THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
                       by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
                        translated by Constance Garnett
                                PART I

                                Book I
                       The History of a Family

                              Chapter 1
                     Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov

    ALEXEY Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor
Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his
own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and
tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall
describe in its proper place. For the present I will only say that
this "landowner"- for so we used to call him, although he hardly spent
a day of his life on his own estate- was a strange type, yet one
pretty frequently to be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the
same time senseless. But he was one of those senseless persons who are
very well capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and,
apparently, after nothing else. Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance, began
with next to nothing; his estate was of the smallest; he ran to dine
at other men's tables, and fastened on them as a toady, yet at his
death it appeared that he had a hundred thousand roubles in hard cash.
At the same time, he was all his life one of the most senseless,
fantastical fellows in the whole district. I repeat, it was not
stupidity- the majority of these fantastical fellows are shrewd and
intelligent enough- but just senselessness, and a peculiar national
form of it.
    He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri, by
his first wife, and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second. Fyodor
Pavlovitch's first wife, Adelaida Ivanovna, belonged to a fairly
rich and distinguished noble family, also landowners in our
district, the Miusovs. How it came to pass that an heiress, who was
also a beauty, and moreover one of those vigorous intelligent girls,
so common in this generation, but sometimes also to be found in the
last, could have married such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all
called him, I won't attempt to explain. I knew a young lady of the
last "romantic" generation who after some years of an enigmatic
passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married at
any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union, and ended
by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and rapid
river from a high bank, almost a precipice, and so perished,
entirely to satisfy her own caprice, and to be like Shakespeare's
Ophelia. Indeed, if this precipice, a chosen and favourite spot of
hers, had been less picturesque, if there had been a prosaic flat bank
in its place, most likely the suicide would never have taken place.
This is a fact, and probably there have been not a few similar
instances in the last two or three generations. Adelaida Ivanovna
Miusov's action was similarly, no doubt, an echo of other people's
ideas, and was due to the irritation caused by lack of mental freedom.
She wanted, perhaps, to show her feminine independence, to override
class distinctions and the despotism of her family. And a pliable
imagination persuaded her, we must suppose, for a brief moment, that
Fyodor Pavlovitch, in spite of his parasitic position, was one of
the bold and ironical spirits of that progressive epoch, though he
was, in fact, an ill-natured buffoon and nothing more. What gave the
marriage piquancy was that it was preceded by an elopement, and this
greatly captivated Adelaida Ivanovna's fancy. Fyodor Pavlovitch's
position at the time made him specially eager for any such enterprise,
for he was passionately anxious to make a career in one way or
another. To attach himself to a good family and obtain a dowry was
an alluring prospect. As for mutual love it did not exist
apparently, either in the bride or in him, in spite of Adelaida
Ivanovna's beauty. This was, perhaps, a unique case of the kind in the
life of Fyodor Pavlovitch, who was always of a voluptuous temper,
and ready to run after any petticoat on the slightest encouragement.
She seems to have been the only woman who made no particular appeal to
his senses.
    Immediatley after the elopement Adelaida Ivanovna discerned in a
flash that she had no feeling for her husband but contempt. The
marriage accordingly showed itself in its true colours with
extraordinary rapidity. Although the family accepted the event
pretty quickly and apportioned the runaway bride her dowry, the
husband and wife began to lead a most disorderly life, and there
were everlasting scenes between them. It was said that the young
wife showed incomparably more generosity and dignity than Fyodor
Pavlovitch, who, as is now known, got hold of all her money up to
twenty five thousand roubles as soon as she received it, so that those
thousands were lost to her forever. The little village and the
rather fine town house which formed part of her dowry he did his
utmost for a long time to transfer to his name, by means of some
deed of conveyance. He would probably have succeeded, merely from
her moral fatigue and desire to get rid of him, and from the
contempt and loathing he aroused by his persistent and shameless
importunity. But, fortunately, Adelaida Ivanovna's family intervened
and circumvented his greediness. It is known for a fact that
frequent fights took place between the husband and wife, but rumour
had it that Fyodor Pavlovitch did not beat his wife but was beaten
by her, for she was a hot-tempered, bold, dark-browed, impatient
woman, possessed of remarkable physical strength. Finally, she left
the house and ran away from Fyodor Pavlovitch with a destitute
divinity student, leaving Mitya, a child of three years old, in her
husband's hands. Immediately Fyodor Pavlovitch introduced a regular
harem into the house, and abandoned himself to orgies of
drunkenness. In the intervals he used to drive all over the
province, complaining tearfully to each and all of Adelaida Ivanovna's
having left him, going into details too disgraceful for a husband to
mention in regard to his own married life. What seemed to gratify
him and flatter his self-love most was to play the ridiculous part
of the injured husband, and to parade his woes with embellishments.
    "One would think that you'd got a promotion, Fyodor Pavlovitch,
you seem so pleased in spite of your sorrow," scoffers said to him.
Many even added that he was glad of a new comic part in which to
play the buffoon, and that it was simply to make it funnier that he
pretended to be unaware of his ludicrous position. But, who knows,
it may have been simplicity. At last he succeeded in getting on the
track of his runaway wife. The poor woman turned out to be in
Petersburg, where she had gone with her divinity student, and where
she had thrown herself into a life of complete emancipation. Fyodor
Pavlovitch at once began bustling about, making preparations to go
to Petersburg, with what object he could not himself have said. He
would perhaps have really gone; but having determined to do so he felt
at once entitled to fortify himself for the journey by another bout of
reckless drinking. And just at that time his wife's family received
the news of her death in Petersburg. She had died quite suddenly in
a garret, according to one story, of typhus, or as another version had
it, of starvation. Fyodor Pavlovitch was drunk when he heard of his
wife's death, and the story is that he ran out into the street and
began shouting with joy, raising his hands to Heaven: "Lord, now
lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace," but others say he wept
without restraint like a little child, so much so that people were
sorry for him, in spite of the repulsion he inspired. It is quite
possible that both versions were true, that he rejoiced at his
release, and at the same time wept for her who released him. As a
general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and
simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.
                              Chapter 2
                    He Gets Rid of His Eldest Son

    YOU can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how
he would bring up his children. His behaviour as a father was
exactly what might be expected. He completely abandoned the child of
his marriage with Adelaida Ivanovna, not from malice, nor because of
his matrimonial grievances, but simply because he forgot him. While he
was wearying everyone with his tears and complaints, and turning his
house into a sink of debauchery, a faithful servant of the family,
Grigory, took the three-year old Mitya into his care. If he hadn't
looked after him there would have been no one even to change the
baby's little shirt.
    It happened moreover that the child's relations on his mother's
side forgot him too at first. His grandfather was no longer living,
his widow, Mitya's grandmother, had moved to Moscow, and was seriously
ill, while his daughters were married, so that Mitya remained for
almost a whole year in old Grigory's charge and lived with him in
the servant's cottage. But if his father had remembered him (he
could not, indeed, have been altogether unaware of his existence) he
would have sent him back to the cottage, as the child would only
have been in the way of his debaucheries. But a cousin of Mitya's
mother, Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov, happened to return from Paris. He
lived for many years afterwards abroad, but was at that time quite a
young .man, and distinguished among the Miusovs as a man of
enlightened ideas and of European culture, who had been in the
capitals and abroad. Towards the end of his life he became a Liberal
of the type common in the forties and fifties. In the course of his
career he had come into contact with many of the most Liberal men of
his epoch, both in Russia and abroad. He had known Proudhon and
Bakunin personally, and in his declining years was very fond of
describing the three days of the Paris Revolution of February, 1848,
hinting that he himself had almost taken part in the fighting on the
barricades. This was one of the most grateful recollections of his
youth. He had an independent property of about a thousand souls, to
reckon in the old style. His splendid estate lay on the outskirts of
our little town and bordered on the lands of our famous monastery,
with which Pyotr Alexandrovitch began an endless lawsuit, almost as
soon as he came into the estate, concerning the rights of fishing in
the river or wood-cutting in the forest, I don't know exactly which.
He regarded it as his duty as a citizen and a man of culture to open
an attack upon the "clericals." Hearing all about Adelaida Ivanovna,
whom he, of course, remembered, and in whom he had at one time been
interested, and learning of the existence of Mitya, he intervened,
in spite of all his youthful indignation and contempt for Fyodor
Pavlovitch. He made the latter's acquaintance for the first time,
and told him directly that he wished to undertake the child's
education. He used long afterwards to tell as a characteristic
touch, that when he began to speak of Mitya, Fyodor Pavlovitch
looked for some time as though he did not understand what child he was
talking about, and even as though he was surprised to hear that he had
a little son in the house. The story may have been exaggerated, yet it
must have been something like the truth.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch was all his life fond of acting, of suddenly
playing an unexpected part, sometimes without any motive for doing so,
and even to his own direct disadvantage, as, for instance, in the
present case. This habit, however, is characteristic of a very great
number of people, some of them very clever ones, not like Fyodor
Pavlovitch. Pyotr Alexandrovitch carried the business through
vigorously, and was appointed, with Fyodor Pavlovitch, joint
guardian of the child, who had a small property, a house and land,
left him by his mother. Mitya did, in fact, pass into this cousin's
keeping, but as the latter had no family of his own, and after
securing the revenues of his estates was in haste to return at once to
Paris, he left the boy in charge of one of his cousins, a lady
living in Moscow. It came to pass that, settling permanently in
Paris he, too, forgot the child, especially when the Revolution of
February broke out, making an impression on his mind that he
remembered all the rest of his life. The Moscow lady died, and Mitya
passed into the care of one of her married daughters. I believe he
changed his home a fourth time later on. I won't enlarge upon that
now, as I shall have much to tell later of Fyodor Pavlovitch's
firstborn, and must confine myself now to the most essential facts
about him, without which I could not begin my story.
    In the first place, this Mitya, or rather Dmitri Fyodorovitch, was
the only one of Fyodor Pavlovitch's three sons who grew up in the
belief that he had property, and that he would be independent on
coming of age. He spent an irregular boyhood and youth. He did not
finish his studies at the gymnasium, he got into a military school,
then went to the Caucasus, was promoted, fought a duel, and was
degraded to the ranks, earned promotion again, led a wild life, and
spent a good deal of money. He did not begin to receive any income
from Fyodor Pavlovitch until he came of age, and until then got into
debt. He saw and knew his father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, for the first
time on coming of age, when he visited our neighbourhood on purpose to
settle with him about his property. He seems not to have liked his
father. He did not stay long with him, and made haste to get away,
having only succeeded in obtaining a sum of money, and entering into
an agreement for future payments from the estate, of the revenues
and value of which he was unable (a fact worthy of note), upon this
occasion, to get a statement from his father. Fyodor Pavlovitch
remarked for the first time then (this, too, should be noted) that
Mitya had a vague and exaggerated idea of his property. Fyodor
Pavlovitch was very well satisfied with this, as it fell in with his
own designs. He gathered only that the young man was frivolous,
unruly, of violent passions, impatient, and dissipated, and that if he
could only obtain ready money he would be satisfied, although only, of
course, a short time. So Fyodor Pavlovitch began to take advantage
of this fact, sending him from time to time small doles,
instalments. In the end, when four years later, Mitya, losing
patience, came a second time to our little town to settle up once
for all with his father, it turned out to his amazement that he had
nothing, that it was difficult to get an account even, that he had
received the whole value of his property in sums of money from
Fyodor Pavlovitch, and was perhaps even in debt to him, that by
various agreements into which he had, of his own desire, entered at
various previous dates, he had no right to expect anything more, and
so on, and so on. The young man was overwhelmed, suspected deceit
and cheating, and was almost beside himself. And, indeed, this
circumstance led to the catastrophe, the account of which forms the
subject of my first introductory story, or rather the external side of
it. But before I pass to that story I must say a little of Fyodor
Pavlovitch's other two sons, and of their origin.
                              Chapter 3
              The Second Marriage and the Second Family

    VERY shortly after getting his four-year-old Mitya off his hands
Fyodor Pavlovitch married a second time. His second marriage lasted
eight years. He took this second wife, Sofya Ivanovna, also a very
young girl, from another province, where he had gone upon some small
piece of business in company with a Jew. Though Fyodor Pavlovitch
was a drunkard and a vicious debauchee he never neglected investing
his capital, and managed his business affairs very successfully,
though, no doubt, not over-scrupulously. Sofya Ivanovna was the
daughter of an obscure deacon, and was left from childhood an orphan
without relations. She grew up in the house of a general's widow, a
wealthy old lady of good position, who was at once her benefactress
and tormentor. I do not know the details, but I have only heard that
the orphan girl, a meek and gentle creature, was once cut down from
a halter in which she was hanging from a nail in the loft, so terrible
were her sufferings from the caprice and everlasting nagging of this
old woman, who was apparently not bad-hearted but had become an
insufferable tyrant through idleness.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch made her an offer; inquiries were made about him
and he was refused. But again, as in his first marriage, he proposed
an elopement to the orphan girl. There is very little doubt that she
would not on any account have married him if she had known a little
more about him in time. But she lived in another province; besides,
what could a little girl of sixteen know about it, except that she
would be better at the bottom of the river than remaining with her
benefactress. So the poor child exchanged a benefactress for a
benefactor. Fyodor Pavlovitch did not get a penny this time, for the
general's widow was furious. She gave them nothing and cursed them
both. But he had not reckoned on a dowry; what allured him was the
remarkable beauty of the innocent girl, above all her innocent
appearance, which had a peculiar attraction for a vicious
profligate, who had hitherto admired only the coarser types of
feminine beauty.
    "Those innocent eyes slit my soul up like a razor," he used to say
afterwards, with his loathsome snigger. In a man so depraved this
might, of course, mean no more than sensual attraction. As he had
received no dowry with his wife, and had, so to speak, taken her "from
the halter," he did not stand on ceremony with her. Making her feel
that she had "wronged" him, he took advantage of her phenomenal
meekness and submissiveness to trample on the elementary decencies
of marriage. He gathered loose women into his house, and carried on
orgies of debauchery in his wife's presence. To show what a pass
things had come to, I may mention that Grigory, the gloomy, stupid,
obstinate, argumentative servant, who had always hated his first
mistress, Adelaida Ivanovna, took the side of his new mistress. He
championed her cause, abusing Fyodor Pavlovitch in a manner little
befitting a servant, and on one occasion broke up the revels and drove
all the disorderly women out of the house. In the end this unhappy
young woman, kept in terror from her childhood, fell into that kind of
nervous disease which is most frequently found in peasant women who
are said to be "possessed by devils." At times after terrible fits
of hysterics she even lost her reason. Yet she bore Fyodor
Pavlovitch two sons, Ivan and Alexey, the eldest in the first year
of marriage and the second three years later. When she died, little
Alexey was in his fourth year, and, strange as it seems, I know that
he remembered his mother all his life, like a dream, of course. At her
death almost exactly the same thing happened to the two little boys as
to their elder brother, Mitya. They were completely forgotten and
abandoned by their father. They were looked after by the same
Grigory and lived in his cottage, where they were found by the
tyrannical old lady who had brought up their mother. She was still
alive, and had not, all those eight years, forgotten the insult done
her. All that time she was obtaining exact information as to her
Sofya's manner of life, and hearing of her illness and hideous
surroundings she declared aloud two or three times to her retainers:
    "It serves her right. God has punished her for her ingratitude."
    Exactly three months after Sofya Ivanovna's death the general's
widow suddenly appeared in our town, and went straight to Fyodor
Pavlovitch's house. She spent only half an hour in the town but she
did a great deal. It was evening. Fyodor Pavlovitch, whom she had
not seen for those eight years, came in to her drunk. The story is
that instantly upon seeing him, without any sort of explanation, she
gave him two good, resounding slaps on the face, seized him by a
tuft of hair, and shook him three times up and down. Then, without a
word, she went straight to the cottage to the two boys. Seeing, at the
first glance, that they were unwashed and in dirty linen, she promptly
gave Grigory, too, a box on the ear, and announcing that she would
carry off both the children she wrapped them just as they were in a
rug, put them in the carriage, and drove off to her own town.
Grigory accepted the blow like a devoted slave, without a word, and
when he escorted the old lady to her carriage he made her a low bow
and pronounced impressively that, "God would repay her for orphans."
"You are a blockhead all the same," the old lady shouted to him as she
drove away.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch, thinking it over, decided that it was a good
thing, and did not refuse the general's widow his formal consent to
any proposition in regard to his children's education. As for the
slaps she had given him, he drove all over the town telling the story.
    It happened that the old lady died soon after this, but she left
the boys in her will a thousand roubles each "for their instruction,
and so that all be spent on them exclusively, with the condition
that it be so portioned out as to last till they are twenty-one, for
it is more than adequate provision for such children. If other
people think fit to throw away their money, let them." I have not read
the will myself, but I heard there was something queer of the sort,
very whimsically expressed. The principal heir, Yefim Petrovitch
Polenov, the Marshal of Nobility of the province, turned out, however,
to be an honest man. Writing to Fyodor Pavlovitch, and discerning at
once that he could extract nothing from him for his children's
education (though the latter never directly refused but only
procrastinated as he always did in such cases, and was, indeed, at
times effusively sentimental), Yefim Petrovitch took a personal
interest in the orphans. He became especially fond of the younger,
Alexey, who lived for a long while as one of his family. I beg the
reader to note this from the beginning. And to Yefim Petrovitch, a man
of a generosity and humanity rarely to be met with, the young people
were more indebted for their education and bringing up than to anyone.
He kept the two thousand roubles left to them by the general's widow
intact, so that by the time they came of age their portions had been
doubled by the accumulation of interest. He educated them both at
his own expense, and certainly spent far more than a thousand
roubles upon each of them. I won't enter into a detailed account of
their boyhood and youth, but will only mention a few of the most
important events. Of the elder, Ivan, I will only say that he grew
into a somewhat morose and reserved, though far from timid boy. At ten
years old he had realised that they were living not in their own
home but on other people's charity, and that their father was a man of
whom it was disgraceful to speak. This boy began very early, almost in
his infancy (so they say at least), to show a brilliant and unusual
aptitude for learning. I don't know precisely why, but he left the
family of Yefim Petrovitch when he was hardly thirteen, entering a
Moscow gymnasium and boarding with an experienced and celebrated
teacher, an old friend of Yefim Petrovitch. Ivan used to declare
afterwards that this was all due to the "ardour for good works" of
Yefim Petrovitch, who was captivated by the idea that the boy's genius
should be trained by a teacher of genius. But neither Yefim Petrovitch
nor this teacher was living when the young man finished at the
gymnasium and entered the university. As Yefim Petrovitch had made
no provision for the payment of the tyrannical old lady's legacy,
which had grown from one thousand to two, it was delayed, owing to
formalities inevitable in Russia, and the young man was in great
straits for the first two years at the university, as he was forced to
keep himself all the time he was studying. It must be noted that he
did not even attempt to communicate with his father, perhaps from
pride, from contempt for him, or perhaps from his cool common sense,
which told him that from such a father he would get no real
assistance. However that may have been, the young man was by no
means despondent and succeeded in getting work, at first giving
sixpenny lessons and afterwards getting paragraphs on street incidents
into the newspapers under the signature of "Eye-Witness." These
paragraphs, it was said, were so interesting and piquant that they
were soon taken. This alone showed the young man's practical and
intellectual superiority over the masses of needy and unfortunate
students of both sexes who hang about the offices of the newspapers
and journals, unable to think of anything better than everlasting
entreaties for copying and translations from the French. Having once
got into touch with the editors Ivan Fyodorovitch always kept up his
connection with them, and in his latter years at the university he
published brilliant reviews of books upon various special subjects, so
that he became well known in literary circles. But only in his last
year he suddenly succeeded in attracting the attention of a far
wider circle of readers, so that a great many people noticed and
remembered him. It was rather a curious incident. When he had just
left the university and was preparing to go abroad upon his two
thousand roubles, Ivan Fyodorovitch published in one of the more
important journals a strange article, which attracted general
notice, on a subject of which he might have been supposed to know
nothing, as he was a student of natural science. The article dealt
with a subject which was being debated everywhere at the time- the
position of the ecclesiastical courts. After discussing several
opinions on the subject he went on to explain his own view. What was
most striking about the article was its tone, and its unexpected
conclusion. Many of the Church party regarded him unquestioningly as
on their side. And yet not only the secularists but even atheists
joined them in their applause. Finally some sagacious persons opined
that the article was nothing but an impudent satirical burlesque. I
mention this incident particularly because this article penetrated
into the famous monastery in our neighbourhood, where the inmates,
being particularly interested in question of the ecclesiastical
courts, were completely bewildered by it. Learning the author's
name, they were interested in his being a native of the town and the
son of "that Fyodor Pavlovitch." And just then it was that the
author himself made his appearance among us.
    Why Ivan Fyodorovitch had come amongst us I remember asking myself
at the time with a certain uneasiness. This fateful visit, which was
the first step leading to so many consequences, I never fully
explained to myself. It seemed strange on the face of it that a
young man so learned, so proud, and apparently so cautious, should
suddenly visit such an infamous house and a father who had ignored him
all his life, hardly knew him, never thought of him, and would not
under any circumstances have given him money, though he was always
afraid that his sons Ivan and Alexey would also come to ask him for
it. And here the young man was staying in the house of such a
father, had been living with him for two months, and they were on
the best possible terms. This last fact was a special cause of
wonder to many others as well as to me. Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov,
of whom we have spoken already, the cousin of Fyodor Pavlovitch's
first wife, happened to be in the neighbourhood again on a visit to
his estate. He had come from Paris, which was his permanent home. I
remember that he was more surprised than anyone when he made the
acquaintance of the young man, who interested him extremely, and
with whom he sometimes argued and not without inner pang compared
himself in acquirements.
    "He is proud," he used to say, "he will never be in want of pence;
he has got money enough to go abroad now. What does he want here?
Everyone can see that he hasn't come for money, for his father would
never give him any. He has no taste for drink and dissipation, and yet
his father can't do without him. They get on so well together!"
    That was the truth; the young man had an unmistakable influence
over his father, who positively appeared to be behaving more
decently and even seemed at times ready to obey his son, though
often extremely and even spitefully perverse.
    It was only later that we learned that Ivan had come partly at the
request of, and in the interests of, his elder brother, Dmitri, whom
he saw for the first time on this very visit, though he had before
leaving Moscow been in correspondence with him about an important
matter of more concern to Dmitri than himself. What that business
was the reader will learn fully in due time. Yet even when I did
know of this special circumstance I still felt Ivan Fyodorovitch to be
an enigmatic figure, and thought his visit rather mysterious.
    I may add that Ivan appeared at the time in the light of a
mediator between his father and his elder brother Dmitri, who was in
open quarrel with his father and even planning to bring an action
against him.
    The family, I repeat, was now united for the first time, and
some of its members met for the first time in their lives. The younger
brother, Alexey, had been a year already among us, having been the
first of the three to arrive. It is of that brother Alexey I find it
most difficult to speak in this introduction. Yet I must give some
preliminary account of him, if only to explain one queer fact, which
is that I have to introduce my hero to the reader wearing the
cassock of a novice. Yes, he had been for the last year in our
monastery, and seemed willing to be cloistered there for the rest of
his life.
                              Chapter 4
                        The Third Son, Alyosha

    HE was only twenty, his brother Ivan was in his twenty-fourth year
at the time, while their elder brother Dmitri was twenty-seven.
First of all, I must explain that this young man, Alyosha, was not a
fanatic, and, in my opinion at least, was not even a mystic. I may
as well give my full opinion from the beginning. He was simply an
early lover of humanity, and that he adopted the monastic life was
simply because at that time it struck him, so to say, as the ideal
escape for his soul struggling from the darkness of worldly wickedness
to the light of love. And the reason this life struck him in this
way was that he found in it at that time, as he thought an
extrordinary being, our celebrated elder, Zossima, to whom he became
attached with all the warm first love of his ardent heart. But I do
not dispute that he was very strange even at that time, and had been
so indeed from his cradle. I have mentioned already, by the way,
that though he lost his mother in his fourth year he remembered her
all his life her face, her caresses, "as though she stood living
before me." Such memories may persist, as everyone knows, from an even
earlier age, even from two years old, but scarcely standing out
through a whole lifetime like spots of light out of darkness, like a
corner torn out of a huge picture, which has all faded and disappeared
except that fragment. That is how it was with him. He remembered one
still summer evening, an open window, the slanting rays of the setting
sun (that he recalled most vividly of all); in a corner of the room
the holy image, before it a lighted lamp, and on her knees before
the image his mother, sobbing hysterically with cries and moans,
snatching him up in both arms, squeezing him close till it hurt, and
praying for him to the Mother of God, holding him out in both arms
to the image as though to put him under the Mother's protection... and
suddenly a nurse runs in and snatches him from her in terror. That was
the picture! And Alyosha remembered his mother's face at that
minute. He used to say that it was frenzied but beautiful as he
remembered. But he rarely cared to speak of this memory to anyone.
In his childhood and youth he was by no means expansive, and talked
little indeed, but not from shyness or a sullen unsociability; quite
the contrary, from something different, from a sort of inner
preoccupation entirely personal and unconcerned with other people, but
so important to him that he seemed, as it were, to forget others on
account of it. But he was fond of people: he seemed throughout his
life to put implicit trust in people: yet no one ever looked on him as
a simpleton or naive person. There was something about him which
made one feel at once (and it was so all his life afterwards) that
he did not care to be a judge of others that he would never take it
upon himself to criticise and would never condemn anyone for anything.
He seemed, indeed, to accept everything without the least condemnation
though often grieving bitterly: and this was so much so that no one
could surprise or frighten him even in his earliest youth. Coming at
twenty to his father's house, which was a very sink of filthy
debauchery, he, chaste and pure as he was, simply withdrew in
silence when to look on was unbearable, but without the slightest sign
of contempt or condemnation. His father, who had once been in a
dependent position, and so was sensitive and ready to take offence,
met him at first with distrust and sullenness. "He does not say much,"
he used to say, "and thinks the more." But soon, within a fortnight
indeed, he took to embracing him and kissing him terribly often,
with drunken tears, with sottish sentimentality, yet he evidently felt
a real and deep affection for him, such as he had never been capable
of feeling for anyone before.
    Everyone, indeed, loved this young man wherever he went, and it
was so from his earliest childhood. When he entered the household of
his patron and benefactor, Yefim Petrovitch Polenov, he gained the
hearts of all the family, so that they looked on him quite as their
own child. Yet he entered the house at such a tender age that he could
not have acted from design nor artfulness in winning affection. So
that the gift of making himself loved directly and unconsciously was
inherent in him, in his very nature, so to speak. It was the same at
school, though he seemed to be just one of those children who are
distrusted, sometimes ridiculed, and even disliked by their
schoolfellows. He was dreamy, for instance, and rather solitary.
From his earliest childhood he was fond of creeping into a corner to
read, and yet he was a general favourite all the while he was at
school. He was rarely playful or merry, but anyone could see at the
first glance that this was not from any sullenness. On the contrary he
was bright and good-tempered. He never tried to show off among his
schoolfellows. Perhaps because of this, he was never afraid of anyone,
yet the boys immediately understood that he was not proud of his
fearlessness and seemed to be unaware that he was bold and courageous.
He never resented an insult. It would happen that an hour after the
offence he would address the offender or answer some question with
as trustful and candid an expression as though nothing had happened
between them. And it was not that he seemed to have forgotten or
intentionally forgiven the affront, but simply that he did not
regard it as an affront, and this completely conquered and
captivated the boys. He had one characteristic which made all his
schoolfellows from the bottom class to the top want to mock at him,
not from malice but because it amused them. This characteristic was
a wild fanatical modesty and chastity. He could not bear to hear
certain words and certain conversations about women. There are
"certain" words and conversations unhappily impossible to eradicate in
schools. Boys pure in mind and heart, almost children, are fond of
talking in school among themselves, and even aloud, of things,
pictures, and images of which even soldiers would sometimes hesitate
to speak. More than that, much that soldiers have no knowledge or
conception of is familiar to quite young children of our
intellectual and higher classes. There is no moral depravity, no
real corrupt inner cynicism in it, but there is the appearance of
it, and it is often looked upon among them as something refined,
subtle, daring, and worthy of imitation. Seeing that Alyosha Karamazov
put his fingers in his ears when they talked of "that," they used
sometimes to crowd round him, pull his hands away, and shout nastiness
into both ears, while he struggled, slipped to the floor, tried to
hide himself without uttering one word of abuse, enduring their
insults in silence. But at last they left him alone and gave up
taunting him with being a "regular girl," and what's more they
looked upon it with compassion as a weakness. He was always one of the
best in the class but was never first.
    At the time of Yefim Petrovitch's death Alyosha had two more years
to complete at the provincial gymnasium. The inconsolable widow went
almost immediately after his death for a long visit to Italy with
her whole family, which consisted only of women and girls. Alyosha
went to live in the house of two distant relations of Yefim
Petrovitch, ladies whom he had never seen before. On what terms she
lived with them he did not know himself. It was very characteristic of
him, indeed, that he never cared at whose expense he was living. In
that respect he was a striking contrast to his elder brother Ivan, who
struggled with poverty for his first two years in the university,
maintained himself by his own efforts, and had from childhood been
bitterly conscious of living at the expense of his benefactor. But
this strange trait in Alyosha's character must not, I think,
criticised too severely, for at the slightest acquaintance with him
anyone would have perceived that Alyosha was one of those youths,
almost of the type of religious enthusiast, who, if they were suddenly
to come into possession of a large fortune, would not hesitate to give
it away for the asking, either for good works or perhaps to a clever
rogue. In general he seemed scarcely to know the value of money,
not, of course, in a literal sense. When he was given pocket-money,
which he never asked for, he was either terribly careless of it so
that it was gone in a moment, or he kept it for weeks together, not
knowing what to do with it.
    In later years Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov, a man very sensitive
on the score of money and bourgeois honesty, pronounced the
following judgment, after getting to know Alyosha:
    "Here is perhaps the one man in the world whom you might leave
alone without a penny, in the centre of an unknown town of a million
inhabitants, and he would not come to harm, he would not die of cold
and hunger, for he would be fed and sheltered at once; and if he
were not, he would find a shelter for himself, and it would cost him
no effort or humiliation. And to shelter him would be no burden,
but, on the contrary, would probably be looked on as a pleasure."
    He did not finish his studies at the gymnasium. A year before
the end of the course he suddenly announced to the ladies that he
was going to see his father about a plan which had occurred to him.
They were sorry and unwilling to let him go. The journey was not an
expensive one, and the ladies would not let him pawn his watch, a
parting present from his benefactor's family. They provided him
liberally with money and even fitted him out with new clothes and
linen. But he returned half the money they gave him, saying that he
intended to go third class. On his arrival in the town he made no
answer to his father's first inquiry why he had come before completing
his studies, and seemed, so they say, unusually thoughtful. It soon
became apparent that he was looking for his mother's tomb. He
practically acknowledged at the time that that was the only object
of his visit. But it can hardly have been the whole reason of it. It
is more probable that he himself did not understand and could not
explain what had suddenly arisen in his soul, and drawn him
irresistibly into a new, unknown, but inevitable path. Fyodor
Pavlovitch could not show him where his second wife was buried, for he
had never visited her grave since he had thrown earth upon her coffin,
and in the course of years had entirely forgotten where she was
    Fyodor Pavlovitch, by the way, had for some time previously not
been living in our town. Three or four years after his wife's death he
had gone to the south of Russia and finally turned up in Odessa, where
he spent several years. He made the acquaintance at first, in his
own words, "of a lot of low Jews, Jewesses, and Jewkins," and ended by
being received by "Jews high and low alike." It may be presumed that
at this period he developed a peculiar faculty for making and hoarding
money. He finally returned to our town only three years before
Alyosha's arrival. His former acquaintances found him looking terribly
aged, although he was by no means an old man. He behaved not exactly
with more dignity but with more effrontery. The former buffoon
showed an insolent propensity for making buffoons of others. His
depravity with women was not as it used to be, but even more
revolting. In a short time he opened a great number of new taverns
in the district. It was evident that he had perhaps a hundred thousand
roubles or not much less. Many of the inhabitants of the town and
district were soon in his debt, and, of course, had given good
security. Of late, too, he looked somehow bloated and seemed more
irresponsible, more uneven, had sunk into a sort of incoherence,
used to begin one thing and go on with another, as though he were
letting himself go altogether. He was more and more frequently
drunk. And, if it had not been for the same servant Grigory, who by
that time had aged considerably too, and used to look after him
sometimes almost like a tutor, Fyodor Pavlovitch might have got into
terrible scrapes. Alyosha's arrival seemed to affect even his moral
side, as though something had awakened in this prematurely old man
which had long been dead in his soul.
    "Do you know," he used often to say, looking at Alyosha, "that you
are like her, 'the crazy woman'"- that was what he used to call his
dead wife, Alyosha's mother. Grigory it was who pointed out the "crazy
woman's" grave to Alyosha. He took him to our town cemetery and showed
him in a remote corner a cast-iron tombstone, cheap but decently kept,
on which were inscribed the name and age of the deceased and the
date of her death, and below a four-lined verse, such as are
commonly used on old-fashioned middle-class tombs. To Alyosha's
amazement this tomb turned out to be Grigory's doing. He had put it up
on the poor "crazy woman's" grave at his own expense, after Fyodor
Pavlovitch, whom he had often pestered about the grave, had gone to
Odessa, abandoning the grave and all his memories. Alyosha showed no
particular emotion at the sight of his mother's grave. He only
listened to Grigory's minute and solemn account of the erection of the
tomb; he stood with bowed head and walked away without uttering a
word. It was perhaps a year before he visited the cemetery again.
But this little episode was not without an influence upon Fyodor
Pavlovitch- and a very original one. He suddenly took a thousand
roubles to our monastery to pay for requiems for the soul of his wife;
but not for the second, Alyosha's mother, the "crazy woman," but for
the first, Adelaida Ivanovna, who used to thrash him. In the evening
of the same day he got drunk and abused the monks to Alyosha. He
himself was far from being religious; he had probably never put a
penny candle before the image of a saint. Strange impulses of sudden
feeling and sudden thought are common in such types.
    I have mentioned already that he looked bloated. His countenance
at this time bore traces of something that testified unmistakably to
the life he had led. Besides the long fleshy bags under his little,
always insolent, suspicious, and ironical eyes; besides the
multitude of deep wrinkles in his little fat face, the Adam's apple
hung below his sharp chin like a great, fleshy goitre, which gave
him a peculiar, repulsive, sensual appearance; add to that a long
rapacious mouth with full lips, between which could be seen little
stumps of black decayed teeth. He slobbered every time he began to
speak. He was fond indeed of making fun of his own face, though, I
believe, he was well satisfied with it. He used particularly to
point to his nose, which was not very large, but very delicate and
conspicuously aquiline. "A regular Roman nose," he used to say,
"with my goitre I've quite the countenance of an ancient Roman
patrician of the decadent period." He seemed proud of it.
    Not long after visiting his mother's grave Alyosha suddenly
announced that he wanted to enter the monastery, and that the monks
were willing to receive him as a novice. He explained that this was
his strong desire, and that he was solemnly asking his consent as
his father. The old man knew that the elder Zossima, who was living in
the monastery hermitage, had made a special impression upon his
"gentle boy."
    "That is the most honest monk among them, of course," he observed,
after listening in thoughtful silence to Alyosha, and seeming scarcely
surprised at his request. "H'm!... So that's where you want to be,
my gentle boy?"
    He was half drunk, and suddenly he grinned his slow half-drunken
grin, which was not without a certain cunning and tipsy slyness.
"H'm!... I had a presentiment that you would end in something like
this. Would you believe it? You were making straight for it. Well,
to be sure you have your own two thousand. That's a dowry for you. And
I'll never desert you, my angel. And I'll pay what's wanted for you
there, if they ask for it. But, of course, if they don't ask, why
should we worry them? What do you say? You know, you spend money
like a canary, two grains a week. H'm!... Do you know that near one
monastery there's a place outside the town where every baby knows
there are none but 'the monks' wives' living, as they are called.
Thirty women, I believe. I have been there myself. You know, it's
interesting in its way, of course, as a variety. The worst of it is
it's awfully Russian. There are no French women there. Of course, they
could get them fast enough, they have plenty of money. If they get
to hear of it they'll come along. Well, there's nothing of that sort
here, no 'monks' wives,' and two hundred monks. They're honest. They
keep the fasts. I admit it.... H'm.... So you want to be a monk? And
do you know I'm sorry to lose you, Alyosha; would you believe it, I've
really grown fond of you? Well, it's a good opportunity. You'll pray
for us sinners; we have sinned too much here. I've always been
thinking who would pray for me, and whether there's anyone in the
world to do it. My dear boy, I'm awfully stupid about that. You
wouldn't believe it. Awfully. You see, however stupid I am about it, I
keep thinking, I keep thinking- from time to time, of course, not
all the while. It's impossible, I think, for the devils to forget to
drag me down to hell with their hooks when I die. Then I wonder-
hooks? Where would they get them? What of? Iron hooks? Where do they
forge them? Have they a foundry there of some sort? The monks in the
monastery probably believe that there's a ceiling in hell, for
instance. Now I'm ready to believe in hell, but without a ceiling.
It makes it more refined, more enlightened, more Lutheran that is.
And, after all, what does it matter whether it has a ceiling or
hasn't? But, do you know, there's a damnable question involved in
it? If there's no ceiling there can be no hooks, and if there are no
hooks it all breaks down, which is unlikely again, for then there
would be none to drag me down to hell, and if they don't drag me
down what justice is there in the world? Il faudrait les inventer,*
those hooks, on purpose for me alone, for, if you only knew,
Alyosha, what a black-guard I am."

    * It would be neccessary to invent them.

    "But there are no hooks there," said Alyosha, looking gently and
seriously at his father.
    "Yes, yes, only the shadows of hooks. I know, I know. That's how a
Frenchman described hell: 'J'ai vu l'ombre d'un cocher qui avec
l'ombre d'une brosse frottait l'ombre d'une carrosse.'* How do you
know there are no hooks, darling? When you've lived with the monks
you'll sing a different tune. But go and get at the truth there, and
then come and tell me. Anyway it's easier going to the other world
if one knows what there is there. Besides, it will be more seemly
for you with the monks than here with me, with a drunken old man and
young harlots... though you're like an angel, nothing touches you. And
I dare say nothing will touch you there. That's why I let you go,
because I hope for that. You've got all your wits about you. You
will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back
again. And I will wait for you. I feel that you're the only creature
in the world who has not condemned me. My dear boy, I feel it, you
know. I can't help feeling it."

    * I've seen the shadow of a coachman rubbing the shadow of a coach
with the shadow of a brush.

    And he even began blubbering. He was sentimental. He was wicked
and sentimental.
                              Chapter 5

    SOME of my readers may imagine that my young man was a sickly,
ecstatic, poorly developed creature, a pale, consumptive dreamer. On
the contrary, Alyosha was at this time a well-grown, red-cheeked,
clear-eyed lad of nineteen, radiant with health. He was very handsome,
too, graceful, moderately tall, with hair of a dark brown, with a
regular, rather long, oval-shaped face, and wide-set dark grey,
shining eyes; he was very thoughtful, and apparently very serene. I
shall be told, perhaps, that red cheeks are not incompatible with
fanaticism and mysticism; but I fancy that Alyosha was more of a
realist than anyone. Oh! no doubt, in the monastery he fully
believed in miracles, but, to my thinking, miracles are never a
stumbling-block to the realist. It is not miracles that dispose
realists to belief. The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever,
will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous,
and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would
rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Even if he
admits it, he admits it as a fact of nature till then unrecognised
by him. Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but
the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound
by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas
said that he would not believe till he saw, but when he did see he
said, "My Lord and my God!" Was it the miracle forced him to
believe? Most likely not, but he believed solely because he desired to
believe and possibly he fully believed in his secret heart even when
he said, "I do not believe till I see."
    I shall be told, perhaps, that Alyosha was stupid, undeveloped,
had not finished his studies, and so on. That he did not finish his
studies is true, but to say that he was stupid or dull would be a
great injustice. I'll simply repeat what I have said above. He entered
upon this path only because, at that time, it alone struck his
imagination and presented itself to him as offering an ideal means
of escape for his soul from darkness to light. Add to that that he was
to some extent a youth of our last epoch- that is, honest in nature,
desiring the truth, seeking for it and believing in it, and seeking to
serve it at once with all the strength of his soul, seeking for
immediate action, and ready to sacrifice everything, life itself,
for it. Though these young men unhappily fail to understand that the
sacrifice of life is, in many cases, the easiest of all sacrifices,
and that to sacrifice, for instance, five or six years of their
seething youth to hard and tedious study, if only to multiply
tenfold their powers of serving the truth and the cause they have
set before them as their goal such a sacrifice is utterly beyond the
strength of many of them. The path Alyosha chose was a path going in
the opposite direction, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift
achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously he was convinced of the
existence of God and immortality, and at once he instinctively said to
himself: "I want to live for immortality, and I will accept no
compromise." In the same way, if he had decided that God and
immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and
a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labour question, it is
before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form
taken by atheism to-day, the question of the tower of Babel built
without God, not to mount to heaven from earth but to set up heaven on
earth. Alyosha would have found it strange and impossible to go on
living as before. It is written: "Give all that thou hast to the
poor and follow Me, if thou wouldst be perfect."
    Alyosha said to himself: "I can't give two roubles instead of
'all,' and only go to mass instead of 'following Him.'" Perhaps his
memories of childhood brought back our monastery, to which his
mother may have taken him to mass. Perhaps the slanting sunlight and
the holy image to which his poor "crazy" mother had held him up
still acted upon his imagination. Brooding on these things he may have
come to us perhaps only to see whether here he could sacrifice all
or only "two roubles," and in the monastery he met this elder. I
must digress to explain what an "elder" is in Russian monasteries, and
I am sorry that I do not feel very competent to do so. I will try,
however, to give a superficial account of it in a few words.
Authorities on the subject assert that the institution of "elders"
is of recent date, not more than a hundred years old in our
monasteries, though in the orthodox East, especially in Sinai and
Athos, it has existed over a thousand years. It is maintained that
it existed in ancient times in Russia also, but through the calamities
which overtook Russia- the Tartars, civil war, the interruption of
relations with the East after the destruction of Constantinople-
this institution fell into oblivion. It was revived among us towards
the end of last century by one of the great "ascetics," as they called
him, Paissy Velitchkovsky, and his disciples. But to this day it
exists in few monasteries only, and has sometimes been almost
persecuted as an innovation in Russia. It flourished especially in the
celebrated Kozelski Optin Monastery. When and how it was introduced
into our monastery I cannot say. There had already been three such
elders and Zossima was the last of them. But he was almost dying of
weakness and disease, and they had no one to take his place. The
question for our monastery was an important one, for it had not been
distinguished by anything in particular till then: they had neither
relics of saints, nor wonder- working ikons, nor glorious
traditions, nor historical exploits. It had flourished and been
glorious all over Russia through its elders, to see and hear whom
pilgrims had flocked for thousands of miles from all parts.
    What was such an elder? An elder was one who took your soul,
your will, into his soul and his will. When you choose an elder, you
renounce your own will and yield it to him in complete submission,
complete self-abnegation. This novitiate, this terrible school of
abnegation, is undertaken voluntarily, in the hope of self-conquest,
of self-mastery, in order, after a life of obedience, to attain
perfect freedom, that is, from self; to escape the lot of those who
have lived their whole life without finding their true selves in
themselves. This institution of elders is not founded on theory, but
was established in the East from the practice of a thousand years. The
obligations due to an elder are not the ordinary "obedience" which has
always existed in our Russian monasteries. The obligation involves
confession to the elder by all who have submitted themselves to him,
and to the indissoluble bond between him and them.
    The story is told, for instance, that in the early days of
Christianity one such novice, failing to fulfil some command laid upon
him by his elder, left his monastery in Syria and went to Egypt.
There, after great exploits, he was found worthy at last to suffer
torture and a martyr's death for the faith. When the Church, regarding
him as a saint, was burying him, suddenly, at the deacon's
exhortation, "Depart all ye unbaptised," the coffin containing the
martyr's body left its place and was cast forth from the church, and
this took place three times. And only at last they learnt that this
holy man had broken his vow of obedience and left his elder, and,
therefore, could not be forgiven without the elder's absolution in
spite of his great deeds. Only after this could the funeral take
place. This, of course, is only an old legend. But here is a recent
    A monk was suddenly commanded by his elder to quit Athos, which he
loved as a sacred place and a haven of refuge, and to go first to
Jerusalem to do homage to the Holy Places and then to go to the
north to Siberia: "There is the place for thee and not here." The
monk, overwhelmed with sorrow, went to the Oecumenical Patriarch at
Constantinople and besought him to release him from his obedience. But
the Patriarch replied that not only was he unable to release him,
but there was not and could not be on earth a power which could
release him except the elder who had himself laid that duty upon
him. In this way the elders are endowed in certain cases with
unbounded and inexplicable authority. That is why in many of our
monasteries the institution was at first resisted almost to
persecution. Meantime the elders immediately began to be highly
esteemed among the people. Masses of the ignorant people as well as of
distinction flocked, for instance, to the elders of our monastery to
confess their doubts, their sins, and their sufferings, and ask for
counsel and admonition. Seeing this, the opponents of the elders
declared that the sacrament of confession was being arbitrarily and
frivolously degraded, though the continual opening of the heart to the
elder by the monk or the layman had nothing of the character of the
sacrament. In the end, however, the institution of elders has been
retained and is becoming established in Russian monasteries. It is
true, perhaps, that this instrument which had stood the test of a
thousand years for the moral regeneration of a man from slavery to
freedom and to moral perfectibility may be a two-edged weapon and it
may lead some not to humility and complete self-control but to the
most Satanic pride, that is, to bondage and not to freedom.
    The elder Zossima was sixty-five. He came of a family of
landowners, had been in the army in early youth, and served in the
Caucasus as an officer. He had, no doubt, impressed Alyosha by some
peculiar quality of his soul. Alyosha lived in the cell of the
elder, who was very fond of him and let him wait upon him. It must
be noted that Alyosha was bound by no obligation and could go where he
pleased and be absent for whole days. Though he wore the monastic
dress it was voluntarily, not to be different from others. No doubt he
liked to do so. Possibly his youthful imagination was deeply stirred
by the power and fame of his elder. It was said that so many people
had for years past come to confess their sins to Father Zossima and to
entreat him for words of advice and healing, that he had acquired
the keenest intuition and could tell from an unknown face what a
new-comer wanted, and what was the suffering on his conscience. He
sometimes astounded and almost alarmed his visitors by his knowledge
of their secrets before they had spoken a word.
    Alyosha noticed that many, almost all, went in to the elder for
the first time with apprehension and uneasiness, but came out with
bright and happy faces. Alyosha was particularly struck by the fact
that Father Zossima was not at all stern. On the contrary, he was
always almost gay. The monks used to say that he was more drawn to
those who were more sinful, and the greater the sinner the more he
loved him. There were, no doubt, up to the end of his life, among
the monks some who hated and envied him, but they were few in number
and they were silent, though among them were some of great dignity
in the monastery, one, for instance, of the older monks
distinguished for his strict keeping of fasts and vows of silence. But
the majority were on Father Zossima's side and very many of them loved
him with all their hearts, warmly and sincerely. Some were almost
fanatically devoted to him, and declared, though not quite aloud, that
he was a saint, that there could be no doubt of it, and, seeing that
his end was near, they anticipated miracles and great glory to the
monastery in the immediate future from his relics. Alyosha had
unquestioning faith in the miraculous power of the elder, just as he
had unquestioning faith in the story of the coffin that flew out of
the church. He saw many who came with sick children or relatives and
besought the elder to lay hands on them and to pray over them,
return shortly after- some the next day- and, falling in tears at
the elder's feet, thank him for healing their sick.
    Whether they had really been healed or were simply better in the
natural course of the disease was a question which did not exist for
Alyosha, for he fully believed in the spiritual power of his teacher
and rejoiced in his fame, in his glory, as though it were his own
triumph. His heart throbbed, and he beamed, as it were, all over
when the elder came out to the gates of the hermitage into the waiting
crowd of pilgrims of the humbler class who had flocked from all
parts of Russia on purpose to see the elder and obtain his blessing.
They fell down before him, wept, kissed his feet, kissed the earth
on which he stood, and wailed, while the women held up their
children to him and brought him the sick "possessed with devils."
The elder spoke to them, read a brief prayer over them, blessed
them, and dismissed them. Of late he had become so weak through
attacks of illness that he was sometimes unable to leave his cell, and
the pilgrims waited for him to come out for several days. Alyosha
did not wonder why they loved him so, why they fell down before him
and wept with emotion merely at seeing his face. Oh! he understood
that for the humble soul of the Russian peasant, worn out by grief and
toil, and still more by the everlasting injustice and everlasting sin,
his own and the world's, it was the greatest need and comfort to
find someone or something holy to fall down before and worship.
    "Among us there is sin, injustice, and temptation, but yet,
somewhere on earth there is someone holy and exalted. He has the
truth; he knows the truth; so it is not dead upon the earth; so it
will come one day to us, too, and rule over all the earth according to
the promise."
    Alyosha knew that this was just how the people felt and even
reasoned. He understood it, but that the elder Zossima was this
saint and custodian of God's truth- of that he had no more doubt
than the weeping peasants and the sick women who held out their
children to the elder. The conviction that after his death the elder
would bring extraordinary glory to the monastery was even stronger
in Alyosha than in anyone there, and, of late, a kind of deep flame of
inner ecstasy burnt more and more strongly in his heart. He was not at
all troubled at this elder's standing as a solitary example before
    "No matter. He is holy. He carries in his heart the secret of
renewal for all: that power which will, at last, establish truth on
the earth, and all men will be holy and love one another, and there
will be no more rich nor poor, no exalted nor humbled, but all will be
as the children of God, and the true Kingdom of Christ will come."
That was the dream in Alyosha's heart.
    The arrival of his two brothers, whom he had not known till
then, seemed to make a great impression on Alyosha. He more quickly
made friends with his half-brother Dmitri (though he arrived later)
than with his own brother Ivan. He was extremely interested in his
brother Ivan, but when the latter had been two months in the town,
though they had met fairly often, they were still not intimate.
Alyosha was naturally silent, and he seemed to be expecting something,
ashamed about something, while his brother Ivan, though Alyosha
noticed at first that he looked long and curiously at him, seemed soon
to have left off thinking of him. Alyosha noticed it with some
embarrassment. He ascribed his brother's indifference at first to
the disparity of their age and education. But he also wondered whether
the absence of curiosity and sympathy in Ivan might be due to some
other cause entirely unknown to him. He kept fancying that Ivan was
absorbed in something- something inward and important- that he was
striving towards some goal, perhaps very hard to attain, and that that
was why he had no thought for him. Alyosha wondered, too, whether
there was not some contempt on the part of the learned atheist for
him- a foolish novice. He knew for certain that his brother was an
atheist. He could not take offence at this contempt, if it existed;
yet, with an uneasy embarrassment which he did not himself understand,
he waited for his brother to come nearer to him. Dmitri used to
speak of Ivan with the deepest respect and with a peculiar
earnestness. From him Alyosha learnt all the details of the
important affair which had of late formed such a close and
remarkable bond between the two elder brothers. Dmitri's
enthusiastic references to Ivan were the more striking in Alyosha's
eyes since Dmitri was, compared with Ivan, almost uneducated, and
the two brothers were such a contrast in personality and character
that it would be difficult to find two men more unlike.
    It was at this time that the meeting, or, rather gathering of
the members of this inharmonious family took place in the cell of
the elder who had such an extraordinary influence on Alyosha. The
pretext for this gathering was a false one. It was at this time that
the discord between Dmitri and his father seemed at its acutest
stage and their relations had become insufferably strained. Fyodor
Pavlovitch seems to have been the first to suggest, apparently in
joke, that they should all meet in Father Zossima's cell, and that,
without appealing to his direct intervention, they might more decently
come to an understanding under the conciliating influence of the
elder's presence. Dmitri, who had never seen the elder, naturally
supposed that his father was trying to intimidate him, but, as he
secretly blamed himself for his outbursts of temper with his father on
several recent occasions, he accepted the challenge. It must be
noted that he was not, like Ivan, staying with his father, but
living apart at the other end of the town. It happened that Pyotr
Alexandrovitch Miusov, who was staying in the district at the time,
caught eagerly at the idea. A Liberal of the forties and fifties, a
freethinker and atheist, he may have been led on by boredom or the
hope of frivolous diversion. He was suddenly seized with the desire to
see the monastery and the holy man. As his lawsuit with the
monastery still dragged on, he made it the pretext for seeing the
Superior, in order to attempt to settle it amicably. A visitor
coming with such laudable intentions might be received with more
attention and consideration than if he came from simple curiosity.
Influences from within the monastery were brought to bear on the
elder, who of late had scarcely left his cell, and had been forced
by illness to deny even his ordinary visitors. In the end he consented
to see them, and the day was fixed.
    "Who has made me a judge over them?" was all he said, smilingly,
to Alyosha.
    Alyosha was much perturbed when he heard of the proposed visit. Of
all the wrangling, quarrelsome party, Dmitri was the only one who
could regard the interview seriously. All the others would come from
frivolous motives, perhaps insulting to the elder. Alyosha was well
aware of that. Ivan and Miusov would come from curiosity, perhaps of
the coarsest kind, while his father might be contemplating some
piece of buffoonery. Though he said nothing, Alyosha thoroughly
understood his father. The boy, I repeat, was far from being so simple
as everyone thought him. He awaited the day with a heavy heart. No
doubt he was always pondering in his mind how the family discord could
be ended. But his chief anxiety concerned the elder. He trembled for
him, for his glory, and dreaded any affront to him, especially the
refined, courteous irony of Miusov and the supercilious
half-utterances of the highly educated Ivan. He even wanted to venture
on warning the elder, telling him something about them, but, on second
thoughts, said nothing. He only sent word the day before, through a
friend, to his brother Dmitri, that he loved him and expected him to
keep his promise. Dmitri wondered, for he could not remember what he
had promised, but he answered by letter that he would do his utmost
not to let himself be provoked "by vileness," but that, although he
had a deep respect for the elder and for his brother Ivan, he was
convinced that the meeting was either a trap for him or an unworthy
    "Nevertheless I would rather bite out my tongue than be lacking in
respect to the sainted man whom you reverence so highly," he wrote
in conclusion. Alyosha was not greatly cheered by the letter.
                               Book II
                       An Unfortunate Gathering

                              Chapter 1
                     They Arrive at the Monastery

    IT was a warm, bright day the end of August. The interview with
the elder had been fixed for half-past eleven, immediately after
late mass. Our visitors did not take part in the service, but
arrived just as it was over. First an elegant open carriage, drawn
by two valuable horses, drove up with Miusov and a distant relative of
his, a young man of twenty, called Pyotr Fomitch Kalganov. This
young man was preparing to enter the university. Miusov with whom he
was staying for the time, was trying to persuade him to go abroad to
the university of Zurich or Jena. The young man was still undecided.
He was thoughtful and absent-minded. He was nice-looking, strongly
built, and rather tall. There was a strange fixity in his gaze at
times. Like all very absent-minded people he would sometimes stare
at a person without seeing him. He was silent and rather awkward,
but sometimes, when he was alone with anyone, he became talkative
and effusive, and would laugh at anything or nothing. But his
animation vanished as quickly as it appeared. He was always well and
even elaborately dressed; he had already some independent fortune
and expectations of much more. He was a friend of Alyosha's.
    In an ancient, jolting, but roomy, hired carriage, with a pair
of old pinkish-grey horses, a long way behind Miusov's carriage,
came Fyodor Pavlovitch, with his son Ivan. Dmitri was late, though
he had been informed of the time the evening before. The visitors left
their carriage at the hotel, outside the precincts, and went to the
gates of the monastery on foot. Except Fyodor Pavlovitch, more of
the party had ever seen the monastery, and Miusov had probably not
even been to church for thirty years. He looked about him with
curiosity, together with assumed ease. But, except the church and
the domestic buildings, though these too were ordinary enough, he
found nothing of interest in the interior of the monastery. The last
of the worshippers were coming out of the church bareheaded and
crossing themselves. Among the humbler people were a few of higher
rank- two or three ladies and a very old general. They were all
staying at the hotel. Our visitors were at once surrounded by beggars,
but none of them gave them anything, except young Kalganov, who took a
ten-copeck piece out of his purse, and, nervous and embarrassed- God
knows why!- hurriedly gave it to an old woman, saying: "Divide it
equally." None of his companions made any remark upon it, so that he
had no reason to be embarrassed; but, perceiving this, he was even
more overcome.
    It was strange that their arrival did not seem expected, and
that they were not received with special honour, though one of them
had recently made a donation of a thousand roubles, while another
was a very wealthy and highly cultured landowner, upon whom all in the
monastery were in a sense dependent, as a decision of the lawsuit
might at any moment put their fishing rights in his hands. Yet no
official personage met them.
    Miusov looked absent-mindedly at the tombstones round the
church, and was on the point of saying that the dead buried here
must have paid a pretty penny for the right of lying in this "holy
place," but refrained. His liberal irony was rapidly changing almost
into anger.
    "Who the devil is there to ask in this imbecile place? We must
find out, for time is passing," he observed suddenly, as though
speaking to himself.
    All at once there came up a bald-headed, elderly man with
ingratiating little eyes, wearing a full, summer overcoat. Lifting his
hat, he introduced himself with a honeyed lisp as Maximov, a landowner
of Tula. He at once entered into our visitors' difficulty.
    "Father Zossima lives in the hermitage, apart, four hundred
paces from the monastery, the other side of the copse."
    "I know it's the other side of the copse," observed Fyodor
Pavlovitch, "but we don't remember the way. It is a long time since
we've been here."
    "This way, by this gate, and straight across the copse... the
copse. Come with me, won't you? I'll show you. I have to go.... I am
going myself. This way, this way."
    They came out of the gate and turned towards the copse. Maximov, a
man of sixty, ran rather than walked, turning sideways to stare at
them all, with an incredible degree of nervous curiosity. His eyes
looked starting out of his head.
    "You see, we have come to the elder upon business of our own,"
observed Miusov severely. "That personage has granted us an
audience, so to speak, and so, though we thank you for showing us
the way, we cannot ask you to accompany us."
    "I've been there. I've been already; un chevalier parfait," and
Maximov snapped his fingers in the air.
    "Who is a chevalier?" asked Miusov.
    "The elder, the splendid elder, the elder! The honour and glory of
the monastery, Zossima. Such an elder!"
    But his incoherent talk was cut short by a very pale,
wan-looking monk of medium height wearing a monk's cap, who overtook
them. Fyodor Pavlovitch and Miusov stopped.
    The monk, with an extremely courteous, profound bow, announced:
    "The Father Superior invites all of you gentlemen to dine with him
after your visit to the hermitage. At one o'clock, not later. And
you also," he added, addressing Maximov.
    "That I certainly will, without fail," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch,
hugely delighted at the invitation. "And, believe me, we've all
given our word to behave properly here.... And you, Pyotr
Alexandrovitch, will you go, too?"
    "Yes, of course. What have I come for but to study all the customs
here? The only obstacle to me is your company...."
    "Yes, Dmitri Fyodorovitch is non-existent as yet."
    "It would be a capital thing if he didn't turn up. Do you
suppose I like all this business, and in your company, too? So we will
come to dinner. Thank the Father Superior," he said to the monk.
    "No, it is my duty now to conduct you to the elder," answered
the monk.
    "If so I'll go straight to the Father Superior- to the Father
Superior," babbled Maximov.
    "The Father Superior is engaged just now. But as you please- " the
monk hesitated.
    "Impertinent old man!" Miusov observed aloud, while Maximov ran
back to the monastery.
    "He's like von Sohn," Fyodor Pavlovitch said suddenly.
    "Is that all you can think of?... In what way is he like von Sohn?
Have you ever seen von Sohn?"
    "I've seen his portrait. It's not the features, but something
indefinable. He's a second von Sohn. I can always tell from the
    "Ah, I dare say you are a connoisseur in that. But, look here,
Fyodor Pavlovitch, you said just now that we had given our word to
behave properly. Remember it. I advise you to control yourself. But,
if you begin to play the fool I don't intend to be associated with you
here... You see what a man he is"- he turned to the monk- "I'm
afraid to go among decent people with him." A fine smile, not
without a certain slyness, came on to the pale, bloodless lips of
the monk, but he made no reply, and was evidently silent from a
sense of his own dignity. Miusov frowned more than ever.
    "Oh, devil take them all! An outer show elaborated through
centuries, and nothing but charlatanism and nonsense underneath,"
flashed through Miusov's mind.
    "Here's the hermitage. We've arrived," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch.
"The gates are shut."
    And he repeatedly made the sign of the cross to the saints painted
above and on the sides of the gates.
    "When you go to Rome you must do as the Romans do. Here in this
hermitage there are twenty-five saints being saved. They look at one
another, and eat cabbages. And not one woman goes in at this gate.
That's what is remarkable. And that really is so. But I did hear
that the elder receives ladies," he remarked suddenly to the monk.
    "Women of the people are here too now, lying in the portico
there waiting. But for ladies of higher rank two rooms have been built
adjoining the portico, but outside the precincts you can see the
windows- and the elder goes out to them by an inner passage when he is
well enough. They are always outside the precincts. There is a
Harkov lady, Madame Hohlakov, waiting there now with her sick
daughter. Probably he has promised to come out to her, though of
late he has been so weak that he has hardly shown himself even to
the people."
    "So then there are loopholes, after all, to creep out of the
hermitage to the ladies. Don't suppose, holy father, that I mean any
harm. But do you know that at Athos not only the visits of women are
not allowed, but no creature of the female sex- no hens, nor turkey
hens, nor cows."
    "Fyodor Pavlovitch, I warn you I shall go back and leave you here.
They'll turn you out when I'm gone."
    "But I'm not interfering with you, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. Look," he
cried suddenly, stepping within the precincts, "what a vale of roses
they live in!"
    Though there were no roses now, there were numbers of rare and
beautiful autumn flowers growing wherever there was space for them,
and evidently tended by a skilful hand; there were flower-beds round
the church, and between the tombs; and the one-storied wooden house
where the elder lived was also surrounded with flowers.
    "And was it like this in the time of the last elder, Varsonofy? He
didn't care for such elegance. They say he used to jump up and
thrash even ladies with a stick," observed Fyodor Pavlovitch, as he
went up the steps.
    "The elder Varsonofy did sometimes seem rather strange, but a
great deal that's told is foolishness. He never thrashed anyone,"
answered the monk. "Now, gentlemen, if you will wait a minute I will
announce you."
    "Fyodor Pavlovitch, for the last time, your compact, do you
hear? Behave properly or I will pay you out!" Miusov had time to
mutter again.
    "I can't think why you are so agitated," Fyodor Pavlovitch
observed sarcastically. "Are you uneasy about your sins? They say he
can tell by one's eyes what one has come about. And what a lot you
think of their opinion! you, a Parisian, and so advanced. I'm
surprised at you."
    But Miusov had no time to reply to this sarcasm. They were asked
to come in. He walked in, somewhat irritated.
    "Now, I know myself, I am annoyed, I shall lose my temper and
begin to quarrel- and lower myself and my ideas," he reflected.
                              Chapter 2
                           The Old Buffoon

    THEY entered the room almost at the same moment that the elder
came in from his bedroom. There were already in the cell, awaiting the
elder, two monks of the hermitage, one the Father Librarian, and the
other Father Paissy, a very learned man, so they said, in delicate
health, though not old. There was also a tall young man, who looked
about two and twenty, standing in the corner throughout the interview.
He had a broad, fresh face, and clever, observant, narrow brown
eyes, and was wearing ordinary dress. He was a divinity student,
living under the protection of the monastery. His expression was one
of unquestioning, but self-respecting, reverence. Being in a
subordinate and dependent position, and so not on an equality with the
guests, he did not greet them with a bow.
    Father Zossima was accompanied by a novice, and by Alyosha. The
two monks rose and greeted him with a very deep bow, touching the
ground with their fingers; then kissed his hand. Blessing them, the
elder replied with as deep a reverence to them, and asked their
blessing. The whole ceremony was performed very seriously and with
an appearance of feeling, not like an everyday rite. But Miusov
fancied that it was all done with intentional impressiveness. He stood
in front of the other visitors. He ought- he had reflected upon it the
evening before- from simple politeness, since it was the custom
here, to have gone up to receive the elder's blessing, even if he
did not kiss his hand. But when he saw all this bowing and kissing
on the part of the monks he instantly changed his mind. With dignified
gravity he made a rather deep, conventional bow, and moved away to a
chair. Fyodor Pavlovitch did the same, mimicking Miusov like an ape.
Ivan bowed with great dignity and courtesy, but he too kept his
hands at his sides, while Kalganov was so confused that he did not bow
at all. The elder let fall the hand raised to bless them, and bowing
to them again, asked them all to sit down. The blood rushed to
Alyosha's cheeks. He was ashamed. His forebodings were coming true.
    Father Zossima sat down on a very old-fashioned mahogany sofa,
covered with leather, and made his visitors sit down in a row along
the opposite wall on four mahogany chairs, covered with shabby black
leather. The monks sat, one at the door and the other at the window.
The divinity student, the novice, and Alyosha remained standing. The
cell was not very large and had a faded look. It contained nothing but
the most necessary furniture, of coarse and poor quality. There were
two pots of flowers in the window, and a number of holy pictures in
the corner. Before one huge ancient ikon of the virgin a lamp was
burning. Near it were two other holy pictures in shining settings,
and, next them, carved cherubim, china eggs, a Catholic cross of
ivory, with a Mater Dolorosa embracing it, and several foreign
engravings from the great Italian artists of past centuries. Next to
these costly and artistic engravings were several of the roughest
Russian prints of saints and martyrs, such as are sold for a few
farthings at all the fairs. On the other walls were portraits of
Russian bishops, past and present.
    Miusov took a cursory glance at all these "conventional"
surroundings and bent an intent look upon the elder. He had a high
opinion of his own insight a weakness excusable in him as he was
fifty, an age at which a clever man of the world of established
position can hardly help taking himself rather seriously. At the first
moment he did not like Zossima. There was, indeed, something in the
elder's face which many people besides Miusov might not have liked. He
was a short, bent, little man, with very weak legs, and though he
was only sixty-five, he looked at least ten years older. His face
was very thin and covered with a network of fine wrinkles,
particularly numerous about his eyes, which were small,
light-coloured, quick, and shining like two bright points. He had a
sprinkling of grey hair about his temples. His pointed beard was small
and scanty, and his lips, which smiled frequently, were as thin as two
threads. His nose was not long, but sharp, like a bird's beak.
    "To all appearances a malicious soul, full of petty pride,"
thought Miusov. He felt altogether dissatisfied with his position.
    A cheap little clock on the wall struck twelve hurriedly, and
served to begin the conversation.
    "Precisely to our time," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, "but no sign
of my son, Dmitri. I apologise for him, sacred elder!" (Alyosha
shuddered all over at "sacred elder".) "I am always punctual myself,
minute for minute, remembering that punctuality is the courtesy of
    "But you are not a king, anyway," Miusov muttered, losing his
self-restraint at once.
    "Yes; that's true. I'm not a king, and, would you believe it,
Pyotr Alexandrovitch, I was aware of that myself. But, there! I always
say the wrong thing. Your reverence," he cried, with sudden pathos,
"you behold before you a buffoon in earnest! I introduce myself as
such. It's an old habit, alas! And if I sometimes talk nonsense out of
place it's with an object, with the object of amusing people and
making myself agreeable. One must be agreeable, mustn't one? I was
seven years ago in a little town where I had business, and I made
friends with some merchants there. We went to the captain of police
because we had to see him about something, and to ask him to dine with
us. He was a tall, fat, fair, sulky man, the most dangerous type in
such cases. It's their liver. I went straight up to him, and with
the ease of a man of the world, you know, 'Mr. Ispravnik,' said I, 'be
our Napravnik.' 'What do you mean by Napravnik?' said he. I saw, at
the first half-second, that it had missed fire. He stood there so
glum. 'I wanted to make a joke,' said I, 'for the general diversion,
as Mr. Napravnik is our well-known Russian orchestra conductor and
what we need for the harmony of our undertaking is someone of that
sort.' And I explained my comparison very reasonably, didn't I?
'Excuse me,' said he, 'I am an Ispravnik, and I do not allow puns to
be made on my calling.' He turned and walked away. I followed him,
shouting, 'Yes, yes, you are an Ispravnik, not a Napravnik.' 'No,'
he said, 'since you called me a Napravnik I am one.' And would you
believe it, it ruined our business! And I'm always like that, always
like that. Always injuring myself with my politeness. Once, many years
ago, I said to an influential person: 'Your wife is a ticklish
lady,' in an honourable sense, of the moral qualities, so to speak.
But he asked me, 'Why, have you tickled her?' I thought I'd be polite,
so I couldn't help saying, 'Yes,' and he gave me a fine tickling on
the spot. Only that happened long ago, so I'm not ashamed to tell
the story. I'm always injuring myself like that."
    "You're doing it now," muttered Miusov, with disgust.
    Father Zossima scrutinised them both in silence.
    "Am I? Would you believe it, I was aware of that, too, Pyotr
Alexandrovitch, and let tell you, indeed, I foresaw I should as soon
as I began to speak. And do you know I foresaw, too, that you'd be the
first to remark on it. The minute I see my joke isn't coming off, your
reverence, both my cheeks feel as though they were drawn down to the
lower jaw and there is almost a spasm in them. That's been so since
I was young, when I had to make jokes for my living in noblemen's
families. I am an inveterate buffoon, and have been from birth up,
your reverence, it's as though it were a craze in me. I dare say
it's a devil within me. But only a little one. A more serious one
would have chosen another lodging. But not your soul, Pyotr
Alexandrovitch; you're not a lodging worth having either. But I do
believe- I believe in God, though I have had doubts of late. But now I
sit and await words of wisdom. I'm like the philosopher, Diderot, your
reverence. Did you ever hear, most Holy Father, how Diderot went to
see the Metropolitan Platon, in the time of the Empress Catherine?
He went in and said straight out, 'There is no God.' To which the
great bishop lifted up his finger and answered, 'The fool has said
in his heart there is no God and he fell down at his feet on the spot.
'I believe,' he cried, 'and will be christened.' And so he was.
Princess Dashkov was his godmother, and Potyomkin his godfather."
    "Fyodor Pavlovitch, this is unbearable! You know you're telling
lies and that that stupid anecdote isn't true. Why are you playing the
fool?" cried Miusov in a shaking voice.
    "I suspected all my life that it wasn't true," Fyodor Pavlovitch
cried with conviction. "But I'll tell you the whole truth,
gentlemen. Great elder! Forgive me, the last thing about Diderot's
christening I made up just now. I never thought of it before. I made
it up to add piquancy. I play the fool, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, to
make myself agreeable. Though I really don't know myself, sometimes,
what I do it for. And as for Diderot, I heard as far as 'the fool hath
said in his heart' twenty times from the gentry about here when I
was young. I heard your aunt, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, tell the story.
They all believe to this day that the infidel Diderot came to
dispute about God with the Metropolitan Platon...."
    Miusov got up, forgetting himself in his impatience. He was
furious, and conscious of being ridiculous.
    What was taking place in the cell was really incredible. For forty
or fifty years past, from the times of former elders, no visitors
had entered that cell without feelings of the profoundest
veneration. Almost everyone admitted to the cell felt that a great
favour was being shown him. Many remained kneeling during the whole
visit. Of those visitors, many had been men of high rank and learning,
some even free thinkers, attracted by curiosity, but all without
exception had shown the profoundest reverence and delicacy, for here
there was no question of money, but only, on the one side love and
kindness, and on the other penitence and eager desire to decide some
spiritual problem or crisis. So that such buffoonery amazed and
bewildered the spectators, or at least some of them. The monks, with
unchanged countenances, waited, with earnest attention, to hear what
the elder would say, but seemed on the point of standing up, like
Miusov. Alyosha stood, with hanging head, on the verge of tears.
What seemed to him strangest of all was that his brother Ivan, on whom
alone he had rested his hopes, and who alone had such influence on his
father that he could have stopped him, sat now quite unmoved, with
downcast eyes, apparently waiting with interest to see how it would
end, as though he had nothing to do with it. Alyosha did not dare to
look at Rakitin, the divinity student, whom he knew almost intimately.
He alone in the monastery knew Rakitin's thoughts.
    "Forgive me," began Miusov, addressing Father Zossima, "for
perhaps I seem to be taking part in this shameful foolery. I made a
mistake in believing that even a man like Fyodor Pavlovitch would
understand what was due on a visit to so honoured a personage. I did
not suppose I should have to apologise simply for having come with
    Pyotr Alexandrovitch could say no more, and was about to leave the
room, overwhelmed with confusion.
    "Don't distress yourself, I beg." The elder got on to his feeble
legs, and taking Pyotr Alexandrovitch by both hands, made him sit down
again. "I beg you not to disturb yourself. I particularly beg you to
be my guest." And with a bow he went back and sat down again on his
little sofa.
    "Great elder, speak! Do I annoy you by my vivacity?" Fyodor
Pavlovitch cried suddenly, clutching the arms of his chair in both
hands, as though ready to leap up from it if the answer were
    "I earnestly beg you, too, not to disturb yourself, and not to
be uneasy," the elder said impressively. "Do not trouble. Make
yourself quite at home. And, above all, do not be so ashamed of
yourself, for that is at the root of it all."
    "Quite at home? To be my natural self? Oh, that is much too
much, but I accept it with grateful joy. Do you know, blessed
father, you'd better not invite me to be my natural self. Don't risk
it.... I will not go so far as that myself. I warn you for your own
sake. Well, the rest is still plunged in the mists of uncertainty,
though there are people who'd be pleased to describe me for you. I
mean that for you, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. But as for you, holy being,
let me tell you, I am brimming over with ecstasy."
    He got up, and throwing up his hands, declaimed, "Blessed be the
womb that bare thee, and the paps that gave thee suck- the paps
especially. When you said just now, 'Don't be so ashamed of
yourself, for that is at the root of it all,' you pierced right
through me by that remark, and read me to the core. Indeed, I always
feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that they all
take me for a buffoon. So I say, 'Let me really play the buffoon. I am
not afraid of your opinion, for you are every one of you worse than
I am.' That is why I am a buffoon. It is from shame, great elder, from
shame; it's simply over-sensitiveness that makes me rowdy. If I had
only been sure that everyone would accept me as the kindest and wisest
of men, oh, Lord, what a good man I should have been then! Teacher!"
he fell suddenly on his knees, "what must I do to gain eternal life?"
    It was difficult even now to decide whether he was joking or
really moved.
    Father Zossima, lifting his eyes, looked at him, and said with a
    "You have known for a long time what you must do. You have sense
enough: don't give way to drunkenness and incontinence of speech;
don't give way to sensual lust; and, above all, to the love of
money. And close your taverns. If you can't close all, at least two or
three. And, above all- don't lie."
    "You mean about Diderot?"
    "No, not about Diderot. Above all, don't lie to yourself. The
man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a
pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him,
and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no
respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself
without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and
sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other
men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily
offended than anyone. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take
offence, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but
that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and
exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a
mountain out of a molehill- he knows that himself, yet he will be
the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he
feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness. But
get up, sit down, I beg you. All this, too, is deceitful
    "Blessed man! Give me your hand to kiss."
    Fyodor Pavlovitch skipped up, and imprinted a rapid kiss on the
elder's thin hand. "It is, it is pleasant to take offence. You said
that so well, as I never heard it before. Yes, I have been all my life
taking offence, to please myself, taking offence on aesthetic grounds,
for it is not so much pleasant as distinguished sometimes to be
insulted- that you had forgotten, great elder, it is distinguished!
I shall make a note of that. But I have been lying, lying positively
my whole life long, every day and hour of it. Of a truth, I am a
lie, and the father of lies. Though I believe I am not the father of
lies. I am getting mixed in my texts. Say, the son of lies, and that
will be enough. Only... my angel... may sometimes talk about
Diderot! Diderot will do no harm, though sometimes a word will do
harm. Great elder, by the way, I was forgetting, though I had been
meaning for the last two years to come here on purpose to ask and to
find out something. Only do tell Pyotr Alexandrovitch not to interrupt
me. Here is my question: Is it true, great Father, that the story is
told somewhere in the Lives of the Saints of a holy saint martyred for
his faith who, when his head was cut off at last, stood up, picked
up his head, and, 'courteously kissing it,' walked a long way,
carrying it in his hands. Is that true or not, honoured Father?"
    "No, it is untrue," said the elder.
    "There is nothing of the kind in all the lives of the saints. What
saint do you say the story is told of?" asked the Father Librarian.
    "I do not know what saint. I do not know, and can't tell. I was
deceived. I was told the story. I had heard it, and do you know who
told it? Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov here, was so angry just now about
Diderot. He it was who told the story."
    "I have never told it you, I never speak to you at all."
    "It is true you did not tell me, but you told it when I was
present. It was three years ago. I mentioned it because by that
ridiculous story you shook my faith, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. You knew
nothing of it, but I went home with my faith shaken, and I have been
getting more and more shaken ever since. Yes, Pyotr Alexandrovitch,
you were the cause of a great fall. That was not a Diderot!
    Fyodor Pavlovitch got excited and pathetic, though it was
perfectly clear to everyone by now that he was playing a part again.
Yet Miusov was stung by his words.
    "What nonsense, and it is all nonsense," he muttered. "I may
really have told it, some time or other... but not to you. I was
told it myself. I heard it in Paris from a Frenchman. He told me it
was read at our mass from the Lives of the Saints... he was a very
learned man who had made a special study of Russian statistics and had
lived a long time in Russia.... I have not read the Lives of the
Saints myself, and I am not going to read them... all sorts of
things are said at dinner- we were dining then."
    "Yes, you were dining then, and so I lost my faith!" said Fyodor
Pavlovitch, mimicking him.
    "What do I care for your faith?" Miusov was on the point of
shouting, but he suddenly checked himself, and said with contempt,
"You defile everything you touch."
    The elder suddenly rose from his seat. "Excuse me, gentlemen,
for leaving you a few minutes," he said, addressing all his guests. "I
have visitors awaiting me who arrived before you. But don't you tell
lies all the same," he added, turning to Fyodor Pavlovitch with a
good-humoured face. He went out of the cell. Alyosha and the novice
flew to escort him down the steps. Alyosha was breathless: he was glad
to get away, but he was glad, too, that the elder was good-humoured
and not offended. Father Zossima was going towards the portico to
bless the people waiting for him there. But Fyodor Pavlovitch
persisted, in stopping him at the door of the cell.
    "Blessed man!" he cried, with feeling. "Allow me to kiss your hand
once more. Yes, with you I could still talk, I could still get on.
Do you think I always lie and play the fool like this? Believe me, I
have been acting like this all the time on purpose to try you. I
have been testing you all the time to see whether I could get on
with you. Is there room for my humility beside your pride? I am
ready to give you a testimonial that one can get on with you! But now,
I'll be quiet; I will keep quiet all the time. I'll sit in a chair and
hold my tongue. Now it is for you to speak, Pyotr Alexandrovitch.
You are the principal person left now- for ten minutes."
                              Chapter 3
                     Peasant Women Who Have Faith

