The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky - HTML preview
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Book VIII: Mitya
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 movements.
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 drawingroom, 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 nonsense.
"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:
"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 to.""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.
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 out.
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 yardlong 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 himself.
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.
"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 success."
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 him.
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 it."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 on.
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.
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 possessions.
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 argued.
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 dead?" "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 Fyodorovitch?"
"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 them."
"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 me-"
"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 to-day-" "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 now-"
"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 appeared.""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 today, 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 mines!""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.
"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 ago." "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.
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 kitchengarden, 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 husband.
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 Mokroe." "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.
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 speak.
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.
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 wrathfully.
"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 money."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 ones. "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 it."
"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 shirt. "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 someone?"
"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 pockets.
"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 suddenly. "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 enough!" "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 uneasily.
"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, now?""There's a woman there, a woman. That's enough for you. You shut up." "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 goods.
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."
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 dinnernapkin. 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."
"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 while. "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 corner. "It belongs to Varvara Alexyevna, the mistress," answered the clerk. "She brought it and forgot it here. It must be taken back to her."
"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 life?""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 hand." "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 something?" "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, Dmitri?"
"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.
"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.
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 him.
"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 ecstasy.
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 before. "It may well be that they're gone to bed by now, Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
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 heart."Drive on, Andrey! Whip them up! Look alive!" he cried, beside himself. "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.""Cards?" "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 hastytempered, 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 harm." "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 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." "Kalganov?" "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 hundredrouble 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 especially."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 words..."
"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 room?"
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 company."Aie!" shrieked Grushenka, the first to notice him.
7. The First and Rightful LoverWITH his long, rapid strides, Mitya walked straight up to the table.
"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." "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 you...""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 shameful! 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 here.... You've come for a spree again, I suppose? But put your money in your pocket. Where did you get such a lot?"
Mitya had been, all this time, holding in his hand the crumpled bundle of notes on which the eyes of all, especially of the Poles, were fixed. In confusion he thrust them hurriedly into his pocket. He flushed. At that moment the innkeeper brought in an uncorked bottle of champagne, and glasses on a tray. Mitya snatched up the bottle, but he was so bewildered that he did not know what to do with it. Kalgonov took it from him and poured out the champagne.
"Another! Another bottle!" Mitya cried to the inn-keeper, and, forgetting to clink glasses with the Pole whom he had so solemnly invited to drink to their good understanding, he drank off his glass without waiting for anyone else. His whole countenance suddenly changed. The solemn and tragic expression with which he had entered vanished completely, and a look of something childlike came into his face. He seemed to have become suddenly gentle and subdued. He looked shyly and happily at everyone, with a continual nervous little laugh, and the blissful expression of a dog who has done wrong, been punished, and forgiven. He seemed to have forgotten everything, and was looking round at everyone with a childlike smile of delight. He looked at Grushenka, laughing continually, and bringing his chair close up to her. By degrees he had gained some idea of the two Poles, though he had formed no definite conception of them yet. Pan and Panie mean Mr. in Polish. Pani means Mrs., Panovie, gentlemen.
The Pole on the sofa struck him by his dignified demeanour and his Polish accent; and, above all, by his pipe. "Well, what of it? It's a good thing he's smoking a pipe," he reflected. The Pole's puffy, middle-aged face, with its tiny nose and two very thin, pointed, dyed and impudent-looking moustaches, had not so far roused the faintest doubts in Mitya. He was not even particularly struck by the Pole's absurd wig made in Siberia, with love-locks foolishly combed forward over the temples. "I suppose it's all right since he wears a wig," he went on, musing blissfully. The other, younger Pole, who was staring insolently and defiantly at the company and listening to the conversation with silent contempt, still only impressed Mitya by his great height, which was in striking contrast to the Pole on the sofa. "If he stood up he'd be six foot three." The thought flitted through Mitya's mind. It occurred to him, too, that this Pole must be the friend of the other, as it were, a "bodyguard," and no doubt the big Pole was at the disposal of the little Pole with the pipe. But this all seemed to Mitya perfectly right and not to be questioned. In his mood of doglike submissiveness all feeling of rivalry had died away.
