon Borissovitch
had hidden half a dozen bottles of champagne on that last occasion,
and had picked up a hundred-rouble note under the table, and it had
remained in his clutches.
"Trifon Borissovitch, I sent more than one thousand flying last
time I was here. Do you remember?"
"You did send it flying. I may well remember. You must have left
three thousand behind you."
"Well, I've come to do the same again, do you see?"
And he pulled out his roll of notes, and held them up before the
Now, listen and remember. In an hour's time the wine will
arrive, savouries, pies, and sweets- bring them all up at once. That
box Andrey has got is to be brought up at once, too. Open it, and hand
champagne immediately. And the girls, we must have the girls, Marya
He turned to the cart and pulled out the box of pistols.
"Here, Andrey, let's settle. Here's fifteen roubles for the drive,
and fifty for vodka... for your readiness, for your love....
"I'm afraid, sir," Andrey. "Give me five roubles extra, but more I
won't take. Trifon Borissovitch, bear witness. Forgive my foolish
"What are you afraid of?" asked Mitya, scanning him. "Well, go
to the devil, if that's it?" he cried, flinging him five roubles.
"Now, Trifon Borissovitch, take me up quietly and let me first get a
look at them, so that they don't see me. Where are they? In the blue
Trifon Borissovitch looked apprehensively at Mitya, but at once
obediently did his bidding. Leading him into the passage, he went
himself into the first large room, adjoining that in which the
visitors were sitting, and took the light away. Then he stealthily led
Mitya in, and put him in a corner in the dark, whence he could
freely watch the company without being seen. But Mitya did not look
long, and, indeed, he could not see them; he saw her, his heart
throbbed violently, and all was dark before his eyes.
She was sitting sideways to the table in a low chair, and beside
her, on the sofa, was the pretty youth, Kalganov. She was holding
his hand and seemed to be laughing, while he, seeming vexed and not
looking at her, was saying something in a loud voice to Maximov, who
sat the other side of the table, facing Grushenka. Maximov was
laughing violently at something. On the sofa sat he, and on a chair by
the sofa there was another stranger. The one on the sofa was lolling
backwards, smoking a pipe, and Mitya had an impression of a
stoutish, broad-faced, short little man, who was apparently angry
about something. His friend, the other stranger, struck Mitya as
extraordinarily tall, but he could make out nothing more. He caught
his breath. He could not bear it for a minute, he put the
pistol-case on a chest, and with a throbbing heart he walked,
feeling cold all over, straight into the blue room to face the
"Aie!" shrieked Grushenka, the first to notice him.
The First and Rightful Lover
WITH his long, rapid strides, Mitya walked straight up to the
"Gentlemen," he said in a loud voice, almost shouting, yet
stammering at every word, "I... I'm all right! Don't be afraid!" he
exclaimed, "I- there's nothing the matter," he turned suddenly to
Grushenka, who had shrunk back in her chair towards Kalganov, and
clasped his hand tightly. "I... I'm coming, too. I'm here till
morning. Gentlemen, may I stay with you till morning? Only till
morning, for the last time, in this same room?"
So he finished, turning to the fat little man, with the pipe,
sitting on the sofa. The latter removed his pipe from his lips with
dignity and observed severely:
"Panie,* we're here in private. There are other rooms."
* Pan and Panie mean Mr. in Polish. Pani means Mrs., Panovie,
"Why, it's you, Dmitri Fyodorovitch! What do you mean?" answered
Kalgonov suddenly. "Sit down with us. How are you?"
"Delighted to see you, dear... and precious fellow, I always
thought a lot of you." Mitya responded, joyfully and eagerly, at
once holding out his hand across the table.
"Aie! How tight you squeeze! You've quite broken my fingers,"
"He always squeezes like that, always," Grushenka put in gaily,
with a timid smile, seeming suddenly convinced from Mitya's face
that he was not going to make a scene. She was watching him with
intense curiosity and still some uneasiness. She was impressed by
something about him, and indeed the last thing she expected of him was
that he would come in and speak like this at such a moment.
"Good evening," Maximov ventured blandly on the left. Mitya rushed
up to him, too.
"Good evening. You're here, too! How glad I am to find you here,
too! Gentlemen, gentlemen, I- " (He addressed the Polish gentleman
with the pipe again, evidently taking him for the most important
person present.) "I flew here.... I wanted to spend my last day, my
last hour in this room, in this very room ... where I, too,
adored... my queen.... Forgive me, Panie," he cried wildly, "I flew
here and vowed- Oh, don't be afraid, it's my last night! Let's drink
to our good understanding. They'll bring the wine at once.... I
brought this with me." (Something made him pull out his bundle of
notes.) "Allow me, panie! I want to have music, singing, a revel, as
we had before. But the worm, the unnecessary worm, will crawl away,
and there'll be no more of him. I will commemorate my day of joy on my
He was almost choking. There was so much, so much he wanted to
say, but strange exclamations were all that came from his lips. The
Pole gazed fixedly at him, at the bundle of notes in his hand;
looked at Grushenka, and was in evident perplexity.
"If my suverin lady is permitting- " he was beginning.
"What does 'suverin' mean? 'Sovereign,' I suppose?" interrupted
Grushenka. "I can't help laughing at you, the way you talk. Sit
down, Mitya, what are you talking about? Don't frighten us, please.
You won't frighten us, will you? If you won't, I am glad to see
"Me, me frighten you?" cried Mitya, flinging up his hands. "Oh,
pass me by, go your way, I won't hinder you!..."
And suddenly he surprised them all, and no doubt himself as
well, by flinging himself on a chair, and bursting into tears, turning
his head away to the opposite wall, while his arms clasped the back of
the chair tight, as though embracing it.
"Come, come, what a fellow you are!" cried Grushenka
reproachfully. "That's just how he comes to see me- he begins talking,
and I can't make out what he means. He cried like that once before,
and now he's crying again! It's shamefull Why are you crying? As
though you had anything to cry for!" she added enigmatically,
emphasising each word with some irritability.
"I... I'm not crying.... Well, good evening!" He instantly
turned round in his chair, and suddenly laughed, not his abrupt wooden
laugh, but a long, quivering, inaudible nervous laugh.
"Well, there you are again.... Come, cheer up, cheer up!"
Grushenka said to him persuasively. "I'm very glad you've come, very
glad, Mitya, do you hear, I'm very glad! I want him to stay here
with us," she said peremptorily, addressing the whole company,
though her words were obviously meant for the man sitting on the sofa.
"I wish it, I wish it! And if he goes away I shall go, too!" she added
with flashing eyes.
"What my queen commands is law!" pronounced the Pole, gallantly
kissing Grushenka's hand. "I beg you, panie, to join our company,"
he added politely, addressing Mitya.
Mitya was jumping up with the obvious intention of delivering
another tirade, but the words did not come.
"Let's drink, Panie," he blurted out instead of making a speech.
"Good heavens! I thought he was going to begin again!" Grushenka
exclaimed nervously. "Do you hear, Mitya," she went on insistently,
"don't prance about, but it's nice you've brought the champagne. I
want some myself, and I can't bear liqueurs. And best of all, you've
come yourself. We were fearfully dull here.... You've come for a spree
again, I suppose? But put your money in your pocket. Where did you get
such a lot?"
Mitya had been, all this time, holding in his hand the crumpled
bundle of notes on which the eyes of all, especially of the Poles,
were fixed. In confusion he thrust them hurriedly into his pocket.
He flushed. At that moment the innkeeper brought in an uncorked bottle
of champagne, and glasses on a tray. Mitya snatched up the bottle, but
he was so bewildered that he did not know what to do with it. Kalgonov
took it from him and poured out the champagne.
"Another! Another bottle!" Mitya cried to the inn-keeper, and,
forgetting to clink glasses with the Pole whom he had so solemnly
invited to drink to their good understanding, he drank off his glass
without waiting for anyone else. His whole countenance suddenly
changed. The solemn and tragic expression with which he had entered
vanished completely, and a look of something childlike came into his
face. He seemed to have become suddenly gentle and subdued. He
looked shyly and happily at everyone, with a continual nervous
little laugh, and the blissful expression of a dog who has done wrong,
been punished, and forgiven. He seemed to have forgotten everything,
and was looking round at everyone with a childlike smile of delight.
He looked at Grushenka, laughing continually, and bringing his chair
close up to her. By degrees he had gained some idea of the two
Poles, though he had formed no definite conception of them yet.
The Pole on the sofa struck him by his dignified demeanour and his
Polish accent; and, above all, by his pipe. "Well, what of it? It's
a good thing he's smoking a pipe," he reflected. The Pole's puffy,
middle-aged face, with its tiny nose and two very thin, pointed,
dyed and impudent-looking moustaches, had not so far roused the
faintest doubts in Mitya. He was not even particularly struck by the
Pole's absurd wig made in Siberia, with love-locks foolishly combed
forward over the temples. "I suppose it's all right since he wears a
wig," he went on, musing blissfully. The other, younger Pole, who
was staring insolently and defiantly at the company and listening to
the conversation with silent contempt, still only impressed Mitya by
his great height, which was in striking contrast to the Pole on the
sofa. "If he stood up he'd be six foot three." The thought flitted
through Mitya's mind. It occurred to him, too, that this Pole must
be the friend of the other, as it were, a "bodyguard," and no doubt
the big Pole was at the disposal of the little Pole with the pipe. But
this all seemed to Mitya perfectly right and not to be questioned.
In his mood of doglike submissiveness all feeling of rivalry had
Grushenka's mood and the enigmatic tone of some of her words he
completely failed to grasp. All he understood, with thrilling heart,
was that she was kind to him, that she had forgiven him, and made
him sit by her. He was beside himself with delight, watching her sip
her glass of champagne. The silence of the company seemed somehow to
strike him, however, and he looked round at everyone with expectant
"Why are we sitting here though, gentlemen? Why don't you begin
doing something?" his smiling eyes seemed to ask.
"He keeps talking nonsense, and we were all laughing," Kalgonov
began suddenly, as though divining his thought, and pointing to
Mitya immediately stared at Kalgonov and then at Maximov
"He's talking nonsense?" he laughed, his short, wooden laugh,
seeming suddenly delighted at something- "ha ha!"
"Yes. Would you believe it, he will have it that all our cavalry
officers in the twenties married Polish women. That's awful rot, isn't
"Polish women?" repeated Mitya, perfectly ecstatic.
Kalgonov was well aware of Mitya's attitude to Grushenka, and he
guessed about the Pole, too, but that did not so much interest him,
perhaps did not interest him at all; what he was interested in was
Maximov. He had come here with Maximov by chance, and he met the Poles
here at the inn for the first time in his life. Grushenka he knew
before, and had once been with someone to see her; but she had not
taken to him. But here she looked at him very affectionately: before
Mitya's arrival, she had been making much of him, but he seemed
somehow to be unmoved by it. He was a boy, not over twenty, dressed
like a dandy, with a very charming fair-skinned face, and splendid
thick, fair hair. From his fair face looked out beautiful pale blue
eyes, with an intelligent and sometimes even deep expression, beyond
his age indeed, although the young man sometimes looked and talked
quite like a child, and was not at all ashamed of it, even when he was
aware of it himself. As a rule he was very wilful, even capricious,
though always friendly. Sometimes there was something fixed and
obstinate in his expression. He would look at you and listen,
seeming all the while to be persistently dreaming over something else.
Often he was listless and lazy; at other times he would grow
excited, sometimes, apparently, over the most trivial matters.
"Only imagine, I've been taking him about with me for the last
four days," he went on, indolently drawling his words, quite naturally
though, without the slightest affectation. "Ever since your brother,
do you remember, shoved him off the carriage and sent him flying. That
made me take an interest in him at the time, and I took him into the
country, but he keeps talking such rot I'm ashamed to be with him. I'm
taking him back."
"The gentleman has not seen Polish ladies, and says what is
impossible," the Pole with the pipe observed to Maximov.
He spoke Russian fairly well, much better, anyway, than he
pretended. If he used Russian words, he always distorted them into a
"But I was married to a Polish lady myself," tittered Maximov.
"But did you serve in the cavalry? You were talking about the
cavalry. Were you a cavalry officer?" put in Kalgonov at once.
"Was he a cavalry officer indeed? Ha ha!" cried Mitya, listening
eagerly, and turning his inquiring eyes to each as he spoke, as though
there were no knowing what he might hear from each.
"No, you see," Maximov turned to him. "What I mean is that those
pretty Polish ladies ... when they danced the mazurka with our
Uhlans... when one of them dances a mazurka with a Uhlan she jumps
on his knee like a kitten... a little white one... and the
pan-father and pan-mother look on and allow it... They allow it... and
next day the Uhlan comes and offers her his hand.... That's how it
is... offers her his hand, he he!" Maximov ended, tittering.
"The pan is a lajdak!"* the tall Pole on the chair growled
suddenly and crossed one leg over the other. Mitya's eye was caught by
his huge greased boot, with its thick, dirty sole. The dress of both
the Poles looked rather greasy.
"Well, now it's lajdak! What's he scolding about?" said Grushenka,
"Pani Agrippina, what the gentleman saw in Poland were servant
girls, and not ladies of good birth," the Pole with the pipe
observed to Grushenka.
"You can reckon on that," the tall Pole snapped contemptuously.
"What next! Let him talk! People talk, why hinder them? It makes
it cheerful," Grushenka said crossly.
"I'm not hindering them, pani," said the Pole in the wig, with a
long look at Grushenka, and relapsing into dignified silence he sucked
his pipe again.
"No, no. The Polish gentleman spoke the truth." Kalgonov got
excited again, as though it were a question of vast import. "He's
never been in Poland, so how can he talk about it? I suppose you
weren't married in Poland, were you?"
"No, in the Province of Smolensk. Only, a Uhlan had brought her to
Russia before that, my future wife, with her mamma and her aunt, and
another female relation with a grown-up son. He brought her straight
from Poland and gave her up to me. He was a lieutenant in our
regiment, a very nice young man. At first he meant to marry her
himself. But he didn't marry her, because she turned out to be lame."
"So you married a lame woman?" cried Kalganov.
"Yes. They both deceived me a little bit at the time, and
concealed it. I thought she was hopping; she kept hopping.... I
thought it was for fun."
"So pleased she was going to marry you!" yelled Kalganov, in a
ringing, childish voice.
"Yes, so pleased. But it turned out to be quite a different cause.
Afterwards, when we were married, after the wedding, that very
evening, she confessed, and very touchingly asked forgiveness. 'I once
jumped over a puddle when I was a child,' she said, 'and injured my
leg.' He he!"
Kalgonov went off into the most childish laughter, almost
falling on the sofa. Grushenka, too, laughed. Mitya was at the
pinnacle of happiness.
"Do you know, that's the truth, he's not lying now," exclaimed
Kalganov, turning to Mitya; "and do you know, he's been married twice;
it's his first wife he's talking about. But his second wife, do you
know, ran away, and is alive now."
"Is it possible?" said Mitya, turning quickly to Maximov with an
expression of the utmost astonishment.
"Yes. She did run away. I've had that unpleasant experience,"
Maximov modestly assented, "with a monsieur. And what was worse, she'd
had all my little property transferred to her beforehand. 'You're an
educated man,' she said to me. 'You can always get your living.' She
settled my business with that. A venerable bishop once said to me:
'One of your wives was lame, but the other was too light-footed.' He
"Listen, listen!" cried Kalganov, bubbling over, "if he's
telling lies- and he often is- he's only doing it to amuse us all.
There's no harm in that, is there? You know, I sometimes like him.
He's awfully low, but it's natural to him, eh? Don't you think so?
Some people are low from self-interest, but he's simply so, from
nature. Only fancy, he claims (he was arguing about it all the way
yesterday) that Gogol wrote Dead Souls about him. Do you remember,
there's a landowner called Maximov in it, whom Nozdryov thrashed. He
was charged, do you remember, 'for inflicting bodily injury with
rods on the landowner Maximov in a drunken condition.' Would you
believe it, he claims that he was that Maximov and that he was beaten!
Now can it be so? Tchitchikov made his journey, at the very latest, at
the beginning of the twenties, so that the dates don't fit. He
couldn't have been thrashed then, he couldn't, could he?"
It was diffcult to imagine what Kalgonov was excited about, but
his excitement was genuine. Mitya followed his lead without protest.
"Well, but if they did thrash him!" he cried, laughing.
"It's not that they thrashed me exactly, but what I mean is- " put
"What do you mean? Either they thrashed you or they didn't."
"What o'clock is it, panie?" the Pole, with the pipe, asked his
tall friend, with a bored expression. The other shrugged his shoulders
in reply. Neither of them had a watch.
"Why not talk? Let other people talk. Mustn't other people talk
because you're bored?" Grushenka flew at him with evident intention of
finding fault. Something seemed for the first time to flash upon
Mitya's mind. This time the Pole answered with unmistakable
"Pani, I didn't oppose it. I didn't say anything."
"All right then. Come, tell us your story," Grushenka cried to
Maximov. "Why are you all silent?"
"There's nothing to tell, it's all so foolish," answered Maximov
at once, with evident satisfaction, mincing a little. "Besides, all
that's by way of allegory in Gogol, for he's made all the names have a
meaning. Nozdryov was really called Nosov, and Kuvshinikov had quite a
different name, he was called Shkvornev. Fenardi really was called
Fenardi, only he wasn't an Italian but a Russian, and Mamsel Fenardi
was a pretty girl with her pretty little legs in tights, and she had a
little short skirt with spangles, and she kept turning round and
round, only not for four hours but for four minutes only, and she
"But what were you beaten for?" cried Kalganov.
"For Piron!" answered Maximov.
"What Piron?" cried Mitya.
"The famous French writer, Piron. We were all drinking then, a big
party of us, in a tavern at that very fair. They'd invited me, and
first of all I began quoting epigrams. 'Is that you, Boileau? What a
funny get-up!' and Boileau answers that he's going to a masquerade,
that is to the baths, he he! And they took it to themselves, so I made
haste to repeat another, very sarcastic, well known to all educated
Yes, Sappho and Phaon are we!
But one grief is weighing on me.
You don't know your way to the sea!
"They were still more offended and began abusing me in the most
unseemly way for it. And as ill-luck would have it, to set things
right, I began telling a very cultivated anecdote about Piron, how
he was not accepted into the French Academy, and to revenge himself
wrote his own epitaph:
Ci-git Piron qui ne fut rien,
Pas meme academicien,*
* Here lies Piron, who was nothing, not even an Academician.
They seized me and thrashed me."
"But what for? What for?"
"For my education. People can thrash a man for anything,"
Maximov concluded, briefly and sententiously.
"Eh, that's enough! That's all stupid, I don't want to listen. I
thought it would be amusing," Grushenka cut them short, suddenly.
Mitya started, and at once left off laughing. The tall Pole rose
upon his feet, and with the haughty air of a man, bored and out of his
element, began pacing from corner to corner of the room, his hands
behind his back.
"Ah, he can't sit still," said Grushenka, looking at him
contemptuously. Mitya began to feel anxious. He noticed besides,
that the Pole on the sofa was looking at him with an irritable
"Panie!" cried Mitya, "Let's drink! and the other pan, too! Let us
In a flash he had pulled three glasses towards him, and filled
them with champagne.
"To Poland, Panovie, I drink to your Poland!" cried Mitya.
"I shall be delighted, panie," said the Pole on the sofa, with
dignity and affable condescension, and he took his glass.
"And the other pan, what's his name? Drink, most illustrious, take
your glass!" Mitya urged.
"Pan Vrublevsky," put in the Pole on the sofa.
Pan Vrublevsky came up to the table, swaying as he walked.
"To Poland, Panovie!" cried Mitya, raisin, his glass. "Hurrah!"
All three drank. Mitya seized the bottle and again poured out
"Now to Russia, Panovie, and let us be brothers!"
"Pour out some for us," said Grushenka; "I'll drink to Russia,
"So will I," said Kalganov.
"And I would, too... to Russia, the old grandmother!" tittered
"All! All!" cried Mitya. "Trifon Borissovitch, some more bottles!"
The other three bottles Mitya had brought with him were put on the
table. Mitya filled the glasses.
"To Russia! Hurrah!" he shouted again. All drank the toast
except the Poles, and Grushenka tossed off her whole glass at once.
The Poles did not touch theirs.
"How's this, Panovie?" cried Mitya, "won't you drink it?"
Pan Vrublevsky took the glass, raised it and said with a
"To Russia as she was before 1772."
"Come, that's better!" cried the other Pole, and they both emptied
their glasses at once.
"You're fools, you Panovie," broke suddenly from Mitya.
"Panie!" shouted both the Poles, menacingly, setting on Mitya like
a couple of cocks. Pan Vrublevsky was specially furious.
"Can one help loving one's own country?" he shouted.
"Be silent! Don't quarrel! I won't have any quarrelling!" cried
Grushenka imperiously, and she stamped her foot on the floor. Her face
glowed, her eyes were shining. The effects of the glass she had just
drunk were apparent. Mitya was terribly alarmed.
"Panovie, forgive me! It was my fault, I'm sorry. Vrublevsky,
panie Vrublevsky, I'm sorry."
"Hold your tongue, you, anyway! Sit down, you stupid!".
Grushenka scolded with angry annoyance.
Everyone sat down, all were silent, looking at one another.
"Gentlemen, I was the cause of it all," Mitya began again,
unable to make anything of Grushenka's words. "Come, why are we
sitting here? What shall we do... to amuse ourselves again?"
"Ach, it's certainly anything but amusing!" Kalgonov mumbled
"Let's play faro again, as we did just now," Maximov tittered
"Faro? Splendid!" cried Mitya. "If only the panovie-"
"It's lite, panovie," the Pole on the sofa responded, as it were
"That's true," assented Pan Vrublevsky.
"Lite? What do you mean by 'lite'?" asked Grushenka.
"Late, pani! 'A late hour' I mean," the Pole on the sofa
"It's always late with them. They can never do anything!"
Grushenka almost shrieked in her anger. "They're dull themselves, so
they want others to be dull. Before came, Mitya, they were just as
silent and kept turning up their noses at me."
"My goddess!" cried the Pole on the sofa, "I see you're not
well-disposed to me, that's why I'm gloomy. I'm ready, panie," added
he, addressing Mitya.
"Begin, panie," Mitya assented, pulling his notes out of his
pocket, and laying two hundred-rouble notes on the table. "I want to
lose a lot to you. Take your cards. Make the bank."
"We'll have cards from the landlord, panie," said the little Pole,
gravely and emphatically.
"That's much the best way," chimed in Pan Vrublevsky.
"From the landlord? Very good, I understand, let's get them from
him. Cards!" Mitya shouted to the landlord.
The landlord brought in a new, unopened pack, and informed Mitya
that the girls were getting ready, and that the Jews with the
cymbals would most likely be here soon; but the cart with the
provisions had not yet arrived. Mitya jumped up from the table and ran
into the next room to give orders, but only three girls had arrived,
and Marya was not there yet. And he did not know himself what orders
to give and why he had run out. He only told them to take out of the
box the presents for the girls, the sweets, the toffee and the
fondants. "And vodka for Andrey, vodka for Andrey!" he cried in haste.
"I was rude to Andrey!"
Suddenly Maximov, who had followed him out, touched him on the
"Give me five roubles," he whispered to Mitya. "I'll stake
something at faro, too, he he!"
"Capital! Splendid! Take ten, here!"
Again he took all the notes out of his pocket and picked out one
for ten roubles. "And if you lose that, come again, come again."
"Very good," Maximov whispered joyfully, and he ran back again.
Mitya, too, returned, apologising for having kept them waiting. The
Poles had already sat down, and opened the pack. They looked much more
amiable, almost cordial. The Pole on the sofa had lighted another pipe
and was preparing to throw. He wore an air of solemnity.
"To your places, gentlemen," cried Pan Vrublevsky.
"No, I'm not going to play any more," observed Kalganov, "I've
lost fifty roubles to them just now."
"The pan had no luck, perhaps he'll be lucky this time," the
Pole on the sofa observed in his direction.
"How much in the bank? To correspond?" asked Mitya.
"That's according, panie, maybe a hundred, maybe two hundred, as
much as you will stake."
"A million!" laughed Mitya.
"The Pan Captain has heard of Pan Podvysotsky, perhaps?"
"In Warsaw there was a bank and anyone comes and stakes against
it. Podvysotsky comes, sees a thousand gold pieces, stakes against the
bank. The banker says, 'Panie Podvysotsky, are you laying down the
gold, or must we trust to your honour?' 'To my honour, panie,' says
Podvysotsky. 'So much the better.' The banker throws the dice.
Podvysotsky wins. 'Take it, panie,' says the banker, and pulling out
the drawer he gives him a million. 'Take it, panie, this is your
gain.' There was a million in the bank. 'I didn't know that,' says
Podvysotsky. 'Panie Podvysotsky,' said the banker, 'you pledged your
honour and we pledged ours.' Podvysotsky took the million."
"That's not true," said Kalganov.
"Panie Kalganov, in gentlemanly society one doesn't say such
"As if a Polish gambler would give away a million!" cried Mitya,
but checked himself at once. "Forgive me, panie, it's my fault
again; he would, he would give away a million, for honour, for
Polish honour. You see how I talk Polish, ha ha! Here, I stake ten
roubles, the knave leads."
"And I put a rouble on the queen, the queen of hearts, the
pretty little panienotchka* he! he!" laughed Maximov, pulling out
his queen, and, as though trying to conceal it from everyone, he moved
right up and crossed himself hurriedly under the table. Mitya won. The
rouble won, too.