    NEAR the wooden portico below, built on to the outer wall of the
precinct, there was a crowd of about twenty peasant women. They had
been told that the elder was at last coming out, and they had gathered
together in anticipation. Two ladies, Madame Hohlakov and her
daughter, had also come out into the portico to wait for the elder,
but in a separate part of it set aside for women of rank.
    Madame Hohlakov was a wealthy lady, still young and attractive,
and always dressed with taste. She was rather pale, and had lively
black eyes. She was not more than thirty-three, and had been five
years a widow. Her daughter, a girl of fourteen, was partially
paralysed. The poor child had not been able to walk for the last six
months, and was wheeled about in a long reclining chair. She had a
charming little face, rather thin from illness, but full of gaiety.
There was a gleam of mischief in her big dark eyes with their long
lashes. Her mother had been intending to take her abroad ever since
the spring, but they had been detained all the summer by business
connected with their estate. They had been staying a week in our town,
where they had come more for purposes of business than devotion, but
had visited Father Zossima once already, three days before. Though
they knew that the elder scarcely saw anyone, they had now suddenly
turned up again, and urgently entreated "the happiness of looking once
again on the great healer."
    The mother was sitting on a chair by the side of her daughter's
invalid carriage, and two paces from her stood an old monk, not one of
our monastery, but a visitor from an obscure religious house in the
far north. He too sought the elder's blessing.
    But Father Zossima, on entering the portico, went first straight
to the peasants who were crowded at the foot of the three steps that
led up into the portico. Father Zossima stood on the top step, put
on his stole, and began blessing the women who thronged about him. One
crazy woman was led up to him. As soon as she caught sight of the
elder she began shrieking and writhing as though in the pains of
childbirth. Laying the stole on her forehead, he read a short prayer
over her, and she was at once soothed and quieted.
    I do not know how it may be now, but in my childhood I often
happened to see and hear these "possessed" women in the villages and
monasteries. They used to be brought to mass; they would squeal and
bark like a dog so that they were heard all over the church. But
when the sacrament was carried in and they were led up to it, at
once the "possession" ceased, and the sick women were always soothed
for a time. I was greatly impressed and amazed at this as a child; but
then I heard from country neighbours and from my town teachers that
the whole illness was simulated to avoid work, and that it could
always be cured by suitable severity; various anecdotes were told to
confirm this. But later on I learnt with astonishment from medical
specialists that there is no pretence about it, that it is a
terrible illness to which women are subject, especially prevalent
among us in Russia, and that it is due to the hard lot of the
peasant women. It is a disease, I was told, arising from exhausting
toil too soon after hard, abnormal and unassisted labour in
childbirth, and from the hopeless misery, from beatings, and so on,
which some women were not able to endure like others. The strange
and instant healing of the frantic and struggling woman as soon as she
was led up to the holy sacrament, which had been explained to me as
due to malingering and the trickery of the "clericals," arose probably
in the most natural manner. Both the women who supported her and the
invalid herself fully believed as a truth beyond question that the
evil spirit in possession of her could not hold if the sick woman were
brought to the sacrament and made to bow down before it. And so,
with a nervous and psychically deranged woman, a sort of convulsion of
the whole organism always took place, and was bound to take place,
at the moment of bowing down to the sacrament, aroused by the
expectation of the miracle of healing and the implicit belief that
it would come to pass; and it did come to pass, though only for a
moment. It was exactly the same now as soon as the elder touched the
sick woman with the stole.
    Many of the women in the crowd were moved to tears of ecstasy by
the effect of the moment: some strove to kiss the hem of his
garment, others cried out in sing-song voices.
    He blessed them all and talked with some of them. The
"possessed" woman he knew already. She came from a village only six
versts from the monastery, and had been brought to him before.
    "But here is one from afar." He pointed to a woman by no means old
but very thin and wasted, with a face not merely sunburnt but almost
blackened by exposure. She was kneeling and gazing with a fixed
stare at the elder; there was something almost frenzied in her eyes.
    "From afar off, Father, from afar off! From two hundred miles from
here. From afar off, Father, from afar off!" the woman began in a
sing-song voice as though she were chanting a dirge, swaying her
head from side to side with her cheek resting in her hand.
    There is silent and long-suffering sorrow to be met with among the
peasantry. It withdraws into itself and is still. But there is a grief
that breaks out, and from that minute it bursts into tears and finds
vent in wailing. This is particularly common with women. But it is
no lighter a grief than the silent. Lamentations comfort only by
lacerating the heart still more. Such grief does not desire
consolation. It feeds on the sense of its hopelessness. Lamentations
spring only from the constant craving to re-open the wound.
    "You are of the tradesman class?" said Father Zossima, looking
curiously at her.
    "Townfolk we are, Father, townfolk. Yet we are peasants though
we live in the town. I have come to see you, O Father! We heard of
you, Father, we heard of you. I have buried my little son, and I
have come on a pilgrimage. I have been in three monasteries, but
they told me, 'Go, Nastasya, go to them'- that is to you. I have come;
I was yesterday at the service, and to-day I have come to you."
    "What are you weeping for?"
    "It's my little son I'm grieving for, Father. he was three years
old- three years all but three months. For my little boy, Father,
I'm in anguish, for my little boy. He was the last one left. We had
four, my Nikita and I, and now we've no children, our dear ones have
all gone I buried the first three without grieving overmuch, and now I
have buried the last I can't forget him. He seems always standing
before me. He never leaves me. He has withered my heart. I look at his
little clothes, his little shirt, his little boots, and I wail. I
lay out all that is left of him, all his little things. I look at them
and wail. I say to Nikita, my husband, 'let me go on a pilgrimage,
master.' He is a driver. We're not poor people, Father, not poor; he
drives our own horse. It's all our own, the horse and the carriage.
And what good is it all to us now? My Nikita has begun drinking
while I am away. He's sure to. It used to be so before. As soon as I
turn my back he gives way to it. But now I don't think about him. It's
three months since I left home. I've forgotten him. I've forgotten
everything. I don't want to remember. And what would our life be now
together? I've done with him, I've done. I've done with them all. I
don't care to look upon my house and my goods. I don't care to see
anything at all!"
    "Listen, mother," said the elder. "Once in olden times a holy
saint saw in the Temple a mother like you weeping for her little
one, her only one, whom God had taken. 'Knowest thou not,' said the
saint to her, 'how bold these little ones are before the throne of
God? Verily there are none bolder than they in the Kingdom of
Heaven. "Thou didst give us life, O Lord," they say, "and scarcely had
we looked upon it when Thou didst take it back again." And so boldly
they ask and ask again that God gives them at once the rank of angels.
Therefore,' said the saint, 'thou, too, O Mother, rejoice and weep
not, for thy little son is with the Lord in the fellowship of the
angels.' That's what the saint said to the weeping mother of old. He
was a great saint and he could not have spoken falsely. Therefore
you too, mother, know that your little one is surely before the throne
of God, is rejoicing and happy, and praying to God for you, and
therefore weep, but rejoice."
    The woman listened to him, looking down with her cheek in her
hand. She sighed deeply.
    "My Nikita tried to comfort me with the same words as you.
'Foolish one,' he said, 'why weep? Our son is no doubt singing with
the angels before God.' He says that to me, but he weeps himself. I
see that he cries like me. 'I know, Nikita,' said I. 'Where could he
be if not with the Lord God? Only, here with us now he is not as he
used to sit beside us before.' And if only I could look upon him one
little time, if only I could peep at him one little time, without
going up to him, without speaking, if I could be hidden in a corner
and only see him for one little minute, hear him playing in the
yard, calling in his little voice, 'Mammy, where are you?' If only I
could hear him pattering with his little feet about the room just
once, only once; for so often, so often I remember how he used to
run to me and shout and laugh, if only I could hear his little feet
I should know him! But he's gone, Father, he's gone, and I shall never
hear him again. Here's his little sash, but him I shall never see or
hear now."
    She drew out of her bosom her boy's little embroidered sash, and
as soon as she looked at it she began shaking with sobs, hiding her
eyes with her fingers through which the tears flowed in a sudden
    "It is Rachel of old," said the elder, "weeping for her
children, and will not be comforted because they are not. Such is
the lot set on earth for you mothers. Be not comforted. Consolation is
not what you need. Weep and be not consoled, but weep. Only every time
that you weep be sure to remember that your little son is one of the
angels of God, that he looks down from there at you and sees you,
and rejoices at your tears, and points at them to the Lord God; and
a long while yet will you keep that great mother's grief. But it
will turn in the end into quiet joy, and your bitter tears will be
only tears of tender sorrow that purifies the heart and delivers it
from sin. And I shall pray for the peace of your child's soul. What
was his name?"
    "Alexey, Father."
    "A sweet name. After Alexey, the man of God?"
    "Yes, Father."
    "What a saint he was! I will remember him, mother, and your
grief in my prayers, and I will pray for your husband's health. It
is a sin for you to leave him. Your little one will see from heaven
that you have forsaken his father, and will weep over you. Why do
you trouble his happiness? He is living, for the soul lives for
ever, and though he is not in the house he is near you, unseen. How
can he go into the house when you say that the house is hateful to
you? To whom is he to go if he find you not together, his father and
mother? He comes to you in dreams now, and you grieve. But then he
will send you gentle dreams. Go to your husband, mother; go this
very day."
    "I will go, Father, at your word. I will go. You've gone
straight to my heart. My Nikita, my Nikita, you are waiting for me,"
the woman began in a sing-song voice; but the elder had already turned
away to a very old woman, dressed like a dweller in the town, not like
a pilgrim. Her eyes showed that she had come with an object, and in
order to say something. She said she was the widow of a
non-commissioned officer, and lived close by in the town. Her son
Vasenka was in the commissariat service, and had gone to Irkutsk in
Siberia. He had written twice from there, but now a year had passed
since he had written. She did inquire about him, but she did not
know the proper place to inquire.
    "Only the other day Stepanida Ilyinishna- she's a rich
merchant's wife- said to me, 'You go, Prohorovna, and put your son's
name down for prayer in the church, and pray for the peace of his soul
as though he were dead. His soul will be troubled,' she said, 'and
he will write you a letter.' And Stepanida Ilyinishna told me it was a
certain thing which had been many times tried. Only I am in
doubt.... Oh, you light of ours! is it true or false, and would it
be right?"
    "Don't think of it. It's shameful to ask the question. How is it
possible to pray for the peace of a living soul? And his own mother
too! It's a great sin, akin to sorcery. Only for your ignorance it
is forgiven you. Better pray to the Queen of Heaven, our swift defence
and help, for his good health, and that she may forgive you for your
error. And another thing I will tell you, Prohorovna. Either he will
soon come back to you, your son, or he will be sure to send a
letter. Go, and henceforward be in peace. Your son is alive, I tell
    "Dear Father, God reward you, our benefactor, who prays for all of
us and for our sins!"
    But the elder had already noticed in the crowd two glowing eyes
fixed upon him. An exhausted, consumptive-looking, though young
peasant woman was gazing at him in silence. Her eyes besought him, but
she seemed afraid to approach.
    "What is it, my child?"
    "Absolve my soul, Father," she articulated softly, and slowly sank
on her knees and bowed down at his feet. "I have sinned, Father. I
am afraid of my sin."
    The elder sat down on the lower step. The woman crept closer to
him, still on her knees.
    "I am a widow these three years," she began in a half-whisper,
with a sort of shudder. "I had a hard life with my husband. He was
an old man. He used to beat me cruelly. He lay ill; I thought
looking at him, if he were to get well, if he were to get up again,
what then? And then the thought came to me-"
    "Stay!" said the elder, and he put his ear close to her lips.
    The woman went on in a low whisper, so that it was almost
impossible to catch anything. She had soon done.
    "Three years ago?" asked the elder.
    "Three years. At first I didn't think about it, but now I've begun
to be ill, and the thought never leaves me."
    "Have you come from far?"
    "Over three hundred miles away."
    "Have you told it in confession?"
    "I have confessed it. Twice I have confessed it."
    "Have you been admitted to Communion?"
    "Yes. I am afraid. I am afraid to die."
    "Fear nothing and never be afraid; and don't fret. If only your
penitence fail not, God will forgive all. There is no sin, and there
can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the
truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the
infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could exceed the love
of God? Think only of repentance, continual repentance, but dismiss
fear altogether. Believe that God loves you as you cannot conceive;
that He loves you with your sin, in your sin. It has been said of
old that over one repentant sinner there is more joy in heaven than
over ten righteous men. Go, and fear not. Be not bitter against men.
Be not angry if you are wronged. Forgive the dead man in your heart
what wrong he did you. Be reconciled with him in truth. If you are
penitent, you love. And if you love you are of God. All things are
atoned for, all things are saved by love. If I, a sinner, even as
you are, am tender with you and have pity on you, how much more will
God. Love is such a priceless treasure that you can redeem the whole
world by it, and expiate not only your own sins but the sins of
    He signed her three times with the cross, took from his own neck a
little ikon and put it upon her. She bowed down to the earth without
    He got up and looked cheerfully at a healthy peasant woman with
a tiny baby in her arms.
    "From Vyshegorye, dear Father."
    "Five miles you have dragged yourself with the baby. What do you
    "I've come to look at you. I have been to you before- or have
you forgotten? You've no great memory if you've forgotten me. They
told us you were ill. Thinks I, I'll go and see him for myself. Now
I see you, and you're not ill! You'll live another twenty years. God
bless you! There are plenty to pray for you; how should you be ill?"
    "I thank you for all, daughter."
    "By the way, I have a thing to ask, not a great one. Here are
sixty copecks. Give them, dear Father, to someone poorer than me. I
thought as I came along, better give through him. He'll know whom to
give to."
    "Thanks, my dear, thanks! You are a good woman. I love you. I will
do so certainly. Is that your little girl?"
    "My little girl, Father, Lizaveta."
    "May the Lord bless you both, you and your babe Lizaveta! You have
gladdened my heart, mother. Farewell, dear children, farewell, dear
    He blessed them all and bowed low to them.
                              Chapter 4
                        A Lady of Little Faith

    A visitor looking on the scene of his conversation with the
peasants and his blessing them shed silent tears and wiped them away
with her handkerchief. She was a sentimental society lady of genuinely
good disposition in many respects. When the elder went up to her at
last she met him enthusiastically.
    "Ah, what I have been feeling, looking on at this touching
scene!... "She could not go on for emotion. "Oh, I understand the
people's love for you. I love the people myself. I want to love
them. And who could help loving them, our splendid Russian people,
so simple in their greatness!"
    "How is your daughter's health? You wanted to talk to me again?"
    "Oh, I have been urgently begging for it, I have prayed for it!
I was ready to fall on my knees and kneel for three days at your
windows until you let me in. We have come, great healer, to express
our ardent gratitude. You have healed my Lise, healed her
completely, merely by praying over her last Thursday and laying your
hands upon her. We have hastened here to kiss those hands, to pour out
our feelings and our homage."
    "What do you mean by healed? But she is still lying down in her
    "But her night fevers have entirely ceased ever since Thursday,"
said the lady with nervous haste. "And that's not all. Her legs are
stronger. This mourning she got up well; she had slept all night. Look
at her rosy cheeks, her bright eyes! She used to be always crying, but
now she laughs and is gay and happy. This morning she insisted on my
letting her stand up, and she stood up for a whole minute without
any support. She wagers that in a fortnight she'll be dancing a
quadrille. I've called in Doctor Herzenstube. He shrugged his
shoulders and said, 'I am amazed; I can make nothing of it.' And would
you have us not come here to disturb you, not fly here to thank you?
Lise, thank him- thank him!"
    Lise's pretty little laughing face became suddenly serious. She
rose in her chair as far as she could and, looking at the elder,
clasped her hands before him, but could not restrain herself and broke
into laughter.
    "It's at him," she said, pointing to Alyosha, with childish
vexation at herself for not being able to repress her mirth.
    If anyone had looked at Alyosha standing a step behind the
elder, he would have caught a quick flush crimsoning his cheeks in
an instant. His eyes shone and he looked down.
    "She has a message for you, Alexey Fyodorovitch. How are you?" the
mother went on, holding out her exquisitely gloved hand to Alyosha.
    The elder turned round and all at once looked attentively at
Alyosha. The latter went nearer to Lise and, smiling in a strangely
awkward way, held out his hand to her too. Lise assumed an important
    "Katerina Ivanovna has sent you this through me." She handed him a
little note. "She particularly begs you to go and see her as soon as
possible; that you will not fail her, but will be sure to come."
    "She asks me to go and see her? Me? What for?" Alyosha muttered in
great astonishment. His face at once looked anxious.
    "Oh, it's all to do with Dmitri Fyodorovitch and- what has
happened lately," the mother explained hurriedly. "Katerina Ivanovna
has made up her mind, but she must see you about it.... Why, of
course, I can't say. But she wants to see you at once. And you will go
to her, of course. It is a Christian duty."
    "I have only seen her once," Alyosha protested with the same
    "Oh, she is such a lofty, incomparable creature If only for her
suffering.... Think what she has gone through, what she is enduring
now Think what awaits her! It's all terrible, terrible!
    "Very well, I will come," Alyosha decided, after rapidly
scanning the brief, enigmatic note, which consisted of an urgent
entreaty that he would come, without any sort of explanation.
    "Oh, how sweet and generous that would be of you" cried Lise
with sudden animation. "I told mamma you'd be sure not to go. I said
you were saving your soul. How splendid you are I've always thought
you were splendid. How glad I am to tell you so!"
    "Lise!" said her mother impressively, though she smiled after
she had said it.
    "You have quite forgotten us, Alexey Fyodorovitch," she said; "you
never come to see us. Yet Lise has told me twice that she is never
happy except with you."
    Alyosha raised his downcast eyes and again flushed, and again
smiled without knowing why. But the elder was no longer watching
him. He had begun talking to a monk who, as mentioned before, had been
awaiting his entrance by Lise's chair. He was evidently a monk of
the humblest, that is of the peasant, class, of a narrow outlook,
but a true believer, and, in his own way, a stubborn one. He announced
that he had come from the far north, from Obdorsk, from Saint
Sylvester, and was a member of a poor monastery, consisting of only
ten monks. The elder gave him his blessing and invited him to come
to his cell whenever he liked.
    "How can you presume to do such deeds?" the monk asked suddenly,
pointing solemnly and significantly at Lise. He was referring to her
    "It's too early, of course, to speak of that. Relief is not
complete cure, and may proceed from different causes. But if there has
been any healing, it is by no power but God's will. It's all from God.
Visit me, Father," he added to the monk. "It's not often I can see
visitors. I am ill, and I know that my days are numbered."
    "Oh, no, no! God will not take you from us. You will live a
long, long time yet," cried the lady. "And in what way are you ill?
You look so well, so gay and happy."
    "I am extraordinarily better to-day. But I know that it's only for
a moment. I understand my disease now thoroughly. If I seem so happy
to you, you could never say anything that would please me so much. For
men are made for happiness, and anyone who is completely happy has a
right to say to himself, 'I am doing God's will on earth.' All the
righteous, all the saints, all the holy martyrs were happy."
    "Oh, how you speak! What bold and lofty words" cried the lady.
"You seem to pierce with your words. And yet- happiness, happiness-
where is it? Who can say of himself that he is happy? Oh, since you
have been so good as to let us see you once more to-day, let me tell
you what I could not utter last time, what I dared not say, all I am
suffering and have been for so long! I am suffering! Forgive me! I
am suffering!"
    And in a rush of fervent feeling she clasped her hands before him.
    "From what specially?"
    "I suffer... from lack of faith."
    "Lack of faith in God?"
    "Oh, no, no! I dare not even think of that. But the future life-
it is such an enigma And no one, no one can solve it. Listen! You
are a healer, you are deeply versed in the human soul, and of course I
dare not expect you to believe me entirely, but I assure you on my
word of honour that I am not speaking lightly now. The thought of
the life beyond the grave distracts me to anguish, to terror. And I
don't know to whom to appeal, and have not dared to all my life. And
now I am so bold as to ask you. Oh, God! What will you think of me
    She clasped her hands.
    "Don't distress yourself about my opinion of you," said the elder.
"I quite believe in the sincerity of your suffering."
    "Oh, how thankful I am to you! You see, I shut my eyes and ask
myself if everyone has faith, where did it come from? And then they do
say that it all comes from terror at the menacing phenomena of nature,
and that none of it's real. And I say to myself, 'What if I've been
believing all my life, and when I come to die there's nothing but
the burdocks growing on my grave?' as I read in some author. It's
awful! How- how can I get back my faith? But I only believed when I
was a little child, mechanically, without thinking of anything. How,
how is one to prove it? have come now to lay my soul before you and to
ask you about it. If I let this chance slip, no one all my life will
answer me. How can I prove it? How can I convince myself? Oh, how
unhappy I am! I stand and look about me and see that scarcely anyone
else cares; no one troubles his head about it, and I'm the only one
who can't stand it. It's deadly- deadly!"
    "No doubt. But there's no proving it, though you can be
convinced of it."
    "By the experience of active love. Strive to love your neighbour
actively and indefatigably. In as far as you advance in love you
will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your
soul. If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in the love of
your neighbour, then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt
can possibly enter your soul. This has been tried. This is certain."
    "In active love? There's another question and such a question! You
see, I so love humanity that- would you believe it?- I often dream
of forsaking all that I have, leaving Lise, and becoming a sister of
mercy. I close my eyes and think and dream, and at that moment I
feel full of strength to overcome all obstacles. No wounds, no
festering sores could at that moment frighten me. I would bind them up
and wash them with my own hands. I would nurse the afflicted. I
would be ready to kiss such wounds."
    "It is much, and well that your mind is full of such dreams and
not others. Some time, unawares, you may do a good deed in reality."
    "Yes. But could I endure such a life for long?" the lady went on
fervently, almost frantically. "That's the chief question- that's my
most agonising question. I shut my eyes and ask myself, 'Would you
persevere long on that path? And if the patient whose wounds you are
washing did not meet you with gratitude, but worried you with his
whims, without valuing or remarking your charitable services, began
abusing you and rudely commanding you, and complaining to the superior
authorities of you (which often happens when people are in great
suffering)- what then? Would you persevere in your love, or not?'
And do you know, I came with horror to the conclusion that, if
anything could dissipate my love to humanity, it would be ingratitude.
In short, I am a hired servant, I expect my payment at once- that
is, praise, and the repayment of love with love. Otherwise I am
incapable of loving anyone.'"
    She was in a very paroxysm of self-castigation, and, concluding,
she looked with defiant resolution at the elder.
    "It's just the same story as a doctor once told me," observed
the elder. "He was a man getting on in years, and undoubtedly
clever. He spoke as frankly as you, though in jest, in bitter jest. 'I
love humanity,' he said, 'but I wonder at myself. The more I love
humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. In my dreams,'
he said, 'I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the
service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually have faced
crucifixion if it had been suddenly necessary; and yet I am
incapable of living in the same room with anyone for two days
together, as I know by experience. As soon as anyone is near me, his
personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom.
In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he's
too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on
blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come
close to me. But it has always happened that the more I detest men
individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity.'
    "But what's to be done? What can one do in such a case? Must one
    "No. It is enough that you are distressed at it. Do what you
can, and it will be reckoned unto you. Much is done already in you
since you can so deeply and sincerely know yourself. If you have
been talking to me so sincerely, simply to gain approbation for your
frankness, as you did from me just now, then, of course, you will
not attain to anything in the achievement of real love; it will all
get no further than dreams, and your whole life will slip away like
a phantom. In that case you will naturally cease to think of the
future life too, and will of yourself grow calmer after a fashion in
the end."
    "You have crushed me! Only now, as you speak, I understand that
I was really only seeking your approbation for my sincerity when I
told you I could not endure ingratitude. You have revealed me to
myself. You have seen through me and explained me to myself
    "Are you speaking the truth? Well, now, after such a confession, I
believe that you are sincere and good at heart. If you do not attain
happiness, always remember that you are on the right road, and try not
to leave it. Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood,
especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness
and look into it every hour, every minute. Avoid being scornful,
both to others and to yourself. What seems to you bad within you
will grow purer from the very fact of your observing it in yourself.
Avoid fear, too, though fear is only the consequence of every sort
of falsehood. Never be frightened at your own faint-heartedness in
attaining love. Don't be frightened overmuch even at your evil
actions. I am sorry I can say nothing more consoling to you, for
love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in
dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly
performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if
only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all
looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is
labour and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete
science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that in
spite of all your efforts you are getting farther from your goal
instead of nearer to it- at that very moment I predict that you will
reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has
been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you. Forgive me
for not being able to stay longer with you. They are waiting for me.
    The lady was weeping.
    "Lise, Lise! Bless her- bless her!" she cried, starting up
    "She does not deserve to be loved. I have seen her naughtiness all
along," the elder said jestingly. "Why have you been laughing at
    Lise had in fact been occupied in mocking at him all the time. She
had noticed before that Alyosha was shy and tried not to look at
her, and she found this extremely amusing. She waited intently to
catch his eye. Alyosha, unable to endure her persistent stare, was
irresistibly and suddenly drawn to glance at her, and at once she
smiled triumphantly in his face. Alyosha was even more disconcerted
and vexed. At last he turned away from her altogether and hid behind
the elder's back. After a few minutes, drawn by the same
irresistible force, he turned again to see whether he was being looked
at or not, and found Lise almost hanging out of her chair to peep
sideways at him, eagerly waiting for him to look. Catching his eye,
she laughed so that the elder could not help saying, "Why do you
make fun of him like that, naughty girl?"
    Lise suddenly and quite unexpectedly blushed. Her eyes flashed and
her face became quite serious. She began speaking quickly and
nervously in a warm and resentful voice:
    "Why has he forgotten everything, then? He used to carry me
about when I was little. We used to play together. He used to come
to teach me to read, do you know. Two years ago, when he went away, he
said that he would never forget me, that we were friends for ever, for
ever, for ever! And now he's afraid of me all at once. Am I going to
eat him? Why doesn't he want to come near me? Why doesn't he talk? Why
won't he come and see us? It's not that you won't let him. We know
that he goes everywhere. It's not good manners for me to invite him.
He ought to have thought of it first, if he hasn't forgotten me. No,
now he's saving his soul! Why have you put that long gown on him? If
he runs he'll fall."
    And suddenly she hid her face in her hand and went off into
irresistible, prolonged, nervous, inaudible laughter. The elder
listened to her with a smile, and blessed her tenderly. As she
kissed his hand she suddenly pressed it to her eyes and began crying.
    "Don't be angry with me. I'm silly and good for nothing... and
perhaps Alyosha's right, quite right, in not wanting to come and see
such a ridiculous girl."
    "I will certainly send him," said the elder.
                              Chapter 5
                         So Be It! So Be It!

    THE elder's absence from his cell had lasted for about twenty-five
minutes. It was more than half-past twelve, but Dmitri, on whose
account they had all met there, had still not appeared. But he
seemed almost to be forgotten, and when the elder entered the cell
again, he found his guests engaged in eager conversation. Ivan and the
two monks took the leading share in it. Miusov, too, was trying to
take a part, and apparently very eagerly, in the conversation. But
he was unsuccessful in this also. He was evidently in the
background, and his remarks were treated with neglect, which increased
his irritability. He had had intellectual encounters with Ivan
before and he could not endure a certain carelessness Ivan showed him.
    "Hitherto at least I have stood in the front ranks of all that
is progressive in Europe, and here the new generation positively
ignores us," he thought.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch, who had given his word to sit still and be
quiet, had actually been quiet for some time, but he watched his
neighbour Miusov with an ironical little smile, obviously enjoying his
discomfiture. He had been waiting for some time to pay off old scores,
and now he could not let the opportunity slip. Bending over his
shoulder he began teasing him again in a whisper.
    "Why didn't you go away just now, after the 'courteously kissing'?
Why did you consent to remain in such unseemly company? It was because
you felt insulted and aggrieved, and you remained to vindicate
yourself by showing off your intelligence. Now you won't go till
you've displayed your intellect to them."
    "You again?... On the contrary, I'm just going."
    "You'll be the last, the last of all to go!" Fyodor Pavlovitch
delivered him another thrust, almost at the moment of Father Zossima's
    The discussion died down for a moment, but the elder, seating
himself in his former place, looked at them all as though cordially
inviting them to go on. Alyosha, who knew every expression of his
face, saw that he was fearfully exhausted and making a great effort.
Of late he had been liable to fainting fits from exhaustion. His
face had the pallor that was common before such attacks, and his
lips were white. But he evidently did not want to break up the
party. He seemed to have some special object of his own in keeping
them. What object? Alyosha watched him intently.
    "We are discussing this gentleman's most interesting article,"
said Father Iosif, the librarian, addressing the elder, and indicating
Ivan. "He brings forward much that is new, but I think the argument
cuts both ways. It is an article written in answer to a book by an
ecclesiastical authority on the question of the ecclesiastical
court, and the scope of its jurisdiction."
    "I'm sorry I have not read your article, but I've heard of it,"
said the elder, looking keenly and intently at Ivan.
    "He takes up a most interesting position," continued the Father
Librarian. "As far as Church jurisdiction is concerned he is
apparently quite opposed to the separation of Church from State."
    "That's interesting. But in what sense?" Father Zossima asked
    The latter, at last, answered him, not condescendingly, as Alyosha
had feared, but with modesty and reserve, with evident goodwill and
apparently without the slightest arrierepensee
    "I start from the position that this confusion of elements, that
is, of the essential principles of Church and State, will, of
course, go on for ever, in spite of the fact that it is impossible for
them to mingle, and that the confusion of these elements cannot lead
to any consistent or even normal results, for there is falsity at
the very foundation of it. Compromise between the Church and State
in such questions as, for instance, jurisdiction, is, to my
thinking, impossible in any real sense. My clerical opponent maintains
that the Church holds a precise and defined position in the State. I
maintain, on the contrary, that the Church ought to include the
whole State, and not simply to occupy a corner in it, and, if this is,
for some reason, impossible at present, then it ought, in reality,
to be set up as the direct and chief aim of the future development
of Christian society!"
    "Perfectly true," Father Paissy, the silent and learned monk,
assented with fervour and decision.
    "The purest Ultramontanism!" cried Miusov impatiently, crossing
and recrossing his legs.
    "Oh, well, we have no mountains," cried Father Iosif, and
turning to the elder he continued: "Observe the answer he makes to the
following 'fundamental and essential' propositions of his opponent,
who is, you must note, an ecclesiastic. First, that 'no social
organisation can or ought to arrogate to itself power to dispose of
the civic and political rights of its members.' Secondly, that
'criminal and civil jurisdiction ought not to belong to the Church,
and is inconsistent with its nature, both as a divine institution
and as an organisation of men for religious objects,' and, finally, in
the third place, 'the Church is a kingdom not of this world.'
    "A most unworthy play upon words for an ecclesiastic!" Father
Paissy could not refrain from breaking in again. "I have read the book
which you have answered," he added, addressing Ivan, "and was
astounded at the words 'The Church is a kingdom not of this world. 'If
it is not of this world, then it cannot exist on earth at all. In
the Gospel, the words 'not of this world' are not used in that
sense. To play with such words is indefensible. Our Lord Jesus
Christ came to set up the Church upon earth. The Kingdom of Heaven, of
course, is not of this world, but in Heaven; but it is only entered
through the Church which has been founded and established upon
earth. And so a frivolous play upon words in such a connection is
unpardonable and improper. The Church is, in truth, a kingdom and
ordained to rule, and in the end must undoubtedly become the kingdom
ruling over all the earth. For that we have the divine promise."
    He ceased speaking suddenly, as though checking himself. After
listening attentively and respectfully Ivan went on, addressing the
elder with perfect composure and as before with ready cordiality:
    "The whole point of my article lies in the fact that during the
first three centuries Christianity only existed on earth in the Church
and was nothing but the Church. When the pagan Roman Empire desired to
become Christian, it inevitably happened that, by becoming
Christian, it included the Church but remained a pagan State in very
many of its departments. In reality this was bound to happen. But Rome
as a State retained too much of the pagan civilisation and culture,
as, for example, in the very objects and fundamental principles of the
State. The Christian Church entering into the State could, of
course, surrender no part of its fundamental principles- the rock on
which it stands- and could pursue no other aims than those which
have been ordained and revealed by God Himself, and among them that of
drawing the whole world, and therefore the ancient pagan State itself,
into the Church. In that way (that is, with a view to the future) it
is not the Church that should seek a definite position in the State,
like 'every social organisation,' or as 'an organisation of men for
religious purposes' (as my opponent calls the Church), but, on the
contrary, every earthly State should be, in the end, completely
transformed into the Church and should become nothing else but a
Church, rejecting every purpose incongruous with the aims of the
Church. All this will not degrade it in any way or take from its
honour and glory as a great State, nor from the glory of its rulers,
but only turns it from a false, still pagan, and mistaken path to
the true and rightful path, which alone leads to the eternal goal.
This is why the author of the book On the Foundations of Church
Jurisdiction would have judged correctly if, in seeking and laying
down those foundations, he bad looked upon them as a temporary
compromise inevitable in our sinful and imperfect days. But as soon as
the author ventures to declare that the foundations which he
predicates now, part of which Father Iosif just enumerated, are the
permanent, essential, and eternal foundations, he is going directly
against the Church and its sacred and eternal vocation. That is the
gist of my article."
    "That is, in brief," Father Paissy began again, laying stress on
each word, "according to certain theories only too clearly
formulated in the nineteenth century, the Church ought to be
transformed into the State, as though this would be an advance from
a lower to a higher form, so as to disappear into it, making way for
science, for the spirit of the age, and civilisation. And if the
Church resists and is unwilling, some corner will be set apart for her
in the State, and even that under control and this will be so
everywhere in all modern European countries. But Russian hopes and
conceptions demand not that the Church should pass as from a lower
into a higher type into the State, but, on the contrary, that the
State should end by being worthy to become only the Church and nothing
else. So be it! So be it!"
    "Well, I confess you've reassured me somewhat," Miusov said
smiling, again crossing his legs. "So far as I understand, then, the
realisation of such an ideal is infinitely remote, at the second
coming of Christ. That's as you please. It's a beautiful Utopian dream
of the abolition of war, diplomacy, banks, and so on- something
after the fashion of socialism, indeed. But I imagined that it was all
meant seriously, and that the Church might be now going to try
criminals, and sentence them to beating, prison, and even death."
    "But if there were none but the ecclesiastical court, the Church
would not even now sentence a criminal to prison or to death. Crime
and the way of regarding it would inevitably change, not all at once
of course, but fairly soon," Ivan replied calmly, without flinching.
    "Are you serious?" Miusov glanced keenly at him.
    "If everything became the Church, the Church would exclude all the
criminal and disobedient, and would not cut off their heads," Ivan
went on. "I ask you, what would become of the excluded? He would be
cut off then not only from men, as now, but from Christ. By his
crime he would have transgressed not only against men but against
the Church of Christ. This is so even now, of course, strictly
speaking, but it is not clearly enunciated, and very, very often the
criminal of to-day compromises with his conscience: 'I steal,' he
says, 'but I don't go against the Church. I'm not an enemy of Christ.'
That's what the criminal of to-day is continually saying to himself,
but when the Church takes the place of the State it will be
difficult for him, in opposition to the Church all over the world,
to say: 'All men are mistaken, all in error, all mankind are the false
Church. I, a thief and murderer, am the only true Christian Church.'
It will be very difficult to say this to himself; it requires a rare
combination of unusual circumstances. Now, on the other side, take the
Church's own view of crime: is it not bound to renounce the present
almost pagan attitude, and to change from a mechanical cutting off
of its tainted member for the preservation of society, as at
present, into completely and honestly adopting the idea of the
regeneration of the man, of his reformation and salvation?"
    "What do you mean? I fail to understand again," Miusov
interrupted. "Some sort of dream again. Something shapeless and even
incomprehensible. What is excommunication? What sort of exclusion? I
suspect you are simply amusing yourself, Ivan Fyodorovitch."
    "Yes, but you know, in reality it is so now," said the elder
suddenly, and all turned to him at once. "If it were not for the
Church of Christ there would be nothing to restrain the criminal
from evil-doing, no real chastisement for it afterwards; none, that
is, but the mechanical punishment spoken of just now, which in the
majority of cases only embitters the heart; and not the real
punishment, the only effectual one, the only deterrent and softening
one, which lies in the recognition of sin by conscience."
    "How is that, may one inquire?" asked Miusov, with lively
    "Why," began the elder, "all these sentences to exile with hard
labour, and formerly with flogging also, reform no one, and what's
more, deter hardly a single criminal, and the number of crimes does
not diminish but is continually on the increase. You must admit
that. Consequently the security of society is not preserved, for,
although the obnoxious member is mechanically cut off and sent far
away out of sight, another criminal always comes to take his place
at once, and often two of them. If anything does preserve society,
even in our time, and does regenerate and transform the criminal, it
is only the law of Christ speaking in his conscience. It is only by
recognising his wrongdoing as a son of a Christian society- that is,
of the Church- that he recognises his sin against society- that is,
against the Church. So that it is only against the Church, and not
against the State, that the criminal of to-day can recognise that he
has sinned. If society, as a Church, had jurisdiction, then it would
know when to bring back from exclusion and to reunite to itself. Now
the Church having no real jurisdiction, but only the power of moral
condemnation, withdraws of her own accord from punishing the
criminal actively. She does not excommunicate him but simply
persists in motherly exhortation of him. What is more, the Church even
tries to preserve all Christian communion with the criminal. She
admits him to church services, to the holy sacrament, gives him
alms, and treats him more a captive than as a convict. And what
would become of the criminal, O Lord, if even the Christian society-
that is, the Church- were to reject him even as the civil law
rejects him and cuts him off? What would become of him if the Church
punished him with her excommunication as the direct consequence of the
secular law? There could be no more terrible despair, at least for a
Russian criminal, for Russian criminals still have faith. Though,
who knows, perhaps then a fearful thing would happen, perhaps the
despairing heart of the criminal would lose its faith and then what
would become of him? But the Church, like a tender, loving mother,
holds aloof from active punishment herself, as the sinner is too
severely punished already by the civil law, and there must be at least
someone to have pity on him. The Church holds aloof, above all,
because its judgment is the only one that contains the truth, and
therefore cannot practically and morally be united to any other
judgment even as a temporary compromise. She can enter into no compact
about that. The foreign criminal, they say, rarely repents, for the
very doctrines of to-day confirm him in the idea that his crime is not
a crime, but only a reaction against an unjustly oppressive force.
Society cuts him off completely by a force that triumphs over him
mechanically and (so at least they say of themselves in Europe)
accompanies this exclusion with hatred, forgetfulness, and the most
profound indifference as to the ultimate fate of the erring brother.
In this way, it all takes place without the compassionate intervention
of the Church, for in many cases there are no churches there at all,
for though ecclesiastics and splendid church buildings remain, the
churches themselves have long ago striven to pass from Church into
State and to disappear in it completely. So it seems at least in
Lutheran countries. As for Rome, it was proclaimed a State instead
of a Church a thousand years ago. And so the criminal is no longer
conscious of being a member of the Church and sinks into despair. If
he returns to society, often it is with such hatred that society
itself instinctively cuts him off. You can judge for yourself how it
must end. In many cases it would seem to be the same with us, but
the difference is that besides the established law courts we have
the Church too, which always keeps up relations with the criminal as a
dear and still precious son. And besides that, there is still
preserved, though only in thought, the judgment of the Church, which
though no longer existing in practice is still living as a dream for
the future, and is, no doubt, instinctively recognised by the criminal
in his soul. What was said here just now is true too, that is, that if
the jurisdiction of the Church were introduced in practice in its full
force, that is, if the whole of the society were changed into the
Church, not only the judgment of the Church would have influence on
the reformation of the criminal such as it never has now, but possibly
also the crimes themselves would be incredibly diminished. And there
can be no doubt that the Church would look upon the criminal and the
crime of the future in many cases quite differently and would
succeed in restoring the excluded, in restraining those who plan evil,
and in regenerating the fallen. It is true," said Father Zossima, with
a smile, "the Christian society now is not ready and is only resting
on some seven righteous men, but as they are never lacking, it will
continue still unshaken in expectation of its complete
transformation from a society almost heathen in character into a
single universal and all-powerful Church. So be it, so be it! Even
though at the end of the ages, for it is ordained to come to pass! And
there is no need to be troubled about times and seasons, for the
secret of the times and seasons is in the wisdom of God, in His
foresight, and His love. And what in human reckoning seems still
afar off, may by the Divine ordinance be close at hand, on the eve
of its appearance. And so be it, so be it!
    "So be it, so be it!" Father Paissy repeated austerely and
    "Strange, extremely strange" Miusov pronounced, not so much with
heat as with latent indignation.
    "What strikes you as so strange?" Father Iosif inquired
    "Why, it's beyond anything!" cried Miusov, suddenly breaking
out; "the State is eliminated and the Church is raised to the position
of the State. It's not simply Ultramontanism, it's
arch-Ultramontanism! It's beyond the dreams of Pope Gregory the
    "You are completely misunderstanding it," said Father Paissy
sternly. "Understand, the Church is not to be transformed into the
State. That is Rome and its dream. That is the third temptation of the
devil. On the contrary, the State is transformed into the Church, will
ascend and become a Church over the whole world- which is the complete
opposite of Ultramontanism and Rome, and your interpretation, and is
only the glorious destiny ordained for the Orthodox Church. This
star will arise in the east!"
    Miusov was significantly silent. His whole figure expressed
extraordinary personal dignity. A supercilious and condescending smile
played on his lips. Alyosha watched it all with a throbbing heart. The
whole conversation stirred him profoundly. He glanced casually at
Rakitin, who was standing immovable in his place by the door listening
and watching intently though with downcast eyes. But from the colour
in his cheeks Alyosha guessed that Rakitin was probably no less
excited, and he knew what caused his excitement.
    "Allow me to tell you one little anecdote, gentlemen," Miusov said
impressively, with a peculiarly majestic air. "Some years ago, soon
after the coup d'etat of December, I happened to be calling in Paris
on an extremely influential personage in the Government, and I met a
very interesting man in his house. This individual was not precisely a
detective but was a sort of superintendent of a whole regiment of
political detectives- a rather powerful position in its own way. I was
prompted by curiosity to seize the opportunity of conversation with
him. And as he had not come as a visitor but as a subordinate official
bringing a special report, and as he saw the reception given me by his
chief, he deigned to speak with some openness, to a certain extent
only, of course. He was rather courteous than open, as Frenchmen
know how to be courteous, especially to a foreigner. But I
thoroughly understood him. The subject was the socialist
revolutionaries who were at that time persecuted. I will quote only
one most curious remark dropped by this person. 'We are not
particularly afraid,' said he, 'of all these socialists, anarchists,
infidels, and revolutionists; we keep watch on them and know all their
goings on. But there are a few peculiar men among them who believe
in God and are Christians, but at the same time are socialists.
These are the people we are most afraid of. They are dreadful people
The socialist who is a Christian is more to be dreaded than a
socialist who is an atheist.' The words struck me at the time, and now
they have suddenly come back to me here, gentlemen."
    "You apply them to us, and look upon us as socialists?" Father
Paissy asked directly, without beating about the bush.
    But before Pyotr Alexandrovitch could think what to answer, the
door opened, and the guest so long expected, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, came
in. They had, in fact, given up expecting him, and his sudden
appearance caused some surprise for a moment.
                              Chapter 6
                       Why Is Such a Man Alive?

    DMITRI FYODOROVITCH, a young man of eight and twenty, of medium
height and agreeable countenance, looked older than his years. He
was muscular, and showed signs of considerable physical strength.
Yet there was something not healthy in his face. It was rather thin,
his cheeks were hollow, and there was an unhealthy sallowness in their
colour. His rather large, prominent, dark eyes had an expression of
firm determination, and yet there was a vague look in them, too.
Even when he was excited and talking irritably, his eyes somehow did
not follow his mood, but betrayed something else, sometimes quite
incongruous with what was passing. "It's hard to tell what he's
thinking," those who talked to him sometimes declared. People who
saw something pensive and sullen in his eyes were startled by his
sudden laugh, which bore witness to mirthful and light-hearted
thoughts at the very time when his eyes were so gloomy. A certain
strained look in his face was easy to understand at this moment.
Everyone knew, or had heard of, the extremely restless and
dissipated life which he had been leading of late, as well as of the
violent anger to which he had been roused in his quarrels with his
father. There were several stories current in the town about it. It is
true that he was irascible by nature, "of an unstable and unbalanced
mind," as our justice of the peace, Katchalnikov, happily described
    He was stylishly and irreproachably dressed in a carefully
buttoned frock-coat. He wore black gloves and carried a top hat.
Having only lately left the army, he still had moustaches and no
beard. His dark brown hair was cropped short, and combed forward on
his temples. He had the long, determined stride of a military man.
He stood still for a moment on the threshold, and glancing at the
whole party went straight up to the elder, guessing him to be their
host. He made him a low bow, and asked his blessing. Father Zossima,
rising in his chair, blessed him. Dmitri kissed his hand respectfully,
and with intense feeling, almost anger, he said:
    "Be so generous as to forgive me for having kept you waiting so
long, but Smerdyakov, the valet sent me by my father, in reply to my
inquiries, told me twice over that the appointment was for one. Now
I suddenly learn- "
    "Don't disturb yourself," interposed the elder. "No matter. You
are a little late. It's of no consequence.... "
    "I'm extremely obliged to you, and expected no less from your
    Saying this, Dmitri bowed once more. Then, turning suddenly
towards his father, made him, too, a similarly low and respectful bow.
He had evidently considered it beforehand, and made this bow in all
seriousness, thinking it his duty to show his respect and good
    Although Fyodor Pavlovitch was taken unawares, he was equal to the
occasion. In response to Dmitri's bow he jumped up from his chair
and made his son a bow as low in return. His face was suddenly
solemn and impressive, which gave him a positively malignant look.
Dmitri bowed generally to all present, and without a word walked to
the window with his long, resolute stride, sat down on the only
empty chair, near Father Paissy, and, bending forward, prepared to
listen to the conversation he had interrupted.
    Dmitri's entrance had taken no more than two minutes, and the
conversation was resumed. But this time Miusov thought it
unnecessary to reply to Father Paissy's persistent and almost
irritable question.
    "Allow me to withdraw from this discussion," he observed with a
certain well-bred nonchalance. "It's a subtle question, too. Here Ivan
Fyodorovitch is smiling at us. He must have something interesting to
say about that also. Ask him."
    "Nothing special, except one little remark," Ivan replied at once.
"European Liberals in general, and even our liberal dilettanti,
often mix up the final results of socialism with those of
Christianity. This wild notion is, of course, a characteristic
feature. But it's not only Liberals and dilettanti who mix up
socialism and Christianity, but, in many cases, it appears, the
police- the foreign police, of course- do the same. Your Paris
anecdote is rather to the point, Pyotr Alexandrovitch."
    "I ask your permission to drop this subject altogether," Miusov
repeated. "I will tell you instead, gentlemen, another interesting and
rather characteristic anecdote of Ivan Fyodorovitch himself. Only five
days ago, in a gathering here, principally of ladies, he solemnly
declared in argument that there was nothing in the whole world to make
men love their neighbours. That there was no law of nature that man
should love mankind, and that, if there had been any love on earth
hitherto, it was not owing to a natural law, but simply because men
have believed in immortality. Ivan Fyodorovitch added in parenthesis
that the whole natural law lies in that faith, and that if you were to
destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but
every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once
be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would
be lawful, even cannibalism. That's not all. He ended by asserting
that for every individual, like ourselves, who does not believe in God
or immortality, the moral law of nature must immediately be changed
into the exact contrary of the former religious law, and that
egoism, even to crime, must become not only lawful but even recognised
as the inevitable, the most rational, even honourable outcome of his
position. From this paradox, gentlemen, you can judge of the rest of
our eccentric and paradoxical friend Ivan Fyodorovitch's theories."
    "Excuse me," Dmitri cried suddenly; "if I've heard aright, crime
must not only be permitted but even recognised as the inevitable and
the most rational outcome of his position for every infidel! Is that
so or not?"
    "Quite so," said Father Paissy.
    "I'll remember it."
    Having uttered these words Dmitri ceased speaking as suddenly as
he had begun. Everyone looked at him with curiosity.
    "Is that really your conviction as to the consequences of the
disappearance of the faith in immortality?" the elder asked Ivan
    "Yes. That was my contention. There is no virtue if there is no
    "You are blessed in believing that, or else most unhappy."
    "Why unhappy?" Ivan asked smiling.
    "Because, in all probability you don't believe yourself in the
immortality of your soul, nor in what you have written yourself in
your article on Church Jurisdiction."
    "Perhaps you are right!... But I wasn't altogether joking," Ivan
suddenly and strangely confessed, flushing quickly.
    "You were not altogether joking. That's true. The question is
still fretting your heart, and not answered. But the martyr likes
sometimes to divert himself with his despair, as it were driven to
it by despair itself. Meanwhile, in your despair, you, too, divert
yourself with magazine articles, and discussions in society, though
you don't believe your own arguments, and with an aching heart mock at
them inwardly.... That question you have not answered, and it is
your great grief, for it clamours for an answer."
    "But can it be answered by me? Answered in the affirmative?"
Ivan went on asking strangely, still looking at the elder with the
same inexplicable smile.
    "If it can't be decided in the affirmative, it will never be
decided in the negative. You know that that is the peculiarity of your
heart, and all its suffering is due to it. But thank the Creator who
has given you a lofty heart capable of such suffering; of thinking and
seeking higher things, for our dwelling is in the heavens. God grant
that your heart will attain the answer on earth, and may God bless
your path."
    The elder raised his hand and would have made the sign of the
cross over Ivan from where he stood. But the latter rose from his
seat, went up to him, received his blessing, and kissing his hand went
back to his place in silence. His face looked firm and earnest. This
action and all the preceding conversation, which was so surprising
from Ivan, impressed everyone by its strangeness and a certain
solemnity, so that all were silent for a moment, and there was a
look almost of apprehension in Alyosha's face. But Miusov suddenly
shrugged his shoulders. And at the same moment Fyodor Pavlovitch
jumped up from his seat.
    "Most pious and holy elder," he cried pointing to Ivan, "that is
my son, flesh of my flesh, the dearest of my flesh! He is my most
dutiful Karl Moor, so to speak, while this son who has just come in,
Dmitri, against whom I am seeking justice from you, is the undutiful
Franz Moor- they are both out of Schiller's Robbers, and so I am the
reigning Count von Moor! Judge and save us! We need not only your
prayers but your prophecies!"
    "Speak without buffoonery, and don't begin by insulting the
members of your family," answered the elder, in a faint, exhausted
voice. He was obviously getting more and more fatigued, and his
strength was failing.
    "An unseemly farce which I foresaw when I came here!" cried Dmitri
indignantly. He too leapt up. "Forgive it, reverend Father," he added,
addressing the elder. "I am not a cultivated man, and I don't even
know how to address you properly, but you have been deceived and you
have been too good-natured in letting us meet here. All my father
wants is a scandal. Why he wants it only he can tell. He always has
some motive. But I believe I know why- "
    "They all blame me, all of them!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch in his
turn. "Pyotr Alexandrovitch here blames me too. You have been
blaming me, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, you have!" he turned suddenly to
Miusov, although the latter was not dreaming of interrupting him.
"They all accuse me of having hidden the children's money in my boots,
and cheated them, but isn't there a court of law? There they will
reckon out for you, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, from your notes, your
letters, and your agreements, how much money you had, how much you
have spent, and how much you have left. Why does Pyotr
Alexandrovitch refuse to pass judgment? Dmitri is not a stranger to
him. Because they are all against me, while Dmitri Fyodorovitch is
in debt to me, and not a little, but some thousands of which I have
documentary proof. The whole town is echoing with his debaucheries.
And where he was stationed before, he several times spent a thousand
or two for the seduction of some respectable girl; we know all about
that, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, in its most secret details. I'll prove
it.... Would you believe it, holy Father, he has captivated the
heart of the most honourable of young ladies of good family and
fortune, daughter of a gallant colonel, formerly his superior officer,
who had received many honours and had the Anna Order on his breast. He
compromised the girl by his promise of marriage, now she is an
orphan and here; she is betrothed to him, yet before her very eyes
he is dancing attendance on a certain enchantress. And although this
enchantress has lived in, so to speak, civil marriage with a
respectable man, yet she is of an independent character, an
unapproachable fortress for everybody, just like a legal wife- for she
is virtuous, yes, holy Fathers, she is virtuous. Dmitri Fyodorovitch
wants to open this fortress with a golden key, and that's why he is
insolent to me now, trying to get money from me, though he has
wasted thousands on this enchantress already. He's continually
borrowing money for the purpose. From whom do you think? Shall I
say, Mitya?"
    "Be silent!" cried Dmitri, "wait till I'm gone. Don't dare in my
presence to asperse the good name of an honourable girl! That you
should utter a word about her is an outrage, and I won't permit it!"
He was breathless.
    He was breathless. "Mitya! Mitya!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch
hysterically, squeezing out a tear. "And is your father's blessing
nothing to you? If I curse you, what then?"
    "Shameless hypocrite! "exclaimed Dmitri furiously.
    "He says that to his father! his father What would he be with
others? Gentlemen, only fancy; there's a poor but honourable man
living here, burdened with a numerous family, a captain who got into
trouble and was discharged from the army, but not publicly, not by
court-martial, with no slur on his honour. And three weeks ago, Dmitri
seized him by the beard in a tavern, dragged him out into the street
and beat him publicly, and all because he is an agent in a little
business of mine."
    "It's all a lie! Outwardly it's the truth, but inwardly a lie!"
Dmitri was trembling with rage. "Father, I don't justify my action.
Yes, I confess it publicly, I behaved like a brute to that captain,
and I regret it now, and I'm disgusted with myself for my brutal rage.
But this captain, this agent of yours, went to that lady whom you call
an enchantress, and suggested to her from you, that she should take
I.O.U.s of mine which were in your possession, and should sue me for
the money so as to get me into prison by means of them, if I persisted
in claiming an account from you of my property. Now you reproach me
for having a weakness for that lady when you yourself incited her to
captivate me! She told me so to my face.... She told me the story
and laughed at you.... You wanted to put me in prison because you
are jealous of me with her, because you'd begun to force your
attentions upon her; and I know all about that, too; she laughed at
you for that as well- you hear- she laughed at you as she described
it. So here you have this man, this father who reproaches his
profligate son! Gentlemen, forgive my anger, but I foresaw that this
crafty old man would only bring you together to create a scandal. I
had come to forgive him if he held out his hand; to forgive him, and
ask forgiveness! But as he has just this minute insulted not only
me, but an honourable young lady, for whom I feel such reverence
that I dare not take her name in vain, I have made up my mind to
show up his game, though he is my father...."
    He could not go on. His eyes were glittering and he breathed
with difficulty. But everyone in the cell was stirred. All except
Father Zossima got up from their seats uneasily. The monks looked
austere but waited for guidance from the elder. He sat still, pale,
not from excitement but from the weakness of disease. An imploring
smile lighted up his face; from time to time he raised his hand, as
though to check the storm, and, of course, a gesture from him would
have been enough to end the scene; but he seemed to be waiting for
something and watched them intently as though trying to make out
something which was not perfectly clear to him. At last Miusov felt
completely humiliated and disgraced.
    "We are all to blame for this scandalous scene," he said hotly.
"But I did not foresee it when I came, though I knew with whom I had
to deal. This must be stopped at once! Believe me, your reverence, I
had no precise knowledge of the details that have just come to
light, I was unwilling to believe them, and I learn for the first
time.... A father is jealous of his son's relation with a woman of
loose behaviour and intrigues with the creature to get his son into
prison! This is the company in which I have been forced to be present!
I was deceived. I declare to you all that I was as much deceived as
    "Dmitri Fyodorovitch," yelled Fyodor Pavlovitch suddenly, in an
unnatural voice, "if you were not my son I would challenge you this
instant to a duel... with pistols, at three paces... across a
handkerchief," he ended, stamping with both feet.
    With old liars who have been acting all their lives there are
moments when they enter so completely into their part that they
tremble or shed tears of emotion in earnest, although at that very
moment, or a second later, they are able to whisper to themselves,
"You know you are lying, you shameless old sinner! You're acting
now, in spite of your 'holy' wrath."
    Dmitri frowned painfully, and looked with unutterable contempt
at his father.
    "I thought... I thought," he said. in a soft and, as it were,
controlled voice, "that I was coming to my native place with the angel
of my heart, my betrothed, to cherish his old age, and I find
nothing but a depraved profligate, a despicable clown!"
    "A duel!" yelled the old wretch again, breathless and
spluttering at each syllable. "And you, Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov,
let me tell you that there has never been in all your family a
loftier, and more honest- you hear- more honest woman than this
'creature,' as you have dared to call her! And you, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch, have abandoned your betrothed for that 'creature,' so
you must yourself have thought that your betrothed couldn't hold a
candle to her. That's the woman called a "creature"
    "Shameful!" broke from Father Iosif.
    "Shameful and disgraceful!" Kalganov, flushing crimson cried in
a boyish voice, trembling with emotion. He had been silent till that
    "Why is such a man alive?" Dmitri, beside himself with rage,
growled in a hollow voice, hunching up his shoulders till he looked
almost deformed. "Tell me, can he be allowed to go on defiling the
earth?" He looked round at everyone and pointed at the old man. He
spoke evenly and deliberately.
    "Listen, listen, monks, to the parricide!" cried Fyodor
Pavlovitch, rushing up to Father Iosif. "That's the answer to your
'shameful!' What is shameful? That 'creature,' that 'woman of loose
behaviour' is perhaps holier than you are yourselves, you monks who
are seeking salvation! She fell perhaps in her youth, ruined by her
environment. But she loved much, and Christ himself forgave the
woman 'who loved much.'"
    "It was not for such love Christ forgave her," broke impatiently
from the gentle Father Iosif.
    "Yes, it was for such, monks, it was! You save your souls here,
eating cabbage, and think you are the righteous. You eat a gudgeon a
day, and you think you bribe God with gudgeon."
    "This is unendurable!" was heard on all sides in the cell.
    But this unseemly scene was cut short in a most unexpected way.
Father Zossima Father Zossima rose suddenly from his seat. Almost
distracted with anxiety for the elder and everyone else, Alyosha
succeeded, however, in supporting him by the arm. Father Zossima moved
towards Dmitri and reaching him sank on his knees before him.
Alyosha thought that he had fallen from weakness, but this was not so.
The elder distinctly and deliberately bowed down at Dmitri's feet till
his forehead touched the floor. Alyosha was so astounded that he
failed to assist him when he got up again. There was a faint smile
on his lips.
    "Good-bye! Forgive me, all of you" he said, bowing on all sides to
his guests.
    Dmitri stood for a few moments in amazement. Bowing down to him-
what did it mean? Suddenly he cried aloud, "Oh God!" hid his face in
his hands, and rushed out of the room. All the guests flocked out
after him, in their confusion not saying good-bye, or bowing to
their host. Only the monks went up to him again for a blessing.
    "What did it mean, falling at his feet like that? Was it
symbolic or what?" said Fyodor Pavlovitch, suddenly quieted and trying
to reopen conversation without venturing to address anybody in
particular. They were all passing out of the precincts of the
hermitage at the moment.
    "I can't answer for a madhouse and for madmen," Miusov answered at
once ill-humouredly, "but I will spare myself your company, Fyodor
Pavlovitch, and, trust me, for ever. Where's that monk?"
    "That monk," that is, the monk who had invited them to dine with
the Superior, did not keep them waiting. He met them as soon as they
came down the steps from the elder's cell, as though he had been
waiting for them all the time.
    "Reverend Father, kindly do me a favour. Convey my deepest respect
to the Father Superior, apologise for me, personally, Miusov, to his
reverence, telling him that I deeply regret that owing to unforeseen
circumstances I am unable to have the honour of being present at his
table, greatly I should desire to do so," Miusov said irritably to the
    "And that unforeseen circumstance, of course, is myself," Fyodor
Pavlovitch cut in immediately. "Do you hear, Father; this gentleman
doesn't want to remain in my company or else he'd come at once. And
you shall go, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, pray go to the Father Superior and
good appetite to you. I will decline, and not you. Home, home, I'll
eat at home, I don't feel equal to it here, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, my
amiable relative."
    "I am not your relative and never have been, you contemptible
    "I said it on purpose to madden you, because you always disclaim
the relationship, though you really are a relation in spite of your
shuffling. I'll prove it by the church calendar. As for you, Ivan,
stay if you like. I'll send the horses for you later. Propriety
requires you to go to the Father Superior, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, to
apologise for the disturbance we've been making...."
    "Is it true that you are going home? Aren't you lying?"
    "Pyotr Alexandrovitch! How could I dare after what's happened!
Forgive me, gentlemen, I was carried away! And upset besides! And,
indeed, I am ashamed. Gentlemen, one man has the heart of Alexander of
Macedon and another the heart of the little dog Fido. Mine is that
of the little dog Fido. I am ashamed! After such an escapade how can I
go to dinner, to gobble up the monastery's sauces? I am ashamed, I
can't. You must excuse me!"
    "The devil only knows, what if he deceives us?" thought Miusov,
still hesitating, and watching the retreating buffoon with distrustful
eyes. The latter turned round, and noticing that Miusov was watching
him, waved him a kiss.
    "Well, are you coming to the Superior?" Miusov asked Ivan
    "Why not? I was especially invited yesterday."
    "Unfortunately I feel myself compelled to go to this confounded
dinner," said Miusov with the same irritability, regardless of the
fact that the monk was listening. "We ought, at least, to apologise
for the disturbance, and explain that it was not our doing. What do
you think?"
    "Yes, we must explain that it wasn't our doing. Besides, father
won't be there," observed Ivan.
    "Well, I should hope not! Confound this dinner!"
    They all walked on, however. The monk listened in silence. On
the road through the copse he made one observation however- that the
Father Superior had been waiting a long time, and that they were
more than half an hour late. He received no answer. Miusov looked with
hatred at Ivan.
    "Here he is, going to the dinner as though nothing had
happened," he thought. "A brazen face, and the conscience of a
                              Chapter 7
                     A Young Man Bent on a Career

    ALYOSHA helped Father Zossima to his bedroom and seated him on his
bed. It was a little room furnished with the bare necessities. There
was a narrow iron bedstead, with a strip of felt for a mattress. In
the corner, under the ikons, was a reading-desk with a cross and the
Gospel lying on it. The elder sank exhausted on the bed. His eyes
glittered and he breathed hard. He looked intently at Alyosha, as
though considering something.
    "Go, my dear boy, go. Porfiry is enough for me. Make haste, you
are needed there, go and wait at the Father Superior's table."
    "Let me stay here," Alyosha entreated.
    "You are more needed there. There is no peace there. You will
wait, and be of service. If evil spirits rise up, repeat a prayer. And
remember, my son"- the elder liked to call him that- "this is not
the place for you in the future. When it is God's will to call me,
leave the monastery. Go away for good."
    Alyosha started.
    "What is it? This is not your place for the time. I bless you
for great service in the world. Yours will be a long pilgrimage. And
you will have to take a wife, too. You will have to bear all before
you come back. There will be much to do. But I don't doubt of you, and
so I send you forth. Christ is with you. Do not abandon Him and He
will not abandon you. You will see great sorrow, and in that sorrow
you will be happy. This is my last message to you: in sorrow seek
happiness. Work, work unceasingly. Remember my words, for although I
shall talk with you again, not only my days but my hours are
    Alyosha's face again betrayed strong emotion. The corners of his
mouth quivered.
    "What is it again?" Father Zossima asked, smiling gently. "The
worldly may follow the dead with tears, but here we rejoice over the
father who is departing. We rejoice and pray for him. Leave me, I must
pray. Go, and make haste. Be near your brothers. And not near one
only, but near both."
    Father Zossima raised his hand to bless him. Alyosha could make no
protest, though he had a great longing to remain. He longed, moreover,
to ask the significance of his bowing to Dmitri, the question was on
the tip of his tongue, but he dared not ask it. He knew that the elder
would have explained it unasked if he had thought fit. But evidently
it was not his will. That action had made a terrible impression on
Alyosha; he believed blindly in its mysterious significance.
Mysterious, and perhaps awful.
    As he hastened out of the hermatage precincts to reach the
monastery in time to serve at the Father Superior's dinner, he felt
a sudden pang at his heart, and stopped short. He seemed to hear again
Father Zossima's words, foretelling his approaching end. What he had
foretold so exactly must infallibly come to pass. Alyosha believed
that implicitly. But how could he go? He had told him not to weep, and
to leave the monastery. Good God! It was long since Alyosha had
known such anguish. He hurried through the copse that divided the
monastery from the hermitage, and unable to bear the burden of his
thoughts, he gazed at the ancient pines beside the path. He had not
far to go- about five hundred paces. He expected to meet no one at
that hour, but at the first turn of the path he noticed Rakitin. He
was waiting for someone.
    "Are you waiting for me?" asked Alyosha, overtaking him.
    "Yes," grinned Rakitin. "You are hurrying to the Father
Superior, I know; he has a banquet. There's not been such a banquet
since the Superior entertained the Bishop and General Pahatov, do
you remember? I shan't be there, but you go and hand the sauces.
Tell me one thing, Alexey, what does that vision mean? That's what I
want to ask you."
    "What vision?"
    "That bowing to your brother, Dmitri. And didn't he tap the ground
with his forehead, too!"
    "You speak of Father Zossima?"
    "Yes, of Father Zossima,"
    "Tapped the ground?"
    "Ah, an irreverent expression! Well, what of it? Anyway, what does
that vision mean?"
    "I don't know what it means, Misha."
    "I knew he wouldn't explain it to you There's nothing wonderful
about it, of course, only the usual holy mummery. But there was an
object in the performance. All the pious people in the town will
talk about it and spread the story through the province, wondering
what it meant. To my thinking the old man really has a keen nose; he
sniffed a crime. Your house stinks of it."
    Rakitin evidently had something he was eager to speak of.
    "It'll be in your family, this crime. Between your brothers and
your rich old father. So Father Zossima flopped down to be ready for
what may turn up. If something happens later on, it'll be: 'Ah, the
holy man foresaw it, prophesied it!' though it's a poor sort of
prophecy, flopping like that. 'Ah, but it was symbolic,' they'll
say, 'an allegory,' and the devil knows what all! It'll be
remembered to his glory: 'He predicted the crime and marked the
criminal!' That's always the way with these crazy fanatics; they cross
themselves at the tavern and throw stones at the temple. Like your
elder, he takes a stick to a just man and falls at the feet of a
    "What crime? What do you mean?"
    Alyosha stopped dead. Rakitin stopped, too.
    "What murderer? As though you didn't know! I'll bet you've thought
of it before. That's interesting, too, by the way. Listen, Alyosha,
you always speak the truth, though you're always between two stools.
Have you thought of it or not? Answer."
    "I have," answered Alyosha in a low voice. Even Rakitin was
taken aback.
    "What? Have you really?" he cried.
    "I... I've not exactly thought it," muttered Alyosha, "but
directly you began speaking so strangely, I fancied I had thought of
it myself."
    "You see? (And how well you expressed it!) Looking at your
father and your brother Mitya to-day you thought of a crime. Then
I'm not mistaken?"
    "But wait, wait a minute," Alyosha broke in uneasily, "What has
led you to see all this? Why does it interest you? That's the first
    "Two questions, disconnected, but natural. I'll deal with them
separately. What led me to see it? I shouldn't have seen it, if I
hadn't suddenly understood your brother Dmitri, seen right into the
very heart of him all at once. I caught the whole man from one
trait. These very honest but passionate people have a line which
mustn't be crossed. If it were, he'd run at your father with a
knife. But your father's a drunken and abandoned old sinner, who can
never draw the line- if they both themselves go, they'll both come
to grief."
    "No, Misha, no. If that's all, you've reassured me. It won't
come to that."
    "But why are you trembling? Let me tell you; he may be honest, our
Mitya (he is stupid, but honest), but he's- a sensualist. That's the
very definition and inner essence of him. It's your father has
handed him on his low sensuality. Do you know, I simply wonder at you,
Alyosha, how you can have kept your purity. You're a Karamazov too,
you know! In your family sensuality is carried to a disease. But
now, these three sensualists are watching one another, with their
knives in their belts. The three of them are knocking their heads
together, and you may be the fourth."
    "You are mistaken about that woman. Dmitri despises her," said
Alyosha, with a sort of shudder.
    "Grushenka? No, brother, he doesn't despise her. Since he has
openly abandoned his betrothed for her, he doesn't despise her.
There's something here, my dear boy, that you don't understand yet.
A man will fall in love with some beauty, with a woman's body, or even
with a part of a woman's body (a sensualist can understand that),
and he'll abandon his own children for her, sell his father and
mother, and his country, Russia, too. If he's honest, he'll steal;
if he's humane, he'll murder; if he's faithful, he'll deceive.
Pushkin, the poet of women's feet, sung of their feet in his verse.
Others don't sing their praises, but they can't look at their feet
without a thrill- and it's not only their feet. Contempt's no help
here, brother, even if he did despise Grushenka. He does, but he can't
tear himself away."
    "I understand that," Alyosha jerked out suddenly.
    "Really? Well, I dare say you do understand, since you blurt it
out at the first word," said Rakitin, malignantly. "That escaped you
unawares, and the confession's the more precious. So it's a familiar
subject; you've thought about it already, about sensuality, I mean!
Oh, you virgin soul! You're a quiet one, Alyosha, you're a saint, I
know, but the devil only knows what you've thought about, and what you
know already! You are pure, but you've been down into the depths....
I've been watching you a long time. You're a Karamazov yourself;
you're a thorough Karamazov- no doubt birth and selection have
something to answer for. You're a sensualist from your father, a crazy
saint from your mother. Why do you tremble? Is it true, then? Do you
know, Grushenka has been begging me to bring you along. 'I'll pull off
his cassock,' she says. You can't think how she keeps begging me to
bring you. I wondered why she took such an interest in you. Do you
know, she's an extraordinary woman, too!"
    "Thank her and say I'm not coming," said Alyosha, with a
strained smile. "Finish what you were saying, Misha. I'll tell you. my
idea after."
    "There's nothing to finish. It's all clear. It's the same old
tune, brother. If even you are a sensualist at heart, what of your
brother, Ivan? He's a Karamazov, too. What is at the root of all you
Karamazovs is that you're all sensual, grasping and crazy! Your
brother Ivan writes theological articles in joke, for some idiotic,
unknown motive of his own, though he's an atheist, and he admits
it's a fraud himself- that's your brother Ivan. He's trying to get
Mitya's betrothed for himself, and I fancy he'll succeed, too. And
what's more, it's with Mitya's consent. For Mitya will surrender his
betrothed to him to be rid of her, and escape to Grushenka. And he's
ready to do that in spite of all his nobility and disinterestedness.
Observe that. Those are the most fatal people! Who the devil can
make you out? He recognises his vileness and goes on with it! Let me
tell you, too, the old man, your father, is standing in Mitya's way
now. He has suddenly gone crazy over Grushenka. His mouth waters at
the sight of her. It's simply on her account he made that scene in the
cell just now, simply because Miusov called her an 'abandoned
creature.' He's worse than a tom-cat in love. At first she was only
employed by him in connection with his taverns and in some other shady
business, but now he has suddenly realised all she is and has gone
wild about her. He keeps pestering her with his offers, not honourable
ones, of course. And they'll come into collision, the precious
father and son, on that path! But Grushenka favours neither of them,
she's still playing with them, and teasing them both, considering
which she can get most out of. For though she could filch a lot of
money from the papa he wouldn't marry her, and maybe he'll turn stingy
in the end, and keep his purse shut. That's where Mitya's value
comes in; he has no money, but he's ready to marry her. Yes, ready
to marry her! to abandon his betrothed, a rare beauty, Katerina
Ivanovna, who's rich, and the daughter of a colonel, and to marry
Grushenka, who has been the mistress of a dissolute old merchant,
Samsonov, a coarse, uneducated, provincial mayor. Some murderous
conflict may well come to pass from all this, and that's what your
brother Ivan is waiting for. It would suit him down to the ground.
He'll carry off Katerina Ivanovna, for whom he is languishing, and
pocket her dowry of sixty thousand. That's very alluring to start
with, for a man of no consequence and a beggar. And, take note, he
won't be wronging Mitya, but doing him the greatest service. For I
know as a fact that Mitya only last week, when he was with some
Gipsy girls drunk in a tavern, cried out aloud that he was unworthy of
his betrothed, Katya, but that his brother Ivan, he was the man who
deserved her. And Katerina Ivanovna will not in the end refuse such
a fascinating man as Ivan. She's hesitating between the two of them
already. And how has that Ivan won you all, so that you all worship
him? He is laughing at you, and enjoying himself at your expense."
    "How do you know? How can you speak so confidently?" Alyosha asked
sharply, frowning.
    "Why do you ask, and are frightened at my answer? It shows that
you know I'm speaking the truth."
    "You don't like Ivan. Ivan wouldn't be tempted by money."
    "Really? And the beauty of Katerina Ivanovna? It's not only the
money, though a fortune of sixty thousand is an attraction."
    "Ivan is above that. He wouldn't make up to anyone for
thousands. It is not money, it's not comfort Ivan is seeking.
Perhaps it's suffering he is seeking."
    "What wild dream now? Oh, you- aristocrats!"
    "Ah, Misha, he has a stormy spirit. His mind is in bondage. He
is haunted by a great, unsolved doubt. He is one of those who don't
want millions, but an answer to their questions."
    "That's plagiarism, Alyosha. You're quoting your elder's
phrases. Ah, Ivan has set you a problem!" cried Rakitin, with
undisguised malice. His face changed, and his lips twitched. "And
the problem's a stupid one. It is no good guessing it. Rack your
brains- you'll understand it. His article is absurd and ridiculous.
And did you hear his stupid theory just now: if there's no immortality
of the soul, then there's no virtue, and everything is lawful. (And by
the way, do you remember how your brother Mitya cried out: 'I will
remember!') An attractive theory for scoundrels!- (I'm being
abusive, that's stupid.) Not for scoundrels, but for pedantic poseurs,
'haunted by profound, unsolved doubts.' He's showing off, and what
it all comes to is, 'on the one hand we cannot but admit' and 'on
the other it must be confessed!' His whole theory is a fraud! Humanity
will find in itself the power to live for virtue even without
believing in immortality. It will find it in love for freedom, for
equality, for fraternity."
    Rakitin could hardly restrain himself in his heat, but,
suddenly, as though remembering something, he stopped short.
    "Well, that's enough," he said, with a still more crooked smile.
"Why are you laughing? Do you think I'm a vulgar fool?"
    "No, I never dreamed of thinking you a vulgar fool. You are clever
but... never mind, I was silly to smile. I understand your getting hot
about it, Misha. I guess from your warmth that you are not indifferent
to Katerina Ivanovna yourself; I've suspected that for a long time,
brother, that's why you don't like my brother Ivan. Are you jealous of
    "And jealous of her money, too? Won't you add that?"
    "I'll say nothing about money. I am not going to insult you."
    "I believe it, since you say so, but confound you, and your
brother Ivan with you. Don't you understand that one might very well
dislike him, apart from Katerina Ivanovna. And why the devil should
I like him? He condescends to abuse me, you know. Why haven't I a
right to abuse him?"
    "I never heard of his saying anything about you, good or bad. He
doesn't speak of you at all."
    "But I heard that the day before yesterday at Katerina
Ivanovna's he was abusing me for all he was worth- you see what an
interest he takes in your humble servant. And which is the jealous one
after that, brother, I can't say. He was so good as to express the
opinion that, if I don't go in for the career of an archimandrite in
the immediate future and don't become a monk, I shall be sure to go to
Petersburg and get on to some solid magazine as a reviewer, that I
shall write for the next ten years, and in the end become the owner of
the magazine, and bring it out on the liberal and atheistic side, with
a socialistic tinge, with a tiny gloss of socialism, but keeping a
sharp lookout all the time, that is, keeping in with both sides and
hoodwinking the fools. According to your brother's account, the
tinge of socialism won't hinder me from laying by the proceeds and
investing them under the guidance of some Jew, till at the end of my
career I build a great house in Petersburg and move my publishing
offices to it, and let out the upper stories to lodgers. He has even
chosen the place for it, near the new stone bridge across the Neva,
which they say is to be built in Petersburg."
    "Ah, Misha, that's just what will really happen, every word of
it," cried Alyosha, unable to restrain a good-humoured smile.
    "You are pleased to be sarcastic, too, Alexey Fyodorovitch."
    "No, no, I'm joking, forgive me. I've something quite different in
my mind. But, excuse me, who can have told you all this? You can't
have been at Katerina Ivanovna's yourself when he was talking about
    "I wasn't there, but Dmitri Fyodorovitch was; and I heard him tell
it with my own ears; if you want to know, he didn't tell me, but I
overheard him, unintentionally, of course, for I was sitting in
Grushenka's bedroom and I couldn't go away because Dmitri Fyodorovitch
was in the next room."
    "Oh yes, I'd forgotten she was a relation of yours."
    "A relation! That Grushenka a relation of mine!" cried Rakitin,
turning crimson. "Are you mad? You're out of your mind!"
    "Why, isn't she a relation of yours? I heard so."
    "Where can you have heard it? You Karamazovs brag of being an
ancient, noble family, though your father used to run about playing
the buffoon at other men's tables, and was only admitted to the
kitchen as a favour. I may be only a priest's son, and dirt in the
eyes of noblemen like you, but don't insult me so lightly and
wantonly. I have a sense of honour, too, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I
couldn't be a relation of Grushenka, a common harlot. I beg you to
understand that!"
     Rakitin was intensely irritated.
    "Forgive me, for goodness' sake, I had no idea... besides... how
can you call her a harlot? Is she... that sort of woman?" Alyosha
flushed suddenly. "I tell you again, I heard that she was a relation
of yours. You often go to see her, and you told me yourself you're not
her lover. I never dreamed that you of all people had such contempt
for her! Does she really deserve it?"
    "I may have reasons of my own for visiting her. That's not your
business. But as for relationship, your brother, or even your
father, is more likely to make her yours than mine. Well, here we are.
You'd better go to the kitchen. Hullo! what's wrong, what is it? Are
we late? They can't have finished dinner so soon! Have the
Karamazovs been making trouble again? No doubt they have. Here's
your father and your brother Ivan after him. They've broken out from
the Father Superior's. And look, Father Isidor's shouting out
something after them from the steps. And your father's shouting and
waving his arms. I expect he's swearing. Bah, and there goes Miusov
driving away in his carriage. You see, he's going. And there's old
Maximov running!- there must have been a row. There can't have been
any dinner. Surely they've not been beating the Father Superior! Or
have they, perhaps, been beaten? It would serve them right!"
    There was reason for Rakitin's exclamations. There had been a
scandalous, an unprecedented scene. It had all come from the impulse
of a moment.
                              Chapter 8
                         The Scandalous Scene