Grushenka's mood and the enigmatic tone of some of her words he completely failed to grasp. All he understood, with thrilling heart, was that she was kind to him, that she had forgiven him, and made him sit by her. He was beside himself with delight, watching her sip her glass of champagne. The silence of the company seemed somehow to strike him, however, and he looked round at everyone with expectant eyes."Why are we sitting here though, gentlemen? Why don't you begin doing something?" his smiling eyes seemed to ask. "He keeps talking nonsense, and we were all laughing," Kalgonov began suddenly, as though divining his thought, and pointing to Maximov. Mitya immediately stared at Kalgonov and then at Maximov "He's talking nonsense?" he laughed, his short, wooden laugh, seeming suddenly delighted at something -- "ha ha!" "Yes. Would you believe it, he will have it that all our cavalry officers in the twenties married Polish women. That's awful rot, isn't it?" "Polish women?" repeated Mitya, perfectly ecstatic.
Kalgonov was well aware of Mitya's attitude to Grushenka, and he guessed about the Pole, too, but that did not so much interest him, perhaps did not interest him at all; what he was interested in was Maximov. He had come here with Maximov by chance, and he met the Poles here at the inn for the first time in his life. Grushenka he knew before, and had once been with someone to see her; but she had not taken to him. But here she looked at him very affectionately: before Mitya's arrival, she had been making much of him, but he seemed somehow to be unmoved by it. He was a boy, not over twenty, dressed like a dandy, with a very charming fair-skinned face, and splendid thick, fair hair. From his fair face looked out beautiful pale blue eyes, with an intelligent and sometimes even deep expression, beyond his age indeed, although the young man sometimes looked and talked quite like a child, and was not at all ashamed of it, even when he was aware of it himself. As a rule he was very wilful, even capricious, though always friendly. Sometimes there was something fixed and obstinate in his expression. He would look at you and listen, seeming all the while to be persistently dreaming over something else. Often he was listless and lazy; at other times he would grow excited, sometimes, apparently, over the most trivial matters.
"Only imagine, I've been taking him about with me for the last four days," he went on, indolently drawling his words, quite naturally though, without the slightest affectation. "Ever since your brother, do you remember, shoved him off the carriage and sent him flying. That made me take an interest in him at the time, and I took him into the country, but he keeps talking such rot I'm ashamed to be with him. I'm taking him back.""The gentleman has not seen Polish ladies, and says what is impossible," the Pole with the pipe observed to Maximov. He spoke Russian fairly well, much better, anyway, than he pretended. If he used Russian words, he always distorted them into a Polish form. "But I was married to a Polish lady myself," tittered Maximov. "But did you serve in the cavalry? You were talking about the cavalry. Were you a cavalry officer?" put in Kalgonov at once.
"Was he a cavalry officer indeed? Ha ha!" cried Mitya, listening eagerly, and turning his inquiring eyes to each as he spoke, as though there were no knowing what he might hear from each.
"No, you see," Maximov turned to him. "What I mean is that those pretty Polish ladies ... when they danced the mazurka with our Uhlans... when one of them dances a mazurka with a Uhlan she jumps on his knee like a kitten... a little white one... and the pan-father and pan-mother look on and allow it... They allow it... and next day the Uhlan comes and offers her his hand.... That's how it is... offers her his hand, he he!" Maximov ended, tittering.
"The pan is a lajdak!"  the tall Pole on the chair growled suddenly and crossed one leg over the other. Mitya's eye was caught by his huge greased boot, with its thick, dirty sole. The dress of both the Poles looked rather greasy."Well, now it's lajdak! What's he scolding about?" said Grushenka, suddenly vexed. "Pani Agrippina, what the gentleman saw in Poland were servant girls, and not ladies of good birth," the Pole with the pipe observed to Grushenka. "You can reckon on that," the tall Pole snapped contemptuously. "What next! Let him talk! People talk, why hinder them? It makes it cheerful,"
Grushenka said crossly.