* Little miss.
"A corner!" cried Mitya.
"I'll bet another rouble, a 'single' stake," Maximov muttered
gleefully, hugely delighted at having won a rouble.
"Lost!" shouted Mitya. "A 'double' on the seven!"
The seven too was trumped.
"Stop!" cried Kalganov suddenly.
"Double! Double!" Mitya doubled his stakes, and each time he
doubled the stake, the card he doubled was trumped by the Poles. The
rouble stakes kept winning.
"On the double!" shouted Mitya furiously.
"You've lost two hundred, panie. Will you stake another
hundred?" the Pole on the sofa inquired.
"What? Lost two hundred already? Then another two hundred! All
doubles!" And pulling his money out of his pocket, Mitya was about
to fling two hundred roubles on the queen, but Kalgonov covered it
with his hand.
"That's enough!" he shouted in his ringing voice.
"What's the matter?" Mitya stared at him.
"That's enough! I don't want you to play anymore. Don't!"
"Because I don't. Hang it, come away. That's why. I won't let
you go on playing."
Mitya gazed at him in astonishment.
"Give it up, Mitya. He may be right. You've lost a lot as it
is," said Grushenka, with a curious note in her voice. Both the
Poles rose from their seats with a deeply offended air.
"Are you joking, panie?" said the short man, looking severely at
"How dare you!" Pan Vrublevsky, too, growled at Kalganov.
"Don't dare to shout like that," cried Grushenka. "Ah, you
Mitya looked at each of them in turn. But something in Grushenka's
face suddenly struck him, and at the same instant something new
flashed into his mind- a strange new thought!
"Pani Agrippina," the little Pole was beginning, crimson with
anger, when Mitya suddenly went up to him and slapped him on the
"Most illustrious, two words with you."cried Grushenka.
"What do you want?"
"In the next room, I've two words to say to you, something
pleasant, very pleasant. You'll be glad to hear it."
The little pan was taken aback and looked apprehensively at Mitya.
He agreed at once, however, on condition that Pan Vrublevsky went with
"The bodyguard? Let him come, and I want him, too. I must have
him!" cried Mitya. "March, panovie!"
"Where are you going?" asked Grushenka, anxiously.
"We'll be back in one moment," answered Mitya.
There was a sort of boldness, a sudden confidence shining in his
eyes. His face had looked very different when he entered the room an
He led the Poles, not into the large room where the chorus of
girls was assembling and the table was being laid, but into the
bedroom on the right, where the trunks and packages were kept, and
there were two large beds, with pyramids of cotton pillows on each.
There was a lighted candle on a small deal table in the corner. The
small man and Mitya sat down to this table, facing each other, while
the huge Vrublevsky stood beside them, his hands behind his back.
The Poles looked severe but were evidently inquisitive.
"What can I do for you, panie?" lisped the little Pole.
"Well, look here, panie, I won't keep you long. There's money
for you," he pulled out his notes. "Would you like three thousand?
Take it and go your way."
The Pole gazed open-eyed at Mitya, with a searching look.
"Three thousand, panie?" He exchanged glances with Vrublevsky.
"Three, panovie, three! Listen, panie, I see you're a sensible
man. Take three thousand and go to the devil, and Vrublevsky with
you d'you hear? But, at once, this very minute, and for ever. You
understand that, panie, for ever. Here's the door, you go out of it.
What have you got there, a great-coat, a fur coat? I'll bring it out
to you. They'll get the horses out directly, and then-good-bye,
Mitya awaited an answer with assurance. He had no doubts. An
expression of extraordinary resolution passed over the Pole's face.
"And the money, panie?"
"The money, panie? Five hundred roubles I'll give you this
moment for the journey, and as a first instalment, and two thousand
five hundred to-morrow, in the town- I swear on my honour, I'll get
it, I'll get it at any cost!" cried Mitya.
The Poles exchanged glances again. The short man's face looked
"Seven hundred, seven hundred, not five hundred, at once, this
minute, cash down!" Mitya added, feeling something wrong. "What's
the matter, panie? Don't you trust me? I can't give you the whole
three thousand straight off. If I give it, you may come back to her
to-morrow.... Besides, I haven't the three thousand with me. I've
got it at home in the town," faltered Mitya, his spirit sinking at
every word he uttered. "Upon my word, the money's there, hidden."
In an instant an extraordinary sense of personal dignity showed
itself in the little man's face.
"What next?" he asked ironically. "For shame!" and he spat on
the floor. Pan Vrublevsky spat too.
"You do that, panie," said Mitya, recognising with despair that
all was over, "because you hope to make more out of Grushenka?
You're a couple of capons, that's what you are!"
"This is a mortal insult!" The little Pole turned as red as a
crab, and he went out of the room, briskly, as though unwilling to
hear another word. Vrublevsky swung out after him, and Mitya followed,
confused and crestfallen. He was afraid of Grushenka, afraid that
the Pan would at once raise an outcry. And so indeed he did. The
Pole walked into the room and threw himself in a theatrical attitude
"Pani Agrippina, I have received a mortal insult!" he exclaimed.
But Grushenka suddenly lost all patience, as though they had wounded
her in the tenderest spot.
"Speak Russian! Speak Russian!" she cried, "not another word of
Polish! You used to talk Russian. You can't have forgotten it in
She was red with passion.
"My name's Agrafena, Grushenka, speak Russian or I won't listen!"
The Pole gasped with offended dignity, and quickly and pompously
delivered himself in broken Russian:
"Pani Agrafena, I came here to forget the past and forgive it,
to forget all that has happened till to-day-"
"Forgive? Came here to forgive me?" Grushenka cut him short,
jumping up from her seat.
"Just so, Pani, I'm not pusillanimous, I'm magnanimous. But I
was astounded when I saw your lovers. Pan Mitya offered me three
thousand, in the other room to depart. I spat in the pan's face."
"What? He offered you money for me?" cried Grushenka,
hysterically. "Is it true, Mitya? How dare you? Am I for sale?"
"Panie, panie!" yelled Mitya, "she's pure and shining, and I
have never been her lover! That's a lie..."
"How dare you defend me to him?" shrieked Grushenka. "It wasn't
virtue kept me pure, and it wasn't that I was afraid of Kuzma, but
that I might hold up my head when I met him, and tell him he's a
scoundrel. And he did actually refuse the money?"
"He took it! He took it!" cried Mitya; "only he wanted to get
the whole three thousand at once, and I could only give him seven
hundred straight off."
"I see: he heard I had money, and came here to marry me!"
"Pani Agrippina!" cried the little Pole. "I'm- a knight, I'm- a
nobleman, and not a lajdak. I came here to make you my wife and I find
you a different woman, perverse and shameless."
"Oh, go back where you came from! I'll tell them to turn you out
and you'll be turned out," cried Grushenka, furious. "I've been a
fool, a fool, to have been miserable these five years! And it wasn't
for his sake, it was my anger made me miserable. And this isn't he
at all! Was he like this? It might be his father! Where did you get
your wig from? He was a falcon, but this is a gander. He used to laugh
and sing to me.... And I've been crying for five years, damned fool,
abject, shameless I was!
She sank back in her low chair and hid her face in her hands. At
that instant the chorus of Mokroe began singing in the room on the
left- a rollicking dance song.
"A regular Sodom!" Vrublevsky roared suddenly. "Landlord, send the
shameless hussies away!"
The landlord, who had been for some time past inquisitively
peeping in at the door, hearing shouts and guessing that his guests
were quarrelling, at once entered the room.
"What are you shouting for? D'you want to split your throat?" he
said, addressing Vrublevsky, with surprising rudeness.
"Animal!" bellowed Pan Vrublevsky.
"Animal? And what sort of cards were you playing with just now?
I gave you a pack and you hid it. You played with marked cards! I
could send you to Siberia for playing with false cards, d'you know
that, for it's just the same as false banknotes...
And going up to the sofa he thrust his fingers between the sofa
back and the cushion, and pulled out an unopened pack of cards.
"Here's my pack unopened!"
He held it up and showed it to all in the room. "From where I
stood I saw him slip my pack away, and put his in place of it-
you're a cheat and not a gentleman!"
"And I twice saw the pan change a card!" cried Kalganov.
"How shameful! How shameful!" exclaimed Grushenka, clasping her
hands, and blushing for genuine shame. "Good Lord, he's come to that!"
"I thought so, too!" said Mitya. But before he had uttered the
words, Vrublevsky, with a confused and infuriated face, shook his fist
at Grushenka, shouting:
"You low harlot!"
Mitya flew at him at once, clutched him in both hands, lifted
him in the air, and in one instant had carried him into the room on
the right, from which they had just come.
"I've laid him on the floor, there," he announced, returning at
once, gasping with excitement. "He's struggling, the scoundrel! But he
won't come back, no fear of that!..."
He closed one half of the folding doors, and holding the other
ajar called out to the little Pole:
"Most illustrious, will you please to retire as well?"
"My dear Dmitri Fyodorovitch," said Trifon Borissovitch, "make
them give you back the money you lost. It's as good as stolen from
"I don't want my fifty roubles back," Kalgonov declared suddenly.
"I don't want my two hundred, either," cried Mitya, "I wouldn't
take it for anything! Let him keep it as a consolation."
"Bravo, Mitya! You're a trump, Mitya!" cried Grushenka, and
there was a note of fierce anger in the exclamation.
The little pan, crimson with fury but still mindful of his
dignity, was making for the door, but he stopped short and said
suddenly, addressing Grushenka:
"Pani, if you want to come with me, come. If not, good-bye."
And swelling with indignation and importance he went to the
door. This was a man of character: he had so good an opinion of
himself that after all that had passed, he still expected that she
would marry him. Mitya slammed the door after him.
"Lock it," said Kalganov. But the key clicked on the other side,
they had locked it from within.
"That's capital!" exclaimed Grushenka relentlessly. "Serve them
WHAT followed was almost an orgy, a feast to which all were
welcome. Grushenka was the first to call for wine.
"I want to drink. I want to be quite drunk, as we were before.
Do you remember, Mitya, do you remember how we made friends here
Mitya himself was almost delirious, feeling that his happiness was
at hand. But Grushenka was continually sending him away from her.
"Go and enjoy yourself. Tell them to dance, to make merry, 'let
the stove and cottage dance'; as we had it last time," she kept
exclaiming. She was tremendously excited. And Mitya hastened to obey
her. The chorus were in the next room. The room in which they had been
sitting till that moment was too small, and was divided in two by
cotton curtains, behind which was a huge bed with a puffy feather
mattress and a pyramid of cotton pillows. In the four rooms for
visitors there were beds. Grushenka settled herself just at the
door. Mitya set an easy chair for her. She had sat in the same place
to watch the dancing and singing "the time before," when they had made
merry there. All the girls who had come had been there then; the
Jewish band with fiddles and zithers had come, too, and at last the
long expected cart had arrived with the wines and provisions.
Mitya bustled about. All sorts of people began coming into the
room to look on, peasants and their women, who had been roused from
sleep and attracted by the hopes of another marvellous entertainment
such as they had enjoyed a month before. Mitya remembered their faces,
greeting and embracing everyone he knew. He uncorked bottles and
poured out wine for everyone who presented himself. Only the girls
were very eager for the champagne. The men preferred rum, brandy, and,
above all, hot punch. Mitya had chocolate made for all the girls,
and ordered that three samovars should be kept boiling all night to
provide tea and punch for everyone to help himself.
An absurd chaotic confusion followed, but Mitya was in his natural
element, and the more foolish it became, the more his spirits rose. If
the peasants had asked him for money at that moment, he would have
pulled out his notes and given them away right and left. This was
probably why the landlord, Trifon Borissovitch, kept hovering about
Mitya to protect him. He seemed to have given up all idea of going
to bed that night; but he drank little, only one glass of punch, and
kept a sharp look-out on Mitya's interests after his own fashion. He
intervened in the nick of time, civilly and obsequiously persuading
Mitya not to give away "cigars and Rhine wine," and, above all,
money to the peasants as he had done before. He was very indignant,
too, at the peasant girls drinking liqueur, and eating sweets.
"They're a lousy lot, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," he said. "I'd give
them a kick, every one of them, and they'd take it as an honour-
that's all they're worth!"
Mitya remembered Andrey again, and ordered punch to be sent out to
him. "I was rude to him just now," he repeated with a sinking,
softened voice. Kalgonov did to drink, and at first did not care for
the girls singing; but after he had drunk a couple of glasses of
champagne he became extraordinarily lively, strolling about the
room, laughing and praising the music and the songs, admiring everyone
and everything. Maximov, blissfully drunk, never left his side.
Grushenka, too, was beginning to get drunk. Pointing to Kalganov,
she said to Mitya:
"What a dear, charming boy he is!"
And Mitya, delighted, ran to kiss Kalgonov and Maximov. Oh,
great were his hopes! She had said nothing yet, and seemed, indeed,
purposely to refrain from speaking. But she looked at him from time to
time with caressing and passionate eyes. At last she suddenly
gripped his hand and drew him vigorously to her. She was sitting at
the moment in the low chair by the door.
"How was it you came just now, eh? Have you walked in!... I was
frightened. So you wanted to give me up to him, did you? Did you
really want to?"
"I didn't want to spoil your happiness!" Mitya faltered
blissfully. But she did not need his answer.
"Well, go and enjoy yourself..." she sent him away once more.
"Don't cry, I'll call you back again."
He would run away and she listened to the singing and looked at
the dancing, though her eyes followed him wherever he went. But in
another quarter of an hour she would call him once more and again he
would run back to her.
"Come, sit beside me, tell me, how did you hear about me, and my
coming here yesterday? From whom did you first hear it?"
And Mitya began telling her all about it, disconnectedly,
incoherently, feverishly. He spoke strangely, often frowning, and
"What are you frowning at?" she asked.
"Nothing.... I left a man ill there. I'd give ten years of my life
for him to get well, to know he was all right!"
"Well, never mind him, if he's ill. So you meant to shoot yourself
to-morrow! What a silly boy! What for? I like such reckless fellows as
you," she lisped, with a rather halting tongue. "So you would go any
length for me, eh? Did you really mean to shoot yourself to-morrow,
you stupid? No, wait a little. To-morrow I may have something to say
to you.... I won't say it to-day, but to-morrow. You'd like it to be
to-day? No, I don't want to to-day. Come, go along now, go and amuse
Once, however, she called him, as it were, puzzled and uneasy.
"Why are you sad? I see you're sad.... Yes, I see it," she
added, looking intently into his eyes. "Though you keep kissing the
peasants and shouting, I see something. No, be merry. I'm merry; you
be merry, too.... I love somebody here. Guess who it is. Ah, look,
my boy has fallen asleep, poor dear, he's drunk."
She meant Kalganov. He was, in fact, drunk, and had dropped asleep
for a moment, sitting on the sofa. But he was not merely drowsy from
drink; he felt suddenly dejected, or, as he said, "bored." He was
intensely depressed by the girls' songs, which, as the drinking went
on, gradually became coarse and more reckless. And the dances were
as bad. Two girls dressed up as bears, and a lively girl, called
Stepanida, with a stick in her hand, acted the part of keeper, and
began to "show them."
"Look alive, Marya, or you'll get the stick!
The bears rolled on the ground at last in the most unseemly
fashion, amid roars of laughter from the closely-packed crowd of men
"Well, let them! Let them!" said Grushenka sententiously, with
an ecstatic expression on her face. "When they do get a day to enjoy
themselves; why shouldn't folks be happy?"
Kalgonov looked as though he had been besmirched with dirt.
"It's swinish, all this peasant foolery," he murmured, moving
away; "it's the game they play when it's light all night in summer."
He particularly disliked one "new" song to a jaunty dance-tune. It
described how a gentleman came and tried his luck with the girls, to
see whether they would love him:
The master came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?
But the girls could not love the master:
He would beat me cruelly
And such love won't do for me.
Then a gypsy comes along and he, too, tries:
The gypsy came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?
But they couldn't love the gypsy either:
He would be a thief, I fear,
And would cause me many a tear.
And many more men come to try their luck, among them a soldier:
The soldier came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?
But the soldier is rejected with contempt, in two indecent
lines, sung with absolute frankness and producing a furore in the
audience. The song ends with a merchant:
The merchant came to try the girls:
Would they love him, would they not?
And it appears that he wins their love because:
The merchant will make gold for me
And his queen I'll gladly be.
Kalgonov was positively indignant.
"That's just a song of yesterday," he said aloud. "Who writes such
things for them? They might just as well have had a railwayman or a
Jew come to try his luck with the girls; they'd have carried all
And, almost as though it were a personal affront, he declared,
on the spot, that he was bored, sat down on the sofa and immediately
fell asleep. His pretty little face looked rather pale, as it fell
back on the sofa cushion.
"Look how pretty he is," said Grushenka, taking Mitya up to him.
"I was combing his hair just now; his hair's like flax, and so
And, bending over him tenderly, she kissed his forehead.
Kalgonov instantly opened his eyes, looked at her, stood up, and
with the most anxious air inquired where was Maximov?
"So that's who it is you want." Grushenka laughed. "Stay with me a
minute. Mitya, run and find his Maximov."
Maximov, it appeared, could not tear himself away from the
girls, only running away from time to time to pour himself out a glass
of liqueur. He had drunk two cups of chocolate. His face was red,
and his nose was crimson; his eyes were moist, and mawkishly
sweet.He ran up and announced that he was going to dance the
"They taught me all those well-bred, aristocratic dances when I
"Go, go with him, Mitya, and I'll watch from here how he
dances," said Grushenka.
"No, no, I'm coming to look on, too," exclaimed Kalganov, brushing
aside in the most naive way Grushenka's offer to sit with him. They
all went to look on. Maximov danced his dance. But it roused no
great admiration in anyone but Mitya. It consisted of nothing but
skipping and hopping, kicking the feet, and at every skip Maximov
slapped the upturned sole of his foot. Kalgonov did not like it at
all, but Mitya kissed the dancer.
"Thanks. You're tired perhaps? What are you looking for here?
Would you like some sweets? A cigar, perhaps?"
"Don't you want a drink?"
"I'll just have a liqueur.... Have you any chocolates?"
"Yes, there's a heap of them on the table there. Choose one, my
"I like one with vanilla... for old people. He he!
"No, brother, we've none of that special sort."
"I say," the old man bent down to whisper in Mitya's ear. "That
girl there, little Marya, he he! How would it be if you were to help
me make friends with her?"
"So that's what you're after! No, brother, that won't do!"
"I'd do no harm to anyone," Maximov muttered disconsolately.
"Oh, all right, all right. They only come here to dance and
sing, you know, brother. But damn it all, wait a bit!... Eat and drink
and be merry, meanwhile. Don't you want money?"
"Later on, perhaps," smiled Maximov.
"All right, all right..."
Mitya's head was burning. He went outside to the wooden balcony
which ran round the whole building on the inner side, overlooking
the courtyard. The fresh air revived him. He stood alone in a dark
corner, and suddenly clutched his head in both hands. His scattered
thoughts came together; his sensations blended into a whole and
threw a sudden light into his mind. A fearful and terrible light!
"If I'm to shoot myself, why not now?" passed through his mind. "Why
not go for the pistols, bring them here, and here, in this dark
dirty corner, make an end?" Almost a minute he undecided. A few
hours earlier, when he had been dashing here, he was pursued by
disgrace, by the theft he had committed, and that blood, that
blood!... But yet it was easier for him then. Then everything was
over: he had lost her, given her up. She was gone, for him- oh, then
his death sentence had been easier for him; at least it had seemed
necessary, inevitable, for what had he to stay on earth for?
But now? Was it the same as then? Now one phantom, one terror at
least was at an end: that first, rightful lover, that fateful figure
had vanished, leaving no trace. The terrible phantom had turned into
something so small, so comic; it had been carried into the bedroom and
locked in. It would never return. She was ashamed, and from her eyes
he could see now whom she loved. Now he had everything to make life
happy... but he could not go on living, he could not; oh, damnation!
"O God! restore to life the man I knocked down at the fence! Let
this fearful cup pass from me! Lord, thou hast wrought miracles for
such sinners as me! But what, what if the old man's alive? Oh, then
the shame of the other disgrace I would wipe away. I would restore the
stolen money. I'd give it back; I'd get it somehow.... No trace of
that shame will remain except in my heart for ever! But no, no; oh,
impossible cowardly dreams! Oh, damnation!"
Yet there was a ray of light and hope in his darkness. He jumped
up and ran back to the room- to her, to her, his queen for ever! Was
not one moment of her love worth all the rest of life, even in the
agonies of disgrace? This wild question clutched at his heart. "To
her, to her alone, to see her, to hear her, to think of nothing, to
forget everything, if only for that night, for an hour, for a moment!"
Just as he turned from the balcony into the passage, he came upon
the landlord, Trifon Borissovitch. He thought he looked gloomy and
worried, and fancied he had come to find him.
"What is it, Trifon Borissovitch? Are you looking for me?"
"No, sir," The landlord seemed disconcerted. "Why should I be
looking for you? Where have you been?"
"Why do you look so glum? You're not angry, are you? Wait a bit,
you shall soon get to bed.... What's the time?"
"It'll be three o'clock. Past three, it must be."
"We'll leave off soon. We'll leave off."
"Don't mention it; it doesn't matter. Keep it up as long as you
"What's the matter with him?" Mitya wondered for an instant, and
he ran back to the room where the girls were dancing. But she was
not there. She was not in the blue room either; there was no one but
Kalgonov asleep on the sofa. Mitya peeped behind the curtain- she
was there. She was sitting in the corner, on a trunk. Bent forward,
with her head and arms on the bed close by, she was crying bitterly,
doing her utmost to stifle her sobs that she might not be heard.
Seeing Mitya, she beckoned him to her, and when he ran to her, she
grasped his hand tightly.
"Mitya, Mitya, I loved him, you know. How I have loved him these
five years, all that time! Did I love him or only my own anger? No,
him, him! It's a lie that it was my anger I loved and not him.
Mitya, I was only seventeen then; he was so kind to me, so merry; he
used to sing to me.... Or so it seemed to a silly girl like me.... And
now, O Lord, it's not the same man. Even his face is not the same;
he's different altogether. I shouldn't have known him. I drove here
with Timofey, and all the way I was thinking how I should meet him,
what I should say to him, how we should look at one another. My soul
was faint, and all of a sudden it was just as though he had emptied
a pail of dirty water over me. He talked to me like a schoolmaster,
all so grave and learned; he met me so solemnly that I was struck
dumb. I couldn't get a word in. At first I thought he was ashamed to
talk before his great big Pole. I sat staring at him and wondering why
I couldn't say a word to him now. It must have been his wife that
ruined him; you know he threw me up to get married. She must have
changed him like that. Mitya, how shameful it is! Oh, Mitya, I'm
ashamed, I'm ashamed for all my life. Curse it, curse it, curse
those five years!"
And again she burst into tears, but clung tight to Mitya's hand
and did not let it go.
"Mitya, darling, stay, don't go away. I want to say one word to
you," she whispered, and suddenly raised her face to him. "Listen,
tell me who it is I love? I love one man here. Who is that man? That's
what you must tell me."
A smile lighted up her face that was swollen with weeping, and her
eyes shone in the half darkness.
"A falcon flew in, and my heart sank. "Fool! that's the man you
love!' That was what my heart whispered to me at once. You came in and
all grew bright. What's he afraid of? I wondered. For you were
frightened; you couldn't speak. It's not them he's afraid of- could
you be frightened of anyone? It's me he's afraid of, I thought, only
me. So Fenya told you, you little stupid, how I called to Alyosha
out of the window that I'd loved Mityenka for one hour, and that I was
going now to love... another. Mitya, Mitya, how could I be such a fool
as to think I could love anyone after you? Do you forgive me, Mitya?
Do you forgive me or not? Do you love me? Do you love me?" She
jumped up and held him with both hands on his shoulders. Mitya, dumb
with rapture, gazed into her eyes, at her face, at her smile, and
suddenly clasped her tightly his arms and kissed her passionately.
"You will forgive me for having tormented you? It was through
spite I tormented you all. It was for spite I drove the old man out of
his mind.... Do you remember how you drank at my house one day and
broke the wine-glass? I remembered that and I broke a glass to-day and
drank 'to my vile heart.' Mitya, my falcon, why don't you kiss me?
He kissed me once, and now he draws back and looks and listens. Why
listen to me? Kiss me, kiss me hard, that's right. if you love,
well, then, love! I'll be your slave now, your slave for the rest of
my life. It's sweet to be a slave. Kiss me! Beat me, ill-treat me,
do what you will with me.... And I do deserve to suffer. Stay, wait,
afterwards, I won't have that..." she suddenly thrust him away. "Go
along, Mitya, I'll come and have some wine, I want to be drunk, I'm
going to get drunk and dance; I must, I must!" She tore herself away
from him and disappeared behind the curtain. Mitya followed like a
"Yes, come what may- whatever may happen now, for one minute I'd
give the whole world," he thought. Grushenka did, in fact, toss off
a whole glass of champagne at one gulp, and became at once very tipsy.
She sat down in the same chair as before, with a blissful smile on her
face. Her cheeks were glowing, her lips were burning, her flashing
eyes were moist; there was passionate appeal in her eyes. Even
Kalgonov felt a stir at the heart and went up to her.