    MIUSOV, as a man of breeding and delicacy, could not but feel some
inward qualms, when he reached the Father Superior's with Ivan: he
felt ashamed of having lost his temper. He felt that he ought to
have disdained that despicable wretch, Fyodor Pavlovitch, too much
to have been upset by him in Father Zossima's cell, and so to have
forgotten himself. "The monks were not to blame, in any case," he
reflected, on the steps. "And if they're decent people here (and the
Father Superior, I understand, is a nobleman) why not be friendly
and courteous with them? I won't argue, I'll fall in with
everything, I'll win them by politeness, and... and... show them
that I've nothing to do with that Aesop, that buffoon, that Pierrot,
and have merely been taken in over this affair, just as they have."
    He determined to drop his litigation with the monastery, and
relinquish his claims to the wood-cutting and fishery rights at
once. He was the more ready to do this because the rights had become
much less valuable, and he had indeed the vaguest idea where the
wood and river in question were.
    These excellent intentions were strengthened when he entered the
Father Superior's dining-room, though, strictly speaking, it was not a
dining-room, for the Father Superior had only two rooms altogether;
they were, however, much larger and more comfortable than Father
Zossima's. But there was no great luxury about the furnishing of these
rooms either. The furniture was of mahogany, covered with leather,
in the old-fashioned style of 1820 the floor was not even stained, but
everything was shining with cleanliness, and there were many choice
flowers in the windows; the most sumptuous thing in the room at the
moment was, of course, the beautifully decorated table. The cloth
was clean, the service shone; there were three kinds of well-baked
bread, two bottles of wine, two of excellent mead, and a large glass
jug of kvas- both the latter made in the monastery, and famous in
the neighbourhood. There was no vodka. Rakitin related afterwards that
there were five dishes: fish-soup made of sterlets, served with little
fish patties; then boiled fish served in a special way; then salmon
cutlets, ice pudding and compote, and finally, blanc-mange. Rakitin
found out about all these good things, for he could not resist peeping
into the kitchen, where he already had a footing. He had a footing
everywhere, and got information about everything. He was of an
uneasy and envious temper. He was well aware of his own considerable
abilities, and nervously exaggerated them in his self-conceit. He knew
he would play a prominent part of some sort, but Alyosha, who was
attached to him, was distressed to see that his friend Rakitin was
dishonourable, and quite unconscious of being so himself, considering,
on the contrary, that because he would not steal money left on the
table he was a man of the highest integrity. Neither Alyosha nor
anyone else could have influenced him in that.
    Rakitin, of course, was a person of too little consequence to be
invited to the dinner, to which Father Iosif, Father Paissy, and one
other monk were the only inmates of the monastery invited. They were
already waiting when Miusov, Kalganov, and Ivan arrived. The other
guest, Maximov, stood a little aside, waiting also. The Father
Superior stepped into the middle of the room to receive his guests. He
was a tall, thin, but still vigorous old man, with black hair streaked
with grey, and a long, grave, ascetic face. He bowed to his guests
in silence. But this time they approached to receive his blessing.
Miusov even tried to kiss his hand, but the Father Superior drew it
back in time to avoid the salute. But Ivan and Kalganov went through
the ceremony in the most simple-hearted and complete manner, kissing
his hand as peasants do.
    "We must apologise most humbly, your reverence," began Miusov,
simpering affably, and speaking in a dignified and respectful tone.
"Pardon us for having come alone without the gentleman you invited,
Fyodor Pavlovitch. He felt obliged to decline the honour of your
hospitality, and not without reason. In the reverend Father
Zossima's cell he was carried away by the unhappy dissension with
his son, and let fall words which were quite out of keeping... in
fact, quite unseemly... as"- he glanced at the monks- "your
reverence is, no doubt, already aware. And therefore, recognising that
he had been to blame, he felt sincere regret and shame, and begged me,
and his son Ivan Fyodorovitch, to convey to you his apologies and
regrets. In brief, he hopes and desires to make amends later. He
asks your blessing, and begs you to forget what has taken place."
    As he uttered the last word of his tirade, Miusov completely
recovered his self-complacency, and all traces of his former
irritation disappeared. He fully and sincerely loved humanity again.
    The Father Superior listened to him with dignity, and, with a
slight bend of the head, replied:
    "I sincerely deplore his absence. Perhaps at our table he might
have learnt to like us, and we him. Pray be seated, gentlemen."
    He stood before the holy image, and began to say grace, aloud. All
bent their heads reverently, and Maximov clasped his hands before him,
with peculiar fervour.
    It was at this moment that Fyodor Pavlovitch played his last
prank. It must be noted that he really had meant to go home, and
really had felt the impossibility of going to dine with the Father
Superior as though nothing had happened, after his disgraceful
behaviour in the elder's cell. Not that he was so very much ashamed of
himself- quite the contrary perhaps. But still he felt it would be
unseemly to go to dinner. Yet his creaking carriage had hardly been
brought to the steps of the hotel, and he had hardly got into it, when
he suddenly stopped short. He remembered his own words at the elder's:
"I always feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that
they all take me for a buffoon; so I say let me play the buffoon,
for you are, every one of you, stupider and lower than I." He longed
to revenge himself on everyone for his own unseemliness. He suddenly
recalled how he had once in the past been asked, "Why do you hate so
and so, so much?" And he had answered them, with his shameless
impudence, "I'll tell you. He has done me no harm. But I played him
a dirty trick, and ever since I have hated him."
    Remembering that now, he smiled quietly and malignantly,
hesitating for a moment. His eyes gleamed, and his lips positively
    "Well, since I have begun, I may as well go on," he decided. His
predominant sensation at that moment might be expressed in the
following words, "Well, there is no rehabilitating myself now. So
let me shame them for all I am worth. I will show them I don't care
what they think- that's all!"
    He told the coachman to wait, while with rapid steps he returned
to the monastery and straight to the Father Superior's. He had no
clear idea what he would do, but he knew that he could not control
himself, and that a touch might drive him to the utmost limits of
obscenity, but only to obscenity, to nothing criminal, nothing for
which he could be legally punished. In the last resort, he could
always restrain himself, and had marvelled indeed at himself, on
that score, sometimes. He appeared in the Father Superior's
dining-room, at the moment when the prayer was over, and all were
moving to the table. Standing in the doorway, he scanned the
company, and laughing his prolonged, impudent, malicious chuckle,
looked them all boldly in the face. "They thought I had gone, and here
I am again," he cried to the whole room.
    For one moment everyone stared at him without a word; and at
once everyone felt that something revolting, grotesque, positively
scandalous, was about to happen. Miusov passed immediately from the
most benevolent frame of mind to the most savage. All the feelings
that had subsided and died down in his heart revived instantly.
    "No! this I cannot endure!" he cried. "I absolutely cannot! and...
I certainly cannot!"
    The blood rushed to his head. He positively stammered; but he
was beyond thinking of style, and he seized his hat.
    "What is it he cannot?" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, "that he
absolutely cannot and certainly cannot? Your reverence, am I to come
in or not? Will you receive me as your guest?"
    "You are welcome with all my heart," answered the Superior.
"Gentlemen!" he added, "I venture to beg you most earnestly to lay
aside your dissensions, and to be united in love and family harmony-
with prayer to the Lord at our humble table."
    "No, no, it is impossible!" cried Miusov, beside himself.
    "Well, if it is impossible for Pyotr Alexandrovitch, it is
impossible for me, and I won't stop. That is why I came. I will keep
with Pyotr Alexandrovitch everywhere now. If you will go away, Pyotr
Alexandrovitch, I will go away too, if you remain, I will remain.
You stung him by what you said about family harmony, Father
Superior, he does not admit he is my relation. That's right, isn't it,
von Sohn? Here's von Sohn. How are you, von Sohn?"
    "Do you mean me?" muttered Maximov, puzzled.
    "Of course I mean you," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch. "Who else? The
Father Superior could not be von Sohn."
    "But I am not von Sohn either. I am Maximov."
    "No, you are von Sohn. Your reverence, do you know who von Sohn
was? It was a famous murder case. He was killed in a house of
harlotry- I believe that is what such places are called among you-
he was killed and robbed, and in spite of his venerable age, he was
nailed up in a box and sent from Petersburg to Moscow in the luggage
van, and while they were nailing him up, the harlots sang songs and
played the harp, that is to say, the piano. So this is that very von
Solin. He has risen from the dead, hasn't he, von Sohn?"
    "What is happening? What's this?" voices were heard in the group
of monks.
    "Let us go," cried Miusov, addressing Kalganov.
    "No, excuse me," Fyodor Pavlovitch broke in shrilly, taking
another step into the room. "Allow me to finish. There in the cell you
blamed me for behaving disrespectfully just because I spoke of
eating gudgeon, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. Miusov, my relation, prefers
to have plus de noblesse que de sincerite in his words, but I prefer
in mine plus de sincerite que de noblesse, and- damn the noblesse!
That's right, isn't it, von Sohn? Allow me, Father Superior, though
I am a buffoon and play the buffoon, yet I am the soul of honour,
and I want to speak my mind. Yes, I am the soul of honour, while in
Pyotr Alexandrovitch there is wounded vanity and nothing else. I
came here perhaps to have a look and speak my mind. My son, Alexey, is
here, being saved. I am his father; I care for his welfare, and it
is my duty to care. While I've been playing the fool, I have been
listening and having a look on the sly; and now I want to give you the
last act of the performance. You know how things are with us? As a
thing falls, so it lies. As a thing once has fallen, so it must lie
for ever. Not a bit of it! I want to get up again. Holy Father, I am
indignant with you. Confession is a great sacrament, before which I am
ready to bow down reverently; but there in the cell, they all kneel
down and confess aloud. Can it be right to confess aloud? It was
ordained by the holy Fathers to confess in secret: then only your
confession will be a mystery, and so it was of old. But how can I
explain to him before everyone that I did this and that... well, you
understand what- sometimes it would not be proper to talk about it- so
it is really a scandal! No, Fathers, one might be carried along with
you to the Flagellants, I dare say.... at the first opportunity I
shall write to the Synod, and I shall take my son, Alexey, home."
    We must note here that Fyodor Pavlovitch knew where to look for
the weak spot. There had been at one time malicious rumours which
had even reached the Archbishop (not only regarding our monastery, but
in others where the institution of elders existed) that too much
respect was paid to the elders, even to the detriment of the authority
of the Superior, that the elders abused the sacrament of confession
and so on and so on- absurd charges which had died away of
themselves everywhere. But the spirit of folly, which had caught up
Fyodor Pavlovitch and was bearing him on the current of his own nerves
into lower and lower depths of ignominy, prompted him with this old
slander. Fyodor Pavlovitch did not understand a word of it, and he
could not even put it sensibly, for on this occasion no one had been
kneeling and confessing aloud in the elder's cell, so that he could
not have seen anything of the kind. He was only speaking from confused
memory of old slanders. But as soon as he had uttered his foolish
tirade, he felt he had been talking absurd nonsense, and at once
longed to prove to his audience, and above all to himself, that he had
not been talking nonsense. And, though he knew perfectly well that
with each word he would be adding more and more absurdity, he could
not restrain himself, and plunged forward blindly.
    "How disgraceful!" cried Pyotr Alexandrovitch.
    "Pardon me!" said the Father Superior. "It was said of old,
'Many have begun to speak against me and have uttered evil sayings
about me. And hearing it I have said to myself: it is the correction
of the Lord and He has sent it to heal my vain soul.' And so we humbly
thank you, honoured guest!" and he made Fyodor Pavlovitch a low bow.
    "Tut- tut- tut- sanctimoniousness and stock phrases! Old phrases
and old gestures. The old lies and formal prostrations. We know all
about them. A kiss on the lips and a dagger in the heart, as in
Schiller's Robbers. I don't like falsehood, Fathers, I want the truth.
But the truth is not to be found in eating gudgeon and that I proclaim
aloud! Father monks, why do you fast? Why do you expect reward in
heaven for that? Why, for reward like that I will come and fast too!
No, saintly monk, you try being virtuous in the world, do good to
society, without shutting yourself up in a monastery at other people's
expense, and without expecting a reward up aloft for it- you'll find
that a bit harder. I can talk sense, too, Father Superior. What have
they got here?" He went up to the table. "Old port wine, mead brewed
by the Eliseyev Brothers. Fie, fie, fathers! That is something
beyond gudgeon. Look at the bottles the fathers have brought out, he
he he! And who has provided it all? The Russian peasant, the labourer,
brings here the farthing earned by his horny hand, wringing it from
his family and the tax-gatherer! You bleed the people, you know,
holy Fathers."
    "This is too disgraceful!" said Father Iosif.
    Father Paissy kept obstinately silent. Miusov rushed from the
room, and Kalgonov after him.
    "Well, Father, I will follow Pyotr Alexandrovitch! I am not coming
to see you again. You may beg me on your knees, I shan't come. I
sent you a thousand roubles, so you have begun to keep your eye on me.
He he he! No, I'll say no more. I am taking my revenge for my youth,
for all the humiliation I endured." He thumped the table with his fist
in a paroxysm of simulated feeling. "This monastery has played a great
part in my life! It has cost me many bitter tears. You used to set
my wife, the crazy one, against me. You cursed me with bell and
book, you spread stories about me all over the place. Enough, fathers!
This is the age of Liberalism, the age of steamers and railways.
Neither a thousand, nor a hundred roubles, no, nor a hundred farthings
will you get out of me!"
    It must be noted again that our monastery never had played any
great part in his life, and he never had shed a bitter tear owing to
it. But he was so carried away by his simulated emotion, that he was
for one moment almost believing it himself. He was so touched he was
almost weeping. But at that very instant, he felt that it was time
to draw back.
    The Father Superior bowed his head at his malicious lie, and again
spoke impressively:
    "It is written again, 'Bear circumspectly and gladly dishonour
that cometh upon thee by no act of thine own, be not confounded and
hate not him who hath dishonoured thee.' And so will we."
    "Tut, tut, tut! Bethinking thyself and the rest of the
rigmarole. Bethink yourselves Fathers, I will go. But I will take my
son, Alexey, away from here for ever, on my parental authority. Ivan
Fyodorovitch, my most dutiful son, permit me to order you to follow
me. Von Sohn, what have you to stay for? Come and see me now in the
town. It is fun there. It is only one short verst; instead of lenten
oil, I will give you sucking-pig and kasha. We will have dinner with
some brandy and liqueur to it.... I've cloudberry wine. Hey, von Sohn,
don't lose your chance." He went out, shouting and gesticulating.
    It was at that moment Rakitin saw him and pointed him out to
    "Alexey!" his father shouted, from far off, catching sight of him.
"You come home to me to-day, for good, and bring your pillow and
mattress, and leave no trace behind."
    Alyosha stood rooted to the spot, watching the scene in silence.
Meanwhile, Fyodor Pavlovitch had got into the carriage, and Ivan was
about to follow him in grim silence without even turning to say
good-bye to Alyosha. But at this point another almost incredible scene
of grotesque buffoonery gave the finishing touch to the episode.
Maximov suddenly appeared by the side of the carriage. He ran up,
panting, afraid of being too late. Rakitin and Alyosha saw him
running. He was in such a hurry that in his impatience he put his foot
on the step on which Ivan's left foot was still resting, and clutching
the carriage he kept trying to jump in. "I am going with you! " he
kept shouting, laughing a thin mirthful laugh with a look of
reckless glee in his face. "Take me, too."
    "There!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, delighted. "Did I not say he was
von Sohn. It is von Sohn himself, risen from the dead. Why, how did
you tear yourself away? What did you von Sohn there? And how could you
get away from the dinner? You must be a brazen-faced fellow! I am that
myself, but I am surprised at you, brother! Jump in, jump in! Let
him pass, Ivan. It will be fun. He can lie somewhere at our feet. Will
you lie at our feet, von Sohn? Or perch on the box with the
coachman. Skip on to the box, von Sohn!"
    But Ivan, who had by now taken his seat, without a word gave
Maximov a violent punch in the breast and sent him flying. It was
quite by chance he did not fall.
    "Drive on!" Ivan shouted angrily to the coachman.
    "Why, what are you doing, what are you about? Why did you do
that?" Fyodor Pavlovitch protested.
    But the carriage had already driven away. Ivan made no reply.
    "Well, you are a fellow," Fyodor Pavlovitch said again.
    After a pause of two minutes, looking askance at his son, "Why, it
was you got up all this monastery business. You urged it, you approved
of it. Why are you angry now?"
    "You've talked rot enough. You might rest a bit now," Ivan snapped
    Fyodor Pavlovitch was silent again for two minutes.
    "A drop of brandy would be nice now," he observed sententiously,
but Ivan made no response.
    "You shall have some, too, when we get home."
    Ivan was still silent.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch waited another two minutes.
    "But I shall take Alyosha away from the monastery, though you will
dislike it so much, most honoured Karl von Moor."
    Ivan shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, and turning away
stared at the road. And they did not speak again all the way home.
                               Book III
                           The Sensualists

                              Chapter 1
                      In the Servants' Quarters

    THE Karamazovs' house was far from being in the centre of the
town, but it was not quite outside it. It was a pleasant-looking old
house of two stories, painted grey, with a red iron roof. It was roomy
and snug, and might still last many years. There were all sorts of
unexpected little cupboards and closets and staircases. There were
rats in it, but Fyodor Pavlovitch did not altogether dislike them.
"One doesn't feel so solitary when one's left alone in the evening,"
he used to say. It was his habit to send the servants away to the
lodge for the night and to lock himself up alone. The lodge was a
roomy and solid building in the yard. Fyodor Pavlovitch used to have
the cooking done there, although there was a kitchen in the house;
he did not like the smell of cooking, and, winter and summer alike,
the dishes were carried in across the courtyard. The house was built
for a large family; there was room for five times as many, with
their servants. But at the time of our story there was no one living
in the house but Fyodor Pavlovitch and his son Ivan. And in the
lodge there were only three servants: old Grigory, and his old wife
Marfa, and a young man called Smerdyakov. Of these three we must say a
few words. Of old Grigory we have said something already. He was
firm and determined and went blindly and obstinately for his object,
if once be had been brought by any reasons (and they were often very
illogical ones) to believe that it was immutably right. He was
honest and incorruptible. His wife, Marfa Ignatyevna, had obeyed her
husband's will implicitly all her life, yet she had pestered him
terribly after the emancipation of the serfs. She was set on leaving
Fyodor Pavlovitch and opening a little shop in Moscow with their small
savings. But Grigory decided then, once for all, that "the woman's
talking nonsense, for every woman is dishonest," and that they ought
not to leave their old master, whatever he might be, for "that was now
their duty."
    "Do you understand what duty is?" he asked Marfa Ignatyevna.
    "I understand what duty means, Grigory Vassilyevitch, but why it's
our duty to stay here I never shall understand," Marfa answered
    "Well, don't understand then. But so it shall be. And you hold
your tongue."
    And so it was. They did not go away, and Fyodor Pavlovitch
promised them a small sum for wages, and paid it regularly. Grigory
knew, too, that he had an indisputable influence over his master. It
was true, and he was aware of it. Fyodor Pavlovitch was an obstinate
and cunning buffoon, yet, though his will was strong enough "in some
of the affairs of life," as he expressed it, he found himself, to
his surprise, extremely feeble in facing certain other emergencies. He
knew his weaknesses and was afraid of them. There are positions in
which one has to keep a sharp lookout. And that's not easy without a
trustworthy man, and Grigory was a most trustworthy man. Many times in
the course of his life Fyodor Pavlovitch had only just escaped a sound
thrashing through Grigory's intervention, and on each occasion the old
servant gave him a good lecture. But it wasn't only thrashings that
Fyodor Pavlovitch was afraid of. There were graver occasions, and very
subtle and complicated ones, when Fyodor Pavlovitch could not have
explained the extraordinary craving for someone faithful and
devoted, which sometimes unaccountably came upon him all in a
moment. It was almost a morbid condition. Corrupt and often cruel in
his lust, like some noxious insect, Fyodor Pavlovitch was sometimes,
in moments of drunkenness, overcome by superstitious terror and a
moral convulsion which took an almost physical form. "My soul's simply
quaking in my throat at those times," he used to say. At such
moments he liked to feel that there was near at hand, in the lodge
if not in the room, a strong, faithful man, virtuous and unlike
himself, who had seen all his debauchery and knew all his secrets, but
was ready in his devotion to overlook all that, not to oppose him,
above all, not to reproach him or threaten him with anything, either
in this world or in the next, and, in case of need, to defend him-
from whom? From somebody unknown, but terrible and dangerous. What
he needed was to feel that there was another man, an old and tried
friend, that he might call him in his sick moments merely to look at
his face, or, perhaps, exchange some quite irrelevant words with
him. And if the old servant were not angry, he felt comforted, and
if he were angry, he was more dejected. It happened even (very
rarely however) that Fyodor Pavlovitch went at night to the lodge to
wake Grigory and fetch him for a moment. When the old man came, Fyodor
Pavlovitch would begin talking about the most trivial matters, and
would soon let him go again, sometimes even with a jest. And after
he had gone, Fyodor Pavlovitch would get into bed with a curse and
sleep the sleep of the just. Something of the same sort had happened
to Fyodor Pavlovitch on Alyosha's arrival. Alyosha "pierced his heart"
by "living with him, seeing everything and blaming nothing." Moreover,
Alyosha brought with him something his father had never known
before: a complete absence of contempt for him and an invariable
kindness, a perfectly natural unaffected devotion to the old man who
deserved it so little. All this was a complete surprise to the old
profligate, who had dropped all family ties. It was a new and
surprising experience for him, who had till then loved nothing but
"evil." When Alyosha had left him, he confessed to himself that he had
learnt something he had not till then been willing to learn.
    I have mentioned already that Grigory had detested Adelaida
Ivanovna, the first wife of Fyodor Pavlovitch and the mother of
Dmitri, and that he had, on the contrary, protected Sofya Ivanovna,
the poor "crazy woman," against his master and anyone who chanced to
speak ill or lightly of her. His sympathy for the unhappy wife had
become something sacred to him, so that even now, twenty years
after, he could not bear a slighting allusion to her from anyone,
and would at once check the offender. Externally, Grigory was cold,
dignified and taciturn, and spoke, weighing his words, without
frivolity. It was impossible to tell at first sight whether he loved
his meek, obedient wife; but he really did love her, and she knew it.
    Marfa Ignatyevna was by no means foolish; she was probably,
indeed, cleverer than her husband, or, at least, more prudent than
he in worldly affairs, and yet she had given in to him in everything
without question or complaint ever since her marriage, and respected
him for his spiritual superiority. It was remarkable how little they
spoke to one another in the course of their lives, and only of the
most necessary daily affairs. The grave and dignified Grigory
thought over all his cares and duties alone, so that Marfa
Ignatyevna had long grown used to knowing that he did not need her
advice. She felt that her husband respected her silence, and took it
as a sign of her good sense. He had never beaten her but once, and
then only slightly. Once during the year after Fyodor Pavlovitch's
marriage with Adelaida Ivanovna, the village girls and women- at
that time serfs- were called together before the house to sing and
dance. They were beginning "In the Green Meadows," when Marfa, at that
time a young woman, skipped forward and danced "the Russian Dance,"
not in the village fashion, but as she had danced it when she was a
servant in the service of the rich Miusov family, in their private
theatre, where the actors were taught to dance by a dancing master
from Moscow. Grigory saw how his wife danced, and, an hour later, at
home in their cottage he gave her a lesson, pulling her hair a little.
But there it ended: the beating was never repeated, and Marfa
Ignatyevna gave up dancing.
    God had not blessed them with children. One child was born but
it died. Grigory was fond of children, and was not ashamed of
showing it. When Adelaida Ivanovna had run away, Grigory took
Dmitri, then a child of three years old, combed his hair and washed
him in a tub with his own hands, and looked after him for almost a
year. Afterwards he had looked after Ivan and Alyosha, for which the
general's widow had rewarded him with a slap in the face; but I have
already related all that. The only happiness his own child had brought
him had been in the anticipation of its birth. When it was born, he
was overwhelmed with grief and horror. The baby had six fingers.
Grigory was so crushed by this, that he was not only silent till the
day of the christening, but kept away in the garden. It was spring,
and he spent three days digging the kitchen garden. The third day
was fixed for christening the baby: meantime Grigory had reached a
conclusion. Going into the cottage where the clergy were assembled and
the visitors had arrived, including Fyodor Pavlovitch, who was to
stand godfather, he suddenly announced that the baby "ought not to
be christened at all." He announced this quietly, briefly, forcing out
his words, and gazing with dull intentness at the priest.
    "Why not?" asked the priest with good-humoured surprise.
    "Because it's a dragon," muttered Grigory.
    "A dragon? What dragon?"
    Grigory did not speak for some time. "It's a confusion of nature,"
he muttered vaguely, but firmly, and obviously unwilling to say more.
    They laughed, and, of course, christened the poor baby. Grigory
prayed earnestly at the font, but his opinion of the new-born child
remained unchanged. Yet he did not interfere in any way. As long as
the sickly infant lived he scarcely looked at it, tried indeed not
to notice it, and for the most part kept out of the cottage. But when,
at the end of a fortnight, the baby died of thrush, he himself laid
the child in its little coffin, looked at it in profound grief, and
when they were filling up the shallow little grave he fell on his
knees and bowed down to the earth. He did not for years afterwards
mention his child, nor did Marfa speak of the baby before him, and,
even if Grigory were not present, she never spoke of it above a
whisper. Marfa observed that, from the day of the burial, he devoted
himself to "religion," and took to reading the Lives of the Saints,
for the most part sitting alone and in silence, and always putting
on his big, round, silver-rimmed spectacles. He rarely read aloud,
only perhaps in Lent. He was fond of the Book of Job, and had
somehow got hold of a copy of the sayings and sermons of "the God
fearing Father Isaac the Syrian, which he read persistently for
years together, understanding very little of it, but perhaps prizing
and loving it the more for that. Of late he had begun to listen to the
doctrines of the sect of Flagellants settled in the neighbourhood.
He was evidently shaken by them, but judged it unfitting to go over to
the new faith. His habit of theological reading gave him an expression
of still greater gravity.
    He was perhaps predisposed to mysticism. And the birth of his
deformed child, and its death, had, as though by special design,
been accompanied by another strange and marvellous event, which, as he
said later, had left a "stamp" upon his soul. It happened that, on the
very night after the burial of his child, Marfa was awakened by the
wail of a new-born baby. She was frightened and waked her husband.
He listened and said he thought it was more like someone groaning, "it
might be a woman." He got up and dressed. It was a rather warm night
in May. As he went down the steps, he distinctly heard groans coming
from the garden. But the gate from the yard into the garden was locked
at night, and there was no other way of entering it, for it was
enclosed all round by a strong, high fence. Going back into the house,
Grigory lighted a lantern, took the garden key, and taking no notice
of the hysterical fears of his wife, who was still persuaded that
she heard a child crying, and that it was her own baby crying and
calling for her, went into the garden in silence. There he heard at
once that the groans came from the bath-house that stood near the
garden gate, and that they were the groans of a woman. Opening the
door of the bath-house, he saw a sight which petrified him. An idiot
girl, who wandered about the streets and was known to the whole town
by the nickname of Lizaveta Smerdyastchaya (Stinking Lizaveta), had
got into the bath-house and had just given birth to a child. She lay
dying with the baby beside her. She said nothing, for she had never
been able to speak. But her story needs a chapter to itself.
                              Chapter 2

    THERE was one circumstance which struck Grigory particularly,
and confirmed a very unpleasant and revolting suspicion. This Lizaveta
was a dwarfish creature, "not five foot within a wee bit," as many
of the pious old women said pathetically about her, after her death.
Her broad, healthy, red face had a look of blank idiocy and the
fixed stare in her eyes was unpleasant, in spite of their meek
expression. She wandered about, summer and winter alike, barefooted,
wearing nothing but a hempen smock. Her coarse, almost black hair
curled like lamb's wool, and formed a sort of huge cap on her head. It
was always crusted with mud, and had leaves; bits of stick, and
shavings clinging to it, as she always slept on the ground and in
the dirt. Her father, a homeless, sickly drunkard, called Ilya, had
lost everything and lived many years as a workman with some well-to-do
tradespeople. Her mother had long been dead. Spiteful and diseased,
Ilya used to beat Lizaveta inhumanly whenever she returned to him. But
she rarely did so, for everyone in the town was ready to look after
her as being an idiot, and so specially dear to God. Ilya's employers,
and many others in the town, especially of the tradespeople, tried
to clothe her better, and always rigged her out with high boots and
sheepskin coat for the winter. But, although she allowed them to dress
her up without resisting, she usually went away, preferably to the
cathedral porch, and taking off all that had been given her- kerchief,
sheepskin, skirt or boots- she left them there and walked away
barefoot in her smock as before. It happened on one occasion that a
new governor of the province, making a tour of inspection in our town,
saw Lizaveta, and was wounded in his tenderest susceptibilities. And
though he was told she was an idiot, he pronounced that for a young
woman of twenty to wander about in nothing but a smock was a breach of
the proprieties, and must not occur again. But the governor went his
way, and Lizaveta was left as she was. At last her father died,
which made her even more acceptable in the eyes of the religious
persons of the town, as an orphan. In fact, everyone seemed to like
her; even the boys did not tease her, and the boys of our town,
especially the schoolboys, are a mischievous set. She would walk
into strange houses, and no one drove her away. Everyone was kind to
her and gave her something. If she were given a copper, she would take
it, and at once drop it in the alms-jug of the church or prison. If
she were given a roll or bun in the market, she would hand it to the
first child she met. Sometimes she would stop one of the richest
ladies in the town and give it to her, and the lady would be pleased
to take it. She herself never tasted anything but black bread and
water. If she went into an expensive shop, where there were costly
goods or money lying about, no one kept watch on her, for they knew
that if she saw thousands of roubles overlooked by them, she would not
have touched a farthing. She scarcely ever went to church. She slept
either in the church porch or climbed over a hurdle (there are many
hurdles instead of fences to this day in our town) into a kitchen
garden. She used at least once a week to turn up "at home," that is at
the house of her father's former employers, and in the winter went
there every night, and slept either in the passage or the cow-house.
People were amazed that she could stand such a life, but she was
accustomed to it, and, although she was so tiny, she was of a robust
constitution. Some of the townspeople declared that she did all this
only from pride, but that is hardly credible. She could hardly
speak, and only from time to time uttered an inarticulate grunt. How
could she have been proud?
    It happened one clear, warm, moonlight night in September (many
years ago) five or six drunken revellers were returning from the
club at a very late hour, according to our provincial notions. They
passed through the "backway," which led between the back gardens of
the houses, with hurdles on either side. This way leads out on to
the bridge over the long, stinking pool which we were accustomed to
call a river. Among the nettles and burdocks under the hurdle our
revellers saw Lizaveta asleep. They stopped to look at her,
laughing, and began jesting with unbridled licentiousness. It occurred
to one young gentleman to make the whimsical inquiry whether anyone
could possibly look upon such an animal as a woman, and so forth....
They all pronounced with lofty repugnance that it was impossible.
But Fyodor Pavlovitch, who was among them, sprang forward and declared
that it was by no means impossible, and that, indeed, there was a
certain piquancy about it, and so on.... It is true that at that
time he was overdoing his part as a buffoon. He liked to put himself
forward and entertain the company, ostensibly on equal terms, of
course, though in reality he was on a servile footing with them. It
was just at the time when he had received the news of his first wife's
death in Petersburg, and, with crape upon his hat, was drinking and
behaving so shamelessly that even the most reckless among us were
shocked at the sight of him. The revellers, of course, laughed at this
unexpected opinion; and one of them even began challenging him to
act upon it. The others repelled the idea even more emphatically,
although still with the utmost hilarity, and at last they went on
their way. Later on, Fyodor Pavlovitch swore that he had gone with
them, and perhaps it was so, no one knows for certain, and no one ever
knew. But five or six months later, all the town was talking, with
intense and sincere indignation, of Lizaveta's condition, and trying
to find out who was the miscreant who had wronged her. Then suddenly a
terrible rumour was all over the town that this miscreant was no other
than Fyodor Pavlovitch. Who set the rumour going? Of that drunken band
five had left the town and the only one still among us was an
elderly and much respected civil councillor, the father of grown-up
daughters, who could hardly have spread the tale, even if there had
been any foundation for it. But rumour pointed straight at Fyodor
Pavlovitch, and persisted in pointing at him. Of course this was no
great grievance to him: he would not have troubled to contradict a set
of tradespeople. In those days he was proud, and did not condescend to
talk except in his own circle of the officials and nobles, whom he
entertained so well.
    At the time, Grigory stood up for his master vigorously. He
provoked quarrels and altercations in defence of him and succeeded
in bringing some people round to his side. "It's the wench's own
fault," he asserted, and the culprit was Karp, a dangerous convict,
who had escaped from prison and whose name was well known to us, as he
had hidden in our town. This conjecture sounded plausible, for it
was remembered that Karp had been in the neighbourhood just at that
time in the autumn, and had robbed three people. But this affair and
all the talk about it did not estrange popular sympathy from the
poor idiot. She was better looked after than ever. A well-to-do
merchants's widow named Kondratyev arranged to take her into her house
at the end of April, meaning not to let her go out until after the
confinement. They kept a constant watch over her, but in spite of
their vigilance she escaped on the very last day, and made her way
into Fyodor Pavlovitch's garden. How, in her condition, she managed to
climb over the high, strong fence remained a mystery. Some
maintained that she must have been lifted over by somebody; others
hinted at something more uncanny. The most likely explanation is
that it happened naturally- that Lizaveta, accustomed to clambering
over hurdles to sleep in gardens, had somehow managed to climb this
fence, in spite of her condition, and had leapt down, injuring
    Grigory rushed to Marfa and sent her to Lizaveta, while he ran
to fetch an old midwife who lived close by. They saved the baby, but
Lizaveta died at dawn. Grigory took the baby, brought it home, and
making his wife sit down, put it on her lap. "A child of God- an
orphan is akin to all," he said, "and to us above others. Our little
lost one has sent us this, who has come from the devil's son and a
holy innocent. Nurse him and weep no more."
    So Marfa brought up the child. He was christened Pavel, to which
people were not slow in adding Fyodorovitch (son of Fyodor). Fyodor
Pavlovitch did not object to any of this, and thought it amusing,
though he persisted vigorously in denying his responsibility. The
townspeople were pleased at his adopting the foundling. Later on,
Fyodor Pavlovitch invented a surname for the child, calling him
Smerdyakov, after his mother's nickname.
    So this Smerdyakov became Fyodor Pavlovitch's second servant,
and was living in the lodge with Grigory and Marfa at the time our
story begins. He was employed as cook. I ought to say something of
this Smerdyakov, but I am ashamed of keeping my readers' attention
so long occupied with these common menials, and I will go back to my
story, hoping to say more of Smerdyakov in the course of it.
                              Chapter 3
            The Confession of a Passionate Heart- in Verse

    ALYOSHA remained for some time irresolute after hearing the
command his father shouted to him from the carriage. But in spite of
his uneasiness he did not stand still. That was not his way. He went
at once to the kitchen to find out what his father had been doing
above. Then he set off, trusting that on the way he would find some
answer to the doubt tormenting him. I hasten to add that his
father's shouts, commanding him to return home "with his mattress
and pillow" did not frighten him in the least. He understood perfectly
that those peremptory shouts were merely "a flourish" to produce an
effect. In the same way a tradesman in our town who was celebrating
his name-day with a party of friends, getting angry at being refused
more vodka, smashed up his own crockery and furniture and tore his own
and his wife's clothes, and finally broke his windows, all for the
sake of effect. Next day, of course, when he was sober, he regretted
the broken cups and saucers. Alyosha knew that his father would let
him go back to the monastery next day, possibly even that evening.
Moreover, he was fully persuaded that his father might hurt anyone
else, but would not hurt him. Alyosha was certain that no one in the
whole world ever would want to hurt him, and, what is more, he knew
that no one could hurt him. This was for him an axiom, assumed once
for all without question, and he went his way without hesitation,
relying on it.
    But at that moment an anxiety of sort disturbed him, and worried
him the more because he could not formulate it. It was the fear of a
woman, of Katerina Ivanovna, who had so urgently entreated him in
the note handed to him by Madame Hohlakov to come and see her about
something. This request and the necessity of going had at once aroused
an uneasy feeling in his heart, and this feeling had grown more and
more painful all the morning in spite of the scenes at the hermitage
and at the Father Superior's. He was not uneasy because he did not
know what she would speak of and what he must answer. And he was not
afraid of her simply as a woman. Though he knew little of women, he
spent his life, from early childhood till he entered the monastery,
entirely with women. He was afraid of that woman, Katerina Ivanovna.
He had been afraid of her from the first time he saw her. He had
only seen her two or three times, and had only chanced to say a few
words to her. He thought of her as a beautiful, proud, imperious girl.
It was not her beauty which troubled him, but something else. And
the vagueness of his apprehension increased the apprehension itself.
The girl's aims were of the noblest, he knew that. She was trying to
save his brother Dmitri simply through generosity, though he had
already behaved badly to her. Yet, although Alyosha recognised and did
justice to all these fine and generous sentiments, a shiver began to
run down his back as soon as he drew near her house.
    He reflected that he would not find Ivan, who was so intimate a
friend, with her, for Ivan was certainly now with his father. Dmitri
he was even more certain not to find there, and he had a foreboding of
the reason. And so his conversation would be with her alone. He had
a great longing to run and see his brother Dmitri before that
fateful interview. Without showing him the letter, he could talk to
him about it. But Dmitri lived a long way off, and he was sure to be
away from home too. Standing still for a minute, he reached a final
decision. Crossing himself with a rapid and accustomed gesture, and at
once smiling, he turned resolutely in the direction of his terrible
    He knew her house. If he went by the High Street and then across
the market-place, it was a long way round. Though our town is small,
it is scattered, and the houses are far apart. And meanwhile his
father was expecting him, and perhaps had not yet forgotten his
command. He might be unreasonable, and so he had to make haste to
get there and back. So he decided to take a short cut by the
backway, for he knew every inch of the ground. This meant skirting
fences, climbing over hurdles, and crossing other people's back-yards,
where everyone he met knew him and greeted him. In this way he could
reach the High Street in half the time.
    He had to pass the garden adjoining his father's, and belonging to
a little tumbledown house with four windows. The owner of this
house, as Alyosha knew, was a bedridden old woman, living with her
daughter, who had been a genteel maid-servant in generals' families in
Petersburg. Now she had been at home a year, looking after her sick
mother. She always dressed up in fine clothes, though her old mother
and she had sunk into such poverty that they went every day to
Fyodor Pavlovitch's kitchen for soup and bread, which Marfa gave
readily. Yet, though the young woman came up for soup, she had never
sold any of her dresses, and one of these even had a long train- a
fact which Alyosha had learned from Rakitin, who always knew
everything that was going on in the town. He had forgotten it as
soon as he heard it, but now, on reaching the garden, he remembered
the dress with the train, raised his head, which had been bowed in
thought, and came upon something quite unexpected.
    Over the hurdle in the garden, Dmitri, mounted on something, was
leaning forward, gesticulating violently, beckoning to him,
obviously afraid to utter a word for fear of being overheard.
Alyosha ran up to the hurdle.
    "It's a good thing you looked up. I was nearly shouting to you,"
Mitya said in a joyful, hurried whisper. "Climb in here quickly! How
splendid that you've come! I was just thinking of you"
    Alyosha was delighted too, but he did not know how to get over the
hurdle. Mitya put his powerful hand under his elbow to help him
jump. Tucking up his cassock, Alyosha leapt over the hurdle with the
agility of a bare-legged street urchin.
    "Well done! Now come along," said Mitya in an enthusiastic
    "Where?" whispered Alyosha, looking about him and finding
himself in a deserted garden with no one near but themselves. The
garden was small, but the house was at least fifty paces away.
    "There's no one here. Why do you whisper?" asked Alyosha.
    "Why do I whisper? Deuce take it" cried Dmitri at the top of his
voice. "You see what silly tricks nature plays one. I am here in
secret, and on the watch. I'll explain later on, but, knowing it's a
secret, I began whispering like a fool, when there's no need. Let us
go. Over there. Till then be quiet. I want to kiss you.

                   Glory to God in the world,
                   Glory to God in me...

I was just repeating that, sitting here, before you came."
    The garden was about three acres in extent, and planted with trees
only along the fence at the four sides. There were apple-trees,
maples, limes and birch-trees. The middle of the garden was an empty
grass space, from which several hundredweight of hay was carried in
the summer. The garden was let out for a few roubles for the summer.
There were also plantations of raspberries and currants and
gooseberries laid out along the sides; a kitchen garden had been
planted lately near the house.
    Dmitri led his brother to the most secluded corner of the
garden. There, in a thicket of lime-trees and old bushes of black
currant, elder, snowball-tree, and lilac, there stood a tumbledown
green summer-house; blackened with age. Its walls were of
lattice-work, but there was still a roof which could give shelter. God
knows when this summer-house was built. There was a tradition that
it had been put up some fifty years before by a retired colonel called
von Schmidt, who owned the house at that time. It was all in decay,
the floor was rotting, the planks were loose, the woodwork smelled
musty. In the summer-house there was a green wooden table fixed in the
ground, and round it were some green benches upon which it was still
possible to sit. Alyosha had at once observed his brother's
exhilarated condition, and on entering the arbour he saw half a bottle
of brandy and a wineglass on the table.
    "That's brandy," Mitya laughed. "I see your look: 'He's drinking
again" Distrust the apparition.

                   Distrust the worthless, lying crowd,
                   And lay aside thy doubts.

I'm not drinking, I'm only 'indulging,' as that pig, your Rakitin,
says. He'll be a civil councillor one day, but he'll always talk about
'indulging.' Sit down. I could take you in my arms, Alyosha, and press
you to my bosom till I crush you, for in the whole world- in
reality- in real-i-ty- (can you take it in?) I love no one but you!
    He uttered the last words in a sort of exaltation.
    "No one but you and one 'jade' I have fallen in love with, to my
ruin. But being in love doesn't mean loving. You may be in love with a
woman and yet hate her. Remember that! I can talk about it gaily
still. Sit down here by the table and I'll sit beside you and look
at you, and go on talking. You shall keep quiet and I'll go on
talking, for the time has come. But on reflection, you know, I'd
better speak quietly, for here- here- you can never tell what ears are
listening. I will explain everything; as they say, 'the story will
be continued.' Why have I been longing for you? Why have I been
thirsting for you all these days, and just now? (It's five days
since I've cast anchor here.) Because it's only to you I can tell
everything; because I must, because I need you, because to-morrow I
shall fly from the clouds, because to-morrow life is ending and
beginning. Have you ever felt, have you ever dreamt of falling down
a precipice into a pit? That's just how I'm falling, but not in a
dream. And I'm not afraid, and don't you be afraid. At least, I am
afraid, but I enjoy it. It's not enjoyment though, but ecstasy. Damn
it all, whatever it is! A strong spirit, a weak spirit, a womanish
spirit- what, ever it is! Let us praise nature: you see what sunshine,
how clear the sky is, the leaves are all green, it's still summer;
four o'clock in the afternoon and the stillness! Where were you
    "I was going to father's, but I meant to go to Katerina Ivanovna's
    "To her, and to father! Oo! what a coincidence! Why was I
waiting for you? Hungering and thirsting for you in every cranny of my
soul and even in my ribs? Why, to send you to father and to her,
Katerina Ivanovna, so as to have done with her and with father. To
send an angel. I might have sent anyone, but I wanted to send an
angel. And here you are on your way to see father and her."
    "Did you really mean to send me?" cried Alyosha with a
distressed expression.
    "Stay! You knew it And I see you understand it all at once. But be
quiet, be quiet for a time. Don't be sorry, and don't cry."
    Dmitri stood up, thought a moment, and put his finger to his
    "She's asked you, written to you a letter or something, that's why
you're going to her? You wouldn't be going except for that?"
    "Here is her note." Alyosha took it out of his pocket. Mitya
looked through it quickly.
    "And you were going the backway! Oh, gods, I thank you for sending
him by the backway, and he came to me like the golden fish to the
silly old fishermen in the fable! Listen, Alyosha, listen, brother!
Now I mean to tell you everything, for I must tell someone. An angel
in heaven I've told already; but I want to tell an angel on earth. You
are an angel on earth. You will hear and judge and forgive. And that's
what I need, that someone above me should forgive. Listen! If two
people break away from everything on earth and fly off into the
unknown, or at least one of them, and before flying off or going to
ruin he comes to someone else and says, 'Do this for me'- some
favour never asked before that could only be asked on one's
deathbed- would that other refuse, if he were a friend or a brother?"
    "I will do it, but tell me what it is, and make haste," said
    "Make haste! H'm!... Don't be in a hurry, Alyosha, you hurry and
worry yourself. There's no need to hurry now. Now the world has
taken a new turning. Ah, Alyosha, what a pity you can't understand
ecstasy. But what am I saying to him? As though you didn't
understand it. What an ass I am! What am I saying? 'Be noble, O man!'-
who says that?"
    Alyosha made up his mind to wait. He felt that, perhaps, indeed,
his work lay here. Mitya sank into thought for a moment, with his
elbow on the table and his head in his hand. Both were silent.
    "Alyosha," said Mitya, "you're the only one who won't laugh. I
should like to begin- my confession- with Schiller's Hymn to Joy, An
die Freude! I don't know German, I only know it's called that. Don't
think I'm talking nonsense because I'm drunk. I'm not a bit drunk.
Brandy's all very well, but I need two bottles to make me drunk:

                   Silenus with his rosy phiz
                   Upon his stumbling ass.

    But I've not drunk a quarter of a bottle, and I'm not Silenus. I'm
not Silenus, though I am strong,* for I've made a decision once for
all. Forgive me the pun; you'll have to forgive me a lot more than
puns to-day. Don't be uneasy. I'm not spinning it out. I'm talking
sense, and I'll come to the point in a minute. I won't keep you in
suspense. Stay, how does it go?"

    * In Russian, silen.

    He raised his head, thought a minute, and began with enthusiasm:

                   Wild and fearful in his cavern
                   Hid the naked troglodyte,
                   And the homeless nomad wandered
                   Laying waste the fertile plain.
                   Menacing with spear and arrow
                   In the woods the hunter strayed....
                   Woe to all poor wretches stranded
                   On those cruel and hostile shores!

                   From the peak of high Olympus
                   Came the mother Ceres down,
                   Seeking in those savage regions
                   Her lost daughter Proserpine.
                   But the Goddess found no refuge,
                   Found no kindly welcome there,
                   And no temple bearing witness
                   To the worship of the gods.

                   From the fields and from the vineyards
                   Came no fruits to deck the feasts,
                   Only flesh of bloodstained victims
                   Smouldered on the altar-fires,
                   And where'er the grieving goddess
                   Turns her melancholy gaze,
                   Sunk in vilest degradation
                   Man his loathsomeness displays

    Mitya broke into sobs and seized Alyosha's hand.
    "My dear, my dear, in degradation, in degradation now, too.
There's a terrible amount of suffering for man on earth, a terrible
lot of trouble. Don't think I'm only a brute in an officer's
uniform, wallowing in dirt and drink. I hardly think of anything but
of that degraded man- if only I'm not lying. I pray God I'm not
lying and showing off. I think about that man because I am that man

                   Would he purge his soul from vileness
                   And attain to light and worth,
                   He must turn and cling for ever
                   To his ancient Mother Earth.

    But the difficulty is how am I to cling for ever to Mother
Earth. I don't kiss her. I don't cleave to her bosom. Am I to become a
peasant or a shepherd? I go on and I don't know whether I'm going to
shame or to light and joy. That's the trouble, for everything in the
world is a riddle! And whenever I've happened to sink into the
vilest degradation (and it's always been happening) I always read that
poem about Ceres and man. Has it reformed me? Never! For I'm a
Karamazov. For when I do leap into the pit, I go headlong with my
heels up, and am pleased to be falling in that degrading attitude, and
pride myself upon it. And in the very depths of that degradation I
begin a hymn of praise. Let me be accursed. Let me be vile and base,
only let me kiss the hem of the veil in which my God is shrouded.
Though I may be following the devil, I am Thy son, O Lord, and I
love Thee, and I feel the joy without which the world cannot stand.

                   Joy everlasting fostereth
                   The soul of all creation,
                   It is her secret ferment fires
                   The cup of life with flame.
                   'Tis at her beck the grass hath turned
                   Each blade towards the light
                   And solar systems have evolved
                   From chaos and dark night,
                   Filling the realms of boundless space
                   Beyond the sage's sight.
                   At bounteous Nature's kindly breast,
                   All things that breathe drink Joy,
                   And birds and beasts and creeping things
                   All follow where She leads.
                   Her gifts to man are friends in need,
                   The wreath, the foaming must,
                   To angels- vision of God's throne,
                   To insects- sensual lust.

    But enough poetry! I am in tears; let me cry. It may be
foolishness that everyone would laugh at. But you won't laugh. Your
eyes are shining, too. Enough poetry. I want to tell you now about the
insects to whom God gave 'sensual lust.'

                   To insects- sensual lust.

    I am that insect, brother, and it is said of me specially. All
we Karamazovs are such insects, and, angel as you are, that insect
lives in you, too, and will stir up a tempest in your blood. Tempests,
because sensual lust is a tempest worse than a tempest! Beauty is a
terrible and awful thing! It is terrible because it has not been
fathomed and never can be fathomed, for God sets us nothing but
riddles. Here the boundaries meet and all contradictions exist side by
side. I am a cultivated man, brother, but I've thought a lot about
this. It's terrible what mysteries there are! Too many riddles weigh
men down on earth. We must solve them as we can, and try to keep a dry
skin in the water. Beauty! I can't endure the thought that a man of
lofty mind and heart begins with the ideal of the Madonna and ends
with the ideal of Sodom. What's still more awful is that a man with
the ideal of Sodom in his soul does not renounce the ideal of the
Madonna, and his heart may be on fire with that ideal, genuinely on
fire, just as in his days of youth and innocence. Yes, man is broad,
too broad, indeed. I'd have him narrower. The devil only knows what to
make of it! What to the mind is shameful is beauty and nothing else to
the heart. Is there beauty in Sodom? Believe me, that for the
immense mass of mankind beauty is found in Sodom. Did you know that
secret? The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as
terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield
is the heart of man. But a man always talks of his own ache. Listen,
now to come to facts."
                              Chapter 4
          The Confession of a Passionate Heart- In Anecdote

    "I was leading a wild life then. Father said just now that I spent
several thousand roubles in seducing young girls. That's a swinish
invention, and there was nothing of the sort. And if there was, I
didn't need money simply for that. With me money is an accessory,
the overflow of my heart, the framework. To-day she would be my
lady, to-morrow a wench out of the streets in her place. I entertained
them both. I threw away money by the handful on music, rioting, and
Gypsies. Sometimes I gave it to the ladies, too, for they'll take it
greedily, that must be admitted, and be pleased and thankful for it.
Ladies used to be fond of me: not all of them, but it happened, it
happened. But I always liked side-paths, little dark back-alleys
behind the main road- there one finds adventures and surprises, and
precious metal in the dirt. I am speaking figuratively, brother. In
the town I was in, there were no such back-alleys in the literal
sense, but morally there were. If you were like me, you'd know what
that means. I loved vice, I loved the ignominy of vice. I loved
cruelty; am I not a bug, am I not a noxious insect? In fact a
Karamazov! Once we went, a whole lot of us, for a picnic, in seven
sledges. It was dark, it was winter, and I began squeezing a girl's
hand, and forced her to kiss me. She was the daughter of an
official, a sweet, gentle, submissive creature. She allowed me, she
allowed me much in the dark. She thought, poor thing, that I should
come next day to make her an offer (I was looked upon as a good match,
too). But I didn't say a word to her for five months. I used to see
her in a corner at dances (we were always having dances), her eyes
watching me. I saw how they glowed with fire- a fire of gentle
indignation. This game only tickled that insect lust I cherished in my
soul. Five months later she married an official and left the town,
still angry, and still, perhaps, in love with me. Now they live
happily. Observe that I told no one. I didn't boast of it. Though
I'm full of low desires, and love what's low, I'm not dishonourable.
You're blushing; your eyes flashed. Enough of this filth with you. And
all this was nothing much- wayside blossoms a la Paul de Kock-
though the cruel insect had already grown strong in my soul. I've a
perfect album of reminiscences, brother. God bless them, the darlings.
I tried to break it off without quarrelling. And I never gave them
away, I never bragged of one of them. But that's enough. You can't
suppose I brought you here simply to talk of such nonsense. No, I'm
going to tell you something more curious; and don't be surprised
that I'm glad to tell you, instead of being ashamed."
    "You say that because I blushed," Alyosha said suddenly. "I wasn't
blushing at what you were saying or at what you've done. I blushed
because I am the same as you are."
    "You? Come, that's going a little too far!"
    "No, it's not too far," said Alyosha warmly (obviously the idea
was not a new one). "The ladder's the same. I'm at the bottom step,
and you're above, somewhere about the thirteenth. That's how I see it.
But it's all the same. Absolutely the same in kind. Anyone on the
bottom step is bound to go up to the top one."
    "Then one ought not to step on at all."
    "Anyone who can help it had better not."
    "But can you?"
    "I think not."
    "Hush, Alyosha, hush, darling! I could kiss your hand, you touch
me so. That rogue Grushenka has an eye for men. She told me once
that she'd devour you one day. There, there, I won't! From this
field of corruption fouled by flies, let's pass to my tragedy, also
befouled by flies, that is, by every sort of vileness. Although the
old man told lies about my seducing innocence, there really was
something of the sort in my tragedy, though it was only once, and then
it did not come off. The old man who has reproached me with what never
happened does not even know of this fact; I never told anyone about
it. You're the first, except Ivan, of course- Ivan knows everything.
He knew about it long before you. But Ivan's a tomb."
    "Ivan's a tomb?"
    Alyosha listened with great attention.
    "I was lieutenant in a line regiment, but still I was under
supervision, like a kind of convict. Yet I was awfully well received
in the little town. I spent money right and left. I was thought to
be rich; I thought so myself. But I must have pleased them in other
ways as well. Although they shook their heads over me, they liked
me. My colonel, who was an old man, took a sudden dislike to me. He
was always down upon me, but I had powerful friends, and, moreover,
all the town was on my side, so he couldn't do me much harm. I was
in fault myself for refusing to treat him with proper respect. I was
proud. This obstinate old fellow, who was really a very good sort,
kind-hearted and hospitable, had had two wives, both dead. His first
wife, who was of a humble family, left a daughter as unpretentious
as herself. She was a young woman of four and twenty when I was there,
and was living with her father and an aunt, her mother's sister. The
aunt was simple and illiterate; the niece was simple but lively. I
like to say nice things about people. I never knew a woman of more
charming character than Agafya- fancy, her name was Agafya Ivanovna!
And she wasn't bad-looking either, in the Russian style: tall,
stout, with a full figure, and beautiful eyes, though a rather
coarse face. She had not married, although she had had two suitors.
She refused them, but was as cheerful as ever. I was intimate with
her, not in 'that' way, it was pure friendship. I have often been
friendly with women quite innocently. I used to talk to her with
shocking frankness, and she only laughed. Many woman like such
freedom, and she was a girl too, which made it very amusing. Another
thing, one could never think of her as a young lady. She and her
aunt lived in her father's house with a sort of voluntary humility,
not putting themselves on an equality with other people. She was a
general favourite, and of use of everyone, for she was a clever
dressmaker. She had a talent for it. She gave her services freely
without asking for payment, but if anyone offered her payment, she
didn't refuse. The colonel, of course, was a very different matter. He
was one of the chief personages in the district. He kept open house,
entertained the whole town, gave suppers and dances. At the time I
arrived and joined the battalion, all the town was talking of the
expected return of the colonel's second daughter, a great beauty,
who had just left a fashionable school in the capital. This second
daughter is Katerina Ivanovna, and she was the child of the second
wife, who belonged to a distinguished general's family; although, as I
learnt on good authority, she too brought the colonel no money. She
had connections, and that was all. There may have been expectations,
but they had come to nothing.
    "Yet, when the young lady came from boarding-school on a visit,
the whole town revived. Our most distinguished ladies- two
'Excellencies' and a colonel's wife- and all the rest following
their lead, at once took her up and gave entertainments in her honour.
She was the belle of the balls and picnics, and they got up tableaux
vivants in aid of distressed governesses. I took no notice, I went
on as wildly as before, and one of my exploits at the time set all the
town talking. I saw her eyes taking my measure one evening at the
battery commander's, but I didn't go up to her, as though I
disdained her acquaintance. I did go up and speak to her at an evening
party not long after. She scarcely looked at me, and compressed her
lips scornfully. 'Wait a bit. I'll have my revenge,' thought I. I
behaved like an awful fool on many occasions at that time, and I was
conscious of it myself. What made it worse was that I felt that
'Katenka' was not an innocent boarding-school miss, but a person of
character, proud and really high-principled; above all, she had
education and intellect, and I had neither. You think I meant to
make her an offer? No, I simply wanted to revenge myself, because I
was such a hero and she didn't seem to feel it.
    "Meanwhile, I spent my time in drink and riot, till the
lieutenant-colonel put me under arrest for three days. Just at that
time father sent me six thousand roubles in return for my sending
him a deed giving up all claims upon him- settling our accounts, so to
speak, and saying that I wouldn't expect anything more. I didn't
understand a word of it at the time. Until I came here, Alyosha,
till the last few days, indeed, perhaps even now, I haven't been
able to make head or tail of my money affairs with father. But never
mind that, we'll talk of it later.
    "Just as I received the money, I got a letter from a friend
telling me something that interested me immensely. The authorities,
I learnt, were dissatisfied with our lieutenant-colonel. He was
suspected of irregularities; in fact, his enemies were preparing a
surprise for him. And then the commander of the division arrived,
and kicked up the devil of a shindy. Shortly afterwards he was ordered
to retire. I won't tell you how it all happened. He had enemies
certainly. Suddenly there was a marked coolness in the town towards
him and all his family. His friends all turned their backs on him.
Then I took my first step. I met Agafya Ivanovna, with whom I'd always
kept up a friendship, and said, 'Do you know there's a deficit of 4500
roubles of government money in your father's accounts?'
    "'What do you mean? What makes you say so? The general was here
not long ago, and everything was all right.'
    "'Then it was, but now it isn't.'
    "She was terribly scared.
    "'Don't frighten me!' she said. 'Who told you so?'
    "'Don't be uneasy,' I said, 'I won't tell anyone. You know I'm
as silent as the tomb. I only wanted, in view of "possibilities," to
add, that when they demand that 4500 roubles from your father, and
he can't produce it, he'll be tried, and made to serve as a common
soldier in his old age, unless you like to send me your young lady
secretly. I've just had money paid me. I'll give her four thousand, if
you like, and keep the secret religiously.'
    "'Ah, you scoundrel!'- that's what she said. 'You wicked
scoundrel! How dare you!'
    "She went away furiously indignant, while I shouted after her once
more that the secret should be kept sacred. Those two simple
creatures, Agafya and her aunt, I may as well say at once, behaved
like perfect angels all through this business. They genuinely adored
their 'Katya,' thought her far above them, and waited on her, hand and
foot. But Agafya told her of our conversation. I found that out
afterwards. She didn't keep it back, and of course that was all I
    "Suddenly the new major arrived to take command of the
battalion. The old lieutenant-colonel was taken ill at once,
couldn't leave his room for two days, and didn't hand over the
government money. Dr. Kravchenko declared that he really was ill.
But I knew for a fact, and had known for a long time, that for the
last four years the money had never been in his hands except when
the Commander made his visits of inspection. He used to lend it to a
trustworthy person, a merchant of our town called Trifonov, an old
widower, with a big beard and gold-rimmed spectacles. He used to go to
the fair, do a profitable business with the money, and return the
whole sum to the colonel, bringing with it a present from the fair, as
well as interest on the loan. But this time (I heard all about it
quite by chance from Trifonov's son and heir, a drivelling youth and
one of the most vicious in the world)- this time, I say, Trifonov
brought nothing back from the fair. The lieutenant-colonel flew to
him. 'I've never received any money from you, and couldn't possibly
have received any.' That was all the answer he got. So now our
lieutenant-colonel is confined to the house, with a towel round his
head, while they're all three busy putting ice on it. All at once an
orderly arrives on the scene with the book and the order to 'hand over
the battalion money immediately, within two hours.' He signed the book
(I saw the signature in the book afterwards), stood up, saying he
would put on his uniform, ran to his bedroom, loaded his
double-barrelled gun with a service bullet, took the boot off his
right foot, fixed the gun against his chest, and began feeling for the
trigger with his foot. But Agafya, remembering what I had told her,
had her suspicions. She stole up and peeped into the room just in
time. She rushed in, flung herself upon him from behind, threw her
arms round him, and the gun went off, hit the ceiling, but hurt no
one. The others ran in, took away the gun, and held him by the arms. I
heard all about this afterwards. I was at home, it was getting dusk,
and I was just preparing to go out. I had dressed, brushed my hair,
scented my handkerchief, and taken up my cap, when suddenly the door
opened, and facing me in the room stood Katerina Ivanovna.
    "It's strange how things happen sometimes. No one had seen her
in the street, so that no one knew of it in the town. I lodged with
two decrepit old ladies, who looked after me. They were most
obliging old things, ready to do anything for me, and at my request
were as silent afterwards as two cast-iron posts. Of course I
grasped the position at once. She walked in and looked straight at me,
her dark eyes determined, even defiant, but on her lips and round
mouth I saw uncertainty.
    "'My sister told me,' she began, 'that you would give me 4500
roubles if I came to you for it- myself. I have come... give me the
    "She couldn't keep it up. She was breathless, frightened, her
voice failed her, and the corners of her mouth and the lines round
it quivered. Alyosha, are you listening, or are you asleep?"
    "Mitya, I know you will tell the whole truth, said Alyosha in
    "I am telling it. If I tell the whole truth just as it happened
I shan't spare myself. My first idea was a- Karamazov one. Once I
was bitten by a centipede, brother, and laid up a fortnight with fever
from it. Well, I felt a centipede biting at my heart then- a noxious
insect, you understand? I looked her up and down. You've seen her?
She's a beauty. But she was beautiful in another way then. At that
moment she was beautiful because she was noble, and I was a scoundrel;
she in all the grandeur of her generosity and sacrifice for her
father, and I- a bug! And, scoundrel as I was, she was altogether at
my mercy, body and soul. She was hemmed in. I tell you frankly, that
thought, that venomous thought, so possessed my heart that it almost
swooned with suspense. It seemed as if there could be no resisting it;
as though I should act like a bug, like a venomous spider, without a
spark of pity. I could scarcely breathe. Understand, I should have
gone next day to ask for her hand, so that it might end honourably, so
to speak, and that nobody would or could know. For though I'm a man of
base desires, I'm honest. And at that very second some voice seemed to
whisper in my ear, 'But when you come to-morrow to make your proposal,
that girl won't even see you; she'll order her coachman to kick you
out of the yard. "Publish it through all the town," she would say,
"I'm not afraid of you." 'I looked at the young lady, my voice had not
deceived me. That is how it would be, not a doubt of it. I could see
from her face now that I should be turned out of the house. My spite
was roused. I longed to play her the nastiest swinish cad's trick:
to look at her with a sneer, and on the spot where she stood before me
to stun her with a tone of voice that only a shopman could use.
    "'Four thousand! What do you mean? I was joking. You've been
counting your chickens too easily, madam. Two hundred, if you like,
with all my heart. But four thousand is not a sum to throw away on
such frivolity. You've put yourself out to no purpose.'
    "I should have lost the game, of course. She'd have run away.
But it would have been an infernal revenge. It would have been worth
it all. I'd have howled with regret all the rest of my life, only to
have played that trick. Would you believe it, it has never happened to
me with any other woman, not one, to look at her at such a moment with
hatred. But, on my oath, I looked at her for three seconds, or five
perhaps, with fearful hatred- that hate which is only a hair's-breadth
from love, from the maddest love!
    "I went to the window, put my forehead against the frozen pane,
and I remember the ice burnt my forehead like fire. I did not keep her
long, don't be afraid. I turned round, went up to the table, opened
the drawer and took out a banknote for five thousand roubles (it was
lying in a French dictionary). Then I showed it her in silence, folded
it, handed it to her, opened the door into the passage, and,
stepping back, made her a deep bow. a most respectful, a most
impressive bow, believe me! She shuddered all over, gazed at me for
a second, turned horribly pale-white as a sheet, in fact- and all at
once, not impetuously but softly, gently, bowed down to my feet- not a
boarding-school curtsey, but a Russian bow, with her forehead to the
floor. She jumped up and ran away. I was wearing my sword. I drew it
and nearly stabbed myself with it on the spot; why, I don't know. It
would have been frightfully stupid, of course. I suppose it was from
delight. Can you understand that one might kill oneself from
delight? But I didn't stab myself. I only kissed my sword and put it
back in the scabbard- which there was no need to have told you, by the
way. And I fancy that in telling you about my inner conflict I have
laid it on rather thick to glorify myself. But let it pass, and to
hell with all who pry into the human heart! Well, so much for that
'adventure' with Katerina Ivanovna. So now Ivan knows of it, and
you- no one else."
    Dmitri got up, took a step or two in his excitement, pulled out
his handkerchief and mopped his forehead, then sat down again, not
in the same place as before, but on the opposite side, so that Alyosha
had to turn quite round to face him.
                              Chapter 5
           The Confession of a Passionate Heart- "Heels Up"

    "NOW," said Alyosha, "I understand the first half."
    "You understand the first half. That half is a drama, and it was
played out there. The second half is a tragedy, and it is being
acted here."
    "And I understand nothing of that second half so far," said
    "And I? Do you suppose I understand it?"
    "Stop, Dmitri. There's one important question. Tell me, you were
betrothed, betrothed still?"
    "We weren't betrothed at once, not for three months after that
adventure. The next day I told myself that the incident was closed,
concluded, that there would be no sequel. It seemed to me caddish to
make her an offer. On her side she gave no sign of life for the six
weeks that she remained in the town; except, indeed, for one action.
The day after her visit the maid-servant slipped round with an
envelope addressed to me. I tore it open; it contained the change
out of the banknote. Only four thousand five hundred roubles was
needed, but there was a discount of about two hundred on changing
it. She only sent me about two hundred and sixty. I don't remember
exactly, but not a note, not a word of explanation. I searched the
packet for a pencil mark n-nothing! Well, I spent the rest of the
money on such an orgy that the new major was obliged to reprimand me.
    "Well, the lieutenant-colonel produced the battalion money, to the
astonishment of everyone, for nobody believed that he had the money
untouched. He'd no sooner paid it than he fell ill, took to his bed,
and, three weeks later, softening of the brain set in, and he died
five days afterwards. He was buried with military honours, for he
had not had time to receive his discharge. Ten days after his funeral,
Katerina Ivanovna, with her aunt and sister, went to Moscow. And,
behold, on the very day they went away (I hadn't seen them, didn't see
them off or take leave) I received a tiny note, a sheet of thin blue
paper, and on it only one line in pencil: 'I will write to you.
Wait. K.' And that was all.
    "I'll explain the rest now, in two words. In Moscow their fortunes
changed with the swiftness of lightning and the unexpectedness of an
Arabian fairy-tale. That general's widow, their nearest relation,
suddenly lost the two nieces who were her heiresses and next-of-kin-
both died in the same week of small-pox. The old lady, prostrated with
grief, welcomed Katya as a daughter, as her one hope, clutched at her,
altered her will in Katya's favour. But that concerned the future.
Meanwhile she gave her, for present use, eighty thousand roubles, as a
marriage portion, to do what she liked with. She was an hysterical
woman. I saw something of her in Moscow, later.
    "Well, suddenly I received by post four thousand five hundred
roubles. I was speechless with surprise, as you may suppose. Three
days later came the promised letter. I have it with me now. You must
read it. She offers to be my wife, offers herself to me. 'I love you
madly, she says, 'even if you don't love me, never mind. Be my
husband. Don't be afraid. I won't hamper you in any way. I will be
your chattel. I will be the carpet under your feet. I want to love you
for ever. I want to save you from yourself.' Alyosha, I am not
worthy to repeat those lines in my vulgar words and in my vulgar tone,
my everlastingly vulgar tone, that I can never cure myself of. That
letter stabs me even now. Do you think I don't mind- that I don't mind
still? I wrote her an answer at once, as it was impossible for me to
go to Moscow. I wrote to her with tears. One thing I shall be
ashamed of for ever. I referred to her being rich and having a dowry
while I was only a stuck-up beggar! I mentioned money! I ought to have
borne it in silence, but it slipped from my pen. Then I wrote at
once to Ivan, and told him all I could about it in a letter of six
pages, and sent him to her. Why do you look like that? Why are you
staring at me? Yes, Ivan fell in love with her; he's in love with
her still. I know that. I did a stupid thing, in the world's
opinion; but perhaps that one stupid thing may be the saving of us all
now. Oo! Don't you see what a lot she thinks of Ivan, how she respects
him? When she compares us, do you suppose she can love a man like
me, especially after all that has happened here?"
    "But I'm convinced that she does love a man like you, and not a
man like him."
    "She loves her own virtue, not me." The words broke involuntarily,
and almost malignantly, from Dmitri. He laughed, but a minute later
his eyes gleamed, he flushed crimson and struck the table violently
with his fist.
    "I swear, Alyosha," he cried, with intense and genuine anger at
himself; "You may not believe me, but as God is Holy, and as Christ is
God, I swear that though I smiled at her lofty sentiments just now,
I know that I am a million times baser in soul than she, and that
these lofty sentiments of hers are as sincere as a heavenly angel's.
That's the tragedy of it- that I know that for certain. What if anyone
does show off a bit? Don't I do it myself? And yet I'm sincere, I'm
sincere. As for Ivan, I can understand how he must be cursing nature
now with his intellect, too! To see the preference given- to whom,
to what? To a monster who, though he is betrothed and all eyes are
fixed on him, can't restrain his debaucheries- and before the very
eyes of his betrothed! And a man like me is preferred, while he is
rejected. And why? Because a girl wants to sacrifice her life and
destiny out of gratitude. It's ridiculous! I've never said a word of
this to Ivan, and Ivan of course has never dropped a hint of the
sort to me. But destiny will be accomplished, and the best man will
hold his ground while the undeserving one will vanish into his
back-alley for ever- his filthy back-alley, his beloved back-alley,
where he is at home and where he will sink in filth and stench at
his own free will and with enjoyment. I've been talking foolishly.
I've no words left. I used them at random, but it will be as I have
said. I shall drown in the back-alley, and she will marry Ivan."
    "Stop, Dmitri," Alyosha interrupted again with great anxiety.
"There's one thing you haven't made clear yet: you are still betrothed
all the same, aren't you? How can you break off the engagement if she,
your betrothed, doesn't want to?"
    "Yes, formally and solemnly betrothed. It was all done on my
arrival in Moscow, with great ceremony, with ikons, all in fine style.
The general's wife blessed us, and- would you believe it?-
congratulated Katya. You've made a good choice,' she said, 'I see
right through him.' And- would you believe it?- she didn't like
Ivan, and hardly greeted him. I had a lot of talk with Katya in
Moscow. I told her about myself- sincerely, honourably. She listened
to everything.

                   There was sweet confusion,
                   There were tender words.

Though there were proud words, too. She wrung out of me a mighty
promise to reform. I gave my promise, and here- "
    "Why, I called to you and brought you out here to-day, this very
day- remember it- to send you- this very day again- to Katerina
Ivanovna, and- "
    "To tell her that I shall never come to see her again. Say, 'He
sends you his compliments.'"
    "But is that possible?"
    "That's just the reason I'm sending you, in my place, because it's
impossible. And, how could I tell her myself?"
    "And where are you going?"
    "To the back-alley."
    "To Grushenka, then!" Alyosha exclaimed mournfully, clasping his
hands. "Can Rakitin really have told the truth? I thought that you had
just visited her, and that was all."
    "Can a betrothed man pay such visits? Is such a thing possible and
with such a betrothed, and before the eyes of all the world?
Confound it, I have some honour! As soon as I began visiting
Grushenka, I ceased to be betrothed, and to be an honest man. I
understand that. Why do you look at me? You see, I went in the first
place to beat her. I had heard, and I know for a fact now, that that
captain, father's agent, had given Grushenka an I.O.U. of mine for her
to sue me for payment, so as to put an end to me. They wanted to scare
me. I went to beat her. I had had a glimpse of her before. She doesn't
strike one at first sight. I knew about her old merchant, who's
lying ill now, paralysed; but he's leaving her a decent little sum.
I knew, too, that she was fond of money, that she hoarded it, and lent
it at a wicked rate of interest, that she's a merciless cheat and
swindler. I went to beat her, and I stayed. The storm broke- it struck
me down like the plague. I'm plague-stricken still, and I know that
everything is over, that there will never be anything more for me. The
cycle of the ages is accomplished. That's my position. And though
I'm a beggar, as fate would have it, I had three thousand just then in
my pocket. I drove with Grushenka to Mokroe, a place twenty-five
versts from here. I got Gypsies there and champagne and made all the
peasants there drunk on it, and all the women and girls. I sent the
thousands flying. In three days' time I was stripped bare, but a hero.
Do you suppose the hero had gained his end? Not a sign of it from her.
I tell you that rogue, Grushenka, has a supple curve all over her
body. You can see it in her little foot, even in her little toe. I saw
it, and kissed it, but that was all, I swear! 'I'll marry you if you
like,' she said, 'you're a beggar, you know. Say that you won't beat
me, and will let me do anything I choose, and perhaps I will marry
you.' She laughed, and she's laughing still!"
    Dmitri leapt up with a sort of fury. He seemed all at once as
though he were drunk. His eyes became suddenly bloodshot.
    "And do you really mean to marry her?"
    "At once, if she will. And if she won't, I shall stay all the
same. I'll be the porter at her gate. Alyosha!" he cried. He stopped
short before him, and taking him by the shoulders began shaking him
violently. "Do you know, you innocent boy, that this is all
delirium, senseless delirium, for there's a tragedy here. Let me
tell you, Alexey, that I may be a low man, with low and degraded
passions, but a thief and a pickpocket Dmitri Karamazov never can
be. Well, then; let me tell you that I am a thief and a pickpocket.
That very morning, just before I went to beat Grushenka, Katerina
Ivanovna sent for me, and in strict secrecy (why I don't know, I
suppose she had some reason) asked me to go to the chief town of the
province and to post three thousand roubles to Agafya Ivanovna in
Moscow, so that nothing should be known of it in the town here. So I
had that three thousand roubles in my pocket when I went to see
Grushenka, and it was that money we spent at Mokroe. Afterwards I
pretended I had been to the town, but did not show her the post office
receipt. I said I had sent the money and would bring the receipt,
and so far I haven't brought it. I've forgotten it. Now what do you
think you're going to her to-day to say? 'He sends his compliments,'
and she'll ask you, 'What about the money?' You might still have
said to her, 'He's a degraded sensualist, and a low creature, with
uncontrolled passions. He didn't send your money then, but wasted
it, because, like a low brute, he couldn't control himself.' But still
you might have added, 'He isn't a thief though. Here is your three
thousand; he sends it back. Send it yourself to Agafya Ivanovna. But
he told me to say "he sends his compliments." But, as it is, she
will ask, 'But where is the money?'"
    "Mitya, you are unhappy, yes! But not as unhappy as you think.
Don't worry yourself to death with despair."
    "What, do you suppose I'd shoot myself because I can't get three
thousand to pay back? That's just it. I shan't shoot myself. I haven't
the strength now. Afterwards, perhaps. But now I'm going to Grushenka.
I don't care what happens."
    "And what then?"
    "I'll be her husband if she deigns to have me, and when lovers
come, I'll go into the next room. I'll clean her friends' goloshes,
blow up their samovar, run their errands."
    "Katerina Ivanovna will understand it all," Alyosha said solemnly.
"She'll understand how great this trouble is and will forgive. She has
a lofty mind, and no one could be more unhappy than you. She'll see
that for herself."
    "She won't forgive everything," said Dmitri, with a grin. "There's
something in it, brother, that no woman could forgive. Do you know
what would be the best thing to do?"
    "Pay back the three thousand."
    "Where can we get it from? I say, I have two thousand. Ivan will
give you another thousand- that makes three. Take it and pay it back."
    "And when would you get it, your three thousand? You're not of
age, besides, and you must- you absolutely must- take my farewell to
her to-day, with the money or without it, for I can't drag on any
longer, things have come to such a pass. To-morrow is too late. I
shall send you to father."
    "To father?"
    "Yes, to father first. Ask him for three thousand."
    "But, Mitya, he won't give it."
    "As though he would! I know he won't. Do you know the meaning of
despair, Alexey?"
    "Listen. Legally he owes me nothing. I've had it all from him, I
know that. But morally he owes me something, doesn't he? You know he
started with twenty-eight thousand of my mother's money and made a
hundred thousand with it. Let him give me back only three out of the
twenty-eight thousand, and he'll draw my soul out of hell, and it will
atone for many of his sins. For that three thousand- I give you my
solemn word- I'll make an end of everything, and he shall hear nothing
more of me. For the last time I give him the chance to be a father.
Tell him God Himself sends him this chance."
    "Mitya, he won't give it for anything."
    "I know he won't. I know it perfectly well. Now, especially.
That's not all. I know something more. Now, only a few days ago,
perhaps only yesterday he found out for the first time in earnest
(underline in earnest) that Grushenka is really perhaps not joking,
and really means to marry me. He knows her nature; he knows the cat.
And do you suppose he's going to give me money to help to bring that
about when he's crazy about her himself? And that's not all, either. I
can tell you more than that. I know that for the last five days he has
had three thousand drawn out of the bank, changed into notes of a
hundred roubles. packed into a large envelope, sealed with five seals,
and tied across with red tape. You see how well I know all about it!
On the envelope is written: 'To my angel, Grushenka, when she will
come to me.' He scrawled it himself in silence and in secret, and no
one knows that the money's there except the valet, Smerdyakov, whom he
trusts like himself. So now he has been expecting Grushenka for the
last three or four days; he hopes she'll come for the money. He has
sent her word of it, and she has sent him word that perhaps she'll
come. And if she does go to the old man, can I marry her after that?
You understand now why I'm here in secret and what I'm on the watch
    "For her?"
    "Yes, for her. Foma has a room in the house of these sluts here.
Foma comes from our parts; he was a soldier in our regiment. He does
jobs for them. He's watchman at night and goes grouse-shooting in
the day-time; and that's how he lives. I've established myself in
his room. Neither he nor the women of the house know the secret-
that is, that I am on the watch here."
    "No one but Smerdyakov knows, then?"
    "No one else. He will let me know if she goes to the old man."
    "It was he told you about the money, then?"
    "Yes. It's a dead secret. Even Ivan doesn't know about the
money, or anything. The old man is sending Ivan to Tchermashnya on a
two or three days' journey. A purchaser has turned up for the copse:
he'll give eight thousand for the timber. So the old man keeps
asking Ivan to help him by going to arrange it. It will take him two
or three days. That's what the old man wants, so that Grushenka can
come while he's away."
    "Then he's expecting Grushenka to-day?"
    "No, she won't come to-day; there are signs, She's certain not
to come," cried Mitya suddenly. "Smerdyakov thinks so, too. Father's
drinking now. He's sitting at table with Ivan. Go to him, Alyosha, and
ask for the three thousand."
    "Mitya, dear, what's the matter with you?" cried Alyosha,
jumping up from his place, and looking keenly at his brother's
frenzied face. For one moment the thought struck him that Dmitri was
    "What is it? I'm not insane," said Dmitri, looking intently and
earnestly at him. "No fear. I am sending you to father, and I know
what I'm saying. I believe in miracles."
    "In miracles?"
    "In a miracle of Divine Providence. God knows my heart. He sees my
despair. He sees the whole picture. Surely He won't let something
awful happen. Alyosha, I believe in miracles. Go!"
    "I am going. Tell me, will you wait for me here?"
    "Yes. I know it will take some time. You can't go at him point
blank. He's drunk now. I'll wait three hours- four, five, six,
seven. Only remember you must go to Katerina Ivanovna to-day, if it
has to be at midnight, with the money or without the money, and say,
'He sends his compliments to you.' I want you to say that verse to
her: 'He sends his compliments to you.'"
    "Mitya! And what if Grushenka comes to-day- if not to-day, or
the next day?"
    "Grushenka? I shall see her. I shall rush out and prevent it."
    "And if- ?"
    "If there's an if, it will be murder. I couldn't endure it."
    "Who will be murdered?"
    "The old man. I shan't kill her."
    "Brother, what are you saying?"
    "Oh, I don't know.... I don't know. Perhaps I shan't kill, and
perhaps I shall. I'm afraid that he will suddenly become so
loathsome to me with his face at that moment. I hate his ugly
throat, his nose, his eyes, his shameless snigger. I feel a physical
repulsion. That's what I'm afraid of. That's what may be too much
for me."
    "I'll go, Mitya. I believe that God will order things for the
best, that nothing awful may happen."
    "And I will sit and wait for the miracle. And if it doesn't come
to pass- "
    Alyosha went thoughtfully towards his father's house.
                              Chapter 6

    HE did in fact find his father still at table. Though there was
a dining-room in the house, the table was laid as usual in the drawing
room, which was the largest room, and furnished with old-fashioned
ostentation. The furniture was white and very old, upholstered in old,
red, silky material. In the spaces between the windows there were
mirrors in elaborate white and gilt frames, of old-fashioned
carving. On the walls, covered with white paper, which was torn in
many places, there hung two large portraits- one of some prince who
had been governor of the district thirty years before, and the other
of some bishop, also long since dead. In the corner opposite the
door there were several ikons, before which a lamp was lighted at
nightfall... not so much for devotional purposes as to light the room.
Fyodor Pavlovitch used to go to bed very late, at three or four
o'clock in the morning,and would wander about the room at night or sit
in an armchair, thinking. This had become a habit with him. He often
slept quite alone in the house, sending his servants to the lodge; but
usually Smerdyakov remained, sleeping on a bench in the hall.
    When Alyosha came in, dinner was over, but coffee and preserves
had been served. Fyodor Pavlovitch liked sweet things with brandy
after dinner. Ivan was also at table, sipping coffee. The servants,
Grigory and Smerdyakov, were standing by. Both the gentlemen and the
servants seemed in singularly good spirits. Fyodor Pavlovitch was
roaring with laughter. Before he entered the room, Alyosha heard the
shrill laugh he knew so well, and could tell from the sound of it that
his father had only reached the good-humoured stage, and was far
from being completely drunk.
    "Here he is! Here he is!" yelled Fyodor Pavlovitch, highly
delighted at seeing Alyosha. "Join us. Sit down. Coffee is a lenten
dish, but it's hot and good. I don't offer you brandy, you're
keeping the fast. But would you like some? No; I'd better give you
some of our famous liqueur. Smerdyakov, go to the cupboard, the second
shelf on the right. Here are the keys. Look sharp!"
     Alyosha began refusing the liqueur.
    "Never mind. If you won't have it, we will," said Fyodor
Pavlovitch, beaming. "But stay- have you dined?"
    "Yes," answered Alyosha, who had in truth only eaten a piece of
bread and drunk a glass of kvass in the Father Superior's kitchen.
"Though I should be pleased to have some hot coffee."
    "Bravo, my darling! He'll have some coffee. Does it want
warming? No, it's boiling. It's capital coffee: Smerdyakov's making.
My Smerdyakov's an artist at coffee and at fish patties, and at fish
soup, too. You must come one day and have some fish soup. Let me
know beforehand.... But, stay; didn't I tell you this morning to
come home with your mattress and pillow and all? Have you brought your
mattress? He he he!"
    "No, I haven't," said Alyosha, smiling, too.
    "Ah, but you were frightened, you were frightened this morning,
weren't you? There, my darling, I couldn't do anything to vex you.
Do you know, Ivan, I can't resist the way he looks one straight in the
face and laughs? It makes me laugh all over. I'm so fond of him.
Alyosha, let me give you my blessing- a father's blessing."
    Alyosha rose, but Fyodor Pavlovitch had already changed his mind.
    "No, no," he said. "I'll just make the sign of the cross over you,
for now. Sit still. Now we've a treat for you, in your own line,
too. It'll make you laugh. Balaam's ass has begun talking to us
here- and how he talks! How he talks!
    Balaam's ass, it appeared, was the valet, Smerdyakov. He was a
young man of about four and twenty, remarkably unsociable and
taciturn. Not that he was shy or bashful. On the contrary, he was
conceited and seemed to despise everybody.
    But we must pause to say a few words about him now. He was brought
up by Grigory and Marfa, but the boy grew up "with no sense of
gratitude," as Grigory expressed it; he was an unfriendly boy, and
seemed to look at the world mistrustfully. In his childhood he was
very fond of hanging cats, and burying them with great ceremony. He
used to dress up in a sheet as though it were a surplice, and sang,
and waved some object over the dead cat as though it were a censer.
All this he did on the sly, with the greatest secrecy. Grigory
caught him once at this diversion and gave him a sound beating. He
shrank into a corner and sulked there for a week. "He doesn't care for
you or me, the monster," Grigory used to say to Marfa, "and he doesn't
care for anyone. Are you a human being?" he said, addressing the boy
directly. "You're not a human being. You grew from the mildew in the
bath-house. That's what you are," Smerdyakov, it appeared
afterwards, could never forgive him those words. Grigory taught him to
read and write, and when he was twelve years old, began teaching him
the Scriptures. But this teaching came to nothing. At the second or
third lesson the boy suddenly grinned.
    "What's that for?" asked Grigory, looking at him threateningly
from under his spectacles.
    "Oh, nothing. God created light on the first day, and the sun,
moon, and stars on the fourth day. Where did the light come from on
the first day?"
    Grigory was thunderstruck. The boy looked sarcastically at his
teacher. There was something positively condescending in his
expression. Grigory could not restrain himself. "I'll show you where!"
he cried, and gave the boy a violent slap on the cheek. The boy took
the slap without a word, but withdrew into his corner again for some
days. A week later he had his first attack of the disease to which
he was subject all the rest of his life- epilepsy. When Fyodor
Pavlovitch heard of it, his attitude to the boy seemed changed at
once. Till then he had taken no notice of him, though he never scolded
him, and always gave him a copeck when he met him. Sometimes, when
he was in good humour, he would send the boy something sweet from
his table. But as soon as he heard of his illness, he showed an active
interest in him, sent for a doctor, and tried remedies, but the
disease turned out to be incurable. The fits occurred, on an
average, once a month, but at various intervals. The fits varied
too, in violence: some were light and some were very severe. Fyodor
Pavlovitch strictly forbade Grigory to use corporal punishment to
the boy, and began allowing him to come upstairs to him. He forbade
him to be taught anything whatever for a time, too. One day when the
boy was about fifteen, Fyodor Pavlovitch noticed him lingering by
the bookcase, and reading the titles through the glass. Fyodor
Pavlovitch had a fair number of books- over a hundred- but no one ever
saw him reading. He at once gave Smerdyakov the key of the bookcase.
"Come, read. You shall be my librarian. You'll be better sitting
reading than hanging about the courtyard. Come, read this," and Fyodor
Pavlovitch gave him Evenings in a Cottage near Dikanka.
    He read a little but didn't like it. He did not once smile, and
ended by frowning.
    "Why? Isn't it funny?" asked Fyodor Pavlovitch. Smerdyakov did not
    "Answer stupid!"
    "It's all untrue," mumbled the boy, with a grin.
    "Then go to the devil! You have the soul of a lackey. Stay, here's
Smaragdov's Universal History. That's all true. Read that."
    But Smerdyakov did not get through ten pages of Smaragdov. He
thought it dull. So the bookcase was closed again.
    Shortly afterwards Marfa and Grigory reported to Fyodor Pavlovitch
that Smerdyakov was gradually beginning to show an extraordinary
fastidiousness. He would sit before his soup, take up his spoon and
look into the soup, bend over it, examine it, take a spoonful and hold
it to the light.
    "What is it? A beetle?" Grigory would ask.
    "A fly, perhaps," observed Marfa.
    The squeamish youth never answered, but he did the same with his
bread, his meat, and everything he ate. He would hold a piece on his
fork to the light, scrutinise it microscopically, and only after
long deliberation decide to put it in his mouth.
    "Ach! What fine gentlemen's airs!" Grigory muttered, looking at
    When Fyodor Pavlovitch heard of this development in Smerdyakov
he determined to make him his cook, and sent him to Moscow to be
trained. He spent some years there and came back remarkably changed in
appearance. He looked extraordinarily old for his age. His face had
grown wrinkled, yellow, and strangely emasculate. In character he
seemed almost exactly the same as before he went away. He was just
as unsociable, and showed not the slightest inclination for any
companionship. In Moscow, too, as we heard afterwards, he had always
been silent. Moscow itself had little interest for him; he saw very
little there, and took scarcely any notice of anything. He went once
to the theatre, but returned silent and displeased with it. On the
other hand, he came back to us from Moscow well dressed, in a clean
coat and clean linen. He brushed his clothes most scrupulously twice a
day invariably, and was very fond of cleaning his smart calf boots
with a special English polish, so that they shone like mirrors. He
turned out a first rate cook. Fyodor Pavlovitch paid him a salary,
almost the whole of which Smerdyakov spent on clothes, pomade,
perfumes, and such things. But he seemed to have as much contempt
for the female sex as for men; he was discreet, almost unapproachable,
with them. Fyodor Pavlovitch began to regard him rather differently.
His fits were becoming more frequent, and on the days he was ill Marfa
cooked, which did not suit Fyodor Pavlovitch at all.
    "Why are your fits getting worse?" asked Fyodor Pavlovitch,
looking askance at his new cook. "Would you like to get married? Shall
I find you a wife?"
    But Smerdyakov turned pale with anger, and made no reply. Fyodor
Pavlovitch left him with an impatient gesture. The great thing was
that he had absolute confidence in his honesty. It happened once, when
Fyodor Pavlovitch was drunk, that he dropped in the muddy courtyard
three hundred-rouble notes which he had only just received. He only
missed them next day, and was just hastening to search his pockets
when he saw the notes lying on the table. Where had they come from?
Smerdyakov had picked them up and brought them in the day before.
    "Well, my lad, I've never met anyone like you," Fyodor
Pavlovitch said shortly, and gave him ten roubles. We may add that
he not only believed in his honesty, but had, for some reason, a
liking for him, although the young man looked as morosely at him as at
everyone and was always silent. He rarely spoke. If it had occurred to
anyone to wonder at the time what the young man was interested in, and
what was in his mind, it would have been impossible to tell by looking
at him. Yet he used sometimes to stop suddenly in the house, or even
in the yard or street, and would stand still for ten minutes, lost
in thought. A physiognomist studying his face would have said that
there was no thought in it, no reflection, but only a sort of
contemplation. There is a remarkable picture by the painter
Kramskoy, called "Contemplation." There is a forest in winter, and
on a roadway through the forest, in absolute solitude, stands a
peasant in a torn kaftan and bark shoes. He stands, as it were, lost
in thought. Yet he is not thinking; he is "contemplating." If anyone
touched him he would start and look at one as though awakening and
bewildered. It's true he would come to himself immediately; but if
he were asked what he had been thinking about, he would remember
nothing. Yet probably he has, hidden within himself, the impression
which had dominated him during the period of contemplation. Those
impressions are dear to him and no doubt he hoards them imperceptibly,
and even unconsciously. How and why, of course, he does not know
either. He may suddenly, after hoarding impressions for many years,
abandon everything and go off to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage for his
soul's salvation, or perhaps he will suddenly set fire to his native
village, and perhaps do both. There are a good many "contemplatives"
among the peasantry. Well, Smerdyakov was probably one of them, and he
probably was greedily hoarding up his impressions, hardly knowing why.
                              Chapter 7
                           The Controversy