"I'm not hindering them, pani," said the Pole in the wig, with a long look at Grushenka, and relapsing into dignified silence he sucked his pipe again.
"No, no. The Polish gentleman spoke the truth." Kalgonov got excited again, as though it were a question of vast import. "He's never been in Poland, so how can he talk about it? I suppose you weren't married in Poland, were you?"
"No, in the Province of Smolensk. Only, a Uhlan had brought her to Russia before that, my future wife, with her mamma and her aunt, and another female relation with a grown-up son. He brought her straight from Poland and gave her up to me. He was a lieutenant in our regiment, a very nice young man. At first he meant to marry her himself. But he didn't marry her, because she turned out to be lame." Scoundrel. "So you married a lame woman?" cried Kalganov. "Yes. They both deceived me a little bit at the time, and concealed it. I thought she was hopping; she kept hopping.... I thought it was for fun." "So pleased she was going to marry you!" yelled Kalganov, in a ringing, childish voice.
"Yes, so pleased. But it turned out to be quite a different cause. Afterwards, when we were married, after the wedding, that very evening, she confessed, and very touchingly asked forgiveness. 'I once jumped over a puddle when I was a child,' she said, 'and injured my leg.' He he!"Kalgonov went off into the most childish laughter, almost falling on the sofa. Grushenka, too, laughed. Mitya was at the pinnacle of happiness.
"Do you know, that's the truth, he's not lying now," exclaimed Kalganov, turning to Mitya; "and do you know, he's been married twice; it's his first wife he's talking about. But his second wife, do you know, ran away, and is alive now.""Is it possible?" said Mitya, turning quickly to Maximov with an expression of the utmost astonishment.
"Yes. She did run away. I've had that unpleasant experience," Maximov modestly assented, "with a monsieur. And what was worse, she'd had all my little property transferred to her beforehand. 'You're an educated man,' she said to me. 'You can always get your living.' She settled my business with that. A venerable bishop once said to me: 'One of your wives was lame, but the other was too lightfooted.' He he!
"Listen, listen!" cried Kalganov, bubbling over, "if he's telling lies -- and he often is
-- he's only doing it to amuse us all. There's no harm in that, is there? You know, I sometimes like him. He's awfully low, but it's natural to him, eh? Don't you think so? Some people are low from self-interest, but he's simply so, from nature. Only fancy, he claims (he was arguing about it all the way yesterday) that Gogol wrote Dead Souls about him. Do you remember, there's a landowner called Maximov in it, whom Nozdryov thrashed. He was charged, do you remember, 'for inflicting bodily injury with rods on the landowner Maximov in a drunken condition.' Would you believe it, he claims that he was that Maximov and that he was beaten! Now can it be so? Tchitchikov made his journey, at the very latest, at the beginning of the twenties, so that the dates don't fit. He couldn't have been thrashed then, he couldn't, could he?"
"What o'clock is it, panie?" the Pole, with the pipe, asked his tall friend, with a bored expression. The other shrugged his shoulders in reply. Neither of them had a watch.
"Why not talk? Let other people talk. Mustn't other people talk because you're bored?" Grushenka flew at him with evident intention of finding fault. Something seemed for the first time to flash upon Mitya's mind. This time the Pole answered with unmistakable irritability."Pani, I didn't oppose it. I didn't say anything." "All right then. Come, tell us your story," Grushenka cried to Maximov. "Why are you all silent?"
"There's nothing to tell, it's all so foolish," answered Maximov at once, with evident satisfaction, mincing a little. "Besides, all that's by way of allegory in Gogol, for he's made all the names have a meaning. Nozdryov was really called Nosov, and Kuvshinikov had quite a different name, he was called Shkvornev. Fenardi really was called Fenardi, only he wasn't an Italian but a Russian, and Mamsel Fenardi was a pretty girl with her pretty little legs in tights, and she had a little short skirt with spangles, and she kept turning round and round, only not for four hours but for four minutes only, and she bewitched everyone...""But what were you beaten for?" cried Kalganov. "For Piron!" answered Maximov. "What Piron?" cried Mitya.