"Did you feel how I kissed you when you were asleep just now?" she
said thickly. "I'm drunk now, that's what it is.... And aren't you
drunk? And why isn't Mitya drinking? Why don't you drink, Mitya? I'm
drunk, and you don't drink..."
"I am drunk! I'm drunk as it is... drunk with you... and now
I'll be drunk with wine, too."
He drank off another glass, and- he thought it strange himself-
that glass made him completely drunk. He was suddenly drunk,
although till that moment he had been quite sober, he remembered that.
From that moment everything whirled about him, as though he were
delirious. He walked, laughed, talked to everybody, without knowing
what he was doing. Only one persistent burning sensation made itself
felt continually, "like a red-hot coal in his heart," he said
afterwards. He went up to her, sat beside her, gazed at her,
listened to her.... She became very talkative, kept calling everyone
to her, and beckoned to different girls out of the chorus. When the
girl came up, she either kissed her, or made the sign of the cross
over her. In another minute she might have cried. She was greatly
amused by the "little old man," as she called Maximov. He ran up every
minute to kiss her hands, each little finger," and finally he danced
another dance to an old song, which he sang himself. He danced with
special vigour to the refrain:
The little pig says- umph! umph! umph!
The little calf says- moo, moo, moo,
The little duck says- quack, quack, quack,
The little goose says- ga, ga, ga.
The hen goes strutting through the porch;
Troo-roo-roo-roo-roo, she'll say,
Troo-roo-roo-roo-roo, she'll say!
"Give him something, Mitya," said Grushenka. "Give him a
present, he's poor, you know. Ah, the poor, the insulted!... Do you
know, Mitya, I shall go into a nunnery. No, I really shall one day.
Alyosha said something to me to-day that I shall remember all my
life.... Yes.... But to-day let us dance. To-morrow to the nunnery,
but to-day we'll dance. I want to play to-day, good people, and what
of it? God will forgive us. If I were God, I'd forgive everyone: 'My
dear sinners, from this day forth I forgive you.' I'm going to beg
forgiveness: 'Forgive me, good people, a silly wench.' I'm a beast,
that's what I am. But I want to pray. I gave a little onion. Wicked as
I've been, I want to pray. Mitya, let them dance, don't stop them.
Everyone in the world is good. Everyone- even the worst of them. The
world's a nice place. Though we're bad the world's all right. We're
good and bad, good and bad.... Come, tell me, I've something to ask
you: come here everyone, and I'll ask you: Why am I so good? You
know I am good. I'm very good.... Come, why am I so good?"
So Grushenka babbled on, getting more and more drunk. At last
she announced that she was going to dance, too. She got up from her
chair, staggering. "Mitya, don't give me any more wine- if I ask
you, don't give it to me. Wine doesn't give peace. Everything's
going round, the stove, and everything. I want to dance. Let
everyone see how I dance... let them see how beautifully I dance..."
She really meant it. She pulled a white cambric handkerchief out
of her pocket, and took it by one corner in her right hand, to wave it
in the dance. Mitya ran to and fro, the girls were quiet, and got
ready to break into a dancing song at the first signal. Maximov,
hearing that Grushenka wanted to dance, squealed with delight, and ran
skipping about in front of her, humming:
With legs so slim and sides so trim
And its little tail curled tight.
But Grushenka waved her handkerchief at him and drove him away.
"Sh-h! Mitya, why don't they come? Let everyone come... to look
on. Call them in, too, that were locked in.... Why did you lock them
in? Tell them I'm going to dance. Let them look on, too..."
Mitya walked with a drunken swagger to the locked door, and
began knocking to the Poles with his fist.
"Hi, you... Podvysotskis! Come, she's going to dance. She calls
"Lajdak!" one of the Poles shouted in reply.
"You're a lajdak yourself! You're a little scoundrel, that's
what you are."
"Leave off laughing at Poland," said Kalganov sententiously. He
too was drunk.
"Be quiet, boy! If I call him a scoundrel, it doesn't mean that
I called all Poland so. One lajdak doesn't make a Poland. Be quiet, my
pretty boy, eat a sweetmeat."
"Ach, what fellows! As though they were not men. Why won't they
make friends?" said Grushenka, and went forward to dance. The chorus
broke into "Ah, my porch, my new porch!" Grushenka flung back her
head, half opened her lips, smiled, waved her handkerchief, and
suddenly, with a violent lurch, stood still in the middle of the room,
"I'm weak..." she said in an exhausted voice. "Forgive me....
I'm weak, I can't.... I'm sorry."
She bowed to the chorus, and then began bowing in all directions.
"I'm sorry.... Forgive me..."
"The lady's been drinking. The pretty lady has been drinking,"
voices were heard saying.
"The lady's drunk too much," Maximov explained to the girls,
"Mitya, lead me away... take me," said Grushenka helplessly. Mitya
pounced on her, snatched her up in his arms, and carried the
precious burden through the curtains.
"Well, now I'll go," thought Kalganov, and walking out of the blue
room, he closed the two halves of the door after him. But the orgy
in the larger room went on and grew louder and louder. Mitya laid
Grushenka on the bed and kissed her on the lips.
"Don't touch me..." she faltered, in an imploring voice. "Don't
touch me, till I'm yours.... I've told you I'm yours, but don't
touch me... spare me.... With them here, with them close, you mustn't.
He's here. It's nasty here..."
"I'll obey you! I won't think of it... I worship you!" muttered
Mitya. "Yes, it's nasty here, it's abominable."
And still holding her in his arms, he sank on his knees by the
"I know, though you're a brute, you're generous," Grushenka
articulated with difficulty. "It must be honourable... it shall be
honourable for the future... and let us be honest, let us be good, not
brutes, but good... take me away, take me far away, do you hear? I
don't want it to be here, but far, far away..."
"Oh, yes, yes, it must be!" said Mitya, pressing her in his
arms. "I'll take you and we'll fly away.... Oh, I'd give my whole life
for one year only to know about that blood!"
"What blood?" asked Grushenka, bewildered.
"Nothing," muttered Mitya, through his teeth. "Grusha, you
wanted to be honest, but I'm a thief. But I've stolen money from
Katya.... Disgrace, a disgrace!"
"From Katya, from that young lady? No, you didn't steal it. Give
it back to her, take it from me.... Why make a fuss? Now everything of
mine is yours. What does money matter? We shall waste it anyway....
Folks like us are bound to waste money. But we'd better go and work
the land. I want to dig the earth with my own hands. We must work,
do you hear? Alyosha said so. I won't be your mistress, I'll be
faithful to you, I'll be your slave, I'll work for you. We'll go to
the young lady and bow down to her together, so that she may forgive
us, and then we'll go away. And if she won't forgive us, we'll go,
anyway. Take her money and love me.... Don't love her.... Don't love
her any more. If you love her, I shall strangle her.... I'll put out
both her eyes with a needle..."
"I love you. love only you. I'll love you in Siberia..."
"Why Siberia? Never mind, Siberia, if you like. I don't care...
we'll work... there's snow in Siberia.... I love driving in the
snow... and must have bells.... Do you hear, there's a bell ringing?
Where is that bell ringing? There are people coming.... Now it's
She closed her eyes, exhausted, and suddenly fell asleep for an
instant. There had certainly been the sound of a bell in the distance,
but the ringing had ceased. Mitya let his head sink on her breast.
He did not notice that the bell had ceased ringing, nor did he
notice that the songs had ceased, and that instead of singing and
drunken clamour there was absolute stillness in the house. Grushenka
opened her eyes.
"What's the matter? Was I asleep? Yes... a bell... I've been
asleep and dreamt I was driving over the snow with bells, and I dozed.
I was with someone I loved, with you. And far, far away. I was holding
you and kissing you, nestling close to you. I was cold, and the snow
glistened.... You know how the snow glistens at night when the moon
shines. It was as though I was not on earth. I woke up, and my dear
one is close to me. How sweet that is!..."
"Close to you," murmured Mitya, kissing her dress, her bosom,
her hands. And suddenly he had a strange fancy: it seemed to him
that she was looking straight before her, not at him, not into his
face, but over his head, with an intent, almost uncanny fixity. An
expression of wonder, almost of alarm, came suddenly into her face.
"Mitya, who is that looking at us?" she whispered.
Mitya turned, and saw that someone had, in fact, parted the
curtains and seemed to be watching them. And not one person alone,
He jumped up and walked quickly to the intruder.
"Here, come to us, come here," said a voice, speaking not
loudly, but firmly and peremptorily.
Mitya passed to the other side of the curtain and stood stock
still. The room was filled with people, but not those who had been
there before. An instantaneous shiver ran down his back, and he
shuddered. He recognised all those people instantly. That tall,
stout old man in the overcoat and forage-cap with a cockade- was the
police captain, Mihail Makarovitch. And that "consumptive-looking"
trim dandy,"who always has such polished boots"- that was the deputy
prosecutor. "He has a chronometer worth four hundred roubles; he
showed it to me." And that small young man in spectacles.... Mitya
forgot his surname though he knew him, had seen him: he was the
"investigating lawyer," from the "school of jurisprudence," who had
only lately come to the town. And this man- the inspector of police,
Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, a man he knew well. And those fellows with
the brass plates on, why are they here? And those other two...
peasants.... And there at the door Kalganov with Trifon
"Gentlemen! What's this for, gentlemen?" began Mitya, but
suddenly, as though beside himself, not knowing what he was doing,
he cried aloud, at the top of his voice:
The young man in spectacles moved forward suddenly, and stepping
up to Mitya, began with dignity, though hurriedly:
"We have to make... in brief, I beg you to come this way, this way
to the sofa.... It is absolutely imperative that you should give an
"The old man!" cried Mitya frantically. "The old man and his
blood!... I understand."
And he sank, almost fell, on a chair close by, as though he had
been mown down by a scythe.
"You understand? He understands it! Monster and parricide! Your
father's blood cries out against you!" the old captain of police
roared suddenly, stepping up to Mitya.
He was beside himself, crimson in the face and quivering all over.
"This is impossible!" cried the small young man. "Mihail
Makarovitch, Mihail Makarovitch, this won't do!... I beg you'll
allow me to speak. I should never have expected such behaviour from
"This is delirium, gentlemen, raving delirium," cried the
captain of police; "look at him: drunk, at this time of night, in
the company of a disreputable woman, with the blood of his father on
his hands.... It's delirium!..."
"I beg you most earnestly, dear Mihail Makarovitch, to restrain
your feelings," the prosecutor said in a rapid whisper to the old
police captain, "or I shall be forced to resort to- "
But the little lawyer did not allow him to finish. He turned to
Mitya, and delivered himself in a loud, firm, dignified voice:
"Ex-Lieutenant Karamazov, it is my duty to inform you that you are
charged with the murder of your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov,
perpetrated this night..."
He said something more, and the prosecutor, too, put in something,
but though Mitya heard them he did not understand them. He stared at
them all with wild eyes.
The Preliminary Investigation
The Beginning of Perhotin's Official Career
PYOTR ILYITCH PERHOTIN, whom we left knocking at the strong locked
gates of the widow Morozov's house, ended, of course, by making
himself heard. Fenya, who was still excited by the fright she had
had two hours before, and too much "upset" to go to bed, was almost
frightened into hysterics on hearing the furious knocking at the gate.
Though she had herself seen him drive away, she fancied that it must
be Dmitri Fyodorovitch knocking again, no one else could knock so
savagely. She ran to the house-porter, who had already waked up and
gone out to the gate, and began imploring him not to open it. But
having questioned Pyotr Ilyitch, and learned that he wanted to see
Fenya on very "important business," the man made up his mind at last
to open. Pyotr Ilyitch was admitted into Fenya's kitchen, but the girl
begged him to allow the houseporter to be present, "because of her
misgivings." He began questioning her and at once learnt the most
vital fact, that is, that when Dmitri Fyodorovitch had run out to look
for Grushenka, he had snatched up a pestle from the mortar, and that
when he returned, the pestle was not with him and his hands were
smeared with blood.
"And the blood was simply flowing, dripping from him, dripping!"
Fenya kept exclaiming. This horrible detail was simply the product
of her disordered imagination. But although not "dripping," Pyotr
Ilyitch had himself seen those hands stained with blood, and had
helped to wash them. Moreover, the question he had to decide was,
not how soon the blood had dried, but where Dmitri Fyodorovitch had
run with the pestle, or rather, whether it really was to Fyodor
Pavlovitch's, and how he could satisfactorily ascertain. Pyotr Ilyitch
persisted in returning to this point, and though he found out
nothing conclusive, yet he carried away a conviction that Dmitri
Fyodorovitch could have gone nowhere but to his father's house, and
that, therefore, something must have happened there.
"And when he came back," Fenya added with excitement. "I told
him the whole story, and then I began asking him, 'Why have you got
blood on your hands, Dmitri Fyodorovitch?' and he answered that that
was human blood, and that he had just killed someone. He confessed
it all to me, and suddenly ran off like a madman. I sat down and began
thinking, where's he run off to now like a madman? He'll go to Mokroe,
I thought, and kill my mistress there. I ran out to beg him not to
kill her. I was running to his lodgings, but I looked at Plotnikov's
shop, and saw him just setting off, and there was no blood on his
hands then." (Fenya had noticed this and remembered it.) Fenya's old
grandmother confirmed her evidence as far as she was capable. After
asking some further questions, Pyotr Ilyitch left the house, even more
upset and uneasy than he had been when he entered it.
The most direct and the easiest thing for him to do would have
been to go straight to Fyodor Pavlovitch's, to find out whether
anything had happened there, and if so, what; and only to go to the
police captain, as Pyotr Ilyitch firmly intended doing, when he had
satisfied himself of the fact. But the night was dark, Fyodor
Pavlovitch's gates were strong, and he would have to knock again.
His acquaintance with Fyodor Pavlovitch was of the slightest, and what
if, after he had been knocking, they opened to him, and nothing had
happened? Fyodor Pavlovitch in his jeering way would go telling the
story all over the town, how a stranger, called Perhotin, had broken
in upon him at midnight to ask if anyone had killed him. It would make
a scandal. And scandal was what Pyotr Ilyitch dreaded more than
anything in the world.
Yet the feeling that possessed him was so strong, that though he
stamped his foot angrily and swore at himself, he set off again, not
to Fyodor Pavlovitch's but to Madame Hohlakov's. He decided that if
she denied having just given Dmitri Fyodorovitch three thousand
roubles, he would go straight to the police captain, but if she
admitted having given him the money, he would go home and let the
matter rest till next morning.
It is, of course, perfectly evident that there was even more
likelihood of causing scandal by going at eleven o'clock at night to a
fashionable lady, a complete stranger, and perhaps rousing her from
her bed to ask her an amazing question, than by going to Fyodor
Pavlovitch. But that is just how it is, sometimes, especially in cases
like the present one, with the decisions of the most precise and
phlegmatic people. Pyotr Ilyitch was by no means phlegmatic at that
moment. He remembered all his life how a haunting uneasiness gradually
gained possession of him, growing more and more painful and driving
him on, against his will. Yet he kept cursing himself, of course,
all the way for going to this lady, but "I will get to the bottom of
it, I will!" he repeated for the tenth time, grinding his teeth, and
he carried out his intention.
It was exactly eleven o'clock when he entered Madame Hohlakov's
house. He was admitted into the yard pretty quickly, but, in
response to his inquiry whether the lady was still up, the porter
could give no answer, except that she was usually in bed by that time.
"Ask at the top of the stairs. If the lady wants to receive you,
she'll receive you. If she won't, she won't."
Pyotr Ilyitch went up, but did not find things so easy here. The
footman was unwilling to take in his name, but finally called a
maid. Pyotr Ilyitch politely but insistently begged her to inform
her lady that an official, living in the town, called Perhotin, had
called on particular business, and that if it were not of the greatest
importance he would not have ventured to come. "Tell her in those
words, in those words exactly," he asked the girl.
She went away. He remained waiting in the entry. Madame Hohlakov
herself was already in her bedroom, though not yet asleep. She had
felt upset ever since Mitya's visit, and had a presentiment that she
would not get through the night without the sick headache which
always, with her, followed such excitement. She was surprised on
hearing the announcement from the maid. She irritably declined to
see him, however, though the unexpected visit at such an hour, of an
"official living in the town," who was a total stranger, roused her
feminine curiosity intensely. But this time Pyotr Ilyitch was as
obstinate as a mule. He begged the maid most earnestly to take another
message in these very words:
"That he had come on business of the greatest importance, and that
Madame Hohlakov might have cause to regret it later, if she refused to
see him now."
"I plunged headlong," he described it afterwards.
The maid, gazing at him in amazement, went to take his message
again. Madame Hohlakov was impressed. She thought a little, asked what
he looked like, and learned that he was very well dressed, young,
and so polite." We may note, parenthetically, that Pyotr Ilyitch was a
rather good-looking young man, and well aware of the fact. Madame
Hohlakov made up her mind to see him. She was in her dressing-gown and
slippers, but she flung a black shawl over her shoulders. "The
official" was asked to walk into the drawing-room, the very room in
which Mitya had been received shortly before. The lady came to meet
her visitor, with a sternly inquiring countenance, and, without asking
him to sit down, began at once with the question:
"What do you want?"
"I have ventured to disturb you, madam, on a matter concerning our
common acquaintance, Dmitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov," Perhotin began.
But he had hardly uttered the name, when the lady's face showed
signs of acute irritation. She almost shrieked, and interrupted him in
"How much longer am I to be worried by that awful man?" she
cried hysterically. "How dare you, sir, how could you venture to
disturb a lady who is a stranger to you, in her own house at such an
hour!... And to force yourself upon her to talk of a man who came
here, to this very drawing-room, only three hours ago, to murder me,
and went stamping out of the room, as no one would go out of a
decent house. Let me tell you, sir, that I shall lodge a complaint
against you, that I will not let it pass. Kindly leave me at once... I
am a mother.... I... I-"
"Murder! then he tried to murder you, too?"
"Why, has he killed somebody else?" Madame Hohlakov asked
"If you would kindly listen, madam, for half a moment, I'll
explain it all in a couple of words," answered Perhotin, firmly. "At
five o'clock this afternoon Dmitri Fyodorovitch borrowed ten roubles
from me, and I know for a fact he had no money. Yet at nine o'clock,
he came to see me with a bundle of hundred-rouble notes in his hand,
about two or three thousand roubles. His hands and face were all
covered with blood, and he looked like a madman. When I asked him
where he had got so much money, he answered that he had just
received it from you, that you had given him a sum of three thousand
to go to the gold mines..."
Madame Hohlakov's face assumed an expression of intense and
"Good God! He must have killed his old father!" she cried,
clasping her hands. "I have never given him money, never! Oh, run,
run!... Don't say another word Save the old man... run to his
"Excuse me, madam, then you did not give him money? You remember
for a fact that you did not give him any money?"
"No, I didn't, I didn't! I refused to give it him, for he could
not appreciate it. He ran out in a fury, stamping. He rushed at me,
but I slipped away.... And let me tell you, as I wish to hide
nothing from you now, that he positively spat at me. Can you fancy
that! But why are we standing? Ah, sit down."
"Excuse me, I..."
"Or better run, run, you must run and save the poor old man from
an awful death!"
"But if he has killed him already?"
"Ah, good heavens, yes! Then what are we to do now? What do you
think we must do now?"
Meantime she had made Pyotr Ilyitch sit down and sat down herself,
facing him briefly, but fairly clearly, Pyotr Ilyitch told her the
history of the affair, that part of it at least which he had himself
witnessed. He described, too, his visit to Fenya, and told her about
the pestle. All these details produced an overwhelming effect on the
distracted lady, who kept uttering shrieks, and covering her face with
"Would you believe it, I foresaw all this! I have that special
faculty, whatever I imagine comes to pass. And how often I've looked
at that awful man and always thought, that man will end by murdering
me. And now it's happened... that is, if he hasn't murdered me, but
only his own father, it's only because the finger of God preserved me,
and what's more, he was ashamed to murder me because, in this very
place, I put the holy ikon from the relics of the holy martyr, Saint
Varvara, on his neck.... And to think how near I was to death at
that minute I went close up to him and he stretched out his neck to
me!... Do you know, Pyotr Ilyitch (I think you said your name was
Pyotr Ilyitch), I don't believe in miracles, but that ikon and this
unmistakable miracle with me now- that shakes me, and I'm ready to
believe in anything you like. Have you heard about Father
Zossima?... But I don't know what I'm saying... and only fancy, with
the ikon on his neck he spat at me.... He only spat, it's true, he
didn't murder me and... he dashed away! But what shall we do, what
must we do now? What do you think?"
Pyotr Ilyitch got up, and announced that he was going straight
to the police captain, to tell him all about it, and leave him to do
what he thought fit.
"Oh, he's an excellent man, excellent! Mihail Makarovitch, I
know him. Of course, he's the person to go to. How practical you
are, Pyotr Ilyitch! How well you've thought of everything! I should
never have thought of it in your place!"
"Especially as I know the police captain very well, too," observed
Pyotr Ilyitch, who still continued to stand, and was obviously anxious
to escape as quickly as possible from the impulsive lady, who would
not let him say good-bye and go away.
"And be sure, be sure," she prattled on, "to come back and tell me
what you see there, and what you find out... what comes to light...
how they'll try him... and what he's condemned to.... Tell me, we have
no capital punishment, have we? But be sure to come, even if it's at
three o'clock at night, at four, at half-past four.... Tell them to
wake me, to wake me, to shake me, if I don't get up.... But, good
heavens, I shan't sleep! But wait, hadn't I better come with you?"
"N-no. But if you would write three lines with your own hand,
stating that you did not give Dmitri Fyodorovitch money, it might,
perhaps, be of use... in case it's needed..."
"To be sure!" Madame Hohlakov skipped, delighted, to her bureau.
"And you know I'm simply struck, amazed at your resourcefulness,
your good sense in such affairs. Are you in the service here? I'm
delighted to think that you're in the service here!"
And still speaking, she scribbled on half a sheet of notepaper the
I've never in my life lent to that unhappy man, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch Karamazov (for, in spite of all, he is unhappy), three
thousand roubles to-day. I've never given him money, never: That I
swear by all thats holy!
"Here's the note!" she turned quickly to Pyotr Ilyitch. "Go,
save him. It's a noble deed on your part!"
And she made the sign of the cross three times over him. She ran
out to accompany him to the passage.
"How grateful I am to you! You can't think how grateful I am to
you for having come to me, first. How is it I haven't met you
before? I shall feel flattered at seeing you at my house in the
future. How delightful it is that you are living here!... Such
precision! Such practical ability!... They must appreciate you, they
must understand you. If there's anything I can do, believe me... oh, I
love young people! I'm in love with young people! The younger
generation are the one prop of our suffering country. Her one hope....
Oh, go, go!..."
But Pyotr Ilyitch had already run away or she would not have let
him go so soon. Yet Madame Hohlakov had made a rather agreeable
impression on him, which had somewhat softened his anxiety at being
drawn into such an unpleasant affair. Tastes differ, as we all know.
"She's by no means so elderly," he thought, feeling pleased, "on the
contrary I should have taken her for her daughter."
As for Madame Hohlakov, she was simply enchanted by the young man.
"Such sence such exactness! in so young a man! in our day! and all
that with such manners and appearance! People say the young people
of to-day are no good for anything, but here's an example!" etc. So
she simply forgot this "dreadful affair," and it was only as she was
getting into bed, that, suddenly recalling "how near death she had
been," she exclaimed: "Ah, it is awful, awful!"
But she fell at once into a sound, sweet sleep.
I would not, however, have dwelt on such trivial and irrelevant
details, if this eccentric meeting of the young official with the by
no means elderly widow had not subsequently turned out to be the
foundation of the whole career of that practical and precise young
man. His story is remembered to this day with amazement in our town,
and I shall perhaps have something to say about it, when I have
finished my long history of the Brothers Karamazov.
OUR police captain, Mihail Makarovitch Makarov, a retired
lieutenant-colonel, was a widower and an excellent man. He had only
come to us three years previously, but had won general esteem, chiefly
because he "knew how to keep society together." He was never without
visitors, and could not have got on without them. Someone or other was
always dining with him; he never sat down to table without guests.
He gave regular dinners, too, on all sorts of occasions, sometimes
most surprising ones. Though the fare was not recherche, it was
abundant. The fish-pies were excellent, and the wine made up in
quantity for what it lacked in quality.
The first room his guests entered was a well fitted billiard-room,
with pictures of English race horses, in black frames on the walls, an
essential decoration, as we all know, for a bachelor's
billiard-room. There was card playing every evening at his house, if
only at one table. But at frequent intervals, all the society of our
town, with the mammas and young ladies, assembled at his house to
dance. Mihail Makarovitch was a widower, he did not live alone. His
widowed daughter lived with him, with her two unmarried daughters,
grown-up girls, who had finished their education. They were of
agreeable appearance and lively character, and though everyone knew
they would have no dowry, they attracted all the young men of
fashion to their grandfather's house.
Mihail Makarovitch was by no means very efficient in his work,
though he performed his duties no worse than many others. To speak
plainly, he was a man of rather narrow education. His understanding of
the limits of his administrative power could not always be relied
upon. It was not so much that he failed to grasp certain reforms
enacted during the present reign, as that he made conspicuous blunders
in his interpretation of them. This was not from any special lack of
intelligence, but from carelessness, for he was always in to great a
hurry to go into the subject.
