The Brothers Karamazov
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
"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
"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