"The famous French writer, Piron. We were all drinking then, a big party of us, in a tavern at that very fair. They'd invited me, and first of all I began quoting epigrams. 'Is that you, Boileau? What a funny get-up!' and Boileau answers that he's going to a masquerade, that is to the baths, he he! And they took it to themselves, so I made haste to repeat another, very sarcastic, well known to all educated people:
Yes, Sappho and Phaon are we! But one grief is weighing on me. You don't know your way to the sea!
"They were still more offended and began abusing me in the most unseemly way for it. And as ill-luck would have it, to set things right, I began telling a very cultivated anecdote about Piron, how he was not accepted into the French Academy, and to revenge himself wrote his own epitaph:Ci-git Piron qui ne fut rien, Pas meme academicien,  They seized me and thrashed me." "But what for? What for?" "For my education. People can thrash a man for anything," Maximov concluded, briefly and sententiously. "Eh, that's enough! That's all stupid, I don't want to listen. I thought it would be amusing," Grushenka cut them short, suddenly.
Mitya started, and at once left off laughing. The tall Pole rose upon his feet, and with the haughty air of a man, bored and out of his element, began pacing from corner to corner of the room, his hands behind his back.
"Ah, he can't sit still," said Grushenka, looking at him contemptuously. Mitya began to feel anxious. He noticed besides, that the Pole on the sofa was looking at him with an irritable expression.
"Panie!" cried Mitya, "Let's drink! and the other pan, too! Let us drink."
"Be silent! Don't quarrel! I won't have any quarrelling!" cried Grushenka imperiously, and she stamped her foot on the floor. Her face glowed, her eyes were shining. The effects of the glass she had just drunk were apparent. Mitya was terribly alarmed."Panovie, forgive me! It was my fault, I'm sorry. Vrublevsky, panie Vrublevsky, I'm sorry." "Hold your tongue, you, anyway! Sit down, you stupid!". Grushenka scolded with angry annoyance. Everyone sat down, all were silent, looking at one another.
"Gentlemen, I was the cause of it all," Mitya began again, unable to make anything of Grushenka's words. "Come, why are we sitting here? What shall we do... to amuse ourselves again?""Ach, it's certainly anything but amusing!" Kalgonov mumbled lazily. "Let's play faro again, as we did just now," Maximov tittered suddenly. "Faro? Splendid!" cried Mitya. "If only the panovie-" "It's lite, panovie," the Pole on the sofa responded, as it were unwillingly. "That's true," assented Pan Vrublevsky. "Lite? What do you mean by 'lite'?" asked Grushenka. "Late, pani! 'A late hour' I mean," the Pole on the sofa explained.
"It's always late with them. They can never do anything!" Grushenka almost shrieked in her anger. "They're dull themselves, so they want others to be dull. Before came, Mitya, they were just as silent and kept turning up their noses at me.""My goddess!" cried the Pole on the sofa, "I see you're not well-disposed to me, that's why I'm gloomy. I'm ready, panie," added he, addressing Mitya.
"Begin, panie," Mitya assented, pulling his notes out of his pocket, and laying two hundred-rouble notes on the table. "I want to lose a lot to you. Take your cards. Make the bank.""We'll have cards from the landlord, panie," said the little Pole, gravely and emphatically. "That's much the best way," chimed in Pan Vrublevsky. "From the landlord? Very good, I understand, let's get them from him. Cards!" Mitya shouted to the landlord.
The landlord brought in a new, unopened pack, and informed Mitya that the girls were getting ready, and that the Jews with the cymbals would most likely be here soon; but the cart with the provisions had not yet arrived. Mitya jumped up from the table and ran into the next room to give orders, but only three girls had arrived, and Marya was not there yet. And he did not know himself what orders to give and why he had run out. He only told them to take out of the box the presents for the girls, the sweets, the toffee and the fondants. "And vodka for Andrey, vodka for Andrey!" he cried in haste. "I was rude to Andrey!"Suddenly Maximov, who had followed him out, touched him on the shoulder. "Give me five roubles," he whispered to Mitya. "I'll stake something at faro, too, he he!" "Capital! Splendid! Take ten, here!" Again he took all the notes out of his pocket and picked out one for ten roubles. "And if you lose that, come again, come again."