    BUT Balaam's ass had suddenly spoken. The subject was a strange
one. Grigory had gone in the morning to make purchases, and had
heard from the shopkeeper Lukyanov the story of a Russian soldier
which had appeared in the newspaper of that day. This soldier had been
taken prisoner in some remote part of Asia, and was threatened with an
immediate agonising death if he did not renounce Christianity and
follow Islam. He refused to deny his faith, and was tortured, flayed
alive, and died, praising and glorifying Christ. Grigory had related
the story at table. Fyodor Pavlovitch always liked, over the dessert
after dinner, to laugh and talk, if only with Grigory. This
afternoon he was in a particularly good-humoured and expansive mood.
Sipping his brandy and listening to the story, he observed that they
ought to make a saint of a soldier like that, and to take his skin
to some monastery. "That would make the people flock, and bring the
money in."
    Grigory frowned, seeing that Fyodor Pavlovitch was by no means
touched, but, as usual, was beginning to scoff. At that moment
Smerdyakov, who was standing by the door, smiled. Smerdyakov often
waited at table towards the end of dinner, and since Ivan's arrival in
our town he had done so every day.
    "What are you grinning at?" asked Fyodor Pavlovitch, catching
the smile instantly, and knowing that it referred to Grigory.
    "Well, my opinion is," Smerdyakov began suddenly and
unexpectedly in a loud voice, "that if that laudable soldier's exploit
was so very great there would have been, to my thinking, no sin in
it if he had on such an emergency renounced, so to speak, the name
of Christ and his own christening, to save by that same his life,
for good deeds, by which, in the course of years to expiate his
    "How could it not be a sin? You're talking nonsense. For that
you'll go straight to hell and be roasted there like mutton," put in
Fyodor Pavlovitch.
    It was at this point that Alyosha came in, and Fyodor
Pavlovitch, as we have seen, was highly delighted at his appearance.
    "We're on your subject, your subject," he chuckled gleefully,
making Alyosha sit down to listen.
    "As for mutton, that's not so, and there'll be nothing there for
this, and there shouldn't be either, if it's according to justice,"
Smerdyakov maintained stoutly.
    "How do you mean 'according to justice'?" Fyodor Pavlovitch
cried still more gaily, nudging Alyosha with his knee.
    "He's a rascal, that's what he is!" burst from Grigory. He
looked Smerdyakov wrathfully in the face.
    "As for being a rascal, wait a little, Grigory Vassilyevitch,"
answered Smerdyakov with perfect composure. "You'd better consider
yourself that, once I am taken prisoner by the enemies of the
Christian race, and they demand from me to curse the name of God and
to renounce my holy christening, I am fully entitled to act by my
own reason, since there would be no sin in it."
    "But you've said that before. Don't waste words. Prove it,"
cried Fyodor Pavlovitch.
    "Soup-maker!" muttered Grigory contemptuously.
    "As for being a soup-maker, wait a bit, too, and consider for
yourself, Grigory Vassilyevitch, without abusing me. For as soon as
I say to those enemies, 'No, I'm not a Christian, and I curse my
true God,' then at once, by God's high judgment, I become
immediately and specially anathema accursed, and am cut off from the
Holy Church, exactly as though I were a heathen, so that at that
very instant, not only when I say it aloud, but when I think of saying
it, before a quarter of a second has passed, I am cut off. Is that
so or not, Grigory Vassilyevitch?"
    He addressed Grigory with obvious satisfaction, though he was
really answering Fyodor Pavlovitch's questions, and was well aware
of it, and intentionally pretending that Grigory had asked the
    "Ivan," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch suddenly, "stoop down for me to
whisper. He's got this all up for your benefit. He wants you to praise
him. Praise him."
    Ivan listened with perfect seriousness to his father's excited
    "Stay, Smerdyakov, be quiet a minute," cried Fyodor Pavlovitch
once more. "Ivan, your ear again."
    Ivan bent down again with a perfectly grave face.
    "I love you as I do Alyosha. Don't think I don't love you. Some
    "Yes.- But you're rather drunk yourself," thought Ivan, looking
steadily at his father.
    He was watching Smerdyakov with great curiosity.
    "You're anathema accursed, as it is, Grigory suddenly burst out,
"and how dare you argue, you rascal, after that, if- "
    "Don't scold him, Grigory, don't scold him," Fyodor Pavlovitch cut
him short.
    "You should wait, Grigory Vassilyevitch, if only a short time, and
listen, for I haven't finished all I had to say. For at the very
moment I become accursed, at that same highest moment, I become
exactly like a heathen, and my christening is taken off me and becomes
of no avail. Isn't that so?"
    "Make haste and finish, my boy," Fyodor Pavlovitch urged him,
sipping from his wineglass with relish.
    "And if I've ceased to be a Christian, then I told no lie to the
enemy when they asked whether I was a Christian or not a Christian,
seeing I had already been relieved by God Himself of my Christianity
by reason of the thought alone, before I had time to utter a word to
the enemy. And if I have already been discharged, in what manner and
with what sort of justice can I be held responsible as a Christian
in the other world for having denied Christ, when, through the very
thought alone, before denying Him I had been relieved from my
christening? If I'm no longer a Christian, then I can't renounce
Christ, for I've nothing then to renounce. Who will hold an unclean
Tatar responsible, Grigory Vassilyevitch, even in heaven, for not
having been born a Christian? And who would punish him for that,
considering that you can't take two skins off one ox? For God Almighty
Himself, even if He did make the Tatar responsible, when he dies would
give him the smallest possible punishment, I imagine (since he must be
punished), judging that he is not to blame if he has come into the
world an unclean heathen, from heathen parents. The Lord God can't
surely take a Tatar and say he was a Christian? That would mean that
the Almighty would tell a real untruth. And can the Lord of Heaven and
earth tell a lie, even in one word?"
    Grigory was thunderstruck and looked at the orator, his eyes
nearly starting out of his head. Though he did not clearly
understand what was said, he had caught something in this rigmarole,
and stood, looking like a man who has just hit his head against a
wall. Fyodor Pavlovitch emptied his glass and went off into his shrill
    "Alyosha! Alyosha! What do you say to that! Ah, you casuist! He
must have been with the Jesuits, somewhere, Ivan. Oh, you stinking
Jesuit,who taught you? But you're talking nonsense, you casuist,
nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. Don't cry, Grigory, we'll reduce him
to smoke and ashes in a moment. Tell me this, O ass; you may be
right before your enemies, but you have renounced your faith all the
same in your own heart, and you say yourself that in that very hour
you became anathema accursed. And if once you're anathema they won't
pat you on the head for it in hell. What do you say to that, my fine
    "There is no doubt that I have renounced it in my own heart, but
there no special sin in that. Or if there was sin, it was the most
    "How's that the most ordinary?"
    "You lie, accursed one!" hissed Grigory.
    "Consider yourself, Grigory Vassilyevitch," Smerdyakov went on,
staid and unruffled, conscious of his triumph, but, as it were,
generous to the vanquished foe. "Consider yourself, Grigory
Vassilyevitch; it is said in the Scripture that if you have faith,
even as a mustard seed, and bid a mountain move into the sea, it
will move without the least delay at your bidding. Well, Grigory
Vassilyevitch, if I'm without faith and you have so great a faith that
you are continually swearing at me, you try yourself telling this
mountain, not to move into the sea for that's a long way off, but even
to our stinking little river which runs at the bottom of the garden.
You'll see for yourself that it won't budge, but will remain just
where it is however much you shout at it, and that shows, Grigory
Vassilyevitch, that you haven't faith in the proper manner, and only
abuse others about it. Again, taking into consideration that no one in
our day, not only you, but actually no one, from the highest person to
the lowest peasant, can shove mountains into the sea- except perhaps
some one man in the world, or, at most, two, and they most likely
are saving their souls in secret somewhere in the Egyptian desert,
so you wouldn't find them- if so it be, if all the rest have no faith,
will God curse all the rest? that is, the population of the whole
earth, except about two hermits in the desert, and in His well-known
mercy will He not forgive one of them? And so I'm persuaded that
though I may once have doubted I shall be forgiven if I shed tears
of repentance."
    "Stay!" cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, in a transport of delight. "So
you do suppose there are two who can move mountains? Ivan, make a note
of it, write it down. There you have the Russian all over!"
    "You're quite right in saying it's characteristic of the
people's faith," Ivan assented, with an approving smile.
    "You agree. Then it must be so, if you agree. It's true, isn't
it Alyosha? That's the Russian faith all over, isn't it?"
    "No, Smerdyakov has not the Russian faith at all," said Alyosha
firmly and gravely.
    "I'm not talking about his faith. I mean those two in the
desert, only that idea. Surely that's Russian, isn't it?"
    "Yes, that's purely Russian," said Alyosha smiling.
    "Your words are worth a gold piece, O ass, and I'll give it to you
to-day. But as to the rest you talk nonsense, nonsense, nonsense.
Let me tell you, stupid, that we here are all of little faith, only
from carelessness, because we haven't time; things are too much for
us, and, in the second place, the Lord God has given us so little
time, only twenty-four hours in the day, so that one hasn't even
time to get sleep enough, much less to repent of one's sins. While you
have denied your faith to your enemies when you'd nothing else to
think about but to show your faith! So I consider, brother, that it
constitutes a sin."
    "Constitute a sin it may, but consider yourself, Grigory
Vassilyevitch, that it only extenuates it, if it does constitute. If I
had believed then in very truth, as I ought to have believed, then
it really would have been sinful if I had not faced tortures for my
faith, and had gone over to the pagan Mohammedan faith. But, of
course, it wouldn't have come to torture then, because I should only
have had to say at that instant to the mountain, 'Move and crush the
tormentor,' and it would have moved and at the very instant have
crushed him like a black-beetle, and I should have walked away as
though nothing had happened, praising and glorifying God. But, suppose
at that very moment I had tried all that, and cried to that
mountain, 'Crush these tormentors,' and it hadn't crushed them, how
could I have helped doubting, pray, at such a time, and at such a
dread hour of mortal terror? And apart from that, I should know
already that I could not attain to the fullness of the Kingdom of
Heaven (for since the mountain had not moved at my word, they could
not think very much of my faith up aloft, and there could be no very
great reward awaiting me in the world to come). So why should I let
them flay the skin off me as well, and to no good purpose? For, even
though they had flayed my skin half off my back, even then the
mountain would not have moved at my word or at my cry. And at such a
moment not only doubt might come over one but one might lose one's
reason from fear, so that one would not be able to think at all.
And, therefore, how should I be particularly to blame if not seeing my
advantage or reward there or here, I should, at least, save my skin.
And so trusting fully in the grace of the Lord I should cherish the
hope that I might be altogether forgiven."
                              Chapter 8
                           Over the Brandy

    THE controversy was over. But, strange to say, Fyodor
Pavlovitch, who had been so gay, suddenly began frowning. He frowned
and gulped brandy, and it was already a glass too much.
    "Get along with you, Jesuits!" he cried to the servants. "Go away,
Smerdyakov. I'll send you the gold piece I promised you to-day, but be
off! Don't cry, Grigory. Go to Marfa. She'll comfort you and put you
to bed. The rascals won't let us sit in peace after dinner," he
snapped peevishly, as the servants promptly withdrew at his word.
    "Smerdyakov always pokes himself in now, after dinner. It's you
he's so interested in. What have you done to fascinate him?" he
added to Ivan.
    "Nothing whatever," answered Ivan. "He's pleased to have a high
opinion of me; he's a lackey and a mean soul. Raw material for
revolution, however, when the time comes."
    "There will be others and better ones. But there will be some like
him as well. His kind will come first, and better ones after."
    "And when will the time come?"
    "The rocket will go off and fizzle out, perhaps. The peasants
are not very fond of listening to these soup-makers, so far."
    "Ah, brother, but a Balaam's ass like that thinks and thinks,
and the devil knows where he gets to."
    "He's storing up ideas," said Ivan, smiling.
    "You see, I know he can't bear me, nor anyone else, even you,
though you fancy that he has a high opinion of you. Worse still with
Alyosha, he despises Alyosha. But he doesn't steal, that's one
thing, and he's not a gossip, he holds his tongue, and doesn't wash
our dirty linen in public. He makes capital fish pasties too. But,
damn him, is he worth talking about so much?"
    "Of course he isn't."
    "And as for the ideas he may be hatching, the Russian peasant,
generally speaking, needs thrashing. That I've always maintained.
Our peasants are swindlers, and don't deserve to be pitied, and it's a
good thing they're still flogged sometimes. Russia is rich in birches.
If they destroyed the forests, it would be the ruin of Russia. I stand
up for the clever people. We've left off thrashing the peasants, we've
grown so clever, but they go on thrashing themselves. And a good thing
too. 'For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you
again,' or how does it go? Anyhow, it will be measured. But Russia's
all swinishness. My dear, if you only knew how I hate Russia....
That is, not Russia, but all this vice! But maybe I mean Russia.
Tout cela c'est de la cochonnerie....* Do you know what I like? I like

    * All this is filthiness.

    "You've had another glass. That's enough."
    "Wait a bit. I'll have one more, and then another, and then I'll
stop. No, stay, you interrupted me. At Mokroe I was talking to an
old man, and he told me: 'There's nothing we like so much as
sentencing girls to be thrashed, and we always give the lads the job
of thrashing them. And the girl he has thrashed to-day, the young
man will ask in marriage to-morrow. So it quite suits the girls, too,'
he said. There's a set of de Sades for you! But it's clever, anyway.
Shall we go over and have a look at it, eh? Alyosha, are you blushing?
Don't be bashful, child. I'm sorry I didn't stay to dinner at the
Superior's and tell the monks about the girls at Mokroe. Alyosha,
don't be angry that I offended your Superior this morning. I lost my
temper. If there is a God, if He exists, then, of course, I'm to
blame, and I shall have to answer for it. But if there isn't a God
at all, what do they deserve, your fathers? It's not enough to cut
their heads off, for they keep back progress. Would you believe it,
Ivan, that that lacerates my sentiments? No, you don't believe it as I
see from your eyes. You believe what people say, that I'm nothing
but a buffoon. Alyosha, do you believe that I'm nothing but a
    "No, I don't believe it."
    "And I believe you don't, and that you speak the truth. You look
sincere and you speak sincerely. But not Ivan. Ivan's supercilious....
I'd make an end of your monks, though, all the same. I'd take all that
mystic stuff and suppress it, once for all, all over Russia, so as
to bring all the fools to reason. And the gold and the silver that
would flow into the mint!"
    "But why suppress it?" asked Ivan.
    "That Truth may prevail. That's why."
    "Well, if Truth were to prevail, you know, you'd be the first to
be robbed and suppressed."
    "Ah! I dare say you're right. Ah, I'm an ass!" burst out Fyodor
Pavlovitch, striking himself lightly on the forehead. "Well, your
monastery may stand then, Alyosha, if that's how it is. And we
clever people will sit snug and enjoy our brandy. You know, Ivan, it
must have been so ordained by the Almighty Himself. Ivan, speak, is
there a God or not? Stay, speak the truth, speak seriously. Why are
you laughing again?"
    "I'm laughing that you should have made a clever remark just now
about Smerdyakov's belief in the existence of two saints who could
move mountains."
    "Why, am I like him now, then?"
    "Very much."
    "Well, that shows I'm a Russian, too, and I have a Russian
characteristic. And you may be caught in the same way, though you
are a philosopher. Shall I catch you? What do you bet that I'll
catch you to-morrow? Speak, all the same, is there a God, or not?
Only, be serious. I want you to be serious now."
    "No, there is no God."
    "Alyosha, is there a God?"
    "There is."
    "Ivan, and is there immortality of some sort, just a little,
just a tiny bit?"
    "There is no immortality either."
    "None at all?"
    "None at all."
    "There's absolute nothingness then. Perhaps there is just
something? Anything is better than nothing!"
    "Alyosha, is there immortality?"
    "God and immortality?"
    "God and immortality. In God is immortality."
    "H'm! It's more likely Ivan's right. Good Lord! to think what
faith, what force of all kinds, man has lavished for nothing, on
that dream, and for how many thousand years. Who is it laughing at
man? Ivan For the last time, once for all, is there a God or not? I
ask for the last time!"
    "And for the last time there is not."
    "Who is laughing at mankind, Ivan?"
    "It must be the devil," said Ivan, smiling.
    "And the devil? Does he exist?"
    "No, there's no devil either."
    "It's a pity. Damn it all, what wouldn't I do to the man who first
invented God! Hanging on a bitter aspen tree would be too good for,
    "There would have been no civilisation if they hadn't invented
    "Wouldn't there have been? Without God?"
    "No. And there would have been no brandy either. But I must take
your brandy away from you, anyway."
    "Stop, stop, stop, dear boy, one more little glass. I've hurt
Alyosha's feelings. You're not angry with me, Alyosha? My dear
little Alexey!"
    "No, I am not angry. I know your thoughts. Your heart is better
than your head."
    "My heart better than my head, is it? Oh Lord! And that from
you. Ivan, do you love Alyosha?"
    "You must love him" (Fyodor Pavlovitch was by this time very
drunk). "Listen, Alyosha, I was rude to your elder this morning. But I
was excited. But there's wit in that elder, don't you think, Ivan?"
    "Very likely."
    "There is, there is. Il y a du Piron la-dedans.* He's a Jesuit,
a Russian one, that is. As he's an honourable person there's a
hidden indignation boiling within him at having to pretend and
affect holiness."

    * There's something of Piron inside of him.

    "But, of course, he believes in God."
    "Not a bit of it. Didn't you know? Why, he tells everyone so,
himself. That is, not everyone, but all the clever people who come
to him. He said straight out to Governor Schultz not long ago: 'Credo,
but I don't know in what.'"
    "He really did. But I respect him. There's something of
Mephistopheles about him, or rather of 'The hero of our time'...
Arbenin, or what's his name?... You see, he's a sensualist. He's
such a sensualist that I should be afraid for my daughter or my wife
if she went to confess to him. You know, when he begins telling
stories... The year before last he invited us to tea, tea with liqueur
(the ladies send him liqueur), and began telling us about old times
till we nearly split our sides.... Especially how he once cured a
paralysed woman. 'If my legs were not bad I know a dance I could dance
you,' he said. What do you say to that? 'I've plenty of tricks in my
time,' said he. He did Demidov, the merchant, out of sixty thousand."
    "What, he stole it?"
    "He brought him the money as a man he could trust, saying, 'Take
care of it for me, friend, there'll be a police search at my place
to-morrow.' And he kept it. 'You have given it to the Church,' he
declared. I said to him: 'You're a scoundrel,' I said. 'No,' said
he, 'I'm not a scoundrel, but I'm broadminded.' But that wasn't he,
that was someone else. I've muddled him with someone else... without
noticing it. Come, another glass and that's enough. Take away the
bottle, Ivan. I've been telling lies. Why didn't you stop me, Ivan,
and tell me I was lying?"
    "I knew you'd stop of yourself."
    "That's a lie. You did it from spite, from simple spite against
me. You despise me. You have come to me and despised me in my own
    "Well, I'm going away. You've had too much brandy."
    "I've begged you for Christ's sake to go to Tchermashnya for a day
or two, and you don't go."
    "I'll go to-morrow if you're so set upon it."
    "You won't go. You want to keep an eye on me. That's what you
want, spiteful fellow. That's why you won't go."
    The old man persisted. He had reached that state of drunkenness
when the drunkard who has till then been inoffensive tries to pick a
quarrel and to assert himself.
    "Why are you looking at me? Why do you look like that? Your eyes
look at me and say, 'You ugly drunkard!' Your eyes are mistrustful.
They're contemptuous.... You've come here with some design. Alyosha,
here, looks at me and his eyes shine. Alyosha doesn't despise me.
Alexey, you mustn't love Ivan."
    "Don't be ill-tempered with my brother. Leave off attacking
him," Alyosha said emphatically.
    "Oh, all right. Ugh, my head aches. Take away the brandy, Ivan.
It's the third time I've told you."
    He mused, and suddenly a slow, cunning grin spread over his face.
    "Don't be angry with a feeble old man, Ivan. I know you don't love
me, but don't be angry all the same. You've nothing to love me for.
You go to Tchermashnya. I'll come to you myself and bring you a
present. I'll show you a little wench there. I've had my eye on her
a long time. She's still running about bare-foot. Don't be afraid of
bare-footed wenches- don't despise them- they're pearls!"
    And he kissed his hand with a smack.
    "To my thinking," he revived at once, seeming to grow sober the
instant he touched on his favourite topic. "To my thinking... Ah,
you boys! You children, little sucking-pigs, to my thinking... I never
thought a woman ugly in my life- that's been my rule! Can you
understand that? How could you understand it? You've milk in your
veins, not blood. You're not out of your shells yet. My rule has
been that you can always find something devilishly interesting in
every woman that you wouldn't find in any other. Only, one must know
how to find it, that's the point! That's a talent! To my mind there
are no ugly women. The very fact that she is a woman is half the
battle... but how could you understand that? Even in vieilles
filles, even in them you may discover something that makes you
simply wonder that men have been such fools as to let them grow old
without noticing them. Bare-footed girls or unattractive ones, you
must take by surprise. Didn't you know that? You must astound them
till they're fascinated, upset, ashamed that such a gentleman should
fall in love with such a little slut. It's a jolly good thing that
there always are and will be masters and slaves in the world, so there
always will be a little maid-of-all-work and her master, and you know,
that's all that's needed for happiness. Stay... listen, Alyosha, I
always used to surprise your mother, but in a different way. I paid no
attention to her at all, but all at once, when the minute came, I'd be
all devotion to her, crawl on my knees, kiss her feet, and I always,
always- I remember it as though it were to-day- reduced her to that
tinkling, quiet, nervous, queer little laugh. It was peculiar to
her. I knew her attacks always used to begin like that. The next day
she would begin shrieking hysterically, and this little laugh was
not a sign of delight, though it made a very good counterfeit.
That's the great thing, to know how to take everyone. Once
Belyavsky- he was a handsome fellow, and rich- used to like to come
here and hang about her- suddenly gave me a slap in the face in her
presence. And she- such a mild sheep- why, I thought she would have
knocked me down for that blow. How she set on me! 'You're beaten,
beaten now,' she said, 'You've taken a blow from him. You have been
trying to sell me to him,' she said... 'And how dared he strike you in
my presence! Don't dare come near me again, never, never! Run at once,
challenge him to a duel!'... I took her to the monastery then to bring
her to her senses. The holy Fathers prayed her back to reason. But I
swear, by God, Alyosha, I never insulted the poor crazy girl! Only
once, perhaps, in the first year; then she was very fond of praying.
She used to keep the feasts of Our Lady particularly and used to
turn me out of her room then. I'll knock that mysticism out of her,
thought I! 'Here,' said I, 'you see your holy image. Here it is.
Here I take it down. You believe it's miraculous, but here, I'll
spit on it directly and nothing will happen to me for it!'... When she
saw it, good Lord! I thought she would kill me. But she only jumped
up, wrung her hands, then suddenly hid her face in them, began
trembling all over and fell on the floor... fell all of a heap.
Alyosha, Alyosha, what's the matter?"
    The old man jumped up in alarm. From the time he had begun
speaking about his mother, a change had gradually come over
Alyosha's face. He flushed crimson, his eyes glowed, his lips
quivered. The old sot had gone spluttering on, noticing nothing,
till the moment when something very strange happened to Alyosha.
Precisely what he was describing in the crazy woman was suddenly
repeated with Alyosha. He jumped up from his seat exactly as his
mother was said to have done, wrung his hands, hid his face in them,
and fell back in his chair, shaking all over in an hysterical paroxysm
of sudden violent, silent weeping. His extraordinary resemblance to
his mother particularly impressed the old man.
    "Ivan, Ivan! Water, quickly! It's like her, exactly as she used to
be then, his mother. Spurt some water on him from your mouth, that's
what I used to do to her. He's upset about his mother, his mother," he
muttered to Ivan.
    "But she was my mother, too, I believe, his mother. Was she
not?" said Ivan, with uncontrolled anger and contempt. The old man
shrank before his flashing eyes. But something very strange had
happened, though only for a second; it seemed really to have escaped
the old man's mind that Alyosha's mother actually was the mother of
Ivan too.
    "Your mother?" he muttered, not understanding. "What do you
mean? What mother are you talking about? Was she?... Why, damn it!
of course she was yours too! Damn it! My mind has never been so
darkened before. Excuse me, why, I was thinking Ivan... He he he!"
He stopped. A broad, drunken, half senseless grin overspread his face.
    At that moment a fearful noise, and clamour was heard in the hall,
there were violent shouts, the door was flung open, and Dmitri burst
into the room. The old man rushed to Ivan in terror.
    "He'll kill me! He'll kill me! Don't let him get at me!" he
screamed, clinging to the skirt of Ivan's coat.
                              Chapter 9
                           The Sensualists

    GRIGORY and Smerdyakov ran into the room after Dmitri. They had
been struggling with him in the passage, refusing to admit him, acting
on instructions given them by Fyodor Pavlovitch some days before.
Taking advantage of the fact that Dmitri stopped a moment on
entering the room to look about him, Grigory ran round the table,
closed the double doors on the opposite side of the room leading to
the inner apartments, and stood before the closed doors, stretching
wide his arms, prepared to defend the entrance, so to speak, with
the last drop of his blood. Seeing this, Dmitri uttered a scream
rather than a shout and rushed at Grigory.
    "Then she's there! She's hidden there! Out of the way, scoundrel!"
    He tried to pull Grigory away, but the old servant pushed him
back. Beside himself with fury, Dmitri struck out, and hit Grigory
with all his might. The old man fell like a log, and Dmitri, leaping
over him, broke in the door. Smerdyakov remained pale and trembling at
the other end of the room, huddling close to Fyodor Pavlovitch.
    "She's here!" shouted Dmitri. "I saw her turn towards the house
just now, but I couldn't catch her. Where is she? Where is she?"
    That shout, "She's here!" produced an indescribable effect on
Fyodor Pavlovitch. All his terror left him.
    "Hold him! Hold him!" he cried, and dashed after Dmitri. Meanwhile
Grigory had got up from the floor, but still seemed stunned. Ivan
and Alyosha ran after their father. In the third room something was
heard to fall on the floor with a ringing crash: it was a large
glass vase- not an expensive one- on a marble pedestal which Dmitri
had upset as he ran past it.
    "At him!" shouted the old man. "Help!"
    Ivan and Alyosha caught the old man and were forcibly bringing him
    "Why do you run after him? He'll murder you outright," Ivan
cried wrathfully at his father.
    "Ivan! Alyosha! She must be here. Grushenka's here. He said he saw
her himself, running."
    He was choking. He was not expecting Grushenka at the time, and
the sudden news that she was here made him beside himself. He was
trembling all over. He seemed frantic.
    "But you've seen for yourself that she hasn't come," cried Ivan.
    "But she may have come by that other entrance."
    "You know that entrance is locked, and you have the key."
    Dmitri suddenly reappeared in the drawing-room. He had, of course,
found the other entrance locked, and the key actually was in Fyodor
Pavlovitch's pocket. The windows of all rooms were also closed, so
Grushenka could not have come in anywhere nor have run out anywhere.
    "Hold him!" shrieked Fyodor Pavlovitch, as soon as he saw him
again. "He's been stealing money in my bedroom." And tearing himself
from Ivan he rushed again at Dmitri. But Dmitri threw up both hands
and suddenly clutched the old man by the two tufts of hair that
remained on his temples, tugged at them, and flung him with a crash on
the floor. He kicked him two or three times with his heel in the face.
The old man moaned shrilly. Ivan, though not so strong as Dmitri,
threw his arms round him, and with all his might pulled him away.
Alyosha helped him with his slender strength, holding Dmitri in front.
    "Madman! You've killed him!" cried Ivan.
    "Serve him right!" shouted Dmitri breathlessly. "If I haven't
killed him, I'll come again and kill him. You can't protect him!"
    "Dmitri! Go away at once!" cried Alyosha commandingly.
    "Alexey! You tell me. It's only you I can believe; was she here
just now, or not? I saw her myself creeping this way by the fence from
the lane. I shouted, she ran away."
    "I swear she's not been here, and no one expected her."
    "But I saw her.... So she must... I'll find out at once where
she is.... Good-bye, Alexey! Not a word to Aesop about the money
now. But go to Katerina Ivanovna at once and be sure to say, 'He sends
his compliments to you!' Compliments, his compliments! just
compliments and farewell! Describe the scene to her."
    Meanwhile Ivan and Grigory had raised the old man and seated him
in an arm-chair. His face was covered with blood, but he was conscious
and listened greedily to Dmitri's cries. He was still fancying that
Grushenka really was somewhere in the house. Dmitri looked at him with
hatred as he went out.
    "I don't repent shedding your blood!" he cried. "Beware, old
man, beware of your dream, for I have my dream, too. I curse you,
and disown you altogether."
    He ran out of the room.
    "She's here. She must be here. Smerdyakov! Smerdyakov!" the old
man wheezed, scarcely audibly, beckoning to him with his finger.
    "No, she's not here, you old lunatic!" Ivan shouted at him
angrily. "Here, he's fainting? Water! A towel! Make haste,
    Smerdyakov ran for water. At last they got the old man
undressed, and put him to bed. They wrapped a wet towel round his
head. Exhausted by the brandy, by his violent emotion, and the blows
he had received, he shut his eyes and fell asleep as soon as his
head touched the pillow. Ivan and Alyosha went back to the
drawing-room. Smerdyakov removed the fragments of the broken vase,
while Grigory stood by the table looking gloomily at the floor.
    "Shouldn't you put a wet bandage on your head and go to bed, too?"
Alyosha said to him. "We'll look after him. My brother gave you a
terrible blow- on the head."
    "He's insulted me!" Grigory articulated gloomily and distinctly.
    "He's 'insulted' his father, not only you," observed Ivan with a
forced smile.
    "I used to wash him in his tub. He's insulted me," repeated
    "Damn it all, if I hadn't pulled him away perhaps he'd have
murdered him. It wouldn't take much to do for Aesop, would it?"
whispered Ivan to Alyosha.
    "God forbid!" cried Alyosha.
    "Why should He forbid?" Ivan went on in the same whisper, with a
malignant grimace. "One reptile will devour the other. And serve
them both right, too."
    Alyosha shuddered.
    "Of course I won't let him be murdered as I didn't just now.
Stay here, Alyosha, I'll go for a turn in the yard. My head's begun to
    Alyosha went to his father's bedroom and sat by his bedside behind
the screen for about an hour. The old man suddenly opened his eyes and
gazed for a long while at Alyosha, evidently remembering and
meditating. All at once his face betrayed extraordinary excitement.
    "Alyosha," he whispered apprehensively, "where's Ivan?"
    "In the yard. He's got a headache. He's on the watch."
    "Give me that looking-glass. It stands over there. Give it me."
    Alyosha gave him a little round folding looking-glass which
stood on the chest of drawers. The old man looked at himself in it;
his nose was considerably swollen, and on the left side of his
forehead there was a rather large crimson bruise.
    "What does Ivan say? Alyosha, my dear, my only son, I'm afraid
of Ivan. I'm more afraid of Ivan than the other. You're the only one
I'm not afraid of...."
    "Don't be afraid of Ivan either. He is angry, but he'll defend
    "Alyosha, and what of the other? He's run to Grushenka. My
angel, tell me the truth, was she here just now or not?"
    "No one has seen her. It was a mistake. She has not been here."
    "You know Mitya wants to marry her, to marry her."
    "She won't marry him."
    "She won't. She won't. She won't. She won't on any account!"
    The old man fairly fluttered with joy, as though nothing more
comforting could have been said to him. In his delight he seized
Alyosha's hand and pressed it warmly to his heart. Tears positively
glittered in his eyes.
    "That image of the Mother of God of which I was telling you just
now," he said. "Take it home and keep it for yourself. And I'll let
you go back to the monastery.... I was joking this morning, don't be
angry with me. My head aches, Alyosha.... Alyosha, comfort my heart.
Be an angel and tell me the truth!"
    "You're still asking whether she has been here or not?" Alyosha
said sorrowfully.
    "No, no, no. I believe you. I'll tell you what it is: you go to
Grushenka yourself, or see her somehow; make haste and ask her; see
for yourself, which she means to choose, him or me. Eh? What? Can
    "If I see her I'll ask her," Alyosha muttered, embarrassed.
    "No, she won't tell you," the old man interrupted, "she's a rogue.
She'll begin kissing you and say that it's you she wants. She's a
deceitful, shameless hussy. You mustn't go to her, you mustn't!"
    "No father, and it wouldn't be suitable, it wouldn't be right at
    "Where was he sending you just now? He shouted 'Go' as he ran
    "For money? To ask her for money?"
    "No. Not for money."
    "He's no money; not a farthing. I'll settle down for the night,
and think things over, and you can go. Perhaps you'll meet her....
Only be sure to come to me to-morrow in the morning. Be sure to. I
have a word to say to you to-morrow. Will you come?"
    "When you come, pretend you've come of your own accord to ask
after me. Don't tell anyone I told you to. Don't say a word to Ivan."
     "Very well."
     "Good-bye, my angel. You stood up for me, just now. I shall never
forget it. I've a word to say to you to-morrow- but I must think about
    "And how do you feel now?"
    "I shall get up to-morrow and go out, perfectly well, perfectly
    Crossing the yard Alyosha found Ivan sitting on the bench at the
gateway. He was sitting writing something in pencil in his notebook.
Alyosha told Ivan that their father had waked up, was conscious, and
had let him go back to sleep at the monastery.
    "Alyosha, I should be very glad to meet you to-morrow morning,"
said Ivan cordially, standing up. His cordiality was a complete
surprise to Alyosha.
    "I shall be at the Hohlakovs' to-morrow," answered Alyosha, "I may
be at Katerina Ivanovna's, too, if I don't find her now."
    "But you're going to her now, anyway? For that 'compliments and
farewell,'" said Ivan smiling. Alyosha was disconcerted.
    "I think I quite understand his exclamations just now, and part of
what went before. Dmitri has asked you to go to her and say that he-
well, in fact- takes his leave of her?"
    "Brother, how will all this horror end between father and Dmitri?"
exclaimed Alyosha.
    "One can't tell for certain. Perhaps in nothing: it may all fizzle
out. That woman is a beast. In any case we must keep the old man
indoors and not let Dmitri in the house."
    "Brother, let me ask one thing more: has any man a right to look
at other men and decide which is worthy to live?"
    "Why bring in the question of worth? The matter is most often
decided in men's hearts on other grounds much more natural. And as for
rights- who has not the right to wish?"
    "Not for another man's death?"
    "What even if for another man's death? Why lie to oneself since
all men live so and perhaps cannot help living so. Are you referring
to what I said just now- that one reptile will devour the other? In
that case let me ask you, do you think me like Dmitri capable of
shedding Aesop's blood, murdering him, eh?"
    "What are you saying, Ivan? Such an idea never crossed my mind.
I don't think Dmitri is capable of it, either."
    "Thanks, if only for that," smiled Ivan. "Be sure, I should always
defend him. But in my wishes I reserve myself full latitude in this
case. Good-bye till to-morrow. Don't condemn me, and don't look on
me as a villain," he added with a smile.
    They shook hands warmly as they had never done before. Alyosha
felt that his brother had taken the first step towards him, and that
he had certainly done this with some definite motive.
                              Chapter 10
                            Both Together

    ALYOSHA left his father's house feeling even more exhausted and
dejected in spirit than when he had entered it. His mind too seemed
shattered and unhinged, while he felt that he was afraid to put
together the disjointed fragments and form a general idea from all the
agonising and conflicting experiences of the day. He felt something
bordering upon despair, which he had never known till then. Towering
like a mountain above all the rest stood the fatal, insoluble
question: How would things end between his father and his brother
Dmitri with this terrible woman? Now he had himself been a witness
of it, he had been present and seen them face to face. Yet only his
brother Dmitri could be made unhappy, terribly, completely unhappy:
there was trouble awaiting him. It appeared too that there were
other people concerned, far more so than Alyosha could have supposed
before. There was something positively mysterious in it, too. Ivan had
made a step towards him, which was what Alyosha had been long
desiring. Yet now he felt for some reason that he was frightened at
it. And these women? Strange to say, that morning he had set out for
Katerina Ivanovna's in the greatest embarrassment; now he felt nothing
of the kind. On the contrary, he was hastening there as though
expecting to find guidance from her. Yet to give her this message
was obviously more difficult than before. The matter of the three
thousand was decided irrevocably, and Dmitri, feeling himself
dishonoured and losing his last hope, might sink to any depth. He had,
moreover, told him to describe to Katerina Ivanovna the scene which
had just taken place with his father.
    It was by now seven o'clock, and it was getting dark as Alyosha
entered the very spacious and convenient house in the High Street
occupied by Katerina Ivanovna. Alyosha knew that she lived with two
aunts. One of them, a woman of little education, was that aunt of
her half-sister Agafya Ivanovna who had looked after her in her
father's house when she came from boarding-school. The other aunt
was a Moscow lady of style and consequence, though in straitened
circumstances. It was said that they both gave way in everything to
Katerina Ivanovna, and that she only kept them with her as
chaperons. Katerina Ivanovna herself gave way to no one but her
benefactress, the general's widow, who had been kept by illness in
Moscow, and to whom she was obliged to write twice a week a full
account of all her doings.
    When Alyosha entered the hall and asked the maid who opened the
door to him to take his name up, it was evident that they were already
aware of his arrival. Possibly he had been noticed from the window. At
least, Alyosha heard a noise, caught the sound of flying footsteps and
rustling skirts. Two or three women, perhaps, had run out of the room.
    Alyosha thought it strange that his arrival should cause such
excitement. He was conducted, however, to the drawing-room at once. It
was a large room, elegantly and amply furnished, not at all in
provincial style. There were many sofas, lounges, settees, big and
little tables. There were pictures on the walls, vases and lamps on
the tables, masses of flowers, and even an aquarium in the window.
It was twilight and rather dark. Alyosha made out a silk mantle thrown
down on the sofa, where people had evidently just been sitting; and on
a table in front of the sofa were two unfinished cups of chocolate,
cakes, a glass saucer with blue raisins, and another with
sweetmeats. Alyosha saw that he had interrupted visitors, and frowned.
But at that instant the portiere was raised, and with rapid,
hurrying footsteps Katerina Ivanovna came in, holding out both hands
to Alyosha with a radiant smile of delight. At the same instant a
servant brought in two lighted candles and set them on the table.
    "Thank God! At last you have come too! I've been simply praying
for you all day! Sit down."
    Alyosha had been struck by Katerina Ivanovna's beauty when,
three weeks before, Dmitri had first brought him, at Katerina
Ivanovna's special request, to be introduced to her. There had been no
conversation between them at that interview, however. Supposing
Alyosha to be very shy, Katerina Ivanovna had talked all the time to
Dmitri to spare him. Alyosha had been silent, but he had seen a
great deal very clearly. He was struck by the imperiousness, proud
ease, and self-confidence of the haughty girl. And all that was
certain, Alyosha felt that he was not exaggerating it. He thought
her great glowing black eyes were very fine, especially with her pale,
even rather sallow, longish face. But in those eyes and in the lines
of her exquisite lips there was something with which his brother might
well be passionately in love, but which perhaps could not be loved for
long. He expressed this thought almost plainly to Dmitri when, after
the visit, his brother besought and insisted that he should not
conceal his impressions on seeing his betrothed.
    "You'll be happy with her, but perhaps not tranquilly happy."
    "Quite so, brother. Such people remain always the same. They don't
yield to fate. So you think I shan't love her for ever."
    "No; perhaps you will love her for ever. But perhaps you won't
always be happy with her."
    Alyosha had given his opinion at the time, blushing, and angry
with himself for having yielded to his brother's entreaties and put
such "foolish" ideas into words. For his opinion had struck him as
awfully foolish immediately after he had uttered it. He felt ashamed
too of having given so confident an opinion about a woman. It was with
the more amazement that he felt now, at the first glance at Katerina
Ivanovna as she ran in to him, that he had perhaps been utterly
mistaken. This time her face was beaming with spontaneous good-natured
kindliness, and direct warm-hearted sincerity. The "pride and
haughtiness," which had struck Alyosha so much before, was only
betrayed now in a frank, generous energy and a sort of bright,
strong faith in herself. Alyosha realised at the first glance, at
the first word, that all the tragedy of her position in relation to
the man she loved so dearly was no secret to her; that she perhaps
already knew everything, positively everything. And yet, in spite of
that, there was such brightness in her face, such faith in the future.
Alyosha felt at once that he had gravely wronged her in his
thoughts. He was conquered and captivated immediately. Besides all
this, he noticed at her first words that she was in great
excitement, an excitement perhaps quite exceptional and almost
approaching ecstasy.
    "I was so eager to see you, because I can learn from you the whole
truth- from you and no one else."
    "I have come," muttered Alyosha confusedly, "I- he sent me."
    "Ah, he sent you I foresaw that. Now I know everything-
everything!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, her eyes flashing. "Wait a
moment, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I'll tell you why I've been so longing to
see you. You see, I know perhaps far more than you do yourself, and
there's no need for you to tell me anything. I'll tell you what I want
from you. I want to know your own last impression of him. I want you
to tell me most directly, plainly, coarsely even (oh, as coarsely as
you like!), what you thought of him just now and of his position after
your meeting with him to-day. That will perhaps be better than if I
had a personal explanation with him, as he does not want to come to
me. Do you understand what I want from you? Now, tell me simply,
tell me every word of the message he sent you with (I knew he would
send you)."
    "He told me to give you his compliments and to say that he would
never come again but to give you his compliments."
    "His compliments? Was that what he said his own expression?"
    "Accidentally perhaps he made a mistake in the word, perhaps he
did not use the right word?"
    "No; he told me precisely to repeat that word. He begged me two or
three times not to forget to say so."
    Katerina Ivanovna flushed hotly.
    "Help me now, Alexey Fyodorovitch. Now I really need your help.
I'll tell you what I think, and you must simply say whether it's right
or not. Listen! If he had sent me his compliments in passing,
without insisting on your repeating the words, without emphasising
them, that would be the end of everything! But if he particularly
insisted on those words, if he particularly told you not to forget
to repeat them to me, then perhaps he was in excitement, beside
himself. He had made his decision and was frightened at it. He
wasn't walking away from me with a resolute step, but leaping
headlong. The emphasis on that phrase may have been simply bravado."
    "Yes, yes!" cried Alyosha warmly. "I believe that is it."
    "And, if so, he's not altogether lost. I can still save him. Stay!
Did he not tell you anything about money- about three thousand
    "He did speak about it, and it's that more than anything that's
crushing him. He said he had lost his honour and that nothing
matters now," Alyosha answered warmly, feeling a rush of hope in his
heart and believing that there really might be a way of escape and
salvation for his brother. "But do you know about the money?" he
added, and suddenly broke off.
    "I've known of it a long time; I telegraphed to Moscow to inquire,
and heard long ago that the money had not arrived. He hadn't sent
the money, but I said nothing. Last week I learnt that he was still in
need of money. My only object in all this was that he should know to
whom to turn, and who was his true friend. No, he won't recognise that
I am his truest friend; he won't know me, and looks on me merely as
a woman. I've been tormented all the week, trying to think how to
prevent him from being ashamed to face me because he spent that
three thousand. Let him feel ashamed of himself, let him be ashamed of
other people's knowing, but not of my knowing. He can tell God
everything without shame. Why is it he still does not understand how
much I am ready to bear for his sake? Why, why doesn't he know me? How
dare he not know me after all that has happened? I want to save him
for ever. Let him forget me as his betrothed. And here he fears that
he is dishonoured in my eyes. Why, he wasn't afraid to be open with
you, Alexey Fyodorovitch. How is it that I don't deserve the same?"
    The last words she uttered in tears. Tears gushed from her eyes.
    "I must tell you," Alyosha began, his voice trembling too, "what
happened just now between him and my father."
    And he described the whole scene, how Dmitri had sent him to get
the money, how he had broken in, knocked his father down, and after
that had again specially and emphatically begged him to take his
compliments and farewell. "He went to that woman," Alyosha added
    "And do you suppose that I can't put up with that woman? Does he
think I can't? But he won't marry her," she suddenly laughed
nervously. "Could such a passion last for ever in a Karamazov? It's
passion, not love. He won't marry her because she won't marry him."
Again Katerina Ivanovna laughed strangely.
    "He may marry her," said Alyosha mournfully, looking down.
    "He won't marry her, I tell you. That girl is an angel. Do you
know that? Do you know that?" Katerina Ivanovna exclaimed suddenly
with extraordinary warmth. "She is one of the most fantastic of
fantastic creatures. I know how bewitching she is, but I know too that
she is kind, firm, and noble. Why do you look at me like that,
Alexey Fyodorovitch? Perhaps you are wondering at my words, perhaps
you don't believe me? Agrafena Alexandrovna, my angel!" she cried
suddenly to someone, peeping into the next room, "come in to us.
This is a friend. This is Alyosha. He knows all about our affairs.
Show yourself to him."
    "I've only been waiting behind the curtain for you to call me,"
said a soft, one might even say sugary, feminine voice.
    The portiere was raised and Grushenka herself, smiling and
beaming, came up to the table. A violent revulsion passed over
Alyosha. He fixed his eyes on her and could not take them off. Here
she was, that awful woman, the "beast," as Ivan had called her half an
hour before. And yet one would have thought the creature standing
before him most simple and ordinary, a good-natured, kind woman,
handsome certainly, but so like other handsome ordinary women! It is
true she was very, very good-looking with that Russian beauty so
passionately loved by many men. She was a rather tall woman, though
a little shorter than Katerina Ivanovna, who was exceptionally tall.
She had a full figure, with soft, as it were, noiseless, movements,
softened to a peculiar over-sweetness, like her voice. She moved,
not like Katerina Ivanovna, with a vigorous, bold step, but
noiselessly. Her feet made absolutely no sound on the floor. She
sank softly into a low chair, softly rustling her sumptuous black silk
dress, and delicately nestling her milk-white neck and broad shoulders
in a costly cashmere shawl. She was twenty-two years old, and her face
looked exactly that age. She was very white in the face, with a pale
pink tint on her cheeks. The modelling of her face might be said to be
too broad, and the lower jaw was set a trifle forward. Her upper lip
was thin, but the slightly prominent lower lip was at least twice as
full, and looked pouting. But her magnificent, abundant dark brown
hair, her sable-coloured eyebrows and charming greyblue eyes with
their long lashes would have made the most indifferent person, meeting
her casually in a crowd in the street, stop at the sight of her face
and remember it long after. What struck Alyosha most in that face
was its expression of childlike good nature. There was a childlike
look in her eyes, a look of childish delight. She came up to the
table, beaming with delight and seeming to expect something with
childish, impatient, and confiding curiosity. The light in her eyes
gladdened the soul- Alyosha felt that. There was something else in her
which he could not understand, or would not have been able to
define, and which yet perhaps unconsciously affected him. It was
that softness, that voluptuousness of her bodily movements, that
catlike noiselessness. Yet it was a vigorous, ample body. Under the
shawl could be seen full broad shoulders, a high, still quite
girlish bosom. Her figure suggested the lines of the Venus of Milo,
though already in somewhat exaggerated proportions. That could be
divined. Connoisseurs of Russian beauty could have foretold with
certainty that this fresh, still youthful beauty would lose its
harmony by the age of thirty, would "spread"; that the face would
become puffy, and that wrinkles would very soon appear upon her
forehead and round the eyes; the complexion would grow coarse and
red perhaps- in fact, that it was the beauty of the moment, the
fleeting beauty which is so often met with in Russian women.
Alyosha, of course, did not think of this; but though he was
fascinated, yet he wondered with an unpleasant sensation, and as it
were regretfully, why she drawled in that way and could not speak
naturally. She did so, evidently feeling there was a charm in the
exaggerated, honeyed modulation of the syllables. It was, of course,
only a bad, underbred habit that showed bad education and a false idea
of good manners. And yet this intonation and manner of speaking
impressed Alyosha as almost incredibly incongruous with the childishly
simple and happy expression of her face, the soft, babyish joy in
her eyes. Katerina Ivanovna at once made her sit down in an
arm-chair facing Alyosha, and ecstatically kissed her several times on
her smiling lips. She seemed quite in love with her.
    "This is the first time we've met, Alexey Fyodorovitch," she
said rapturously. "I wanted to know her, to see her. I wanted to go to
her, but I'd no sooner expressed the wish than she came to me. I
knew we should settle everything together- everything. My heart told
me so- I was begged not to take the step, but I foresaw it would be
a way out of the difficulty, and I was not mistaken. Grushenka has
explained everything to me, told me all she means to do. She flew here
like an angel of goodness and brought us peace and joy."
    "You did not disdain me, sweet, excellent young lady," drawled
Grushenka in her singsong voice, still with the same charming smile of
    "Don't dare to speak to me like that, you sorceress, you witch!
Disdain you! Here, I must kiss your lower lip once more. It looks as
though it were swollen, and now it will be more so, and more and more.
Look how she laughs, Alexey Fyodorovitch!
    Alyosha flushed, and faint, imperceptible shivers kept running
down him.
    "You make so much of me, dear young lady, and perhaps I am not
at all worthy of your kindness."
    "Not worthy! She's not worthy of it!" Katerina Ivanovna cried
again with the same warmth. "You know, Alexey Fyodorovitch, we're
fanciful, we're self-willed, but proudest of the proud in our little
heart. We're noble, we're generous, Alexey Fyodorovitch, let me tell
you. We have only been unfortunate. We were too ready to make every
sacrifice for an unworthy, perhaps, or fickle man. There was one
man- one, an officer too, we loved him, we sacrificed everything to
him. That was long ago, five years ago, and he has forgotten us, he
has married. Now he is a widower, he has written, he is coming here,
and, do you know, we've loved him, none but him, all this time, and
we've loved him all our life! He will come, and Grushenka will be
happy again. For the last five years she's been wretched. But who
can reproach her, who can boast of her favour? Only that bedridden old
merchant, but he is more like her father, her friend, her protector.
He found her then in despair, in agony, deserted by the man she loved.
She was ready to drown herself then, but the old merchant saved her-
saved her!"
    "You defend me very kindly, dear young lady. You are in a great
hurry about everything," Grushenka drawled again.
    "Defend you! Is it for me to defend you? Should I dare to defend
you? Grushenka, angel, give me your hand. Look at that charming soft
little hand, Alexey Fyodorovitch! Look at it! It has brought me
happiness and has lifted me up, and I'm going to kiss it, outside
and inside, here, here, here!"
    And three times she kissed the certainly charming, though rather
fat, hand of Grushenka in a sort of rapture. She held out her hand
with a charming musical, nervous little laugh, watched the "sweet
young lady," and obviously liked having her hand kissed.
    "Perhaps there's rather too much rapture," thought Alyosha. He
blushed. He felt a peculiar uneasiness at heart the whole time.
    "You won't make me blush, dear young lady, kissing my hand like
this before Alexey Fyodorovitch."
    "Do you think I meant to make you blush?" said Katerina
Ivanovna, somewhat surprised. "Ah my dear, how little you understand
    "Yes, and you too perhaps quite misunderstand me, dear young lady.
Maybe I'm not so good as I seem to you. I've a bad heart; I will
have my own way. I fascinated poor Dmitri Fyodorovitch that day simply
for fun."
    "But now you'll save him. You've given me your word. You'll
explain it all to him. You'll break to him that you have long loved
another man, who is now offering you his hand."
    "Oh, no I didn't give you my word to do that. It was you kept
talking about that. I didn't give you my word."
    "Then I didn't quite understand you," said Katerina Ivanovna
slowly, turning a little pale. "You promised-"
    "Oh no, angel lady, I've promised nothing," Grushenka
interrupted softly and evenly, still with the same gay and simple
expression. "You see at once, dear young lady, what a wilful wretch
I am compared with you. If I want to do a thing I do it. I may have
made you some promise just now. But now again I'm thinking: I may take
Mitya again. I liked him very much once- liked him for almost a
whole hour. Now maybe I shall go and tell him to stay with me from
this day forward. You see, I'm so changeable."
    "Just now you said- something quite different," Katerina
Ivanovna whispered faintly.
    "Ah, just now! But, you know, I'm such a soft-hearted, silly
creature. Only think what he's gone through on my account! What if
when I go home I feel sorry for him? What then?"
    "I never expected-"
    "Ah, young lady, how good and generous you are compared with me!
Now perhaps you won't care for a silly creature like me, now you
know my character. Give me your sweet little hand, angelic lady,"
she said tenderly, and with a sort of reverence took Katerina
Ivanovna's hand.
    "Here, dear young lady, I'll take your hand and kiss it as you did
mine. You kissed mine three times, but I ought to kiss yours three
hundred times to be even with you. Well, but let that pass. And then
it shall be as God wills. Perhaps I shall be your slave entirely and
want to do your bidding like a slave. Let it be as God wills,
without any agreements and promises. What a sweet hand- what a sweet
hand you have! You sweet young lady, you incredible beauty!"
    She slowly raised the hands to her lips, with the strange object
indeed of "being even" with her in kisses.
    Katerina Ivanovna did not take her hand away. She listened with
timid hope to the last words, though Grushenka's promise to do her
bidding like a slave was very strangely expressed. She looked intently
into her eyes; she still saw in those eyes the same simple-hearted,
confiding expression, the same bright gaiety.
    "She's perhaps too naive," thought Katerina Ivanovna, with a gleam
of hope.
    Grushenka meanwhile seemed enthusiastic over the "sweet hand." She
raised it deliberately to her lips. But she held it for two or three
minutes near her lips, as though reconsidering something.
    "Do you know, angel lady," she suddenly drawled in an even more
soft and sugary voice, "do you know, after all, I think I won't kiss
your hand?" And she laughed a little merry laugh.
    "As you please. What's the matter with you?" said Katerina
Ivanovna, starting suddenly.
    "So that you may be left to remember that you kissed my hand,
but I didn't kiss yours."
    There was a sudden gleam in her eyes. She looked with awful
intentness at Katerina Ivanovna.
    "Insolent creature!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, as though suddenly
grasping something. She flushed all over and leapt up from her seat.
    Grushenka too got up, but without haste.
    "So I shall tell Mitya how you kissed my hand, but I didn't kiss
yours at all. And how he will laugh!"
    "Vile slut! Go away!"
    "Ah, for shame, young lady! Ah, for shame! That's unbecoming for
you, dear young lady, a word like that."
    "Go away! You're a creature for sale" screamed Katerina
Ivanovna. Every feature was working in her utterly distorted face.
    "For sale indeed! You used to visit gentlemen in the dusk for
money once; you brought your beauty for sale. You see, I know."
    Katerina Ivanovna shrieked, and would have rushed at her, but
Alyosha held her with all his strength.
    "Not a step, not a word! Don't speak, don't answer her. She'll
go away- she'll go at once."
    At that instant Katerina Ivanovna's two aunts ran in at her cry,
and with them a maid-servant. All hurried to her.
    "I will go away," said Grushenka, taking up her mantle from the
sofa. "Alyosha, darling, see me home!"
    "Go away- go away, make haste!" cried Alyosha, clasping his
hands imploringly.
    "Dear little Alyosha, see me home! I've got a pretty little
story to tell you on the way. I got up this scene for your benefit,
Alyosha. See me home, dear, you'll be glad of it afterwards."
    Alyosha turned away, wringing his hands. Grushenka ran out of
the house, laughing musically.
    Katerina Ivanovna went into a fit of hysterics. She sobbed, and
was shaken with convulsions. Everyone fussed round her.
    "I warned you," said the elder of her aunts. "I tried to prevent
your doing this. You're too impulsive. How could you do such a
thing? You don't know these creatures, and they say she's worse than
any of them. You are too self-willed."
    "She's a tigress!" yelled Katerina Ivanovna. "Why did you hold me,
Alexey Fyodorovitch? I'd have beaten her- beaten her!"
    She could not control herself before Alyosha; perhaps she did
not care to, indeed.
    "She ought to be flogged in public on a scaffold!"
    Alyosha withdrew towards the door.
    "But, my God!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, clasping her hands. "He!
He! He could be so dishonourable, so inhuman! Why, he told that
creature what happened on that fatal, accursed day! 'You brought
your beauty for sale, dear young lady.' She knows it! Your brother's a
scoundrel, Alexey Fyodorovitch."
    Alyosha wanted to say something, but he couldn't find a word.
His heart ached.
    "Go away, Alexey Fyodorovitch! It's shameful, it's awful for me!
To-morrow, I beg you on my knees, come to-morrow. Don't condemm me.
Forgive me. I don't know what I shall do with myself now!"
    Alyosha walked out into the street reeling. He could have wept
as she did. Suddenly he was overtaken by the maid.
    "The young lady forgot to give you this letter from Madame
Hohlakov; it's been left with us since dinner-time."
    Alyosha took the little pink envelope mechanically and put it,
almost unconsciously, into his pocket.
                              Chapter 11
                      Another Reputation Ruined

    IT was not much more than three-quarters of a mile from the town
to the monastery. Alyosha walked quickly along the road, at that
hour deserted. It was almost night, and too dark to see anything
clearly at thirty paces ahead. There were cross-roads half-way. A
figure came into sight under a solitary willow at the cross-roads.
As soon as Alyosha reached the cross-roads the figure moved out and
rushed at him, shouting savagely:
    "Your money or your life!"
    "So it's you, Mitya," cried Alyosha, in surprise, violently
startled however.
    "Ha ha ha! You didn't expect me? I wondered where to wait for you.
By her house? There are three ways from it, and I might have missed
you. At last I thought of waiting here, for you had to pass here,
there's no other way to the monastery. Come, tell me the truth.
Crush me like a beetle. But what's the matter?"
    "Nothing, brother- it's the fright you gave me. Oh, Dmitri!
Father's blood just now." (Alyosha began to cry, he had been on the
verge of tears for a long time, and now something seemed to snap in
his soul.) "You almost killed him- cursed him- and now- here- you're
making jokes- 'Your money or your life!'"
    "Well, what of that? It's not seemly- is that it? Not suitable
in my position?"
    "No- I only-"
    "Stay. Look at the night. You see what a dark night, what
clouds, what a wind has risen. I hid here under the willow waiting for
you. And as God's above, I suddenly thought, why go on in misery any
longer, what is there to wait for? Here I have a willow, a
handkerchief, a shirt, I can twist them into a rope in a minute, and
braces besides, and why go on burdening the earth, dishonouring it
with my vile presence? And then I heard you coming- Heavens, it was as
though something flew down to me suddenly. So there is a man, then,
whom I love. Here he is, that man, my dear little brother, whom I love
more than anyone in the world, the only one I love in the world. And I
loved you so much, so much at that moment that I thought, 'I'll fall
on his neck at once.' Then a stupid idea struck me, to have a joke
with you and scare you. I shouted, like a fool, 'Your money!'
Forgive my foolery- it was only nonsense, and there's nothing unseemly
in my soul.... Damn it all, tell me what's happened. What did she say?
Strike me, crush me, don't spare me! Was she furious?"
    "No, not that.... There was nothing like that, Mitya. There- I
found them both there."
    "Both? Whom?"
    "Grushenka at Katerina Ivanovna's."
    Dmitri was struck dumb.
    "Impossible!" he cried. "You're raving! Grushenka with her?"
    Alyosha described all that had happened from the moment he went in
to Katerina Ivanovna's. He was ten minutes telling his story. can't be
said to have told it fluently and consecutively, but he seemed to make
it clear, not omitting any word or action of significance, and vividly
describing, often in one word, his own sensations. Dmitri listened
in silence, gazing at him with a terrible fixed stare, but it was
clear to Alyosha that he understood it all, and had grasped every
point. But as the story went on, his face became not merely gloomy,
but menacing. He scowled, he clenched his teeth, and his fixed stare
became still more rigid, more concentrated, more terrible, when
suddenly, with incredible rapidity, his wrathful, savage face changed,
his tightly compressed lips parted, and Dmitri Fyodorovitch broke into
uncontrolled, spontaneous laughter. He literally shook with
laughter. For a long time he could not speak.
    "So she wouldn't kiss her hand! So she didn't kiss it; so she
ran away!" he kept exclaiming with hysterical delight; insolent
delight it might had been called, if it had not been so spontaneous.
"So the other one called her tigress! And a tigress she is! So she
ought to be flogged on a scaffold? Yes, yes, so she ought. That's just
what I think; she ought to have been long ago. It's like this,
brother, let her be punished, but I must get better first. I
understand the queen of impudence. That's her all over! You saw her
all over in that hand-kissing, the she-devil! She's magnificent in her
own line! So she ran home? I'll go- ah- I'll run to her! Alyosha,
don't blame me, I agree that hanging is too good for her."
    "But Katerina Ivanovna!" exclaimed Alyosha sorrowfully.
    "I see her, too! I see right through her, as I've never done
before! It's a regular discovery of the four continents of the
world, that is, of the five! What a thing to do! That's just like
Katya, who was not afraid to face a coarse, unmannerly officer and
risk a deadly insult on a generous impulse to save her father! But the
pride, the recklessness, the defiance of fate, the unbounded defiance!
You say that aunt tried to stop her? That aunt, you know, is
overbearing, herself. She's the sister of the general's widow in
Moscow, and even more stuck-up than she. But her husband was caught
stealing government money. He lost everything, his estate and all, and
the proud wife had to lower her colours, and hasn't raised them since.
So she tried to prevent Katya, but she wouldn't listen to her! She
thinks she can overcome everything, that everything will give way to
her. She thought she could bewitch Grushenka if she liked, and she
believed it herself: she plays a part to herself, and whose fault is
it? Do you think she kissed Grushenka's hand first, on purpose, with a
motive? No, she really was fascinated by Grushenka, that's to say, not
by Grushenka, but by her own dream, her own delusion- because it was
her dream, her delusion! Alyosha, darling, how did you escape from
them, those women? Did you pick up your cassock and run? Ha ha ha!"
    "Brother, you don't seem to have noticed how you've insulted
Katerina Ivanovna by telling Grushenka about that day. And she flung
it in her face just now that she had gone to gentlemen in secret to
sell her beauty! Brother, what could be worse than that insult?"
    What worried Alyosha more than anything was that, incredible as it
seemed, his brother appeared pleased at Katerina Ivanovna's
    "Bah!" Dmitri frowned fiercely, and struck his forehead with his
hand. He only now realised it, though Alyosha had just told him of the
insult, and Katerina Ivanovna's cry: "Your brother is a scoundrel"
    "Yes, perhaps, I really did tell Grushenka about that 'fatal day,'
as Katya calls it. Yes, I did tell her, I remember! It was that time
at Mokroe. I was drunk, the Gypsies were singing... But I was sobbing.
I was sobbing then, kneeling and praying to Katya's image, and
Grushenka understood it. She understood it all then. I remember, she
cried herself.... Damn it all! But it's bound to be so now.... Then
she cried, but now 'the dagger in the heart'! That's how women are."
    He looked down and sank into thought.
    "Yes, I am a scoundrel, a thorough scoundrel" he said suddenly, in
a gloomy voice. "It doesn't matter whether I cried or not, I'm a
scoundrel! Tell her I accept the name, if that's any comfort. Come,
that's enough. Good-bye. It's no use talking! It's not amusing. You go
your way and I mine. And I don't want to see you again except as a
last resource. Good-bye, Alexey!"
    He warmly pressed Alyosha's hand, and still looking down,
without raising his head, as though tearing himself away, turned
rapidly towards the town.
    Alyosha looked after him, unable to believe he would go away so
    "Stay, Alexey, one more confession to you alone" cried Dmitri,
suddenly turning back. "Look at me. Look at me well. You see here,
here- there's terrible disgrace in store for me." (As he said
"here," Dmitri struck his chest with his fist with a strange air, as
though the dishonour lay precisely on his chest, in some spot, in a
pocket, perhaps, or hanging round his neck.) "You know me now, a
scoundrel, an avowed scoundrel, but let me tell you that I've never
done anything before and never shall again, anything that can
compare in baseness with the dishonour which I bear now at this very
minute on my breast, here, here, which will come to pass, though I'm
perfectly free to stop it. I can stop it or carry it through, note
that. Well, let me tell you, I shall carry it through. I shan't stop
it. I told you everything just now, but I didn't tell you this,
because even I had not brass enough for it. I can still pull up; if
I do, I can give back the full half of my lost honour to-morrow. But I
shan't pull up. I shall carry out my base plan, and you can bear
witness that I told so beforehand. Darkness and destruction! No need
to explain. You'll find out in due time. The filthy back-alley and the
she-devil. Good-bye. Don't pray for me, I'm not worth it. And
there's no need, no need at all.... I don't need it! Away!"
    And he suddenly retreated, this time finally. Alyosha went towards
the monastery.
    "What? I shall never see him again! What is he saying?" he
wondered wildly. "Why, I shall certainly see him to-morrow. I shall
look him up. I shall make a point of it. What does he mean?"
    He went round the monastery, and crossed the pine-wood to the
hermitage. The door was opened to him, though no one was admitted at
that hour. There was a tremor in his heart as he went into Father
Zossima's cell.
    "Why, why, had he gone forth? Why had he sent him into the
world? Here was peace. Here was holiness. But there was confusion,
there was darkness in which one lost one's way and went astray at
    In the cell he found the novice Porfiry and Father Paissy, who
came every hour to inquire after Father Zossima. Alyosha learnt with
alarm that he was getting worse and worse. Even his usual discourse
with the brothers could not take place that day. As a rule every
evening after service the monks flocked into Father Zossima's cell,
and all confessed aloud their sins of the day, their sinful thoughts
and temptations; even their disputes, if there had been any. Some
confessed kneeling. The elder absolved, reconciled, exhorted,
imposed penance, blessed, and dismissed them. It was against this
general "confession" that the opponents of "elders" protested,
maintaining that it was a profanation of the sacrament of
confession, almost a sacrilege, though this was quite a different
thing. They even represented to the diocesan authorities that such
confessions attained no good object, but actually to a large extent
led to sin and temptation. Many of the brothers disliked going to
the elder, and went against their own will because everyone went,
and for fear they should be accused of pride and rebellious ideas.
People said that some of the monks agreed beforehand, saying, "I'll
confess I lost my temper with you this morning, and you confirm it,"
simply in order to have something to say. Alyosha knew that this
actually happened sometimes. He knew, too, that there were among the
monks some who deep resented the fact that letters from relations were
habitually taken to the elder, to be opened and read by him before
those to whom they were addressed.
    It was assumed, of course, that all this was done freely, and in
good faith, by way of voluntary submission and salutary guidance. But,
in fact, there was sometimes no little insincerity, and much that
was false and strained in this practice. Yet the older and more
experienced of the monks adhered to their opinion, arguing that "for
those who have come within these walls sincerely seeking salvation,
such obedience and sacrifice will certainly be salutary and of great
benefit; those, on the other hand, who find it irksome, and repine,
are no true monks, and have made a mistake in entering the
monastery- their proper place is in the world. Even in the temple
one cannot be safe from sin and the devil. So it was no good taking it
too much into account."
    "He is weaker, a drowsiness has come over him," Father Paissy
whispered to Alyosha, as he blessed him. "It's difficult to rouse him.
And he must not be roused. He waked up for five minutes, sent his
blessing to the brothers, and begged their prayers for him at night.
He intends to take the sacrament again in the morning. He remembered
you, Alexey. He asked whether you had gone away, and was told that you
were in the town. 'I blessed him for that work,' he said, 'his place
is there, not here, for awhile.' Those were his words about you. He
remembered you lovingly, with anxiety; do you understand how he
honoured you? But how is it that he has decided that you shall spend
some time in the world? He must have foreseen something in your
destiny! Understand, Alexey, that if you return to the world, it
must be to do the duty laid upon you by your elder, and not for
frivolous vanity and worldly pleasures."
    Father Paissy went out. Alyosha had no doubt that Father Zossima
was dying, though he might live another day or two. Alyosha firmly and
ardently resolved that in spite of his promises to his father, the
Hohlakovs, and Katerina Ivanovna, he would not leave the monastery
next day, but would remain with his elder to the end. His heart glowed
with love, and he reproached himself bitterly for having been able for
one instant to forget him whom he had left in the monastery on his
death bed, and whom he honoured above everyone in the world. He went
into Father Zossima's bedroom, knelt down, and bowed to the ground
before the elder, who slept quietly without stirring, with regular,
hardly audible breathing and a peaceful face.
    Alyosha returned to the other room, where Father Zossima
received his guests in the morning. Taking off his boots, he lay
down on the hard, narrow, leathern sofa, which he had long used as a
bed, bringing nothing but a pillow. The mattress, about which his
father had shouted to him that morning, he had long forgotten to lie
on. He took off his cassock, which he used as a covering. But before
going to bed, he fell on his knees and prayed a long time. In his
fervent prayer he did not beseech God to lighten his darkness but only
thirsted for the joyous emotion, which always visited his soul after
the praise and adoration, of which his evening prayer usually
consisted. That joy always brought him light untroubled sleep. As he
was praying, he suddenly felt in his pocket the little pink note the
servant had handed him as he left Katerina Ivanovna's. He was
disturbed, but finished his prayer. Then, after some hesitation, he
opened the envelope. In it was a letter to him, signed by Lise, the
young daughter of Madame Hohlakov, who had laughed at him before the
elder in the morning.
    "Alexey Fyodorovitch," she wrote, "I am writing to you without
anyone's knowledge, even mamma's, and I know how wrong it is. But I
cannot live without telling you the feeling that has sprung up in my
heart, and this no one but us two must know for a time. But how am I
to say what I want so much to tell you? Paper, they say, does not
blush, but I assure you it's not true and that it's blushing just as I
am now, all over. Dear Alyosha, I love you, I've loved you from my
childhood, since our Moscow days, when you were very different from
what you are now, and I shall love you all my life. My heart has
chosen you, to unite our lives, and pass them together till our old
age. Of course, on condition that you will leave the monastery. As for
our age we will wait for the time fixed by the law. By that time I
shall certainly be quite strong, I shall be walking and dancing. There
can be no doubt of that.
    "You see how I've thought of everything. There's only one thing
I can't imagine: what you'll think of me when you read this. I'm
always laughing and being naughty. I made you angry this morning,
but I assure you before I took up my pen, I prayed before the Image of
the Mother of God, and now I'm praying, and almost crying.
    "My secret is in your hands. When you come to-morrow, I don't know
how I shall look at you. Ah, Alexey Fyodorovitch, what if I can't
restrain myself like a silly and laugh when I look at you as I did
to-day. You'll think I'm a nasty girl making fun of you, and you won't
believe my letter. And so I beg you, dear one, if you've any pity
for me, when you come to-morrow, don't look me straight in the face,
for if I meet your eyes, it will be sure to make me laugh,
especially as you'll be in that long gown. I feel cold all over when I
think of it, so when you come, don't look at me at all for a time,
look at mamma or at the window....
    "Here I've written you a love-letter. Oh, dear, what have I
done? Alyosha, don't despise me, and if I've done something very
horrid and wounded you, forgive me. Now the secret of my reputation,
ruined perhaps for ever, is in your hands.
    "I shall certainly cry to-day. Good-bye till our meeting, our
awful meeting.- Lise.
    "P.S.- Alyosha! You must, must, must come!- Lise.
    Alyosha read the note in amazement, read it through twice, thought
a little, and suddenly laughed a soft, sweet laugh. He started. That
laugh seemed to him sinful. But a minute later he laughed again just
as softly and happily. He slowly replaced the note in the envelope,
crossed himself and lay down. The agitation in his heart passed at
once. "God, have mercy upon all of them, have all these unhappy and
turbulent souls in Thy keeping, and set them in the right path. All
ways are Thine. Save them according to Thy wisdom. Thou art love. Thou
wilt send joy to all!" Alyosha murmured, crossing himself, and falling
into peaceful sleep.
                               PART II