"I have the heart of a soldier rather than of a civilian," he used
to say of himself. He had not even formed a definite idea of the
fundamental principles of the reforms connected with the
emancipation of the serfs, and only picked it up, so to speak, from
year to year, involuntarily increasing his knowledge by practice.
And yet he was himself a landowner. Pyotr Ilyitch knew for certain
that he would meet some of Mihail Makarovitch's visitors there that
evening, but he didn't know which. As it happened, at that moment
the prosecutor, and Varvinsky, our district doctor, a young man, who
had only just come to us from Petersburg after taking a brilliant
degree at the Academy of Medicine, were playing whist at the police
captain's. Ippolit Kirillovitch, the prosecutor (he was really the
deputy prosecutor, but we always called him the prosecutor), was
rather a peculiar man, of about five and thirty, inclined to be
consumptive, and married to a fat and childless woman. He was vain and
irritable, though he had a good intellect, and even a kind heart. It
seemed that all that was wrong with him was that he had a better
opinion of himself than his ability warranted. And that made him
seem constantly uneasy. He had, moreover, certain higher, even
artistic, leanings, towards psychology, for instance, a special
study of the human heart, a special knowledge of the criminal and
his crime. He cherished a grievance on this ground, considering that
he had been passed over in the service, and being firmly persuaded
that in higher spheres he had not been properly appreciated, and had
enemies. In gloomy moments he even threatened to give up his post, and
practise as a barrister in criminal cases. The unexpected Karamazov
case agitated him profoundly: "It was a case that might well be talked
about all over Russia." But I am anticipating.
Nikolay Parfenovitch Nelyudov, the young investigating lawyer, who
had only come from Petersburg two months before, was sitting in the
next room with the young ladies. People talked about it afterwards and
wondered that all the gentlemen should, as though intentionally, on
the evening of "the crime" have been gathered together at the house of
the executive authority. Yet it was perfectly simple and happened
Ippolit Kirillovitch's wife had had toothache for the last two
days, and he was obliged to go out to escape from her groans. The
doctor, from the very nature of his being, could not spend an
evening except at cards. Nikolay Parfenovitch Nelyudov had been
intending for three days past to drop in that evening at Mihail
Makarovitch's, so to speak casually, so as slyly to startle the eldest
granddaughter, Olga Mihailovna, by showing that he knew her secret,
that he knew it was her birthday, and that she was trying to conceal
it on purpose, so as not to be obliged to give a dance. He anticipated
a great deal of merriment, many playful jests about her age, and her
being afraid to reveal it, about his knowing her secret and telling
everybody, and so on. The charming young man was a great adept at such
teasing; the ladies had christened him "the naughty man," and he
seemed to be delighted at the name. He was extremely well-bred,
however, of good family, education and feelings, and, though leading a
life of pleasure, his sallies were always innocent and in good
taste. He was short, and delicate-looking. On his white, slender,
little fingers he always wore a number of big, glittering rings.
When he was engaged in his official duties, he always became
extraordinarily grave, as though realising his position and the
sanctity of the obligations laid upon him. He had a special gift for
mystifying murderers and other criminals of the peasant class during
interrogation, and if he did not win their respect, he certainly
succeeded in arousing their wonder.
Pyotr Ilyitch was simply dumbfounded when he went into the
police captain's. He saw instantly that everyone knew. They had
positively thrown down their cards, all were standing up and
talking. Even Nikolay Parfenovitch had left the young ladies and run
in, looking strenuous and ready for action. Pyotr Ilyitch was met with
the astounding news that old Fyodor Pavlovitch really had been
murdered that evening in his own house, murdered and robbed. The
news had only just reached them in the following manner:
Marfa Ignatyevna, the wife of old Grigory, who had been knocked
senseless near the fence, was sleeping soundly in her bed and might
well have slept till morning after the draught she had taken. But, all
of a sudden she waked up, no doubt roused by a fearful epileptic
scream from Smerdyakov, who was lying in the next room unconscious.
That scream always preceded his fits, and always terrified and upset
Marfa Ignatyevna. She could never get accustomed to it. She jumped
up and ran half-awake to Smerdyakov's room. But it was dark there, and
she could only hear the invalid beginning to gasp and struggle. Then
Marfa Ignatyevna herself screamed out and was going to call her
husband, but suddenly realised that when she had got up, he was not
beside her in bed. She ran back to the bedstead and began groping with
her hands, but the bed was really empty. Then he must have gone out
where? She ran to the steps and timidly called him. She got no answer,
of course, but she caught the sound of groans far away in the garden
in the darkness. She listened. The groans were repeated, and it was
evident they came from the garden.
"Good Lord! just as it was with Lizaveta Smerdyashtchaya!" she
thought distractedly. She went timidly down the steps and saw that the
gate into the garden was open.
"He must be out there, poor dear," she thought. She went up to the
gate and all at once she distinctly heard Grigory calling her by name,
Marfa! Marfa!" in a weak, moaning, dreadful voice.
"Lord, preserve us from harm!" Marfa Ignatyevna murmured, and
ran towards the voice, and that was how she found Grigory. But she
found him not by the fence where he had been knocked down, but about
twenty paces off. It appeared later, that he had crawled away on
coming to himself, and probably had been a long time getting so far,
losing consciousness several times. She noticed at once that he was
covered with blood, and screamed at the top of her voice. Grigory
was muttering incoherently:
"He has murdered... his father murdered.... Why scream, silly...
run... fetch someone..."
But Marfa continued screaming, and seeing that her master's window
was open and that there was a candle alight in the window, she ran
there and began calling Fyodor Pavlovitch. But peeping in at the
window, she saw a fearful sight. Her master was lying on his back,
motionless, on the floor. His light-coloured dressing-gown and white
shirt were soaked with blood. The candle on the table brightly lighted
up the blood and the motionless dead face of Fyodor Pavlovitch.
Terror-stricken, Marfa rushed away from the window, ran out of the
garden, drew the bolt of the big gate and ran headlong by the back way
to the neighbour, Marya Konndratyevna. Both mother and daughter were
asleep, but they waked up at Marfa's desperate and persistent
screaming and knocking at the shutter. Marfa, shrieking and
screaming incoherently, managed to tell them the main fact, and to beg
for assistance. It happened that Foma had come back from his
wanderings and was staying the night with them. They got him up
immediately and all three ran to the scene of the crime. On the way,
Marya Kondratyevna remembered that at about eight o'clock she heard
a dreadful scream from their garden, and this was no doubt Grigory's
scream, "Parricide!" uttered when he caught hold of Mitya's leg.
"Some one person screamed out and then was silent," Marya
Kondratyevna explained as she ran. Running to the place where
Grigory lay, the two women with the help of Foma carried him to the
lodge. They lighted a candle and saw that Smerdyakov was no better,
that he was writhing in convulsions, his eyes fixed in a squint, and
that foam was flowing from his lips. They moistened Grigory's forehead
with water mixed with vinager, and the water revived him at once. He
"Is the master murdered?"
Then Foma and both the women ran to the house and saw this time
that not only the window, but also the door into the garden was wide
open, though Fyodor Pavlovitch had for the last week locked himself in
every night and did not allow even Grigory to come in on any
pretext. Seeing that door open, they were afraid to go in to Fyodor
Pavlovitch "for fear anything should happen afterwards." And when they
returned to Grigory, the old man told them to go straight to the
police captain. Marya Kondratyevna ran there and gave the alarm to the
whole party at the police captain's. She arrived only five minutes
before Pyotr Ilyitch, so that his story came, not as his own surmise
and theory, but as the direct conformation by a witness, of the theory
held by all, as to the identity of the criminal (a theory he had in
the bottom of his heart refused to believe till that moment).
It was resolved to act with energy. The deputy police inspector of
the town was commissioned to take four witnesses, to enter Fyodor
Pavlovitch's house and there to open an inquiry on the spot, according
to the regular forms, which I will not go into here. The district
doctor, a zealous man, new to his work, almost insisted on
accompanying the police captain, the prosecutor, and the investigating
I will note briefly that Fyodor Pavlovitch was found to be quite
dead, with his skull battered in. But with what? Most likely with
the same weapon with which Grigory had been attacked. And
immediately that weapon was found, Grigory, to whom all possible
medical assistance was at once given, described in a weak and breaking
voice how he had been knocked down. They began looking with a
lantern by the fence and found the brass pestle dropped in a most
conspicuous place on the garden path. There were no signs of
disturbance in the room where Fyodor Pavlovitch was lying. But by
the bed, behind the screen, they picked up from the floor a big and
thick envelope with the inscription: "A present of three thousand
roubles for my angel Grushenka, if she is willing to come." And
below had been added by Fyodor Pavlovitch, "For my little chicken."
There were three seals of red sealing-wax on the envelope, but it
had been torn open and was empty: the money had been removed. They
found also on the floor a piece of narrow pink ribbon, with which
the envelope had been tied up.
One piece of Pyotr Ilyitch's evidence made a great impression on
the prosecutor and the investigating magistrate, namely, his idea that
Dmitri Fyodorovitch would shoot himself before daybreak, that he had
resolved to do so, had spoken of it to Ilyitch, had taken the pistols,
loaded them before him, written a letter, put it in his pocket, etc.
When Pyotr Ilyitch, though still unwilling to believe in it,
threatened to tell someone so as to prevent the suicide, Mitya had
answered grinning: "You'll be too late." So they must make haste to
Mokroe to find the criminal, before he really did shoot himself.
"That's clear, that's clear!" repeated the prosecutor in great
excitement. "That's just the way with mad fellows like that: 'I
shall kill myself to-morrow, so I'll make merry till I die!'"
The story of how he had bought the wine and provisions excited the
prosecutor more than ever.
"Do you remember the fellow that murdered a merchant called
Olsufyev, gentlemen? He stole fifteen hundred, went at once to have
his hair curled, and then, without even hiding the money, carrying
it almost in his hand in the same way, he went off to the girls."
All were delayed, however, by the inquiry, the search, and the
formalities, etc., in the house of Fyodor Pavlovitch. It all took time
and so, two hours before starting, they sent on ahead to Mokroe the
officer of the rural police, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch Schmertsov, who had
arrived in the town the morning before to get his pay. He was
instructed to avoid raising the alarm when he reached Mokroe, but to
keep constant watch over the "criminal" till the arrival of the proper
authorities, to procure also witnesses for the arrest, police
constables, and so on. Mavriky Mavrikyevitch did as he was told,
preserving his incognito, and giving no one but his old
acquaintance, Trifon Borissovitch, the slightest hint of his secret
business. He had spoken to him just before Mitya met the landlord in
the balcony, looking for him in the dark, and noticed at once a change
in Trifon Borissovitch's face and voice. So neither Mitya nor anyone
else knew that he was being watched. The box with the pistols had been
carried off by Trifon Borissovitch and put in a suitable place. Only
after four o'clock, almost at sunrise, all the officials, the police
captain, the prosecutor, the investigating lawyer, drove up in two
carriages, each drawn by three horses. The doctor remained at Fyodor
Pavlovitch's to make a post-mortem next day on the body. But he was
particularly interested in the condition of the servant, Smerdyakov.
"Such violent and protracted epileptic fits, recurring continually
for twenty-four hours, are rarely to be met with, and are of
interest to science," he declared enthusiastically to his
companions, and as they left they laughingly congratulated him on
his find. The prosecutor and the investigating lawyer distinctly
remembered the doctor's saying that Smerdyakov could not outlive the
After these long, but I think necessary explanations, we will
return to that moment of our tale at which we broke off.
The Sufferings of a Soul
The First Ordeal
AND so Mitya sat looking wildly at the people round him, not
understanding what was said to him. Suddenly he got up, flung up his
hands, and shouted aloud:
"I'm not guilty! I'm not guilty of that blood! I'm not guilty of
my father's blood.... I meant to kill him. But I'm not guilty. Not I."
But he had hardly said this, before Grushenka rushed from behind
the curtain and flung herself at the police captain's feet.
"It was my fault! Mine! My wickedness!" she cried, in a
heart-rending voice, bathed in tears, stretching out her clasped hands
towards them. "He did it through me. I tortured him and drove him to
it. I tortured that poor old man that's dead, too, in my wickedness,
and brought him to this! It's my fault, mine first, mine most, my
"Yes, it's your fault! You're the chief criminal! You fury! You
harlot! You're the most to blame!" shouted the police captain,
threatening her with his hand. But he was quickly and resolutely
suppressed. The prosecutor positively seized hold of him.
"This is absolutely irregular, Mihail Makarovitch!" he cried. "You
are positively hindering the inquiry.... You're ruining the case."
he almost gasped.
"Follow the regular course! Follow the regular course!" cried
Nikolay Parfenovitch, fearfully excited too, "otherwise it's
"Judge us together!" Grushenka cried frantically, still
kneeling. "Punish us together. I will go with him now, if it's to
"Grusha, my life, my blood, my holy one!" Mitya fell on his
knees beside her and held her tight in his arms. "Don't believe
her," he cried, "she's not guilty of anything, of any blood, of
He remembered afterwards that he was forcibly dragged away from
her by several men, and that she was led out, and that when he
recovered himself he was sitting at the table. Beside him and behind
him stood the men with metal plates. Facing him on the other side of
the table sat Nikolay Parfenovitch, the investigating lawyer. He
kept persuading him to drink a little water out of a glass that
stood on the table.
"That will refresh you, that will calm you. Be calm, don't be
frightened," he added, extremely politely. Mitya (he remembered it
afterwards) became suddenly intensely interested in his big rings, one
with an amethyst, and another with a transparent bright yellow
stone, of great brilliance. And long afterwards he remembered with
wonder how those rings had riveted his attention through all those
terrible hours of interrogation, so that he was utterly unable to tear
himself away from them and dismiss them, as things that had nothing to
do with his position. On Mitya's left side, in the place where Maximov
had been sitting at the beginning of the evening, the prosecutor was
now seated, and on Mitya's right hand, where Grushenka had been, was a
rosy-cheeked young man in a sort of shabby hunting-jacket, with ink
and paper before him. This was the secretary of the investigating
lawyer, who had brought him with him. The police captain was now
standing by the window at the other end of the room, beside
Kalganov, who was sitting there.
"Drink some water," said the investigating lawyer softly, for
the tenth time.
"I have drunk it, gentlemen, I have... but come gentlemen, crush
me, punish me, decide my fate!" cried Mitya, staring with terribly
fixed wide-open eyes at the investigating lawyer.
"So you positively declare that you are not guilty of the death of
your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch?" asked the investigating lawyer,
softly but insistently.
"I am not guilty. I am guilty of the blood of another old man, but
not of my father's. And I weep for it! I killed, I killed the old
man and knocked him down.... But it's hard to have to answer for
that murder with another, a terrible murder of which I am not
guilty....It's a terrible accusation, gentlemen, a knockdown blow. But
who has killed my father, who has killed him? Who can have killed
him if I didn't? It's marvellous, extraordinary, impossible."
"Yes, who can have killed him?" the investigating lawyer was
beginning, but Ippolit Kirillovitch, the prosecutor, glancing at
him, addressed Mitya.
"You need not worry yourself about the old servant, Grigory
Vasilyevitch. He is alive, he has recovered, and in spite of the
terrible blows inflicted, according to his own and your evidence, by
you, there seems no doubt that he will live, so the doctor says, at
"Alive? He's alive?" cried Mitya, flinging up his hands. His
face beamed. "Lord, I thank Thee for the miracle Thou has wrought
for me, a sinner and evildoer. That's an answer to my prayer. I've
been praying all night." And he crossed himself three times. He was
"So from this Grigory we have received such important evidence
concerning you, that-" The prosecutor would have continued, but
Mitya suddenly jumped up from his chair.
"One minute, gentlemen, for God's sake, one minute; I will run
"Excuse me, at this moment it's quite impossible," Nikolay
Parfenovitch almost shrieked. He, too, leapt to his feet. Mitya was
seized by the men with the metal plates, but he sat down of his own
"Gentlemen, what a pity! I wanted to see her for one minute
only; I wanted to tell her that it has been washed away, it has
gone, that blood that was weighing on my heart all night, and that I
am not a murderer now! Gentlemen, she is my betrothed!" he said
ecstatically and reverently, looking round at them all. "Oh, thank
you, gentlemen! Oh, in one minute you have given me new life, new
heart!... That old man used to carry me in his arms, gentlemen. He
used to wash me in the tub when I was a baby three years old,
abandoned by everyone, he was like a father to me!..."
"And so you-" the investigating lawyer began.
"Allow me, gentlemen, allow me one minute more," interposed Mitya,
putting his elbows on the table and covering his face with his
hands. "Let me have a moment to think, let me breathe, gentlemen.
All this is horribly upsetting, horribly. A man is not a drum,
"Drink a little more water," murmured Nikolay Parfenovitch.
Mitya took his hands from his face and laughed. His eyes were
confident. He seemed completely transformed in a moment. His whole
bearing was changed; he was once more the equal of these men, with all
of whom he was acquainted, as though they had all met the day
before, when nothing had happened, at some social gathering. We may
note in passing that, on his first arrival, Mitya had been made very
welcome at the police captain's, but later, during the last month
especially, Mitya had hardly called at all, and when the police
captain met him, in the street, for instance, Mitya noticed that he
frowned and only bowed out of politeness. His acquaintance with the
prosecutor was less intimate, though he sometimes paid his wife, a
nervous and fanciful lady, visits of politeness, without quite knowing
why, and she always received him graciously and had, for some
reason, taken an interest in him up to the last. He had not had time
to get to know the investigating lawyer, though he had met him and
talked to him twice, each time about the fair sex.
"You're a most skilful lawyer, I see, Nikolay Parfenovitch," cried
Mitya, laughing gaily, "but I can help you now. Oh, gentlemen, I
feel like a new man, and don't be offended at my addressing you so
simply and directly. I'm rather drunk, too, I'll tell you that
frankly. I believe I've had the honour and pleasure of meeting you,
Nikolay Parfenovitch, at my kinsman Miusov's. Gentlemen, gentlemen,
I don't pretend to be on equal terms with you. I understand, of
course, in what character I am sitting before you. Oh, of course,
there's a horrible suspicion... hanging over me... if Grigory has
given evidence.... A horrible suspicion! It's awful, awful, I
understand that! But to business, gentlemen, I am ready, and we will
make an end of it in one moment; for, listen, listen, gentlemen! Since
I know I'm innocent, we can put an end to it in a minute. Can't we?
Mitya spoke much and quickly, nervously and effusively, as
though he positively took his listeners to be his best friends.
"So, for the present, we will write that you absolutely deny the
charge brought against you," said Nikolay Parfenovitch,
impressively, and bending down to the secretary he dictated to him
in an undertone what to write.
"Write it down? You want to write that down? Well, write it; I
consent, I give my full consent, gentlemen, only... do you see?...
Stay, stay, write this. Of disorderly conduct I am guilty, of violence
on a poor old man I am guilty. And there is something else at the
bottom of my heart, of which I am guilty, too but that you need not
write down" (he turned suddenly to the secretary); "that's my personal
life, gentlemen, that doesn't concern you, the bottom of my heart,
that's to say.... But of the murder of my old father I'm not guilty.
That's a wild idea. It's quite a wild idea!... I will prove you that
and you'll be convinced directly.... You will laugh, gentlemen. You'll
laugh yourselves at your suspicion!..."
"Be calm, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," said the investigating lawyer
evidently trying to allay Mitya's excitement by his own composure.
"Before we go on with our inquiry, I should like, if you will
consent to answer, to hear you confirm the statement that you disliked
your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, that you were involved in continual
disputes with him. Here at least, a quarter of an hour ago, you
exclaimed that you wanted to kill him: 'I didn't kill him,' you
said,'but I wanted to kill him.'"
"Did I exclaim that? Ach, that may be so, gentlemen! Yes,
unhappily, I did want to kill him... many times I wanted to...
"You wanted to. Would you consent to explain what motives
precisely led you to such a sentiment of hatred for your parent?"
"What is there to explain, gentlemen?" Mitya shrugged his
shoulders sullenly, looking down. "I have never concealed my feelings.
All the town knows about it- everyone knows in the tavern. Only lately
I declared them in Father Zossima's cell. And the very same day, in
the evening I beat my father. I nearly killed him, and I swore I'd
come again and kill him, before witnesses.... Oh, a thousand
witnesses! I've been shouting it aloud for the last month, anyone
can tell you that!... The fact stares you in the face, it speaks for
itself, it cries aloud, but feelings, gentlemen, feelings are
another matter. You see, gentlemen"- Mitya frowned- "it seemed to me
that about feelings you've no right to question me. I know that you
are bound by your office, I quite understand that, but that's my
affair, my private, intimate affair, yet... since I haven't
concealed my feelings in the past... in the tavern, for instance, I've
talked to everyone, so... so I won't make a secret of it now. You see,
I understand, gentlemen, that there are terrible facts against me in
this business. I told everyone that I'd kill him, and now, all of a
sudden, he's been killed. So it must have been me! Ha ha! I can make
allowances for you, gentlemen, I can quite make allowances. I'm struck
all of a heap myself, for who can have murdered him, if not I?
That's what it comes to, isn't it? If not I, who can it be, who?
Gentlemen, I want to know, I insist on knowing!" he exclaimed
suddenly. "Where was he murdered? How was he murdered? How, and with
what? Tell me," he asked quickly, looking at the two lawyers.
"We found him in his study, lying on his back on the floor, with
his head battered in," said the prosecutor.
"That's horrible!" Mitya shuddered and, putting his elbows on
the table, hid his face in his right hand.
"We will continue," interposed Nikolay Parfenovitch. "So what
was it that impelled you to this sentiment of hatred? You have
asserted in public, I believe, that it was based upon jealousy?"
"Well, yes, jealousy. not only jealousy."
"Disputes about money?"
"Yes, about money, too."
"There was a dispute about three thousand roubles, I think,
which you claimed as part of your inheritance?"
"Three thousand! More, more," cried Mitya hotly; "more than six
thousand, more than ten, perhaps. I told everyone so, shouted it at
them. But I made up my mind to let it go at three thousand. I was
desperately in need of that three thousand... so the bundle of notes
for three thousand that I knew he kept under his pillow, ready for
Grushenka, I considered as simply stolen from me. Yes, gentlemen, I
looked upon it as mine, as my own property..."
The prosecutor looked significantly at the investigating lawyer,
and had time to wink at him on the sly.
"We will return to that subject later," said the lawyer
promptly. "You will allow us to note that point and write it down;
that you looked upon that money as your own property?"
"Write it down, by all means. I know that's another fact that
tells against me, but I'm not afraid of facts and I tell them
against myself. Do you hear? Do you know, gentlemen, you take me for a
different sort of man from what I am," he added, suddenly gloomy and
dejected. "You have to deal with a man of honour, a man of the highest
honour; above all don't lose sight of it- a man who's done a lot of
nasty things, but has always been, and still is, honourable at bottom,
in his inner being. I don't know how to express it. That's just what's
made me wretched all my life, that I yearned to be honourable, that
I was, so to say, a martyr to a sense of honour, seeking for it with a
lantern, with the lantern of Diogenes, and yet all my life I've been
doing filthy things like all of us, gentlemen... that is like me
alone. That was a mistake, like me alone, me alone!... Gentlemen, my
head aches..." His brows contracted with pain. "You see, gentlemen,
I couldn't bear the look of him, there was something in him ignoble,
impudent, trampling on everything sacred, something sneering and
irreverent, loathsome, loathsome. But now that he's dead, I feel
"How do you mean?"
"I don't feel differently, but I wish I hadn't hated him so."
"You feel penitent?"
"No, not penitent, don't write that. I'm not much good myself; I'm
not very beautiful, so I had no right to consider him repulsive.
That's what I mean. Write that down, if you like."
Saying this Mitya became very mournful. He had grown more and more
gloomy as the inquiry continued.
At that moment another unexpected scene followed. Though Grushenka
had been removed, she had not been taken far away, only into the
room next but one from the blue room, in which the examination was
proceeding. It was a little room with one window, next beyond the
large room in which they had danced and feasted so lavishly. She was
sitting there with no one by her but Maximov, who was terribly
depressed, terribly scared, and clung to her side, as though for
security. At their door stood one of the peasants with a metal plate
on his breast. Grushenka was crying, and suddenly her grief was too
much for her, she jumped up, flung up her arms and, with a loud wail
of sorrow, rushed out of the room to him, to her Mitya, and so
unexpectedly that they had not time to stop her. Mitya, hearing her
cry, trembled, jumped up, and with a yell rushed impetuously to meet
her, not knowing what he was doing. But they were not allowed to
come together, though they saw one another. He was seized by the arms.
He struggled, and tried to tear himself away. It took three or four
men to hold him. She was seized too, and he saw her stretching out her
arms to him, crying aloud as they carried her away. When the scene was
over, he came to himself again, sitting in the same place as before,
opposite the investigating lawyer, and crying out to them:
"What do you want with her? Why do you torment her? She's done
The lawyers tried to soothe him. About ten minutes passed like
this. At last Mihail Makarovitch, who had been absent, came
hurriedly into the room, and said in a loud and excited voice to the
"She's been removed, she's downstairs. Will you allow me to say
one word to this unhappy man, gentlemen? In your presence,
gentlemen, in your presence."
"By all means, Mihail Makarovitch," answered the investigating
lawyer. "In the present case we have nothing against it."