"Very good," Maximov whispered joyfully, and he ran back again. Mitya, too, returned, apologising for having kept them waiting. The Poles had already sat down, and opened the pack. They looked much more amiable, almost cordial. The Pole on the sofa had lighted another pipe and was preparing to throw. He wore an air of solemnity.
"To your places, gentlemen," cried Pan Vrublevsky. "No, I'm not going to play any more," observed Kalganov, "I've lost fifty roubles to them just now.""The pan had no luck, perhaps he'll be lucky this time," the Pole on the sofa observed in his direction. "How much in the bank? To correspond?" asked Mitya. "That's according, panie, maybe a hundred, maybe two hundred, as much as you will stake." "A million!" laughed Mitya. "The Pan Captain has heard of Pan Podvysotsky, perhaps?" "What Podvysotsky?"
"In Warsaw there was a bank and anyone comes and stakes against it. Podvysotsky comes, sees a thousand gold pieces, stakes against the bank. The banker says, 'Panie Podvysotsky, are you laying down the gold, or must we trust to your honour?' 'To my honour, panie,' says Podvysotsky. 'So much the better.' The banker throws the dice. Podvysotsky wins. 'Take it, panie,' says the banker, and pulling out the drawer he gives him a million. 'Take it, panie, this is your gain.' There was a million in the bank. 'I didn't know that,' says Podvysotsky. 'Panie Podvysotsky,' said the banker, 'you pledged your honour and we pledged ours.' Podvysotsky took the million.""That's not true," said Kalganov. "Panie Kalganov, in gentlemanly society one doesn't say such things."
"As if a Polish gambler would give away a million!" cried Mitya, but checked himself at once. "Forgive me, panie, it's my fault again; he would, he would give away a million, for honour, for Polish honour. You see how I talk Polish, ha ha! Here, I stake ten roubles, the knave leads."
"And I put a rouble on the queen, the queen of hearts, the pretty little panienotchka  he! he!" laughed Maximov, pulling out his queen, and, as though trying to conceal it from everyone, he moved right up and crossed himself hurriedly under the table. Mitya won. The rouble won, too."A corner!" cried Mitya. "I'll bet another rouble, a 'single' stake," Maximov muttered gleefully, hugely delighted at having won a rouble. "Lost!" shouted Mitya. "A 'double' on the seven!" The seven too was trumped. "Stop!" cried Kalganov suddenly. "Double! Double!" Mitya doubled his stakes, and each time he doubled the stake, the card he doubled was trumped by the Poles. The rouble stakes kept winning. "On the double!" shouted Mitya furiously. "You've lost two hundred, panie. Will you stake another hundred?" the Pole on the sofa inquired.
"What? Lost two hundred already? Then another two hundred! All doubles!" And pulling his money out of his pocket, Mitya was about to fling two hundred roubles on the queen, but Kalgonov covered it with his hand."That's enough!" he shouted in his ringing voice. "What's the matter?" Mitya stared at him. "That's enough! I don't want you to play anymore. Don't!" "Why?" "Because I don't. Hang it, come away. That's why. I won't let you go on playing." Mitya gazed at him in astonishment.
"Give it up, Mitya. He may be right. You've lost a lot as it is," said Grushenka, with a curious note in her voice. Both the Poles rose from their seats with a deeply offended air."Are you joking, panie?" said the short man, looking severely at Kalganov. "How dare you!" Pan Vrublevsky, too, growled at Kalganov. "Don't dare to shout like that," cried Grushenka. "Ah, you turkey-cocks!"