                               Book IV

                              Chapter 1
                           Father Ferapont

    ALYOSHA was roused early, before daybreak. Father Zossima woke
up feeling very weak, though he wanted to get out of bed and sit up in
a chair. His mind was quite clear; his face looked very tired, yet
bright and almost joyful. It wore an expression of gaiety, kindness
and cordiality. "Maybe I shall not live through the coming day," he
said to Alyosha. Then he desired to confess and take the sacrament
at once. He always confessed to Father Paissy. After taking the
communion, the service of extreme unction followed. The monks
assembled and the cell was gradually filled up by the inmates of the
hermitage. Meantime it was daylight. People began coming from the
monastery. After the service was over the elder desired to kiss and
take leave of everyone. As the cell was so small the earlier
visitors withdrew to make room for others. Alyosha stood beside the
elder, who was seated again in his arm-chair. He talked as much as
he could. Though his voice was weak, it was fairly steady.
    "I've been teaching you so many years, and therefore I've been
talking aloud so many years, that I've got into the habit of
talking, and so much so that it's almost more difficult for me to hold
my tongue than to talk, even now, in spite of my weakness, dear
Fathers and brothers," he jested, looking with emotion at the group
round him.
    Alyosha remembered afterwards something of what he said to them.
But though he spoke out distinctly and his voice was fairly steady,
his speech was somewhat disconnected. He spoke of many things, he
seemed anxious before the moment of death to say everything he had not
said in his life, and not simply for the sake of instructing them, but
as though thirsting to share with all men and all creation his joy and
ecstasy, and once more in his life to open his whole heart.
    "Love one another, Fathers," said Father Zossima, as far as
Alyosha could remember afterwards. "Love God's people. Because we have
come here and shut ourselves within these walls, we are no holier than
those that are outside, but on the contrary, from the very fact of
coming here, each of us has confessed to himself that he is worse than
others, than all men on earth.... And the longer the monk lives in his
seclusion, the more keenly he must recognise that. Else he would
have had no reason to come here. When he realises that he is not
only worse than others, but that he is responsible to all men for
all and everything, for all human sins, national and individual,
only then the aim of our seclusion is attained. For know, dear ones,
that every one of us is undoubtedly responsible for all men- and
everything on earth, not merely through the general sinfulness of
creation, but each one personally for all mankind and every individual
man. This knowledge is the crown of life for the monk and for every
man. For monks are not a special sort of men, but only what all men
ought to be. Only through that knowledge, our heart grows soft with
infinite, universal, inexhaustible love. Then every one of you will
have the power to win over the whole world by love and to wash away
the sins of the world with your tears....Each of you keep watch over
your heart and confess your sins to yourself unceasingly. Be not
afraid of your sins, even when perceiving them, if only there be
penitence, but make no conditions with God. Again, I say, be not
proud. Be proud neither to the little nor to the great. Hate not those
who reject you, who insult you, who abuse and slander you. Hate not
the atheists, the teachers of evil, the materialists- and I mean not
only the good ones- for there are many good ones among them,
especially in our day- hate not even the wicked ones. Remember them in
your prayers thus: Save, O Lord, all those who have none to pray for
them, save too all those who will not pray. And add: it is not in
pride that I make this prayer, O Lord, for I am lower than all men....
Love God's people, let not strangers draw away the flock, for if you
slumber in your slothfulness and disdainful pride, or worse still,
in covetousness, they will come from all sides and draw away your
flock. Expound the Gospel to the people unceasingly... be not
extortionate.... Do not love gold and silver, do not hoard them....
Have faith. Cling to the banner and raise it on high."
    But the elder spoke more disconnectedly than Alyosha reported
his words afterwards. Sometimes he broke off altogether, as though
to take breath and recover his strength, but he was in a sort of
ecstasy. They heard him with emotion, though many wondered at his
words and found them obscure.... Afterwards all remembered those
    When Alyosha happened for a moment to leave the cell, he was
struck by the general excitement and suspense in the monks who were
crowding about it. This anticipation showed itself in some by anxiety,
in others by devout solemnity. All were expecting that some marvel
would happen immediately after the elder's death. Their suspense
was, from one point of view, almost frivolous, but even the most
austere of the monks were affected by it. Father Paissy's face
looked the gravest of all.
    Alyosha was mysteriously summoned by a monk to see Rakitin, who
had arrived from town with a singular letter for him from Madame
Hohlakov. In it she informed Alyosha of a strange and very opportune
incident. It appeared that among the women who had come on the
previous day to receive Father Zossima's blessing, there had been an
old woman from the town, a sergeant's widow, called Prohorovna. She
had inquired whether she might pray for the rest of the soul of her
son, Vassenka, who had gone to Irkutsk, and had sent her no news for
over a year. To which Father Zossima had answered sternly,
forbidding her to do so, and saying that to pray for the living as
though they were dead was a kind of sorcery. He afterwards forgave her
on account of her ignorance, and added, "as though reading the book of
the future" (this was Madame Hohlakov's expression), words of comfort:
"that her son Vassya was certainly alive and he would either come
himself very shortly or send a letter, and that she was to go home and
expect him." And "Would you believe it?" exclaimed Madame Hohlakov
enthusiastically, "the prophecy has been fulfilled literally indeed,
and more than that." Scarcely had the old woman reached home when they
gave her a letter from Siberia which had been awaiting her. But that
was not all; in the letter written on the road from Ekaterinenburg,
Vassya informed his mother that he was returning to Russia with an
official, and that three weeks after her receiving the letter he hoped
"to embrace his mother."
    Madame Hohlakov warmly entreated Alyosha to report this new
"miracle of prediction" to the Superior and all the brotherhood. "All,
all, ought to know of it" she concluded. The letter had been written
in haste, the excitement of the writer was apparent in every line of
it. But Alyosha had no need to tell the monks, for all knew of it
already. Rakitin had commissioned the monk who brought his message "to
inform most respectfully his reverence Father Paissy, that he,
Rakitin, has a matter to speak of with him, of such gravity that he
dare not defer it for a moment, and humbly begs forgiveness for his
presumption." As the monk had given the message to Father Paissy,
before that to Alyosha, the latter found after reading the letter,
there was nothing left for him to do but to hand it to Father Paissy
in confirmation of the story.
    And even that austere and cautious man, though he frowned as he
read the news of the "miracle," could not completely restrain some
inner emotion. His eyes gleamed, and a grave and solemn smile came
into his lips.
    "We shall see greater things!" broke from him.
    "We shall see greater things, greater things yet!" the monks
around repeated.
    But Father Paissy, frowning again, begged all of them, at least
for a time, not to speak of the matter "till it be more fully
confirmed, seeing there is so much credulity among those of this
world, and indeed this might well have chanced naturally," he added,
prudently, as it were to satisfy his conscience, though scarcely
believing his own disavowal, a fact his listeners very clearly
    Within the hour the "miracle" was of course known to the whole
monastery, and many visitors who had come for the mass. No one
seemed more impressed by it than the monk who had come the day
before from St. Sylvester, from the little monastery of Obdorsk in the
far North. It was he who had been standing near Madame Hohlakov the
previous day and had asked Father Zossima earnestly, referring to
the "healing" of the lady's daughter, "How can you presume to do
such things?"
    He was now somewhat puzzled and did not know whom to believe.
The evening before he had visited Father Ferapont in his cell apart,
behind the apiary, and had been greatly impressed and overawed by
the visit. This Father Ferapont was that aged monk so devout in
fasting and observing silence who has been mentioned already, as
antagonistic to Father Zossima and the whole institution of
"elders," which he regarded as a pernicious and frivolous
innovation. He was a very formidable opponent, although from his
practice of silence he scarcely spoke a word to anyone. What made
him formidable was that a number of monks fully shared his feeling,
and many of the visitors looked upon him as a great saint and ascetic,
although they had no doubt that he was crazy. But it was just his
craziness attracted them.
    Father Ferapont never went to see the elder. Though he lived in
the hermitage they did not worry him to keep its regulations, and this
too because he behaved as though he were crazy. He was seventy-five or
more, and he lived in a corner beyond the apiary in an old decaying
wooden cell which had been built long ago for another great ascetic,
Father Iona, who had lived to be a hundred and five, and of whose
saintly doings many curious stories were still extant in the monastery
and the neighbourhood.
    Father Ferapont had succeeded in getting himself installed in this
same solitary cell seven years previously. It was simply a peasant's
hut, though it looked like a chapel, for it contained an extraordinary
number of ikons with lamps perpetually burning before them- which
men brought to the monastery as offerings to God. Father Ferapont
had been appointed to look after them and keep the lamps burning. It
was said (and indeed it was true) that he ate only two pounds of bread
in three days. The beekeeper, who lived close by the apiary, used to
bring him the bread every three days, and even to this man who
waited upon him, Father Ferapont rarely uttered a word. The four
pounds of bread, together with the sacrament bread, regularly sent him
on Sundays after the late mass by the Father Superior, made up his
weekly rations. The water in his jug was changed every day. He
rarely appeared at mass. Visitors who came to do him homage saw him
sometimes kneeling all day long at prayer without looking round. If he
addressed them, he was brief, abrupt, strange, and almost always rude.
On very rare occasions, however, he would talk to visitors, but for
the most part he would utter some one strange saying which was a
complete riddle, and no entreaties would induce him to pronounce a
word in explanation. He was not a priest, but a simple monk. There was
a strange belief, chiefly, however, among the most ignorant, that
Father Ferapont had communication with heavenly spirits and would only
converse with them, and so was silent with men.
    The monk from Obdorsk, having been directed to the apiary by the
beekeeper, who was also a very silent and surly monk, went to the
corner where Father Ferapont's cell stood. "Maybe he will speak as you
are a stranger and maybe you'll get nothing out of him," the beekeeper
had warned him. The monk, as he related afterwards, approached in
the utmost apprehension. It was rather late in the evening. Father
Ferapont was sitting at the door of his cell on a low bench. A huge
old elm was lightly rustling overhead. There was an evening
freshness in the air. The monk from Obdorsk bowed down before the
saint and asked his blessing.
    "Do you want me to bow down to you, monk?" said Father Ferapont.
"Get up!"
    The monk got up.
    "Blessing, be blessed! Sit beside me. Where have you come from?"
    What most struck the poor monk was the fact that in spite of his
strict fasting and great age, Father Ferapont still looked a
vigorous old man. He was tall, held himself erect, and had a thin, but
fresh and healthy face. There was no doubt he still had considerable
strength. He was of athletic build. In spite of his great age he was
not even quite grey, and still had very thick hair and a full beard,
both of which had once been black. His eyes were grey, large and
luminous, but strikingly prominent. He spoke with a broad accent. He
was dressed in a peasant's long reddish coat of coarse convict cloth
(as it used to be called) and had a stout rope round his waist. His
throat and chest were bare. Beneath his coat, his shirt of the
coarsest linen showed almost black with dirt, not having been
changed for months. They said that he wore irons weighing thirty
pounds under his coat. His stockingless feet were thrust in old
slippers almost dropping to pieces.
    "From the little Obdorsk monastery, from St. Sylvester," the
monk answered humbly, whilst his keen and inquisitive, but rather
frightened little eyes kept watch on the hermit.
    "I have been at your Sylvester's. I used to stay there. Is
Sylvester well?"
    The monk hesitated.
    "You are a senseless lot! How do you keep the fasts?"
    "Our dietary is according to the ancient conventual rules.
During Lent there are no meals provided for Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday. For Tuesday and Thursday we have white bread, stewed fruit
with honey, wild berries, or salt cabbage and whole meal stirabout. On
Saturday white cabbage soup, noodles with peas, kasha, all with hemp
oil. On weekdays we have dried fish and kasha with the cabbage soup.
From Monday till Saturday evening, six whole days in Holy Week,
nothing is cooked, and we have only bread and water, and that
sparingly; if possible not taking food every day, just the same as
is ordered for first week in Lent. On Good Friday nothing is eaten. In
the same way on the Saturday we have to fast till three o'clock, and
then take a little bread and water and drink a single cup of wine.
On Holy Thursday we drink wine and have something cooked without oil
or not cooked at all, inasmuch as the Laodicean council lays down
for Holy Thursday: "It is unseemly by remitting the fast on the Holy
Thursday to dishonour the whole of Lent!" This is how we keep the
fast. But what is that compared with you, holy Father," added the
monk, growing more confident, "for all the year round, even at Easter,
you take nothing but bread and water, and what we should eat in two
days lasts you full seven. It's truly marvellous- your great
    "And mushrooms?" asked Father Ferapont, suddenly.
    "Mushrooms?" repeated the surprised monk.
    "Yes. I can give up their bread, not needing it at all, and go
away into the forest and live there on the mushrooms or the berries,
but they can't give up their bread here, wherefore they are in bondage
to the devil. Nowadays the unclean deny that there is need of such
fasting. Haughty and unclean is their judgment."
    "Och, true," sighed the monk.
    "And have you seen devils among them?" asked Ferapont.
    "Among them? Among whom?" asked the monk, timidly.
    "I went to the Father Superior on Trinity Sunday last year, I
haven't been since. I saw a devil sitting on one man's chest hiding
under his cassock, only his horns poked out; another had one peeping
out of his pocket with such sharp eyes, he was afraid of me; another
settled in the unclean belly of one, another was hanging round a man's
neck, and so he was carrying him about without seeing him."
    "You- can see spirits?" the monk inquired.
    "I tell you I can see, I can see through them. When I was coming
out from the Superior's I saw one hiding from me behind the door,
and a big one, a yard and a half or more high, with a thick long
grey tail, and the tip of his tail was in the crack of the door and
I was quick and slammed the door, pinching his tail in it. He squealed
and began to struggle, and I made the sign of the cross over him three
times. And he died on the spot like a crushed spider. He must have
rotted there in the corner and be stinking, but they don't see, they
don't smell it. It's a year since I have been there. I reveal it to
you, as you are a stranger."
    "Your words are terrible! But, holy and blessed father," said
the monk, growing bolder and bolder, "is it true, as they noise abroad
even to distant lands about you, that you are in continual
communication with the Holy Ghost?"
    "He does fly down at times."
    "How does he fly down? In what form?"
    "As a bird."
    "The Holy Ghost in the form of a dove?"
    "There's the Holy Ghost and there's the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit can appear as other birds- sometimes as a swallow, sometimes
a goldfinch and sometimes as a blue-tit."
    "How do you know him from an ordinary tit?"
    "He speaks."
    "How does he speak, in what language?"
    "Human language."
    "And what does he tell you?"
    "Why, to-day he told me that a fool would visit me and would ask
me unseemly questions. You want to know too much, monk."
    "Terrible are your words, most holy and blessed Father," the
monk shook his head. But there was a doubtful look in his frightened
little eyes.
    "Do you see this tree?" asked Father Ferapont, after a pause.
    "I do, blessed Father."
    "You think it's an elm, but for me it has another shape."
    "What sort of shape?" inquired the monk, after a pause of vain
    "It happens at night. You see those two branches? In the night
it is Christ holding out His arms to me and seeking me with those
arms, I see it clearly and tremble. It's terrible, terrible!"
    "What is there terrible if it's Christ Himself?"
    "Why, He'll snatch me up and carry me away."
    "In the spirit and glory of Elijah, haven't you heard? He will
take me in His arms and bear me away."
    Though the monk returned to the cell he was sharing with one of
the brothers, in considerable perplexity of mind, he still cherished
at heart a greater reverence for Father Ferapont than for Father
Zossima. He was strongly in favour of fasting, and it was not
strange that one who kept so rigid a fast as Father Ferapont should
"see marvels." His words seemed certainly queer, but God only could
tell what was hidden in those words, and were not worse words and acts
commonly seen in those who have sacrificed their intellects for the
glory of God? The pinching of the devil's tail he was ready and
eager to believe, and not only in the figurative sense. Besides he
had, before visiting the monastery, a strong prejudice against the
institution of "elders," which he only knew of by hearsay and believed
to be a pernicious innovation. Before he had been long at the
monastery, he had detected the secret murmurings of some shallow
brothers who disliked the institution. He was, besides, a
meddlesome, inquisitive man, who poked his nose into everything.
This was why the news of the fresh "miracle" performed by Father
Zossima reduced him to extreme perplexity. Alyosha remembered
afterwards how their inquisitive guest from Obdorsk had been
continually flitting to and fro from one group to another, listening
and asking questions among the monks that were crowding within and
without the elder's cell. But he did not pay much attention to him
at the time, and only recollected it afterwards.
    He had no thought to spare for it indeed, for when Father Zossima,
feeling tired again, had gone back to bed, he thought of Alyosha as he
was closing his eyes, and sent for him. Alyosha ran at once. There was
no one else in the cell but Father Paissy, Father Iosif, and the
novice Porfiry. The elder, opening his weary eyes and looking intently
at Alyosha, asked him suddenly:
    "Are your people expecting you, my son?"
    Alyosha hesitated.
    "Haven't they need of you? Didn't you promise someone yesterday to
see them to-day?"
    "I did promise- to my father- my brothers- others too."
    "You see, you must go. Don't grieve. Be sure I shall not die
without your being by to hear my last word. To you I will say that
word, my son, it will be my last gift to you. To you, dear son,
because you love me. But now go to keep your promise."
    Alyosha immediately obeyed, though it was hard to go. But the
promise that he should hear his last word on earth, that it should
be the last gift to him, Alyosha, sent a thrill of rapture through his
soul. He made haste that he might finish what he had to do in the town
and return quickly. Father Paissy, too, uttered some words of
exhortation which moved and surprised him greatly. He spoke as they
left the cell together.
    "Remember, young man, unceasingly," Father Paissy began, without
preface, "that the science of this world, which has become a great
power, has, especially in the last century, analysed everything divine
handed down to us in the holy books. After this cruel analysis the
learned of this world have nothing left of all that was sacred of old.
But they have only analysed the parts and overlooked the whole, and
indeed their blindness is marvellous. Yet the whole still stands
steadfast before their eyes, and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it. Has it not lasted nineteen centuries, is it not still a
living, a moving power in the individual soul and in the masses of
people? It is still as strong and living even in the souls of
atheists, who have destroyed everything! For even those who have
renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still
follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor
the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of
man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. When it has
been attempted, the result has been only grotesque. Remember this
especially, young man, since you are being sent into the world by your
departing elder. Maybe, remembering this great day, you will not
forget my words, uttered from the heart for your guidance, seeing
you are young, and the temptations of the world are great and beyond
your strength to endure. Well, now go, my orphan."
    With these words Father Paissy blessed him. As Alyosha left the
monastery and thought them over, he suddenly realised that he had
met a new and unexpected friend, a warmly loving teacher, in this
austere monk who had hitherto treated him sternly. It was as though
Father Zossima had bequeathed him to him at his death, and "perhaps
that's just what had passed between them," Alyosha thought suddenly.
The philosophic reflections he had just heard so unexpectedly
testified to the warmth of Father Paissy's heart. He was in haste to
arm the boy's mind for conflict with temptation and to guard the young
soul left in his charge with the strongest defence he could imagine.
                              Chapter 2
                           At His Father's

    FIRST of all, Alyosha went to his father. On the way he remembered
that his father had insisted the day before that he should come
without his brother Ivan seeing him. "Why so?" Alyosha wondered
suddenly. "Even if my father has something to say to me alone, why
should I go in unseen? Most likely in his excitement yesterday he
meant to say something different," he decided. Yet he was very glad
when Marfa Ignatyevna, who opened the garden gate to him (Grigory,
it appeared, was ill in bed in the lodge), told him in answer to his
question that Ivan Fyodorovitch had gone out two hours ago.
    "And my father?"
    "He is up, taking his coffee," Marfa answered somewhat drily.
    Alyosha went in. The old man was sitting alone at the table
wearing slippers and a little old overcoat. He was amusing himself
by looking through some accounts, rather inattentively however. He was
quite alone in the house, for Smerdyakov too had gone out marketing.
Though he had got up early and was trying to put a bold face on it, he
looked tired and weak. His forehead, upon which huge purple bruises
had come out during the night, was bandaged with a red handkerchief;
his nose too was swollen terribly in the night, and some smaller
bruises covered it in patches, giving his whole face a peculiarly
spiteful and irritable look. The old man was aware of this, and turned
a hostile glance on Alyosha as he came in.
    "The coffee is cold," he cried harshly; "I won't offer you any.
I've ordered nothing but a Lenten fish soup to-day, and I don't invite
anyone to share it. Why have you come?"
    "To find out how you are," said Alyosha.
    "Yes. Besides, I told you to come yesterday. It's all of no
consequence. You need not have troubled. But I knew you'd come
poking in directly."
    He said this with almost hostile feeling. At the same time he
got up and looked anxiously in the looking-glass (perhaps for the
fortieth time that morning) at his nose. He began, too, binding his
red handkerchief more becomingly on his forehead.
    "Red's better. It's just like the hospital in a white one," he
observed sententiously. "Well, how are things over there? How is
your elder?"
    "He is very bad; he may die to-day," answered Alyosha. But his
father had not listened, and had forgotten his own question at once.
    "Ivan's gone out," he said suddenly. "He is doing his utmost to
carry off Mitya's betrothed. That's what he is staying here for," he
added maliciously, and, twisting his mouth, looked at Alyosha.
    "Surely he did not tell you so?" asked Alyosha.
    "Yes, he did, long ago. Would you believe it, he told me three
weeks ago? You don't suppose he too came to murder me, do you? He must
have had some object in coming."
    "What do you mean? Why do you say such things?" said Alyosha,
    "He doesn't ask for money, it's true, but yet he won't get a
farthing from me. I intend living as long as possible, you may as well
know, my dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, and so I need every farthing, and
the longer I live, the more I shall need it," he continued, pacing
from one corner of the room to the other, keeping his hands in the
pockets of his loose greasy overcoat made of yellow cotton material.
"I can still pass for a man at five and fifty, but I want to pass
for one for another twenty years. As I get older, you know, I shan't
be a pretty object. The wenches won't come to me of their own
accord, so I shall want my money. So I am saving up more and more,
simply for myself, my dear son Alexey Fyodorovitch. You may as well
know. For I mean to go on in my sins to the end, let me tell you.
For sin is sweet; all abuse it, but all men live in it, only others do
it on the sly, and I openly. And so all the other sinners fall upon me
for being so simple. And your paradise, Alexey Fyodorovitch, is not to
my taste, let me tell you that; and it's not the proper place for a
gentleman, your paradise, even if it exists. I believe that I fall
asleep and don't wake up again, and that's all. You can pray for my
soul if you like. And if you don't want to, don't, damn you! That's my
philosophy. Ivan talked well here yesterday, though we were all drunk.
Ivan is a conceited coxcomb, but he has no particular learning...
nor education either. He sits silent and smiles at one without
speaking- that's what pulls him through."
    Alyosha listened to him in silence.
    "Why won't he talk to me? If he does speak, he gives himself airs.
Your Ivan is a scoundrel! And I'll marry Grushenka in a minute if I
want to. For if you've money, Alexey Fyodorovitch, you have only to
want a thing and you can have it. That's what Ivan is afraid of, he is
on the watch to prevent me getting married and that's why he is egging
on Mitya to marry Grushenka himself. He hopes to keep me from
Grushenka by that (as though I should leave him my money if I don't
marry her!). Besides if Mitya marries Grushenka, Ivan will carry off
his rich betrothed, that's what he's reckoning on! He is a
scoundrel, your Ivan!"
    "How cross you are! It's because of yesterday; you had better
lie down," said Alyosha.
    "There! you say that," the old man observed suddenly, as though it
had struck him for the first time, "and I am not angry with you. But
if Ivan said it, I should be angry with him. It is only with you I
have good moments, else you know I am an ill-natured man."
    "You are not ill-natured, but distorted," said Alyosha with a
    "Listen. I meant this morning to get that ruffian Mitya locked
up and I don't know now what I shall decide about it. Of course in
these fashionable days fathers and mothers are looked upon as a
prejudice, but even now the law does not allow you to drag your old
father about by the hair, to kick him in the face in his own house,
and brag of murdering him outright- all in the presence of
witnesses. If I liked, I could crush him and could have him locked
up at once for what he did yesterday."
    "Then you don't mean to take proceedings?"
    "Ivan has dissuaded me. I shouldn't care about Ivan, but there's
another thing."
    And bending down to Alyosha, he went on in a confidential
    "If I send the ruffian to prison, she'll hear of it and run to see
him at once. But if she hears that he has beaten me, a weak old man,
within an inch of my life, she may give him up and come to me... For
that's her way, everything by contraries. I know her through and
through! Won't you have a drop of brandy? Take some cold coffee and
I'll pour a quarter of a glass of brandy into it, it's delicious, my
    "No, thank you. I'll take that roll with me if I may," said
Alyosha, and taking a halfpenny French roll he put it in the pocket of
his cassock. "And you'd better not have brandy, either," he
suggested apprehensively, looking into the old man's face.
    "You are quite right, it irritates my nerves instead of soothing
them. Only one little glass. I'll get it out of the cupboard."
    He unlocked the cupboard, poured out a glass, drank it, then
locked the cupboard and put the key back in his pocket.
    "That's enough. One glass won't kill me."
    "You see you are in a better humour now," said Alyosha, smiling.
    "Um! I love you even without the brandy, but with scoundrels I
am a scoundrel. Ivan is not going to Tchermashnya- why is that? He
wants to spy how much I give Grushenka if she comes. They are all
scoundrels! But I don't recognise Ivan, I don't know him at all. Where
does he come from? He is not one of us in soul. As though I'd leave
him anything! I shan't leave a will at all, you may as well know.
And I'll crush Mitya like a beetle. I squash black-beetles at night
with my slipper; they squelch when you tread on them. And your Mitya
will squelch too. Your Mitya, for you love him. Yes you love him and I
am not afraid of your loving him. But if Ivan loved him I should be
afraid for myself at his loving him. But Ivan loves nobody. Ivan is
not one of us. People like Ivan are not our sort, my boy. They are
like a cloud of dust. When the wind blows, the dust will be gone.... I
had a silly idea in my head when I told you to come to-day; I wanted
to find out from you about Mitya. If I were to hand him over a
thousand or maybe two now, would the beggarly wretch agree to take
himself off altogether for five years or, better still, thirty-five,
and without Grushenka, and give her up once for all, eh?"
    "I- I'll ask him," muttered Alyosha. "If you would give him
three thousand, perhaps he-"
    "That's nonsense! You needn't ask him now, no need! I've changed
my mind. It was a nonsensical idea of mine. I won't give him anything,
not a penny, I want my money myself," cried the old man, waving his
hand. "I'll crush him like a beetle without it. Don't say anything
to him or else he will begin hoping. There's nothing for you to do
here, you needn't stay. Is that betrothed of his, Katerina Ivanovna,
whom he has kept so carefully hidden from me all this time, going to
marry him or not? You went to see her yesterday, I believe?"
    "Nothing will induce her to abandon him."
    "There you see how dearly these fine young ladies love a rake
and a scoundrel. They are poor creatures I tell you, those pale
young ladies, very different from- Ah, if I had his youth and the
looks I had then (for I was better-looking than he at eight and
twenty) I'd have been a conquering hero just as he is. He is a low
cad! But he shan't have Grushenka, anyway, he shan't! I'll crush him!"
    His anger had returned with the last words.
    "You can go. There's nothing for you to do here to-day," he
snapped harshly.
    Alyosha went up to say good-bye to him, and kissed him on the
    "What's that for?" The old man was a little surprised. "We shall
see each other again, or do you think we shan't?"
    "Not at all, I didn't mean anything."
    "Nor did I, I did not mean anything," said the old man, looking at
him. "Listen, listen," he shouted after him, "make haste and come
again and I'll have a fish soup for you, a fine one, not like
to-day. Be sure to come! Come to-morrow, do you hear, to-morrow!"
    And as soon as Alyosha had gone out of the door, he went to the
cupboard again and poured out another half-glass.
    "I won't have more!" he muttered, clearing his throat, and again
he locked the cupboard and put the key in his pocket. Then he went
into his bedroom, lay down on the bed, exhausted, and in one minute he
was asleep.
                              Chapter 3
                    A Meeting with the Schoolboys

    "THANK goodness he did not ask me about Grushenka," thought
Alyosha, as he left his father's house and turned towards Madame
Hohlakov's, "or I might have had to tell him of my meeting with
Grushenka yesterday."
    Alyosha felt painfully that since yesterday both combatants had
renewed their energies, and that their hearts had grown hard again.
"Father is spiteful and angry, he's made some plan and will stick to
it. And what of Dmitri? He too will be harder than yesterday, he too
must be spiteful and angry, and he too, no doubt, has made some
plan. Oh, I must succeed in finding him to-day, whatever happens."
    But Alyosha had not long to meditate. An incident occurred on
the road, which, though apparently of little consequence, made a great
impression on him. just after he had crossed the square and turned the
corner coming out into Mihailovsky Street, which is divided by a small
ditch from the High Street (our whole town is intersected by ditches),
he saw a group of schoolboys between the ages of nine and twelve, at
the bridge. They were going home from school, some with their bags
on their shoulders, others with leather satchels slung across them,
some in short jackets, others in little overcoats. Some even had those
high boots with creases round the ankles, such as little boys spoilt
by rich fathers love to wear. The whole group was talking eagerly
about something, apparently holding a council. Alyosha had never
from his Moscow days been able to pass children without taking
notice of them, and although he was particularly fond of children of
three or thereabout, he liked schoolboys of ten and eleven too. And
so, anxious as he was to-day, he wanted at once to turn aside to
talk to them. He looked into their excited rosy faces, and noticed
at once that all the boys had stones in their hands. Behind the
ditch some thirty paces away, there was another schoolboy standing
by a fence. He too had a satchel at his side. He was about ten years
old, pale, delicate-looking and with sparkling black eyes. He kept
an attentive and anxious watch on the other six, obviously his
schoolfellows with whom he had just come out of school, but with
whom he had evidently had a feud.
    Alyosha went up and, addressing a fair, curly-headed, rosy boy
in a black jacket, observed:
    "When I used to wear a satchel like yours, I always used to
carry it on my left side, so as to have my right hand free, but you've
got yours on your right side. So it will be awkward for you to get
at it."
    Alyosha had no art or premeditation in beginning with this
practical remark. But it is the only way for a grown-up person to
get at once into confidential relations with a child, or still more
with a group of children. One must begin in a serious, businesslike
way so as to be on a perfectly equal footing. Alyosha understood it by
    "But he is left-handed," another, a fine healthy-looking boy of
eleven, answered promptly. All the others stared at Alyosha.
    "He even throws stones with his left hand," observed a third.
    At that instant a stone flew into the group, but only just
grazed the left-handed boy, though it was well and vigorously thrown
by the boy standing on the other side of the ditch.
    "Give it him, hit him back, Smurov," they all shouted. But Smurov,
the left-handed boy, needed no telling, and at once revenged
himself; he threw a stone, but it missed the boy and hit the ground.
The boy on the other side of the ditch, the pocket of whose coat was
visibly bulging with stones, flung another stone at the group; this
time it flew straight at Alyosha and hit him painfully on the
    "He aimed it at you, he meant it for you. You are Karamazov,
Karamazov!" the boys shouted laughing, "Come, all throw at him at
once!" and six stones flew at the boy. One struck the boy on the
head and he fell down, but at once leapt up and began ferociously
returning their fire. Both sides threw stones incessantly. Many of the
group had their pockets full too.
    "What are you about! Aren't you ashamed? Six against one! Why,
you'll kill him," cried Alyosha.
    He ran forward and met the flying stones to screen the solitary
boy. Three or four ceased throwing for a minute.
    "He began first!" cried a boy in a red shirt in an angry
childish voice. "He is a beast, he stabbed Krassotkin in class the
other day with a penknife. It bled. Krassotkin wouldn't tell tales,
but he must be thrashed."
    "But what for? I suppose you tease him."
    "There, he sent a stone in your back again, he knows you," cried
the children. "It's you he is throwing at now, not us. Come, all of
you, at him again, don't miss, Smurov!" and again a fire of stones,
and a very vicious one, began. The boy on the other side of the
ditch was hit in the chest; he screamed, began to cry and ran away
uphill towards Mihailovsky Street. They all shouted: "Aha, he is
funking, he is running away. Wisp of tow!"
    "You don't know what a beast he is, Karamazov, killing is too good
for him," said the boy in the jacket, with flashing eyes. He seemed to
be the eldest.
    "What's wrong with him?" asked Alyosha, "Is he a tell-tale or
    The boys looked at one another as though derisively.
    "Are you going that way, to Mihailovsky?" the same boy went on.
"Catch him up.... You see he's stopped again, he is waiting and
looking at you."
    "He is looking at you," the other boys chimed in.
    "You ask him, does he like a dishevelled wisp of tow. Do you hear,
ask him that!"
    There was a general burst of laughter. Alyosha looked at them, and
they at him.
    "Don't go near him, he'll hurt you," cried Smurov in a warning
    "I shan't ask him about the wisp of tow, for I expect you tease
him with that question somehow. But I'll find out from him why you
hate him so."
    "Find out then, find out," cried the boys laughing.
    Alyosha crossed the bridge and walked uphill by the fence,
straight towards the boy.
    "You'd better look out," the boys called after him; "he won't be
afraid of you. He will stab you in a minute, on the sly, as he did
    The boy waited for him without budging. Coming up to him,
Alyosha saw facing him a child of about nine years old. He was an
undersized weakly boy with a thin pale face, with large dark eyes that
gazed at him vindictively. He was dressed in a rather shabby old
overcoat, which he had monstrously outgrown. His bare arms stuck out
beyond his sleeves. There was a large patch on the right knee of his
trousers, and in his right boot just at the toe there was a big hole
in the leather, carefully blackened with ink. Both the pockets of
his greatcoat were weighed down with stones. Alyosha stopped two steps
in front of him, looking inquiringly at him, The boy, seeing at once
from Alyosha's eyes that he wouldn't beat him, became less defiant,
and addressed him first.
    "I am alone, and there are six of them. I'll beat them all,
alone!" he said suddenly, with flashing eyes.
    "I think one of the stones must have hurt you badly," observed
    "But I hit Smurov on the head!" cried the boy.
    "They told me that you know me, and that you threw a stone at me
on purpose," said Alyosha.
    The boy looked darkly at him.
    "I don't know you. Do you know me?" Alyosha continued.
    "Let me alone!" the boy cried irritably; but he did not move, as
though he were expecting something, and again there was a vindictive
light in his eyes.
    "Very well, I am going," said Alyosha; "only I don't know you
and I don't tease you. They told me how they tease you, but I don't
want to tease you. Good-bye!"
    "Monk in silk trousers!" cried the boy, following Alyosha with the
same vindictive and defiant expression, and he threw himself into an
attitude of defence, feeling sure that now Alyosha would fall upon
him; but Alyosha turned, looked at him, and walked away. He had not
gone three steps before the biggest stone the boy had in his pocket
hit him a painful blow in the back.
    "So you'll hit a man from behind! They tell the truth, then,
when they say that you attack on the sly," said Alyosha, turning round
again. This time the boy threw a stone savagely right into Alyosha's
face; but Alyosha just had time to guard himself, and the stone struck
him on the elbow.
    "Aren't you ashamed? What have I done to you?" he cried.
    The boy waited in silent defiance, certain that now Alyosha
would attack him. Seeing that even now he would not, his rage was like
a little wild beast's; he flew at Alyosha himself, and before
Alyosha had time to move, the spiteful child had seized his left
hand with both of his and bit his middle finger. He fixed his teeth in
it and it was ten seconds before he let go. Alyosha cried out with
pain and pulled his finger away with all his might. The child let go
at last and retreated to his former distance. Alyosha's finger had
been badly bitten to the bone, close to the nail; it began to bleed.
Alyosha took out his handkerchief and bound it tightly round his
injured hand. He was a full minute bandaging it. The boy stood waiting
all the time. At last Alyosha raised his gentle eyes and looked at
    "Very well," he said, "You see how badly you've bitten me.
That's enough, isn't it? Now tell me, what have I done to you?"
    The boy stared in amazement.
    "Though I don't know you and it's the first time I've seen you,"
Alyosha went on with the same serenity, "yet I must have done
something to you- you wouldn't have hurt me like this for nothing.
So what have I done? How have I wronged you, tell me?"
    Instead of answering, the boy broke into a loud tearful wail and
ran away. Alyosha walked slowly after him towards Mihailovsky
Street, and for a long time he saw the child running in the distance
as fast as ever, not turning his head and no doubt still keeping up
his tearful wail. He made up his mind to find him out as soon as he
had time, and to solve this mystery. just now he had not the time.
                              Chapter 4
                          At the Hohlakovs'

    ALYOSHA soon reached Madame Hohlakov's house, a handsome stone
house of two stories, one of the finest in our town. Though Madame
Hohlakov spent most of her time in another province where she had an
estate, or in Moscow, where she had a house of her own, yet she had
a house in our town too, inherited from her forefathers. The estate in
our district was the largest of her three estates, yet she had been
very little in our province before this time. She ran out to Alyosha
in the hall.
    "Did you get my letter about the new miracle?" She spoke rapidly
and nervously.
    "Did you show it to everyone? He restored the son to his mother!"
    "He is dying to-day," said Alyosha.
    "I have heard, I know, oh, how I long to talk to you, to you or
someone, about all this. No, to you, to you! And how sorry I am I
can't see him! The whole town is in excitement, they are all suspense.
But now- do you know Katerina Ivanovna is here now?"
    "Ah, that's lucky," cried Alyosha. "Then I shall see her here. She
told me yesterday to be sure to come and see her to-day."
    "I know, I know all. I've heard exactly what happened yesterday-
and the atrocious behaviour of that- creature. C'est tragique, and
if I'd been in her place I don't know what I should have done. And
your brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch, what do you think of him?- my
goodness! Alexey Fyodorovitch, I am forgetting, only fancy; your
brother is in there with her, not that dreadful brother who was so
shocking yesterday, but the other, Ivan Fyodorovitch, he is sitting
with her talking; they are having a serious conversation. If you could
only imagine what's passing between them now- it's awful, I tell you
it's lacerating, it's like some incredible tale of horror. They are
ruining their lives for no reason anyone can see. They both
recognise it and revel in it. I've been watching for you! I've been
thirsting for you! It's too much for me. that's the worst of it.
I'll tell you all about it presently, but now I must speak of
something else, the most important thing- I had quite forgotten what's
most important. Tell me, why has Lise been in hysterics? As soon as
she heard you were here, she began to be hysterical!"
    "Maman, it's you who are hysterical now, not I," Lise's voice
carolled through a tiny crack of the door at the side. Her voice
sounded as though she wanted to laugh, but was doing her utmost to
control it. Alyosha at once noticed the crack, and no doubt Lise was
peeping through it, but that he could not see.
    "And no wonder, Lise, no wonder... your caprices will make me
hysterical too. But she is so ill, Alexey Fyodorovitch, she has been
so ill all night, feverish and moaning! I could hardly wait for the
morning and for Herzenstube to come. He says that he can make
nothing of it, that we must wait. Herzenstube always comes and says
that he can make nothing of it. As soon as you approached the house,
she screamed, fell into hysterics, and insisted on being wheeled
back into this room here."
    "Mamma, I didn't know he had come. It wasn't on his account I
wanted to be wheeled into this room."
    "That's not true, Lise, Yulia ran to tell you that Alexey
Fyodorovitch was coming. She was on the lookout for you."
    "My darling mamma, it's not at all clever of you. But if you
want to make up for it and say something very clever, dear mamma,
you'd better tell our honoured visitor, Alexey Fyodorovitch, that he
has shown his want of wit by venturing to us after what happened
yesterday and although everyone is laughing at him."
    "Lise, you go too far. I declare I shall have to be severe. Who
laughs at him? I am so glad he has come, I need him, I can't do
without him. Oh, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I am exceedingly unhappy!"
    "But what's the matter with you, mamma, darling?"
    "Ah, your caprices, Lise, your fidgetiness, your illness, that
awful night of fever, that awful everlasting Herzenstube, everlasting,
everlasting, that's the worst of it! Everything, in fact,
everything.... Even that miracle, too! Oh, how it has upset me, how it
has shattered me, that miracle, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch! And that
tragedy in the drawing-room, it's more than I can bear, I warn you.
I can't bear it. A comedy, perhaps, not a tragedy. Tell me, will
Father Zossima live till to-morrow, will he? Oh, my God! What is
happening to me? Every minute I close my eyes and see that it's all
nonsense, all nonsense."
    "I should be very grateful," Alyosha interrupted suddenly, "if you
could give me a clean rag to bind up my finger with. I have hurt it,
and it's very painful."
    Alyosha unbound his bitten finger. The handkerchief was soaked
with blood. Madame Hohlakov screamed and shut her eyes.
    "Good heavens, what a wound, how awful!
    But as soon as Lise saw Alyosha's finger through the crack, she
flung the door wide open.
    "Come, come here," she cried, imperiously. "No nonsense now!
Good heavens, why did you stand there saying nothing about it all this
time? He might have bled to death, mamma! How did you do it? Water,
water! You must wash it first of all, simply hold it in cold water
to stop the pain, and keep it there, keep it there.... Make haste,
mamma, some water in a slop-basin. But do make haste," she finished
nervously. She was quite frightened at the sight of Alyosha's wound.
    "Shouldn't we send for Herzenstube?" cried Madame Hohlakov.
    "Mamma, you'll be the death of me. Your Herzenstube will come
and say that he can make nothing of it! Water, water! Mamma, for
goodness' sake go yourself and hurry Yulia, she is such a slowcoach
and never can come quickly! Make haste, mamma, or I shall die."
    "Why, it's nothing much," cried Alyosha, frightened at this alarm.
    Yulia ran in with water and Alyosha put his finger in it.
    "Some lint, mamma, for mercy's sake, bring some lint and that
muddy caustic lotion for wounds, what's it called? We've got some. You
know where the bottle is, mamma; it's in your bedroom in the
right-hand cupboard, there's a big bottle of it there with the lint."
    "I'll bring everything in a minute, Lise, only don't scream and
don't fuss. You see how bravely Alexey Fyodorovitch bears it. Where
did you get such a dreadful wound, Alexey Fyodorovitch?"
    Madame Hohlakov hastened away. This was all Lise was waiting for.
    "First of all, answer the question, where did you get hurt like
this?" she asked Alyosha, quickly. "And then I'll talk to you about
something quite different. Well?"
    Instinctively feeling that the time of her mother's absence was
precious for her, Alyosha hastened to tell her of his enigmatic
meeting with the school boys in the fewest words possible. Lise
clasped her hands at his story.
    "How can you, and in that dress too, associate with schoolboys?"
she cried angrily, as though she had a right to control him. "You
are nothing but a boy yourself if you can do that, a perfect boy!
But you must find out for me about that horrid boy and tell me all
about it, for there's some mystery in it. Now for the second thing,
but first a question: does the pain prevent you talking about
utterly unimportant things, but talking sensibly?"
    "Of course not, and I don't feel much pain now."
    "That's because your finger is in the water. It must be changed
directly, for it will get warm in a minute. Yulia, bring some ice from
the cellar and another basin of water. Now she is gone, I can speak;
will you give me the letter I sent you yesterday, dear Alexey
Fyodorovitch- be quick, for mamma will be back in a minute and I don't
want- "
    "I haven't got the letter."
    "That's not true, you have. I knew you would say that. You've
got it in that pocket. I've been regretting that joke all night.
Give me back the letter at once, give it me."
    "I've left it at home."
    "But you can't consider me as a child, a little girl, after that
silly joke! I beg your pardon for that silliness, but you must bring
me the letter, if you really haven't got it- bring to-day, you must,
you must."
    "To-day I can't possibly, for I am going back to the monastery and
I shan't come and see you for the next two days- three or four
perhaps- for Father Zossima- "
    "Four days, what nonsense! Listen. Did you laugh at me very much?"
    "I didn't laugh at all."
    "Why not?"
    "Because I believed all you said."
    "You are insulting me!"
    "Not at all. As soon as I read it, I thought that all that would
come to pass, for as soon as Father Zossima dies, I am to leave the
monastery. Then I shall go back and finish my studies, and when you
reach the legal age we will be married. I shall love you. Though I
haven't had time to think about it, I believe I couldn't find a better
wife than you, and Father Zossima tells me I must marry."
    "But I am a cripple, wheeled about in a chair," laughed Lise,
flushing crimson.
    "I'll wheel you about myself, but I'm sure you'll get well by
    "But you are mad," said Lise, nervously, "to make all this
nonsense out of a joke! Here's mamma, very a propos, perhaps. Mamma,
how slow you always are, how can you be so long! And here's Yulia with
the ice!
    "Oh, Lise, don't scream, above all things don't scream. That
scream drives me... How can I help it when you put the lint in another
place? I've been hunting and hunting- I do believe you did it on
    "But I couldn't tell that he would come with a bad finger, or else
perhaps I might have done it on purpose. My darling mamma, you begin
to say really witty things."
    "Never mind my being witty, but I must say you show nice feeling
for Alexey Fyodorovitch's sufferings! Oh, my dear Alexey Fyodorovitch,
what's killing me is no one thing in particular, not Herzenstube,
but everything together, that's what is too much for me."
    "That's enough, mamma, enough about Herzenstube," Lise laughed
gaily. "Make haste with the lint and the lotion, mamma. That's
simply Goulard's water, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I remember the name
now, but it's a splendid lotion. Would you believe it, Mamma, on the
way here he had a fight with the boys in the street, and it was a
boy bit his finger, isn't he a child, a child himself? Is he fit to be
married after that? For only fancy, he wants to be married, mamma.
Just think of him married, wouldn't it be funny, wouldn't it be
    And Lise kept laughing her thin hysterical giggle, looking slyly
at Alyosha.
    "But why married, Lise? What makes you talk of such a thing?
It's quite out of place and perhaps the boy was rabid."
    "Why, mamma! As though there were rabid boys!"
    "Why not, Lise, as though I had said something stupid! Your boy
might have been bitten by a mad dog and he would become mad and bite
anyone near him. How well she has bandaged it, Alexey Fyodorovitch!
I couldn't have done it. Do you still feel the pain?"
    "It's nothing much now."
    "You don't feel afraid of water?" asked Lise.
    "Come, that's enough, Lise, perhaps I really was rather too
quick talking of the boy being rabid, and you pounced upon it at once.
Katerina Ivanovna has only just heard that you are here, Alexey
Fyodorovitch, she simply rushed at me, she's dying to see you, dying!"
    "Ach, mamma, go to them yourself. He can't go just now, he is in
too much pain."
    "Not at all, I can go quite well," said Alyosha.
    "What! You are going away? Is that what you say?"
    "Well, when I've seen them, I'll come back here and we can talk as
much as you like. But I should like to see Katerina Ivanovna at
once, for I am very anxious to be back at the monastery as soon as I
    "Mamma, take him away quickly. Alexey Fyodorovitch, don't
trouble to come and see me afterwards, but go straight back to your
monastery and a good riddance. I want to sleep, I didn't sleep all
    "Ah, Lise, you are only making fun, but how I wish you would
sleep!" cried Madame Hohlakov.
    "I don't know what I've done.... I'll stay another three
minutes, five if you like," muttered Alyosha.
    "Even five! Do take him away quickly, mamma, he is a monster."
    "Lise, you are crazy. Let us go, Alexey Fyodorovitch, she is too
capricious to-day. I am afraid to cross her. Oh, the trouble one has
with nervous girls! Perhaps she really will be able to sleep after
seeing you. How quickly you have made her sleepy, and how fortunate it
    "Ah, mamma, how sweetly you talk! I must kiss you for it, mamma."
    "And I kiss you too, Lise. Listen, Alexey Fyodorovitch," Madame
Hohlakov began mysteriously and importantly, speaking in a rapid
whisper. "I don't want to suggest anything, I don't want to lift the
veil, you will see for yourself what's going on. It's appalling.
It's the most fantastic farce. She loves your brother, Ivan, and she
is doing her utmost to persuade herself she loves your brother,
Dmitri. It's appalling! I'll go in with you, and if they don't turn me
out, I'll stay to the end."
                              Chapter 5
                   A Laceration in the Drawing-Room

    BUT in the drawing-room the conversation was already over.
Katerina Ivanovna was greatly excited, though she looked resolute.
At the moment Alyosha and Madame Hohlakov entered, Ivan Fyodorovitch
stood up to take leave. His face was rather pale, and Alyosha looked
at him anxiously. For this moment was to solve a doubt, a harassing
enigma which had for some time haunted Alyosha. During the preceding
month it had been several times suggested to him that his brother Ivan
was in love with Katerina Ivanovna, and, what was more, that he
meant "to carry her off from Dmitri. Until quite lately the idea
seemed to Alyosha monstrous, though it worried him extremely. He loved
both his brothers, and dreaded such rivalry between them. Meantime,
Dmitri had said outright on the previous day that he was glad that
Ivan was his rival, and that it was a great assistance to him, Dmitri.
In what way did it assist him? To marry Grushenka? But that Alyosha
considered the worst thing possible. Besides all this, Alyosha had
till the evening before implicitly believed that Katerina Ivanovna had
a steadfast and passionate love for Dmitri; but he had only believed
it till the evening before. He had fancied, too, that she was
incapable of loving a man like Ivan, and that she did love Dmitri, and
loved him just as he was, in spite of all the strangeness of such a
    But during yesterday's scene with Grushenka another idea had
struck him. The word "lacerating," which Madame Hohlakov had just
uttered, almost made him start, because half waking up towards
daybreak that night he had cried out "Laceration, laceration,"
probably applying it to his dream. He had been dreaming all night of
the previous day's scene at Katerina Ivanovna's. Now Alyosha was
impressed by Madame Hohlakov's blunt and persistent assertion that
Katerina Ivanovna was in love with Ivan, and only deceived herself
through some sort of pose, from "self-laceration," and tortured
herself by her pretended love for Dmitri from some fancied duty of
gratitude. "Yes," he thought, "perhaps the whole truth lies in those
words." But in that case what was Ivan's position? Alyosha felt
instinctively that a character like Katerina Ivanovna's must dominate,
and she could only dominate someone like Dmitri, and never a man
like Ivan. For Dmitri might- at last submit to her domination "to
his own happiness" (which was what Alyosha would have desired), but
Ivan- no, Ivan could not submit to her, and such submission would
not give him happiness. Alyosha could not help believing that of Ivan.
And now all these doubts and reflections flitted through his mind as
he entered the drawing-room. Another idea, too, forced itself upon
him: "What if she loved neither of them- neither Ivan nor Dmitri?"
    It must be noted that Alyosha felt as it were ashamed of his own
thoughts and blamed himself when they kept recurring to him during the
last month. "What do I know about love and women and how can I
decide such questions?" he thought reproachfully, after such doubts
and surmises. And yet it was impossible not to think about it. He felt
instinctively that this rivalry was of immense importance in his
brothers' lives and that a great deal depended upon it.
    "One reptile will devour the other," Ivan had pronounced the day
before, speaking in anger of his father and Dmitri. So Ivan looked
upon Dmitri as a reptile, and perhaps long done so. Was it perhaps
since he had known Katerina Ivanovna? That phrase had, of course,
escaped Ivan unawares yesterday, but that only made it more important.
If he felt like that, what chance was there of peace? Were there
not, on the contrary, new grounds for hatred and hostility in their
family? And with which of them was Alyosha to sympathise? And what was
he to wish for each of them? He loved them both, but what could he
desire for each in the midst of these conflicting interests? He
might go quite astray in this maze, and Alyosha's heart could not
endure uncertainty, because his love was always of an active
character. He was incapable of passive love. If he loved anyone, he
set to work at once to help him. And to do so he must know what he was
aiming at; he must know for certain what was best for each, and having
ascertained this it was natural for him to help them both. But instead
of a definite aim, he found nothing but uncertainty and perplexity
on all sides. "It was lacerating," as was said just now. But what
could he understand even in this "laceration"? He did not understand
the first word in this perplexing maze.
    Seeing Alyosha, Katerina Ivanovna said quickly and joyfully to
Ivan, who had already got up to go, "A minute! Stay another minute!
I want to hear the opinion of this person here whom I trust
absolutely. Don't go away," she added, addressing Madame Hohlakov. She
made Alyosha sit down beside her, and Madame Hohlakov sat opposite, by
    "You are all my friends here, all I have in the world, dear
friends," she warmly, in a voice which quivered with genuine tears
of suffering, and Alyosha's heart warmed to her at once. "You,
Alexey Fyodorovitch, were witness yesterday of that abominable
scene, and saw what I did. You did not see it, Ivan Fyodorovitch, he
did. What he thought of me yesterday I don't know. I only know one
thing, that if it were repeated to-day, this minute, I should
express the same feelings again as yesterday- the same feelings, the
same words, the same actions. You remember my actions, Alexey
Fyodorovitch; you checked me in one of them"... (as she said that, she
flushed and her eyes shone). "I must tell you that I can't get over
it. Listen, Alexey Fyodorovitch. I don't even know whether I still
love him. I feel pity for him, and that is a poor sign of love. If I
loved him, if I still loved him, perhaps I shouldn't be sorry for
him now, but should hate him"
    .Her voice quivered and tears glittered on her eyelashes.
Alyosha shuddered inwardly. "That girl is truthful and sincere," he
thought, "and she does not love Dmitri any more."
    "That's true, that's true," cried Madame Hohlakov.
    "Wait, dear. I haven't told you the chief, the final decision I
came to during the night. I feel that perhaps my decision is a
terrible one- for me, but I foresee that nothing will induce me to
change it- nothing. It will be so all my life. My dear, kind,
ever-faithful and generous adviser, the one friend I have in the
world, Ivan Fyodorovitch, with his deep insight into the heart,
approves and commends my decision. He knows it."
    "Yes, I approve of it," Ivan assented, in a subdued but firm
    "But I should like Alyosha, too (Ah! Alexey Fyodorovitch,
forgive my calling you simply Alyosha), I should like Alexey
Fyodorovitch, too, to tell me before my two friends whether I am
right. I feel instinctively that you, Alyosha, my dear brother (for
are a dear brother to me)," she said again ecstatically, taking his
cold hand in her hot one, "I foresee that your decision, your
approval, will bring me peace, in spite of all my sufferings, for,
after your words, I shall be calm and submit- I feel that."
    "I don't know what you are asking me," said Alyosha, flushing.
"I only know that I love you and at this moment wish for your
happiness more than my own!... But I know nothing about such affairs,"
something impelled him to add hurriedly.
    "In such affairs, Alexey Fyodorovitch, in such affairs, the
chief thing is honour and duty and something higher- I don't know what
but higher perhaps even than duty. I am conscious of this irresistible
feeling in my heart, and it compels me irresistibly. But it may all be
put in two words. I've already decided, even if he marries that-
creature," she began solemnly, "whom I never, never can forgive,
even then I will not abandon him. Henceforward I will never, never
abandon him!" she cried, breaking into a sort of pale, hysterical
ecstasy. "Not that I would run after him continually, get in his way
and worry him. Oh, no! I will go away to another town- where you like-
but I will watch over him all my life- I will watch over him all my
life unceasingly. When he becomes unhappy with that woman, and that is
bound to happen quite soon, let him come to me and he will find a
friend, a sister... Only a sister, of course, and so for ever; but
he will learn at least that that sister is really his sister, who
loves him and has sacrificed all her life to him. I will gain my
point. I will insist on his knowing me confiding entirely in me,
without reserve," she cried, in a sort of frenzy. "I will be a god
to whom he can pray- and that, at least, he owes me for his
treachery and for what I suffered yesterday through him. And let him
see that all my life I will be true to him and the promise I gave him,
in spite of his being untrue and betraying me. I will- I will become
nothing but a means for his happiness, or- how shall I say?- an
instrument, a machine for his happiness, and that for my whole life,
my whole life, and that he may see that all his life! That's my
decision. Ivan Fyodorovitch fully approves me."
    She was breathless. She had perhaps intended to express her idea
with more dignity, art and naturalness, but her speech was too hurried
and crude. It was full of youthful impulsiveness, it betrayed that she
was still smarting from yesterday's insult, and that her pride
craved satisfaction. She felt this herself. Her face suddenly
darkened, an unpleasant look came into her eyes. Alyosha at once saw
it and felt a pang of sympathy. His brother Ivan made it worse by
    "I've only expressed my own view," he said. "From anyone else,
this would have been affected and over-strained, but from you- no. Any
other woman would have been wrong, but you are right. I don't know how
to explain it, but I see that you are absolutely genuine and,
therefore, you are right."
    "But that's only for the moment. And what does this moment stand
for? Nothing but yesterday's insult." Madame Hohlakov obviously had
not intended to interfere, but she could not refrain from this very
just comment.
    "Quite so, quite so," cried Ivan, with peculiar eagerness,
obviously annoyed at being interrupted, "in anyone else this moment
would be only due to yesterday's impression and would be only a
moment. But with Katerina Ivanovna's character, that moment will
last all her life. What for anyone else would be only a promise is for
her an everlasting burdensome, grim perhaps, but unflagging duty.
And she will be sustained by the feeling of this duty being fulfilled.
Your life, Katerina Ivanovna, will henceforth be spent in painful
brooding over your own feelings, your own heroism, and your own
suffering; but in the end that suffering will be softened and will
pass into sweet contemplation of the fulfilment of a bold and proud
design. Yes, proud it certainly is, and desperate in any case, but a
triumph for you. And the consciousness of it will at last be a
source of complete satisfaction and will make you resigned to
everything else."
    This was unmistakably said with some malice and obviously with
intention; even perhaps with no desire to conceal that he spoke
ironically and with intention.
    "Oh, dear, how mistaken it all is!" Madame Hohlakov cried again.
    "Alexey Fyodorovitch, you speak. I want dreadfully to know what
you will say!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, and burst into tears.
Alyosha got up from the sofa.
    "It's nothing, nothing!" she went on through her tears. "I'm
upset, I didn't sleep last night. But by the side of two such
friends as you and your brother I still feel strong- for I know you
two will never desert me."
    "Unluckily I am obliged to return to Moscow- perhaps to-morrow-
and to leave you for a long time- and, unluckily, it's unavoidable,"
Ivan said suddenly.
    "To-morrow- to Moscow!" her face was suddenly contorted; "but-
but, dear me, how fortunate!" she cried in a voice suddenly changed.
In one instant there was no trace left of her tears. She underwent
an instantaneous transformation, which amazed Alyosha. Instead of a
poor, insulted girl, weeping in a sort of "laceration," he saw a woman
completely self-possessed and even exceedingly pleased, as though
something agreeable had just happened.
    "Oh, not fortunate that I am losing you, of course not," she
collected herself suddenly, with a charming society smile. "Such a
friend as you are could not suppose that. I am only too unhappy at
losing you." She rushed impulsively at Ivan, and seizing both his
hands, pressed them warmly. "But what is fortunate is that you will be
able in Moscow to see auntie and Agafya and to tell them all the
horror of my present position. You can speak with complete openness to
Agafya, but spare dear auntie. You will know how to do that. You can't
think how wretched I was yesterday and this morning, wondering how I
could write them that dreadful letter- for one can never tell such
things in a letter... Now it will be easy for me to write, for you
will see them and explain everything. Oh, how glad I am! But I am only
glad of that, believe me. Of course, no one can take your place....
I will run at once to write the letter," she finished suddenly, and
took a step as though to go out of the room.
    "And what about Alyosha and his opinion, which you were so
desperately anxious to hear?" cried Madame Hohlakov. There was a
sarcastic, angry note in her voice.
    "I had not forgotten that," cried Katerina Ivanovna, coming to a
sudden standstill, "and why are you so antagonistic at such a moment?"
she added, with warm and bitter reproachfulness. "What I said, I
repeat. I must have his opinion. More than that, I must have his
decision! As he says, so it shall be. You see how anxious I am for
your words, Alexey Fyodorovitch... But what's the matter?"
    "I couldn't have believed it. I can't understand it!" Alyosha
cried suddenly in distress.
    "He is going to Moscow, and you cry out that you are glad. You
said that on purpose! And you begin explaining that you are not glad
of that but sorry to be- losing a friend. But that was acting, too-
you were playing a part as in a theatre!"
    "In a theatre? What? What do you mean?" exclaimed Katerina
Ivanovna, profoundly astonished, flushing crimson, and frowning.
    "Though you assure him you are sorry to lose a friend in him,
you persist in telling him to his face that it's fortunate he is
going," said Alyosha breathlessly. He was standing at the table and
did not sit down.
    "What are you talking about? I don't understand."
    "I don't understand myself.... I seemed to see in a flash... I
know I am not saying it properly, but I'll say it all the same,"
Alyosha went on in the same shaking and broken voice. "What I see is
that perhaps you don't love Dmitri at all... and never have, from
the beginning.... And Dmitri, too, has never loved you... and only
esteems you.... I really don't know how I dare to say all this, but
somebody must tell the truth... for nobody here will tell the truth."
    "What truth?" cried Katerina Ivanovna,and there was an
hysterical ring in her voice.
    "I'll tell you," Alyosha went on with desperate haste, as though
he were jumping from the top of a house. "Call Dmitri; I will fetch
him and let him come here and take your hand and take Ivan's and
join your hands. For you're torturing Ivan, simply because you love
him- and torturing him, because you love Dmitri through
'self-laceration'-with an unreal love- because you've persuaded
    Alyosha broke off and was silent.
    "You... you... you are a little religious idiot- that's what you
are!" Katerina Ivanovna snapped. Her face was white and her lips
were moving with anger.
    Ivan suddenly laughed and got up. His hat was in his hand.
    "You are mistaken, my good Alyosha," he said, with an expression
Alyosha had never seen in his face before- an expression of youthful
sincerity and strong, irresistibly frank feeling. "Katerina Ivanovna
has never cared for me! She has known all the time that I cared for
her- though I never said a word of my love to her- she knew, but she
didn't care for me. I have never been her friend either, not for one
moment; she is too proud to need my friendship. She kept me at her
side as a means of revenge. She revenged with me and on me all the
insults which she has been continually receiving from Dmitri ever
since their first meeting. For even that first meeting has rankled
in her heart as an insult- that's what her heart is like! She has
talked to me of nothing but her love for him. I am going now; but,
believe me, Katerina Ivanovna, you really love him. And the more he
insults you, the more you love him- that's your 'laceration.' You love
him just as he is; you love him for insulting you. If he reformed,
you'd give him up at once and cease to love him. But you need him so
as to contemplate continually your heroic fidelity and to reproach him
for infidelity. And it all comes from your pride. Oh, there's a
great deal of humiliation and self-abasement about it, but it all
comes from pride.... I am too young and I've loved you too much. I
know that I ought not to say this, that it would be more dignified
on my part simply to leave you, and it would be less offensive for
you. But I am going far away, and shall never come back.... It is
for ever. I don't want to sit beside a 'laceration.'... But I don't
know how to speak now. I've said everything.... Good-bye, Katerina
Ivanovna; you can't be angry with me, for I am a hundred times more
severely punished than you, if only by the fact that I shall never see
you again. Good-bye! I don't want your hand. You have tortured me
too deliberately for me to be able to forgive you at this moment. I
shall forgive you later, but now I don't want your hand. Den Dank,
Dame, begehr ich nicht,"* he added, with a forced smile, showing,
however, that he could read Schiller, and read him till he knew him by
heart- which Alyosha would never have believed. He went out of the
room without saying good-bye even to his hostess, Madame Hohlakov.
Alyosha clasped his hands.

    * Thank you, madam, I want nothing.

    "Ivan!" he cried desperately after him. "Come back, Ivan! No,
nothing will induce him to come back now!" he cried again, regretfully
realising it; "but it's my fault, my fault. I began it! Ivan spoke
angrily, wrongly. Unjustly and angrily. He must come back here, come
back," Alyosha kept exclaiming frantically.
    Katerina Ivanovna went suddenly into the next room.
    "You have done no harm. You behaved beautifully, like an angel,"
Madame Hohlakov whispered rapidly and ecstatically to Alyosha. "I will
do my utmost to prevent Ivan Fyodorovitch from going."
    Her face beamed with delight, to the great distress of Alyosha,
but Katerina Ivanovna suddenly returned. She had two hundred-rouble
notes in her hand.
    "I have a great favour to ask of you, Alexey Fyodorovitch," she
began, addressing Alyosha with an apparently calm and even voice, as
though nothing had happened. "A week- yes, I think it was a week
ago- Dmitri Fyodorovitch was guilty of a hasty and unjust action- a
very ugly action. There is a low tavern here, and in it he met that
discharged officer, that captain, whom your father used to employ in
some business. Dmitri Fyodorovitch somehow lost his temper with this
captain, seized him by the beard and dragged him out into the street
and for some distance along it, in that insulting fashion. And I am
told that his son, a boy, quite a child, who is at the school here,
saw it and ran beside them crying and begging for his father,
appealing to everyone to defend him, while everyone laughed. You
must forgive me, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I cannot think without
indignation of that disgraceful action of his... one of those
actions of which only Dmitri Fyodorovitch would be capable in his
anger... and in his passions! I can't describe it even.... I can't
find my words. I've made inquiries about his victim, and find he is
quite a poor man. His name is Snegiryov. He did something wrong in the
army and was discharged. I can't tell you what. And now he has sunk
into terrible destitution, with his family- an unhappy family of
sick children, and, I believe, an insane wife. He has been living here
a long time; he used to work as a copying clerk, but now he is getting
nothing. I thought if you... that is I thought... I don't know. I am
so confused. You see, I wanted to ask you, my dear Alexey
Fyodorovitch, to go to him, to find some excuse to go to them- I
mean to that captain- oh, goodness, how badly I explain it!- and
delicately, carefully, as only you know how to" (Alyosha blushed),
"manage to give him this assistance, these two hundred roubles. He
will be sure to take it.... I mean, persuade him to take it.... Or,
rather, what do I mean? You see it's not by way of compensation to
prevent him from taking proceedings (for I believe he meant to), but
simply a token of sympathy, of a desire to assist him from me,
Dmitri Fyodorovitch's betrothed, not from himself.... But you know....
I would go myself, but you'll know how to do it ever so much better.
He lives in Lake Street in the house of a woman called Kalmikov....
For God's sake, Alexey Fyodorovitch, do it for me, and now... now I am
rather... tired... Good-bye!"
    She turned and disappeared behind the portiere so quickly that
Alyosha had not time to utter a word, though he wanted to speak. He
longed to beg her pardon, to blame himself, to say something, for
his heart was full and he could not bear to go out of the room without
it. But Madame Hohlakov took him by the hand and drew him along with
her. In the hall she stopped him again as before.
    "She is proud, she is struggling with herself; but kind, charming,
generous, "she exclaimed, in a half-whisper. "Oh, how I love her,
especially sometimes, and how glad I am again of everything! Dear
Alexey Fyodorovitch, you didn't know, but I must tell you, that we
all, all- both her aunts, I and all of us, Lise, even- have been
hoping and praying for nothing for the last month but that she may
give up your favourite Dmitri, who takes no notice of her and does not
care for her, and may marry Ivan Fyodorovitch- such an excellent and
cultivated young man, who loves her more than anything in the world.
We are in a regular plot to bring it about, and I am even staying on
here perhaps on that account."
    "But she has been crying- she has been wounded again," cried
    "Never trust a woman's tears, Alexey Fyodorovitch. I am never
for the women in such cases. I am always on the side of the men."
    "Mamma, you are spoiling him," Lise's little voice cried from
behind the door.
    "No, it was all my fault. I am horribly to blame," Alyosha
repeated unconsoled, hiding his face in his hands in an agony of
remorse for his indiscretion.
    "Quite the contrary; you behaved like an angel, like an angel. I
am ready to say so a thousand times over."
    "Mamma, how has he behaved like an angel?" Lise's voice was
heard again.
    "I somehow fancied all at once," Alyosha went on as though he
had not heard Lise, "that she loved Ivan, and so I said that stupid
thing.... What will happen now?"
    "To whom, to whom?" cried Lise. "Mamma, you really want to be
the death of me. I ask you and you don't answer."
    At the moment the maid ran in.
    "Katerina Ivanovna is ill.... She is crying, struggling...
    "What is the matter?" cried Lise, in a tone of real anxiety.
"Mamma, I shall be having hysterics, and not she!"
    "Lise, for mercy's sake, don't scream, don't persecute me. At your
age one can't know everything that grown-up people know. I'll come and
tell you everything you ought to know. Oh, mercy on us! I am coming, I
am coming.... Hysterics is a good sign, Alexey Fyodorovitch; it's an
excellent thing that she is hysterical. That's just as it ought to be.
In such cases I am always against the woman, against all these
feminine tears and hysterics. Run and say, Yulia, that I'll fly to
her. As for Ivan Fyodorovitch's going away like that, it's her own
fault. But he won't go away. Lise, for mercy's sake, don't scream! Oh,
yes; you are not screaming. It's I am screaming. Forgive your mamma;
but I am delighted, delighted, delighted! Did you notice, Alexey
Fyodorovitch, how young, how young Ivan Fyodorovitch was just now when
he went out, when he said all that and went out? I thought he was so
learned, such a savant, and all of a sudden he behaved so warmly,
openly, and youthfully, with such youthful inexperience, and it was
all so fine, like you.... And the way he repeated that German verse,
it was just like you! But I must fly, I must fly! Alexey Fyodorovitch,
make haste to carry out her commission, and then make haste back.
Lise, do you want anything now? For mercy's sake, don't keep Alexey
Fyodorovitch a minute. He will come back to you at once."
    Madame Hohlakov at last ran off. Before leaving, Alyosha would
have opened the door to see Lise.
    "On no account," cried Lise. "On no account now. Speak through the
door. How have you come to be an angel? That's the only thing I want
to know."
    "For an awful piece of stupidity, Lise! Goodbye!"
    "Don't dare to go away like that!" Lise was beginning.
    "Lise, I have a real sorrow! I'll be back directly, but I have a
great, great sorrow!
    And he ran out of the room.
                              Chapter 6
                     A Laceration in the Cottage

    HE certainly was really grieved in a way he had seldom been
before. He had rushed in like a fool, and meddled in what? In a
love-affair. "But what do I know about it? What can I tell about
such things?" he repeated to himself for the hundredth time,
flushing crimson. "Oh, being ashamed would be nothing; shame is only
the punishment I deserve. The trouble is I shall certainly have caused
more unhappiness.... And Father Zossima sent me to reconcile and bring
them together. Is this the way to bring them together?" Then he
suddenly remembered how he had tried to join their hands, and he
felt fearfully ashamed again. "Though I acted quite sincerely, I
must be more sensible in the future," he concluded suddenly, and did
not even smile at his conclusion.
    Katerina Ivanovna's commission took him to Lake Street, and his
brother Dmitri lived close by, in a turning out of Lake Street.
Alyosha decided to go to him in any case before going to the
captain, though he had a presentiment that he would not find his
brother. He suspected that he would intentionally keep out of his
way now, but he must find him anyhow. Time was passing: the thought of
his dying elder had not left Alyosha for one minute from the time he
set off from the monastery.
    There was one point which interested him particularly about
Katerina Ivanovna's commission; when she had mentioned the captain's
son, the little schoolboy who had run beside his father crying, the
idea had at once struck Alyosha that this must be the schoolboy who
had bitten his finger when he, Alyosha, asked him what he had done
to hurt him. Now Alyosha felt practically certain of this, though he
could not have said why. Thinking of another subject was a relief, and
he resolved to think no more about the "mischief" he had done, and not
to torture himself with remorse, but to do what he had to do, let come
what would. At that thought he was completely comforted. Turning to
the street where Dmitri lodged, he felt hungry, and taking out of
his pocket the roll he had brought from his father's, he ate it. It
made him feel stronger.
    Dmitri was not at home. The people of the house, an old
cabinet-maker, his son, and his old wife, looked with positive
suspicion at Alyosha. "He hasn't slept here for the last three nights.
Maybe he has gone away," the old man said in answer to Alyosha's
persistent inquiries. Alyosha saw that he was answering in
accordance with instructions. When he asked whether he were not at
Grushenka's or in hiding at Foma's (Alyosha spoke so freely on
purpose), all three looked at him in alarm. "They are fond of him,
they are doing their best for him," thought Alyosha. "That's good."
    At last he found the house in Lake Street. It was a decrepit
little house, sunk on one side, with three windows looking into the
street, and with a muddy yard, in the middle of which stood a solitary
cow. He crossed the yard and found the door opening into the
passage. On the left of the passage lived the old woman of the house
with her old daughter. Both seemed to be deaf. In answer to his
repeated inquiry for the captain, one of them at last understood
that he was asking for their lodgers, and pointed to a door across the
passage. The captain's lodging turned out to be a simple cottage room.
Alyosha had his hand on the iron latch to open the door, when he was
struck by the strange hush within. Yet he knew from Katerina
Ivanovna's words that the man had a family. "Either they are all
asleep or perhaps they have heard me coming and are waiting for me
to open the door. I'd better knock first," and he knocked. An answer
came, but not at once, after an interval of perhaps ten seconds.
    "Who's there?" shouted someone in a loud and very angry voice.
    Then Alyosha opened the door and crossed the threshold. He found
himself in a regular peasant's room. Though it was large, it was
cumbered up with domestic belongings of all sorts, and there were
several people in it. On the left was a large Russian stove. From
the stove to the window on the left was a string running across the
room, and on it there were rags hanging. There was a bedstead
against the wall on each side, right and left, covered with knitted
quilts. On the one on the left was a pyramid of four print-covered
pillows, each smaller than the one beneath. On the other there was
only one very small pillow. The opposite corner was screened off by
a curtain or a sheet hung on a string. Behind this curtain could be
seen a bed made up on a bench and a chair. The rough square table of
plain wood had been moved into the middle window. The three windows,
which consisted each of four tiny greenish mildewy panes, gave
little light, and were close shut, so that the room was not very light
and rather stuffy. On the table was a frying pan with the remains of
some fried eggs, a half-eaten piece of bread, and a small bottle
with a few drops of vodka.
    A woman of genteel appearance, wearing a cotton gown, was
sitting on a chair by the bed on the left. Her face was thin and
yellow, and her sunken cheeks betrayed at the first glance that she
was ill. But what struck Alyosha most was the expression in the poor
woman's eyes- a look of surprised inquiry and yet of haughty pride.
And while he was talking to her husband, her big brown eyes moved from
one speaker to the other with the same haughty and questioning
expression. Beside her at the window stood a young girl, rather plain,
with scanty reddish hair, poorly but very neatly dressed. She looked
disdainfully at Alyosha as he came in. Beside the other bed was
sitting another female figure. She was a very sad sight, a young
girl of about twenty, but hunchback and crippled "with withered legs,"
as Alyosha was told afterwards. Her crutches stood in the corner close
by. The strikingly beautiful and gentle eyes of this poor girl
looked with mild serenity at Alyosha. A man of forty-five was
sitting at the table, finishing the fried eggs. He was spare, small,
and weakly built. He had reddish hair and a scanty light-coloured
beard, very much like a wisp of tow (this comparison and the phrase "a
wisp of tow" flashed at once into Alyosha's mind for some reason, he
remembered it afterwards). It was obviously this gentleman who had
shouted to him, as there was no other man in the room. But when
Alyosha went in, he leapt up from the bench on which he was sitting,
and, hastily wiping his mouth with a ragged napkin, darted up to
    "It's a monk come to beg for the monastery. A nice place to come
to!" the girl standing in the left corner said aloud. The man spun
round instantly towards her and answered her in an excited and
breaking voice:
    "No, Varvara, you are wrong. Allow me to ask," he turned again
to Alyosha, "what has brought you to our retreat?"
    Alyosha looked attentively at him. It was the first time he had
seen him. There was something angular, flurried and irritable about
him. Though he had obviously just been drinking, he was not drunk.
There was extraordinary impudence in his expression, and yet,
strange to say, at the same time there was fear. He looked like a
man who had long been kept in subjection and had submitted to it,
and now had suddenly turned and was trying to assert himself. Or,
better still, like a man who wants dreadfully to hit you but is
horribly afraid you will hit him. In his words and in the intonation
of his shrill voice there was a sort of crazy humour, at times
spiteful and at times cringing, and continually shifting from one tone
to another. The question about "our retreat" he had asked, as it were,
quivering all over, rolling his eyes, and skipping up so close to
Alyosha that he instinctively drew back a step. He was dressed in a
very shabby dark cotton coat, patched and spotted. He wore checked
trousers of an extremely light colour, long out of fashion, and of
very thin material. They were so crumpled and so short that he
looked as though he had grown out of them like a boy.
    "I am Alexey Karamazov," Alyosha began in reply.
    "I quite understand that, sir," the gentleman snapped out at
once to assure him that he knew who he was already. "I am Captain
Snegiryov, sir, but I am still desirous to know precisely what has led
you- "
    "Oh, I've come for nothing special. I wanted to have a word with
you- if only you allow me."
    "In that case, here is a chair, sir; kindly be seated. That's what
they used to say in the old comedies, 'kindly be seated,'" and with
a rapid gesture he seized an empty chair (it was a rough wooden chair,
not upholstered) and set it for him almost in the middle of the
room; then, taking another similar chair for himself, he sat down
facing Alyosha, so close to him that their knees almost touched.
    "Nikolay Ilyitch Snegiryov, sir, formerly a captain in the Russian
infantry, put to shame for his vices, but still a captain. Though I
might not be one now for the way I talk; for the last half of my
life I've learnt to say 'sir.' It's a word you use when you've come
down in the world."
    "That's very true," smiled Alyosha. "But is it used
involuntarily or on purpose?"
    "As God's above, it's involuntary, and I usen't to use it! I
didn't use the word 'sir' all my life, but as soon as I sank into
low water I began to say 'sir.' It's the work of a higher power. I see
you are interested in contemporary questions, but how can I have
excited your curiosity, living as I do in surroundings impossible
for the exercise of hospitality?"
    "I've come- about that business."
    "About what business?" the captain interrupted impatiently.
    "About your meeting with my brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch,"
Alyosha blurted out awkwardly.
    "What meeting, sir? You don't mean that meeting? About my 'wisp of
tow,' then?" He moved closer so that his knees positively knocked
against Alyosha. His lips were strangely compressed like a thread.
    "What wisp of tow?" muttered Alyosha.
    "He is come to complain of me, father!" cried a voice familiar
to Alyosha- the voice of the schoolboy- from behind the curtain. "I
bit his finger just now." The curtain was pulled, and Alyosha saw
his assailant lying on a little bed made up on the bench and the chair
in the corner under the ikons. The boy lay covered by his coat and
an old wadded quilt. He was evidently unwell, and, judging by his
glittering eyes, he was in a fever. He looked at Alyosha without fear,
as though he felt he was at home and could not be touched.
    "What! Did he bite your finger?" The captain jumped up from his
chair. "Was it your finger he bit?"
    "Yes. He was throwing stones with other schoolboys. There were six
of them against  him alone. I went up to him, and he threw a stone
at me and then another at my head. I asked him what I had done to him.
And then he rushed at me and bit my finger badly, I don't know why."
    "I'll thrash him, sir, at once- this minute!" The captain jumped
up from his seat.
    "But I am not complaining at all, I am simply telling you.... I
don't want him to be thrashed. Besides, he seems to be ill."
    "And do you suppose I'd thrash him? That I'd take my Ilusha and
thrash him before you for your satisfaction? Would you like it done at
once, sir?" said the captain, suddenly turning to Alyosha, as though
he were going to attack him. "I am sorry about your finger, sir; but
instead of thrashing Ilusha, would you like me to chop off my four
fingers with this knife here before your eyes to satisfy your just
wrath? I should think four fingers would be enough to satisfy your
thirst for vengeance. You won't ask for the fifth one too?" He stopped
short with a catch in his throat. Every feature in his face was
twitching and working; he looked extremely defiant. He was in a sort
of frenzy.
    "I think I understand it all now," said Alyosha gently and
sorrowfully, still keeping his seat. "So your boy is a good boy, he
loves his father, and he attacked me as the brother of your
assailant.... Now I understand it," he repeated thoughtfully. "But
my brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch regrets his action, I know that, and if
only it is possible for him to come to you, or better still, to meet
you in that same place, he will ask your forgiveness before
everyone- if you wish it."
    "After pulling out my beard, you mean, he will ask my forgiveness?
And he thinks that will be a satisfactory finish, doesn't he?"
    "Oh, no! On the contrary, he will do anything you like and in
any way you like."
    "So if I were to ask his highness to go down on his knees before
me in that very tavern- 'The Metropolis' it's called- or in the
marketplace, he would do it?"
    "Yes, he would even go down on his knees."
    "You've pierced me to the heart, sir. Touched me to tears and
pierced me to the heart! I am only too sensible of your brother's
generosity. Allow me to introduce my family, my two daughters and my
son- my litter. If I die, who will care for them, and while I live who
but they will care for a wretch like me? That's a great thing the Lord
has ordained for every man of my sort, sir. For there must be
someone able to love even a man like me."
    "Ah, that's perfectly true!" exclaimed Alyosha.
    "Oh, do leave off playing the fool! Some idiot comes in, and you
put us to shame!" cried the girl by the window, suddenly turning to
her father with a disdainful and contemptuous air.
    "Wait a little, Varvara!" cried her father, speaking
peremptorily but looking at them quite approvingly. "That's her
character," he said, addressing Alyosha again.

                    "And in all nature there was naught
                     That could find favour in his eyes-

or rather in the feminine- that could find favour in her eyes- . But
now let me present you to my wife, Arina Petrovna. She is crippled,
she is forty-three; she can move, but very little. She is of humble
origin. Arina Petrovna, compose your countenance. This is Alexey
Fyodorovitch Karamazov. Get up, Alexey Fyodorovitch." He took him by
the hand and with unexpected force pulled him up. "You must stand up
to be introduced to a lady. It's not the Karamazov, mamma, who...
h'm... etcetera, but his brother, radiant with modest virtues. Come,
Arina Petrovna, come, mamma, first your hand to be kissed."
    And he kissed his wife's hand respectfully and even tenderly.
The girl at the window turned her back indignantly on the scene; an
expression of extraordinary cordiality came over the haughtily
inquiring face of the woman.
    "Good morning! Sit down, Mr. Tchernomazov," she said.
    "Karamazov, mamma, Karamazov. We are of humble origin," he
whispered again.
    "Well, Karamazov, or whatever it is, but I always think of
Tchermomazov.... Sit down. Why has he pulled you up? He calls me
crippled, but I am not, only my legs are swollen like barrels, and I
am shrivelled up myself. Once I used to be so fat, but now it's as
though I had swallowed a needle."
    "We are of humble origin," the captain muttered again.
    "Oh, father, father!" the hunchback girl, who had till then been
silent on her chair, said suddenly, and she hid her eyes in her
    "Buffoon!" blurted out the girl at the window.
    "Have you heard our news?" said the mother, pointing at her
daughters. "It's like clouds coming over; the clouds pass and we
have music again. When we were with the army, we used to have many
such guests. I don't mean to make any comparisons; everyone to their
taste. The deacon's wife used to come then and say, 'Alexandr
Alexandrovitch is a man of the noblest heart, but Nastasya
Petrovna,' she would say, 'is of the brood of hell.' 'Well,' I said,
'that's a matter of taste; but you are a little spitfire.' 'And you
want keeping in your place;' says she. 'You black sword,' said I, 'who
asked you to teach me?' 'But my breath,' says she, 'is clean, and
yours is unclean.' 'You ask all the officers whether my breath is
unclean.' And ever since then I had it in my mind. Not long ago I
was sitting here as I am now, when I saw that very general come in who
came here for Easter, and I asked him: 'Your Excellency,' said I, 'can
a lady's breath be unpleasant?' 'Yes,' he answered; 'you ought to open
a window-pane or open the door, for the air is not fresh here.' And
they all go on like that! And what is my breath to them? The dead
smell worse still!. 'I won't spoil the air,' said I, 'I'll order
some slippers and go away.' My darlings, don't blame your own
mother! Nikolay Ilyitch, how is it I can't please you? There's only
Ilusha who comes home from school and loves me. Yesterday he brought
me an apple. Forgive your own mother- forgive a poor lonely
creature! Why has my breath become unpleasant to you?"
    And the poor mad woman broke into sobs, and tears streamed down
her cheeks. The captain rushed up to her.
    "Mamma, mamma, my dear, give over! You are not lonely. Everyone
loves you, everyone adores you." He began kissing both her hands again
and tenderly stroking her face; taking the dinner-napkin, he began
wiping away her tears. Alyosha fancied that he too had tears in his
eyes. "There, you see, you hear?" he turned with a sort of fury to
Alyosha, pointing to the poor imbecile.
    "I see and hear," muttered Alyosha.
    "Father, father, how can you- with him! Let him alone!" cried
the boy, sitting up in his bed and gazing at his father with glowing
    "Do give over fooling, showing off your silly antics which never
lead to anything! shouted Varvara, stamping her foot with passion.
    "Your anger is quite just this time, Varvara, and I'll make
haste to satisfy you. Come, put on your cap, Alexey Fyodorovitch,
and I'll put on mine. We will go out. I have a word to say to you in
earnest, but not within these walls. This girl sitting here is my
daughter Nina; I forgot to introduce her to you. She is a heavenly
angel incarnate... who has flown down to us mortals,... if you can
    "There he is shaking all over, as though he is in convulsions!"
Varvara went on indignantly.
    "And she there stamping her foot at me and calling me a fool
just now, she is a heavenly angel incarnate too, and she has good
reason to call me so. Come along, Alexey Fyodorovitch, we must make an
    And, snatching Alyosha's hand, he drew him out of the room into
the street.
                              Chapter 7
                         And in the Open Air

    "THE air is fresh, but in my apartment it is not so in any sense
of the word. Let us walk slowly, sir. I should be glad of your kind
    "I too have something important to say to you," observed
Alyosha, "only I don't know how to begin."
    "To be sure you must have business with me. You would never have
looked in upon me without some object. Unless you come simply to
complain of the boy, and that's hardly likely. And, by the way,
about the boy: I could not explain to you in there, but here I will
describe that scene to you. My tow was thicker a week ago- I mean my
beard. That's the nickname they give to my beard, the schoolboys
most of all. Well, your brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch was pulling me
by my beard, I'd done nothing, he was in a towering rage and
happened to come upon me. He dragged me out of the tavern into the
market place; at that moment the boys were coming out of school, and
with them Ilusha. As soon as he saw me in such a state he rushed up to
me. 'Father,' he cried, 'father!' He caught hold of me, hugged me,
tried to pull me away, crying to my assailant, 'Let go, let go, it's
my father, forgive him!'- yes, he actually cried 'forgive him.' He
clutched at that hand, that very hand, in his little hands and
kissed it.... I remember his little face at that moment, I haven't
forgotten it and I never shall!"
    "I swear," cried Alyosha, "that my brother will express his most
deep and sincere regret, even if he has to go down on his knees in
that same market-place.... I'll make him or he is no brother of mine!
    "Aha, then it's only a suggestion! And it does not come from him
but simply from the generosity of your own warm heart. You should have
said so. No, in that case allow me to tell you of your brother's
highly chivalrous soldierly generosity, for he did give expression
to it at the time. He left off dragging me by my beard and released
me: 'You are an officer,' he said, 'and I am an officer, if you can
find a decent man to be your second send me your challenge. I will
give satisfaction, though you are a scoundrel.' That's what he said. A
chivalrous spirit indeed! I retired with Ilusha, and that scene is a
family record imprinted forever on Ilusha's soul. No, it's not for
us to claim the privileges of noblemen. Judge for yourself. You've
just been in our mansion, what did you see there? Three ladies, one
a cripple and weak-minded, another a cripple and hunchback and the
third not crippled but far too clever. She is a student, dying to
get back to Petersburg, to work for the emancipation of the Russian
woman on the banks of the Neva. I won't speak of Ilusha, he is only
nine. I am alone in the world, and if I die, what will become of all
of them? I simply ask you that. And if I challenge him and he kills me
on the spot, what then? What will become of them? And worse still,
if he doesn't kill me but only cripples me: I couldn't work, but I
should still be a mouth to feed. Who would feed it and who would
feed them all? Must I take Ilusha from school and send him to beg in
the streets? That's what it means for me to challenge him to a duel.
It's silly talk and nothing else."
    "He will beg your forgiveness, he will bow down at your feet in
the middle of the marketplace," cried Alyosha again, with glowing
    "I did think of prosecuting him," the captain went on, "but look
in our code, could I get much compensation for a personal injury?
And then Agrafena Alexandrovna* sent for me and shouted at me:
'Don't dare to dream of it! If you proceed against him, I'll publish
it to all the world that he beat you for your dishonesty, and then you
will be prosecuted.' I call God to witness whose was the dishonesty
and by whose commands I acted, wasn't it by her own and Fyodor
Pavlovitch's? And what's more,' she went on, 'I'll dismiss you for
good and you'll never earn another penny from me. I'll speak to my
merchant too' (that's what she calls her old man) 'and he will dismiss
you!' And if he dismisses me, what can I earn then from anyone?
Those two are all I have to look to, for your Fyodor Pavlovitch has
not only given over employing me, for another reason, but he means
to make use of papers I've signed to go to law against me. And so I
kept quiet, and you have seen our retreat. But now let me ask you: did
Ilusha hurt your finger much? I didn't like to go into it in our
mansion before him."

    * Grushenka.

