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The Brothers Karamazov

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.
 
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