Mitya looked at each of them in turn. But something in Grushenka's face suddenly struck him, and at the same instant something new flashed into his mind -- a strange new thought! "Pani Agrippina," the little Pole was beginning, crimson with anger, when Mitya suddenly went up to him and slapped him on the shoulder."Most illustrious, two words with you." cried Grushenka. "What do you want?" "In the next room, I've two words to say to you, something pleasant, very pleasant. You'll be glad to hear it." The little pan was taken aback and looked apprehensively at Mitya. He agreed at once, however, on condition that Pan Vrublevsky went with them. "The bodyguard? Let him come, and I want him, too. I must have him!" cried Mitya. "March, panovie!" "Where are you going?" asked Grushenka, anxiously. "We'll be back in one moment," answered Mitya. There was a sort of boldness, a sudden confidence shining in his eyes. His face had looked very different when he entered the room an hour before.
He led the Poles, not into the large room where the chorus of girls was assembling and the table was being laid, but into the bedroom on the right, where the trunks and packages were kept, and there were two large beds, with pyramids of cotton pillows on each. There was a lighted candle on a small deal table in the corner. The small man and Mitya sat down to this table, facing each other, while the huge Vrublevsky stood beside them, his hands behind his back. The Poles looked severe but were evidently inquisitive."What can I do for you, panie?" lisped the little Pole. "Well, look here, panie, I won't keep you long. There's money for you," he pulled out his notes. "Would you like three thousand? Take it and go your way." The Pole gazed open-eyed at Mitya, with a searching look. "Three thousand, panie?" He exchanged glances with Vrublevsky.
"Three, panovie, three! Listen, panie, I see you're a sensible man. Take three thousand and go to the devil, and Vrublevsky with you d'you hear? But, at once, this very minute, and for ever. You understand that, panie, for ever. Here's the door, you go out of it. What have you got there, a great-coat, a fur coat? I'll bring it out to you. They'll get the horses out directly, and then-good-bye, panie!"Mitya awaited an answer with assurance. He had no doubts. An expression of extraordinary resolution passed over the Pole's face.
"And the money, panie?" "The money, panie? Five hundred roubles I'll give you this moment for the journey, and as a first instalment, and two thousand five hundred to-morrow, in the town -- I swear on my honour, I'll get it, I'll get it at any cost!" cried Mitya.The Poles exchanged glances again. The short man's face looked more forbidding.
"Seven hundred, seven hundred, not five hundred, at once, this minute, cash down!" Mitya added, feeling something wrong. "What's the matter, panie? Don't you trust me? I can't give you the whole three thousand straight off. If I give it, you may come back to her to-morrow.... Besides, I haven't the three thousand with me. I've got it at home in the town," faltered Mitya, his spirit sinking at every word he uttered. "Upon my word, the money's there, hidden."In an instant an extraordinary sense of personal dignity showed itself in the little man's face. "What next?" he asked ironically. "For shame!" and he spat on the floor. Pan Vrublevsky spat too.
"You do that, panie," said Mitya, recognising with despair that all was over, "because you hope to make more out of Grushenka? You're a couple of capons, that's what you are!"
"This is a mortal insult!" The little Pole turned as red as a crab, and he went out of the room, briskly, as though unwilling to hear another word. Vrublevsky swung out after him, and Mitya followed, confused and crestfallen. He was afraid of Grushenka, afraid that the Pan would at once raise an outcry. And so indeed he did. The Pole walked into the room and threw himself in a theatrical attitude before Grushenka."Pani Agrippina, I have received a mortal insult!" he exclaimed. But Grushenka suddenly lost all patience, as though they had wounded her in the tenderest spot. "Speak Russian! Speak Russian!" she cried, "not another word of Polish! You used to talk Russian. You can't have forgotten it in five years."  Little miss. She was red with passion. "Pani Agrippina-" "My name's Agrafena, Grushenka, speak Russian or I won't listen!" The Pole gasped with offended dignity, and quickly and pompously delivered himself in broken Russian: "Pani Agrafena, I came here to forget the past and forgive it, to forget all that has happened till to-day-" "Forgive? Came here to forgive me?" Grushenka cut him short, jumping up from her seat.