    "Yes, very much, and he was in a great fury. He was avenging you
on me as a Karamazov, I see that now. But if only you had seen how
he was throwing stones at his schoolfellows! It's very dangerous. They
might kill him. They are children and stupid. A stone may be thrown
and break somebody's head."
    "That's just what has happened. He has been bruised by a stone
to-day. Not on the head but on the chest, just above the heart. He
came home crying and groaning and now he is ill."
    "And you know he attacks them first. He is bitter against them
on your account. They say he stabbed a boy called Krassotkin with a
penknife not long ago."
    "I've heard about that too, it's dangerous. Krassotkin is an
official here, we may hear more about it."
    "I would advise you," Alyosha went on warmly, "not to send him
to school at all for a time till he is calmer. and his anger is
    "Anger!" the captain repeated, "that's just what it is. He is a
little creature, but it's a mighty anger. You don't know all, sir. Let
me tell you more. Since that incident all the boys have been teasing
him about the 'wisp of tow.' Schoolboys are a merciless race,
individually they are angels, but together, especially in schools,
they are often merciless. Their teasing has stiffed up a gallant
spirit in Ilusha. An ordinary boy, a weak son, would have submitted,
have felt ashamed of his father, sir, but he stood up for his father
against them all. For his father and for truth and justice. For what
he suffered when he kissed your brother's hand and cried to him
'Forgive father, forgive him,'- that only God knows- and I, his
father. For our children- not your children, but ours- the children of
the poor gentlemen looked down upon by everyone- know what justice
means, sir, even at nine years old. How should the rich know? They
don't explore such depths once in their lives. But at that moment in
the square when he kissed his hand, at that moment my Ilusha had
grasped all that justice means. That truth entered into him and
crushed him for ever, sir," the captain said hotly again with a sort
of frenzy, and he struck his right fist against his left palm as
though he wanted to show how "the truth" crushed Ilusha. "That very
day, sir, he fell ill with fever and was delirious all night. All that
day he hardly said a word to me, but I noticed he kept watching me
from the corner, though he turned to the window and pretended to be
learning his lessons. But I could see his mind was not on his lessons.
Next day I got drunk to forget my troubles, sinful man as I am, and
I don't remember much. Mamma began crying, too- I am very fond of
mamma- well, I spent my last penny drowning my troubles. Don't despise
me for that, sir, in Russia men who drink are the best. The best men
amongst us are the greatest drunkards. I lay down and I don't remember
about Ilusha, though all that day the boys had been jeering at him
at school. 'Wisp of tow,' they shouted, 'your father was pulled out of
the tavern by his wisp of tow, you ran by and begged forgiveness.'
    "On the third day when he came back from school, I saw he looked
pale and wretched. 'What is it?' I asked. He wouldn't answer. Well,
there's no talking in our mansion without mamma and the girls taking
part in it. What's more, the girls had heard about it the very first
day. Varvara had begun snarling. 'You fools and buffoons, can you ever
do anything rational?' 'Quite so,' I said,'can we ever do anything
rational?' For the time I turned it off like that. So in the evening I
took the boy out for a walk, for you must know we go for a walk
every evening, always the same way, along which we are going now- from
our gate to that great stone which lies alone in the road under the
hurdle, which marks the beginning of the town pasture. A beautiful and
lonely spot, sir. Ilusha and I walked along hand in hand as usual.
He has a little hand, his fingers are thin and cold- he suffers with
his chest, you know. 'Father,' said he, 'father!' 'Well?' said I. I
saw his eyes flashing. 'Father, how he treated you then!' 'It can't be
helped, Ilusha,' I said. 'Don't forgive him, father, don't forgive
him! At school they say that he has paid you ten roubles for it.'
'No Ilusha,' said I, 'I would not take money from him for anything.'
he began trembling all over, took my hand in both his and kissed it
again. 'Father,' he said, 'father, challenge him to a duel, at
school they say you are a coward and won't challenge him, and that
you'll accept ten roubles from him.' 'I can't challenge him to a duel,
Ilusha,' I answered. And I told briefly what I've just told you. He
listened. 'Father,' he said, anyway don't forgive it. When I grow up
I'll call him out myself and kill him.' His eyes shone and glowed. And
of course I am his father, and I had to put in a word: 'It's a sin
to kill,' I said, 'even in a duel.' 'Father,' he said, 'when I grow
up, I'll knock him down, knock the sword out of his hand, I'll fall on
him, wave my sword over him and say: "I could kill you, but I
forgive you, so there!"' You see what the workings of his little
mind have been during these two days; he must have been planning
that vengeance all day, and raving about it at night.
    "But he began to come home from school badly beaten, I found out
about it the day before yesterday, and you are right, I won't send him
to that school any more. I heard that he was standing up against all
the class alone and defying them all, that his heart was full of
resentment, of bitterness- I was alarmed about him. We went for
another walk. 'Father,' he asked, 'are the rich people stronger than
anyone else on earth?' 'Yes, Ilusha,' I said, 'there are no people
on earth stronger than the rich.' 'Father,' he said, 'I will get rich,
I will become an officer and conquer everybody. The Tsar will reward
me, I will come back here and then no one will dare- ' Then he was
silent and his lips still kept trembling. 'Father,' he said, 'what a
horrid town this is.' 'Yes, Ilusha,' I said, 'it isn't a very nice
town.' 'Father, let us move into another town, a nice one,' he said,
'where people don't know about us.' 'We will move, we will, Ilusha,'
said I, 'only I must save up for it.' I was glad to be able to turn
his mind from painful thoughts, and we began to dream of how we
would move to another town, how we would buy a horse and cart. 'We
will put mamma and your sisters inside, we will cover them up and
we'll walk, you shall have a lift now and then, and I'll walk
beside, for we must take care of our horse, we can't all ride.
That's how we'll go.' He was enchanted at that, most of all at the
thought of having a horse and driving him. For of course a Russian boy
is born among horses. We chattered a long while. Thank God, I thought,
I have diverted his mind and comforted him.
    "That was the day before yesterday, in the evening, but last night
everything was changed. He had gone to school in the morning, he
came back depressed, terribly depressed. In the evening I took him
by the hand and we went for a walk; he would not talk. There was a
wind blowing and no sun, and a feeling of autumn; twilight was
coming on. We walked along, both of us depressed. 'Well, my boy,' said
I, 'how about our setting off on our travels?' I thought I might bring
him back to our talk of the day before. He didn't answer, but I felt
his fingers trembling in my hand. Ah, I thought, it's a bad job;
there's something fresh. We had reached the stone where we are now.
I sat down on the stone. And in the air there were lots of kites
flapping and whirling. There were as many as thirty in sight. Of
course, it's just the season for the kites. 'Look, Ilusha,' said I,
'it's time we got out our last year's kite again. I'll mend it;
where have you put it away?' My boy made no answer. He looked away and
turned sideways to me. And then a gust of wind blew up the sand. He
suddenly fell on me, threw both his little arms round my neck and held
me tight. You know, when children are silent and proud, and try to
keep back their tears when they are in great trouble and suddenly
break down, their tears fall in streams. With those warm streams of
tears, he suddenly wetted my face. He sobbed and shook as though he
were in convulsions, and squeezed up against me as I sat on the stone.
'Father,' he kept crying, 'dear father, how he insulted you!' And I
sobbed too. We sat shaking in each other's arms. 'Ilusha,' I said to
him, 'Ilusha, darling.' No one saw us then. God alone saw us; I hope
He will record it to my credit. You must thank your brother, Alexey
Fyodorovitch. No, sir, I won't thrash my boy for your satisfaction."
    He had gone back to his original tone of resentful buffoonery.
Alyosha felt, though, that he trusted him, and that if there had
been someone else in his, Alyosha's place, the man would not have
spoken so openly and would not have told what he had just told. This
encouraged Alyosha, whose heart was trembling on the verge of tears.
    "Ah, how I would like to make friends with your boy!" he cried.
"If you could arrange it- "
    "Certainly, sir," muttered the captain.
    "But now listen to something quite different!" Alyosha went on. "I
have a message for you. That same brother of mine, Dmitri, has
insulted his betrothed, too, a noble-hearted girl of whom you have
probably heard. I have a right to tell you of her wrong; I ought to do
so, in fact, for, hearing of the insult done to you and learning all
about your unfortunate position, she commissioned me at once- just
now- to bring you this help from her- but only from her alone, not
from Dmitri, who has abandoned her. Nor from me, his brother, nor from
anyone else, but from her, only from her! She entreats you to accept
her help....You have both been insulted by the same man. She thought
of you only when she had just received a similar insult from him-
similar in its cruelty, I mean. She comes like a sister to help a
brother in misfortune.... She told me to persuade you to take these
two hundred roubles from her, as from a sister, knowing that you are
in such need. No one will know of it, it can give rise to no unjust
slander. There are the two hundred roubles, and I swear you must
take them unless- unless all men are to be enemies on earth! But there
are brothers even on earth.... You have a generous heart... you must
see that, you must," and Alyosha held out two new rainbow-coloured
hundred-rouble notes.
    They were both standing at the time by the great stone close to
the fence, and there was no one near. The notes seemed to produce a
tremendous impression on the captain. He started, but at first only
from astonishment. Such an outcome of their conversation was the
last thing he expected. Nothing could have been farther from his
dreams than help from anyone- and such a sum!
    He took the notes, and for a minute he was almost unable to
answer, quite a new expression came into his face.
    "That for me? So much money- two hundred roubles! Good heavens!
Why, I haven't seen so much money for the last four years! Mercy on
us! And she says she is a sister.... And is that the truth?"
   "I swear that all I told you is the truth,"cried Alyosha.
    The captain flushed red.
    "Listen, my dear, listen. If I take it, I shan't be behaving
like a scoundrel? In your eyes, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I shan't be a
scoundrel? No, Alexey Fyodorovitch, listen, listen," he hurried,
touching Alyosha with both his hands. "You are persuading me to take
it, saying that it's a sister sends it, but inwardly, in your heart
won't you feel contempt for me if I take it, eh?"
    "No, no, on my salvation I swear I shan't! And no one will ever
know but me- I, you and she, and one other lady, her great friend."
    "Never mind the lady! Listen, Alexey Fyodorovitch, at a moment
like this you must listen, for you can't understand what these two
hundred roubles mean to me now." The poor fellow went on rising
gradually into a sort of incoherent, almost wild enthusiasm. He was
thrown off his balance and talked extremely fast, as though afraid
he would not be allowed to say all he had to say.
    "Besides its being honestly acquired from a 'sister,' so highly
respected and revered, do you know that now I can look after mamma and
Nina, my hunchback angel daughter? Doctor Herzenstube came to me in
the kindness of his heart and was examining them both for a whole
hour. 'I can make nothing of it,' said he, but he prescribed a mineral
water which is kept at a chemist's here. He said it would be sure to
do her good, and he ordered baths, too, with some medicine in them.
The mineral water costs thirty copecks, and she'd need to drink
forty bottles perhaps: so I took the prescription and laid it on the
shelf under the ikons, and there it lies. And he ordered hot baths for
Nina with something dissolved in them, morning and evening. But how
can we carry out such a cure in our mansion, without servants, without
help, without a bath, and without water? Nina is rheumatic all over, I
don't think I told you that. All her right side aches at night, she is
in agony, and, would you believe it, the angel bears it without
groaning for fear of waking us. We eat what we can get, and she'll
only take the leavings, what you'd scarcely give to a dog. 'I am not
worth it, I am taking it from you, I am a burden on you,' that's
what her angel eyes try to express. We wait on her, but she doesn't
like it. 'I am a useless cripple, no good to anyone.' As though she
were not worth it, when she is the saving of all of us with her
angelic sweetness. Without her, without her gentle word it would be
hell among us! She softens even Varvara. And don't judge Varvara
harshly either, she is an angel too, she, too, has suffered wrong. She
came to us for the summer, and she brought sixteen roubles she had
earned by lessons and saved up, to go back with to Petersburg in
September, that is now. But we took her money and lived on it, so
now she has nothing to go back with. Though indeed she couldn't go
back, for she has to work for us like a slave. She is like an
overdriven horse with all of us on her back. She waits on us all,
mends and washes, sweeps the floor, puts mamma to bed. And mamma is
capricious and tearful and insane! And now I can get a servant with
this money, you understand, Alexey Fyodorovitch, I can get medicines
for the dear creatures, I can send my student to Petersburg, I can buy
beef, I can feed them properly. Good Lord, but it's a dream!"
    Alyosha was delighted that he had brought him such happiness and
that the poor fellow had consented to be made happy.
    "Stay, Alexey Fyodorovitch, stay," the captain began to talk
with frenzied rapidity, carried away by a new day-dream. "Do you
know that Ilusha and I will perhaps really carry out our dream. We
will buy a horse and cart, a black horse, he insists on its being
black, and we will set off as we pretended the other day. I have an
old friend, a lawyer in K. province, and I heard through a trustworthy
man that if I were to go he'd give me a place as clerk in his
office, so, who knows, maybe he would. So I'd just put mamma and
Nina in the cart, and Ilusha could drive, and I'd walk, I'd walk....
Why, if I only succeed in getting one debt paid that's owing me, I
should have perhaps enough for that too!"
    "There would be enough!" cried Alyosha. "Katerina Ivanovna will
send you as much more as you need, and you know, I have money too,
take what you want, as you would from a brother, from a friend, you
can give it back later.... (You'll get rich. you'll get rich!) And you
know you couldn't have a better idea than to move to another province!
It would be the saving of you, especially of your boy and you ought to
go quickly, before the winter, before the cold. You must write to us
when you are there, and we will always be brothers... No, it's not a
    Alyosha could have hugged him, he was so pleased. But glancing
at him he stopped short. The man was standing with his neck
outstretched and his lips protruding, with a pale and frenzied face.
His lips were moving as though trying to articulate something; no
sound came, but still his lips moved. It was uncanny.
    "What is it?" asked Alyosha, startled.
    "Alexey Fyodorovitch... I... you," muttered the captain,
faltering, looking at him with a strange, wild, fixed stare, and an
air of desperate resolution. At the same time there was a sort of grin
on his lips. "I... you, sir... wouldn't you like me to show you a
little trick I know?" he murmured, suddenly, in a firm rapid
whisper, his voice no longer faltering.
    "What trick?"
    "A pretty trick," whispered the captain. His mouth was twisted
on the left side, his left eye was screwed up. He still stared at
    "What is the matter? What trick?" Alyosha cried, now thoroughly
    "Why, look," squealed the captain suddenly, and showing him the
two notes which he had been holding by one corner between his thumb
and forefinger during the conversation, he crumpled them up savagely
and squeezed them tight in his right hand. "Do you see, do you see?"
he shrieked, pale and infuriated. And suddenly flinging up his hand,
he threw the crumpled notes on the sand. "Do you see?" he shrieked
again, pointing to them. "Look there!"
    And with wild fury he began trampling them under his heel, gasping
and exclaiming as he did so:
    "So much for your money! So much for your money! So much for
your money! So much for your money!"
    Suddenly he darted back and drew himself up before Alyosha, and
his whole figure expressed unutterable pride.
    "Tell those who sent you that the wisp of tow does not sell his
honour," he cried, raising his arm in the air. Then he turned
quickly and began to run; but he had not run five steps before he
turned completely round and kissed his hand to Alyosha. He ran another
five paces and then turned round for the last time. This time his face
was not contorted with laughter, but quivering all over with tears. In
a tearful, faltering, sobbing voice he cried:
    "What should I say to my boy if I took money from you for our
    And then he ran on without turning. Alyosha looked after him,
inexpressibly grieved. Oh, he saw that till the very last moment the
man had not known he would crumple up and fling away the notes. He did
not turn back. Alyosha knew he would not. He would not follow him
and call him back, he knew why. When he was out of sight, Alyosha
picked up the two notes. They were very much crushed and crumpled, and
had been pressed into the sand, but were uninjured and even rustled
like new ones when Alyosha unfolded them and smoothed them out.
After smoothing them out, he folded them up, put them in his pocket
and went to Katerina Ivanovna to report on the success of her
                                Book V
                            Pro and Contra

                              Chapter 1
                            The Engagement

    MADAME HOHLAKOV was again the first to meet Alyosha. She was
flustered; something important had happened. Katerina Ivanovna's
hysterics had ended in a fainting fit, and then "a terrible, awful
weakness had followed, she lay with her eyes turned up and was
delirious. Now she was in a fever. They had sent for Herzenstube; they
had sent for the aunts. The aunts were already here, but Herzenstube
had not yet come. They were all sitting in her room, waiting. She
was unconscious now, and what if it turned to brain fever!"
    Madame Hohlakov looked gravely alarmed. "This is serious,
serious," she added at every word, as though nothing that had happened
to her before had been serious. Alyosha listened with distress, and
was beginning to describe his adventures, but she interrupted him at
the first words. She had not time to listen. She begged him to sit
with Lise and wait for her there.
    "Lise," she whispered almost in his ear, "Lise has greatly
surprised me just now, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch. She touched me,
too, and so my heart forgives her everything. Only fancy, as soon as
you had gone, she began to be truly remorseful for having laughed at
you to-day and yesterday, though she was not laughing at you, but only
joking. But she was seriously sorry for it, almost ready to cry, so
that I was quite surprised. She has never been really sorry for
laughing at me, but has only made a joke of it. And you know she is
laughing at me every minute. But this time she was in earnest She
thinks a great deal of your opinion, Alexey Fyodorovitch, and don't
take offence or be wounded by her if you can help it. I am never
hard upon her, for she's such a clever little thing. Would you believe
it? She said just now that you were a friend of her childhood, 'the
greatest friend of her childhood'- just think of that- 'greatest
friend'- and what about me? She has very strong feelings and memories,
and, what's more, she uses these phrases, most unexpected words, which
come out all of a sudden when you least expect them. She spoke
lately about a pine-tree, for instance: there used to be a pine-tree
standing in our garden in her early childhood. Very likely it's
standing there still; so there's no need to speak in the past tense.
Pine-trees are not like people, Alexey Fyodorovitch, they don't change
quickly. 'Mamma,' she said, 'I remember this pine tree as in a dream,'
only she said something so original about it that I can't repeat it.
Besides, I've forgotten it. Well, good-bye! I am so worried I feel I
shall go out of my mind. Ah! Alexey Fyodorovitch, I've been out of
my mind twice in my life. Go to Lise, cheer her up, as you always
can so charmingly. Lise," she cried, going to her door, "here I've
brought you Alexey Fyodorovitch, whom you insulted so. He is not at
all angry, I assure you; on the contrary, he is surprised that you
could suppose so."
    "Merci, maman. Come in, Alexey Fyodorovitch."
    Alyosha went in. Lise looked rather embarrassed, and at once
flushed crimson. She was evidently ashamed of something, and, as
people always do in such cases, she began immediately talking of other
things, as though they were of absorbing interest to her at the
    "Mamma has just told me all about the two hundred roubles,
Alexey Fyodorovitch, and your taking them to that poor officer...
and she told me all the awful story of how he had been insulted... and
you know, although mamma muddles things... she always rushes from
one thing to another... I cried when I heard. Well, did you give him
the money and how is that poor man getting on?"
    "The fact is I didn't give it to him, and it's a long story,"
answered Alyosha, as though he, too, could think of nothing but his
regret at having failed, yet Lise saw perfectly well that he, too,
looked away, and that he, too, was trying to talk of other things.
    Alyosha sat down to the table and began to tell his story, but
at the first words he lost his embarrassment and gained the whole of
Lise's attention as well. He spoke with deep feeling, under the
influence of the strong impression he had just received, and he
succeeded in telling his story well and circumstantially. In old
days in Moscow he had been fond of coming to Lise and describing to
her what had just happened to him, what he had read, or what he
remembered of his childhood. Sometimes they had made day-dreams and
woven whole romances together- generally cheerful and amusing ones.
Now they both felt suddenly transported to the old days in Moscow, two
years before. Lise was extremely touched by his story. Alyosha
described Ilusha with warm feeling. When he finished describing how
the luckless man trampled on the money, Lise could not help clasping
her hands and crying out:
    "So you didn't give him the money! So you let him run away! Oh,
dear, you ought to have run after him!"
    "No, Lise; it's better I didn't run after him," said Alyosha,
getting up from his chair and walking thoughtfully across the room.
    "How so? How is it better? Now they are without food and their
case is hopeless."
    "Not hopeless, for the two hundred roubles will still come to
them. He'll take the money to-morrow. To-morrow he will be sure to
take it," said Alyosha, pacing up and down, pondering. "You see,
Lise," he went on, stopping suddenly before her, "I made one
blunder, but that, even that, is all for the best."
    "What blunder, and why is it for the best?"
    "I'll tell you. He is a man of weak and timorous character; he has
suffered so much and is very good-natured. I keep wondering why he
took offence so suddenly, for I assure you, up to the last minute,
he did not know that he was going to trample on the notes. And I think
now that there was a great deal to offend him... and it could not have
been otherwise in his position.... To begin with, he was sore at
having been so glad of the money in my presence and not having
concealed it from me. If he had been pleased, but not so much; if he
had not shown it; if he had begun affecting scruples and difficulties,
as other people do when they take money, he might still endure- to
take it. But he was too genuinely delighted, and that was
mortifying. Ah, Lise, he is a good and truthful man- that's the
worst of the whole business. All the while he talked, his voice was so
weak, so broken, he talked so fast, so fast, he kept laughing such a
laugh, or perhaps he was crying- yes, I am sure he was crying, he
was so delighted- and he talked about his daughters- and about the
situation he could get in another town.... And when he had poured
out his heart, he felt ashamed at having shown me his inmost soul like
that. So he began to hate me at once. He is one of those awfully
sensitive poor people. What had made him feel most ashamed was that he
had given in too soon and accepted me as a friend, you see. At first
he almost flew at me and tried to intimidate me, but as soon as he saw
the money he had begun embracing me; he kept touching me with his
hands. This must have been how he came to feel it all so
humiliating, and then I made that blunder, a very important one. I
suddenly said to him that if he had not money enough to move to
another town, we would give it to him, and, indeed, I myself would
give him as much as he wanted out of my own money. That struck him all
at once. Why, he thought, did I put myself forward to help him? You
know, Lise, it's awfully hard for a man who has been injured, when
other people look at him as though they were his benefactors....
I've heard that; Father Zossima told me so. I don't know how to put
it, but I have often seen it myself. And I feel like that myself, too.
And the worst of it was that though he did not know, to the very
last minute, that he would trample on the notes, he had a kind of
presentiment of it, I am sure of that. That's just what made him so
ecstatic, that he had that presentiment.... And though it's so
dreadful, it's all for the best. In fact, I believe nothing better
could have happened."
    "Why, why could nothing better have happened?" cried Lise, looking
with great surprise at Alyosha.
    "Because if he had taken the money, in an hour after getting home,
he would be crying with mortification, that's just what would have
happened. And most likely he would have come to me early to-morrow,
and perhaps have flung the notes at me and trampled upon them as he
did just now. But now he has gone home awfully proud and triumphant,
though he knows he has 'ruined himself.' So now nothing could be
easier than to make him accept the two hundred roubles by to-morrow,
for he has already vindicated his honour, tossed away the money, and
trampled it under foot.... He couldn't know when he did it that I
should bring it to him again to-morrow, and yet he is in terrible need
of that money. Though he is proud of himself now, yet even to-day
he'll be thinking what a help he has lost. He will think of it more
than ever at night, will dream of it, and by to-morrow morning he
may be ready to run to me to ask forgiveness. It's just then that I'll
appear. 'Here, you are a proud man,' I shall say: 'you have shown
it; but now take the money and forgive us!' And then he will take it!
    Alyosha was carried away with joy as he uttered his last words,
"And then he will take it!" Lise clapped her hands.
    "Ah, that's true! I understand that perfectly now. Ah, Alyosha,
how do you know all this? So young and yet he knows what's in the
heart.... I should never have worked it out."
    "The great thing now is to persuade him that he is on an equal
footing with us, in spite of his taking money from us," Alyosha went
on in his excitement, "and not only on an equal, but even on a
higher footing."
    "'On a higher footing' is charming, Alexey Fyodorovitch; but go
on, go on!"
    "You mean there isn't such an expression as 'on a higher footing';
but that doesn't matter because- "
    "Oh, no, of course it doesn't matter. Forgive me, Alyosha,
dear.... You know, I scarcely respected you till now- that is I
respected you but on an equal footing; but now I shall begin to
respect you on a higher footing. Don't be angry, dear, at my
joking," she put in at once, with strong feeling. "I am absurd and
small, but you, you! Listen, Alexey Fyodorovitch. Isn't there in all
our analysis- I mean your analysis... no, better call it ours-
aren't we showing contempt for him, for that poor man- in analysing
his soul like this, as it were, from above, eh? In deciding so
certainly that he will take the money?"
    "No, Lise, it's not contempt," Alyosha answered, as though he
had prepared himself for the question. "I was thinking of that on
the way here. How can it be contempt when we are all like him, when we
are all just the same as he is? For you know we are just the same,
no better. If we are better, we should have been just the same in
his place.... I don't know about you, Lise, but I consider that I have
a sordid soul in many ways, and his soul is not sordid; on the
contrary, full of fine feeling.... No, Lise, I have no contempt for
him. Do you know, Lise, my elder told me once to care for most
people exactly as one would for children, and for some of them as
one would for the sick in hospitals."
    "Ah, Alexey Fyodorovitch. dear, let us care for people as we would
for the sick!"
    "Let us, Lise; I am ready. Though I am not altogether ready in
myself. I am sometimes very impatient and at other times I don't see
things. It's different with you."
    "Ah, I don't believe it! Alexey Fyodorovitch, how happy I am!"
    "I am so glad you say so, Lise."
    "Alexey Fyodorovitch, you are wonderfully good, but you are
sometimes sort of formal.... And yet you are not a bit formal
really. Go to the door, open it gently, and see whether mamma is
listening," said Lise, in a nervous, hurried whisper.
    Alyosha went, opened the door, and reported that no one was
    "Come here, Alexey Fyodorovitch," Lise went on, flushing redder
and redder. "Give me your hand- that's right. I have to make a great
confession. I didn't write to you yesterday in joke, but in
earnest," and she hid her eyes with her hand. It was evident that
she was greatly ashamed of the confession.
    Suddenly she snatched his hand and impulsively kissed it three
    "Ah, Lise, what a good thing!" cried Alyosha joyfully. "You
know, I was perfectly sure you were in earnest."
    "Sure? Upon my word! She put aside his hand, but did not leave
go of it, blushing hotly, and laughing a little happy laugh. "I kiss
his hand and he says, 'What a good thing!'"
    But her reproach was undeserved. Alyosha, too, was greatly
    "I should like to please you always, Lise, but don't know how to
do it." he muttered, blushing too.
    "Alyosha, dear, you are cold and rude. Do you see? He has chosen
me as his wife and is quite settled about it. He is sure I was in
earnest. What a thing to say! Why, that's impertinence- that's what it
    "Why, was it wrong of me to feel sure?" Alyosha asked, laughing
    "Ah, Alyosha, on the contrary, it was delightfully right," cried
Lise, looking tenderly and happily at him.
    Alyosha stood still, holding her hand in his. Suddenly he
stooped down and kissed her on her lips.
    "Oh, what are you doing?" cried Lise. Alyosha was terribly
    "Oh, forgive me if I shouldn't.... Perhaps I'm awfully
stupid.... You said I was cold, so I kissed you.... But I see it was
    Lise laughed, and hid her face in her hands. "And in that
dress!" she ejaculated in the midst of her mirth. But she suddenly
ceased laughing and became serious, almost stern.
    "Alyosha, we must put off kissing. We are not ready for that
yet, and we shall have a long time to wait," she ended suddenly. "Tell
me rather why you who are so clever, so intellectual, so observant,
choose a little idiot, an invalid like me? Ah, Alyosha, I am awfully
happy, for I don't deserve you a bit."
    "You do, Lise. I shall be leaving the monastery altogether in a
few days. If I go into the world, I must marry. I know that. He told
me to marry, too. Whom could I marry better than you- and who would
have me except you? I have been thinking it over. In the first
place, you've known me from a child and you've a great many
qualities I haven't. You are more light-hearted than I am; above
all, you are more innocent than I am. I have been brought into contact
with many, many things already.... Ah, you don't know, but I, too,
am a Karamazov. What does it matter if you do laugh and make jokes,
and at me, too? Go on laughing. I am so glad you do. You laugh like
a little child, but you think like a martyr."
    "Like a martyr? How?"
    "Yes, Lise, your question just now: whether we weren't showing
contempt for that poor man by dissecting his soul- that was the
question of a sufferer.... You see, I don't know how to express it,
but anyone who thinks of such questions is capable of suffering.
Sitting in your invalid chair you must have thought over many things
    "Alyosha, give me your hand. Why are you taking it away?" murmured
Lise in a failing voice, weak with happiness. "Listen, Alyosha. What
will you wear when you come out of the monastery? What sort of suit?
Don't laugh, don't be angry, it's very, very important to me."
    "I haven't thought about the suit, Lise; But I'll wear whatever
you like."
    "I should like you to have a dark blue velvet coat, a white
pique waistcoat, and a soft grey felt hat.... Tell me, did you believe
that I didn't care for you when I said I didn't mean what I wrote?"
    "No, I didn't believe it."
    "Oh, you insupportable person, you are incorrigible."
    "You see, I knew that you seemed to care for me, but I pretended
to believe that you didn't care for me to make it easier for you."
    "That makes it worse! Worse and better than all! Alyosha, I am
awfully fond of you. Just before you came this morning, I tried my
fortune. I decided I would ask you for my letter, and if you brought
it out calmly and gave it to me (as might have been expected from you)
it would mean that you did not love me at all, that you felt
nothing, and were simply a stupid boy, good for nothing, and that I am
ruined. But you left the letter at home and that cheered me. You
left it behind on purpose, so as not to give it back, because you knew
I would ask for it? That was it, wasn't it?"
    "Ah, Lise, it was not so a bit. The letter is with me now, and
it was this morning, in this pocket. Here it is."
    Alyosha pulled the letter out laughing, and showed it her at a
    "But I am not going to give it to you. Look at it from here."
    "Why, then you told a lie? You, a monk, told a lie!"
    "I told a lie if you like," Alyosha laughed, too. "I told a lie so
as not to give you back the letter. It's very precious to me," he
added suddenly, with strong feeling, and again he flushed. "It
always will be, and I won't give it up to anyone!"
    Lise looked at him joyfully. "Alyosha," she murmured again,
"look at the door. Isn't mamma listening?"
    "Very well, Lise, I'll look; but wouldn't it be better not to
look? Why suspect your mother of such meanness?"
    "What meanness? As for her spying on her daughter, it's her right,
it's not meanness!" cried Lise, firing up. "You may be sure, Alexey
Fyodorovitch, that when I am a mother, if I have a daughter like
myself I shall certainly spy on her!"
    "Really, Lise? That's not right."
    "Oh, my goodness! What has meanness to do with it? If she were
listening to some ordinary worldly conversation, it would be meanness,
but when her own daughter is shut up with a young man... Listen,
Alyosha, do you know I shall spy upon you as soon as we are married,
and let me tell you I shall open all your letters and read them, so
you may as well be prepared."
    "Yes, of course, if so- " muttered Alyosha, "only it's not right."
    "Ah, how contemptuous! Alyosha, dear, we won't quarrel the very
first day. I'd better tell you the whole truth. Of course, it's very
wrong to spy on people, and, of course, I am not right and you are,
only I shall spy on you all the same."
    "Do, then; you won't find out anything," laughed Alyosha.
    "And Alyosha, will you give in to me? We must decide that too."
    "I shall be delighted to, Lise, and certain to, only not in the
most important things. Even if you don't agree with me, I shall do
my duty in the most important things."
    "That's right; but let me tell you I am ready to give in to you
not only in the most important matters, but in everything. And I am
ready to vow to do so now- in everything, and for all my life!"
cried Lise fervently, "and I'll do it gladly, gladly! What's more,
I'll swear never to spy on you, never once, never to read one of
your letters. For you are right and I am not. And though I shall be
awfully tempted to spy, I know that I won't do it since you consider
it dishonourable. You are my conscience now.... Listen, Alexey
Fyodorovitch, why have you been so sad lately- both yesterday and
to-day? I know you have a lot of anxiety and trouble, but I see you
have some special grief besides, some secret one, perhaps?"
    "Yes, Lise, I have a secret one, too," answered Alyosha
mournfully. "I see you love me, since you guessed that."
    "What grief? What about? Can you tell me?" asked Lise with timid
    "I'll tell you later, Lise- afterwards," said Alyosha, confused.
"Now you wouldn't understand it perhaps- and perhaps I couldn't
explain it."
    "I know your brothers and your father are worrying you, too."
    "Yes, my brothers too," murmured Alyosha, pondering.
    "I don't like your brother Ivan, Alyosha," said Lise suddenly.
    He noticed this remark with some surprise, but did not answer it.
    "My brothers are destroying themselves," he went on, "my father,
too. And they are destroying others with them. It's 'the primitive
force of the Karamazovs,' as father Paissy said the other day, a
crude, unbridled, earthly force. Does the spirit of God move above
that force? Even that I don't know. I only know that I, too, am a
Karamazov.... Me a monk, a monk! Am I a monk, Lise? You said just
now that I was."
    "Yes, I did."
    "And perhaps I don't even believe in God."
    "You don't believe? What is the matter?" said Lise quietly and
gently. But Alyosha did not answer. There was something too
mysterious, too subjective in these last words of his, perhaps obscure
to himself, but yet torturing him.
    "And now on the top of it all, my friend, the best man in the
world is going, is leaving the earth! If you knew, Lise, how bound
up in soul I am with him! And then I shall be left alone.... I shall
come to you, Lise.... For the future we will be together."
    "Yes, together, together! Henceforward we shall be always
together, all our lives! Listen, kiss me, I allow you."
    Alyosha kissed her.
    "Come, now go. Christ be with you!" and she made the sign of the
cross over him. "Make haste back to him while he is alive. I see
I've kept you cruelly. I'll pray to-day for him and you. Alyosha, we
shall be happy! Shall we be happy, shall we?"
    "I believe we shall, Lise."
    Alyosha thought it better not to go in to Madame Hohlakov and
was going out of the house without saying good-bye to her. But no
sooner had he opened the door than he found Madame Hohlakov standing
before him. From the first word Alyosha guessed that she had been
waiting on purpose to meet him.
    "Alexey Fyodorovitch, this is awful. This is all childish nonsense
and ridiculous. I trust you won't dream- It's foolishness, nothing but
foolishness!" she said, attacking him at once.
    "Only don't tell her that," said Alyosha, "or she will be upset,
and that's bad for her now."
    "Sensible advice from a sensible young man. Am I to understand
that you only agreed with her from compassion for her invalid state,
because you didn't want to irritate her by contradiction?"
    "Oh no, not at all. I was quite serious in what I said," Alyosha
declared stoutly.
    "To be serious about it is impossible, unthinkable, and in the
first place I shall never be at home to you again, and I shall take
her away, you may be sure of that."
    "But why?" asked Alyosha. "It's all so far off. We may have to
wait another year and a half."
    "Ah, Alexey Fyodorovitch, that's true, of course, and you'll
have time to quarrel and separate a thousand times in a year and a
half. But I am so unhappy! Though it's such nonsense, it's a great
blow to me. I feel like Famusov in the last scene of Sorrow from
Wit. You are Tchatsky and she is Sofya, and, only fancy, I've run down
to meet you on the stairs, and in the play the fatal scene takes place
on the staircase. I heard it all; I almost dropped. So this is the
explanation of her dreadful night and her hysterics of late! It
means love to the daughter but death to the mother. I might as well be
in my grave at once. And a more serious matter still, what is this
letter she has written? Show it me at once, at once!"
    "No, there's no need. Tell me, how is Katerina Ivanovna now? I
must know."
    "She still lies in delirium; she has not regained consciousness.
Her aunts are here; but they do nothing but sigh and give themselves
airs. Herzenstube came, and he was so alarmed that I didn't know
what to do for him. I nearly sent for a doctor to look after him. He
was driven home in my carriage. And on the top of it all, you and this
letter! It's true nothing can happen for a year and a half. In the
name of all that's holy, in the name of your dying elder, show me that
letter, Alexey Fyodorovitch. I'm her mother. Hold it in your hand,
if you like, and I will read it so."
    "No, I won't show it to you. Even if she sanctioned it, I
wouldn't. I am coming to-morrow, and if you like, we can talk over
many things, but now good-bye!"
    And Alyosha ran downstairs and into the street.
                              Chapter 2
                       Smerdyakov with a Guitar

    HE had no time to lose indeed. Even while he was saying good-bye
to Lise, the thought had struck him that he must attempt some
stratagem to find his brother Dmitri, who was evidently keeping out of
his way. It was getting late, nearly three o'clock. Alyosha's whole
soul turned to the monastery, to his dying saint, but the necessity of
seeing Dmitri outweighed everything. The conviction that a great
inevitable catastrophe was about to happen grew stronger in
Alyosha's mind with every hour. What that catastrophe was, and what he
would say at that moment to his brother, he could perhaps not have
said definitely. "Even if my benefactor must die without me, anyway
I won't have to reproach myself all my life with the thought that I
might have saved something and did not, but passed by and hastened
home. If I do as I intend, I shall be following his great precept."
    His plan was to catch his brother Dmitri unawares, to climb over
the fence, as he had the day before, get into the garden and sit in
the summer-house. If Dmitri were not there, thought Alyosha, he
would not announce himself to Foma or the women of the house, but
would remain hidden in the summer-house, even if he had to wait
there till evening. If, as before, Dmitri were lying in wait for
Grushenka to come, he would be very likely to come to the
summer-house. Alyosha did not, however, give much thought to the
details of his plan, but resolved to act upon it, even if it meant not
getting back to the monastery that day.
    Everything happened without hindrance, he climbed over the
hurdle almost in the same spot as the day before, and stole into the
summer-house unseen. He did not want to be noticed. The woman of the
house and Foma too, if he were here, might be loyal to his brother and
obey his instructions, and so refuse to let Alyosha come into the
garden, or might warn Dmitri that he was being sought and inquired
    There was no one in the summer-house. Alyosha sat down and began
to wait. He looked round the summer-house, which somehow struck him as
a great deal more ancient than before. Though the day was just as fine
as yesterday, it seemed a wretched little place this time. There was a
circle on the table, left no doubt from the glass of brandy having
been spilt the day before. Foolish and irrelevant ideas strayed
about his mind, as they always do in a time of tedious waiting. He
wondered, for instance, why he had sat down precisely in the same
place as before, why not in the other seat. At last he felt very
depressed- depressed by suspense and uncertainty. But he had not sat
there more than a quarter of an hour, when he suddenly heard the thrum
of a guitar somewhere quite close. People were sitting, or had only
just sat down, somewhere in the bushes not more than twenty paces
away. Alyosha suddenly recollected that on coming out of the
summer-house the day before, he had caught a glimpse of an old green
low garden-seat among the bushes on the left, by the fence. The people
must be sitting on it now. Who were they?
    A man's voice suddenly began singing in a sugary falsetto,
accompanying himself on the guitar:

                     With invincible force
                     I am bound to my dear.
                     O Lord, have mercy
                     On her and on me!
                     On her and on me!
                     On her and on me!

    The voice ceased. It was a lackey's tenor and a lackey's song.
Another voice, a woman's, suddenly asked insinuatingly and
bashfully, though with mincing affectation:
    "Why haven't you been to see us for so long, Pavel Fyodorovitch?
Why do you always look down upon us?"
    "Not at all answered a man's voice politely, but with emphatic
dignity. It was clear that the man had the best of the position, and
that the woman was making advances. "I believe the man must be
Smerdyakov," thought Alyosha, "from his voice. And the lady must be
the daughter of the house here, who has come from Moscow, the one
who wears the dress with a tail and goes to Marfa for soup."
    "I am awfully fond of verses of all kinds, if they rhyme," the
woman's voice continued. "Why don't you go on?"
    The man sang again:

                   What do I care for royal wealth
                   If but my dear one be in health?
                   Lord have mercy
                   On her and on me!
                   On her and on me!
                   On her and on me!

    "It was even better last time," observed the woman's voice. "You
sang 'If my darling be in health'; it sounded more tender. I suppose
you've forgotten to-day."
    "Poetry is rubbish!" said Smerdyakov curtly.
    "Oh, no! I am very fond of poetry."
    "So far as it's poetry, it's essential rubbish. Consider yourself,
who ever talks in rhyme? And if we were all to talk in rhyme, even
though it were decreed by government, we shouldn't say much, should
we? Poetry is no good, Marya Kondratyevna."
    "How clever you are! How is it you've gone so deep into
everything?" The woman's voice was more and more insinuating.
    "I could have done better than that. I could have known more
than that, if it had not been for my destiny from my childhood up. I
would have shot a man in a duel if he called me names because I am
descended from a filthy beggar and have no father. And they used to
throw it in my teeth in Moscow. It had reached them from here,
thanks to Grigory Vassilyevitch. Grigory Vassilyevitch blames me for
rebelling against my birth, but I would have sanctioned their
killing me before I was born that I might not have come into the world
at all. They used to say in the market, and your mamma too, with great
lack of delicacy, set off telling me that her hair was like a mat on
her head, and that she was short of five foot by a wee bit. Why talk
of a wee bit while she might have said 'a little bit,' like everyone
else? She wanted to make it touching, a regular peasant's feeling. Can
a Russian peasant be said to feel, in comparison with an educated man?
He can't be said to have feeling at all, in his ignorance. From my
childhood up when I hear 'a wee bit,' I am ready to burst with rage. I
hate all Russia, Marya Kondratyevna."
    "If you'd been a cadet in the army, or a young hussar, you
wouldn't have talked like that, but would have drawn your sabre to
defend all Russia."
    "I don't want to be a hussar, Marya Kondratyevna, and, what's
more, I should like to abolish all soldiers."
    "And when an enemy comes, who is going to defend us?"
    "There's no need of defence. In 1812 there was a great invasion of
Russia by Napoleon, first Emperor of the French, father of the present
one, and it would have been a good thing if they had conquered us. A
clever nation would have conquered a very stupid one and annexed it.
We should have had quite different institutions."
    "Are they so much better in their own country than we are? I
wouldn't change a dandy I know of for three young englishmen,"
observed Marya Kondratyevna tenderly, doubtless accompanying her words
with a most languishing glance.
    "That's as one prefers."
    "But you are just like a foreigner- just like a most gentlemanly
foreigner. I tell you that, though it makes me bashful."
    "If you care to know, the folks there and ours here are just alike
in their vice. They are swindlers, only there the scoundrel wears
polished boots and here he grovels in filth and sees no harm in it.
The Russian people want thrashing, as Fyodor Pavlovitch said very
truly yesterday, though he is mad, and all his children."
    "You said yourself you had such a respect for Ivan Fyodorovitch."
    "But he said I was a stinking lackey. He thinks that I might be
unruly. He is mistaken there. If I had a certain sum in my pocket, I
would have left here long ago. Dmitri Fyodorovitch is lower than any
lackey in his behaviour, in his mind, and in his poverty. He doesn't
know how to do anything, and yet he is respected by everyone. I may be
only a soup-maker, but with luck I could open a cafe restaurant in
Petrovka, in Moscow, for my cookery is something special, and
there's no one in Moscow, except the foreigners, whose cookery is
anything special. Dmitri Fyodorovitch is a beggar, but if he were to
challenge the son of the first count in the country, he'd fight him.
Though in what way is he better than I am? For he is ever so much
stupider than I am. Look at the money he has wasted without any need!"
    "It must be lovely, a duel," Marya Kondratyevna observed suddenly.
    "How so?"
    "It must be so dreadful and so brave, especially when young
officers with pistols in their hands pop at one another for the sake
of some lady. A perfect picture! Ah, if only girls were allowed to
look on, I'd give anything to see one!"
    "It's all very well when you are firing at someone, but when he is
firing straight in your mug, you must feel pretty silly. You'd be glad
to run away, Marya Kondratyevna."
    "You don't mean you would run away?" But Smerdyakov did not
deign to reply. After a moment's silence the guitar tinkled again, and
he sang again in the same falsetto:

                   Whatever you may say,
                   I shall go far away.
                   Life will be bright and gay
                   In the city far away.
                   I shall not grieve,
                   I shall not grieve at all,
                   I don't intend to grieve at all.

    Then something unexpected happened. Alyosha suddenly sneezed. They
were silent. Alyosha got up and walked towards them. He found
Smerdyakov dressed up and wearing polished boots, his hair pomaded,
and perhaps curled. The guitar lay on the garden-seat. His companion
was the daughter of the house, wearing a light-blue dress with a train
two yards long. She was young and would not have been bad-looking, but
that her face was so round and terribly freckled.
    "Will my brother Dmitri soon be back? asked Alyosha with as much
composure as he could.
    Smerdyakov got up slowly; Marya Kondratyevna rose too.
    "How am I to know about Dmitri Fyodorovitch? It's not as if I were
his keeper," answered Smerdyakov quietly, distinctly, and
    "But I simply asked whether you do know?" Alyosha explained.
    "I know nothing of his whereabouts and don't want to."
    "But my brother told me that you let him know all that goes on
in the house, and promised to let him know when Agrafena
Alexandrovna comes."
    Smerdyakov turned a deliberate, unmoved glance upon him.
    "And how did you get in this time, since the gate was bolted an
hour ago?" he asked, looking at Alyosha.
    "I came in from the back-alley, over the fence, and went
straight to the summer-house. I hope you'll forgive me, he added
addressing Marya Kondratyevna. "I was in a hurry to find my brother."
    "Ach, as though we could take it amiss in you!" drawled Marya
Kondratyevna, flattered by Alyosha's apology. "For Dmitri Fyodorovitch
often goes to the summer-house in that way. We don't know he is here
and he is sitting in the summer-house."
    "I am very anxious to find him, or to learn from you where he is
now. Believe me, it's on business of great importance to him."
    "He never tells us," lisped Marya Kondratyevna.
    "Though I used to come here as a friend," Smerdyakov began
again, "Dmitri Fyodorovitch has pestered me in a merciless way even
here by his incessant questions about the master. 'What news?' he'll
ask. 'What's going on in there now? Who's coming and going?' and can't
I tell him something more. Twice already he's threatened me with death

    "With death?" Alyosha exclaimed in surprise.
    "Do you suppose he'd think much of that, with his temper, which
you had a chance of observing yourself yesterday? He says if I let
Agrafena Alexandrovna in and she passes the night there, I'll be the
first to suffer for it. I am terribly afraid of him, and if I were not
even more afraid of doing so, I ought to let the police know. God only
knows what he might not do!"
    "His honour said to him the other day, 'I'll pound you in a
mortar!'" added Marya Kondratyevna.
    "Oh, if it's pounding in a mortar, it may be only talk,"
observed Alyosha. "If I could meet him, I might speak to him about
that too."
    "Well, the only thing I can tell you is this," said Smerdyakov, as
though thinking better of it; "I am here as an old friend and
neighbour, and it would be odd if I didn't come. On the other hand,
Ivan Fyodorovitch sent me first thing this morning to your brother's
lodging in Lake Street, without a letter, but with a message to Dmitri
Fyodorovitch to go to dine with him at the restaurant here, in the
marketplace. I went, but didn't find Dmitri Fyodorovitch at home,
though it was eight o'clock. 'He's been here, but he is quite gone,'
those were the very words of his landlady. It's as though there was an
understanding between them. Perhaps at this moment he is in the
restaurant with Ivan Fyodorovitch, for Ivan Fyodorovitch has not
been home to dinner and Fyodor Pavlovitch dined alone an hour ago, and
is gone to lie down. But I beg you most particularly not to speak of
me and of what I have told you, for he'd kill me for nothing at all."
    "Brother Ivan invited Dmitri to the restaurant to-day?" repeated
Alyosha quickly.
    "That's so."
    "The Metropolis tavern in the marketplace?"
    "The very same."
    "That's quite likely," cried Alyosha, much excited. "Thank you,
Smerdyakov; that's important. I'll go there at once."
    "Don't betray me," Smerdyakov called after him.
    "Oh, no, I'll go to the tavern as though by chance. Don't be
    "But wait a minute, I'll open the gate to you," cried Marya
    "No; it's a short cut, I'll get over the fence again."
    What he had heard threw Alyosha into great agitation. He ran to
the tavern. It was impossible for him to go into the tavern in his
monastic dress, but he could inquire at the entrance for his
brothers and call them down. But just as he reached the tavern, a
window was flung open, and his brother Ivan called down to him from
    "Alyosha, can't you come up here to me? I shall be awfully
    "To be sure I can, only I don't quite know whether in this
dress- "
    "But I am in a room apart. Come up the steps; I'll run down to
meet you."
    A minute later Alyosha was sitting beside his brother. Ivan was
alone dining.
                              Chapter 3
                      The Brothers Make Friends

    IVAN was not, however, in a separate room, but only in a place
shut off by a screen, so that it was unseen by other people in the
room. It was the first room from the entrance with a buffet along
the wall. Waiters were continually darting to and fro in it. The
only customer in the room was an old retired military man drinking tea
in a corner. But there was the usual bustle going on in the other
rooms of the tavern; there were shouts for the waiters, the sound of
popping corks, the click of billiard balls, the drone of the organ.
Alyosha knew that Ivan did not usually visit this tavern and
disliked taverns in general. So he must have come here, he
reflected, simply to meet Dmitri by arrangement. Yet Dmitri was not
    "Shall I order you fish, soup, or anything. You don't live on
tea alone, I suppose," cried Ivan, apparently delighted at having
got hold of Alyosha. He had finished dinner and was drinking tea.
    "Let me have soup, and tea afterwards, I am hungry," said
Alyosha gaily.
    "And cherry jam? They have it here. You remember how you used to
love cherry jam when you were little?"
    "You remember that? Let me have jam too, I like it still."
    Ivan rang for the waiter and ordered soup, jam, and tea.
    "I remember everything, Alyosha, I remember you till you were
eleven, I was nearly fifteen. There's such a difference between
fifteen and eleven that brothers are never companions at those ages. I
don't know whether I was fond of you even. When I went away to
Moscow for the first few years I never thought of you at all. Then,
when you came to Moscow yourself, we only met once somewhere, I
believe. And now I've been here more than three months, and so far
we have scarcely said a word to each other. To-morrow I am going away,
and I was just thinking as I sat here how I could see you to say
good-bye and just then you passed."
    "Were you very anxious to see me, then?"
    "Very. I want to get to know you once for all, and I want you to
know me. And then to say good-bye. I believe it's always best to get
to know people just before leaving them. I've noticed how you've
been looking at me these three months. There has been a continual look
of expectation in your eyes, and I can't endure that. That's how it is
I've kept away from you. But in the end I have learned to respect you.
The little man stands firm, I thought. Though I am laughing, I am
serious. You do stand firm, don't you? I like people who are firm like
that whatever it is they stand by, even if they are such little
fellows as you. Your expectant eyes ceased to annoy me, I grew fond of
them in the end, those expectant eyes. You seem to love me for some
reason, Alyosha?"
    "I do love you, Ivan. Dmitri says of you- Ivan is a tomb! I say of
you, Ivan is a riddle. You are a riddle to me even now. But I
understand something in you, and I did not understand it till this
    "What's that?" laughed Ivan.
    "You won't be angry?" Alyosha laughed too.
    "That you are just as young as other young men of three and
twenty, that you are just a young and fresh and nice boy, green in
fact! Now, have I insulted you dreadfully?"
    "On the contrary, I am struck by a coincidence," cried Ivan,
warmly and good-humouredly. "Would you believe it that ever since that
scene with her, I have thought of nothing else but my youthful
greenness, and just as though you guessed that, you begin about it. Do
you know I've been sitting here thinking to myself: that if I didn't
believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in
the order of things, were convinced, in fact, that everything is a
disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil-ridden chaos, if I were struck
by every horror of man's disillusionment- still I should want to
live and, having once tasted of the cup, I would not turn away from it
till I had drained it! At thirty, though, I shall be sure to leave the
cup, even if I've not emptied it, and turn away- where I don't know.
But till I am thirty, I know that my youth will triumph over
everything- every disillusionment, every disgust with life. I've asked
myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would
overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me,
and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't, that is till I am
thirty, and then I shall lose it of myself, I fancy. Some drivelling
consumptive moralists- and poets especially- often call that thirst
for life base. It's a feature of the Karamazovs, it's true, that
thirst for life regardless of everything; you have it no doubt too,
but why is it base? The centripetal force on our planet is still
fearfully strong, Alyosha. I have a longing for life, and I go on
living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the
universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in
spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you
know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by
men, though I've long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from
old habit one's heart prizes them. Here they have brought the soup for
you, eat it, it will do you good. It's first-rate soup, they know
how to make it here. I want to travel in Europe, Alyosha, I shall
set off from here. And yet I know that I am only going to a graveyard,
but it's a most precious graveyard, that's what it is! Precious are
the dead that lie there, every stone over them speaks of such
burning life in the past, of such passionate faith in their work,
their truth, their struggle and their science, that I know I shall
fall on the ground and kiss those stones and weep over them; though
I'm convinced in my heart that it's long been nothing but a graveyard.
And I shall not weep from despair, but simply because I shall be happy
in my tears, I shall steep my soul in emotion. I love the sticky
leaves in spring, the blue sky- that's all it is. It's not a matter of
intellect or logic, it's loving with one's inside, with one's stomach.
One loves the first strength of one's youth. Do you understand
anything of my tirade, Alyosha?" Ivan laughed suddenly.
    "I understand too well, Ivan. One longs to love with one's inside,
with one's stomach. You said that so well and I am awfully glad that
you have such a longing for life," cried Alyosha. "I think everyone
should love life above everything in the world."
    "Love life more than the meaning of it?"
    "Certainly, love it, regardless of logic as you say, it must be
regardless of logic, and it's only then one will understand the
meaning of it. I have thought so a long time. Half your work is
done, Ivan, you love life, now you've only to try to do the second
half and you are saved."
    "You are trying to save me, but perhaps I am not lost! And what
does your second half mean?"
    "Why, one has to raise up your dead, who perhaps have not died
after all. Come, let me have tea. I am so glad of our talk, Ivan."
    "I see you are feeling inspired. I am awfully fond of such
professions de foi* from such- novices. You are a steadfast person,
Alexey. Is it true that you mean to leave the monastery?"

    * Professions of faith.

    "Yes, my elder sends me out into the world."
    "We shall see each other then in the world. We shall meet before I
am thirty, when I shall begin to turn aside from the cup. Father
doesn't want to turn aside from his cup till he is seventy, he
dreams of hanging on to eighty in fact, so he says. He means it only
too seriously, though he is a buffoon. He stands on a firm rock,
too, he stands on his sensuality though after we are thirty, indeed,
there may be nothing else to stand on.... But to hang on to seventy is
nasty, better only to thirty; one might retain 'a shadow of
nobility' by deceiving oneself. Have you seen Dmitri to-day?"
    "No, but I saw Smerdyakov," and Alyosha rapidly, though
minutely, described his meeting with Smerdyakov. Ivan began
listening anxiously and questioned him.
    "But he begged me not to tell Dmitri that he had told me about
him," added Alyosha. Ivan frowned and pondered.
    "Are you frowning on Smerdyakov's account?" asked Alyosha.
    "Yes, on his account. Damn him, I certainly did want to see
Dmitri, but now there's no need," said Ivan reluctantly.
    "But are you really going so soon, brother?"
    "What of Dmitri and father? how will it end?" asked Alyosha
    "You are always harping upon it! What have I to do with it? Am I
my brother Dmitri's keeper?" Ivan snapped irritably, but then he
suddenly smiled bitterly. "Cain's answer about his murdered brother,
wasn't it? Perhaps that's what you're thinking at this moment? Well
damn it all, I can't stay here to be their keeper, can I? I've
finished what I had to do, and I am going. Do you imagine I am jealous
of Dmitri, that I've been trying to steal his beautiful Katerina
Ivanovna for the last three months? Nonsense, I had business of my
own. I finished it. I am going. I finished it just now, you were
    "At Katerina Ivanovna's?"
    "Yes, and I've released myself once for all. And after all, what
have I to do with Dmitri? Dmitri doesn't come in. I had my own
business to settle with Katerina Ivanovna. You know, on the
contrary, that Dmitri behaved as though there was an understanding
between us. I didn't ask to do it, but he solemnly handed her over
to me and gave us his blessing. It's all too funny. Ah, Alyosha, if
you only knew how light my heart is now! Would you believe it, I sat
here eating my dinner and was nearly ordering champagne to celebrate
my first hour of freedom. Tfoo! It's been going on nearly six
months, and all at once I've thrown it off. I could never have guessed
even yesterday, how easy it would be to put an end to it if I wanted."
    "You are speaking of your love, Ivan?"
    "Of my love, if you like. I fell in love with the young lady, I
worried myself over her and she worried me. I sat watching over her...
and all at once it's collapsed! I spoke this morning with inspiration,
but I went away and roared with laughter. Would you believe it? Yes,
it's the literal truth."
    "You seem very merry about it now," observed Alyosha, looking into
his face, which had suddenly grown brighter.
    "But how could I tell that I didn't care for her a bit! Ha ha!
It appears after all I didn't. And yet how she attracted me! How
attractive she was just now when I made my speech! And do you know she
attracts me awfully even now, yet how easy it is to leave her. Do
you think I am boasting?"
    "No, only perhaps it wasn't love."
    "Alyosha," laughed Ivan, "don't make reflections about love,
it's unseemly for you. How you rushed into the discussion this
morning! I've forgotten to kiss you for it.... But how she tormented
me! It certainly was sitting by a 'laceration.' Ah, she knew how I
loved her! She loved me and not Dmitri," Ivan insisted gaily. "Her
feeling for Dmitri was simply a self-laceration. All I told her just
now was perfectly true, but the worst of it is, it may take her
fifteen or twenty years to find out that she doesn't care for
Dmitri, and loves me whom she torments, and perhaps she may never find
it out at all, in spite of her lesson to-day. Well, it's better so;
I can simply go away for good. By the way, how is she now? What
happened after I departed?"
    Alyosha told him she had been hysterical, and that she was now, he
heard, unconscious and delirious.
    "Isn't Madame Hohlakov laying it on?"
    "I think not."
    "I must find out. Nobody dies of hysterics, though. They don't
matter. God gave woman hysterics as a relief. I won't go to her at
all. Why push myself forward again?"
    "But you told her that she had never cared for you."
    "I did that on purpose. Alyosha, shall I call for some
champagne? Let us drink to my freedom. Ah, if only you knew how glad I
    "No, brother, we had better not drink," said Alyosha suddenly.
"Besides I feel somehow depressed."
    "Yes, you've been depressed a long time, I've noticed it."
    "Have you settled to go to-morrow morning, then?"
    "Morning? I didn't say I should go in the morning.... But
perhaps it may be the morning. Would you believe it, I dined here
to-day only to avoid dining with the old man, I loathe him so. I
should have left long ago, so far as he is concerned. But why are
you so worried about my going away? We've plenty of time before I
go, an eternity!"
    "If you are going away to-morrow, what do you mean by an
    "But what does it matter to us?" laughed Ivan. "We've time
enough for our talk, for what brought us here. Why do you look so
surprised? Answer: why have we met here? To talk of my love for
Katerina Ivanovna, of the old man and Dmitri? of foreign travel? of
the fatal position of Russia? of the Emperor Napoleon? Is that it?"
    "Then you know what for. It's different for other people; but we
in our green youth have to settle the eternal questions first of
all. That's what we care about. Young Russia is talking about
nothing but the eternal questions now. just when the old folks are all
taken up with practical questions. Why have you been looking at me
in expectation for the last three months? To ask me, 'What do you
believe, or don't you believe at all?' That's what your eyes have been
meaning for these three months, haven't they?"
    "Perhaps so," smiled Alyosha. "You are not laughing at me, now,
    "Me laughing! I don't want to wound my little brother who has been
watching me with such expectation for three months. Alyosha, look
straight at me! Of course, I am just such a little boy as you are,
only not a novice. And what have Russian boys been doing up till
now, some of them, I mean? In this stinking tavern, for instance,
here, they meet and sit down in a corner. They've never met in their
lives before and, when they go out of the tavern, they won't meet
again for forty years. And what do they talk about in that momentary
halt in the tavern? Of the eternal questions, of the existence of
God and immortality. And those who do not believe in God talk of
socialism or anarchism, of the transformation of all humanity on a new
pattern, so that it all comes to the same, they're the same
questions turned inside out. And masses, masses of the most original
Russian boys do nothing but talk of the eternal questions! Isn't it
    "Yes, for real Russians the questions of God's existence and of
immortality, or, as you say, the same questions turned inside out,
come first and foremost, of course, and so they should," said Alyosha,
still watching his brother with the same gentle and inquiring smile.
    "Well, Alyosha, it's sometimes very unwise to be a Russian at all,
but anything stupider than the way Russian boys spend their time one
can hardly imagine. But there's one Russian boy called Alyosha I am
awfully fond of."
    "How nicely you put that in!" Alyosha laughed suddenly.
    "Well, tell me where to begin, give your orders. The existence
of God, eh?"
    "Begin where you like. You declared yesterday at father's that
there was no God." Alyosha looked searchingly at his brother.
    "I said that yesterday at dinner on purpose to tease you and I saw
your eyes glow. But now I've no objection to discussing with you,
and I say so very seriously. I want to be friends with you, Alyosha,
for I have no friends and want to try it. Well, only fancy, perhaps
I too accept God," laughed Ivan; "that's a surprise for you, isn't
    "Yes of course, if you are not joking now."
    "Joking? I was told at the elder's yesterday that I was joking.
You know, dear boy, there was an old sinner in the eighteenth
century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be
invented. S'il n'existait pas Dieu, il faudrait l'inventer. And man
has actually invented God. And what's strange, what would be
marvellous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that
such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head
of such a savage, vicious beast as man. So holy it is, so touching, so
wise and so great a credit it does to man. As for me, I've long
resolved not to think whether man created God or God man. And I
won't go through all the axioms laid down by Russian boys on that
subject, all derived from European hypotheses; for what's a hypothesis
there is an axiom with the Russian boy, and not only with the boys but
with their teachers too, for our Russian professors are often just the
same boys themselves. And so I omit all the hypotheses. For what are
we aiming at now? I am trying to explain as quickly as possible my
essential nature, that is what manner of man I am, what I believe
in, and for what I hope, that's it, isn't it? And therefore I tell you
that I accept God simply. But you must note this: if God exists and if
He really did create the world, then, as we all know, He created it
according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind with the
conception of only three dimensions in space. Yet there have been
and still are geometricians and philosophers, and even some of the
most distinguished, who doubt whether the whole universe, or to
speak more widely, the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's
geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which
according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in
infinity. I have come to the conclusion that, since I can't understand
even that, I can't expect to understand about God. I acknowledge
humbly that I have no faculty for settling such questions, I have a
Euclidian earthly mind, and how could I solve problems that are not of
this world? And I advise you never to think about it either, my dear
Alyosha, especially about God, whether He exists or not. All such
questions are utterly inappropriate for a mind created with an idea of
only three dimensions. And so I accept God and am glad to, and
what's more, I accept His wisdom, His purpose which are utterly beyond
our ken; I believe in the underlying order and the meaning of life;
I believe in the eternal harmony in which they say we shall one day be
blended. I believe in the Word to Which the universe is striving,
and Which Itself was 'with God,' and Which Itself is God and so on,
and so on, to infinity. There are all sorts of phrases for it. I
seem to be on the right path, don't I'? Yet would you believe it, in
the final result I don't accept this world of God's, and, although I
know it exists, I don't accept it at all. It's not that I don't accept
God, you must understand, it's the world created by Him I don't and
cannot accept. Let me make it plain. I believe like a child that
suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating
absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage,
like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small
Euclidian mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of
eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it
will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments,
for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood
they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to
justify all that has happened with men- but thought all that may
come to pass, I don't accept it. I won't accept it. Even if parallel
lines do meet and I see it myself, I shall see it and say that they've
met, but still I won't accept it. That's what's at the root of me,
Alyosha; that's my creed. I am in earnest in what I say. I began our
talk as stupidly as I could on purpose, but I've led up to my
confession, for that's all you want. You didn't want to hear about
God, but only to know what the brother you love lives by. And so
I've told you."
    Ivan concluded his long tirade with marked and unexpected feeling.
    "And why did you begin 'as stupidly as you could'?" asked Alyosha,
looking dreamily at him.
    "To begin with, for the sake of being Russian. Russian
conversations on such subjects are always carried on inconceivably
stupidly. And secondly, the stupider one is, the closer one is to
reality. The stupider one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief
and artless, while intelligence wriggles and hides itself.
Intelligence is a knave, but stupidity is honest and straight forward.
I've led the conversation to my despair, and the more stupidly I
have presented it, the better for me."
    "You will explain why you don't accept the world?" said Alyosha.
    "To be sure I will, it's not a secret, that's what I've been
leading up to. Dear little brother, I don't want to corrupt you or
to turn you from your stronghold, perhaps I want to be healed by you."
Ivan smiled suddenly quite like a little gentle child. Alyosha had
never seen such a smile on his face before.
                              Chapter 4

    "I MUST make one confession" Ivan began. "I could never understand
how one can love one's neighbours. It's just one's neighbours, to my
mind, that one can't love, though one might love those at a
distance. I once read somewhere of John the Merciful, a saint, that
when a hungry, frozen beggar came to him, he took him into his bed,
held him in his arms, and began breathing into his mouth, which was
putrid and loathsome from some awful disease. I am convinced that he
did that from 'self-laceration,' from the self-laceration of
falsity, for the sake of the charity imposed by duty, as a penance
laid on him. For anyone to love a man, he must be hidden, for as
soon as he shows his face, love is gone."
    "Father Zossima has talked of that more than once," observed
Alyosha; "he, too, said that the face of a man often hinders many
people not practised in love, from loving him. But yet there's a great
deal of love in mankind, and almost Christ-like love. I know that
myself, Ivan."
    "Well, I know nothing of it so far, and can't understand it, and
the innumerable mass of mankind are with me there. The question is,
whether that's due to men's bad qualities or whether it's inherent
in their nature. To my thinking, Christ-like love for men is a miracle
impossible on earth. He was God. But we are not gods. Suppose I, for
instance, suffer intensely. Another can never know how much I
suffer, because he is another and not I. And what's more, a man is
rarely ready to admit another's suffering (as though it were a
distinction). Why won't he admit it, do you think? Because I smell
unpleasant, because I have a stupid face, because I once trod on his
foot. Besides, there is suffering and suffering; degrading,
humiliating suffering such as humbles me- hunger, for instance- my
benefactor will perhaps allow me; but when you come to higher
suffering- for an idea, for instance- he will very rarely admit
that, perhaps because my face strikes him as not at all what he
fancies a man should have who suffers for an idea. And so he
deprives me instantly of his favour, and not at all from badness of
heart. Beggars, especially genteel beggars, ought never to show
themselves, but to ask for charity through the newspapers. One can
love one's neighbours in the abstract, or even at a distance, but at
close quarters it's almost impossible. If it were as on the stage,
in the ballet, where if beggars come in, they wear silken rags and
tattered lace and beg for alms dancing gracefully, then one might like
looking at them. But even then we should not love them. But enough
of that. I simply wanted to show you my point of view. I meant to
speak of the suffering of mankind generally, but we had better confine
ourselves to the sufferings of the children. That reduces the scope of
my argument to a tenth of what it would be. Still we'd better keep
to the children, though it does weaken my case. But, in the first
place, children can be loved even at close quarters, even when they
are dirty, even when they are ugly (I fancy, though, children never
are ugly). The second reason why I won't speak of grown-up people is
that, besides being disgusting and unworthy of love, they have a
compensation- they've eaten the apple and know good and evil, and they
have become 'like gods.' They go on eating it still. But the
children haven't eaten anything, and are so far innocent. Are you fond
of children, Alyosha? I know you are, and you will understand why I
prefer to speak of them. If they, too, suffer horribly on earth,
they must suffer for their fathers' sins, they must be punished for
their fathers, who have eaten the apple; but that reasoning is of
the other world and is incomprehensible for the heart of man here on
earth. The innocent must not suffer for another's sins, and especially
such innocents! You may be surprised at me, Alyosha, but I am
awfully fond of children, too. And observe, cruel people, the violent,
the rapacious, the Karamazovs are sometimes very fond of children.
Children while they are quite little- up to seven, for instance- are
so remote from grown-up people they are different creatures, as it
were, of a different species. I knew a criminal in prison who had,
in the course of his career as a burglar, murdered whole families,
including several children. But when he was in prison, he had a
strange affection for them. He spent all his time at his window,
watching the children playing in the prison yard. He trained one
little boy to come up to his window and made great friends with
him.... You don't know why I am telling you all this, Alyosha? My head
aches and I am sad."
    "You speak with a strange air," observed Alyosha uneasily, "as
though you were not quite yourself."
    "By the way, a Bulgarian I met lately in Moscow," Ivan went on,
seeming not to hear his brother's words, "told me about the crimes
committed by Turks and Circassians in all parts of Bulgaria through
fear of a general rising of the Slavs. They burn villages, murder,
outrage women and children, they nail their prisoners by the ears to
the fences, leave them so till morning, and in the morning they hang
them- all sorts of things you can't imagine. People talk sometimes
of bestial cruelty, but that's a great injustice and insult to the
beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel.
The tiger only tears and gnaws, that's all he can do. He would never
think of nailing people by the ears, even if he were able to do it.
These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children, -too; cutting the
unborn child from the mothers womb, and tossing babies up in the air
and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their
mothers' eyes. Doing it before the mothers' eyes was what gave zest to
the amusement. Here is another scene that I thought very
interesting. Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a
circle of invading Turks around her. They've planned a diversion: they
pet the baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs.
At that moment a Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby's
face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the
pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby's face and blows out
its brains. Artistic, wasn't it? By the way, Turks are particularly
fond of sweet things, they say."
    "Brother, what are you driving at?" asked Alyosha.
    "I think if the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he
has created him in his own image and likeness."
    "Just as he did God, then?" observed Alyosha.
    "'It's wonderful how you can turn words,' as Polonius says in
Hamlet," laughed Ivan. "You turn my words against me. Well, I am glad.
Yours must be a fine God, if man created Him in his image and
likeness. You asked just now what I was driving at. You see, I am fond
of collecting certain facts, and, would you believe, I even copy
anecdotes of a certain sort from newspapers and books, and I've
already got a fine collection. The Turks, of course, have gone into
it, but they are foreigners. I have specimens from home that are
even better than the Turks. You know we prefer beating- rods and
scourges- that's our national institution. Nailing ears is unthinkable
for us, for we are, after all, Europeans. But the rod and the
scourge we have always with us and they cannot be taken from us.
Abroad now they scarcely do any beating. Manners are more humane, or
laws have been passed, so that they don't dare to flog men now. But
they make up for it in another way just as national as ours. And so
national that it would be practically impossible among us, though I
believe we are being inoculated with it, since the religious
movement began in our aristocracy. I have a charming pamphlet,
translated from the French, describing how, quite recently, five years
ago, a murderer, Richard, was executed- a young man, I believe, of
three and twenty, who repented and was converted to the Christian
faith at the very scaffold. This Richard was an illegitimate child who
was given as a child of six by his parents to some shepherds on the
Swiss mountains. They brought him up to work for them. He grew up like
a little wild beast among them. The shepherds taught him nothing,
and scarcely fed or clothed him, but sent him out at seven to herd the
flock in cold and wet, and no one hesitated or scrupled to treat him
so. Quite the contrary, they thought they had every right, for Richard
had been given to them as a chattel, and they did not even see the
necessity of feeding him. Richard himself describes how in those
years, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, he longed to eat of the
mash given to the pigs, which were fattened for sale. But they
wouldn't even give that, and beat him when he stole from the pigs. And
that was how he spent all his childhood and his youth, till he grew up
and was strong enough to go away and be a thief. The savage began to
earn his living as a day labourer in Geneva. He drank what he
earned, he lived like a brute, and finished by killing and robbing
an old man. He was caught, tried, and condemned to death. They are not
sentimentalists there. And in prison he was immediately surrounded
by pastors, members of Christian brotherhoods, philanthropic ladies,
and the like. They taught him to read and write in prison, and
expounded the Gospel to him. They exhorted him, worked upon him,
drummed at him incessantly, till at last he solemnly confessed his
crime. He was converted. He wrote to the court himself that he was a
monster, but that in the end God had vouchsafed him light and shown
grace. All Geneva was in excitement about him- all philanthropic and
religious Geneva. All the aristocratic and well-bred society of the
town rushed to the prison, kissed Richard and embraced him; 'You are
our brother, you have found grace.' And Richard does nothing but
weep with emotion, 'Yes, I've found grace! All my youth and
childhood I was glad of pigs' food, but now even I have found grace. I
am dying in the Lord.' 'Yes, Richard, die in the Lord; you have shed
blood and must die. Though it's not your fault that you knew not the
Lord, when you coveted the pigs' food and were beaten for stealing
it (which was very wrong of you, for stealing is forbidden); but
you've shed blood and you must die.'And on the last day, Richard,
perfectly limp, did nothing but cry and repeat every minute: 'This
is my happiest day. I am going to the Lord.' 'Yes,' cry the pastors
and the judges and philanthropic ladies. 'This is the happiest day
of your life, for you are going to the Lord!' They all walk or drive
to the scaffold in procession behind the prison van. At the scaffold
they call to Richard: 'Die, brother, die in the Lord, for even thou
hast found grace!' And so, covered with his brothers' kisses,
Richard is dragged on to the scaffold, and led to the guillotine.
And they chopped off his head in brotherly fashion, because he had
found grace. Yes, that's characteristic. That pamphlet is translated
into Russian by some Russian philanthropists of aristocratic rank
and evangelical aspirations, and has been distributed gratis for the
enlightenment of the people. The case of Richard is interesting
because it's national. Though to us it's absurd to cut off a man's
head, because he has become our brother and has found grace, yet we
have our own speciality, which is all but worse. Our historical
pastime is the direct satisfaction of inflicting pain. There are lines
in Nekrassov describing how a peasant lashes a horse on the eyes,
'on its meek eyes,' everyone must have seen it. It's peculiarly
Russian. He describes how a feeble little nag has foundered under
too heavy a load and cannot move. The peasant beats it, beats it
savagely, beats it at last not knowing what he is doing in the
intoxication of cruelty, thrashes it mercilessly over and over
again. 'However weak you are, you must pull, if you die for it.' The
nag strains, and then he begins lashing the poor defenceless
creature on its weeping, on its 'meek eyes.' The frantic beast tugs
and draws the load, trembling all over, gasping for breath, moving
sideways, with a sort of unnatural spasmodic action- it's awful in
Nekrassov. But that only a horse, and God has horses to be beaten.
So the Tatars have taught us, and they left us the knout as a
remembrance of it. But men, too, can be beaten. A well-educated,
cultured gentleman and his wife beat their own child with a birch-rod,
a girl of seven. I have an exact account of it. The papa was glad that
the birch was covered with twigs. 'It stings more,' said he, and so be
began stinging his daughter. I know for a fact there are people who at
every blow are worked up to sensuality, to literal sensuality, which
increases progressively at every blow they inflict. They beat for a
minute, for five minutes, for ten minutes, more often and more
savagely. The child screams. At last the child cannot scream, it
gasps, 'Daddy daddy!' By some diabolical unseemly chance the case
was brought into court. A counsel is engaged. The Russian people
have long called a barrister 'a conscience for hire.' The counsel
protests in his client's defence. 'It's such a simple thing,' he says,
'an everyday domestic event. A father corrects his child. To our shame
be it said, it is brought into court.' The jury, convinced by him,
give a favourable verdict. The public roars with delight that the
torturer is acquitted. Ah, pity I wasn't there! I would have
proposed to raise a subscription in his honour! Charming pictures.
    "But I've still better things about children. I've collected a
great, great deal about Russian children, Alyosha. There was a
little girl of five who was hated by her father and mother, 'most
worthy and respectable people, of good education and breeding.' You
see, I must repeat again, it is a peculiar characteristic of many
people, this love of torturing children, and children only. To all
other types of humanity these torturers behave mildly and
benevolently, like cultivated and humane Europeans; but they are
very fond of tormenting children, even fond of children themselves
in that sense. it's just their defencelessness that tempts the
tormentor, just the angelic confidence of the child who has no
refuge and no appeal, that sets his vile blood on fire. In every
man, of course, a demon lies hidden- the demon of rage, the demon of
lustful heat at the screams of the tortured victim, the demon of
lawlessness let off the chain, the demon of diseases that follow on
vice, gout, kidney disease, and so on.
    "This poor child of five was subjected to every possible torture
by those cultivated parents. They beat her, thrashed her, kicked her
for no reason till her body was one bruise. Then, they went to greater
refinements of cruelty- shut her up all night in the cold and frost in
a privy, and because she didn't ask to be taken up at night (as though
a child of five sleeping its angelic, sound sleep could be trained
to wake and ask), they smeared her face and filled her mouth with
excrement, and it was her mother, her mother did this. And that mother
could sleep, hearing the poor child's groans! Can you understand why a
little creature, who can't even understand what's done to her,
should beat her little aching heart with her tiny fist in the dark and
the cold, and weep her meek unresentful tears to dear, kind God to
protect her? Do you understand that, friend and brother, you pious and
humble novice? Do you understand why this infamy must be and is
permitted? Without it, I am told, man could not have existed on earth,
for he could not have known good and evil. Why should he know that
diabolical good and evil when it costs so much? Why, the whole world
of knowledge is not worth that child's prayer to dear, kind God'! I
say nothing of the sufferings of grown-up people, they have eaten
the apple, damn them, and the devil take them all! But these little
ones! I am making you suffer, Alyosha, you are not yourself. I'll
leave off if you like."
    "Nevermind. I want to suffer too," muttered Alyosha.
    "One picture, only one more, because it's so curious, so
characteristic, and I have only just read it in some collection of
Russian antiquities. I've forgotten the name. I must look it up. It
was in the darkest days of serfdom at the beginning of the century,
and long live the Liberator of the People! There was in those days a
general of aristocratic connections, the owner of great estates, one
of those men- somewhat exceptional, I believe, even then- who,
retiring from the service into a life of leisure, are convinced that
they've earned absolute power over the lives of their subjects.
There were such men then. So our general, settled on his property of
two thousand souls, lives in pomp, and domineers over his poor
neighbours as though they were dependents and buffoons. He has kennels
of hundreds of hounds and nearly a hundred dog-boys- all mounted,
and in uniform. One day a serf-boy, a little child of eight, threw a
stone in play and hurt the paw of the general's favourite hound.
'Why is my favourite dog lame?' He is told that the boy threw a
stone that hurt the dog's paw. 'So you did it.' The general looked the
child up and down. 'Take him.' He was taken- taken from his mother and
kept shut up all night. Early that morning the general comes out on
horseback, with the hounds, his dependents, dog-boys, and huntsmen,
all mounted around him in full hunting parade. The servants are
summoned for their edification, and in front of them all stands the
mother of the child. The child is brought from the lock-up. It's a
gloomy, cold, foggy, autumn day, a capital day for hunting. The
general orders the child to be undressed; the child is stripped naked.
He shivers, numb with terror, not daring to cry.... 'Make him run,'
commands the general. 'Run! run!' shout the dog-boys. The boy runs....
'At him!' yells the general, and he sets the whole pack of hounds on
the child. The hounds catch him, and tear him to pieces before his
mother's eyes!... I believe the general was afterwards declared
incapable of administering his estates. Well- what did he deserve?
To be shot? To be shot for the satisfaction of our moral feelings?
Speak, Alyosha!
    "To be shot," murmured Alyosha, lifting his eyes to Ivan with a
pale, twisted smile.
    "Bravo!" cried Ivan delighted. "If even you say so... You're a
pretty monk! So there is a little devil sitting in your heart, Alyosha
    "What I said was absurd, but-"
    "That's just the point, that 'but'!" cried Ivan. "Let me tell you,
novice, that the absurd is only too necessary on earth. The world
stands on absurdities, and perhaps nothing would have come to pass
in it without them. We know what we know!"
    "What do you know?"
    "I understand nothing," Ivan went on, as though in delirium. "I
don't want to understand anything now. I want to stick to the fact.
I made up my mind long ago not to understand. If I try to understand
anything, I shall be false to the fact, and I have determined to stick
to the fact."
    "Why are you trying me?" Alyosha cried, with sudden distress.
"Will you say what you mean at last?"
    "Of course, I will; that's what I've been leading up to. You are
dear to me, I don't want to let you go, and I won't give you up to
your Zossima."
    Ivan for a minute was silent, his face became all at once very
    "Listen! I took the case of children only to make my case clearer.
Of the other tears of humanity with which the earth is soaked from its
crust to its centre, I will say nothing. I have narrowed my subject on
purpose. I am a bug, and I recognise in all humility that I cannot
understand why the world is arranged as it is. Men are themselves to
blame, I suppose; they were given paradise, they wanted freedom, and
stole fire from heaven, though they knew they would become unhappy, so
there is no need to pity them. With my pitiful, earthly, Euclidian
understanding, all I know is that there is suffering and that there
are none guilty; that cause follows effect, simply and directly;
that everything flows and finds its level- but that's only Euclidian
nonsense, I know that, and I can't consent to live by it! What comfort
is it to me that there are none guilty and that cause follows effect
simply and directly, and that I know it?- I must have justice, or I
will destroy myself. And not justice in some remote infinite time
and space, but here on earth, and that I could see myself. I have
believed in it. I want to see it, and if I am dead by then, let me
rise again, for if it all happens without me, it will be too unfair.
Surely I haven't suffered simply that I, my crimes and my
sufferings, may manure the soil of the future harmony for somebody
else. I want to see with my own eyes the hind lie down with the lion
and the victim rise up and embrace his murderer. I want to be there
when everyone suddenly understands what it has all been for. All the
religions of the world are built on this longing, and I am a believer.
But then there are the children, and what am I to do about them?
That's a question I can't answer. For the hundredth time I repeat,
there are numbers of questions, but I've only taken the children,
because in their case what I mean is so unanswerably clear. Listen! If
all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children
to do with it, tell me, please? It's beyond all comprehension why they
should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony. Why should
they, too, furnish material to enrich the soil for the harmony of
the future? I understand solidarity in sin among men. I understand
solidarity in retribution, too; but there can be no such solidarity
with children. And if it is really true that they must share
responsibility for all their fathers' crimes, such a truth is not of
this world and is beyond my comprehension. Some jester will say,
perhaps, that the child would have grown up and have sinned, but you
see he didn't grow up, he was torn to pieces by the dogs, at eight
years old. Oh, Alyosha, I am not blaspheming! I understand, of course,
what an upheaval of the universe it will be when everything in
heaven and earth blends in one hymn of praise and everything that
lives and has lived cries aloud: 'Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy
ways are revealed.' When the mother embraces the fiend who threw her
child to the dogs, and all three cry aloud with tears, 'Thou art just,
O Lord!' then, of course, the crown of knowledge will be reached and
all will be made clear. But what pulls me up here is that I can't
accept that harmony. And while I am on earth, I make haste to take
my own measures. You see, Alyosha, perhaps it really may happen that
if I live to that moment, or rise again to see it, I, too, perhaps,
may cry aloud with the rest, looking at the mother embracing the
child's torturer, 'Thou art just, O Lord!' but I don't want to cry
aloud then. While there is still time, I hasten to protect myself, and
so I renounce the higher harmony altogether. It's not worth the
tears of that one tortured child who beat itself on the breast with
its little fist and prayed in its stinking outhouse, with its
unexpiated tears to 'dear, kind God'! It's not worth it, because those
tears are unatoned for. They must be atoned for, or there can be no
harmony. But how? How are you going to atone for them? Is it possible?
By their being avenged? But what do I care for avenging them? What
do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since
those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of
harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I
don't want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to
swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then
I protest that the truth is not worth such a price. I don't want the
mother to embrace the oppressor who threw her son to the dogs! She
dare not forgive him! Let her forgive him for herself, if she will,
let her forgive the torturer for the immeasurable suffering of her
mother's heart. But the sufferings of her tortured child she has no
right to forgive; she dare not forgive the torturer, even if the child
were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, what
becomes of harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who would have
the right to forgive and could forgive? I don't want harmony. From
love for humanity I don't want it. I would rather be left with the
unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering
and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a
price is asked for harmony; it's beyond our means to pay so much to
enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I
am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And
that I am doing. It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I
most respectfully return him the ticket."
    "That's rebellion," murmered Alyosha, looking down.
    "Rebellion? I am sorry you call it that," said Ivan earnestly.
"One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me
yourself, I challenge your answer. Imagine that you are creating a
fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the
end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and
inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature- that baby
beating its breast with its fist, for instance- and to found that
edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the
architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."
    "No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.
    "And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building
it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the
unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain
happy for ever?"
    "No, I can't admit it. Brother," said Alyosha suddenly, with
flashing eyes, "you said just now, is there a being in the whole world
who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is
a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He
gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten
Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud,
'Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!'
    "Ah! the One without sin and His blood! No, I have not forgotten
Him; on the contrary I've been wondering all the time how it was you
did not bring Him in before, for usually all arguments on your side
put Him in the foreground. Do you know, Alyosha- don't laugh I made
a poem about a year ago. If you can waste another ten minutes on me,
I'll tell it to you."
    "You wrote a poem?"
    "Oh, no, I didn't write it," laughed Ivan, and I've never
written two lines of poetry in my life. But I made up this poem in
prose and I remembered it. I was carried away when I made it up. You
will be my first reader- that is listener. Why should an author forego
even one listener?" smiled Ivan. "Shall I tell it to you?"
    "I am all attention." said Alyosha.
    "My poem is called The Grand Inquisitor; it's a ridiculous
thing, but I want to tell it to you.
                              Chapter 5
                         The Grand Inquisitor

    "EVEN this must have a preface- that is, a literary preface,"
laughed Ivan, "and I am a poor hand at making one. You see, my
action takes place in the sixteenth century, and at that time, as
you probably learnt at school, it was customary in poetry to bring
down heavenly powers on earth. Not to speak of Dante, in France,
clerks, as well as the monks in the monasteries, used to give
regular performances in which the Madonna, the saints, the angels,
Christ, and God Himself were brought on the stage. In those days it
was done in all simplicity. In Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris an
edifying and gratuitous spectacle was provided for the people in the
Hotel de Ville of Paris in the reign of Louis XI in honour of the
birth of the dauphin. It was called Le bon jugement de la tres
sainte et gracieuse Vierge Marie, and she appears herself on the stage
and pronounces her bon jugement. Similar plays, chiefly from the Old
Testament, were occasionally performed in Moscow too, up to the
times of Peter the Great. But besides plays there were all sorts of
legends and ballads scattered about the world, in which the saints and
angels and all the powers of Heaven took part when required. In our
monasteries the monks busied themselves in translating, copying, and
even composing such poems- and even under the Tatars. There is, for
instance, one such poem (of course, from the Greek), The Wanderings of
Our Lady through Hell, with descriptions as bold as Dante's. Our
Lady visits hell, and the Archangel Michael leads her through the
torments. She sees the sinners and their punishment. There she sees
among others one noteworthy set of sinners in a burning lake; some
of them sink to the bottom of the lake so that they can't swim out,
and 'these God forgets'- an expression of extraordinary depth and
force. And so Our Lady, shocked and weeping, falls before the throne
of God and begs for mercy for all in hell- for all she has seen there,
indiscriminately. Her conversation with God is immensely
interesting. She beseeches Him, she will not desist, and when God
points to the hands and feet of her Son, nailed to the Cross, and
asks, 'How can I forgive His tormentors?' she bids all the saints, all
the martyrs, all the angels and archangels to fall down with her and
pray for mercy on all without distinction. It ends by her winning from
God a respite of suffering every year from Good Friday till Trinity
Day, and the sinners at once raise a cry of thankfulness from hell,
chanting, 'Thou art just, O Lord, in this judgment.' Well, my poem
would have been of that kind if it had appeared at that time. He comes
on the scene in my poem, but He says nothing, only appears and
passes on. Fifteen centuries have passed since He promised to come
in His glory, fifteen centuries since His prophet wrote, 'Behold, I
come quickly'; 'Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, neither
the Son, but the Father,' as He Himself predicted on earth. But
humanity awaits him with the same faith and with the same love. Oh,
with greater faith, for it is fifteen centuries since man has ceased
to see signs from heaven.