"Listen, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, my dear fellow," began the police
captain, and there was a look of warm, almost fatherly, feeling for
the luckless prisoner on his excited face. "I took your Agrafena
Alexandrovna downstairs myself, and confided her to the care of the
landlord's daughters, and that old fellow Maximov is with her all
the time. And I soothed her, do you hear? I soothed and calmed her.
I impressed on her that you have to clear yourself, so she mustn't
hinder you, must not depress you, or you may lose your head and say
the wrong thing in your evidence. In fact, I talked to her and she
understood. She's a sensible girl, my boy, a good-hearted girl, she
would have kissed my old hands, begging help for you. She sent me
herself, to tell you not to worry about her. And I must go, my dear
fellow, I must go and tell her that you are calm and comforted about
her. And so you must be calm, do you understand? I was unfair to
her; she is a Christian soul, gentlemen, yes, I tell you, she's a
gentle soul, and not to blame for anything. So what am I to tell
her, Dmitri Fyodorovitch? Will you sit quiet or not?"
The good-natured police captain said a great deal that was
irregular, but Grushenka's suffering, a fellow creature's suffering,
touched his good-natured heart, and tears stood in his eyes. Mitya
jumped up and rushed towards him.
"Forgive me, gentlemen, oh, allow me, allow me!" he cried. "You've
the heart of an angel, an angel, Mihail Makarovitch, I thank you for
her. I will, I will be calm, cheerful, in fact. Tell her, in the
kindness of your heart, that I am cheerful, quite cheerful, that I
shall be laughing in a minute, knowing that she has a guardian angel
like you. I shall have done with all this directly, and as soon as I'm
free, I'll be with her, she'll see, let her wait. Gentlemen," he said,
turning to the two lawyers, now I'll open my whole soul to you; I'll
pour out everything. We'll finish this off directly, finish it off
gaily. We shall laugh at it in the end, shan't we? But gentlemen, that
woman is the queen of my heart. Oh, let me tell you that. That one
thing I'll tell you now.... I see I'm with honourable men. She is my
light, she is my holy one, and if only you knew! Did you hear her cry,
'I'll go to death with you'? And what have I, a penniless beggar, done
for her? Why such love for me? How can a clumsy, ugly brute like me,
with my ugly face, deserve such love, that she is ready to go to exile
with me? And how she fell down at your feet for my sake, just
now!... and yet she's proud and has done nothing! How can I help
adoring her, how can I help crying out and rushing to her as I did
just now? Gentlemen, forgive me! But now, now I am comforted."
And he sank back in his chair and, covering his face with his
hands, burst into tears. But they were happy tears. He recovered
himself instantly. The old police captain seemed much pleased, and the
lawyers also. They felt that the examination was passing into a new
phase. When the police captain went out, Mitya was positively gay.
"Now, gentlemen, I am at your disposal, entirely at your disposal.
And if it were not for all these trivial details, we should understand
one another in a minute. I'm at those details again. I'm at your
disposal, gentlemen, but I declare that we must have mutual
confidence, you in me and I in you, or there'll be no end to it. I
speak in your interests. To business, gentlemen, to business, and
don't rummage in my soul; don't tease me with trifles, but only ask me
about facts and what matters, and I will satisfy you at once. And damn
So spoke Mitya. The interrogation began again.
The Second Ordeal
"YOU don't know how you encourage us, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, by your
readiness to answer," said Nikolay Parfenovitch, with an animated air,
and obvious satisfaction beaming in his very prominent, short-sighted,
light grey eyes, from which he had removed his spectacles a moment
before. "And you have made a very just remark about the mutual
confidence, without which it is sometimes positively impossible to get
on in cases of such importance, if the suspected party really hopes
and desires to defend himself and is in a position to do so. We on our
side, will do everything in our power, and you can see for yourself
how we are conducting the case. You approve, Ippolit Kirillovitch?" He
turned to the prosecutor.
"Oh, undoubtedly," replied the prosecutor. His tone was somewhat
cold, compared with Nikolay Parfenovitch's impulsiveness.
I will note once for all that Nikolay Parfenovitch, who had but
lately arrived among us, had from the first felt marked respect for
Ippolit Kirillovitch, our prosecutor, and had become almost his
bosom friend. He was almost the only person who put implicit faith
in Ippolit Kirillovitch's extraordinary talents as a psychologist
and orator and in the justice of his grievance. He had heard of him in
Petersburg. On the other hand, young Nikolay Parfenovitch was the only
person in the whole world whom our "unappreciated" prosecutor
genuinely liked. On their way to Mokroe they had time to come to an
understanding about the present case. And now as they sat at the
table, the sharp-witted junior caught and interpreted every indication
on his senior colleague's face- half a word, a glance, or a wink.
"Gentlemen, only let me tell my own story and don't interrupt me
with trivial questions and I'll tell you everything in a moment," said
"Excellent! Thank you. But before we proceed to listen to your
communication, will you allow me to inquire as to another little
fact of great interest to us? I mean the ten roubles you borrowed
yesterday at about five o'clock on the security of your pistols,
from your friend, Pyotr Ilyitch Perhotin."
"I pledged them, gentlemen. I pledged them for ten roubles. What
more? That's all about it. As soon as I got back to town I pledged
"You got back to town? Then you had been out of town?"
"Yes, I went a journey of forty versts into the country. Didn't
The prosecutor and Nikolay Parfenovitch exchanged glances.
"Well, how would it be if you began your story with a systematic
description of all you did yesterday, from the morning onwards?
Allow us, for instance, to inquire why you were absent from the
town, and just when you left and when you came back- all those facts."
"You should have asked me like that from the beginning," cried
Mitya, laughing aloud, "and, if you like, we won't begin from
yesterday, but from the morning of the day before; then you'll
understand how, why, and where I went. I went the day before
yesterday, gentlemen, to a merchant of the town, called Samsonov, to
borrow three thousand roubles from him on safe security. It was a
pressing matter, gentlemen, it was a sudden necessity."
"Allow me to interrupt you," the prosecutor put in politely.
"Why were you in such pressing need for just that sum, three
"Oh, gentlemen, you needn't go into details, how, when and why,
and why just so much money, and not so much, and all that rigmarole.
Why, it'll run to three volumes, and then you'll want an epilogue!"
Mitya said all this with the good-natured but impatient familiarity of
a man who is anxious to tell the whole truth and is full of the best
"Gentlemen!"- he corrected himself hurriedly- "don't be vexed with
me for my restiveness, I beg you again. Believe me once more, I feel
the greatest respect for you and understand the true position of
affairs. Don't think I'm drunk. I'm quite sober now. And, besides,
being drunk would be no hindrance. It's with me, you know, like the
saying: 'When he is sober, he is a fool; when he is drunk, he is a
wise man.' Ha ha! But I see, gentlemen, it's not the proper thing to
make jokes to you, till we've had our explanation, I mean. And I've my
own dignity to keep up, too. I quite understand the difference for the
moment. I am, after all, in the position of a criminal, and so, far
from being on equal terms with you. And it's your business to watch
me. I can't expect you to pat me on the head for what I did to
Grigory, for one can't break old men's heads with impunity. I
suppose you'll put me away for him for six months, or a year
perhaps, in a house of correction. I don't know what the punishment
is- but it will be without loss of the rights of my rank, without loss
of my rank, won't it? So you see, gentlemen, I understand the
distinction between us.... But you must see that you could puzzle
God Himself with such questions. 'How did you step? Where did you
step? When did you step? And on what did you step?' I shall get
mixed up, if you go on like this, and you will put it all down against
me. And what will that lead to? To nothing! And even if it's
nonsense I'm talking now, let me finish, and you, gentlemen, being men
of honour and refinement, will forgive me! I'll finish by asking
you, gentlemen, to drop that conventional method of questioning. I
mean, beginning from some miserable trifle, how I got up, what I had
for breakfast, how I spat, and where I spat, and so distracting the
attention of the criminal, suddenly stun him with an overwhelming
question, 'Whom did you murder? Whom did you rob?' Ha-ha! That's
your regulation method, that's where all your cunning comes in. You
can put peasants off their guard like that, but not me. I know the
tricks. I've been in the service, too. Ha ha ha! You're not angry,
gentlemen? You forgive my impertinence?" he cried, looking at them
with a good-nature that was almost surprising. "It's only Mitya
Karamazov, you know, so you can overlook it. It would be inexcusable
in a sensible man; but you can forgive it in Mitya. Ha ha!"
Nikolay Parfenovitch listened, and laughed too. Though the
prosecutor did not laugh, he kept his eyes fixed keenly on Mitya, as
though anxious not to miss the least syllable, the slightest movement,
the smallest twitch of any feature of his face.
"That's how we have treated you from the beginning," said
Nikolay Parfenovitch, still laughing. "We haven't tried to put you out
by asking how you got up in the morning and what you had for
breakfast. We began, indeed, with questions of the greatest
"I understand. I saw it and appreciated it, and I appreciate still
more your present kindness to me, an unprecedented kindness, worthy of
your noble hearts. We three here are gentlemen and let everything be
on the footing of mutual confidence between educated, well-bred
people, who have the common bond of noble birth and honour. In any
case, allow me to look upon you as my best friends at this moment of
my life, at this moment when my honour is assailed. That's no
offence to you, gentlemen, is it?"
On the contrary. You've expressed all that so well, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch," Nikolay Parfenovitch answered with dignified
"And enough of those trivial questions, gentlemen, all those
tricky questions! cried Mitya enthusiastically. "Or there's simply
no knowing where we shall get to! Is there?"
"I will follow your sensible advice entirely," the prosecutor
interposed, addressing Mitya. "I don't withdraw my question,
however. It is now vitally important for us to know exactly why you
needed that sum, I mean precisely three thousand."
"Why I needed it?... Oh, for one thing and another.... Well, it
was to pay a debt."
"A debt to whom?"
"That I absolutely refuse to answer, gentlemen. Not because I
couldn't, or because I shouldn't dare, or because it would be
damaging, for it's all a paltry matter and absolutely trifling, but- I
won't, because it's a matter of principle: that's my private life, and
I won't allow any intrusion into my private life. That's my principle.
Your question has no bearing on the case, and whatever has nothing
to do with the case is my private affair. I wanted to pay a debt. I
wanted to pay a debt of honour but to whom I won't say."
"Allow me to make a note of that," said the prosecutor.
"By all means. Write down that I won't say, that I won't. Write
that I should think it dishonourable to say. Ech! you can write it;
you've nothing else to do with your time."
"Allow me to caution you, sir, and to remind you once more, if you
are unaware of it," the prosecutor began, with a peculiar and stern
impressiveness, "that you have a perfect right not to answer the
questions put to you now, and we on our side have no right to extort
an answer from you, if you decline to give it for one reason or
another. That is entirely a matter for your personal decision. But
it is our duty, on the other hand, in such cases as the present, to
explain and set before you the degree of injury you will be doing
yourself by refusing to give this or that piece of evidence. After
which I will beg you to continue."
"Gentlemen, I'm not angry... I... "Mitya muttered in a rather
disconcerted tone. "Well, gentlemen, you see, that Samsonov to whom
I went then..."
We will, of course, not reproduce his account of what is known
to the reader already. Mitya was impatiently anxious not to omit the
slightest detail. At the same time he was in a hurry to get it over.
But as he gave his evidence it was written down, and therefore they
had continually to pull him up. Mitya disliked this, but submitted;
got angry, though still good-humouredly. He did, it is true,
exclaim, from time to time, "Gentlemen, that's enough to make an angel
out of patience!" Or, "Gentlemen, it's no good your irritating me."
But even though he exclaimed he still preserved for a time his
genially expansive mood. So he told them how Samsonov had made a
fool of him two days before. (He had completely realised by now that
he had been fooled.) The sale of his watch for six roubles to obtain
money for the journey was something new to the lawyers. They were at
once greatly interested, and even, to Mitya's intense indignation,
thought it necessary to write the fact down as a secondary
confirmation of the circumstance that he had hardly a farthing in
his pocket at the time. Little by little Mitya began to grow surly.
Then, after describing his journey to see Lyagavy, the night spent
in the stifling hut, and so on, he came to his return to the town.
Here he began, without being particularly urged, to give a minute
account of the agonies of jealousy he endured on Grushenka's account.
He was heard with silent attention. They inquired particularly
into the circumstance of his having a place of ambush in Marya
Kondratyevna's house at the back of Fyodor Pavlovitch's garden to keep
watch on Grushenka, and of Smerdyakov's bringing him information. They
laid particular stress on this, and noted it down. Of his jealousy
he spoke warmly and at length, and though inwardly ashamed at exposing
his most intimate feelings to "public ignominy," so to speak, he
evidently overcame his shame in order to tell the truth. The frigid
severity with which the investigating lawyer, and still more the
prosecutor, stared intently at him as he told his story,
disconcerted him at last considerably.
"That boy, Nikolay Parfenovitch, to whom I was talking nonsense
about women only a few days ago, and that sickly prosecutor are not
worth my telling this to," he reflected mournfully. "It's ignominious.
'Be patient, humble, hold thy peace.'" He wound up his reflections
with that line. But he pulled himself together to go on again. When he
came to telling of his visit to Madame Hohlakov, he regained his
spirits and even wished to tell a little anecdote of that lady which
had nothing to do with the case. But the investigating lawyer
stopped him, and civilly suggested that he should pass on to "more
essential matters." At last, when he described his despair and told
them how, when he left Madame Hohlakov's, he thought that he'd "get
three thousand if he had to murder someone to do it," they stopped him
again and noted down that he had "meant to murder someone." Mitya
let them write it without protest. At last he reached the point in his
story when he learned that Grushenka had deceived him and had returned
from Samsonov's as soon as he left her there, though she had said that
she would stay there till midnight.
"If I didn't kill Fenya then, gentlemen, it was only because I
hadn't time," broke from him suddenly at that point in his story.
That, too, was carefully written down. Mitya waited gloomily, and
was beginning to tell how he ran into his father's garden when the
investigating lawyer suddenly stopped him, and opening the big
portfolio that lay on the sofa beside him he brought out the brass
"Do you recognise this object?" he asked, showing it to Mitya.
"Oh, yes," he laughed gloomily. "Of course, I recognise it. Let me
have a look at it.... Damn it, never mind!"
"You have forgotten to mention it," observed the investigating
"Hang it all, I shouldn't have concealed it from you. Do you
suppose I could have managed without it? It simply escaped my memory."
"Be so good as to tell us precisely how you came to arm yourself
"Certainly I will be so good, gentlemen."
And Mitya described how he took the pestle and ran.
"But what object had you in view in arming yourself with such a
"What object? No object. I just picked it up and ran off."
"What for, if you had no object?"
Mitya's wrath flared up. He looked intently at "the boy" and
smiled gloomily and malignantly. He was feeling more and more
ashamed at having told "such people" the story of his jealousy so
sincerely and spontaneously.
"Bother the pestle!" broke from him suddenly.
"Oh, to keep off dogs... Oh, because it was dark.... In case
anything turned up."
"But have you ever on previous occasions taken a weapon with you
when you went out, since you're afraid of the dark?"
"Ugh! damn it all, gentlemen! There's positively no talking to
you!" cried Mitya, exasperated beyond endurance, and turning to the
secretary, crimson with anger, he said quickly, with a note of fury in
"Write down at once... at once... 'that I snatched up the pestle
to go and kill my father... Fyodor Pavlovitch... by hitting him on the
head with it!' Well, now are you satisfied, gentlemen? Are your
minds relieved?" he said, glaring defiantly at the lawyers.
"We quite understand that you made that statement just now through
exasperation with us and the questions we put to you, which you
consider trivial, though they are, in fact, essential," the prosecutor
remarked drily in reply.
"Well, upon my word, gentlemen! Yes, I took the pestle.... What
does one pick things up for at such moments? I don't know what for.
I snatched it up and ran- that's all. For to me, gentlemen, passons,
or I declare I won't tell you any more."
He sat with his elbows on the table and his head in his hand. He
sat sideways to them and gazed at the wall, struggling against a
feeling of nausea. He had, in fact, an awful inclination to get up and
declare that he wouldn't say another word, "not if you hang me for
"You see, gentlemen," he said at last, with difficulty controlling
himself, "you see. I listen to you and am haunted by a dream....
It's a dream I have sometimes, you know.... I often dream it- it's
always the same... that someone is hunting me, someone I'm awfully
afraid of... that he's hunting me in the dark, in the night...
tracking me, and I hide somewhere from him, behind a door or cupboard,
hide in a degrading way, and the worst of it is, he always knows where
I am, but he pretends not to know where I am on purpose, to prolong my
agony, to enjoy my terror.... That's just what you're doing now.
It's just like that!"
"Is that the sort of thing you dream about?" inquired the
"Yes, it is. Don't you want to write it down?" said Mitya, with
a distorted smile.
"No; no need to write it down. But still you do have curious
"It's not a question of dreams now, gentlemen- this is realism,
this is real life! I'm a wolf and you're the hunters. Well, hunt him
"You are wrong to make such comparisons." began Nikolay
Parfenovitch, with extraordinary softness.
"No, I'm not wrong, at all!" Mitya flared up again, though his
outburst of wrath had obviously relieved his heart. He grew more
good humoured at every word. "You may not trust a criminal or a man on
trial tortured by your questions, but an honourable man, the
honourable impulses of the heart (I say that boldly!)- no! That you
must believe you have no right indeed... but-
Be silent, heart,
Be patient, humble, hold thy peace.
Well, shall I go on?" he broke off gloomily.
"If you'll be so kind," answered Nikolay Parfenovitch.
The Third Ordeal
THOUGH Mitya spoke sullenly, it was evident that he was trying
more than ever not to forget or miss a single detail of his story.
He told them how he had leapt over the fence into his father's garden;
how he had gone up to the window; told them all that had passed
under the window. Clearly, precisely, distinctly, he described the
feelings that troubled him during those moments in the garden when
he longed so terribly to know whether Grushenka was with his father or
not. But, strange to say, both the lawyers listened now with a sort of
awful reserve, looked coldly at him, asked few questions. Mitya
could gather nothing from their faces.
"They're angry and offended," he thought. "Well, bother them!"
When he described how he made up his mind at last to make the
"signal" to his father that Grushenka had come, so that he should open
the window, the lawyers paid no attention to the word "signal," as
though they entirely failed to grasp the meaning of the word in this
connection: so much so, that Mitya noticed it. Coming at last to the
moment when, seeing his father peering out of the window, his hatred
flared up and he pulled the pestle out of his pocket, he suddenly,
as though of design, stopped short. He sat gazing at the wall and
was aware that their eyes were fixed upon him.
"Well?" said the investigating lawyer. "You pulled out the
weapon and... and what happened then?
"Then? Why, then I murdered him... hit him on the head and cracked
his skull.... I suppose that's your story. That's it!"
His eyes suddenly flashed. All his smothered wrath suddenly flamed
up with extraordinary violence in his soul.
"Our story?" repeated Nikolay Parfenovitch.
Mitya dropped his eyes and was a long time silent.
"My story, gentlemen? Well, was like this," he began softly.
"Whether it was like this," he began softly. "Whether it was someone's
tears, or my mother prayed to God, or a good angel kissed me at that
instant, I don't know. But the devil was conquered. I rushed from
the window and ran to the fence. My father was alarmed and, for the
first time, he saw me then, cried out, and sprang back from the
window. I remember that very well. I ran across the garden to the
fence... and there Grigory caught me, when I was sitting on the
At that point he raised his eyes at last and looked at his
listeners. They seemed to be staring at him with perfectly unruffled
attention. A sort of paroxysm of indignation seized on Mitya's soul.
"Why, you're laughing at me at this moment, gentlemen!" he broke
"What makes you think that?" observed Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"You don't believe one word- that's why! I understand, of
course, that I have come to the vital point. The old man's lying there
now with his skull broken, while I- after dramatically describing
how I wanted to kill him, and how I snatched up the pestle- I suddenly
run away from the window. A romance! Poetry! As though one could
believe a fellow on his word. Ha ha! You are scoffers, gentlemen!"
And he swung round on his chair so that it creaked.
"And did you notice," asked the prosecutor suddenly, as though not
observing Mitya's excitement, "did you notice when you ran away from
the window, whether the door into the garden was open?"
"No, it was not open."
"It was not?"
"It was shut. And who could open it? Bah! the door. Wait a bit!"
he seemed suddenly to bethink himself, and almost with a start:
"Why, did you find the door open?"
"Yes, it was open."
"Why, who could have opened it if you did not open it yourselves?"
cried Mitya, greatly astonished.
"The door stood open, and your father's murderer undoubtedly
went in at that door, and, having accomplished the crime, went out
again by the same door," the prosecutor pronounced deliberately, as
though chiselling out each word separately. "That is perfectly
clear. The murder was committed in the room and not through the
window; that is absolutely certain from the examination that has
been made, from the position of the body and everything. There can
be no doubt of that circumstance."
Mitya was absolutely dumbfounded.
"But that's utterly impossible!" he cried, completely at a loss.
"I... I didn't go in.... I tell you positively, definitely, the door
was shut the whole time I was in the garden, and when I ran out of the
garden. I only stood at the window and saw him through the window.
That's all, that's all.... I remember to the last minute. And if I
didn't remember, it would be just the same. I know it, for no one knew
the signals except Smerdyakov, and me, and the dead man. And he
wouldn't have opened the door to anyone in the world without the
"Signals? What signals?" asked the prosecutor, with greedy, almost
hysterical, curiosity. He instantly lost all trace of his reserve
and dignity. He asked the question with a sort of cringing timidity.
He scented an important fact of which he had known nothing, and was
already filled with dread that Mitya might be unwilling to disclose
"So you didn't know!" Mitya winked at him with a malicious and
mocking smile. "What if I won't tell you? From whom could you find
out? No one knew about the signals except my father, Smerdyakov, and
me: that was all. Heaven knew, too, but it won't tell you. But it's an
interesting fact. There's no knowing what you might build on it. Ha
ha! Take comfort, gentlemen, I'll reveal it. You've some foolish
idea in your hearts. You don't know the man you have to deal with! You
have to do with a prisoner who gives evidence against himself, to
his own damage! Yes, for I'm a man of honour and you- are not."
The prosecutor swallowed this without a murmur. He was trembling
with impatience to hear the new fact. Minutely and diffusely Mitya
told them everything about the signals invented by Fyodor Pavlovitch
for Smerdyakov. He told them exactly what every tap on the window
meant, tapped the signals on the table, and when Nikolay
Parfenovitch said that he supposed he, Mitya, had tapped the signal
"Grushenka has come," when he tapped to his father, he answered
precisely that he had tapped that signal, that "Grushenka had come."
"So now you can build up your tower," Mitya broke off, and again
turned away from them contemptuously.
"So no one knew of the signals but your dead father, you, and
the valet Smerdyakov? And no one else?" Nikolay Parfenovitch
inquired once more.
"Yes. The valet Smerdyakov, and Heaven. Write down about Heaven.
That may be of use. Besides, you will need God yourselves."
And they had already of course, begun writing it down. But while
they wrote, the prosecutor said suddenly, as though pitching on a
"But if Smerdyakov also knew of these signals and you absolutely
deny all responsibility for the death of your father, was it not he,
perhaps, who knocked the signal agreed upon, induced your father to
open to him, and then... committed the crime?"
Mitya turned upon him a look of profound irony and intense hatred.
His silent stare lasted so long that it made the prosecutor blink.
"You've caught the fox again," commented Mitya at last; "you've
got the beast by the tail. Ha ha! I see through you, Mr. Prosecutor.
You thought, of course, that I should jump at that, catch at your
prompting, and shout with all my might, 'Aie! it's Smerdyakov; he's
the murderer.' Confess that's what you thought. Confess, and I'll go
But the prosecutor did not confess. He held his tongue and waited.
"You're mistaken. I'm not going to shout, 'It's Smerdyakov,'" said
"And you don't even suspect him?"
"Why, do you suspect him?"
"He is suspected, too."
Mitya fixed his eyes on the floor.
"Joking apart," he brought out gloomily. "Listen. From the very
beginning, almost from the moment when I ran out to you from behind
the curtain, I've had the thought of Smerdyakov in my mind. I've
been sitting here, shouting that I'm innocent and thinking all the
time 'Smerdyakov!' I can't get Smerdyakov out of my head. In fact,
I, too, thought of Smerdyakov just now; but only for a second.
Almost at once I thought, 'No, it's not Smerdyakov.' It's not his
"In that case is there anybody else you suspect?" Nikolay
Parfenovitch inquired cautiously.
"I don't know anyone it could be, whether it's the hand of
Heaven or of Satan, but... not Smerdyakov," Mitya jerked out with
"But what makes you affirm so confidently and emphatically that
it's not he?"
"From my conviction- my impression. Because Smerdyakov is a man of
the most abject character and a coward. He's not a coward, he's the
epitome of all the cowardice in the world walking on two legs. He
has the heart of a chicken. When he talked to me, he was always
trembling for fear I should kill him, though I never raised my hand
against him. He fell at my feet and blubbered; he has kissed these
very boots, literally, beseeching me 'not to frighten him.' Do you
hear? 'Not to frighten him.' What a thing to say! Why, I offered him
money. He's a puling chicken- sickly, epileptic, weak-minded- a
child of eight could thrash him. He has no character worth talking
about. It's not Smerdyakov, gentlemen. He doesn't care for money; he
wouldn't take my presents. Besides, what motive had he for murdering
the old man? Why, he's very likely his son, you know- his natural son.
Do you know that?"
"We have heard that legend. But you are your father's son, too,
you know; yet you yourself told everyone you meant to murder him."