"Just so, Pani, I'm not pusillanimous, I'm magnanimous. But I was astounded when I saw your lovers. Pan Mitya offered me three thousand, in the other room to depart. I spat in the pan's face.""What? He offered you money for me?" cried Grushenka, hysterically. "Is it true, Mitya? How dare you? Am I for sale?" "Panie, panie!" yelled Mitya, "she's pure and shining, and I have never been her lover! That's a lie..."
"How dare you defend me to him?" shrieked Grushenka. "It wasn't virtue kept me pure, and it wasn't that I was afraid of Kuzma, but that I might hold up my head when I met him, and tell him he's a scoundrel. And he did actually refuse the money?""He took it! He took it!" cried Mitya; "only he wanted to get the whole three thousand at once, and I could only give him seven hundred straight off." "I see: he heard I had money, and came here to marry me!"
"Pani Agrippina!" cried the little Pole. "I'm -- a knight, I'm -- a nobleman, and not a lajdak. I came here to make you my wife and I find you a different woman, perverse and shameless."
"Oh, go back where you came from! I'll tell them to turn you out and you'll be turned out," cried Grushenka, furious. "I've been a fool, a fool, to have been miserable these five years! And it wasn't for his sake, it was my anger made me miserable. And this isn't he at all! Was he like this? It might be his father! Where did you get your wig from? He was a falcon, but this is a gander. He used to laugh and sing to me.... And I've been crying for five years, damned fool, abject, shameless I was!
She sank back in her low chair and hid her face in her hands. At that instant the chorus of Mokroe began singing in the room on the left -- a rollicking dance song. "A regular Sodom!" Vrublevsky roared suddenly. "Landlord, send the shameless hussies away!"
The landlord, who had been for some time past inquisitively peeping in at the door, hearing shouts and guessing that his guests were quarrelling, at once entered the room."What are you shouting for? D'you want to split your throat?" he said, addressing Vrublevsky, with surprising rudeness. "Animal!" bellowed Pan Vrublevsky.
"Animal? And what sort of cards were you playing with just now? I gave you a pack and you hid it. You played with marked cards! I could send you to Siberia for playing with false cards, d'you know that, for it's just the same as false banknotes...And going up to the sofa he thrust his fingers between the sofa back and the cushion, and pulled out an unopened pack of cards. "Here's my pack unopened!" He held it up and showed it to all in the room. "From where I stood I saw him slip my pack away, and put his in place of it- you're a cheat and not a gentleman!" "And I twice saw the pan change a card!" cried Kalganov. "How shameful! How shameful!" exclaimed Grushenka, clasping her hands, and blushing for genuine shame. "Good Lord, he's come to that!" "I thought so, too!" said Mitya. But before he had uttered the words, Vrublevsky, with a confused and infuriated face, shook his fist at Grushenka, shouting: "You low harlot!"
Mitya flew at him at once, clutched him in both hands, lifted him in the air, and in one instant had carried him into the room on the right, from which they had just come.
"I've laid him on the floor, there," he announced, returning at once, gasping with excitement. "He's struggling, the scoundrel! But he won't come back, no fear of that!..."He closed one half of the folding doors, and holding the other ajar called out to the little Pole: "Most illustrious, will you please to retire as well?" "My dear Dmitri Fyodorovitch," said Trifon Borissovitch, "make them give you back the money you lost. It's as good as stolen from you." "I don't want my fifty roubles back," Kalgonov declared suddenly. "I don't want my two hundred, either," cried Mitya, "I wouldn't take it for anything! Let him keep it as a consolation." "Bravo, Mitya! You're a trump, Mitya!" cried Grushenka, and there was a note of fierce anger in the exclamation. The little pan, crimson with fury but still mindful of his dignity, was making for the door, but he stopped short and said suddenly, addressing Grushenka: "Pani, if you want to come with me, come. If not, good-bye."