                   No signs from heaven come to-day
                   To add to what the heart doth say.

    There was nothing left but faith in what the heart doth say. It is
true there were many miracles in those days. There were saints who
performed miraculous cures; some holy people, according to their
biographies, were visited by the Queen of Heaven herself. But the
devil did not slumber, and doubts were already arising among men of
the truth of these miracles. And just then there appeared in the north
of Germany a terrible new heresy. 'A huge star like to a torch'
(that is, to a church) 'fell on the sources of the waters and they
became bitter.' These heretics began blasphemously denying miracles.
But those who remained faithful were all the more ardent in their
faith. The tears of humanity rose up to Him as before, awaited His
coming, loved Him, hoped for Him, yearned to suffer and die for Him as
before. And so many ages mankind had prayed with faith and fervour, 'O
Lord our God, hasten Thy coming'; so many ages called upon Him, that
in His infinite mercy He deigned to come down to His servants.
Before that day He had come down, He had visited some holy men,
martyrs, and hermits, as is written in their lives. Among us,
Tyutchev, with absolute faith in the truth of his words, bore
witness that

                   Bearing the Cross, in slavish dress,
                   Weary and worn, the Heavenly King
                   Our mother, Russia, came to bless,
                   And through our land went wandering.

And that certainly was so, I assure you.
    "And behold, He deigned to appear for a moment to the people, to
the tortured, suffering people, sunk in iniquity, but loving Him
like children. My story is laid in Spain, in Seville, in the most
terrible time of the Inquisition, when fires were lighted every day to
the glory of God, and 'in the splendid auto da fe the wicked
heretics were burnt.' Oh, of course, this was not the coming in
which He will appear, according to His promise, at the end of time
in all His heavenly glory, and which will be sudden 'as lightning
flashing from east to west.' No, He visited His children only for a
moment, and there where the flames were crackling round the
heretics. In His infinite mercy He came once more among men in that
human shape in which He walked among men for thirty-three years
fifteen centuries ago. He came down to the 'hot pavements' of the
southern town in which on the day before almost a hundred heretics
had, ad majorem gloriam Dei, been burnt by the cardinal, the Grand
Inquisitor, in a magnificent auto da fe, in the presence of the
king, the court, the knights, the cardinals, the most charming
ladies of the court, and the whole population of Seville.
     "He came softly, unobserved, and yet, strange to say, everyone
recognised Him. That might be one of the best passages in the poem.
I mean, why they recognised Him. The people are irresistibly drawn
to Him, they surround Him, they flock about Him, follow Him. He
moves silently in their midst with a gentle smile of infinite
compassion. The sun of love burns in His heart, and power shine from
His eyes, and their radiance, shed on the people, stirs their hearts
with responsive love. He holds out His hands to them, blesses them,
and a healing virtue comes from contact with Him, even with His
garments. An old man in the crowd, blind from childhood, cries out, 'O
Lord, heal me and I shall see Thee!' and, as it were, scales fall from
his eyes and the blind man sees Him. The crowd weeps and kisses the
earth under His feet. Children throw flowers before Him, sing, and cry
hosannah. 'It is He- it is He!' repeat. 'It must be He, it can be no
one but Him!' He stops at the steps of the Seville cathedral at the
moment when the weeping mourners are bringing in a little open white
coffin. In it lies a child of seven, the only daughter of a
prominent citizen. The dead child lies hidden in flowers. 'He will
raise your child,' the crowd shouts to the weeping mother. The priest,
coming to meet the coffin, looks perplexed, and frowns, but the mother
of the dead child throws herself at His feet with a wail. 'If it is
Thou, raise my child!' she cries, holding out her hands to Him. The
procession halts, the coffin is laid on the steps at His feet. He
looks with compassion, and His lips once more softly pronounce,
'Maiden, arise!' and the maiden arises. The little girl sits up in the
coffin and looks round, smiling with wide-open wondering eyes, holding
a bunch of white roses they had put in her hand.
    "There are cries, sobs, confusion among the people, and at that
moment the cardinal himself, the Grand Inquisitor, passes by the
cathedral. He is an old man, almost ninety, tall and erect, with a
withered face and sunken eyes, in which there is still a gleam of
light. He is not dressed in his gorgeous cardinal's robes, as he was
the day before, when he was burning the enemies of the Roman Church-
at this moment he is wearing his coarse, old, monk's cassock. At a
distance behind him come his gloomy assistants and slaves and the
'holy guard.' He stops at the sight of the crowd and watches it from a
distance. He sees everything; he sees them set the coffin down at
His feet, sees the child rise up, and his face darkens. He knits his
thick grey brows and his eyes gleam with a sinister fire. He holds out
his finger and bids the guards take Him. And such is his power, so
completely are the people cowed into submission and trembling
obedience to him, that the crowd immediately makes way for the guards,
and in the midst of deathlike silence they lay hands on Him and lead
him away. The crowd instantly bows down to the earth, like one man,
before the old Inquisitor. He blesses the people in silence and passes
on' The guards lead their prisoner to the close, gloomy vaulted
prison- in the ancient palace of the Holy, inquisition and shut him in
it. The day passes and is followed by the dark, burning,
'breathless' night of Seville. The air is 'fragrant with laurel and
lemon.' In the pitch darkness the iron door of the prison is
suddenly opened and the Grand Inquisitor himself comes in with a light
in his hand. He is alone; the door is closed at once behind him. He
stands in the doorway and for a minute or two gazes into His face.
At last he goes up slowly, sets the light on the table and speaks.
    "'Is it Thou? Thou?' but receiving no answer, he adds at once.
'Don't answer, be silent. What canst Thou say, indeed? I know too well
what Thou wouldst say. And Thou hast no right to add anything to
what Thou hadst said of old. Why, then, art Thou come to hinder us?
For Thou hast come to hinder us, and Thou knowest that. But dost
thou know what will be to-morrow? I know not who Thou art and care not
to know whether it is Thou or only a semblance of Him, but to-morrow I
shall condemn Thee and burn Thee at the stake as the worst of
heretics. And the very people who have to-day kissed Thy feet,
to-morrow at the faintest sign from me will rush to heap up the embers
of Thy fire. Knowest Thou that? Yes, maybe Thou knowest it,' he
added with thoughtful penetration, never for a moment taking his
eyes off the Prisoner."
    "I don't quite understand, Ivan. What does it mean?" Alyosha,
who had been listening in silence, said with a smile. "Is it simply
a wild fantasy, or a mistake on the part of the old man- some
impossible quid pro quo?"
    "Take it as the last," said Ivan, laughing, "if you are so
corrupted by modern realism and can't stand anything fantastic. If you
like it to be a case of mistaken identity, let it be so. It is
true," he went on, laughing, "the old man was ninety, and he might
well be crazy over his set idea. He might have been struck by the
appearance of the Prisoner. It might, in fact, be simply his
ravings, the delusion of an old man of ninety, over-excited by the
auto da fe of a hundred heretics the day before. But does it matter to
us after all whether it was a mistake of identity or a wild fantasy?
All that matters is that the old man should speak out, that he
should speak openly of what he has thought in silence for ninety
    "And the Prisoner too is silent? Does He look at him and not say a
    "That's inevitable in any case," Ivan laughed again. "The old
man has told Him He hasn't the right to add anything to what He has
said of old. One may say it is the most fundamental feature of Roman
Catholicism, in my opinion at least. 'All has been given by Thee to
the Pope,' they say, 'and all, therefore, is still in the Pope's
hands, and there is no need for Thee to come now at all. Thou must not
meddle for the time, at least.' That's how they speak and write too-
the Jesuits, at any rate. I have read it myself in the works of
their theologians. 'Hast Thou the right to reveal to us one of the
mysteries of that world from which Thou hast come?' my old man asks
Him, and answers the question for Him. 'No, Thou hast not; that Thou
mayest not add to what has been said of old, and mayest not take
from men the freedom which Thou didst exalt when Thou wast on earth.
Whatsoever Thou revealest anew will encroach on men's freedom of
faith; for it will be manifest as a miracle, and the freedom of
their faith was dearer to Thee than anything in those days fifteen
hundred years ago. Didst Thou not often say then, "I will make you
free"? But now Thou hast seen these "free" men,' the old man adds
suddenly, with a pensive smile. 'Yes, we've paid dearly for it,' he
goes on, looking sternly at Him, 'but at last we have completed that
work in Thy name. For fifteen centuries we have been wrestling with
Thy freedom, but now it is ended and over for good. Dost Thou not
believe that it's over for good? Thou lookest meekly at me and
deignest not even to be wroth with me. But let me tell Thee that
now, to-day, people are more persuaded than ever that they have
perfect freedom, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it
humbly at our feet. But that has been our doing. Was this what Thou
didst? Was this Thy freedom?'"
    "I don't understand again." Alyosha broke in. "Is he ironical,
is he jesting?"
    "Not a bit of it! He claims it as a merit for himself and his
Church that at last they have vanquished freedom and have done so to
make men happy. 'For now' (he is speaking of the Inquisition, of
course) 'for the first time it has become possible to think of the
happiness of men. Man was created a rebel; and how can rebels be
happy? Thou wast warned,' he says to Him. 'Thou hast had no lack of
admonitions and warnings, but Thou didst not listen to those warnings;
Thou didst reject the only way by which men might be made happy.
But, fortunately, departing Thou didst hand on the work to us. Thou
hast promised, Thou hast established by Thy word, Thou hast given to
us the right to bind and to unbind, and now, of course, Thou canst not
think of taking it away. Why, then, hast Thou come to hinder us?'"
    "And what's the meaning of 'no lack of admonitions and warnings'?"
asked Alyosha.
    "Why, that's the chief part of what the old man must say.
    "'The wise and dread spirit, the spirit of self-destruction and
non-existence,' the old man goes on, great spirit talked with Thee
in the wilderness, and we are told in the books that he "tempted"
Thee. Is that so? And could anything truer be said than what he
revealed to Thee in three questions and what Thou didst reject, and
what in the books is called "the temptation"? And yet if there has
ever been on earth a real stupendous miracle, it took place on that
day, on the day of the three temptations. The statement of those three
questions was itself the miracle. If it were possible to imagine
simply for the sake of argument that those three questions of the
dread spirit had perished utterly from the books, and that we had to
restore them and to invent them anew, and to do so had gathered
together all the wise men of the earth- rulers, chief priests, learned
men, philosophers, poets- and had set them the task to invent three
questions, such as would not only fit the occasion, but express in
three words, three human phrases, the whole future history of the
world and of humanity- dost Thou believe that all the wisdom of the
earth united could have invented anything in depth and force equal
to the three questions which were actually put to Thee then by the
wise and mighty spirit in the wilderness? From those questions
alone, from the miracle of their statement, we can see that we have
here to do not with the fleeting human intelligence, but with the
absolute and eternal. For in those three questions the whole
subsequent history of mankind is, as it were, brought together into
one whole, and foretold, and in them are united all the unsolved
historical contradictions of human nature. At the time it could not be
so clear, since the future was unknown; but now that fifteen hundred
years have passed, we see that everything in those three questions was
so justly divined and foretold, and has been so truly fulfilled,
that nothing can be added to them or taken from them.
    "Judge Thyself who was right- Thou or he who questioned Thee then?
Remember the first question; its meaning, in other words, was this:
"Thou wouldst go into the world, and art going with empty hands,
with some promise of freedom which men in their simplicity and their
natural unruliness cannot even understand, which they fear and
dread- for nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a
human society than freedom. But seest Thou these stones in this
parched and barren wilderness? Turn them into bread, and mankind
will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient,
though for ever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them
Thy bread." But Thou wouldst not deprive man of freedom and didst
reject the offer, thinking, what is that freedom worth if obedience is
bought with bread? Thou didst reply that man lives not by bread alone.
But dost Thou know that for the sake of that earthly bread the
spirit of the earth will rise up against Thee and will strive with
Thee and overcome Thee, and all will follow him, crying, "Who can
compare with this beast? He has given us fire from heaven!" Dost
Thou know that the ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the
lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin;
there is only hunger? "Feed men, and then ask of them virtue!"
that's what they'll write on the banner, which they will raise against
Thee, and with which they will destroy Thy temple. Where Thy temple
stood will rise a new building; the terrible tower of Babel will be
built again, and though, like the one of old, it will not be finished,
yet Thou mightest have prevented that new tower and have cut short the
sufferings of men for a thousand years; for they will come back to
us after a thousand years of agony with their tower. They will seek us
again, hidden underground in the catacombs, for we shall be again
persecuted and tortured. They will find us and cry to us, "Feed us,
for those who have promised us fire from heaven haven't given it!" And
then we shall finish building their tower, for he finishes the
building who feeds them. And we alone shall feed them in Thy name,
declaring falsely that it is in Thy name. Oh, never, never can they
feed themselves without us! No science will give them bread so long as
they remain free. In the end they will lay their freedom at our
feet, and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us." They will
understand themselves, at last, that freedom and bread enough for
all are inconceivable together, for never, never will they be able
to share between them! They will be convinced, too, that they can
never be free, for they are weak, vicious, worthless, and
rebellious. Thou didst promise them the bread of Heaven, but, I repeat
again, can it compare with earthly bread in the eyes of the weak, ever
sinful and ignoble race of man? And if for the sake of the bread of
Heaven thousands shall follow Thee, what is to become of the
millions and tens of thousands of millions of creatures who will not
have the strength to forego the earthly bread for the sake of the
heavenly? Or dost Thou care only for the tens of thousands of the
great and strong, while the millions, numerous as the sands of the
sea, who are weak but love Thee, must exist only for the sake of the
great and strong? No, we care for the weak too. They are sinful and
rebellious, but in the end they too will become obedient. They will
marvel at us and look on us as gods, because we are ready to endure
the freedom which they have found so dreadful and to rule over them-
so awful it will seem to them to be free. But we shall tell them
that we are Thy servants and rule them in Thy name. We shall deceive
them again, for we will not let Thee come to us again. That
deception will be our suffering, for we shall be forced to lie.
    "'This is the significance of the first question in the
wilderness, and this is what Thou hast rejected for the sake of that
freedom which Thou hast exalted above everything. Yet in this question
lies hid the great secret of this world. Choosing "bread," Thou
wouldst have satisfied the universal and everlasting craving of
humanity- to find someone to worship. So long as man remains free he
strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone
to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond
dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For
these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the
other can worship, but to find community of worship is the chief
misery of every man individually and of all humanity from the
beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they've slain each
other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one
another, "Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will
kill you and your gods!" And so it will be to the end of the world,
even when gods disappear from the earth; they will fall down before
idols just the same. Thou didst know, Thou couldst not but have known,
this fundamental secret of human nature, but Thou didst reject the one
infallible banner which was offered Thee to make all men bow down to
Thee alone- the banner of earthly bread; and Thou hast rejected it for
the sake of freedom and the bread of Heaven. Behold what Thou didst
further. And all again in the name of freedom! I tell Thee that man is
tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom
he can hand over that gift of freedom with which the ill-fated
creature is born. But only one who can appease their conscience can
take over their freedom. In bread there was offered Thee an invincible
banner; give bread, and man will worship thee, for nothing is more
certain than bread. But if someone else gains possession of his
conscience- Oh! then he will cast away Thy bread and follow after
him who has ensnared his conscience. In that Thou wast right. For
the secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to
live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would
not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than
remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance. That is true. But
what happened? Instead of taking men's freedom from them, Thou didst
make it greater than ever! Didst Thou forget that man prefers peace,
and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and
evil? Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of
conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering. And behold,
instead of giving a firm foundation for setting the conscience of
man at rest for ever, Thou didst choose all that is exceptional, vague
and enigmatic; Thou didst choose what was utterly beyond the
strength of men, acting as though Thou didst not love them at all-
Thou who didst come to give Thy life for them! Instead of taking
possession of men's freedom, Thou didst increase it, and burdened
the spiritual kingdom of mankind with its sufferings for ever. Thou
didst desire man's free love, that he should follow Thee freely,
enticed and taken captive by Thee. In place of the rigid ancient
law, man must hereafter with free heart decide for himself what is
good and what is evil, having only Thy image before him as his
guide. But didst Thou not know that he would at last reject even Thy
image and Thy truth, if he is weighed down with the fearful burden
of free choice? They will cry aloud at last that the truth is not in
Thee, for they could not have been left in greater confusion and
suffering than Thou hast caused, laying upon them so many cares and
unanswerable problems.
    "'So that, in truth, Thou didst Thyself lay the foundation for the
destruction of Thy kingdom, and no one is more to blame for it. Yet
what was offered Thee? There are three powers, three powers alone,
able to conquer and to hold captive for ever the conscience of these
impotent rebels for their happiness those forces are miracle,
mystery and authority. Thou hast rejected all three and hast set the
example for doing so. When the wise and dread spirit set Thee on the
pinnacle of the temple and said to Thee, "If Thou wouldst know whether
Thou art the Son of God then cast Thyself down, for it is written: the
angels shall hold him up lest he fall and bruise himself, and Thou
shalt know then whether Thou art the Son of God and shalt prove then
how great is Thy faith in Thy Father." But Thou didst refuse and
wouldst not cast Thyself down. Oh, of course, Thou didst proudly and
well, like God; but the weak, unruly race of men, are they gods? Oh,
Thou didst know then that in taking one step, in making one movement
to cast Thyself down, Thou wouldst be tempting God and have lost all
Thy faith in Him, and wouldst have been dashed to pieces against
that earth which Thou didst come to save. And the wise spirit that
tempted Thee would have rejoiced. But I ask again, are there many like
Thee? And couldst Thou believe for one moment that men, too, could
face such a temptation? Is the nature of men such, that they can
reject miracle, and at the great moments of their life, the moments of
their deepest, most agonising spiritual difficulties, cling only to
the free verdict of the heart? Oh, Thou didst know that Thy deed would
be recorded in books, would be handed down to remote times and the
utmost ends of the earth, and Thou didst hope that man, following
Thee, would cling to God and not ask for a miracle. But Thou didst not
know that when man rejects miracle he rejects God too; for man seeks
not so much God as the miraculous. And as man cannot bear to be
without the miraculous, he will create new miracles of his own for
himself, and will worship deeds of sorcery and witchcraft, though he
might be a hundred times over a rebel, heretic and infidel. Thou didst
not come down from the Cross when they shouted to Thee, mocking and
reviling Thee, "Come down from the cross and we will believe that Thou
art He." Thou didst not come down, for again Thou wouldst not
enslave man by a miracle, and didst crave faith given freely, not
based on miracle. Thou didst crave for free love and not the base
raptures of the slave before the might that has overawed him for ever.
But Thou didst think too highly of men therein, for they are slaves,
of course, though rebellious by nature. Look round and judge;
fifteen centuries have passed, look upon them. Whom hast Thou raised
up to Thyself? I swear, man is weaker and baser by nature than Thou
hast believed him! Can he, can he do what Thou didst? By showing him
so much respect, Thou didst, as it were, cease to feel for him, for
Thou didst ask far too much from him- Thou who hast loved him more
than Thyself! Respecting him less, Thou wouldst have asked less of
him. That would have been more like love, for his burden would have
been lighter. He is weak and vile. What though he is everywhere now
rebelling against our power, and proud of his rebellion? It is the
pride of a child and a schoolboy. They are little children rioting and
barring out the teacher at school. But their childish delight will
end; it will cost them dear. Mankind as a whole has always striven
to organise a universal state. There have been many great nations with
great histories, but the more highly they were developed the more
unhappy they were, for they felt more acutely than other people the
craving for world-wide union. The great conquerors, Timours and
Ghenghis-Khans, whirled like hurricanes over the face of the earth
striving to subdue its people, and they too were but the unconscious
expression of the same craving for universal unity. Hadst Thou taken
the world and Caesar's purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal
state and have given universal peace. For who can rule men if not he
who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands? We have taken
the sword of Caesar, and in taking it, of course, have rejected Thee
and followed him. Oh, ages are yet to come of the confusion of free
thought, of their science and cannibalism. For having begun to build
their tower of Babel without us, they will end, of course, with
cannibalism. But then the beast will crawl to us and lick our feet and
spatter them with tears of blood. And we shall sit upon the beast
and raise the cup, and on it will be written, "Mystery." But then, and
only then, the reign of peace and happiness will come for men. Thou
art proud of Thine elect, but Thou hast only the elect, while we
give rest to all. And besides, how many of those elect, those mighty
ones who could become elect, have grown weary waiting for Thee, and
have transferred and will transfer the powers of their spirit and
the warmth of their heart to the other camp, and end by raising
their free banner against Thee. Thou didst Thyself lift up that
banner. But with us all will be happy and will no more rebel nor
destroy one another as under Thy freedom. Oh, we shall persuade them
that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us
and submit to us. And shall we be right or shall we be lying? They
will be convinced that we are right, for they will remember the
horrors of slavery and confusion to which Thy freedom brought them.
Freedom, free thought, and science will lead them into such straits
and will bring them face to face with such marvels and insoluble
mysteries, that some of them, the fierce and rebellious, will
destroy themselves, others, rebellious but weak, will destroy one
another, while the rest, weak and unhappy, will crawl fawning to our
feet and whine to us: "Yes, you were right, you alone possess His
mystery, and we come back to you, save us from ourselves!"
    "'Receiving bread from us, they will see clearly that we take
the bread made by their hands from them, to give it to them, without
any miracle. They will see that we do not change the stones to
bread, but in truth they will be more thankful for taking it from
our hands than for the bread itself! For they will remember only too
well that in old days, without our help, even the bread they made
turned to stones in their hands, while since they have come back to
us, the very stones have turned to bread in their hands. Too, too well
will they know the value of complete submission! And until men know
that, they will be unhappy. Who is most to blame for their not knowing
it?-speak! Who scattered the flock and sent it astray on unknown
paths? But the flock will come together again and will submit once
more, and then it will be once for all. Then we shall give them the
quiet humble happiness of weak creatures such as they are by nature.
Oh, we shall persuade them at last not to be proud, for Thou didst
lift them up and thereby taught them to be proud. We shall show them
that they are weak, that they are only pitiful children, but that
childlike happiness is the sweetest of all. They will become timid and
will look to us and huddle close to us in fear, as chicks to the
hen. They will marvel at us and will be awe-stricken before us, and
will be proud at our being so powerful and clever that we have been
able to subdue such a turbulent flock of thousands of millions. They
will tremble impotently before our wrath, their minds will grow
fearful, they will be quick to shed tears like women and children, but
they will be just as ready at a sign from us to pass to laughter and
rejoicing, to happy mirth and childish song. Yes, we shall set them to
work, but in their leisure hours we shall make their life like a
child's game, with children's songs and innocent dance. Oh, we shall
allow them even sin, they are weak and helpless, and they will love us
like children because we allow them to sin. We shall tell them that
every sin will be expiated, if it is done with our permission, that we
allow them to sin because we love them, and the punishment for these
sins we take upon ourselves. And we shall take it upon ourselves,
and they will adore us as their saviours who have taken on
themselves their sins before God. And they will have no secrets from
us. We shall allow or forbid them to live with their wives and
mistresses, to have or not to have children according to whether
they have been obedient or disobedient- and they will submit to us
gladly and cheerfully. The most painful secrets of their conscience,
all, all they will bring to us, and we shall have an answer for all.
And they will be glad to believe our answer, for it will save them
from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in
making a free decision for themselves. And all will be happy, all
the millions of creatures except the hundred thousand who rule over
them. For only we, we who guard the mystery, shall be unhappy. There
will be thousands of millions of happy babes, and a hundred thousand
sufferers who have taken upon themselves the curse of the knowledge of
good and evil. Peacefully they will die, peacefully they will expire
in Thy name, and beyond the grave they will find nothing but death.
But we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall
allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity. Though if there
were anything in the other world, it certainly would not be for such
as they. It is prophesied that Thou wilt come again in victory, Thou
wilt come with Thy chosen, the proud and strong, but we will say
that they have only saved themselves, but we have saved all. We are
told that the harlot who sits upon the beast, and holds in her hands
the mystery, shall be put to shame, that the weak will rise up
again, and will rend her royal purple and will strip naked her
loathsome body. But then I will stand up and point out to Thee the
thousand millions of happy children who have known no sin. And we
who have taken their sins upon us for their happiness will stand up
before Thee and say: "Judge us if Thou canst and darest." Know that
I fear Thee not. Know that I too have been in the wilderness, I too
have lived on roots and locusts, I too prized the freedom with which
Thou hast blessed men, and I too was striving to stand among Thy
elect, among the strong and powerful, thirsting "to make up the
number." But I awakened and would not serve madness. I turned back and
joined the ranks of those who have corrected Thy work. I left the
proud and went back to the humble, for the happiness of the humble.
What I say to Thee will come to pass, and our dominion will be built
up. I repeat, to-morrow Thou shalt see that obedient flock who at a
sign from me will hasten to heap up the hot cinders about the pile
on which I shall burn Thee for coming to hinder us. For if anyone
has ever deserved our fires, it is Thou. To-morrow I shall burn
Thee. Dixi.'"*

    * I have spoken.

    Ivan stopped. He was carried away as he talked, and spoke with
excitement; when he had finished, he suddenly smiled.
    Alyosha had listened in silence; towards the end he was greatly
moved and seemed several times on the point of interrupting, but
restrained himself. Now his words came with a rush.
    "But... that's absurd!" he cried, flushing. "Your poem is in
praise of Jesus, not in blame of Him- as you meant it to be. And who
will believe you about freedom? Is that the way to understand it?
That's not the idea of it in the Orthodox Church.... That's Rome,
and not even the whole of Rome, it's false-those are the worst of
the Catholics the Inquisitors, the Jesuits!... And there could not
be such a fantastic creature as your Inquisitor. What are these sins
of mankind they take on themselves? Who are these keepers of the
mystery who have taken some curse upon themselves for the happiness of
mankind? When have they been seen? We know the Jesuits, they are
spoken ill of, but surely they are not what you describe? They are not
that at all, not at all.... They are simply the Romish army for the
earthly sovereignty of the world in the future, with the Pontiff of
Rome for Emperor... that's their ideal, but there's no sort of mystery
or lofty melancholy about it.... It's simple lust of power, of
filthy earthly gain, of domination-something like a universal
serfdom with them as masters-that's all they stand for. They don't
even believe in God perhaps. Your suffering Inquisitor is a mere
    "Stay, stay," laughed Ivan. "how hot you are! A fantasy you say,
let it be so! Of course it's a fantasy. But allow me to say: do you
really think that the Roman Catholic movement of the last centuries is
actually nothing but the lust of power, of filthy earthly gain? Is
that Father Paissy's teaching?"
    "No, no, on the contrary, Father Paissy did once say something
rather the same as you... but of course it's not the same, not a bit
the same," Alyosha hastily corrected himself.
    "A precious admission, in spite of your 'not a bit the same.' I
ask you why your Jesuits and Inquisitors have united simply for vile
material gain? Why can there not be among them one martyr oppressed by
great sorrow and loving humanity? You see, only suppose that there was
one such man among all those who desire nothing but filthy material
gain-if there's only one like my old Inquisitor, who had himself eaten
roots in the desert and made frenzied efforts to subdue his flesh to
make himself free and perfect. But yet all his life he loved humanity,
and suddenly his eyes were opened, and he saw that it is no great
moral blessedness to attain perfection and freedom, if at the same
time one gains the conviction that millions of God's creatures have
been created as a mockery, that they will never be capable of using
their freedom, that these poor rebels can never turn into giants to
complete the tower, that it was not for such geese that the great
idealist dreamt his dream of harmony. Seeing all that he turned back
and joined- the clever people. Surely that could have happened?"
    "Joined whom, what clever people?" cried Alyosha, completely
carried away. "They have no such great cleverness and no mysteries and
secrets.... Perhaps nothing but Atheism, that's all their secret. Your
Inquisitor does not believe in God, that's his secret!"
    "What if it is so! At last you have guessed it. It's perfectly
true, it's true that that's the whole secret, but isn't that
suffering, at least for a man like that, who has wasted his whole life
in the desert and yet could not shake off his incurable love of
humanity? In his old age he reached the clear conviction that
nothing but the advice of the great dread spirit could build up any
tolerable sort of life for the feeble, unruly, 'incomplete,
empirical creatures created in jest.' And so, convinced of this, he
sees that he must follow the counsel of the wise spirit, the dread
spirit of death and destruction, and therefore accept lying and
deception, and lead men consciously to death and destruction, and
yet deceive them all the way so that they may not notice where they
are being led, that the poor blind creatures may at least on the way
think themselves happy. And note, the deception is in the name of
Him in Whose ideal the old man had so fervently believed all his
life long. Is not that tragic? And if only one such stood at the
head of the whole army 'filled with the lust of power only for the
sake of filthy gain'- would not one such be enough to make a
tragedy? More than that, one such standing at the head is enough to
create the actual leading idea of the Roman Church with all its armies
and Jesuits, its highest idea. I tell you frankly that I firmly
believe that there has always been such a man among those who stood at
the head of the movement. Who knows, there may have been some such
even among the Roman Popes. Who knows, perhaps the spirit of that
accursed old man who loves mankind so obstinately in his own way, is
to be found even now in a whole multitude of such old men, existing
not by chance but by agreement, as a secret league formed long ago for
the guarding of the mystery, to guard it from the weak and the
unhappy, so as to make them happy. No doubt it is so, and so it must
be indeed. I fancy that even among the Masons there's something of the
same mystery at the bottom, and that that's why the Catholics so
detest the Masons as their rivals breaking up the unity of the idea,
while it is so essential that there should be one flock and one
shepherd.... But from the way I defend my idea I might be an author
impatient of your criticism. Enough of it."
    "You are perhaps a Mason yourself!" broke suddenly from Alyosha.
"You don't believe in God," he added, speaking this time very
sorrowfully. He fancied besides that his brother was looking at him
ironically. "How does your poem end?" he asked, suddenly looking down.
"Or was it the end?"
    "I meant to end it like this. When the Inquisitor ceased
speaking he waited some time for his Prisoner to answer him. His
silence weighed down upon him. He saw that the Prisoner had listened
intently all the time, looking gently in his face and evidently not
wishing to reply. The old man longed for him to say something, however
bitter and terrible. But He suddenly approached the old man in silence
and softly kissed him on his bloodless aged lips. That was all his
answer. The old man shuddered. His lips moved. He went to the door,
opened it, and said to Him: 'Go, and come no more... come not at
all, never, never!' And he let Him out into the dark alleys of the
town. The Prisoner went away."
    "And the old man?"
    "The kiss glows in his heart, but the old man adheres to his
    "And you with him, you too?" cried Alyosha, mournfully.
    Ivan laughed.
    "Why, it's all nonsense, Alyosha. It's only a senseless poem of
a senseless student, who could never write two lines of verse. Why
do you take it so seriously? Surely you don't suppose I am going
straight off to the Jesuits, to join the men who are correcting His
work? Good Lord, it's no business of mine. I told you, all I want is
to live on to thirty, and then... dash the cup to the ground!"
    "But the little sticky leaves, and the precious tombs, and the
blue sky, and the woman you love! How will you live, how will you love
them?" Alyosha cried sorrowfully. "With such a hell in your heart
and your head, how can you? No, that's just what you are going away
for, to join them... if not, you will kill yourself, you can't
endure it!"
    "There is a strength to endure everything," Ivan said with a
cold smile.
    "The strength of the Karamazovs- the strength of the Karamazov
    "To sink into debauchery, to stifle your soul with corruption,
    "Possibly even that... only perhaps till I am thirty I shall
escape it, and then-"
    "How will you escape it? By what will you escape it? That's
impossible with your ideas."
    "In the Karamazov way, again."
    "'Everything is lawful,' you mean? Everything is lawful, is that
    Ivan scowled, and all at once turned strangely pale.
    "Ah, you've caught up yesterday's phrase, which so offended
Muisov- and which Dmitri pounced upon so naively and paraphrased!"
he smiled queerly. "Yes, if you like, 'everything is lawful' since the
word has been said, I won't deny it. And Mitya's version isn't bad."
    Alyosha looked at him in silence.
    "I thought that going away from here I have you at least," Ivan
said suddenly, with unexpected feeling; "but now I see that there is
no place for me even in your heart, my dear hermit. The formula,
'all is lawful,' I won't renounce- will you renounce me for that,
    Alyosha got up, went to him and softly kissed him on the lips.
    "That's plagiarism," cried Ivan, highly delighted. "You stole that
from my poem. Thank you though. Get up, Alyosha, it's time we were
going, both of us."
    They went out, but stopped when they reached the entrance of the
    "Listen, Alyosha," Ivan began in a resolute voice, "if I am really
able to care for the sticky little leaves I shall only love them,
remembering you. It's enough for me that you are somewhere here, and I
shan't lose my desire for life yet. Is that enough for you? Take it as
a declaration of love if you like. And now you go to the right and I
to the left. And it's enough, do you hear, enough. I mean even if I
don't go away to-morrow (I think I certainly shall go) and we meet
again, don't say a word more on these subjects. I beg that
particularly. And about Dmitri too, I ask you specially, never speak
to me again," he added, with sudden irritation; "it's all exhausted,
it has all been said over and over again, hasn't it? And I'll make you
one promise in return for it. When at thirty, I want to 'dash the
cup to the ground,' wherever I may be I'll come to have one more
talk with you, even though it were from America, you may be sure of
that. I'll come on purpose. It will be very interesting to have a look
at you, to see what you'll be by that time. It's rather a solemn
promise, you see. And we really may be parting for seven years or ten.
Come, go now to your Pater Seraphicus, he is dying. If he dies without
you, you will be angry with me for having kept you. Good-bye, kiss
me once more; that's right, now go."
    Ivan turned suddenly and went his way without looking back. It was
just as Dmitri had left Alyosha the day before, though the parting had
been very different. The strange resemblance flashed like an arrow
through Alyosha's mind in the distress and dejection of that moment.
He waited a little, looking after his brother. He suddenly noticed
that Ivan swayed as he walked and that his right shoulder looked lower
than his left. He had never noticed it before. But all at once he
turned too, and almost ran to the monastery. It was nearly dark, and
he felt almost frightened; something new was growing up in him for
which he could not account. The wind had risen again as on the
previous evening, and the ancient pines murmured gloomily about him
when he entered the hermitage copse. He almost ran. "Pater Seraphicus-
he got that name from somewhere- where from?" Alyosha wondered. "Ivan,
poor Ivan, and when shall I see you again?... Here is the hermitage.
Yes, yes, that he is, Pater Seraphicus, he will save me- from him
and for ever!"
    Several times afterwards he wondered how he could, on leaving
Ivan, so completely forget his brother Dmitri, though he had that
morning, only a few hours before, so firmly resolved to find him and
not to give up doing so, even should he be unable to return to the
monastery that night.
                              Chapter 6
                    For Awhile a Very Obscure One

    AND Ivan, on parting from Alyosha, went home to Fyodor
Pavlovitch's house. But, strange to say, he was overcome by
insufferable depression, which grew greater at every step he took
towards the house. There was nothing strange in his being depressed;
what was strange was that Ivan could not have said what was the
cause of it. He had often been depressed before, and there was nothing
surprising at his feeling so at such a moment, when he had broken
off with everything had brought him here, and was preparing that day
to make a new start and enter upon a new, unknown future. He would
again be as solitary as ever, and though he had great hopes, and
great- too great- expectations from life, he could not have given
any definite account of his hopes, his expectations, or even his
    Yet at that moment, though the apprehension of the new and unknown
certainly found place in his heart, what was worrying him was
something quite different. "Is it loathing for my father's house?"
he wondered. "Quite likely; I am so sick of it; and though it's the
last time I shall cross its hateful threshold, still I loathe it....
No, it's not that either. Is it the parting with Alyosha and the
conversation I had with him? For so many years I've been silent with
the whole world and not deigned to speak, and all of a sudden I reel
off a rigmarole like that." certainly might have been the youthful
vexation of youthful inexperience and vanity- vexation at having
failed to express himself, especially with such a being as Alyosha, on
whom his heart had certainly been reckoning. No doubt that came in,
that vexation, it must have done indeed; but yet that was not it, that
was not it either. "I feel sick with depression and yet I can't tell
what I want. Better not think, perhaps."
    Ivan tried "not to think," but that, too, was no use. What made
his depression so vexatious and irritating was that it had a kind of
casual, external character- he felt that. Some person or thing
seemed to be standing out somewhere, just as something will
sometimes obtrude itself upon the eye, and though one may be so busy
with work or conversation that for a long time one does not notice it,
yet it irritates and almost torments one till at last one realises,
and removes the offending object, often quite a trifling and
ridiculous one- some article left about in the wrong place, a
handkerchief on the floor, a book not replaced on the shelf, and so
    At last, feeling very cross and ill-humoured, Ivan arrived home,
and suddenly, about fifteen paces from the garden gate, he guessed
what was fretting and worrying him.
    On a bench in the gateway the valet Smerdyakov was sitting
enjoying the coolness of the evening, and at the first glance at him
Ivan knew that the valet Smerdyakov was on his mind, and that it was
this man that his soul loathed. It all dawned upon him suddenly and
became clear. just before, when Alyosha had been telling him of his
meeting with Smerdyakov, he had felt a sudden twinge of gloom and
loathing, which had immediately stirred responsive anger in his heart.
Afterwards, as he talked, Smerdyakov had been forgotten for the
time; but still he had been in his mind, and as soon as Ivan parted
with Alyosha and was walking home, the forgotten sensation began to
obtrude itself again. "Is it possible that a miserable, contemptible
creature like that can worry me so much?" he wondered, with
insufferable irritation.
    It was true that Ivan had come of late to feel an intense
dislike for the man, especially during the last few days. He had
even begun to notice in himself a growing feeling that was almost of
hatred for the creature. Perhaps this hatred was accentuated by the
fact that when Ivan first came to the neighbourhood he had felt
quite differently. Then he had taken a marked interest in
Smerdyakov, and had even thought him very original. He had
encouraged him to talk to him, although he had always wondered at a
certain incoherence, or rather restlessness, in his mind, and could
not understand what it was that so continually and insistently
worked upon the brain of "the contemplative." They discussed
philosophical questions and even how there could have been light on
the first day when the sun, moon, and stars were only created on the
fourth day, and how that was to be understood. But Ivan soon saw that,
though the sun, moon, and stars might be an interesting subject, yet
that it was quite secondary to Smerdyakov, and that he was looking for
something altogether different. In one way and another, he began to
betray a boundless vanity, and a wounded vanity, too, and that Ivan
disliked. It had first given rise to his aversion. Later on, there had
been trouble in the house. Grushenka had come on the scene, and
there had been the scandals with his brother Dmitri- they discussed
that, too. But though Smerdyakov always talked of that with great
excitement, it was impossible to discover what he desired to come of
it. There was, in fact, something surprising in the illogicality and
incoherence of some of his desires, accidentally betrayed and always
vaguely expressed. Smerdyakov was always inquiring, putting certain
indirect but obviously premeditated questions, but what his object was
he did not explain, and usually at the most important moment he
would break off and relapse into silence or pass to another subject.
But what finally irritated Ivan most and confirmed his dislike for him
was the peculiar, revolting familiarity which Smerdyakov began to show
more and more markedly. Not that he forgot himself and was rude; on
the contrary, he always spoke very respectfully, yet he had
obviously begun to consider- goodness knows why!- that there was
some sort of understanding between him and Ivan Fyodorovitch. He
always spoke in a tone that suggested that those two had some kind
of compact, some secret between them, that had at some time been
expressed on both sides, only known to them and beyond the
comprehension of those around them. But for a long while Ivan did
not recognise the real cause of his growing dislike and he had only
lately realised what was at the root of it.
    With a feeling of disgust and irritation he tried to pass in at
the gate without speaking or looking at Smerdyakov. But Smerdyakov
rose from the bench, and from that action alone, Ivan knew instantly
that he wanted particularly to talk to him. Ivan looked at him and
stopped, and the fact that he did stop, instead of passing by, as he
meant to the minute before, drove him to fury. With anger and
repulsion he looked at Smerdyakov's emasculate, sickly face, with
the little curls combed forward on his forehead. His left eye winked
and he grinned as if to say, "Where are you going? You won't pass
by; you see that we two clever people have something to say to each
    Ivan shook. "Get away, miserable idiot. What have I to do with
you?" was on the tip of his tongue, but to his profound astonishment
he heard himself say, "Is my father still asleep, or has he waked?"
    He asked the question softly and meekly, to his own surprise,
and at once, again to his own surprise, sat down on the bench. For
an instant he felt almost frightened; he remembered it afterwards.
Smerdyakov stood facing him, his hands behind his back, looking at him
with assurance and almost severity.
    "His honour is still asleep," he articulated deliberately ("You
were the first to speak, not I," he seemed to say). "I am surprised at
you, sir," he added, after a pause, dropping his eyes affectedly,
setting his right foot forward, and playing with the tip of his
polished boot.
    "Why are you surprised at me?" Ivan asked abruptly and sullenly,
doing his utmost to restrain himself, and suddenly realising, with
disgust, that he was feeling intense curiosity and would not, on any
account, have gone away without satisfying it.
    "Why don't you go to Tchermashnya, sir?" Smerdyakov suddenly
raised his eyes and smiled familiarly. "Why I smile you must
understand of yourself, if you are a clever man," his screwed-up
left eye seemed to say.
    "Why should I go to Tchermashnya?" Ivan asked in surprise.
    Smerdyakov was silent again.
    "Fyodor Pavlovitch himself has so begged you to," he said at last,
slowly and apparently attaching no significance to his answer. "I
put you off with a secondary reason," he seemed to suggest, "simply to
say something."
    "Damn you! Speak out what you want!" Ivan cried angrily at last,
passing from meekness to violence.
    Smerdyakov drew his right foot up to his left, pulled himself
up, but still looked at him with the same serenity and the same little
    "Substantially nothing- but just by way of conversation."
    Another silence followed. They did not speak for nearly a
minute. Ivan knew that he ought to get up and show anger, and
Smerdyakov stood before him and seemed to be waiting as though to
see whether he would be angry or not. So at least it seemed to Ivan.
At last he moved to get up. Smerdyakov seemed to seize the moment.
    "I'm in an awful position, Ivan Fyodorovitch. I don't know how
to help myself," he said resolutely and distinctly, and at his last
word he sighed. Ivan Fyodorovitch sat down again.
    "They are both utterly crazy, they are no better than little
children," Smerdyakov went on. "I am speaking of your parent and
your brother Dmitri Fyodorovitch. Here Fyodor Pavlovitch will get up
directly and begin worrying me every minute, 'Has she come? Why hasn't
she come?' and so on up till midnight and even after midnight. And
if Agrafena Alexandrovna doesn't come (for very likely she does not
mean to come at all) then he will be at me again to-morrow morning,
'Why hasn't she come? When will she come?'- as though I were to
blame for it. On the other side it's no better. As soon as it gets
dark, or even before, your brother will appear with his gun in his
hands: 'Look out, you rogue, you soup-maker. If you miss her and don't
let me know she's been- I'll kill you before anyone.' When the night's
over, in the morning, he, too, like Fyodor Pavlovitch, begins worrying
me to death. 'Why hasn't she come? Will she come soon?' And he, too,
thinks me to blame because his lady hasn't come. And every day and
every hour they get angrier and angrier, so that I sometimes think I
shall kill myself in a fright. I can't depend them, sir."
    "And why have you meddled? Why did you begin to spy for Dmitri
Fyodorovitch?" said Ivan irritably.
    "How could I help meddling? Though, indeed, I haven't meddled at
all, if you want to know the truth of the matter. I kept quiet from
the very beginning, not daring to answer; but he pitched on me to be
his servant. He has had only one thing to say since: 'I'll kill you,
you scoundrel, if you miss her.' I feel certain, sir, that I shall
have a long fit to-morrow."
    "What do you mean by 'a long fit'?"
    "A long fit, lasting a long time- several hours, or perhaps a
day or two. Once it went on for three days. I fell from the garret
that time. The struggling ceased and then began again, and for three
days I couldn't come back to my senses. Fyodor Pavlovitch sent for
Herzenstube, the doctor here, and he put ice on my head and tried
another remedy, too.... I might have died."
    "But they say one can't tell with epilepsy when a fit is coming.
What makes you say you will have one to-morrow?" Ivan inquired, with a
peculiar, irritable curiosity.
    "That's just so. You can't tell beforehand."
    "Besides, you fell from the garret then."
    "I climb up to the garret every day. I might fall from the
garret again to-morrow. And, if not, I might fall down the cellar
steps. I have to go into the cellar every day, too."
    Ivan took a long look at him.
    "You are talking nonsense, I see, and I don't quite understand
you," he said softly, but with a sort of menace. "Do you mean to
pretend to be ill to-morrow for three days, eh?"
    Smerdyakov, who was looking at the ground again, and playing
with the toe of his right foot, set the foot down, moved the left
one forward, and, grinning, articulated:
    "If I were able to play such a trick, that is, pretend to have a
fit- and it would not be difficult for a man accustomed to them- I
should have a perfect right to use such a means to save myself from
death. For even if Agrafena Alexandrovna comes to see his father while
I am ill, his honour can't blame a sick man for not telling him.
He'd be ashamed to."
    "Hang it all!" Ivan cried, his face working with anger, "Why are
you always in such a funk for your life? All my brother Dmitri's
threats are only hasty words and mean nothing. He won't kill you; it's
not you he'll kill!"
    "He'd kill me first of all, like a fly. But even more than that, I
am afraid I shall be taken for an accomplice of his when he does
something crazy to his father."
    "Why should you be taken for an accomplice?"
    "They'll think I am an accomplice, because I let him know the
signals as a great secret."
    "What signals? Whom did you tell? Confound you, speak more
    "I'm bound to admit the fact," Smerdyakov drawled with pedantic
composure, "that I have a secret with Fyodor Pavlovitch in this
business. As you know yourself (if only you do know it) he has for
several days past locked himself in as soon as night or even evening
comes on. Of late you've been going upstairs to your room early
every evening, and yesterday you did not come down at all, and so
perhaps you don't know how carefully he has begun to lock himself in
at night, and even if Grigory Vassilyevitch comes to the door he won't
open to him till he hears his voice. But Grigory Vassilyevitch does
not come, because I wait upon him alone in his room now. That's the
arrangement he made himself ever since this to-do with Agrafena
Alexandrovna began. But at night, by his orders, I go away to the
lodge so that I don't get to sleep till midnight, but am on the watch,
getting up and walking about the yard, waiting for Agrafena
Alexandrovna to come. For the last few days he's been perfectly
frantic expecting her. What he argues is, she is afraid of him, Dmitri
Fyodorovitch (Mitya, as he calls him), 'and so,' says he, 'she'll come
the back-way, late at night, to me. You look out for her,' says he,
'till midnight and later; and if she does come, you run up and knock
at my door or at the window from the garden. Knock at first twice,
rather gently, and then three times more quickly, then,' says he, 'I
shall understand at once that she has come, and will open the door
to you quietly.' Another signal he gave me in case anything unexpected
happens. At first, two knocks, and then, after an interval, another
much louder. Then he will understand that something has happened
suddenly and that I must see him, and he will open to me so that I can
go and speak to him. That's all in case Agrafena Alexandrovna can't
come herself, but sends a message. Besides, Dmitri Fyodorovitch
might come, too, so I must let him know he is near. His honour is
awfully afraid of Dmitri Fyodorovitch, so that even if Agrafena
Alexandrovna had come and were locked in with him, and Dmitri
Fyodorovitch were to turn up anywhere near at the time, I should be
bound to let him know at once, knocking three times. So that the first
signal of five knocks means Agrafena Alexandrovna has come, while
the second signal of three knocks means 'something important to tell
you.' His honour has shown me them several times and explained them.
And as in the whole universe no one knows of these signals but
myself and his honour, so he'd open the door without the slightest
hesitation and without calling out (he is awfully afraid of calling
out aloud). Well, those signals are known to Dmitri Fyodorovitch
too, now."
    "How are they known? Did you tell him? How dared you tell him?"
    "It was through fright I did it. How could I dare to keep it
back from him? Dmitri Fyodorovitch kept persisting every day, 'You are
deceiving me, you are hiding something from me! I'll break both your
legs for you.' So I told him those secret signals that he might see my
slavish devotion, and might be satisfied that I was not deceiving him,
but was telling him all I could."
    "If you think that he'll make use of those signals and try to
get in, don't let him in."
    "But if I should be laid up with a fit, how can I prevent him
coming in then, even if I dared prevent him, knowing how desperate
he is?"
    "Hang it! How can you be so sure you are going to have a fit,
confound you? Are you laughing at me?"
    "How could I dare laugh at you? I am in no laughing humour with
this fear on me. I feel I am going to have a fit. I have a
presentiment. Fright alone will bring it on."
    "Confound it! If you are laid up, Grigory will be on the watch.
Let Grigory know beforehand; he will be sure not to let him in."
    "I should never dare to tell Grigory Vassilyevitch about the
signals without orders from my master. And as for Grigory
Vassilyevitch hearing him and not admitting him, he has been ill
ever since yesterday, and Marfa Ignatyevna intends to give him
medicine to-morrow. They've just arranged it. It's a very strange
remedy of hers. Marfa Ignatyevna knows of a preparation and always
keeps it. It's a strong thing made from some herb. She has the
secret of it, and she always gives it to Grigory Vassilyevitch three
times a year when his lumbago's so bad he is almost paralysed by it.
Then she takes a towel, wets it with the stuff, and rubs his whole
back for half an hour till it's quite red and swollen, and what's left
in the bottle she gives him to drink with a special prayer; but not
quite all, for on such occasions she leaves some for herself, and
drinks it herself. And as they never take strong drink, I assure you
they both drop asleep at once and sleep sound a very long time. And
when Grigory Vassilyevitch wakes up he is perfectly well after it, but
Marfa Ignatyevna always has a headache from it. So, if Marfa
Ignatyevna carries out her intention to-morrow, they won't hear
anything and hinder Dmitri Fyodorovitch. They'll be asleep."
    "What a rigmarole! And it all seems to happen at once, as though
it were planned. You'll have a fit and they'll both be unconscious,"
cried Ivan. "But aren't you trying to arrange it so?" broke from him
suddenly, and he frowned threateningly.
    "How could I?... And why should I, when it all depends on Dmitri
Fyodorovitch and his plans?... If he means to do anything, he'll do
it; but if not, I shan't be thrusting him upon his father."
    "And why should he go to father, especially on the sly, if, as you
say yourself, Agrafena Alexandrovna won't come at all?" Ivan went
on, turning white with anger. "You say that yourself, and all the
while I've been here, I've felt sure it was all the old man's fancy,
and the creature won't come to him. Why should Dmitri break in on
him if she doesn't come? Speak, I want to know what you are thinking!"
    "You know yourself why he'll come. What's the use of what I think?
His honour will come simply because he is in a rage or suspicious on
account of my illness perhaps, and he'll dash in, as he did
yesterday through impatience to search the rooms, to see whether she
hasn't escaped him on the sly. He is perfectly well aware, too, that
Fyodor Pavlovitch has a big envelope with three thousand roubles in
it, tied up with ribbon and sealed with three seals. On it is
written in his own hand 'To my angel Grushenka, if she will come,'
to which he added three days later, 'for my little chicken.' There's
no knowing what that might do."
    "Nonsense!" cried Ivan, almost beside himself. "Dmitri won't
come to steal money and kill my father to do it. He might have
killed him yesterday on account of Grushenka, like the frantic, savage
fool he is, but he won't steal."
    "He is in very great need of money now- the greatest need, Ivan
Fyodorovitch. You don't know in what need he is," Smerdyakov
explained, with perfect composure and remarkable distinctness. "He
looks on that three thousand as his own, too. He said so to me
himself. 'My father still owes me just three thousand,' he said. And
besides that, consider, Ivan Fyodorovitch, there is something else
perfectly true. It's as good as certain, so to say, that Agrafena
Alexandrovna will force him, if only she cares to, to marry her- the
master himself, I mean, Fyodor Pavlovitch- if only she cares to, and
of course she may care to. All I've said is that she won't come, but
maybe she's looking for more than that- I mean to be mistress here.
I know myself that Samsonov, her merchant, was laughing with her about
it, telling her quite openly that it would not be at all a stupid
thing to do. And she's got plenty of sense. She wouldn't marry a
beggar like Dmitri Fyodorovitch. So, taking that into consideration,
Ivan Fyodorovitch, reflect that then neither Dmitri Fyodorovitch nor
yourself and your brother, Alexey Fyodorovitch, would have anything
after the master's death, not a rouble, for Agrafena Alexandrovna
would marry him simply to get hold of the whole, all the money there
is. But if your father were to die now, there'd be some forty thousand
for sure, even for Dmitri Fyodorovitch whom he hates so, for he's made
no will.... Dmitri Fyodorovitch knows all that very well."
    A sort of shudder passed over Ivan's face. He suddenly flushed.
    "Then why on earth," he suddenly interrupted Smerdyakov, "do you
advise me to go to Tchermashnya? What did you mean by that? If I go
away, you see what will happen here." Ivan drew his breath with
    "Precisely so," said Smerdyakov, softly and reasonably, watching
Ivan intently, however.
    "What do you mean by 'precisely so'?" Ivan questioned him, with
a menacing light in his eyes, restraining himself with difficulty.
    "I spoke because I felt sorry for you. If I were in your place I
should simply throw it all up... rather than stay on in such a
position," answered Smerdyakov, with the most candid air looking at
Ivan's flashing eyes. They were both silent.
    "You seem to be a perfect idiot, and what's more... an awful
scoundrel, too." Ivan rose suddenly from the bench. He was about to
pass straight through the gate, but he stopped short and turned to
Smerdyakov. Something strange followed. Ivan, in a sudden paroxysm,
bit his lip, clenched his fists, and, in another minute, would have
flung himself on Smerdyakov. The latter, anyway, noticed it at the
same moment, started, and shrank back. But the moment passed without
mischief to Smerdyakov, and Ivan turned in silence, as it seemed in
perplexity, to the gate.
    "I am going away to Moscow to-morrow, if you care to know- early
to-morrow morning. That's all!" he suddenly said aloud angrily, and
wondered himself afterwards what need there was to say this then to
    "That's the best thing you can do," he responded, as though he had
expected to hear it; "except that you can always be telegraphed for
from Moscow, if anything should happen here."
    Ivan stopped again, and again turned quickly to Smerdyakov. But
a change had passed over him, too. All his familiarity and carelessnes
had completely disappeared. His face expressed attention and
expectation, intent but timid and cringing.
    "Haven't you something more to say- something to add?" could be
read in the intent gaze he fixed on Ivan.
    "And couldn't I be sent for from Tchermashnya, too- in case
anything happened?" Ivan shouted suddenly, for some unknown reason
raising his voice.
    "From Tchermashnya, too... you could be sent for," Smerdyakov
muttered, almost in a whisper, looking disconcerted, but gazing
intently into Ivan's eyes.
    "Only Moscow is farther and Tchermashnya is nearer. Is it to
save my spending money on the fare, or to save my going so far out
of my way, that you insist on Tchermashnya?"
    "Precisely so..." muttered Smerdyakov, with a breaking voice. He
looked at Ivan with a revolting smile, and again made ready to draw
back. But to his astonishment Ivan broke into a laugh, and went
through the gate still laughing. Anyone who had seen his face at
that moment would have known that he was not laughing from lightness
of heart, and he could not have explained himself what he was
feeling at that instant. He moved and walked as though in a nervous
                              Chapter 7
          "It's Always Worth While Speaking to a Clever Man"

    AND in the same nervous frenzy, too, he spoke. Meeting Fyodor
Pavlovitch in the drawing-room directly he went in, he shouted to him,
waving his hands, "I am going upstairs to my room, not in to you.
Good-bye!" and passed by, trying not even to look at his father.
Very possibly the old man was too hateful to him at that moment; but
such an unceremonious display of hostility was a surprise even to
Fyodor Pavlovitch. And the old man evidently wanted to tell him
something at once and had come to meet him in the drawing-room on
purpose. Receiving this amiable greeting, he stood still in silence
and with an ironical air watched his son going upstairs, till he
passed out of sight.
    "What's the matter with him?" he promptly asked Smerdyakov, who
had followed Ivan.
    "Angry about something. Who can tell?" the valet muttered
    "Confound him! Let him be angry then. Bring in the samovar, and
get along with you. Look sharp! No news?"
    Then followed a series of questions such as Smerdyakov had just
complained of to Ivan, all relating to his expected visitor, and these
questions we will omit. Half an hour later the house was locked, and
the crazy old man was wandering along through the rooms in excited
expectation of hearing every minute the five knocks agreed upon. Now
and then he peered out into the darkness, seeing nothing.
    It was very late, but Ivan was still awake and reflecting. He
sat up late that night, till two o'clock. But we will not give an
account of his thoughts, and this is not the place to look into that
soul- its turn will come. And even if one tried, it would be very hard
to give an account of them, for there were no thoughts in his brain,
but something very vague, and, above all, intense excitement. He
felt himself that he had lost his bearings. He was fretted, too, by
all sorts of strange and almost surprising desires; for instance,
after midnight he suddenly had an intense irresistible inclination
to go down, open the door, go to the lodge and beat Smerdyakov. But if
he had been asked why, he could not have given any exact reason,
except perhaps that he loathed the valet as one who had insulted him
more gravely than anyone in the world. On the other hand, he was
more than once that night overcome by a sort of inexplicable
humiliating terror, which he felt positively paralysed his physical
powers. His head ached and he was giddy. A feeling of hatred was
rankling in his heart, as though he meant to avenge himself on
someone. He even hated Alyosha, recalling the conversation he had just
had with him. At moments he hated himself intensely. Of Katerina
Ivanovna he almost forgot to think, and wondered greatly at this
afterwards, especially as he remembered perfectly that when he had
protested so valiantly to Katerina Ivanovna that he would go away next
day to Moscow, something had whispered in his heart, "That's nonsense,
you are not going, and it won't be so easy to tear yourself away as
you are boasting now."
    Remembering that night long afterwards, Ivan recalled with
peculiar repulsion how he had suddenly got up from the sofa and had
stealthily, as though he were afraid of being watched, opened the
door, gone out on the staircase and listened to Fyodor Pavlovitch
stirring down below, had listened a long while- some five minutes-
with a sort of strange curiosity, holding his breath while his heart
throbbed. And why he had done all this, why he was listening, he could
not have said. That "action" all his life afterwards he called
"infamous," and at the bottom of his heart, he thought of it as the
basest action of his life. For Fyodor Pavlovitch himself he felt no
hatred at that moment, but was simply intensely curious to know how he
was walking down there below and what he must be doing now. He
wondered and imagined how he must be peeping out of the dark windows
and stopping in the middle of the room, listening, listening- for
someone to knock. Ivan went out on the stairs twice to listen like
    About two o'clock when everything was quiet, and even Fyodor
Pavlovitch had gone to bed, Ivan had got into bed, firmly resolved
to fall asleep at once, as he felt fearfully exhausted. And he did
fall asleep at once, and slept soundly without dreams, but waked
early, at seven o'clock, when it was broad daylight. Opening his eyes,
he was surprised to feel himself extraordinarily vigorous. He jumped
up at once and dressed quickly; then dragged out his trunk and began
packing immediately. His linen had come back from the laundress the
previous morning. Ivan positively smiled at the thought that
everything was helping his sudden departure. And his departure
certainly was sudden. Though Ivan had said the day before (to Katerina
Ivanovna, Alyosha, and Smerdyakov) that he was leaving next day, yet
he remembered that he had no thought of departure when he went to bed,
or, at least, had not dreamed that his first act in the morning
would be to pack his trunk. At last his trunk and bag were ready. It
was about nine o'clock when Marfa Ignatyevna came in with her usual
inquiry, "Where will your honour take your tea, in your own room or
downstairs?" He looked almost cheerful, but there was about him, about
his words and gestures, something hurried and scattered. Greeting
his father affably, and even inquiring specially after his health,
though he did not wait to hear his answer to the end, he announced
that he was starting off in an hour to return to Moscow for good,
and begged him to send for the horses. His father heard this
announcement with no sign of surprise, and forgot in an unmannerly way
to show regret at losing him. Instead of doing so, he flew into a
great flutter at the recollection of some important business of his
    "What a fellow you are! Not to tell me yesterday! Never mind;
we'll manage it all the same. Do me a great service, my dear boy. Go
to Tchermashnya on the way. It's only to turn to the left from the
station at Volovya, only another twelve versts and you come to
    "I'm sorry, I can't. It's eighty versts to the railway and the
train starts for Moscow at seven o'clock to-night. I can only just
catch it."
    "You'll catch it to-morrow or the day after, but to-day turn off
to Tchermashnya. It won't put you out much to humour your father! If I
hadn't had something to keep me here, I would have run over myself
long ago, for I've some business there in a hurry. But here I...
it's not the time for me to go now.... You see, I've two pieces of
copse land there. The Maslovs, an old merchant and his son, will
give eight thousand for the timber. But last year I just missed a
purchaser who would have given twelve. There's no getting anyone about
here to buy it. The Maslovs have it all their own way. One has to take
what they'll give, for no one here dare bid against them. The priest
at Ilyinskoe wrote to me last Thursday that a merchant called
Gorstkin, a man I know, had turned up. What makes him valuable is that
he is not from these parts, so he is not afraid of the Maslovs. He
says he will give me eleven thousand for the copse. Do you hear? But
he'll only be here, the priest writes, for a week altogether, so you
must go at once and make a bargain with him."
    "Well, you write to the priest; he'll make the bargain."
    "He can't do it. He has no eye for business. He is a perfect
treasure, I'd give him twenty thousand to take care of for me
without a receipt; but he has no eye for business, he is a perfect
child, a crow could deceive him. And yet he is a learned man, would
you believe it? This Gorstkin looks like a peasant, he wears a blue
kaftan, but he is a regular rogue. That's the common complaint. He
is a liar. Sometimes he tells such lies that you wonder why he is
doing it. He told me the year before last that his wife was dead and
that he had married another, and would you believe it, there was not a
word of truth in it? His wife has never died at all, she is alive to
this day and gives him a beating twice a week. So what you have to
find out is whether he is lying or speaking the truth when he says
he wants to buy it and would give eleven thousand."
    "I shall be no use in such a business. I have no eye either."
    "Stay, wait a bit! You will be of use, for I will tell you the
signs by which you can judge about Gorstkin. I've done business with
him a long time. You see, you must watch his beard; he has a nasty,
thin, red beard. If his beard shakes when he talks and he gets
cross, it's all right, he is saying what he means, he wants to do
business. But if he strokes his beard with his left hand and grins- he
is trying to cheat you. Don't watch his eyes, you won't find out
anything from his eyes, he is a deep one, a rogue but watch his beard!
I'll give you a note and you show it to him. He's called Gorstkin,
though his real name is Lyagavy;* but don't call him so, he will be
offended. If you come to an understanding with him, and see it's all
right, write here at once. You need only write: 'He's not lying.'
Stand out for eleven thousand; one thousand you can knock off, but not
more. just think! there's a difference between eight thousand and
eleven thousand. It's as good as picking up three thousand; it's not
so easy to find a purchaser, and I'm in desperate need of money.
Only let me know it's serious, and I'll run over and fix it up. I'll
snatch the time somehow. But what's the good of my galloping over,
if it's all a notion of the priest's? Come, will you go?"

    * i.e. setter dog.

    "Oh, I can't spare the time. You must excuse me."
    "Come, you might oblige your father. I shan't forget it. You've no
heart, any of you that's what it is! What's a day or two to you? Where
are you going now- to Venice? Your Venice will keep another two
days. I would have sent Alyosha, but what use is Alyosha in a thing
like that? I send you just because you are a clever fellow. Do you
suppose I don't see that? You know nothing about timber, but you've
got an eye. All that is wanted is to see whether the man is in
earnest. I tell you, watch his beard- if his beard shakes you know
he is in earnest."
    "You force me to go to that damned Tchermashnya yourself, then?"
cried Ivan, with a malignant smile.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch did not catch, or would not catch, the
malignancy, but he caught the smile.
    "Then you'll go, you'll go? I'll scribble the note for you at
    "I don't know whether I shall go. I don't know. I'll decide on the
    "Nonsense! Decide at once. My dear fellow, decide! If you settle
the matter, write me a line; give it to the priest and he'll send it
on to me at once. And I won't delay you more than that. You can go
to Venice. The priest will give you horses back to Volovya station."
    The old man was quite delighted. He wrote the note, and sent for
the horses. A light lunch was brought in, with brandy. When Fyodor
Pavlovitch was pleased, he usually became expansive, but to-day he
seemed to restrain himself. Of Dmitri, for instance, he did not say
a word. He was quite unmoved by the parting, and seemed, in fact, at a
loss for something to say. Ivan noticed this particularly. "He must be
bored with me," he thought. Only when accompanying his son out on to
the steps, the old man began to fuss about. He would have kissed
him, but Ivan made haste to hold out his hand, obviously avoiding
the kiss. His father saw it at once, and instantly pulled himself up.
    "Well, good luck to you, good luck to you!" he repeated from the
steps. "You'll come again some time or other? Mind you do come. I
shall always be glad to see you. Well, Christ be with you!"
    Ivan got into the carriage.
    "Good-bye, Ivan! Don't be too hard on me!" the father called for
the last time.
    The whole household came out to take leave- Smerdyakov, Marfa
and Grigory. Ivan gave them ten roubles each. When he had seated
himself in the carriage, Smerdyakov jumped up to arrange the rug.
    "You see... I am going to Tchermashnya," broke suddenly from Ivan.
Again, as the day before, the words seemed to drop of themselves,
and he laughed, too, a peculiar, nervous laugh. He remembered it
long after.
    "It's a true saying then, that 'it's always worth while speaking
to a clever man,'" answered Smerdyakov firmly, looking significantly
at Ivan.
    The carriage rolled away. Nothing was clear in Ivan's soul, but he
looked eagerly around him at the fields, at the hills, at the trees,
at a flock of geese flying high overhead in the bright sky. And all of
a sudden he felt very happy. He tried to talk to the driver, and he
felt intensely interested in an answer the peasant made him; but a
minute later he realised that he was not catching anything, and that
he had not really even taken in the peasant's answer. He was silent,
and it was pleasant even so. The air was pure and cool, sky bright.
The images of Alyosha and Katerina Ivanovna floated into his mind. But
he softly smiled, blew softly on the friendly phantoms, and they
flew away. "There's plenty of time for them," he thought. They reached
the station quickly, changed horses, and galloped to Volovya "Why is
it worth while speaking to a clever man? What did he mean by that?"
The thought seemed suddenly to clutch at his breathing. "And why did I
tell him I was going to Tchermashnya?" They reached Volovya station.
Ivan got out of the carriage, and the drivers stood round him
bargaining over the journey of twelve versts to Tchermashnya. He
told them to harness the horses. He went into the station house,
looked round, glanced at the overseer's wife, and suddenly went back
to the entrance.
    "I won't go to Tchermashnya. Am I too late to reach the railway by
seven, brothers?"
    "We shall just do it. Shall we get the carriage out?"
    "At once. Will any one of you be going to the town to-morrow?"
    "To be sure. Mitri here will."
    "Can you do me a service, Mitri? Go to my father's, to Fyodor
Pavlovitch Karamazov, and tell him I haven't gone to Tchermashnya. Can
    "Of course I can. I've known Fyodor Pavlovitch a long time."
    "And here's something for you, for I dare say he won't give you
anything," said Ivan, laughing gaily.
    "You may depend on it he won't." Mitri laughed too. "Thank you,
sir. I'll be sure to do it."
    At seven o'clock Ivan got into the train and set off to Moscow.
"Away with the past. I've done with the old world for ever, and may
I have no news, no echo, from it. To a new life, new places, and no
looking back!" But instead of delight his soul was filled with such
gloom, and his heart ached with such anguish, as he had never known in
his life before. He was thinking all the night. The train flew on, and
only at daybreak, when he was approaching Moscow, he suddenly roused
himself from his meditation.
    "I am a scoundrel," he whispered to himself.
    Fyodor Pavlovitch remained well satisfied at having seen his son
off. For two hours afterwards he felt almost happy, and sat drinking
brandy. But suddenly something happened which was very annoying and
unpleasant for everyone in the house, and completely upset Fyodor
Pavlovitch's equanimity at once. Smerdyakov went to the cellar for
something and fell down from the top of the steps. Fortunately,
Marfa Ignatyevna was in the yard and heard him in time. She did not
see the fall, but heard his scream- the strange, peculiar scream, long
familiar to her- the scream of the epileptic falling in a fit. They
could not tell whether the fit had come on him at the moment he was
decending the steps, so that he must have fallen unconscious, or
whether it was the fall and the shock that had caused the fit in
Smerdyakov, who was known to be liable to them. They found him at
the bottom of the cellar steps, writhing in convulsions and foaming at
the mouth. It was thought at first that he must have broken something-
an arm or a leg- and hurt himself, but "God had preserved him," as
Marfa Ignatyevna expressed it- nothing of the kind had happened. But
it was difficult to get him out of the cellar. They asked the
neighbours to help and managed it somehow. Fyodor Pavlovitch himself
was present at the whole ceremony. He helped, evidently alarmed and
upset. The sick man did not regain consciousness; the convulsions
ceased for a time, but then began again, and everyone concluded that
the same thing would happen, as had happened a year before, when he
accidently fell from the garret. They remembered that ice been put
on his head then. There was still ice in the cellar, and Marfa
Ignatyevna had some brought up. In the evening, Fyodor Pavlovitch sent
for Doctor Herzenstube, who arrived at once. He was a most estimable
old man, and the most careful and conscientious doctor in the
province. After careful examination, he concluded that the fit was a
very violent one and might have serious consequences; that meanwhile
he, Herzenstube, did not fully understand it, but that by to-morrow
morning, if the present remedies were unavailing, he would venture
to try something else. The invalid was taken to the lodge, to a room
next to Grigory's and Marfa Ignatyevna's.
    Then Fyodor Pavlovitch had one misfortune after another to put
up with that day. Marfa Ignatyevna cooked the dinner, and the soup,
compared with Smerdyakov's, was "no better than dish-water," and the
fowl was so dried up that it was impossible to masticate it. To her
master's bitter, though deserved, reproaches, Marfa Ignatyevna replied
that the fowl was a very old one to begin with, and that she had never
been trained as a cook. In the evening there was another trouble in
store for Fyodor Pavlovitch; he was informed that Grigory, who had not
been well for the last three days, was completely laid up by his
lumbago. Fyodor Pavlovitch finished his tea as early as possible and
locked himself up alone in the house. He was in terrible excitement
and suspense. That evening he reckoned on Grushenka's coming almost as
a certainty. He had received from Smerdyakov that morning an assurance
"that she had promised to come without fail." The incorrigible old
man's heart throbbed with excitement; he paced up and down his empty
rooms listening. He had to be on the alert. Dmitri might be on the
watch for her somewhere, and when she knocked on the window
(Smerdyakov had informed him two days before that he had told her
where and how to knock) the door must be opened at once. She must
not be a second in the passage, for fear which God forbid!- that she
should be frightened and run away. Fyodor Pavlovitch had much to think
of, but never had his heart been steeped in such voluptuous hopes.
This time he could say almost certainly that she would come!
                               Book VI
                           The Russian Monk.

                              Chapter 1
                   Father Zossima and His Visitors

    WHEN with an anxious and aching heart Alyosha went into his
elder's cell, he stood still almost astonished. Instead of a sick
man at his last gasp, perhaps unconscious, as he had feared to find
him, he saw him sitting up in his chair and, though weak and
exhausted, his face was bright and cheerful, he was surrounded by
visitors and engaged in a quiet and joyful conversation. But he had
only got up from his bed a quarter of an hour before Alyosha's
arrival; his visitors had gathered together in his cell earlier,
waiting for him to wake, having received a most confident assurance
from Father Paissy that "the teacher would get up, and as he had
himself promised in the morning, converse once more with those dear to
his heart." This promise and indeed every word of the dying elder
Father Paissy put implicit trust in. If he had seen him unconscious,
if he had seen him breathe his last, and yet had his promise that he
would rise up and say good-bye to him, he would not have believed
perhaps even in death, but would still have expected the dead man to
recover and fulfil his promise. In the morning as he lay down to
sleep, Father Zossima had told him positively: "I shall not die
without the delight of another conversation with you, beloved of my
heart. I shall look once more on your dear face and pour out my
heart to you once again." The monks, who had gathered for this
probably last conversation with Father Zossima, had all been his
devoted friends for many years. There were four of them: Father
Iosif and Father Paissy, Father Mihail the warden of the hermitage,
a man not very old and far from being learned. He was of humble
origin, of strong will and steadfast faith, of austere appearance, but
of deep tenderness, though he obviously concealed it as though he were
almost ashamed of it. The fourth, Father Anfim, was a very old and
humble little monk of the poorest peasant class. He was almost
illiterate, and very quiet, scarcely speaking to anyone. He was the
humblest of the humble, and looked as though he had been frightened by
something great and awful beyond the scope of his intelligence. Father
Zossima had a great affection for this timorous man, and always
treated him with marked respect, though perhaps there was no one he
had known to whom he had said less, in spite of the fact that he had
spent years wandering about holy Russia with him. That was very long
ago, forty years before, when Father Zossima first began his life as a
monk in a poor and little monastery at Kostroma, and when, shortly
after, he had accompanied Father Anfim on his pilgrimage to collect
alms for their poor monastery.
    The whole party were in the bedroom which, as we mentioned before,
was very small, so that there was scarcely room for the four of them
(in addition to Porfiry, the novice, who stood) to sit round Father
Zossima on chairs brought from the sitting room. It was already
beginning to get dark, the room was lighted up by the lamps and the
candles before the ikons.
    Seeing Alyosha standing embarrassed in the doorway, Father Zossima
smiled at him joyfully and held out his hand.
    "Welcome, my quiet one, welcome, my dear, here you are too. I knew
you would come."
    Alyosha went up to him, bowed down before him to the ground and
wept. Something surged up from his heart, his soul was quivering, he
wanted to sob.
    "Come, don't weep over me yet," Father Zossima smiled, laying
his right hand on his head. "You see I am sitting up talking; maybe
I shall live another twenty years yet, as that dear good woman from
Vishegorye, with her little Lizaveta in her arms, wished me yesterday.
God bless the mother and the little girl Lizaveta," he crossed
himself. "Porfiry, did you take her offering where I told you?"
    He meant the sixty copecks brought him the day before by the
good-humoured woman to be given "to someone poorer than me." Such
offerings, always of money gained by personal toil, are made by way of
penance voluntarily undertaken. The elder had sent Porfiry the evening
before to a widow, whose house had been burnt down lately, and who
after the fire had gone with her children begging alms. Porfiry
hastened to reply that he had given the money, as he had been
instructed, "from an unknown benefactress."
    "Get up, my dear boy," the elder went on to Alyosha. "Let me
look at you. Have you been home and seen your brother?" It seemed
strange to Alyosha that he asked so confidently and precisely, about
one of his brothers only- but which one? Then perhaps he had sent
him out both yesterday and to-day for the sake of that brother.
    "I have seen one of my brothers," answered Alyosha.
    "I mean the elder one, to whom I bowed down."
    "I only saw him yesterday and could not find him to-day," said
    "Make haste to find him, go again to-morrow and make haste,
leave everything and make haste. Perhaps you may still have time to
prevent something terrible. I bowed down yesterday to the great
suffering in store for him."
    He was suddenly silent and seemed to be pondering. The words
were strange. Father Iosif, who had witnessed the scene yesterday,
exchanged glances with Father Paissy. Alyosha could not resist asking:
    "Father and teacher," he began with extreme emotion, "your words
are too obscure.... What is this suffering in store for him?"
    "Don't inquire. I seemed to see something terrible yesterday... as
though his whole future were expressed in his eyes. A look came into
his eyes- so that I was instantly horror-stricken at what that man
is preparing for himself. Once or twice in my life I've seen such a
look in a man's face... reflecting as it were his future fate, and
that fate, alas, came to pass. I sent you to him, Alexey, for I
thought your brotherly face would help him. But everything and all our
fates are from the Lord. 'Except a corn of wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth
much fruit.' Remember that. You, Alexey, I've many times silently
blessed for your face, know that," added the elder with a gentle
smile. "This is what I think of you, you will go forth from these
walls, but will live like a monk in the world. You will have many
enemies, but even your foes will love you. Life will bring you many
misfortunes, but you will find your happiness in them, and will
bless life and will make others bless it- which is what matters
most. Well, that is your character. Fathers and teachers," he
addressed his friends with a tender smile, "I have never till to-day
told even him why the face of this youth is so dear to me. Now I
will tell you. His face has been as it were a remembrance and a
prophecy for me. At the dawn of my life when I was a child I had an
elder brother who died before my eyes at seventeen. And later on in
the course of my life I gradually became convinced that that brother
had been for a guidance and a sign from on high for me. For had he not
come into my life, I should never perhaps, so I fancy at least, have
become a monk and entered on this precious path. He appeared first
to me in my childhood, and here, at the end of my pilgrimage, he seems
to have come to me over again. It is marvellous, fathers and teachers,
that Alexey, who has some, though not a great, resemblance in face,
seems to me so like him spiritually, that many times I have taken
him for that young man, my brother, mysteriously come back to me at
the end of my pilgrimage, as a reminder and an inspiration. So that
I positively wondered at so strange a dream in myself. Do you hear
this, Porfiry?" he turned to the novice who waited on him. "Many times
I've seen in your face as it were a look of mortification that I
love Alexey more than you. Now you know why that was so, but I love
you too, know that, and many times I grieved at your mortification.
I should like to tell you, dear friends, of that youth, my brother,
for there has been no presence in my life more precious, more
significant and touching. My heart is full of tenderness, and I look
at my whole life at this moment as though living through it again."
    Here I must observe that this last conversation of Father
Zossima with the friends who visited him on the last day of his life
has been partly preserved in writing. Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov
wrote it down from memory, some time after his elder's death. But
whether this was only the conversation that took place then, or
whether he added to it his notes of parts of former conversations with
his teacher, I cannot determine. In his account, Father Zossima's talk
goes on without interruption, as though he told his life to his
friends in the form of a story, though there is no doubt, from other
accounts of it, that the conversation that evening was general. Though
the guests did not interrupt Father Zossima much, yet they too talked,
perhaps even told something themselves. Besides, Father Zossima
could not have carried on an uninterrupted narrative, for he was
sometimes gasping for breath, his voice failed him, and he even lay
down to rest on his bed, though he did not fall asleep and his
visitors did not leave their seats. Once or twice the conversation was
interrupted by Father Paissy's reading the Gospel. It is worthy of
note, too, that no one of them supposed that he would die that
night, for on that evening of his life after his deep sleep in the day
he seemed suddenly to have found new strength, which kept him up
through this long conversation. It was like a last effort of love
which gave him marvellous energy; only for a little time, however, for
his life was cut short immediately.. But of that later. I will only
add now that I have preferred to confine myself to the account given
by Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov. It will be shorter and not so
fatiguing, though, of course, as I must repeat, Alyosha took a great
deal from previous conversations and added them to it.

Notes of the Life of the deceased Priest and Monk, the Elder
Zossima, taken from his own words by Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov.

                          BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
                    (a) Father Zossima's Brother.