"That's a thrust! And a nasty, mean one, too! I'm not afraid!
Oh, gentlemen, isn't it too base of you to say that to my face? It's
base, because I told you that myself. I not only wanted to murder him,
but I might have done it. And, what's more, I went out of my way to
tell you of my own accord that I nearly murdered him. But, you see,
I didn't murder him; you see, my guardian angel saved me- that's
what you've not taken into account. And that's why it's so base of
you. For I didn't kill him, I didn't kill him! Do you hear, I did
not kill him."
He was almost choking. He had not been so moved before during
the whole interrogation.
"And what has he told you, gentlemen- Smerdyakov, I mean?" he
added suddenly, after a pause. "May I ask that question?"
"You may ask any question," the prosecutor replied with frigid
severity, "any question relating to the facts of the case, and we are,
I repeat, bound to answer every inquiry you make. We found the servant
Smerdyakov, concerning whom you inquire, lying unconscious in his bed,
in an epileptic fit of extreme severity, that had recurred,
possibly, ten times. The doctor who was with us told us, after
seeing him, that he may possibly not outlive the night."
"Well, if that's so, the devil must have killed him," broke
suddenly from Mitya, as though until that moment had been asking
himself: "Was it Smerdyakov or not?"
"We will come back to this later," Nikolay Parfenovitch decided.
"Now wouldn't you like to continue your statement?"
Mitya asked for a rest. His request was courteously granted. After
resting, he went on with his story. But he was evidently depressed. He
was exhausted, mortified, and morally shaken. To make things worse the
prosecutor exasperated him, as though intentionally, by vexatious
interruptions about "trifling points." Scarcely had Mitya described
how, sitting on the wall, he had struck Grigory on the head with the
pestle, while the old man had hold of his left leg, and how he then
jumped down to look at him, when the prosecutor stopped him to ask him
to describe exactly how he was sitting on the wall. Mitya was
"Oh, I was sitting like this, astride, one leg on one side of
the wall and one on the other."
"And the pestle?"
"The pestle was in my hand."
"Not in your pocket? Do you remember that precisely? Was it a
violent blow you gave him?"
"It must have been a violent one. But why do you ask?"
"Would you mind sitting on the chair just as you sat on the wall
then and showing us just how you moved your arm, and in what
"You're making fun of me, aren't you?" asked Mitya, looking
haughtily at the speaker; but the latter did not flinch.
Mitya turned abruptly, sat astride on his chair, and swung his
"This was how I struck him! That's how I knocked him down! What
more do you want?"
"Thank you. May I trouble you now to explain why you jumped
down, with what object, and what you had in view?"
"Oh, hang it!... I jumped down to look at the man I'd hurt... I
don't know what for!"
"Though you were so excited and were running away?"
"Yes, though I was excited and running away."
"You wanted to help him?"
"Help!... Yes, perhaps I did want to help him.... I don't
"You don't remember? Then you didn't quite know what you were
"Not at all. I remember everything- every detail. I jumped down to
look at him, and wiped his face with my handkerchief."
"We have seen your handkerchief. Did you hope to restore him to
"I don't know whether I hoped it. I simply wanted to make sure
whether he was alive or not."
"Ah! You wanted to be sure? Well, what then?"
"I'm not a doctor. I couldn't decide. I ran away thinking I'd
killed him. And now he's recovered."
"Excellent," commented the prosecutor. "Thank you. That's all I
wanted. Kindly proceed."
Alas! it never entered Mitya's head to tell them, though he
remembered it, that he had jumped back from pity, and standing over
the prostrate figure had even uttered some words of regret: "You've
come to grief, old man- there's no help for it. Well, there you must
The prosecutor could only draw one conclusion: that the man had
jumped back "at such a moment and in such excitement simply with the
object of ascertaining whether the only witness of his crime were
dead; that he must therefore have been a man of great strength,
coolness, decision, and foresight even at such a moment,"... and so
on. The prosecutor was satisfied: "I've provoked the nervous fellow by
'trifles' and he has said more than he meant With painful effort Mitya
went on. But this time he was pulled up immediately by Nikolay
"How came you to run to the servant, Fedosya Markovna, with your
hands so covered with blood, and, as it appears, your face, too?"
"Why, I didn't notice the blood at all at the time," answered
"That's quite likely. It does happen sometimes." The prosecutor
exchanged glances with Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"I simply didn't notice. You're quite right there, prosecutor,"
Mitya assented suddenly.
Next came the account of Mitya's sudden determination to "step
aside" and make way for their happiness. But he could not make up
his mind to open his heart to them as before, and tell them about "the
queen of his soul." He disliked speaking of her before these chilly
persons "who were fastening on him like bugs." And so in response to
their reiterated questions he answered briefly and abruptly:
"Well, I made up my mind to kill myself. What had I left to live
for? That question stared me in the face. Her first rightful lover had
come back, the man who wronged her but who'd hurried back to offer his
love, after five years, and atone for the wrong with marriage.... So I
knew it was all over for me.... And behind me disgrace, and that
blood- Grigory's.... What had I to live for? So I went to redeem the
pistols I had pledged, to load them and put a bullet in my brain
"And a grand feast the night before?"
"Yes, a grand feast the night before. Damn it all, gentlemen! Do
make haste and finish it. I meant to shoot myself not far from here,
beyond the village, and I'd planned to do it at five o'clock in the
morning. And I had a note in my pocket already. I wrote it at
Perhotin's when I loaded my pistols. Here's the letter. Read it!
It's not for you I tell it," he added contemptuously. He took it
from his waistcoat pocket and flung it on the table. The lawyers
read it with curiosity, and, as is usual, added it to the papers
connected with the case.
"And you didn't even think of washing your hands at Perhotin's?
You were not afraid then of arousing suspicion?"
"What suspicion? Suspicion or not, I should have galloped here
just the same, and shot myself at five o'clock, and you wouldn't
have been in time to do anything. If it hadn't been for what's
happened to my father, you would have known nothing about it, and
wouldn't have come here. Oh, it's the devil's doing. It was the
devil murdered father, it was through the devil that you found it
out so soon. How did you manage to get here so quick? It's marvellous,
"Mr. Perhotin informed us that when you came to him, you held in
your hands... your blood-stained hands... your money... a lot of
money... a bundle of hundred-rouble notes, and that his servant-boy
saw it too."
"That's true, gentlemen. I remember it was so."
"Now, there's one little point presents itself. Can you inform
us," Nikolay Parfenovitch began, with extreme gentleness, "where did
you get so much money all of a sudden, when it appears from the facts,
from the reckoning of time, that you had not been home?"
The prosecutor's brows contracted at the question being asked so
plainly, but he did not interrupt Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"No, I didn't go home," answered Mitya, apparently perfectly
composed, but looking at the floor.
"Allow me then to repeat my question," Nikolay Parfenovitch went
on as though creeping up to the subject. "Where were you able to
procure such a sum all at once, when by your own confession, at five
o'clock the same day you-"
"I was in want of ten roubles and pledged my pistols with
Perhotin, and then went to Madame Hohlakov to borrow three thousand
which she wouldn't give me, and so on, and all the rest of it,"
Mitya interrupted sharply. "Yes, gentlemen, I was in want of it, and
suddenly thousands turned up, eh? Do you know, gentlemen, you're
both afraid now 'what if he won't tell us where he got it?' That's
just how it is. I'm not going to tell you, gentlemen. You've guessed
right. You'll never know," said Mitya, chipping out each word with
extraordinary determination. The lawyers were silent for a moment.
"You must understand, Mr. Karamazov, that it is of vital
importance for us to know," said Nikolay Parfenovitch, softly and
"I understand; but still I won't tell you."
The prosecutor, too, intervened, and again reminded the prisoner
that he was at liberty to refuse to answer questions, if he thought it
to his interest, and so on. But in view of the damage he might do
himself by his silence, especially in a case of such importance as-
"And so on, gentlemen, and so on. Enough! I've heard that
rigmarole before," Mitya interrupted again. "I can see for myself
how important it is, and that this is the vital point, and still I
"What is it to us? It's not our business, but yours. .You are
doing yourself harm," observed Nikolay Parfenovitch nervously.
"You see, gentlemen, joking apart"- Mitya lifted his eyes and
looked firmly at them both- "I had an inkling from the first that we
should come to loggerheads at this point. But at first when I began to
give my evidence, it was all still far away and misty; it was all
floating, and I was so simple that I began with the supposition of
mutual confidence existing between us. Now I can see for myself that
such confidence is out of the question, for in any case we were
bound to come to this cursed stumbling-block. And now we've come to
it! It's impossible and there's an end of it! But I don't blame you.
You can't believe it all simply on my word. I understand that, of
He relapsed into gloomy silence.
"Couldn't you, without abandoning your resolution to be silent
about the chief point, could you not, at the same time, give us some
slight hint as to the nature of the motives which are strong enough to
induce you to refuse to answer, at a crisis so full of danger to you?"
Mitya smiled mournfully, almost dreamily.
"I'm much more good-natured than you think, gentlemen. I'll tell
you the reason why and give you that hint, though you don't deserve
it. I won't speak of that, gentlemen, because it would be a stain on
my honour. The answer to the question where I got the money would
expose me to far greater disgrace than the murder and robbing of my
father, if I had murdered and robbed him. That's why I can't tell you.
I can't for fear of disgrace. What, gentlemen, are you going to
write that down?"
"Yes, we'll write it down," lisped Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"You ought not to write that down about 'disgrace.' I only told
you that in the goodness of my heart. I needn't have told you. I
made you a present of it, so to speak, and you pounce upon it at once.
Oh, well, write- write what you like," he concluded, with scornful
disgust. "I'm not afraid of you and I can still hold up my head before
"And can't you tell us the nature of that disgrace?" Nikolay
The prosecutor frowned darkly.
"No, no, c'est fini, don't trouble yourselves. It's not worth
while soiling one's hands. I have soiled myself enough through you
as it is. You're not worth it- no one is. Enough, gentlemen. I'm not
This was said too peremptorily. Nikolay Parfenovitch did not
insist further, but from Ippolit Kirillovitch's eyes he saw that he
had not given up hope.
"Can you not, at least, tell us what sum you had in your hands
when you went into Mr. Perhotin's- how many roubles exactly?"
"I can't tell you that."
"You spoke to Mr. Perhotin, I believe, of having received three
thousand from Madame Hohlakov."
"Perhaps I did. Enough, gentlemen. I won't say how much I had."
"Will you be so good then as to tell us how you came here and what
you have done since you arrived?"
"Oh! you might ask the people here about that. But I'll tell you
if you like."
He proceeded to do so, but we won't repeat his story. He told it
dryly and curtly. Of the raptures of his love he said nothing, but
told them that he abandoned his determination to shoot himself,
owing to "new factors in the case." He told the story without going
into motives or details. And this time the lawyers did not worry him
much. It was obvious that there was no essential point of interest
to them here.
"We shall verify all that. We will come back to it during the
examination of the witnesses, which will, of course, take place in
your presence," said Nikolay Parfenovitch in conclusion. "And now
allow me to request you to lay on the table everything in your
possession, especially all the money you still have about you."
"My money, gentlemen? Certainly. I understand that that is
necessary. I'm surprised, indeed, that you haven't inquired about it
before. It's true I couldn't get away anywhere. I'm sitting here where
I can be seen. But here's my money- count it- take it. That's all, I
He turned it all out of his pockets; even the small change- two
pieces of twenty copecks- he pulled out of his waistcoat pocket.
They counted the money, which amounted to eight hundred and thirty-six
roubles, and forty copecks.
"And is that all?" asked the investigating lawyer.
"You stated just now in your evidence that you spent three hundred
roubles at Plotnikovs'. You gave Perhotin ten, your driver twenty,
here you lost two hundred, then..."
Nikolay Parfenovitch reckoned it all up. Mitya helped him readily.
They recollected every farthing and included it in the reckoning.
Nikolay Parfenovitch hurriedly added up the total. "With this eight
hundred you must have had about fifteen hundred at first?"
"I suppose so," snapped Mitya.
"How is it they all assert there was much more?"
"Let them assert it."
"But you asserted it yourself."
"Yes, I did, too."
"We will compare all this with the evidence of other persons not
yet examined. Don't be anxious about your money. It will be properly
taken care of and be at your disposal at the conclusion of... what
is beginning... if it appears, or, so to speak, is proved that you
have undisputed right to it. Well, and now..."
Nikolay Parfenovitch suddenly got up, and informed Mitya firmly
that it was his duty and obligation to conduct a minute and thorough
search "of your clothes and everything else..."
"By all means, gentlemen. I'll turn out all my pockets, if you
And he did, in fact, begin turning out his pockets.
"It will be necessary to take off your clothes, too."
"What! Undress? Ugh! Damn it! Won't you search me as I am? Can't
"It's utterly impossible, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. You must take off
"As you like," Mitya submitted gloomily; "only, please, not
here, but behind the curtains. Who will search them?"
"Behind the curtains, of course."
Nikolay Parfenovitch bent his head in assent. His small face
wore an expression of peculiar solemnity.
The Prosecutor Catches Mitya
SOMETHING utterly unexpected and amazing to Mitya followed. He
could never, even a minute before, have conceived that anyone could
behave like that to him, Mitya Karamazov. What was worst of all, there
was something humiliating in it, and on their side something
"supercilious and scornful." It was nothing to take off his coat,
but he was asked to undress further, or rather not asked but
"commanded," he quite understood that. From pride and contempt he
submitted without a word. Several peasants accompanied the lawyers and
remained on the same side of the curtain. "To be ready if force is
required," thought Mitya, "and perhaps for some other reason, too."
"Well, must I take off my shirt, too?" he asked sharply, but
Nikolay Parfenovitch did not answer. He was busily engaged with the
prosecutor in examining the coat, the trousers, the waistcoat and
the cap; and it was evident that they were both much interested in the
scrutiny. "They make no bones about it," thought Mitya, "they don't
keep up the most elementary politeness."
"I ask you for the second time- need I take off my shirt or
not?" he said, still more sharply and irritably.
"Don't trouble yourself. We will tell you what to do," Nikolay
Parfenovitch said, and his voice was positively peremptory, or so it
seemed to Mitya.
Meantime a consultation was going on in undertones between the
lawyers. There turned out to be on the coat, especially on the left
side at the back, a huge patch of blood, dry, and still stiff. There
were bloodstains on the trousers, too. Nikolay Parfenovitch, moreover,
in the presence of the peasant witnesses, passed his fingers along the
collar, the cuffs, and all the seams of the coat and trousers,
obviously looking for something- money, of course. He didn't even hide
from Mitya his suspicion that he was capable of sewing money up in his
"He treats me not as an officer but as a thief," Mitya muttered to
himself. They communicated their ideas to one another with amazing
frankness. The secretary, for instance, who was also behind the
curtain, fussing about and listening, called Nikolay Parfenovitch's
attention to the cap, which they were also fingering.
"You remember Gridyenko, the copying clerk," observed the
secretary. "Last summer he received the wages of the whole office, and
pretended to have lost the money when he was drunk. And where was it
found? Why, in just such pipings in his cap. The hundred-rouble
notes were screwed up in little rolls and sewed in the piping."
Both the lawyers remembered Gridyenko's case perfectly, and so
laid aside Mitya's cap, and decided that all his clothes must be
more thoroughly examined later.
"Excuse me," cried Nikolay Parfenovitch, suddenly, noticing that
the right cuff of Mitya's shirt was turned in, and covered with blood,
"excuse me, what's that, blood?"
"Yes," Mitya jerked out.
"That is, what blood?... and why is the cuff turned in?"
Mitya told him how he had got the sleeve stained with blood
looking after Grigory, and had turned it inside when he was washing
his hands at Perhotin's.
"You must take off your shirt, too. That's very important as
Mitya flushed red and flew into a rage.
"What, am I to stay naked?" he shouted.
"Don't disturb yourself. We will arrange something. And
meanwhile take off your socks."
"You're not joking? Is that really necessary?"
Mitya's eyes flashed.
"We are in no mood for joking," answered Nikolay Parfenovitch
"Well, if I must-" muttered Mitya, and sitting down on the bed, he
took off his socks. He felt unbearably awkward. All were clothed,
while he was naked, and strange to say, when he was undressed he
felt somehow guilty in their presence, and was almost ready to believe
himself that he was inferior to them, and that now they had a
perfect right to despise him.
"When all are undressed, one is somehow not ashamed, but when
one's the only one undressed and everybody is looking, it's
degrading," he kept repeating to himself, again and again. "It's
like a dream; I've sometimes dreamed of being in such degrading
positions." It was a misery to him to take off his socks. They were
very dirty, and so were his underclothes, and now everyone could see
it. And what was worse, he disliked his feet. All his life he had
thought both his big toes hideous. He particularly loathed the coarse,
flat, crooked nail on the right one, and now they would all see it.
Feeling intolerably ashamed made him, at once and intentionally,
rougher. He pulled off his shirt, himself.
"Would you like to look anywhere else if you're not ashamed to?"
"No, there's no need to, at present."
"Well, am I to stay naked like this?" he added savagely.
"Yes, that can't be helped for the time.... Kindly sit down here
for a while. You can wrap yourself in a quilt from the bed, and I...
I'll see to all this."
All the things were shown to the witnesses. The report of the
search was drawn up, and at last Nikolay Parfenovitch went out, and
the clothes were carried out after him. Ippolit Kirillovitch went out,
too. Mitya was left alone with the peasants, who stood in silence,
never taking their eyes off him. Mitya wrapped himself up in the
quilt. He felt cold. His bare feet stuck out, and he couldn't pull the
quilt over so as to cover them. Nikolay Parfenovitch seemed to be gone
a long time, "an insufferable time."
"He thinks of me as a puppy," thought Mitya, gnashing his teeth.
"That rotten prosecutor has gone, too, contemptuous no doubt, it
disgusts him to see me naked!"
Mitya imagined, however, that his clothes would be examined and
returned to him. But what was his indignation when Nikolay
Parfenovitch came back with quite different clothes, brought in behind
him by a peasant.
"Here are clothes for you," he observed airily, seeming well
satisfied with the success of his mission. "Mr. Kalganov has kindly
provided these for this unusual emergency, as well as a clean shirt.
Luckily he had them all in his trunk. You can keep your own socks
Mitya flew into a passion.
"I won't have other people's clothes!" he shouted menacingly,
"give me my own!"
"Give me my own. Damn Kalganov and his clothes, too!"
It was a long time before they could persuade him. But they
succeeded somehow in quieting him down. They impressed upon him that
his clothes, being stained with blood, must be "included with the
other material evidence," and that they "had not even the right to let
him have them now... taking into consideration the possible outcome of
the case." Mitya at last understood this. He subsided into gloomy
silence and hurriedly dressed himself. He merely observed, as he put
them on, that the clothes were much better than his old ones, and that
he disliked "gaining by the change." The coat was, besides,
"ridiculously tight. Am I to be dressed up like a fool... for your
They urged upon him again that he was exaggerating, that
Kalganov was only a little taller, so that only the trousers might
be a little too long. But the coat turned out to be really tight in
"Damn it all! I can hardly button it," Mitya grumbled. "Be so good
as to tell Mr. Kalganov from me that I didn't ask for his clothes, and
it's not my doing that they've dressed me up like a clown."
"He understands that, and is sorry... I mean, not sorry to lend
you his clothes, but sorry about all this business," mumbled Nikolay
"Confound his sorrow! Well, where now? Am I to go on sitting
He was asked to go back to the "other room." Mitya went in,
scowling with anger, and trying to avoid looking at anyone. Dressed in
another man's clothes he felt himself disgraced, even in the eyes of
the peasants, and of Trifon Borissovitch, whose face appeared, for
some reason, in the doorway, and vanished immediately. "He's come to
look at me dressed up," thought Mitya. He sat down on the same chair
as before. He had an absurd nightmarish feeling, as though he were out
of his mind.
"Well, what now? Are you going to flog me? That's all that's
left for you," he said, clenching his teeth and addressing the
prosecutor. He would not turn to Nikolay Parfenovitch, as though he
disdained to speak to him.
"He looked too closely at my socks, and turned them inside out
on purpose to show everyone how dirty they were- the scoundrel!"
"Well, now we must proceed to the examination of witnesses,"
observed Nikolay Parfenovitch, as though in reply to Mitya's question.
"Yes," said the prosecutor thoughtfully, as though reflecting on
"We've done what we could in your interest, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch," Nikolay Parfenovitch went on, "but having received from
you such an uncompromising refusal to explain to us the source from
which you obtained the money found upon you, we are, at the present
"What is the stone in your ring?" Mitya interrupted suddenly, as
though awakening from a reverie. He pointed to one of the three
large rings adorning Nikolay Parfenovitch's right hand.
"Ring?" repeated Nikolay Parfenovitch with surprise.
"Yes, that one... on your middle finger, with the little veins
in it, what stone is that?" Mitya persisted, like a peevish child.
"That's a smoky topaz," said Nikolay Parfenovitch, smiling. "Would
you like to look at it? I'll take it off..."
"No, don't take it off," cried Mitya furiously, suddenly waking
up, and angry with himself. "Don't take it off... there's no
need.... Damn it!... Gentlemen, you've sullied my heart! Can you
suppose that I would conceal it from you, if I had really killed my
father, that I would shuffle, lie, and hide myself? No, that's not
like Dmitri Karamazov, that he couldn't do, and if I were guilty, I
swear I shouldn't have waited for your coming, or for the sunrise as I
meant at first, but should have killed myself before this, without
waiting for the dawn! I know that about myself now. I couldn't have
learnt so much in twenty years as I've found out in this accursed
night!... And should I have been like this on this night, and at
this moment, sitting with you, could I have talked like this, could
I have moved like this, could I have looked at you and at the world
like this, if I had really been the murderer of my father, when the
very thought of having accidentally killed Grigory gave me no peace
all night- not from fear- oh, not simply from fear of your punishment!
The disgrace of it! And you expect me to be open with such scoffers as
you, who see nothing and believe in nothing, blind moles and scoffers,
and to tell you another nasty thing I've done, another disgrace,
even if that would save me from your accusation! No, better Siberia!
The man who opened the door to my father and went in at that door,
he killed him, he robbed him. Who was he? I'm racking my brains and
can't think who. But I can tell you it was not Dmitri Karamazov, and
that's all I can tell you, and that's enough, enough, leave me
alone.... Exile me, punish me, but don't bother me any more. I'll
say no more. Call your witnesses!"
Mitya uttered his sudden monologue as though he were determined to
be absolutely silent for the future. The prosecutor watched him the
whole time and only when he had ceased speaking, observed, as though
it were the most ordinary thing, with the most frigid and composed
"Oh, about the open door of which you spoke just now, we may as
well inform you, by the way, now, of a very interesting piece of
evidence of the greatest importance both to you and to us, that has
been given us by Grigory, the old man you wounded. On his recovery, he
clearly and emphatically stated, in reply to our questions, that when,
on coming out to the steps, and hearing a noise in the garden, he made
up his mind to go into it through the little gate which stood open,
before he noticed you running, as you have told us already, in the
dark from the open window where you saw your father, he, Grigory,
glanced to the left, and, while noticing the open window, observed
at the same time, much nearer to him, the door, standing wide open-
that door which you have stated to have been shut the whole time you
were in the garden. I will not conceal from you that Grigory himself
confidently affirms and bears witness that you must have run from that
door, though, of course, he did not see you do so with his own eyes,
since he only noticed you first some distance away in the garden,
running towards the fence."
Mitya had leapt up from his chair half-way through this speech.
"Nonsense!" he yelled, in a sudden frenzy, "it's a barefaced
lie. He couldn't have seen the door open because it was shut. He's
"I consider it my duty to repeat that he is firm in his statement.
He does not waver. He adheres to it. We've cross-examined him
"Precisely. I have cross-examined him several times," Nikolay
Parfenovitch confirmed warmly.
"It's false, false! It's either an attempt to slander me, or the
hallucination of a madman," Mitya still shouted. "He's simply
raving, from loss of blood, from the wound. He must have fancied it
when he came to.... He's raving."
"Yes, but he noticed the open door, not when he came to after
his injuries, but before that, as soon as he went into the garden from
"But it's false, it's false! It can't be so! He's slandering me
from spite.... He couldn't have seen it... I didn't come from the
door," gasped Mitya.
The prosecutor turned to Nikolay Parfenovitch and said to him
"Confront him with it."
"Do you recognise this object?"
Nikolay Parfenovitch laid upon the table a large and thick
official envelope, on which three seals still remained intact. The
envelope was empty, and slit open at one end. Mitya stared at it
with open eyes.
"It... it must be that envelope of my father's, the envelope
that contained the three thousand roubles... and if there's
inscribed on it, allow me, 'For my little chicken'... yes- three
thousand!" he shouted, "do you see, three thousand, do you see?"
"Of course, we see. But we didn't find the money in it. It was
empty, and lying on the floor by the bed, behind the screen."
For some seconds Mitya stood as though thunderstruck.
"Gentlemen, it's Smerdyakov!" he shouted suddenly, at the top of
his voice. "It's he who's murdered him! He's robbed him! No one else
knew where the old man hid the envelope. It's Smerdyakov, that's
"But you, too, knew of the envelope and that it was under the
"I never knew it. I've never seen it. This is the first time
I've looked at it. I'd only heard of it from Smerdyakov.... He was the
only one who knew where the old man kept it hidden, I didn't
know..." Mitya was completely breathless.
"But you told us yourself that the envelope was under your
deceased father's pillow. You especially stated that it was under
the pillow, so you must have known it."
"We've got it written down," confirmed Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"Nonsense! It's absurd! I'd no idea it was under the pillow. And
perhaps it wasn't under the pillow at all.... It was just a chance
guess that it was under the pillow. What does Smerdyakov say? Have you
asked him where it was? What does Smerdyakov say? That's the chief
point.... And I went out of my way to tell lies against myself.... I
told you without thinking that it was under the pillow, and now you-
Oh, you know how one says the wrong thing, without meaning it. No
one knew but Smerdyakov, only Smerdyakov, and no one else.... He
didn't even tell me where it was! But it's his doing, his doing;
there's no doubt about it, he murdered him, that's as clear as
daylight now," Mitya exclaimed more and more frantically, repeating
himself incoherently, and growing more and more exasperated and
excited. "You must understand that, and arrest him at once.... He must
have killed him while I was running away and while Grigory was
unconscious, that's clear now.... He gave the signal and father opened
to him... for no one but he knew the signal, and without the signal
father would never have opened the door...."
"But you're again forgetting the circumstance," the prosecutor
observed, still speaking with the same restraint, though with a note
of triumph, "that there was no need to give the signal if the door
already stood open when you were there, while you were in the
"The door, the door," muttered Mitya, and he stared speechless
at the prosecutor. He sank back helpless in his chair. All were
"Yes, the door!... It's a nightmare! God is against me!" he
exclaimed, staring before him in complete stupefaction.
"Come, you see," the prosecutor went on with dignity, "and you can
judge for yourself, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. On the one hand, we have
the evidence of the open door from which you ran out, a fact which
overwhelms you and us. On the other side, your incomprehensible,
persistent, and, so to speak, obdurate silence with regard to the
source from which you obtained the money which was so suddenly seen in
your hands, when only three hours earlier, on your own showing, you
pledged your pistols for the sake of ten roubles! In view of all these
facts, judge for yourself. What are we to believe, and what can we
depend upon? And don't accuse us of being 'frigid, cynical, scoffing
people,' who are incapable of believing in the generous impulses of
your heart.... Try to enter into our position..."
Mitya was indescribably agitated. He turned pale.
"Very well!" he exclaimed suddenly, "I will tell you my secret.
I'll tell you where I got the money!... I'll reveal my shame, that I
may not have to blame myself or you hereafter."
"And believe me, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," put in Nikolay
Parfenovitch, in a voice of almost pathetic delight, "that every
sincere and complete confession on your part at this moment may, later
on, have an immense influence in your favour, and may, indeed,
But the prosecutor gave him a slight shove under the table, and he
checked himself in time. Mitya, it is true, had not heard him.
Mitya's Great Secret Received with Hisses
"GENTLEMEN," he began, still in the same agitation, "I want to
make a full confession: that money was my own."
The lawyer's faces lengthened. That was not at all what they
"How do you mean?" faltered Nikolay Parfenovitch, "when at five
o'clock on the same day, from your own confession-"
"Damn five o'clock on the same day and my own confession! That's
nothing to do with it now! That money was my own, my own, that is,
stolen by me...not mine, I mean, but stolen by me, and it was
fifteen hundred roubles, and I had it on me all the time, all the
"But where did you get it?"
"I took it off my neck, gentlemen, off this very neck... it was
here, round my neck, sewn up in a rag, and I'd had it round my neck
a long time, it's a month since I put it round my neck... to my
shame and disgrace!"
"And from whom did you... appropriate it?"
"You mean, 'steal it'? Speak out plainly now. Yes, I consider that
I practically stole it, but, if you prefer, I 'appropriated it.' I
consider I stole it. And last night I stole it finally."
"Last night? But you said that it's a month since you...
"Yes. But not from my father. Not from my father, don't be uneasy.
I didn't steal it from my father, but from her. Let me tell you
without interrupting. It's hard to do, you know. You see, a month ago,
I was sent for by Katerina Ivanovna, formerly my betrothed. Do you
"Yes, of course."
"I know you know her. She's a noble creature, noblest of the
noble. But she has hated me ever so long, oh, ever so long... and
hated me with good reason, good reason!"
"Katerina Ivanovna!" Nikolay Parfenovitch exclaimed with wonder.
The prosecutor, too, stared.
"Oh, don't take her name in vain! I'm a scoundrel to bring her
into it. Yes, I've seen that she hated me... a long while.... From the
very first, even that evening at my lodging... but enough, enough.
You're unworthy even to know of that. No need of that at all.... I
need only tell you that she sent for me a month ago, gave me three
thousand roubles to send off to her sister and another relation in
Moscow (as though she couldn't have sent it off herself!) and I...
it was just at that fatal moment in my life when I... well, in fact,
when I'd just come to love another, her, she's sitting down below now,
Grushenka. I carried her off here to Mokroe then, and wasted here in
two days half that damned three thousand, but the other half I kept on
me. Well, I've kept that other half, that fifteen hundred, like a
locket round my neck, but yesterday I undid it, and spent it. What's
left of it, eight hundred roubles, is in your hands now, Nikolay
Parfenovitch. That's the change out of the fifteen hundred I had
"Excuse me. How's that? Why, when you were here a month ago you
spent three thousand, not fifteen hundred, everybody knows that."
"Who knows it? Who counted the money? Did I let anyone count it?"
"Why, you told everyone yourself that you'd spent exactly three
"It's true, I did. I told the whole town so, and the whole town
said so. And here, at Mokroe, too, everyone reckoned it was three
thousand. Yet I didn't spend three thousand, but fifteen hundred.
And the other fifteen hundred I sewed into a little bag. That's how it
was, gentlemen. That's where I got that money yesterday...."
"This is almost miraculous," murmured Nikolay Parfenovitch.
"Allow me to inquire," observed the prosecutor at last, "have
you informed anyone whatever of this circumstance before; I mean
that you had fifteen hundred left about you a month ago?"
"I told no one."
"That's strange. Do you mean absolutely no one?"
"Absolutely no one. No one and nobody."
"What was your reason for this reticence? What was your motive for
making such a secret of it? To be more precise: You have told us at
last your secret, in your words, so 'disgraceful,' though in
reality- that is, of course, comparatively speaking- this action, that
is, the appropriation of three thousand roubles belonging to someone
else, and, of course, only for a time is, in my view at least, only an
act of the greatest recklessness and not so disgraceful, when one
takes into consideration your character.... Even admitting that it was
an action in the highest degree discreditable, still, discreditable is
not 'disgraceful.'... Many people have already guessed, during this
last month, about the three thousand of Katerina Ivanovna's that you
have spent, and I heard the legend myself, apart from your
confession.... Mihail Makarovitch, for instance, had heard it, too, so
that indeed, it was scarcely a legend, but the gossip of the whole
town. There are indications, too, if I am not mistaken, that you
confessed this yourself to someone, I mean that the money was Katerina
Ivanovna's, and so, it's extremely surprising to me that hitherto,
that is, up to the present moment, you have made such an extraordinary
secret of the fifteen hundred you say you put by, apparently
connecting a feeling of positive horror with that secret.... It's
not easy to believe that it could cost you such distress to confess
such a secret.... You cried out, just now, that Siberia would be
better than confessing it..."
The prosecutor ceased speaking. He was provoked. He did not
conceal his vexation, which was almost anger, and gave vent to all his
accumulated spleen, disconnectedly and incoherently, without
"It's not the fifteen hundred that's the disgrace, but that I
put it apart from the rest of the three thousand," said Mitya firmly.
"Why?" smiled the prosecutor irritably. "What is there
disgraceful, to your thinking, in your having set aside half of the
three thousand you had discreditably, if you prefer,
'disgracefully,' appropriated? Your taking the three thousand is
more important than what you did with it. And by the way, why did
you do that- why did you set apart that half, for what purpose, for
what object did you do it? Can you explain that to us?"
"Oh, gentlemen, the purpose is the whole point!" cried Mitya. "I
put it aside because I was vile, that is, because I was calculating,
and to be calculating in such a case is vile... and that vileness
has been going on a whole month."
"I wonder at you. But I'll make it clearer. Perhaps it really is
incomprehensible. You see, attend to what I say. I appropriate three
thousand entrusted to my honour; I spend it on a spree, say I spend it
all, and next morning I go to her and say, 'Katya, I've done wrong,
I've squandered your three thousand'; well, is that right? No, it's
not right- it's dishonest and cowardly; I'm a beast, with no more
self-control than a beast, that's so, isn't it? But still I'm not a
thief? Not a downright thief, you'll admit! I squandered it, but I
didn't steal it. Now a second, rather more favourable alternative:
follow me carefully, or I may get confused again- my head's going
round- and so, for the second alternative: I spend here only fifteen
hundred out of the three thousand, that is, only half. Next day I go
and take that half to her: 'Katya, take this fifteen hundred from
me, I'm a low beast, and an untrustworthy scoundrel, for I've wasted
half the money, and I shall waste this, too, so keep me from
temptation!' Well, what of that alternative? I should be a beast and a
scoundrel, and whatever you like; but not a thief, not altogether a
thief, or I should not have brought back what was left, but have
kept that, too. She would see at once that since I brought back
half, I should pay back what I'd spent, that I should never give up
trying to, that I should work to get it and pay it back. So in that
case I should be a scoundrel, but not a thief, you may say what you
like, not a thief!"
"I admit that there is a certain distinction," said the
prosecutor, with a cold smile. "But it's strange that you see such a
"Yes, I see a vital difference. Every man may be a scoundrel,
and perhaps every man is a scoundrel, but not everyone can be a thief;
it takes an arch-scoundrel to be that. Oh, of course, I don't know how
to make these fine distinctions... but a thief is lower than a
scoundrel, that's my conviction. Listen, I carry the money about me
a whole month; I may make up my mind to give it back to-morrow, and
I'm a scoundrel no longer; but I cannot make up my mind, you see,
though I'm making up my mind every day, and every day spurring
myself on to do it, and yet for a whole month I can't bring myself
to it, you see. Is that right to your thinking, is that right?"
"Certainly, that's not right; that I can quite understand, and
that I don't dispute," answered the prosecutor with reserve. "And
let us give up all discussion of these subtleties and distinctions,
and, if you will be so kind, get back to the point. And the point
is, that you have still not told us, although we've asked you, why, in
the first place, you halved the money, squandering one half and hiding
the other? For what purpose exactly did you hide it, what did you mean
to do with that fifteen hundred? I insist upon that question, Dmitri
"Yes, of course!" cried Mitya, striking himself on the forehead;
"forgive me, I'm worrying you, and am not explaining the chief
point, or you'd understand in a minute, for it's just the motive of it
that's the disgrace! You see, it was all to do with the old man, my
dead father. He was always pestering Agrafena and I was jealous; I
thought then that she was hesitating between me and him. So I kept
thinking everyday, suppose she were to make up her mind all of a
sudden, suppose she were to leave off tormenting me, and were suddenly
to say to me, 'I love you, not him; take me to the other end of the
world.' And I'd only forty copecks; how could I take her away, what
could I do? Why, I'd be lost. You see, I didn't know her then, I
didn't understand her, I thought she wanted money, and that she
wouldn't forgive my poverty. And so I fiendishly counted out the
half of that three thousand, sewed it up, calculating on it, sewed
it up before I was drunk, and after I had sewn it up, I went off to
get drunk on the rest. Yes, that was base. Do you understand now?"
Both the lawyers laughed aloud.
"I should have called it sensible and moral on your part not to
have squandered it all," chuckled Nikolay Parfenovitch, "for after all
what does it amount to?"
"Why, that I stole it, that's what it amounts to! Oh, God, you
horrify me by not understanding! Every day that I had that fifteen
hundred sewn up round my neck, every day and every hour I said to
myself, 'You're a thief! you're a thief!' Yes, that's why I've been so
savage all this month, that's why I fought in the tavern, that's why I
attacked my father, it was because I felt I was a thief. I couldn't
make up my mind; I didn't dare even to tell Alyosha, my brother, about
that fifteen hundred: I felt I was such a scoundrel and such a
pickpocket. But, do you know, while I carried it I said to myself at
the same time every hour: 'No, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, you may yet not be
a thief.' Why? Because I might go next day and pay back that fifteen
hundred to Katya. And only yesterday I made up my mind to tear my
amulet off my neck, on my way from Fenya's to Perhotin. I hadn't
been able till that moment to bring myself to it. And it was only when
I tore it off that I became a downright thief, a thief and a dishonest
man for the rest of my life. Why? Because, with that I destroyed, too,
my dream of going to Katya and saying, 'I'm a scoundrel, but not a
thief! Do you understand now? Do you understand?"
"What was it made you decide to do it yesterday?" Nikolay
"Why? It's absurd to ask. Because I had condemned myself to die at
five o'clock this morning, here, at dawn. I thought it made no
difference whether I died a thief or a man of honour. But I see it's
not so, it turns out that it does make a difference. Believe me,
gentlemen, what has tortured me most during this night has not been
the thought that I'd killed the old servant, and that I was in
danger of Siberia just when my love was being rewarded, and Heaven was
open to me again. Oh, that did torture me, but not in the same way;
not so much as the damned consciousness that I had torn that damned
money off my breast at last and spent it, and had become a downright
thief! Oh, gentlemen, I tell you again, with a bleeding heart, I
have learnt a great deal this night. I have learnt that it's not
only impossible to live a scoundrel, but impossible to die a
scoundrel.... No, gentlemen, one must die honest..."
Mitya was pale. His face had a haggard and exhausted look, in
spite of his being intensely excited.
"I am beginning to understand you, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," the
prosecutor said slowly, a soft and almost compassionate tone. "But all
this, if you'll excuse my saying so, is a matter of nerves, in my
opinion... your overwrought nerves, that's what it is. And why, for
instance, should you not have saved yourself such misery for almost
a month, by going and returning that fifteen hundred to the lady who
had entrusted it to you? And why could you not have explained things
to her, and in view of your position, which you describe as being so
awful, why could you not have had recourse to the plan which would
so naturally have occurred to one's mind, that is, after honourably
confessing your errors to her, why could you not have asked her to
lend you the sum needed for your expenses, which, with her generous
heart, she would certainly not have refused you in your distress,
especially if it had been with some guarantee, or even on the security
you offered to the merchant Samsonov, and to Madame Hohlakov? I
suppose you still regard that security as of value?"
Mitya suddenly crimsoned.
"Surely you don't think me such an out and out scoundrel as
that? You can't be speaking in earnest?" he said, with indignation,
looking the prosecutor straight in the face, and seeming unable to
believe his ears.
"I assure you I'm in earnest... Why do you imagine I'm not
serious?" It was the prosecutor's turn to be surprised.
"Oh, how base that would have been! Gentlemen, do you know, you
are torturing me! Let me tell you everything, so be it. I'll confess
all my infernal wickedness, but to put you to shame, and you'll be
surprised yourselves at the depth of ignominy to which a medley of
human passions can sink. You must know that I already had that plan
myself, that plan you spoke of, just now, prosecutor! Yes,
gentlemen, I, too, have had that thought in my mind all this current
month, so that I was on the point of deciding to go to Katya- I was
mean enough for that. But to go to her, to tell her of my treachery,
and for that very treachery, to carry it out, for the expenses of that
treachery, to beg for money from her, Katya (to beg, do you hear, to
beg), and go straight from her to run away with the other, the
rival, who hated and insulted her- to think of it! You must be mad,
"Mad I am not, but I did speak in haste, without thinking... of
that feminine jealousy... if there could be jealousy in this case,
as you assert... yes, perhaps there is something of the kind," said
the prosecutor, smiling.
"But that would have been so infamous!" Mitya brought his fist
down on the table fiercely. "That would have been filthy beyond
everything! Yes, do you know that she might have given me that
money, yes, and she would have given it, too; she'd have been
certain to give it, to be revenged on me, she'd have given it to
satisfy her vengeance, to show her contempt for me, for hers is an
infernal nature, too, and she's a woman of great wrath. I'd have taken
the money, too, oh, I should have taken it; I should have taken it,
and then, for the rest of my life... oh, God! Forgive me, gentlemen,
I'm making such an outcry because I've had that thought in my mind
so lately, only the day before yesterday, that night when I was having
all that bother with Lyagavy, and afterwards yesterday, all day
yesterday, I remember, till that happened..."
"Till what happened?" put in Nikolay Parfenovitch inquisitively,
but Mitya did not hear it.
"I have made you an awful confession," Mitya said gloomily in
conclusion. "You must appreciate it, and what's more, you must respect
it, for if not, if that leaves your souls untouched, then you've
simply no respect for me, gentlemen, I tell you that, and I shall
die of shame at having confessed it to men like you! Oh, I shall shoot
myself! Yes, I see, I see already that you don't believe me. What, you
want to write that down, too?" he cried in dismay.
"Yes, what you said just now," said Nikolay Parfenovitch,
looking at him surprise, "that is, that up to the last hour you were
still contemplating going to Katerina Ivanovna to beg that sum from
her.... I assure you, that's a very important piece of evidence for
us, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, I mean for the whole case... and particularly
for you, particularly important for you."
"Have mercy, gentlemen!" Mitya flung up his hands. "Don't write
that, anyway; have some shame. Here I've torn my heart asunder
before you, and you seize the opportunity and are fingering the wounds
in both halves.... Oh, my God!"
In despair he hid his face in his hands.
"Don't worry yourself so, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," observed the
prosecutor, "everything that is written down will be read over to
you afterwards, and what you don't agree to we'll alter as you like.
But now I'll ask you one little question for the second time. Has no
one, absolutely no one, heard from you of that money you sewed up?
That, I must tell you, is almost impossible to believe."
"No one, no one, I told you so before, or you've not understood
anything! Let me alone!"
"Very well, this matter is bound to be explained, and there's
plenty of time for it, but meantime, consider; we have perhaps a dozen
witnesses that you yourself spread it abroad, and even shouted
almost everywhere about the three thousand you'd spent here; three
thousand, not fifteen hundred. And now, too, when you got hold of
the money you had yesterday, you gave many people to understand that
you had brought three thousand with you."
"You've got not dozens, but hundreds of witnesses, two hundred
witnesses, two hundred have heard it, thousands have heard it!"
"Well, you see, all bear witness to it. And the word all means
"It means nothing. I talked rot, and everyone began repeating it."
"But what need had you to 'talk rot,' as you call it?"
"The devil knows. From bravado perhaps... at having wasted so much
money.... To try and forget that money I had sewn up, perhaps...
yes, that was why... damn it... how often will you ask me that
question? Well, I told a fib, and that was the end of it; once I'd
said it, I didn't care to correct it. What does a man tell lies for
"That's very difficult to decide, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, what
makes a man tell lies," observed the prosecutor impressively. "Tell
me, though, was that 'amulet,' as you call it, on your neck, a big
"No, not big."
"How big, for instance?"
"If you fold a hundred-rouble note in half, that would be the
"You'd better show us the remains of it. You must have them
"Damnation, what nonsense! I don't know where they are."
"But excuse me: where and when did you take it off your neck?
According to your own evidence you didn't go home."
"When I was going from Fenya's to Perhotin's, on the way I tore it
off my neck and took out the money."
"In the dark?"
"What should I want a light for? I did it with my fingers in one
"Without scissors, in the street?"
"In the market-place I think it was. Why scissors? It was an old
rag. It was torn in a minute."
"Where did you put it afterwards?"
"I dropped it there."
"Where was it, exactly?"
"In the market-place, in the market-place! The devil knows
whereabouts. What do you want to know for?"
"That's extremely important, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. It would be
material evidence in your favour. How is it you don't understand that?
Who helped you to sew it up a month ago?"
"No one helped me. I did it myself."
"Can you sew?"
"A soldier has to know how to sew. No knowledge was needed to do
"Where did you get the material, that is, the rag in which you
sewed the money?"
"Are you laughing at me?"
"Not at all. And we are in no mood for laughing, Dmitri
"I don't know where I got the rag from- somewhere, I suppose."
"I should have thought you couldn't have forgotten it?"
"Upon my word, I don't remember. I might have torn a bit off my
"That's very interesting. We might find in your lodgings to-morrow
the shirt or whatever it is from which you tore the rag. What sort
of rag was it, cloth or linen?"
"Goodness only knows what it was. Wait a bit... I believe I didn't
tear it off anything. It was a bit of calico.... I believe I sewed
it up in a cap of my landlady's."
"In your landlady's cap?"
"Yes. I took it from her."
"How did you get it?"
"You see, I remember once taking a cap for a rag, perhaps to
wipe my pen on. I took it without asking, because it was a worthless
rag. I tore it up, and I took the notes and sewed them up in it. I
believe it was in that very rag I sewed them. An old piece of
calico, washed a thousand times."
"And you remember that for certain now?"
"I don't know whether for certain. I think it was in the cap. But,
hang it, what does it matter?"
"In that case your landlady will remember that the thing was
"No, she won't, she didn't miss it. It was an old rag, I tell you,
an old rag not worth a farthing."
"And where did you get the needle and thread?"
"I'll stop now. I won't say any more. Enough of it!" said Mitya,
losing his temper at last.
"It's strange that you should have so completely forgotten where
you threw the pieces in the market-place."
"Give orders for the market-place to be swept to-morrow, and
perhaps you'll find it," said Mitya sneering. "Enough, gentlemen,
enough!" he decided, in an exhausted voice. "I see you don't believe
me! Not for a moment! It's my fault, not yours. I ought not to have
been so ready. Why, why did I degrade myself by confessing my secret
to you? it's a joke to you. I see that from your eyes. You led me on
to it, prosecutor! Sing a hymn of triumph if you can.... Damn you, you
He bent his head, and hid his face in his hands. The lawyers
were silent. A minute later he raised his head and looked at them
almost vacantly. His face now expressed complete, hopeless despair,
and he sat mute and passive as though hardly conscious of what was
happening. In the meantime they had to finish what they were about.
They had immediately to begin examining the witnesses. It was by now
eight o'clock in the morning. The lights had been extinguished long
ago. Mihail Makarovitch and Kalganov, who had been continually in
and out of the room all the while the interrogation had been going on,
had now both gone out again. The lawyers, too, looked very tired. It
was a wretched morning, the whole sky was overcast, and the rain
streamed down in bucketfuls. Mitya gazed blankly out of window.
"May I look out of window?" he asked Nikolay Parfenovitch,
"Oh, as much as you like," the latter replied.
Mitya got up and went to the window.... The rain lashed against
its little greenish panes. He could see the muddy road just below
the house, and farther away, in the rain and mist, a row of poor,
black, dismal huts, looking even blacker and poorer in the rain. Mitya
thought of "Phoebus the golden-haired, and how he had meant to shoot
himself at his first ray. "Perhaps it would be even better on a
morning like this," he thought with a smile, and suddenly, flinging
his hand downwards, he turned to his "torturers."
"Gentlemen," he cried, "I see that I am lost! But she? Tell me
about her, I beseech you. Surely she need not be ruined with me? She's
innocent, you know, she was out of her mind when she cried last
night 'It's all my fault!' She's done nothing, nothing! I've been
grieving over her all night as I sat with you.... Can't you, won't you
tell me what you are going to do with her now?"
"You can set your mind quite at rest on that score, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch," the prosecutor answered at once, with evident alacrity.
"We have, so far, no grounds for interfering with the lady in whom you
are so interested. I trust that it may be the same in the later
development of the case.... On the contrary, we'll do everything
that lies in our power in that matter. Set your mind completely at
"Gentlemen, I thank you. I knew that you were honest,
straightforward people in spite of everything. You've taken a load off
my heart.... Well, what are we to do now? I'm ready."
"Well, we ought to make haste. We must pass to examining the
witnesses without delay. That must be done in your presence and
"Shouldn't we have some tea first?" interposed Nikolay
Parfenovitch, "I think we've deserved it!"
They decided that if tea were ready downstairs (Mihail Makarovitch
had, no doubt, gone down to get some) they would have a glass and then
"go on and on," putting off their proper breakfast until a more
favourable opportunity. Tea really was ready below, and was soon
brought up. Mitya at first refused the glass that Nikolay Parfenovitch
politely offered him, but afterwards he asked for it himself and drank
it greedily. He looked surprisingly exhausted. It might have been
supposed from his Herculean strength that one night of carousing, even
accompanied by the most violent emotions, could have had little effect
on him. But he felt that he could hardly hold his head up, and from
time to time all the objects about him seemed heaving and dancing
before his eyes. "A little more and I shall begin raving," he said
The Evidences of the Witnesses. The Babe
THE examination of the witnesses began. But we will not continue
our story in such detail as before. And so we will not dwell on how
Nikolay Parfenovitch impressed on every witness called that he must
give his evidence in accordance with truth and conscience, and that he
would afterwards have to repeat his evidence on oath, how every
witness was called upon to sign the protocol of his evidence, and so
on. We will only note that the point principally insisted upon in
the examination was the question of the three thousand roubles; that
is, was the sum spent here, at Mokroe, by Mitya on the first occasion,
a month before, three thousand or fifteen hundred? And again had he
spent three thousand or fifteen hundred yesterday? Alas, all the
evidence given by everyone turned out to be against Mitya. There was
not one in his favour, and some witnesses introduced new, almost
crushing facts, in contradiction of his, Mitya's, story.
The first witness examined was Trifon Borissovitch. He was not
in the least abashed as he stood before the lawyers. He had, on the
contrary, an air of stern and severe indignation with the accused,
which gave him an appearance of truthfulness and personal dignity.