    Beloved fathers and teachers, I was born in a distant province
in the north, in the town of V. My father was a gentleman by birth,
but of no great consequence or position. He died when I was only two
years old, and I don't remember him at all. He left my mother a
small house built of wood, and a fortune, not large, but sufficient to
keep her and her children in comfort. There were two of us, my elder
brother Markel and I. He was eight years older than I was, of hasty,
irritable temperament, but kind-hearted and never ironical. He was
remarkably silent, especially at home with me, his mother, and the
servants. He did well at school, but did not get on with his
school-fellows, though he never quarrelled, at least so my mother
has told me. Six months before his death, when he was seventeen, he
made friends with a political exile who had been banished from
Moscow to our town for freethinking, and led a solitary existence
there. He was a good scholar who had gained distinction in
philosophy in the university. Something made him take a fancy to
Markel, and he used to ask him to see him. The young man would spend
whole evenings with him during that winter, till the exile was
summoned to Petersburg to take up his post again at his own request,
as he had powerful friends.
    It was the beginning of Lent, and Markel would not fast, he was
rude and laughed at it. "That's all silly twaddle, and there is no
God," he said, horrifying my mother, the servants, and me too. For
though I was only nine, I too was aghast at hearing such words. We had
four servants, all serfs. I remember my mother selling one of the
four, the cook Afimya, who was lame and elderly, for sixty paper
roubles, and hiring a free servant to take her place.
    In the sixth week in Lent, my brother, who was never strong and
had a tendency to consumption, was taken ill. He was tall but thin and
delicate-looking, and of very pleasing countenance. I suppose he
caught cold, anyway the doctor, who came, soon whispered to my
mother that it was galloping consumption, that he would not live
through the spring. My mother began weeping, and, careful not to alarm
my brother, she entreated him to go to church, to confess and take the
sacrament, as he was still able to move about. This made him angry,
and he said something profane about the church. He grew thoughtful,
however; he guessed at once that he was seriously ill, and that that
was why his mother was begging him to confess and take the
sacrament. He had been aware, indeed, for a long time past, that he
was far from well, and had a year before coolly observed at dinner
to your mother and me, "My life won't be long among you, I may not
live another year," which seemed now like a prophecy.
    Three days passed and Holy Week had come. And on Tuesday morning
my brother began going to church. "I am doing this simply for your
sake, mother, to please and comfort you," he said. My mother wept with
joy and grief. "His end must be near," she thought, "if there's such a
change in him." But he was not able to go to church long, he took to
his bed, so he had to confess and take the sacrament at home.
    It was a late Easter, and the days were bright, fine, and full
of fragrance. I remember he used to cough all night and sleep badly,
but in the morning he dressed and tried to sit up in an arm-chair.
That's how I remember him sitting, sweet and gentle, smiling, his face
bright and joyous, in spite of his illness. A marvellous change passed
over him, his spirit seemed transformed. The old nurse would come in
and say, "Let me light the lamp before the holy image, my dear." And
once he would not have allowed it and would have blown it out.
    "Light it, light it, dear, I was a wretch to have prevented you
doing it. You are praying when you light the lamp, and I am praying
when I rejoice seeing you. So we are praying to the same God."
    Those words seemed strange to us, and mother would go to her
room and weep, but when she went in to him she wiped her eyes and
looked cheerful. "Mother, don't weep, darling," he would say, "I've
long to live yet, long to rejoice with you, and life is glad and
    "Ah, dear boy, how can you talk of joy when you lie feverish at
night, coughing as though you would tear yourself to pieces."
    "Don't cry, mother," he would answer, "life is paradise, and we
are all in paradise, but we won't see it; if we would, we should
have heaven on earth the next day."
    Everyone wondered at his words, he spoke so strangely and
positively; we were all touched and wept. Friends came to see us.
"Dear ones," he would say to them, "what have I done that you should
love me so, how can you love anyone like me, and how was it I did
not know, I did not appreciate it before?"
    When the servants came in to him he would say continually,
"Dear, kind people, why are you doing so much for me, do I deserve
to be waited on? If it were God's will for me to live, I would wait on
you, for all men should wait on one another."
    Mother shook her head as she listened. "My darling, it's your
illness makes you talk like that."
    "Mother darling," he would say, "there must be servants and
masters, but if so I will be the servant of my servants, the same as
they are to me. And another thing, mother, every one of us has
sinned against all men, and I more than any."
    Mother positively smiled at that, smiled through her tears.
"Why, how could you have sinned against all men, more than all?
Robbers and murderers have done that, but what sin have you
committed yet, that you hold yourself more guilty than all?"
    "Mother, little heart of mine," he said (he had begun using such
strange caressing words at that time), "little heart of mine, my
joy, believe me, everyone is really responsible to all men for all men
and for everything. I don't know how to explain it to you, but I
feel it is so, painfully even. And how is it we went on then living,
getting angry and not knowing?"
    So he would get up every day, more and more sweet and joyous and
full of love. When the doctor, an old German called Eisenschmidt,
    "Well, doctor, have I another day in this world?" he would ask,
    "You'll live many days yet," the doctor would answer, "and
months and years too."
    "Months and years!" he would exclaim. "Why reckon the days? One
day is enough for a man to know all happiness. My dear ones, why do we
quarrel, try to outshine each other and keep grudges against each
other? Let's go straight into the garden, walk and play there, love,
appreciate, and kiss each other, and glorify life."
    "Your son cannot last long," the doctor told my mother, as she
accompanied him the door. "The disease is affecting his brain."
    The windows of his room looked out into the garden, and our garden
was a shady one, with old trees in it which were coming into bud.
The first birds of spring were flitting in the branches, chirruping
and singing at the windows. And looking at them and admiring them,
he began suddenly begging their forgiveness too: "Birds of heaven,
happy birds, forgive me, for I have sinned against you too." None of
us could understand that at the time, but he shed tears of joy. "Yes,"
he said, "there was such a glory of God all about me: birds, trees,
meadows, sky; only I lived in shame and dishonoured it all and did not
notice the beauty and glory."
    "You take too many sins on yourself," mother used to say, weeping.
    "Mother, darling, it's for joy, not for grief I am crying.
Though I can't explain it to you, I like to humble myself before them,
for I don't know how to love them enough. If I have sinned against
everyone, yet all forgive me, too, and that's heaven. Am I not in
heaven now?"
    And there was a great deal more I don't remember. I remember I
went once into his room when there was no one else there. It was a
bright evening, the sun was setting, and the whole room was lighted
up. He beckoned me, and I went up to him. He put his hands on my
shoulders and looked into my face tenderly, lovingly; he said
nothing for a minute, only looked at me like that.
    "Well," he said, "run and play now, enjoy life for me too."
    I went out then and ran to play. And many times in my life
afterwards I remembered even with tears how he told me to enjoy life
for him too. There were many other marvellous and beautiful sayings of
his, though we did not understand them at the time. He died the
third week after Easter. He was fully conscious though he could not
talk; up to his last hour he did not change. He looked happy, his eyes
beamed and sought us, he smiled at us, beckoned us. There was a
great deal of talk even in the town about his death. I was impressed
by all this at the time, but not too much so, though I cried a good
deal at his funeral. I was young then, a child, but a lasting
impression, a hidden feeling of it all, remained in my heart, ready to
rise up and respond when the time came. So indeed it happened.

      (b) Of the Holy Scriptures in the Life of Father Zossima.

    I was left alone with my mother. Her friends began advising her to
send me to Petersburg as other parents did. "You have only one son
now," they said, "and have a fair income, and you will be depriving
him perhaps of a brilliant career if you keep him here." They
suggested I should be sent to Petersburg to the Cadet Corps, that I
might afterwards enter the Imperial Guard. My mother hesitated for a
long time, it was awful to part with her only child, but she made up
her mind to it at last, though not without many tears, believing she
was acting for my happiness. She brought me to Petersburg and put me
into the Cadet Corps, and I never saw her again. For she too died
three years afterwards. She spent those three years mourning and
grieving for both of us.
    From the house of my childhood I have brought nothing but precious
memories, for there are no memories more precious than those of
early childhood in one's first home. And that is almost always so if
there is any love and harmony in the family at all. Indeed, precious
memories may remain even of a bad home, if only the heart knows how to
find what is precious. With my memories of home I count, too, my
memories of the Bible, which, child as I was, I was very eager to read
at home. I had a book of Scripture history then with excellent
pictures, called A Hundred and Four Stories from the Old and New
Testament, and I learned to read from it. I have it lying on my
shelf now; I keep it as a precious relic of the past. But even
before I learned to read, I remember first being moved to devotional
feeling at eight years old. My mother took me alone to mass (I don't
remember where my brother was at the time) on the Monday before
Easter. It was a fine day, and I remember to-day, as though I saw it
now, how the incense rose from the censer and softly floated upwards
and, overhead in the cupola, mingled in rising waves with the sunlight
that streamed in at the little window. I was stirred by the sight, and
for the first time in my life I consciously received the seed of God's
word in my heart. A youth came out into the middle of the church
carrying a big book, so large that at the time I fancied he could
scarcely carry it. He laid it on the reading desk, opened it, and
began reading, and suddenly for the first time I understood
something read in the church of God. In the land of Uz, there lived
a man, righteous and God-fearing, and he had great wealth, so many
camels, so many sheep and asses, and his children feasted, and he
loved them very much and prayed for them. "It may be that my sons have
sinned in their feasting." Now the devil came before the Lord together
with the sons of God, and said to the Lord that he had gone up and
down the earth and under the earth. "And hast thou considered my
servant Job?" God asked of him. And God boasted to the devil, pointing
to His great and holy servant. And the devil laughed at God's words.
"Give him over to me and Thou wilt see that Thy servant will murmur
against Thee and curse Thy name." And God gave up the just man He
loved so, to the devil. And the devil smote his children and his
cattle and scattered his wealth, all of a sudden like a thunderbolt
from heaven. And Job rent his mantle and fell down upon the ground and
cried aloud, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall
I return into the earth; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever."
    Fathers and teachers, forgive my tears now, for all my childhood
rises up again before me, and I breathe now as I breathed then, with
the breast of a little child of eight, and I feel as I did then, awe
and wonder and gladness. The camels at that time caught my
imagination, and Satan, who talked like that with God, and God who
gave His servant up to destruction, and His servant crying out:
"Blessed be Thy name although Thou dost punish me," and then the
soft and sweet singing in the church: "Let my prayer rise up before
Thee," and again incense from the priest's censer and the kneeling and
the prayer. Ever since then- only yesterday I took it up- I've never
been able to read that sacred tale without tears. And how much that is
great, mysterious and unfathomable there is in it! Afterwards I
heard the words of mockery and blame, proud words, "How could God give
up the most loved of His saints for the diversion of the devil, take
from him his children, smite him with sore boils so that he cleansed
the corruption from his sores with a potsherd- and for no object
except to boast to the devil 'See what My saint can suffer for My
sake.' "But the greatness of it lies just in the fact that it is a
mystery- that the passing earthly show and the eternal verity are
brought together in it. In the face of the earthly truth, the
eternal truth is accomplished. The Creator, just as on the first
days of creation He ended each day with praise: "That is good that I
have created," looks upon Job and again praises His creation. And Job,
praising the Lord, serves not only Him but all His creation for
generations and generations, and for ever and ever, since for that
he was ordained. Good heavens, what a book it is, and what lessons
there are in it! What a book the Bible is, what a miracle, what
strength is given with it to man! It is like a mould cast of the world
and man and human nature, everything is there, and a law for
everything for all the ages. And what mysteries are solved and
revealed! God raises Job again, gives him wealth again. Many years
pass by, and he has other children and loves them. But how could he
love those new ones when those first children are no more, when he has
lost them? Remembering them, how could he be fully happy with those
new ones, however dear the new ones might be? But he could, he
could. It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes
gradually into quiet, tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the
place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising sun each
day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even
more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft, tender,
gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of
my long, happy life- and over all the Divine Truth, softening,
reconciling, forgiving! My life is ending, I know that well, but every
day that is left me I feel how earthly life is in touch with a new
infinite, unknown, but approaching life, the nearness of which sets my
soul quivering with rapture, my mind glowing and my heart weeping with
    Friends and teachers, I have heard more than once, and of late one
may hear it more often, that the priests, and above all the village
priests, are complaining on all sides of their miserable income and
their humiliating lot. They plainly state, even in print- I've read it
myself- that they are unable to teach the Scriptures to the people
because of the smallness of their means, and if Lutherans and heretics
come and lead the flock astray, they let them lead them astray because
they have so little to live upon. May the Lord increase the sustenance
that is so precious to them, for their complaint is just, too. But
of a truth I say, if anyone is to blame in the matter, half the
fault is ours. For he may be short of time, he may say truly that he
is overwhelmed all the while with work and services, but still it's
not all the time, even he has an hour a week to remember God. And he
does not work the whole year round. Let him gather round him once a
week, some hour in the evening, if only the children at first- the
fathers will hear of it and they too will begin to come. There's no
need to build halls for this, let him take them into his own
cottage. They won't spoil his cottage, they would only be there one
hour. Let him open that book and begin reading it without grand
words or superciliousness, without condescension to them, but gently
and kindly, being glad that he is reading to them and that they are
listening with attention, loving the words himself, only stopping from
time to time to explain words that are not understood by the peasants.
Don't be anxious, they will understand everything, the orthodox
heart will understand all! Let him read them about Abraham and
Sarah, about Isaac and Rebecca, of how Jacob went to Laban and
wrestled with the Lord in his dream and said, "This place is holy"-
and he will impress the devout mind of the peasant. Let him read,
especially to the children, how the brothers sold Joseph, the tender
boy, the dreamer and prophet, into bondage, and told their father that
a wild beast had devoured him, and showed him his blood-stained
clothes. Let him read them how the brothers afterwards journeyed
into Egypt for corn, and Joseph, already a great ruler, unrecognised
by them, tormented them, accused them, kept his brother Benjamin,
and all through love: "I love you, and loving you I torment you."
For he remembered all his life how they had sold him to the
merchants in the burning desert by the well, and how, wringing his
hands, he had wept and besought his brothers not to sell him as a
slave in a strange land. And how, seeing them again after many
years, he loved them beyond measure, but he harassed and tormented
them in love. He left them at last not able to bear the suffering of
his heart, flung himself on his bed and wept. Then, wiping his tears
away, he went out to them joyful and told them, "Brothers, I am your
brother Joseph" Let him read them further how happy old Jacob was on
learning that his darling boy was still alive, and how he went to
Egypt leaving his own country, and died in a foreign land, bequeathing
his great prophecy that had lain mysteriously hidden in his meek and
timid heart all his life, that from his offspring, from Judah, will
come the great hope of the world, the Messiah and Saviour.
    Fathers and teachers, forgive me and don't be angry, that like a
little child I've been babbling of what you know long ago, and can
teach me a hundred times more skilfully. I only speak from rapture,
and forgive my tears, for I love the Bible. Let him too weep, the
priest of God, and be sure that the hearts of his listeners will throb
in response. Only a little tiny seed is needed- drop it into the heart
of the peasant and it won't die, it will live in his soul all his
life, it will be hidden in the midst of his darkness and sin, like a
bright spot, like a great reminder. And there's no need of much
teaching or explanation, he will understand it all simply. Do you
suppose that the peasants don't understand? Try reading them the
touching story of the fair Esther and the haughty Vashti; or the
miraculous story of Jonah in the whale. Don't forget either the
parables of Our Lord, choose especially from the Gospel of St. Luke
(that is what I did), and then from the Acts of the Apostles the
conversion of St. Paul (that you mustn't leave out on any account),
and from the Lives of the Saints, for instance, the life of Alexey,
the man of God and, greatest of all, the happy martyr and the seer
of God, Mary of Egypt- and you will penetrate their hearts with
these simple tales. Give one hour a week to it in spite of your
poverty, only one little hour. And you will see for yourselves that
our people is gracious and grateful, and will repay you a hundred
foId. Mindful of the kindness of their priest and the moving words
they have heard from him, they will of their own accord help him in
his fields and in his house and will treat him with more respect
than before- so that it will even increase his worldly well-being too.
The thing is so simple that sometimes one is even afraid to put it
into words, for fear of being laughed at, and yet how true it is!
One who does not believe in God will not believe in God's people. He
who believes in God's people will see His Holiness too, even though he
had not believed in it till then. Only the people and their future
spiritual power will convert our atheists, who have torn themselves
away from their native soil.
    And what is the use of Christ's words, unless we set an example?
The people is lost without the Word of God, for its soul is athirst
for the Word and for all that is good.
    In my youth, long ago, nearly forty years ago, I travelled all
over Russia with Father Anfim, collecting funds for our monastery, and
we stayed one night on the bank of a great navigable river with some
fishermen. A good looking peasant lad, about eighteen, joined us; he
had to hurry back next morning to pull a merchant's barge along the
bank. I noticed him looking straight before him with clear and
tender eyes. It was a bright, warm, still, July night, a cool mist
rose from the broad river, we could hear the plash of a fish, the
birds were still, all was hushed and beautiful, everything praying
to God. Only we two were not sleeping, the lad and I, and we talked of
the beauty of this world of God's and of the great mystery of it.
Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee, all so
marvellously know their path, though they have not intelligence,
they bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish
it themselves. I saw the dear lad's heart was moved. He told me that
he loved the forest and the forest birds. He was a bird-catcher,
knew the note of each of them, could call each bird. "I know nothing
better than to be in the forest," said he, "though all things are
    "Truly," I answered him, "all things are good and fair, because
all is truth. Look," said I, "at the horse, that great beast that is
so near to man; or the lowly, pensive ox, which feeds him and works
for him; look at their faces, what meekness, what devotion to man, who
often beats them mercilessly. What gentleness, what confidence and
what beauty! It's touching to know that there's no sin in them, for
all, all except man, is sinless, and Christ has been with them
before us."
    "Why," asked the boy, "is Christ with them too?"
    "It cannot but be so," said I, "since the Word is for all. All
creation and all creatures, every leaf is striving to the Word,
singing glory to God, weeping to Christ, unconsciously accomplishing
this by the mystery of their sinless life. Yonder," said I, "in the
forest wanders the dreadful bear, fierce and menacing, and yet
innocent in it." And I told him how once a bear came to a great
saint who had taken refuge in a tiny cell in the wood. And the great
saint pitied him, went up to him without fear and gave him a piece
of bread. "Go along," said he, "Christ be with you," and the savage
beast walked away meekly and obediently, doing no harm. And the lad
was delighted that the bear had walked away without hurting the saint,
and that Christ was with him too. "Ah," said he, "how good that is,
how good and beautiful is all God's work!" He sat musing softly and
sweetly. I saw he understood. And he slept beside me a light and
sinless sleep. May God bless youth! And I prayed for him as I went
to sleep. Lord, send peace and light to Thy people!
                              Chapter 2
          (c) Recollections of Father Zossima's Youth before
                      he became a Monk. The Duel

    I SPENT a long time, almost eight years, in the military cadet
school at Petersburg, and in the novelty of my surroundings there,
many of my childish impressions grew dimmer, though I forgot
nothing. I picked up so many new habits and opinions that I was
transformed into a cruel, absurd, almost savage creature. A surface
polish of courtesy and society manners I did acquire together with the
French language.
    But we all, myself included, looked upon the soldiers in our
service as cattle. I was perhaps worse than the rest in that
respect, for I was so much more impressionable than my companions.
By the time we left the school as officers, we were ready to lay
down our lives for the honour of the regiment, but no one of us had
any knowledge of the real meaning of honour, and if anyone had known
it, he would have been the first to ridicule it. Drunkenness,
debauchery and devilry were what we almost prided ourselves on. I
don't say that we were bad by nature, all these young men were good
fellows, but they behaved badly, and I worst of all. What made it
worse for me was that I had come into my own money, and so I flung
myself into a life of pleasure, and plunged headlong into all the
recklessness of youth.
    I was fond of reading, yet strange to say, the Bible was the one
book I never opened at that time, though I always carried it about
with me, and I was never separated from it; in very truth I was
keeping that book "for the day and the hour, for the month and the
year," though I knew it not.
    After four years of this life, I chanced to be in the town of K.
where our regiment was stationed at the time. We found the people of
the town hospitable, rich, and fond of entertainments. I met with a
cordial reception everywhere, as I was of a lively temperament and was
known to be well off, which always goes a long way in the world. And
then a circumstance happened which was the beginning of it all.
    I formed an attachment to a beautiful and intelligent young girl
of noble and lofty character, the daughter of people much respected.
They were well-to-do people of influence and position. They always
gave me a cordial and friendly reception. I fancied that the young
lady looked on me with favour and my heart was aflame at such an idea.
Later on I saw and fully realised that I perhaps was not so
passionately in love with her at all, but only recognised the
elevation of her mind and character, which I could not indeed have
helped doing. I was prevented, however, from making her an offer at
the time by my selfishness; I was loath to part with the allurements
of my free and licentious bachelor life in the heyday of my youth, and
with my pockets full of money. I did drop some hint as to my
feelings however, though I put off taking any decisive step for a
time. Then, all of a sudden, we were ordered off for two months to
another district.
    On my return two months later, I found the young lady already
married to a rich neighbouring landowner, a very amiable man, still
young though older than I was, connected with the best Petersburg
society, which I was not, and of excellent education, which I also was
not. I was so overwhelmed at this unexpected circumstance that my mind
was positively clouded. The worst of it all was that, as I learned
then, the young landowner had been a long while betrothed to her,
and I had met him indeed many times in her house, but blinded by my
conceit I had noticed nothing. And this particularly mortified me;
almost everybody had known all about it, while I knew nothing. I was
filled with sudden irrepressible fury. With flushed face I began
recalling how often I had been on the point of declaring my love to
her, and as she had not attempted to stop me or to warn me, she
must, I concluded, have been laughing at me all the time. Later on, of
course, I reflected and remembered that she had been very far from
laughing at me; on the contrary, she used to turn off any
love-making on my part with a jest and begin talking of other
subjects; but at that moment I was incapable of reflecting and was all
eagerness for revenge. I am surprised to remember that my wrath and
revengeful feelings were extremely repugnant to my own nature, for
being of an easy temper, I found it difficult to be angry with
anyone for long, and so I had to work myself up artificially and
became at last revolting and absurd.
    I waited for an opportunity and succeeded in insulting my
"rival" in the presence of a large company. I insulted him on a
perfectly extraneous pretext, jeering at his opinion upon an important
public event- it was in the year 1826- my jeer was, so people said,
clever and effective. Then I forced him to ask for an explanation, and
behaved so rudely that he accepted my challenge in spite of the vast
inequality between us, as I was younger, a person of no consequence,
and of inferior rank. I learned afterwards for a fact that it was from
a jealous feeling on his side also that my challenge was accepted;
he had been rather jealous of me on his wife's account before their
marriage; he fancied now that if he submitted to be insulted by me and
refused to accept my challenge, and if she heard of it, she might
begin to despise him and waver in her love for him. I soon found a
second in a comrade, an ensign of our regiment. In those days though
duels were severely punished, yet duelling was a kind of fashion among
the officers- so strong and deeply rooted will a brutal prejudice
sometimes be.
    It was the end of June, and our meeting was to take place at seven
o'clock the next day on the outskirts of the town- and then
something happened that in very truth was the turning point of my
life. In the evening, returning home in a savage and brutal humour,
I flew into a rage with my orderly Afanasy, and gave him two blows
in the face with all my might, so that it was covered with blood. He
had not long been in my service and I had struck him before, but never
with such ferocious cruelty. And, believe me, though it's forty
years ago, I recall it now with shame and pain. I went to bed and
slept for about three hours; when I waked up the day was breaking. I
got up- I did not want to sleep any more- I went to the window- opened
it, it looked out upon the garden; I saw the sun rising; it was warm
and beautiful, the birds were singing.
    "What's the meaning of it?" I thought. "I feel in my heart as it
were something vile and shameful. Is it because I am going to shed
blood? No," I thought, "I feel it's not that. Can it be that I am
afraid of death, afraid of being killed? No, that's not it, that's not
it at all."... And all at once I knew what it was: it was because I
had beaten Afanasy the evening before! It all rose before my mind,
it all was, as it were, repeated over again; he stood before me and
I was beating him straight on the face and he was holding his arms
stiffly down, his head erect, his eyes fixed upon me as though on
parade. He staggered at every blow and did not even dare to raise
his hands to protect himself. That is what a man has been brought
to, and that was a man beating a fellow creature! What a crime! It was
as though a sharp dagger had pierced me right through. I stood as if I
were struck dumb, while the sun was shining, the leaves were rejoicing
and the birds were trilling the praise of God.... I hid my face in
my hands, fell on my bed and broke into a storm of tears. And then I
remembered by brother Markel and what he said on his death-bed to
his servants: "My dear ones, why do you wait on me, why do you love
me, am I worth your waiting on me?"
    "Yes, am I worth it?" flashed through my mind. "After all what
am I worth, that another man, a fellow creature, made in the
likeness and image of God, should serve me?" For the first time in
my life this question forced itself upon me. He had said, "Mother,
my little heart, in truth we are each responsible to all for all, it's
only that men don't know this. If they knew it, the world would be a
paradise at once."
    "God, can that too be false?" I thought as I wept. "In truth,
perhaps, I am more than all others responsible for all, a greater
sinner than all men in the world." And all at once the whole truth
in its full light appeared to me: what was I going to do? I was
going to kill a good, clever, noble man, who had done me no wrong, and
by depriving his wife of happiness for the rest of her life, I
should be torturing and killing her too. I lay thus in my bed with
my face in the pillow, heedless how the time was passing. Suddenly
my second, the ensign, came in with the pistols to fetch me.
    "Ah," said he, "it's a good thing you are up already, it's time we
were off, come along!"
    I did not know what to do and hurried to and fro undecided; we
went out to the carriage, however.
    "Wait here a minute," I said to him. "I'll be back directly, I
have forgotten my purse."
    And I ran back alone, to Afanasy's little room.
    "Afanasy," I said, "I gave you two blows on the face yesterday,
forgive me," I said.
    He started as though he were frightened, and looked at me; and I
saw that it was not enough, and on the spot, in my full officer's
uniform, I dropped at his feet and bowed my head to the ground.
    "Forgive me," I said.
    Then he was completely aghast.
    "Your honour... sir, what are you doing? Am I worth it?"
    And he burst out crying as I had done before, hid his face in
his hands, turned to the window and shook all over with his sobs. I
flew out to my comrade and jumped into the carriage.
    "Ready," I cried. "Have you ever seen a conqueror?" I asked him.
"Here is one before you."
    I was in ecstasy, laughing and talking all the way, I don't
remember what about.
    He looked at me. "Well, brother, you are a plucky fellow, you'll
keep up the honour of the uniform, I can see."
    So we reached the place and found them there, waiting us. We
were placed twelve paces apart; he had the first shot. I stood
gaily, looking him full in the face; I did not twitch an eyelash, I
looked lovingly at him, for I knew what I would do. His shot just
grazed my cheek and ear.
    "Thank God," I cried, "no man has been killed," and I seized my
pistol, turned back and flung it far away into the wood. "That's the
place for you," I cried.
    I turned to my adversary.
    "Forgive me, young fool that I am, sir," I said, "for my
unprovoked insult to you and for forcing you to fire at me. I am ten
times worse than you and more, maybe. Tell that to the person whom you
hold dearest in the world."
    I had no sooner said this than they all three shouted at me.
    "Upon my word," cried my adversary, annoyed, "if you did not
want to fight, why did not you let me alone?"
    "Yesterday I was a fool, to-day I know better," I answered him
    "As to yesterday, I believe you, but as for to-day, it is
difficult to agree with your opinion," said he.
    "Bravo," I cried, clapping my hands. "I agree with you there
too, I have deserved it!"
    "Will you shoot, sir, or not?"
    "No, I won't," I said; "if you like, fire at me again, but it
would be better for you not to fire."
    The seconds, especially mine, were shouting too: "Can you disgrace
the regiment like this, facing your antagonist and begging his
forgiveness! If I'd only known this!"
    I stood facing them all, not laughing now.
    "Gentlemen," I said, "is it really so wonderful in these days to
find a man who can repent of his stupidity and publicly confess his
    "But not in a duel," cried my second again.
    "That's what's so strange," I said. "For I ought to have owned
my fault as soon as I got here, before he had fired a shot, before
leading him into a great and deadly sin; but we have made our life
so grotesque, that to act in that way would have been almost
impossible, for only after I had faced his shot at the distance of
twelve paces could my words have any significance for him, and if I
had spoken before, he would have said, 'He is a coward, the sight of
the pistols has frightened him, no use to listen to him.'
Gentlemen," I cried suddenly, speaking straight from my heart, "look
around you at the gifts of God, the clear sky, the pure air, the
tender grass, the birds; nature is beautiful and sinless, and we, only
we, are sinful and foolish, and we don't understand that life is
heaven, for we have only to understand that and it will at once be
fulfilled in all its beauty, we shall embrace each other and weep."
    I would have said more but I could not; my voice broke with the
sweetness and youthful gladness of it, and there was such bliss in
my heart as I had never known before in my life.
    "All this is rational and edifying," said my antagonist, "and in
any case you are an original person."
    "You may laugh," I said to him, laughing too, "but afterwards
you will approve of me."
    "Oh, I am ready to approve of you now," said he; "will you shake
hands? for I believe you are genuinely sincere."
    "No," I said, "not now, later on when I have grown worthier and
deserve your esteem, then shake hands and you will do well."
    We went home, my second upbraiding me all the way, while I
kissed him. All my comrades heard of the affair at once and gathered
together to pass judgment on me the same day.
    "He has disgraced the uniform," they said; "Let him resign his
    Some stood up for me: "He faced the shot," they said.
    "Yes, but he was afraid of his other shot and begged for
    "If he had been afraid of being shot, he would have shot his own
pistol first before asking forgiveness, while he flung it loaded
into the forest. No, there's something else in this, something
    I enjoyed listening and looking at them. "My dear friends and
comrades," said I, "don't worry about my resigning my commission,
for I have done so already. I have sent in my papers this morning
and as soon as I get my discharge I shall go into a monastery- it's
with that object I am leaving the regiment."
    When I had said this every one of them burst out laughing.
    "You should have told us of that first, that explains
everything, we can't judge a monk."
    They laughed and could not stop themselves, and not scornfully,
but kindly and merrily. They all felt friendly to me at once, even
those who had been sternest in their censure, and all the following
month, before my discharge came, they could not make enough of me.
"Ah, you monk," they would say. And everyone said something kind to
me, they began trying to dissuade me, even to pity me: "What are you
doing to yourself?"
    "No," they would say, "he is a brave fellow, he faced fire and
could have fired his own pistol too, but he had a dream the night
before that he should become a monk, that's why he did it."
    It was the same thing with the society of the town. Till then I
had been kindly received, but had not been the object of special
attention, and now all came to know me at once and invited me; they
laughed at me, but they loved me. I may mention that although
everybody talked openly of our duel, the authorities took no notice of
it, because my antagonist was a near relation of our general, and as
there had been no bloodshed and no serious consequences, and as I
resigned my commission, they took it as a joke. And I began then to
speak aloud and fearlessly, regardless of their laughter, for it was
always kindly and not spiteful laughter. These conversations mostly
took place in the evenings, in the company of ladies; women
particularly liked listening to me then and they made the men listen.
    "But how can I possibly be responsible for all?" everyone would
laugh in my face. "Can I, for instance, be responsible for you?"
    "You may well not know it," I would answer, "since the whole world
has long been going on a different line, since we consider the veriest
lies as truth and demand the same lies from others. Here I have for
once in my life acted sincerely and, well, you all look upon me as a
madman. Though you are friendly to me, yet, you see, you all laugh
at me."
    "But how can we help being friendly to you?" said my hostess,
laughing. The room was full of people. All of a sudden the young
lady rose, on whose account the duel had been fought and whom only
lately I had intended to be my future wife. I had not noticed her
coming into the room. She got up, came to me and held out her hand.
    "Let me tell you," she said, "that I am the first not to laugh
at you, but on the contrary I thank you with tears and express my
respect for you for your action then."
    Her husband, too, came up and then they all approached me and
almost kissed me. My heart was filled with joy, but my attention was
especially caught by a middle-aged man who came up to me with the
others. I knew him by name already, but had never made his
acquaintance nor exchanged a word with him till that evening.

                     (d) The Mysterious Visitor.

    He had long been an official in the town; he was in a prominent
position, respected by all, rich and had a reputation for benevolence.
He subscribed considerable sums to the almshouse and the orphan
asylum; he was very charitable, too, in secret, a fact which only
became known after his death. He was a man of about fifty, almost
stern in appearance and not much given to conversation. He had been
married about ten years and his wife, who was still young, had borne
him three children. Well, I was sitting alone in my room the following
evening, when my door suddenly opened and this gentleman walked in.
    I must mention, by the way, that I was no longer living in my
former quarters. As soon as I resigned my commission, I took rooms
with an old lady, the widow of a government clerk. My landlady's
servant waited upon me, for I had moved into her rooms simply
because on my return from the duel I had sent Afanasy back to the
regiment, as I felt ashamed to look him in the face after my last
interview with him. So prone is the man of the world to be ashamed
of any righteous action.
    "I have," said my visitor, "with great interest listened to you
speaking in different houses the last few days and I wanted at last to
make your personal acquaintance, so as to talk to you more intimately.
Can you, dear sir, grant me this favour?"
    "I can, with the greatest pleasure, and I shall look upon it as an
honour." I said this, though I felt almost dismayed, so greatly was
I impressed from the first moment by the appearance of this man. For
though other people had listened to me with interest and attention, no
one had come to me before with such a serious, stern, and concentrated
expression. And now he had come to see me in my own rooms. He sat
    "You are, I see, a man of great strength of character" he said;
"as you have dared to serve the truth, even when by doing so you
risked incurring the contempt of all."
    "Your praise is, perhaps, excessive," I replied.
    "No, it's not excessive," he answered; "believe me, such a
course of action is far more difficult than you think. It is that
which has impressed me, and it is only on that account that I have
come to you," he continued. "Tell me, please, that is if you are not
annoyed by my perhaps unseemly curiosity, what were your exact
sensations, if you can recall them, at the moment when you made up
your mind to ask forgiveness at the duel. Do not think my question
frivolous; on the contrary, I have in asking the question a secret
motive of my own, which I will perhaps explain to you later on, if
it is God's will that we should become more intimately acquainted."
    All the while he was speaking, I was looking at him straight
into the face and I felt all at once a complete trust in him and great
curiosity on my side also, for I felt that there was some strange
secret in his soul.
    "You ask what were my exact sensations at the moment when I
asked my opponent's forgiveness," I answered; "but I had better tell
you from the beginning what I have not yet told anyone else." And I
described all that had passed between Afanasy and me, and how I had
bowed down to the ground at his feet. "From that you can see for
yourself," I concluded, "that at the time of the duel it was easier
for me, for I had made a beginning already at home, and when once I
had started on that road, to go farther along it was far from being
difficult, but became a source of joy and happiness."
    I liked the way he looked at me as he listened. "All that," he
said, "is exceedingly interesting. I will come to see you again and
    And from that time forth he came to see me nearly every evening.
And we should have become greater friends, if only he had ever
talked of himself. But about himself he scarcely ever said a word, yet
continually asked me about myself. In spite of that I became very fond
of him and spoke with perfect frankness to him about all my
feelings; "for," thought I, "what need have I to know his secrets,
since I can see without that that is a good man? Moreover, though he
is such a serious man and my senior, he comes to see a youngster
like me and treats me as his equal." And I learned a great deal that
was profitable from him, for he was a man of lofty mind.
    "That life is heaven," he said to me suddenly, "that I have long
been thinking about"; and all at once he added, "I think of nothing
else indeed." He looked at me and smiled. "I am more convinced of it
than you are, I will tell you later why."
    I listened to him and thought that he evidently wanted to tell
me something.
    "Heaven," he went on, "lies hidden within all of us- here it
lies hidden in me now, and if I will it, it will be revealed to me
to-morrow and for all time."
    I looked at him; he was speaking with great emotion and gazing
mysteriously at me, as if he were questioning me.
    "And that we are all responsible to all for all, apart from our
own sins, you were quite right in thinking that, and it is wonderful
how you could comprehend it in all its significance at once. And in
very truth, so soon as men understand that, the Kingdom of Heaven will
be for them not a dream, but a living reality."
    "And when," I cried out to him bitterly, "when will that come to
pass? and will it ever come to pass? Is not it simply a dream of
    "What then, you don't believe it," he said. "You preach it and
don't believe it yourself. Believe me, this dream, as you call it,
will come to pass without doubt; it will come, but not now, for
every process has its law. It's a spiritual, psychological process. To
transform the world, to recreate it afresh, men must turn into another
path psychologically. Until you have become really, in actual fact,
a brother to everyone, brotherhood will not come to pass. No sort of
scientific teaching, no kind of common interest, will ever teach men
to share property and privileges with equal consideration for all.
Everyone will think his share too small and they will be always
envying, complaining and attacking one another. You ask when it will
come to pass; it will come to pass, but first we have to go though the
period of isolation."
    "What do you mean by isolation?" I asked him.
    "Why, the isolation that prevails everywhere, above all in our
age- it has not fully developed, it has not reached its limit yet. For
everyone strives to keep his individuality as apart as possible,
wishes to secure the greatest possible fullness of life for himself;
but meantime all his efforts result not in attaining fullness of
life but self-destruction, for instead of self-realisation he ends
by arriving at complete solitude. All mankind in our age have split up
into units, they all keep apart, each in his own groove; each one
holds aloof, hides himself and hides what he has, from the rest, and
he ends by being repelled by others and repelling them. He heaps up
riches by himself and thinks, 'How strong I am now and how secure,'
and in his madness he does not understand that the more he heaps up,
the more he sinks into self-destructive impotence. For he is
accustomed to rely upon himself alone and to cut himself off from
the whole; he has trained himself not to believe in the help of
others, in men and in humanity, and only trembles for fear he should
lose his money and the privileges that he has won for himself.
Everywhere in these days men have, in their mockery, ceased to
understand that the true security is to be found in social
solidarity rather than in isolated individual effort. But this
terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will
suddenly understand how unnaturally they are separated from one
another. It will be the spirit of the time, and people will marvel
that they have sat so long in darkness without seeing the light. And
then the sign of the Son of Man will be seen in the heavens.... But,
until then, we must keep the banner flying. Sometimes even if he has
to do it alone, and his conduct seems to be crazy, a man must set an
example, and so draw men's souls out of their solitude, and spur
them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die."
    Our evenings, one after another, were spent in such stirring and
fervent talk. I gave up society and visited my neighbours much less
frequently. Besides, my vogue was somewhat over. I say this, not as
blame, for they still loved me and treated me good-humouredly, but
there's no denying that fashion is a great power in society. I began
to regard my mysterious visitor with admiration, for besides
enjoying his intelligence, I began to perceive that he was brooding
over some plan in his heart, and was preparing himself perhaps for a
great deed. Perhaps he liked my not showing curiosity about his
secret, not seeking to discover it by direct question nor by
insinuation. But I noticed at last, that he seemed to show signs of
wanting to tell me something. This had become quite evident, indeed,
about a month after he first began to visit me.
    "Do you know," he said to me once, "that people are very
inquisitive about us in the town and wonder why I come to see you so
often. But let them wonder, for soon all will be explained."
    Sometimes an extraordinary agitation would come over him, and
almost always on such occasions he would get up and go away. Sometimes
he would fix a long piercing look upon me, and I thought, "He will say
something directly now." But he would suddenly begin talking of
something ordinary and familiar. He often complained of headache too.
    One day, quite unexpectedly indeed, after he had been talking with
great fervour a long time, I saw him suddenly turn pale, and his
face worked convulsively, while he stared persistently at me.
    "What's the matter?" I said; "do you feel ill?"- he had just
been complaining of headache.
    "I... do you know... I murdered someone."
    He said this and smiled with a face as white as chalk. "Why is
it he is smiling?" The thought flashed through my mind before I
realised anything else. I too turned pale.
    "What are you saying?" I cried.
    "You see," he said, with a pale smile, "how much it has cost me to
say the first word. Now I have said it, I feel I've taken the first
step and shall go on."
    For a long while I could not believe him, and I did not believe
him at that time, but only after he had been to see me three days
running and told me all about it. I thought he was mad, but ended by
being convinced, to my great grief and amazement. His crime was a
great and terrible one.
    Fourteen years before, he had murdered the widow of a landowner, a
wealthy and handsome young woman who had a house in our town. He
fell passionately in love with her, declared his feeling and tried
to persuade her to marry him. But she had already given her heart to
another man, an officer of noble birth and high rank in the service,
who was at that time away at the front, though she was expecting him
soon to return. She refused his offer and begged him not to come and
see her. After he had ceased to visit her, he took advantage of his
knowledge of the house to enter at night through the garden by the
roof, at great risk of discovery. But, as often happens, a crime
committed with extraordinary audacity is more successful than others.
    Entering the garret through the skylight, he went down the ladder,
knowing that the door at the bottom of it was sometimes, through the
negligence of the servants, left unlocked. He hoped to find it so, and
so it was. He made his way in the dark to her bedroom, where a light
was burning. As though on purpose, both her maids had gone off to a
birthday party in the same street, without asking leave. The other
servants slept in the servants' quarters or in the kitchen on the
ground floor. His passion flamed up at the sight of her asleep, and
then vindictive, jealous anger took possession of his heart, and
like a drunken man, beside himself, he thrust a knife into her
heart, so that she did not even cry out. Then with devilish and
criminal cunning he contrived that suspicion should fall on the
servants. He was so base as to take her purse, to open her chest
with keys from under her pillow, and to take some things from it,
doing it all as it might have been done by an ignorant servant,
leaving valuable papers and taking only money. He took some of the
larger gold things, but left smaller articles that were ten times as
valuable. He took with him, too, some things for himself as
remembrances, but of that later. Having done this awful deed. he
returned by the way he had come.
    Neither the next day, when the alarm was raised, nor at any time
after in his life, did anyone dream of suspecting that he was the
criminal. No one indeed knew of his love for her, for he was always
reserved and silent and had no friend to whom he would have opened his
heart. He was looked upon simply as an acquaintance, and not a very
intimate one, of the murdered woman, as for the previous fortnight
he had not even visited her. A serf of hers called Pyotr was at once
suspected, and every circumstance confirmed the suspicion. The man
knew- indeed his mistress did not conceal the fact- that having to
send one of her serfs as a recruit she had decided to send him, as
he had no relations and his conduct was unsatisfactory. People had
heard him angrily threatening to murder her when he was drunk in a
tavern. Two days before her death, he had run away, staying no one
knew where in the town. The day after the murder, he was found on
the road leading out of the town, dead drunk, with a knife in his
pocket, and his right hand happened to be stained with blood. He
declared that his nose had been bleeding, but no one believed him. The
maids confessed that they had gone to a party and that the street door
had been left open till they returned. And a number of similar details
came to light, throwing suspicion on the innocent servant.
    They arrested him, and he was tried for the murder; but a week
after the arrest, the prisoner fell sick of a fever and died
unconscious in the hospital. There the matter ended and the judges and
the authorities and everyone in the town remained convinced that the
crime had been committed by no one but the servant who had died in the
hospital. And after that the punishment began.
    My mysterious visitor, now my friend, told me that at first he was
not in the least troubled by pangs of conscience. He was miserable a
long time, but not for that reason; only from regret that he had
killed the woman he loved, that she was no more, that in killing her
he had killed his love, while the fire of passion was still in his
veins. But of the innocent blood he had shed, of the murder of a
fellow creature, he scarcely thought. The thought that his victim
might have become the wife of another man was insupportable to him,
and so, for a long time, he was convinced in his conscience that he
could not have acted otherwise.
    At first he was worried at the arrest of the servant, but his
illness and death soon set his mind at rest, for the man's death was
apparently (so he reflected at the time) not owing to his arrest or
his fright, but a chill he had taken on the day he ran away, when he
had lain all night dead drunk on the damp ground. The theft of the
money and other things troubled him little, for he argued that the
theft had not been committed for gain but to avert suspicion. The
sum stolen was small, and he shortly afterwards subscribed the whole
of it, and much more, towards the funds for maintaining an almshouse
in the town. He did this on purpose to set his conscience at rest
about the theft, and it's a remarkable fact that for a long time he
really was at peace- he told me this himself. He entered then upon a
career of great activity in the service, volunteered for a difficult
and laborious duty, which occupied him two years, and being a man of
strong will almost forgot the past. Whenever he recalled it, he
tried not to think of it at all. He became active in philanthropy too,
founded and helped to maintain many institutions in the town, did a
good deal in the two capitals, and in both Moscow and Petersburg was
elected a member of philanthropic societies.
    At last, however, he began brooding over the past, and the
strain of it was too much for him. Then he was attracted by a fine and
intelligent girl and soon after married her, hoping that marriage
would dispel his lonely depression, and that by entering on a new life
and scrupulously doing his duty to his wife and children, he would
escape from old memories altogether. But the very opposite of what
he expected happened. He began, even in the first month of his
marriage, to be continually fretted by the thought, "My wife loves me-
but what if she knew?" When she first told him that she would soon
bear him a child, he was troubled. "I am giving life, but I have taken
life." Children came. "How dare I love them, teach and educate them,
how can I talk to them of virtue? I have shed blood." They were
splendid children, he longed to caress them; "and I can't look at
their innocent candid faces, I am unworthy."
    At last he began to be bitterly and ominously haunted by the blood
of his murdered victim, by the young life he had destroyed, by the
blood that cried out for vengeance. He had begun to have awful dreams.
But, being a man of fortitude, he bore his suffering a long time,
thinking: "I shall expiate everything by this secret agony." But
that hope, too, was vain; the longer it went on, the more intense
was his suffering.
    He was respected in society for his active benevolence, though
everyone was overawed by his stern and gloomy character. But the
more he was respected, the more intolerable it was for him. He
confessed to me that he had thoughts of killing himself. But he
began to be haunted by another idea- an idea which he had at first
regarded as impossible and unthinkable, though at last it got such a
hold on his heart that he could not shake it off. He dreamed of rising
up, going out and confessing in the face of all men that he had
committed murder. For three years this dream had pursued him, haunting
him in different forms. At last he believed with his whole heart
that if he confessed his crime, he would heal his soul and would be at
peace for ever. But this belief filled his heart with terror, for
how could he carry it out? And then came what happened at my duel.
    "Looking at you, I have made up my mind."
    I looked at him.
    "Is it possible," I cried, clasping my hands, "that such a trivial
incident could give rise to a resolution in you?"
    "My resolution has been growing for the last three years," he
answered, "and your story only gave the last touch to it. Looking at
you, I reproached myself and envied you." He said this to me almost
    "But you won't be believed," I observed; "it's fourteen years
    "I have proofs, great proofs. I shall show them."
    Then I cried and kissed him.
    "Tell me one thing, one thing," he said (as though it all depended
upon me), "my wife, my children! My wife may die of grief, and
though my children won't lose their rank and property, they'll be a
convict's children and for ever! And what a memory, what a memory of
me I shall leave in their hearts!"
    I said nothing.
    "And to part from them, to leave them for ever? It's for ever, you
know, for ever!" I sat still and repeated a silent prayer. I got up at
last, I felt afraid.
    "Well?" He looked at me.
    "Go!" said I, "confess. Everything passes, only the truth remains.
Your children will understand, when they grow up, the nobility of your
    He left me that time as though he had made up his mind. Yet for
more than a fortnight afterwards, he came to me every evening, still
preparing himself, still unable to bring himself to the point. He made
my heart ache. One day he would come determined and say fervently:
    "I know it will be heaven for me, heaven, the moment I confess.
Fourteen years I've been in hell. I want to suffer. I will take my
punishment and begin to live. You can pass through the world doing
wrong, but there's no turning back. Now I dare not love my neighbour
nor even my own children. Good God, my children will understand,
perhaps, what my punishment has cost me and will not condemn me! God
is not in strength but in truth."
    "All will understand your sacrifice," I said to him, "if not at
once, they will understand later; for you have served truth, the
higher truth, not of the earth."
    And he would go away seeming comforted, but next day he would come
again, bitter, pale, sarcastic.
    "Every time I come to you, you look at me so inquisitively as
though to say, 'He has still not confessed!' Wait a bit, don't despise
me too much. It's not such an easy thing to do as you would think.
Perhaps I shall not do it at all. You won't go and inform against me
then, will you?"
    And far from looking at him with indiscreet curiosity, I was
afraid to look at him at all. I was quite ill from anxiety, and my
heart was full of tears. I could not sleep at night.
    "I have just come from my wife," he went on. "Do you understand
what the word 'wife' means? When I went out, the children called to
me, 'Good-bye, father, make haste back to read The Children's Magazine
with us.' No, you don't understand that! No one is wise from another
man's woe."
    His eyes were glittering, his lips were twitching. Suddenly he
struck the table with his fist so that everything on it danced- it was
the first time he had done such a thing, he was such a mild man.
    "But need I?" he exclaimed, "must I? No one has been condemned, no
one has been sent to Siberia in my place, the man died of fever. And
I've been punished by my sufferings for the blood I shed. And I shan't
be believed, they won't believe my proofs. Need I confess, need I? I
am ready to go on suffering all my life for the blood I have shed,
if only my wife and children may be spared. Will it be just to ruin
them with me? Aren't we making a mistake? What is right in this
case? And will people recognise it, will they appreciate it, will they
respect it?"
    "Good Lord!" I thought to myself, "he is thinking of other
people's respect at such a moment!" And I felt so sorry for him
then, that I believe I would have shared his fate if it could have
comforted him. I saw he was beside himself. I was aghast, realising
with my heart as well as my mind what such a resolution meant.
    "Decide my fate!" he exclaimed again.
    "Go and confess," I whispered to him. My voice failed me, but I
whispered it firmly. I took up the New Testament from the table, the
Russian translation, and showed him the Gospel of St. John, chapter
12, verse 24:

                "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
                 except a corn of wheat fall into
                 the ground and die, it abideth alone:
                 but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

    I had just been reading that verse when he came in. He read it.
    "That's true," he said, he smiled bitterly. "It's terrible the
things you find in those books," he said, after a pause. "It's easy
enough to thrust them upon one. And who wrote them? Can they have been
written by men?"
    "The Holy Spirit wrote them," said I.
    "It's easy for you to prate," he smiled again, this time almost
with hatred.
    I took the book again, opened it in another place and showed him
the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 31. He read:

                 "It is a fearful thing to fall
                  into the hands of the living God."

    He read it and simply flung down the book. He was trembling all
    "An awful text," he said. "There's no denying you've picked out
fitting ones." He rose from the chair. "Well!" he said, "good-bye,
perhaps I shan't come again... we shall meet in heaven. So I have been
for fourteen years 'in the hands of the living God,' that's how one
must think of those fourteen years. To-morrow I will beseech those
hands to let me go."
    I wanted to take him in my arms and kiss him, but I did not
dare- his face was contorted add sombre. He went away.
    "Good God," I thought, "what has he gone to face!" I fell on my
knees before the ikon and wept for him before the Holy Mother of
God, our swift defender and helper. I was half an hour praying in
tears, and it was late, about midnight. Suddenly I saw the door open
and he came in again. I was surprised.
    Where have you been?" I asked him.
    "I think," he said, "I've forgotten something... my
handkerchief, I think.... Well, even if I've not forgotten anything,
let me stay a little."
    He sat down. I stood over him.
    "You sit down, too," said he.
    I sat down. We sat still for two minutes; he looked intently at me
and suddenly smiled. I remembered that- then he got up, embraced me
warmly and kissed me.
    "Remember," he said, "how I came to you a second time. Do you
hear, remember it!"
    And he went out.
    "To-morrow," I thought.
    And so it was. I did not know that evening that the next day was
his birthday. I had not been out for the last few days, so I had no
chance of hearing it from anyone. On that day he always had a great
gathering, everyone in the town went to it. It was the same this time.
After dinner he walked into the middle of the room, with a paper in
his hand- a formal declaration to the chief of his department who
was present. This declaration he read aloud to the whole assembly.
It contained a full account of the crime, in every detail.
    "I cut myself off from men as a monster. God has visited me," he
said in conclusion. "I want to suffer for my sin!"
    Then he brought out and laid on the table all the things he had
been keeping for fourteen years, that he thought would prove his
crime, the jewels belonging to the murdered woman which he had
stolen to divert suspicion, a cross and a locket taken from her neck
with a portrait of her betrothed in the locket, her notebook and two
letters; one from her betrothed, telling her that he would soon be
with her, and her unfinished answer left on the table to be sent off
next day. He carried off these two letters- what for? Why had he
kept them for fourteen years afterwards instead of destroying them
as evidence against him?
    And this is what happened: everyone was amazed and horrified,
everyone refused to believe it and thought that he was deranged,
though all listened with intense curiosity. A few days later it was
fully decided and agreed in every house that the unhappy man was
mad. The legal authorities could not refuse to take the case up, but
they too dropped it. Though the trinkets and letters made them ponder,
they decided that even if they did turn out to be authentic, no charge
could be based on those alone. Besides, she might have given him those
things as a friend, or asked him to take care of them for her. I heard
afterwards, however, that the genuineness of the things was proved
by the friends and relations of the murdered woman, and that there was
no doubt about them. Yet nothing was destined to come of it, after
    Five days later, all had heard that he was ill and that his life
was in danger. The nature of his illness I can't explain; they said it
was an affection of the heart. But it became known that the doctors
had been induced by his wife to investigate his mental condition also,
and had come to the conclusion that it was a case of insanity. I
betrayed nothing, though people ran to question me. But when I
wanted to visit him, I was for a long while forbidden to do so,
above all by his wife.
    "It's you who have caused his illness," she said to me; "he was
always gloomy, but for the last year people noticed that he was
peculiarly excited and did strange things, and now you have been the
ruin of him. Your preaching has brought him to this; for the last
month he was always with you."
    Indeed, not only his wife but the whole town were down upon me and
blamed me. "It's all your doing," they said. I was silent and indeed
rejoiced at heart, for I saw plainly God's mercy to the man who had
turned against himself and punished himself. I could not believe in
his insanity.
    They let me see him at last. he insisted upon saying good-bye to
me. I went in to him and saw at once, that not only his days, but
his hours were numbered. He was weak, yellow, his hands trembled, he
gasped for breath, but his face was full of tender and happy feeling.
    "It is done!" he said. "I've long been yearning to see you. Why
didn't you come?"
    I did not tell him that they would not let me see him.
    "God has had pity on me and is calling me to Himself. I know I
am dying, but I feel joy and peace for the first time after so many
years. There was heaven in my heart from the moment I had done what
I had to do. Now I dare to love my children and to kiss them.
Neither my wife nor the judges, nor anyone has believed it. My
children will never believe it either. I see in that God's mercy to
them. I shall die, and my name will be without a stain for them. And
now I feel God near, my heart rejoices as in Heaven... I have done
my duty."
    He could not speak, he gasped for breath, he pressed my hand
warmly, looking fervently at me. We did not talk for long, his wife
kept peeping in at us. But he had time to whisper to me:
    "Do you remember how I came back to you that second time, at
midnight? I told you to remember it. You know what I came back for?
I came to kill you!"
    I started.
    "I went out from you then into the darkness, I wandered about
the streets, struggling with myself. And suddenly I hated you so
that I could hardly bear it. Now, I thought, he is all that binds
me, and he is my judge. I can't refuse to face my punishment
to-morrow, for he knows all. It was not that I was afraid you would
betray me (I never even thought of that), but I thought, 'How can I
look him in the face if I don't confess?' And if you had been at the
other end of the earth, but alive, it would have been all the same,
the thought was unendurable that you were alive knowing everything and
condemning me. I hated you as though you were the cause, as though you
were to blame for everything. I came back to you then, remembering
that you had a dagger lying on your table. I sat down and asked you to
sit down, and for a whole minute I pondered. If I had killed you, I
should have been ruined by that murder even if I had not confessed the
other. But I didn't think about that at all, and I didn't want to
think of it at that moment. I only hated you and longed to revenge
myself on you for everything. The Lord vanquished the devil in my
heart. But let me tell you, you were never nearer death."
    A week later he died. The whole town followed him to the grave.
The chief priest made a speech full of feeling. All lamented the
terrible illness that had cut short his days. But all the town was
up in arms against me after the funeral, and people even refused to
see me. Some, at first a few and afterwards more, began indeed to
believe in the truth of his story, and they visited me and
questioned me with great interest and eagerness, for man loves to
see the downfall and disgrace of the righteous. But I held my
tongue, and very shortly after, I left the town, and five months later
by God's grace I entered the safe and blessed path, praising the
unseen finger which had guided me so clearly to it. But I remember
in my prayer to this day, the servant of God, Mihail, who suffered
so greatly.
                              Chapter 3
           Conversations and Exhortations of Father Zossima

         (e) The Russian Monk and his possible Significance.

    FATHERS and teachers, what is the monk? In the cultivated world
the word is nowadays pronounced by some people with a jeer, and by
others it is used as a term of abuse, and this contempt for the monk
is growing. It is true, alas, it is true, that there are many
sluggards, gluttons, profligates, and insolent beggars among monks.
Educated people point to these: "You are idlers, useless members of
society, you live on the labour of others, you are shameless beggars."
And yet how many meek and humble monks there are, yearning for
solitude and fervent prayer in peace! These are less noticed, or
passed over in silence. And how suprised men would be if I were to say
that from these meek monks, who yearn for solitary prayer, the
salvation of Russia will come perhaps once more! For they are in truth
made ready in peace and quiet "for the day and the hour, the month and
the year." Meanwhile, in their solitude, they keep the image of Christ
fair and undefiled, in the purity of God's truth, from the times of
the Fathers of old, the Apostles and the martyrs. And when the time
comes they will show it to the tottering creeds of the world. That
is a great thought. That star will rise out of the East.
    That is my view of the monk, and is it false? Is it too proud?
Look at the worldly and all who set themselves up above the people
of God; has not God's image and His truth been distorted in them? They
have science; but in science there is nothing but what is the object
of sense. The spiritual world, the higher part of man's being is
rejected altogether, dismissed with a sort of triumph, even with
hatred. The world has proclaimed the reign of freedom, especially of
late, but what do we see in this freedom of theirs? Nothing but
slavery and self-destruction! For the world says:
    "You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same
rights as the most rich and powerful. Don't be afraid of satisfying
them and even multiply your desires." That is the modern doctrine of
the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this
right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and
spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been
given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their
wants. They maintain that the world is getting more and more united,
more and more bound together in brotherly community, as it overcomes
distance and sets thoughts flying through the air.
    Alas, put no faith in such a bond of union. Interpreting freedom
as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort
their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits
and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual
envy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners visits, carriages,
rank, and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for
which life, honour and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even
commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it. We see the same thing
among those who are not rich, while the poor drown their unsatisfied
need and their envy in drunkenness. But soon they will drink blood
instead of wine, they are being led on to it. I ask you is such a
man free? I knew one "champion of freedom" who told me himself that,
when he was deprived of tobacco in prison, he was so wretched at the
privation that he almost went and betrayed his cause for the sake of
getting tobacco again! And such a man says, "I am fighting for the
cause of humanity."
    How can such a one fight? What is he fit for? He is capable
perhaps of some action quickly over, but he cannot hold out long.
And it's no wonder that instead of gaining freedom they have sunk into
slavery, and instead of serving, the cause of brotherly love and the
union of humanity have fallen, on the contrary, into dissension and
isolation, as my mysterious visitor and teacher said to me in my
youth. And therefore the idea of the service of humanity, of brotherly
love and the solidarity of mankind, is more and more dying out in
the world, and indeed this idea is sometimes treated with derision.
For how can a man shake off his habits? What can become of him if he
is in such bondage to the habit of satisfying the innumerable
desires he has created for himself? He is isolated, and what concern
has he with the rest of humanity? They have succeeded in
accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has
grown less.
    The monastic way is very different. Obedience, fasting, and prayer
are laughed at, yet only through them lies the way to real, true
freedom. I cut off my superfluous and unnecessary desires, I subdue my
proud and wanton will and chastise it with obedience, and with God's
help I attain freedom of spirit and with it spiritual joy. Which is
most capable of conceiving a great idea and serving it- the rich in
his isolation or the man who has freed himself from the tyranny of
material things and habits? The monk is reproached for his solitude,
"You have secluded yourself within the walls of the monastery for your
own salvation, and have forgotten the brotherly service of
humanity!" But we shall see which will be most zealous in the cause of
brotherly love. For it is not we, but they, who are in isolation,
though they don't see that. Of old, leaders of the people came from
among us, and why should they not again? The same meek and humble
ascetics will rise up and go out to work for the great cause. The
salvation of Russia comes from the people. And the Russian monk has
always been on the side of the people. We are isolated only if the
people are isolated. The people believe as we do, and an unbelieving
reformer will never do anything in Russia, even if he is sincere in
heart and a genius. Remember that! The people will meet the atheist
and overcome him, and Russia will be one and orthodox. Take care of
the peasant and guard his heart. Go on educating him quietly. That's
your duty as monks, for the peasant has God in his heart.

         (f) Of Masters and Servants, and of whether it is
             possible for them to be Brothers in the Spirit.

    Of course, I don't deny that there is sin in the peasants too. And
the fire of corruption is spreading visibly, hourly, working from
above downwards. The spirit of isolation is coming upon the people
too. Money-lenders and devourers of the commune are rising up. Already
the merchant grows more and more eager for rank, and strives to show
himself cultured though he has not a trace of culture, and to this end
meanly despises his old traditions, and is even ashamed of the faith
of his fathers. He visits princes, though he is only a peasant
corrupted. The peasants are rotting in drunkenness and cannot shake
off the habit. And what cruelty to their wives, to their children
even! All from drunkenness! I've seen in the factories children of
nine years old, frail, rickety, bent and already depraved. The
stuffy workshop, the din of machinery, work all day long, the vile
language and the drink, the drink- is that what a little child's heart
needs? He needs sunshine, childish play, good examples all about
him, and at least a little love. There must be no more of this, monks,
no more torturing of children, rise up and preach that, make haste,
make haste!
    But God will save Russia, for though the peasants are corrupted
and cannot renounce their filthy sin, yet they know it is cursed by
God and that they do wrong in sinning. So that our people still
believe in righteousness, have faith in God and weep tears of
    It is different with the upper classes. They, following science,
want to base justice on reason alone, but not with Christ, as
before, and they have already proclaimed that there is no crime,
that there is no sin. And that's consistent, for if you have no God
what is the meaning of crime? In Europe the people are already
rising up against the rich with violence, and the leaders of the
people are everywhere leading them to bloodshed, and teaching them
that their wrath is righteous. But their "wrath is accursed, for it is
cruel." But God will save Russia as He has saved her many times.
Salvation will come from the people, from their faith and their
    Fathers and teachers, watch over the people's faith and this
will not be a dream. I've been struck all my life in our great
people by their dignity, their true and seemly dignity. I've seen it
myself, I can testify to it, I've seen it and marvelled at it, I've
seen it in spite of the degraded sins and poverty-stricken
appearance of our peasantry. They are not servile, and even after
two centuries of serfdom they are free in manner and bearing, yet
without insolence, and not revengeful and not envious. "You are rich
and noble, you are clever and talented, well, be so, God bless you.
I respect you, but I know that I too am a man. By the very fact that I
respect you without envy I prove my dignity as a man."
    In truth if they don't say this (for they don't know how to say
this yet), that is how they act. I have seen it myself, I have known
it myself, and, would you believe it, the poorer our Russian peasant
is, the more noticeable is that serene goodness, for the rich among
them are for the most part corrupted already, and much of that is
due to our carelessness and indifference. But God will save His
people, for Russia is great in her humility. I dream of seeing, and
seem to see clearly already, our future. It will come to pass that
even the most corrupt of our rich will end by being ashamed of his
riches before the poor, and the poor, seeing his humility, will
understand and give way before him, will respond joyfully and kindly
to his honourable shame. Believe me that it will end in that; things
are moving to that. Equality is to be found only in the spiritual
dignity of man, and that will only be understood among us. If we
were brothers, there would be fraternity, but before that they will
never agree about the division of wealth. We preserve the image of
Christ, and it will shine forth like a precious diamond to the whole
world. So may it be, so may it be!
    Fathers and teachers, a touching incident befell me once. In my
wanderings I met in the town of K. my old orderly, Afanasy. It was
eight years since I had parted from him. He chanced to see me in the
market-place, recognised me, ran up to me, and how delighted he was!
He simply pounced on me: "Master dear, is it you? Is it really you I
see?" He took me home with him.
    He was no longer in the army, he was married and already had two
little children. He and his wife earned their living as
costermongers in the market-place. His room was poor, but bright and
clean. He made me sit down, set the samovar, sent for his wife, as
though my appearance were a festival for them. He brought me his
children: "Bless them, Father."
    "Is it for me to bless them? I am only a humble monk. I will
pray for them. And for you, Afanasy Pavlovitch, I have prayed every
day since that day, for it all came from you," said I. And I explained
that to him as well as I could. And what do you think? The man kept
gazing at me and could not believe that I, his former master, an
officer, was now before him in such a guise and position; it made
him shed tears.
    "Why are you weeping?" said I, "better rejoice over me, dear
friend, whom I can never forget, for my path is a glad and joyful
    He did not say much, but kept sighing and shaking his head over me
    "What has become of your fortune?" he asked.
    "I gave it to the monastery," I answered; "we live in common."
    After tea I began saying good-bye, and suddenly he brought out
half a rouble as an offering to the monastery, and another half-rouble
I saw him thrusting hurriedly into my hand: "That's for you in your
wanderings, it may be of use to you, Father."
    I took his half-rouble, bowed to him and his wife, and went out
rejoicing. And on my way I thought: "Here we are both now, he at
home and I on the road, sighing and shaking our heads, no doubt, and
yet smiling joyfully in the gladness of our hearts, remembering how
God brought about our meeting."
    I have never seen him again since then. I had been his master
and he my servant, but now when we exchanged a loving kiss with
softened hearts, there was a great human bond between us. I have
thought a great deal about that, and now what I think is this: Is it
so inconceivable that that grand and simple-hearted unity might in due
time become universal among the Russian people? I believe that it will
come to pass and that the time is at hand.
    And of servants I will add this: In old days when I was young I
was often angry with servants; "the cook had served something too hot,
the orderly had not brushed my clothes." But what taught me better
then was a thought of my dear brother's, which I had heard from him in
childhood: "Am I worth it, that another should serve me and be ordered
about by me in his poverty and ignorance?" And I wondered at the
time that such simple and self-evident ideas should be so slow to
occur to our minds.
    It is impossible that there should be no servants in the world,
but act so that your servant may be freer in spirit than if he were
not a servant. And why cannot I be a servant to my servant and even
let him see it, and that without any pride on my part or any
mistrust on his? Why should not my servant be like my own kindred,
so that I may take him into my family and rejoice in doing so? Even
now this can be done, but it will lead to the grand unity of men in
the future, when a man will not seek servants for himself, or desire
to turn his fellow creatures into servants as he does now, but on
the contrary, will long with his whole heart to be the servant of all,
as the Gospel teaches.
    And can it be a dream, that in the end man will find his joy
only in deeds of light and mercy, and not in cruel pleasures as now,
in gluttony, fornication, ostentation, boasting and envious rivalry of
one with the other? I firmly believe that it is not and that the
time is at hand. People laugh and ask: "When will that time come and
does it look like coming?" I believe that with Christ's help we
shall accomplish this great thing. And how many ideas there have
been on earth in the history of man which were unthinkable ten years
before they appeared! Yet when their destined hour had come, they came
forth and spread over the whole earth. So it will be with us, and
our people will shine forth in the world, and all men will say: "The
stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone of the
    And we may ask the scornful themselves: If our hope is a dream,
when will you build up your edifice and order things justly by your
intellect alone, without Christ? If they declare that it is they who
are advancing towards unity, only the most simple-hearted among them
believe it, so that one may positively marvel at such simplicity. Of a
truth, they have more fantastic dreams than we. They aim at justice,
but, denying Christ, they will end by flooding the earth with blood,
for blood cries out for blood, and he that taketh up the sword shall
perish by the sword. And if it were not for Christ's covenant, they
would slaughter one another down to the last two men on earth. And
those two last men would not be able to restrain each other in their
pride, and the one would slay the other and then himself. And that
would come to pass, were it not for the promise of Christ that for the
sake of the humble and meek the days shall be shortened.
    While I was still wearing an officer's uniform after my duel, I
talked about servants in general society, and I remember everyone
was amazed at me. "What!" they asked, "are we to make our servants sit
down on the sofa and offer them tea?" And I answered them: "Why not,
sometimes at least?" Everyone laughed. Their question was frivolous
and my answer was not clear; but the thought in it was to some
extent right.

       (g) Of Prayer, of Love, and of Contact with other Worlds.

    Young man, be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if
your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in
it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that
prayer is an education. Remember, too, every day, and whenever you
can, repeat to yourself, "Lord, have mercy on all who appear before
Thee to-day." For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave
life on this earth, and their souls appear before God. And how many of
them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for
them or even knows whether they have lived or not! And behold, from
the other end of the earth perhaps, your prayer for their rest will
rise up to God though you knew them not nor they you. How touching
it must be to a soul standing in dread before the Lord to feel at that
instant that, for him too, there is one to pray, that there is a
fellow creature left on earth to love him too! And God will look on
you both more graciously, for if you have had so much pity on him, how
much will He have pity Who is infinitely more loving and merciful than
you! And He will forgive him for your sake.
    Brothers, have no fear of men's sin. Love a man even in his sin,
for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on
earth. Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand in
it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals,
love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will
perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you
will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at
last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Love the
animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy
untroubled. Do not trouble it, don't harass them, don't deprive them
of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride
yourself on superiority to the animals; they are without sin, and you,
with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and
leave the traces of your foulness after you- alas, it is true of
almost every one of us! Love children especially, for they too are
sinless like the angels; they live to soften and purify our hearts
and, as it were, to guide us. Woe to him who offends a child! Father
Anfim taught me to love children. The kind, silent man used often on
our wanderings to spend the farthings given us on sweets and cakes for
the children. He could not pass by a child without emotion. That's the
nature of the man.
    At some thoughts one stands perplexed, especially at the sight
of men's sin, and wonders whether one should use force or humble love.
Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once for all,
you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvellously
strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like
    Every day and every hour, every minute, walk round yourself and
watch yourself, and see that your image is a seemly one. You pass by a
little child, you pass by, spiteful, with ugly words, with wrathful
heart; you may not have noticed the child, but he has seen you, and
your image, unseemly and ignoble, may remain in his defenceless heart.
You don't know it, but you may have sown an evil seed in him and it
may grow, and all because you were not careful before the child,
because you did not foster in yourself a careful, actively
benevolent love. Brothers, love is a teacher; but one must know how to
acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is
won slowly by long labour. For we must love not only occasionally, for
a moment, but for ever. Everyone can love occasionally, even the
wicked can.
    My brother asked the birds to forgive him; that sounds
senseless, but it is right; for all is like an ocean, all is flowing
and blending; a touch in one place sets up movement at the other end
of the earth. It may be senseless to beg forgiveness of the birds, but
birds would be happier at your side- a little happier, anyway- and
children and all animals, if you were nobler than you are now. It's
all like an ocean, I tell you. Then you would pray to the birds too,
consumed by an all-embracing love, in a sort of transport, and pray
that they too will forgive you your sin. Treasure this ecstasy,
however senseless it may seem to men.
    My friends, pray to God for gladness. Be glad as children, as
the birds of heaven. And let not the sin of men confound you in your
doings. Fear not that it will wear away your work and hinder its being
accomplished. Do not say, "Sin is mighty, wickedness is mighty, evil
environment is mighty, and we are lonely and helpless, and evil
environment is wearing us away and hindering our good work from
being done." Fly from that dejection, children! There is only one
means of salvation, then take yourself and make yourself responsible
for all men's sins, that is the truth, you know, friends, for as
soon as you sincerely make yourself responsible for everything and for
all men, you will see at once that it is really so, and that you are
to blame for everyone and for all things. But throwing your own
indolence and impotence on others you will end by sharing the pride of
Satan and murmuring against God.
    Of the pride of Satan what I think is this: it is hard for us on
earth to comprehend it, and therefore it is so easy to fall into error
and to share it, even imagining that we are doing something grand
and fine. Indeed, many of the strongest feelings and movements of
our nature we cannot comprehend on earth. Let not that be a
stumbling-block, and think not that it may serve as a justification to
you for anything. For the Eternal judge asks of you what you can
comprehend and not what you cannot. You will know that yourself
hereafter, for you will behold all things truly then and will not
dispute them. On earth, indeed, we are, as it were, astray, and if
it were not for the precious image of Christ before us, we should be
undone and altogether lost, as was the human race before the flood.
Much on earth is hidden from us, but to make up for that we have
been given a precious mystic sense of our living bond with the other
world, with the higher heavenly world, and the roots of our thoughts
and feelings are not here but in other worlds. That is why the
philosophers say that we cannot apprehend the reality of things on
    God took seeds from different worlds and sowed them on this earth,
and His garden grew up and everything came up that could come up,
but what grows lives and is alive only through the feeling of its
contact with other mysterious worlds. If that feeling grows weak or is
destroyed in you, the heavenly growth will die away in you. Then you
will be indifferent to life and even grow to hate it. That's what I

      (h) Can a Man judge his Fellow Creatures?  Faith to the End.

    Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no
one can judge a criminal until he recognises that he is just such a
criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more
than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he
will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true.
If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no
criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime
of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him
yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law
itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible,
for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have
done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you,
do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not
yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no
Matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and
suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be
fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies
all the hope and faith of the saints.
    Work without ceasing. If you remember in the night as you go to
sleep, "I have not done what I ought to have done," rise up at once
and do it. If the people around you are spiteful and callous and
will not hear you, fall down before them and beg their forgiveness;
for in truth you are to blame for their not wanting to hear you. And
if you cannot speak to them in their bitterness, serve them in silence
and in humility, never losing hope. If all men abandon you and even
drive you away by force, then when you are left alone fall on the
earth and kiss it, water it with your tears and it will bring forth
fruit even though no one has seen or heard you in your solitude.
Believe to the end, even if all men went astray and you were left
the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in
your loneliness. And if two of you are gathered together- then there
is a whole world, a world of living love. Embrace each other
tenderly and praise God, for if only in you two His truth has been
    If you sin yourself and grieve even unto death for your sins or
for your sudden sin, then rejoice for others, rejoice for the
righteous man, rejoice that if you have sinned, he is righteous and
has not sinned.
    If the evil-doing of men moves you to indignation and overwhelming
distress, even to a desire for vengeance on the evil-doers, shun above
all things that feeling. Go at once and seek suffering for yourself,
as though you were yourself guilty of that wrong. Accept that
suffering and bear it and your heart will find comfort, and you will
understand that you too are guilty, for you might have been a light to
the evil-doers, even as the one man sinless, and you were not a
light to them. If you had been a light, you would have lightened the
path for others too, and the evil-doer might perhaps have been saved
by your light from his sin. And even though your light was shining,
yet you see men were not saved by it, hold firm and doubt not the
power of the heavenly light. Believe that if they were not saved, they
will be saved hereafter. And if they are not saved hereafter, then
their sons will be saved, for your light will not die even when you
are dead. The righteous man departs, but his light remains. Men are
always saved after the death of the deliverer. Men reject their
prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honour those
whom they have slain. You are working for the whole, are acting for
the future. Seek no reward, for great is your reward on this earth:
the spiritual joy which is only vouchsafed to the righteous man.
Fear not the great nor the mighty, but be wise and ever serene. Know
the measure, know the times, study that. When you are left alone,
pray. Love to throw yourself on the earth and kiss it. Kiss the
earth and love it with an unceasing, consuming love. Love all men,
love everything. Seek that rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with
the tears of your joy and love those tears. Don't be ashamed of that
ecstasy, prize it, for it is a gift of God and a great one; it is
not given to many but only to the elect.

           (i) Of Hell and Hell Fire, a Mystic Reflection.

    Fathers and teachers, I ponder, "What is hell?" I maintain that it
is the suffering of being unable to love. Once in infinite
existence, immeasurable in time and space, a spiritual creature was
given on his coming to earth the power of saying, "I am and I love."
Once, only once, there was given him a moment of active lifting
love, and for that was earthly life given him, and with it times and
seasons. And that happy creature rejected the priceless gift, prized
it and loved it not, scorned it and remained callous. Such a one,
having left the earth, sees Abraham's bosom and talks with Abraham
as we are told in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and beholds
heaven and can go up to the Lord. But that is just his torment, to
rise up to the Lord without ever having loved, to be brought close
to those who have loved when he has despised their love. For he sees
clearly and says to himself, "Now I have understanding, and though I
now thirst to love, there will be nothing great, no sacrifice in my
love, for my earthly life is over, and Abraham will not come even with
a drop of living water (that is the gift of earthly active life) to
cool the fiery thirst of spiritual love which burns in me now,
though I despised it on earth; there is no more life for me and will
be no more time! Even though I would gladly give my life for others,
it can never be, for that life is passed which can be sacrificed for
love, and now there is a gulf fixed between that life and this
    They talk of hell fire in the material sense. I don't go into that
mystery and I shun it. But I think if there were fire in material
sense, they would be glad of it, for I imagine that in material agony,
their still greater spiritual agony would be forgotten for a moment.
Moreover, that spiritual agony cannot be taken from them, for that
suffering is not external but within them. And if it could be taken
from them, I think it would be bitterer still for the unhappy
creatures. For even if the righteous in Paradise forgave them,
beholding their torments, and called them up to heaven in their
infinite love, they would only multiply their torments, for they would
arouse in them still more keenly a flaming thirst for responsive,
active and grateful love which is now impossible. In the timidity of
my heart I imagine, however, that the very recognition of this
impossibility would serve at last to console them. For accepting the
love of the righteous together with the impossibility of repaying
it, by this submissiveness and the effect of this humility, they
will attain at last, as it were, to a certain semblance of that active
love which they scorned in life, to something like its outward
expression... I am sorry, friends and brothers, that I cannot
express this clearly. But woe to those who have slain themselves on
earth, woe to the suicides! I believe that there can be none more
miserable than they. They tell us that it is a sin to pray for them
and outwardly the Church, as it were, renounces them, but in my secret
heart I believe that we may pray even for them. Love can never be an
offence to Christ. For such as those I have prayed inwardly all my
life, I confess it, fathers and teachers, and even now I pray for them
every day.
    Oh, there are some who remain proud and fierce even in hell, in
spite of their certain knowledge and contemplation of the absolute
truth; there are some fearful ones who have given themselves over to
Satan and his proud spirit entirely. For such, hell is voluntary and
ever consuming; they are tortured by their own choice. For they have
cursed themselves, cursing God and life. They live upon their
vindictive pride like a starving man in the desert sucking blood out
of his own body. But they are never satisfied, and they refuse
forgiveness, they curse God Who calls them. They cannot behold the
living God without hatred, and they cry out that the God of life
should be annihilated, that God should destroy Himself and His own
creation. And they will burn in the fire of their own wrath for ever
and yearn for death and annihilation. But they will not attain to
    Here Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov's manuscript ends. I repeat, it
is incomplete and fragmentary. Biographical details, for instance,
cover only Father Zossima's earliest youth. Of his teaching and
opinions we find brought together sayings evidently uttered on very
different occasions. His utterances during the last few hours have not
been kept separate from the rest, but their general character can be
gathered from what we have in Alexey Fyodorovitch's manuscript.
    The elder's death came in the end quite unexpectedly. For although
those who were gathered about him that last evening realised that
his death was approaching, yet it was difficult to imagine that it
would come so suddenly. On the contrary, his friends, as I observed
already, seeing him that night apparently so cheerful and talkative,
were convinced that there was at least a temporary change for the
better in his condition. Even five minutes before his death, they said
afterwards wonderingly, it was impossible to foresee it. He seemed
suddenly to feel an acute pain in his chest, he turned pale and
pressed his hands to his heart. All rose from their seats and hastened
to him. But though suffering, he still looked at them with a smile,
sank slowly from his chair on to his knees, then bowed his face to the
ground, stretched out his arms and as though in joyful ecstasy,
praying and kissing the ground, quietly and joyfully gave up his
soul to God.
    The news of his death spread at once through the hermitage and
reached the monastery. The nearest friends of the deceased and those
whose duty it was from their position began to lay out the corpse
according to the ancient ritual, and all the monks gathered together
in the church. And before dawn the news of the death reached the town.
By the morning all the town was talking of the event, and crowds
were flocking from the town to the monastery. But this subject will be
treated in the next book; I will only add here that before a day had
passed something happened so unexpected, so strange, upsetting, and
bewildering in its effect on the monks and the townspeople, that after
all these years, that day of general suspense is still vividly
remembered in the town.
                               PART III

                               Book VII

                              Chapter 1
                       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
quite different.
    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
holy man."
    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.
                              Chapter 2
                          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
educated man.
    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
we want."
                              Chapter 3
                               An Onion

    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
months later.
    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
the drawing-room.
    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
to-day, Alyosha."
    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
be ready."
    "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
surprised him.
    "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
some dissipation."
    "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
every minute."
    "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...."
    "How so?"
    "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
the sofa.
    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,
was angry:
    "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
little child.
    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
with sobs.
    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.
                              Chapter 4
                           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."
                              Book VIII

                              Chapter 1
                            Kuzma Samsonov

    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
presented itself.
    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
for Grushenka.
    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
old woman.
    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
last seated.
    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?"
    "Excuse me..."
    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,"
faltered Mitya.
    "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,
startling Samsonov.
    "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.
                              Chapter 2

    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
inarticulate oaths.
    "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
Mitya frantically.
    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
gasped breathlessly.
    "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.
                              Chapter 3
                              Gold Mines

    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
heart, anyway.
    "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
lend me-"
    "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
new career."
    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
the matter!"
    "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
off again."
    "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
she is."
    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.
                              Chapter 4
                             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
very fast.
    "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.
                              Chapter 5
                         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
the throat.
    "Speak at once! Where is she? With whom is she now, at Mokroe?" he
roared furiously.
    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,
smiling dreamily.
    "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
make haste."
    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
the floor.
    "Oh, damn it!" he said. "Haven't you a rag of some sort... to wipe
my face?"
    "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
Pyotr Ilyitch.
    "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
listened, frowning.
    "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
sturdy character.
    "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."
    "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
female character.

                   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-"
    "While you-?"
    "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
feel anxious."
    "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
forgetting him."
    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,
have I?"
    "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?"
    "Ask away."
    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,
replied warmly.
    "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
insisted hotly.
    "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
beard, though..."
    "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!"
    "E- ech!"
    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
do, too..."
    "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,
springing forward.
    "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
play billiards.
    "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.
                              Chapter 6
                         "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.
    "Yes sir."
    "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
to himself.
    "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
of steps.
    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.
They'd come."
    "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
innkeeper's nose.
    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....
Remember Karamazov!"
    "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.
                              Chapter 7
                     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,"
laughed Kalganov.
    "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
last night."
    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.
Everyone laughed.
    "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 he