He spoke little, and with reserve, waited to be questioned, answered
precisely and deliberately. Firmly and unhesitatingly he bore
witness that the sum spent a month before could not have been less
than three thousand, that all the peasants about here would testify
that they had heard the sum of three thousand mentioned by Dmitri
Fyodorovitch himself. "What a lot of money he flung away on the
Gypsy girls alone! He wasted a thousand, I daresay, on them alone."
"I don't believe I gave them five hundred," was Mitya's gloomy
comment on this. "It's a pity I didn't count the money at the time,
but I was drunk..."
Mitya was sitting sideways with his back to the curtains. He
listened gloomily, with a melancholy and exhausted air, as though he
"Oh, say what you like. It makes no difference now."
"More than a thousand went on them, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," retorted
Trifon Borissovitch firmly. "You flung it about at random and they
picked it up. They were a rascally, thievish lot, horse-stealers,
they've been driven away from here, or maybe they'd bear witness
themselves how much they got from you. I saw the sum in your hands,
myself- count it I didn't, you didn't let me, that's true enough-
but by the look of it I should say it was far more than fifteen
hundred... fifteen hundred, indeed! We've seen money too. We can judge
As for the sum spent yesterday he asserted that Dmitri
Fyodorovitch had told him, as soon as he arrived, that he had
brought three thousand with him.
"Come now, is that so, Trifon Borissovitch?" replied Mitya.
"Surely I didn't declare so positively that I'd brought three
"You did say so, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. You said it before Andrey.
Andrey himself is still here. Send for him. And in the hall, when
you were treating the chorus, you shouted straight out that you
would leave your sixth thousand here- that is, with what you spent
before, we must understand. Stepan and Semyon heard it, and Pyotr
Fomitch Kalganov, too, was standing beside you at the time. Maybe he'd
The evidence as to the "sixth" thousand made an extraordinary
impression on the two lawyers. They were delighted with this new
mode of reckoning; three and three made six, three thousand then and
three now made six, that was clear.
They questioned all the peasants suggested by Trifon Borissovitch,
Stepan and Semyon, the driver Andrey, and Kalganov. The peasants and
the driver unhesitatingly confirmed Trifon Borissovitch's evidence.
They noted down, with particular care, Andrey's account of the
conversation he had had with Mitya on the road: "'Where,' says he, 'am
I, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, going, to heaven or to hell, and shall I be
forgiven in the next world or not?'" The psychological Ippolit
Kirillovitch heard this with a subtle smile, and ended by recommending
that these remarks as to where Dmitri Fyodorovitch would go should
be "included in the case."
Kalganov, when called, came in reluctantly, frowning and
ill-humoured, and he spoke to the lawyers as though he had never met
them before in his life, though they were acquaintances whom he had
been meeting every day for a long time past. He began by saying that
"he knew nothing about it and didn't want to." But it appeared that he
had heard of the" sixth" thousand, and he admitted that he had been
standing close by at the moment. As far as he could see he "didn't
know" how much money Mitya had in his hands. He affirmed that the
Poles had cheated at cards. In reply to reiterated questions he stated
that, after the Poles had been turned out, Mitya's position with
Agrafena Alexandrovna had certainly improved, and that she had said
that she loved him. He spoke of Agrafena Alexandrovna with reserve and
respect, as though she had been a lady of the best society, and did
not once allow himself to call her Grushenka. In spite of the young
man's obvious repugnance at giving evidence, Ippolit Kirillovitch
examined him at great length, and only from him learnt all the details
of what made up Mitya's "romance," so to say, on that night. Mitya did
not once pull Kalganov up. At last they let the young man go, and he
left the room with unconcealed indignation.
The Poles, too, were examined. Though they had gone to bed in
their room, they had not slept all night, and on the arrival of the
police officers they hastily dressed and got ready, realising that
they would certainly be sent for. They gave their evidence with
dignity, though not without some uneasiness. The little Pole turned
out to be a retired official of the twelfth class, who had served in
Siberia as a veterinary surgeon. His name was Mussyalovitch. Pan
Vrubelvsky turned out to be an uncertificated dentist. Although
Nikolay Parfenovitch asked them questions on entering the room they
both addressed their answers to Mihail Makarovitch, who was standing
on one side, taking him in their ignorance for the most important
person and in command, and addressed him at every word as "Pan
Colonel." Only after several reproofs from Mihail Makarovitch himself,
they grasped that they had to address their answers to Nikolay
Parfenovitch only. It turned out that they could speak Russian quite
correctly except for their accent in some words. Of his relations with
Grushenka, past and present, Pan Mussyalovitch spoke proudly and
warmly, so that Mitya was roused at once and declared that he would
not allow the "scoundrel" to speak like that in his presence! Pan
Mussyalovitch at once called attention to the word "scoundrel," and
begged that it should be put down in the protocol. Mitya fumed with
"He's a scoundrel! A scoundrel! You can put that down. And put
down, too, that, in spite of the protocol I still declare that he's
a scoundrel!" he cried.
Though Nikolay Parfenovitch did insert this in the protocol, he
showed the most praiseworthy tact and management. After sternly
reprimanding Mitya, he cut short all further inquiry into the romantic
aspect of the case, and hastened to pass to what was essential. One
piece of evidence given by the Poles roused special interest in the
lawyers: that was how, in that very room, Mitya had tried to buy off
Pan Mussyalovitch, and had offered him three thousand roubles to
resign his claims, seven hundred roubles down, and the remaining two
thousand three hundred "to be paid next day in the town." He had sworn
at the time that he had not the whole sum with him at Mokroe, but that
his money was in the town. Mitya observed hotly that he had not said
that he would be sure to pay him the remainder next day in the town.
But Pan Vrublevsky confirmed the statement, and Mitya, after
thinking for a moment admitted, frowning, that it must have been as
the Poles stated, that he had been excited at the time, and might
indeed have said so.
The prosecutor positively pounced on this piece of evidence. It
seemed to establish for the prosecution (and they did, in fact, base
this deduction on it) that half, or a part of, the three thousand that
had come into Mitya's hands might really have been left somewhere
hidden in the town, or even, perhaps, somewhere here, in Mokroe.
This would explain the circumstance, so baffling for the
prosecution, that only eight hundred roubles were to be found in
Mitya's hands. This circumstance had been the one piece of evidence
which, insignificant as it was, had hitherto told, to some extent,
in Mitya's favour. Now this one piece of evidence in his favour had
broken down. In answer to the prosecutor's inquiry, where he would
have got the remaining two thousand three hundred roubles, since he
himself had denied having more than fifteen hundred, Mitya confidently
replied that he had meant to offer the "little chap," not money, but a
formal deed of conveyance of his rights to the village of
Tchermashnya, those rights which he had already offered to Samsonov
and Madame Hohlakov. The prosecutor positively smiled at the
"innocence of this subterfuge."
"And you imagine he would have accepted such a deed as a
substitute for two thousand three hundred roubles in cash?"
"He certainly would have accepted it," Mitya declared warmly.
"Why, look here, he might have grabbed not two thousand, but four or
six, for it. He would have put his lawyers, Poles and Jews, on to
the job, and might have got, not three thousand, but the whole
property out of the old man."
The evidence of Pan Mussyalovitch was, of course, entered in the
protocol in the fullest detail. Then they let the Poles go. The
incident of the cheating at cards was hardly touched upon. Nikolay
Parfenovitch was too well pleased with them, as it was, and did not
want to worry them with trifles, moreover, it was nothing but a
foolish, drunken quarrel over cards. There had been drinking and
disorder enough, that night.... So the two hundred roubles remained in
the pockets of the Poles.
Then old Maximov was summoned. He came in timidly, approached with
little steps, looking very dishevelled and depressed. He had, all this
time, taken refuge below with Grushenka, sitting dumbly beside her,
and "now and then he'd begin blubbering over her and wiping his eyes
with a blue check handkerchief," as Mihail Makarovitch described
afterwards. So that she herself began trying to pacify and comfort
him. The old man at once confessed that he had done wrong, that he had
borrowed "ten roubles in my poverty," from Dmitri Fyodorovitch, and
that he was ready to pay it back. To Nikolay Parfenovitch's direct
question, had he noticed how much money Dmitri Fyodorovitch held in
his hand, as he must have been able to see the sum better than
anyone when he took the note from him, Maximov, in the most positive
manner, declared that there was twenty thousand.
"Have you ever seen so much as twenty thousand before, then?"
inquired Nikolay Parfenovitch, with a smile.
"To be sure I have, not twenty, but seven, when my wife
mortgaged my little property. She'd only let me look at it from a
distance, boasting of it to me. It was a very thick bundle, all
rainbow-coloured notes. And Dmitri Fyodorovitch's were all
He was not kept long. At last it was Grushenka's turn. Nikolay
Parfenovitch was obviously apprehensive of the effect her appearance
might have on Mitya, and he muttered a few words of admonition to him,
but Mitya bowed his head in silence, giving him to understand "that he
would not make a scene." Mihail Makarovitch himself led Grushenka
in. She entered with a stern and gloomy face, that looked almost
composed, and sat down quietly on the chair offered her by Nikolay
Parfenovitch. She was very pale, she seemed to be cold, and wrapped
herself closely in her magnificent black shawl. She was suffering from
a slight feverish chill- the first symptom of the long illness which
followed that night. Her grave air, her direct earnest look and
quiet manner made a very favourable impression on everyone. Nikolay
Parfenovitch was even a little bit "fascinated." He admitted
himself, when talking about it afterwards, that only then had he
seen "how handsome the woman was," for, though he had seen her several
times he had always looked upon her as something of a "provincial
hetaira." "She has the manners of the best society," he said
enthusiastically, gossiping about her in a circle of ladies. But
this was received with positive indignation by the ladies, who
immediately called him a "naughty man," to his great satisfaction.
As she entered the room, Grushenka only glanced for an instant
at Mitya, who looked at her uneasily. But her face reassured him at
once. After the first inevitable inquiries and warnings, Nikolay
Parfenovitch asked her, hesitating a little, but preserving the most
courteous manner, on what terms she was with the retired lieutenant,
Dmitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov. To this Grushenka firmly and quietly
"He was an acquaintance. He came to see me as an acquaintance
during the last month." To further inquisitive questions she
answered plainly and with complete frankness, that, though "at
times" she had thought him attractive, she had not loved him, but
had won his heart as well as his old father's "in my nasty spite,"
that she had seen that Mitya was very jealous of Fyodor Pavlovitch and
everyone else; but that had only amused her. She had never meant to go
to Fyodor Pavlovitch, she had simply been laughing at him. "I had no
thoughts for either of them all this last month. I was expecting
another man who had wronged me. But I think," she said in
conclusion, "that there's no need for you to inquire about that, nor
for me to answer you, for that's my own affair."
Nikolay Parfenovitch immediately acted upon this hint. He again
dismissed the "romantic" aspect of the case and passed to the
serious one, that is, to the question of most importance, concerning
the three thousand roubles. Grushenka confirmed the statement that
three thousand roubles had certainly been spent on the first
carousal at Mokroe, and, though she had not counted the money herself,
she had heard that it was three thousand from Dmitri Fyodorovitch's
"Did he tell you that alone, or before someone else, or did you
only hear him speak of it to others in your presence?" the
prosecutor inquired immediately.
To which Grushenka replied that she had heard him say so before
other people, and had heard him say so when they were alone.
"Did he say it to you alone once, or several times?" inquired
the prosecutor, and learned that he had told Grushenka so several
Ippolit Kirillovitch was very well satisfied with this piece of
evidence. Further examination elicited that Grushenka knew, too, where
that money had come from, and that Dmitri Fyodorovitch had got it from
"And did you never, once, hear that the money spent a month ago
was not three thousand, but less, and that Dmitri Fyodorovitch had
saved half that sum for his own use?"
"No, I never heard that," answered Grushenka.
It was explained further that Mitya had, on the contrary, often
told her that he hadn't a farthing.
"He was always expecting to get some from his father," said
Grushenka in conclusion.
"Did he never say before you... casually, or in a moment of
irritation," Nikolay Parfenovitch put in suddenly, "that he intended
to make an attempt on his father's life?"
"Ach, he did say so," sighed Grushenka.
"Once or several times?"
"He mentioned it several times, always in anger."
"And did you believe he would do it?"
"No, I never believed it," she answered firmly. "I had faith in
his noble heart."
"Gentlemen, allow me," cried Mitya suddenly, "allow me to say
one word to Agrafena Alexandrovna, in your presence."
"You can speak," Nikolay Parfenovitch assented.
"Agrafena Alexandrovna!" Mitya got up from his chair, "have
faith in God and in me. I am not guilty of my father's murder!"
Having uttered these words Mitya sat down again on his chair.
Grushenka stood up and crossed herself devoutly before the ikon.
"Thanks be to Thee, O Lord," she said, in a voice thrilled with
emotion, and still standing, she turned to Nikolay Parfenovitch and
"As he has spoken now, believe it! I know him. He'll say
anything as a joke or from obstinacy, but he'll never deceive you
against his conscience. He's telling the whole truth, you may
"Thanks, Agrafena Alexandrovna, you've given me fresh courage,"
Mitya responded in a quivering voice.
As to the money spent the previous day, she declared that she
did not know what sum it was, but had heard him tell several people
that he had three thousand with him. And to the question where he
got the money, she said that he had told her that he had "stolen" it
from Katerina Ivanovna, and that she had replied to that that he
hadn't stolen it, and that he must pay the money back next day. On the
prosecutor's asking her emphatically whether the money he said he
had stolen from Katerina Ivanovna was what he had spent yesterday,
or what he had squandered here a month ago, she declared that he meant
the money spent a month ago, and that that was how she understood him.
Grushenka was at last released, and Nikolay Parfenovitch
informed her impulsively that she might at once return to the town and
that if he could be of any assistance to her, with horses for example,
or if she would care for an escort, he... would be-
"I thank you sincerely," said Grushenka, bowing to him, "I'm going
with this old gentleman; I am driving him back to town with me, and
meanwhile, if you'll allow me, I'll wait below to hear what you decide
about Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
She went out. Mitya was calm, and even looked more cheerful, but
only for a moment. He felt more and more oppressed by a strange
physical weakness. His eyes were closing with fatigue. The examination
of the witnesses was, at last, over. They procceded to a revision of
the protocol. Mitya got up, moved from his chair to the corner by
the curtain, lay down on a large chest covered with a rug, and
instantly fell asleep.
He had a strange dream, utterly out of keeping with the place
and the time.
He was driving somewhere in the steppes, where he had been
stationed long ago, and a peasant was driving him in a cart with a
pair of horses, through snow and sleet. He was cold, it was early in
November, and the snow was falling in big wet flakes, melting as
soon as it touched the earth. And the peasant drove him smartly, he
had a fair, long beard. He was not an old man, somewhere about
fifty, and he had on a grey peasant's smock. Not far off was a
village, he could see the black huts, and half the huts were burnt
down, there were only the charred beams sticking up. And as they drove
in, there were peasant women drawn up along the road, a lot of
women, a whole row, all thin and wan, with their faces a sort of
brownish colour, especially one at the edge, a tall, bony woman, who
looked forty, but might have been only twenty, with a long thin
face. And in her arms was a little baby crying. And her breasts seemed
so dried up that there was not a drop of milk in them. And the child
cried and cried, and held out its little bare arms, with its little
fists blue from cold.
"Why are they crying? Why are they crying?" Mitya asked, as they
dashed gaily by.
"It's the babe," answered the driver, "the babe weeping."
And Mitya was struck by his saying, in his peasant way, "the
babe," and he liked the peasant's calling it a "babe." There seemed
more pity in it.
"But why is it weeping?" Mitya persisted stupidly, "why are its
little arms bare? Why don't they wrap it up?"
"The babe's cold, its little clothes are frozen and don't warm
"But why is it? Why?" foolish Mitya still persisted.
"Why, they're poor people, burnt out. They've no bread. They're
begging because they've been burnt out."
"No, no," Mitya, as it were, still did not understand. "Tell me
why it is those poor mothers stand there? Why are people poor? Why
is the babe poor? Why is the steppe barren? Why don't they hug each
other and kiss? Why don't they sing songs of joy? Why are they so dark
from black misery? Why don't they feed the babe?"
And he felt that, though his questions were unreasonable and
senseless, yet he wanted to ask just that, and he had to ask it just
in that way. And he felt that a passion of pity, such as he had
never known before, was rising in his heart, that he wanted to cry,
that he wanted to do something for them all, so that the babe should
weep no more, so that the dark-faced, dried-up mother should not weep,
that no one should shed tears again from that moment, and he wanted to
do it at once, at once, regardless of all obstacles, with all the
recklessness of the Karamazovs.
"And I'm coming with you. I won't leave you now for the rest of my
life, I'm coming with you", he heard close beside him Grushenka's
tender voice, thrilling with emotion. And his heart glowed, and he
struggled forward towards the light, and he longed to live, to live,
to go on and on, towards the new, beckoning light, and to hasten,
hasten, now, at once! "What! Where?" he exclaimed opening his eyes,
and sitting up on the chest, as though he had revived from a swoon,
smiling brightly. Nikolay Parfenovitch was standing over him,
suggesting that he should hear the protocol read aloud and sign it.
Mitya guessed that he had been asleep an hour or more, but he did
not hear Nikolay Parfenovitch. He was suddenly struck by the fact that
there was a pillow under his head, which hadn't been there when he had
leant back, exhausted, on the chest.
"Who put that pillow under my head? Who was so kind?" he cried,
with a sort of ecstatic gratitude, and tears in his voice, as though
some great kindness had been shown him.
He never found out who this kind man was; perhaps one of the
peasant witnesses, or Nikolay Parfenovitch's little secretary, had
compassionately thought to put a pillow under his head; but his
whole soul was quivering with tears. He went to the table and said
that he would sign whatever they liked.
"I've had a good dream, gentlemen," he said in a strange voice,
with a new light, as of joy, in his face.
They Carry Mitya Away
WHEN the protocol had been signed, Nikolay Parfenovitch turned
solemnly to the prisoner and read him the "Committal," setting
forth, that in such a year, on such a day, in such a place, the
investigating lawyer of such-and-such a district court, having
examined so-and-so (to wit, Mitya) accused of this and of that (all
the charges were carefully written out) and having considered that the
accused, not pleading guilty to the charges made against him, had
brought forward nothing in his defence, while the witnesses,
so-and-so, and so-and-so, and the circumstances such-and-such
testify against him, acting in accordance with such-and-such
articles of the Statute Book, and so on, has ruled, that, in order
to preclude so-and-so (Mitya) from all means of evading pursuit and
judgment, he be detained in such-and-such a prison, which he hereby
notifies to the accused and communicates a copy of this same
"Committal" to the deputy prosecutor, and so on, and so on.
In brief, Mitya was informed that he was, from that moment, a
prisoner, and that he would be driven at once to the town, and there
shut up in a very unpleasant place. Mitya listened attentively, and
only shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, gentlemen, I don't blame you. I'm ready.... I understand
that there's nothing else for you to do."
Nikolay Parfenovitch informed him gently that he would be escorted
at once by the rural police officer, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, who
happened to be on the spot....
"Stay," Mitya interrupted, suddenly, and impelled by
uncontrollable feeling he pronounced, addressing all in the room:
"Gentlemen, we're all cruel, we're all monsters, we all make men
weep, and mothers, and babes at the breast, but of all, let it be
settled here, now, of all I am the lowest reptile! I've sworn to
amend, and every day I've done the same filthy things. I understand
now that such men as I need a blow, a blow of destiny to catch them as
with a noose, and bind them by a force from without. Never, never
should I have risen of myself! But the thunderbolt has fallen. I
accept the torture of accusation, and my public shame; I want to
suffer and by suffering I shall be purified. Perhaps I shall be
purified, gentlemen? But listen, for the last time, I am not guilty of
my father's blood. I accept my punishment, not because I killed him,
but because I meant to kill him, and perhaps I really might have
killed him. Still I mean to fight it out with you. I warn you of that.
I'll fight it out with you to the end, and then God will decide.
Good-bye, gentlemen, don't be vexed with me for having shouted at
you during the examination. Oh, I was still such a fool then.... In
another minute I shall be a prisoner, but now, for the last time, as a
free man, Dmitri Karamazov offers you his hand. Saying good-bye to
you, I say it to all men."
His voice quivered and he stretched out his hand, but Nikolay
Parfenovitch, who happened to stand nearest to him, with a sudden,
almost nervous movement, hid his hands behind his back. Mitya
instantly noticed this, and started. He let his outstretched hand fall
"The preliminary inquiry is not yet over," Nikolay Parfenovitch
faltered, somewhat embarrassed. "We will continue it in the town,
and I, for my part, of course, am ready to wish you all success...
in your defence.... As a matter of fact, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, I've
always been disposed to regard you as, so to speak, more unfortunate
than guilty. All of us here, if I may make bold to speak for all, we
are all ready to recognise that you are, at bottom, a young man of
honour, but, alas, one who has been carried away by certain passions
to a somewhat excessive degree..."
Nikolay Parfenovitch's little figure was positively majestic by
the time he had finished speaking. It struck Mitya that in another
minute this "boy" would take his arm, lead him to another corner,
and renew their conversation about "girls." But many quite
irrelevant and inappropriate thoughts sometimes occur even to a
prisoner when he is being led out to execution.
"Gentlemen, you are good, you are humane, may I see her to say
'good-bye' for the last time?" asked Mitya.
"Certainly, but considering... in fact, now it's impossible except
in the presence of-"
"Oh, well, if it must be so, it must!"
Grushenka was brought in, but the farewell was brief, and of few
words, and did not at all satisfy Nikolay Parfenovitch. Grushenka made
a deep bow to Mitya.
"I have told you I am yours, and I will be yours. I will follow
you for ever, wherever they may send you. Farewell; you are guiltless,
though you've been your own undoing."
Her lips quivered, tears flowed from her eyes.
"Forgive me, Grusha, for my love, for ruining you, too, with my
Mitya would have said something more, but he broke off and went
out. He was at once surrounded by men who kept a constant watch on
him. At the bottom of the steps to which he had driven up with such
a dash the day before with Andrey's three horses, two carts stood in
readiness. Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, a sturdy, thick-set man with a
wrinkled face, was annoyed about something, some sudden
irregularity. He was shouting angrily. He asked Mitya to get into
the cart with somewhat excessive surliness.
"When I stood him drinks in the tavern, the man had quite a
different face," thought Mitya, as he got in. At the gates there was a
crowd of people, peasants, women, and drivers. Trifon Borissovitch
came down the steps too. All stared at Mitya.
"Forgive me at parting, good people!" Mitya shouted suddenly
from the cart.
"Forgive us too!" he heard two or three voices.
"Good-bye to you, too, Trifon Borissovitch!"
But Trifon Borissovitch did not even turn round. He was,
perhaps, too busy. He, too, was shouting and fussing about
something. It appeared that everything was not yet ready in the second
cart, in which two constables were to accompany Mavriky Mavrikyevitch.
The peasant who had been ordered to drive the second cart was
pulling on his smock, stoutly maintaining that it was not his turn
to go, but Akim's. But Akim was not to be seen. They ran to look for
him. The peasant persisted and besought them to wait.
"You see what our peasants are, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch. They've
no shame!" exclaimed Trifon Borissovitch. "Akim gave you twenty-five
copecks the day before yesterday. You've drunk it all and now you
cry out. I'm simply surprised at your good-nature, with our low
peasants, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, that's all I can say."
"But what do we want a second cart for?" Mitya put in. "Let's
start with the one, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch. I won't be unruly, I
won't run away from you, old fellow. What do we want an escort for?"
"I'll trouble you, sir, to learn how to speak to me if you've
never been taught. I'm not 'old fellow' to you, and you can keep
your advice for another time!" Mavriky Mavrikyevitch snapped out
savagely, as though glad to vent his wrath.
Mitya was reduced to silence. He flushed all over. A moment
later he felt suddenly very cold. The rain had ceased, but the dull
sky was still overcast with clouds, and a keen wind was blowing
straight in his face.
"I've taken a chill," thought Mitya, twitching his shoulders.
At last Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, too, got into the cart, sat down
heavily, and, as though without noticing it, squeezed Mitya into the
corner. It is true that he was out of humour and greatly disliked
the task that had been laid upon him.
"Good-bye, Trifon Borissovitch!" Mitya shouted again, and felt
himself, that he had not called out this time from good-nature, but
involuntarily, from resentment.
But Trifon Borissovitch stood proudly, with both hands behind
his back, and staring straight at Mitya with a stern and angry face,
he made no reply.
"Good-bye, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, good-bye!" he heard all at once
the voice of Kalganov, who had suddenly darted out. Running up to
the cart he held out his hand to Mitya. He had no cap on.
Mitya had time to seize and press his hand.
"Good-bye, dear fellow! I shan't forget your generosity," he cried
But the cart moved and their hands parted. The bell began
ringing and Mitya was driven off.
Kalganov ran back, sat down in a corner, bent his head, hid his
face in his hands, and burst out crying. For a long while he sat
like that, crying as though he were a little boy instead of a young
man of twenty. Oh, he believed almost without doubt in Mitya's guilt.
"What are these people? What can men be after this?" he
exclaimed incoherently, in bitter despondency, almost despair. At that
moment he had no desire to live.
"Is it worth it? Is it worth it?" exclaimed the boy in his grief.