And swelling with indignation and importance he went to the door. This was a man of character: he had so good an opinion of himself that after all that had passed, he still expected that she would marry him. Mitya slammed the door after him."Lock it," said Kalganov. But the key clicked on the other side, they had locked it from within. "That's capital!" exclaimed Grushenka relentlessly. "Serve them right!"
8. DeliriumWHAT followed was almost an orgy, a feast to which all were welcome. Grushenka was the first to call for wine. "I want to drink. I want to be quite drunk, as we were before. Do you remember, Mitya, do you remember how we made friends here last time!" Mitya himself was almost delirious, feeling that his happiness was at hand. But Grushenka was continually sending him away from her.
"Go and enjoy yourself. Tell them to dance, to make merry, 'let the stove and cottage dance'; as we had it last time," she kept exclaiming. She was tremendously excited. And Mitya hastened to obey her. The chorus were in the next room. The room in which they had been sitting till that moment was too small, and was divided in two by cotton curtains, behind which was a huge bed with a puffy feather mattress and a pyramid of cotton pillows. In the four rooms for visitors there were beds. Grushenka settled herself just at the door. Mitya set an easy chair for her. She had sat in the same place to watch the dancing and singing "the time before," when they had made merry there. All the girls who had come had been there then; the Jewish band with fiddles and zithers had come, too, and at last the long expected cart had arrived with the wines and provisions.
Mitya bustled about. All sorts of people began coming into the room to look on, peasants and their women, who had been roused from sleep and attracted by the hopes of another marvellous entertainment such as they had enjoyed a month before. Mitya remembered their faces, greeting and embracing everyone he knew. He uncorked bottles and poured out wine for everyone who presented himself. Only the girls were very eager for the champagne. The men preferred rum, brandy, and, above all, hot punch. Mitya had chocolate made for all the girls, and ordered that three samovars should be kept boiling all night to provide tea and punch for everyone to help himself.
An absurd chaotic confusion followed, but Mitya was in his natural element, and the more foolish it became, the more his spirits rose. If the peasants had asked him for money at that moment, he would have pulled out his notes and given them away right and left. This was probably why the landlord, Trifon Borissovitch, kept hovering about Mitya to protect him. He seemed to have given up all idea of going to bed that night; but he drank little, only one glass of punch, and kept a sharp look-out on Mitya's interests after his own fashion. He intervened in the nick of time, civilly and obsequiously persuading Mitya not to give away "cigars and Rhine wine," and, above all, money to the peasants as he had done before. He was very indignant, too, at the peasant girls drinking liqueur, and eating sweets.
"They're a lousy lot, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," he said. "I'd give them a kick, every one of them, and they'd take it as an honour- that's all they're worth!"
Mitya remembered Andrey again, and ordered punch to be sent out to him. "I was rude to him just now," he repeated with a sinking, softened voice. Kalgonov did to drink, and at first did not care for the girls singing; but after he had drunk a couple of glasses of champagne he became extraordinarily lively, strolling about the room, laughing and praising the music and the songs, admiring everyone and everything. Maximov, blissfully drunk, never left his side. Grushenka, too, was beginning to get drunk. Pointing to Kalganov, she said to Mitya:"What a dear, charming boy he is!"
And Mitya, delighted, ran to kiss Kalgonov and Maximov. Oh, great were his hopes! She had said nothing yet, and seemed, indeed, purposely to refrain from speaking. But she looked at him from time to time with caressing and passionate eyes. At last she suddenly gripped his hand and drew him vigorously to her. She was sitting at the moment in the low chair by the door."How was it you came just now, eh? Have you walked in!... I was frightened. So you wanted to give me up to him, did you? Did you really want to?" "I didn't want to spoil your happiness!" Mitya faltered blissfully. But she did not need his answer. "Well, go and enjoy yourself..." she sent him away once more. "Don't cry, I'll call you back again."
He would run away and she listened to the singing and looked at the dancing, though her eyes followed him wherever he went. But in another quarter of an hour she would call him once more and again he would run back to her."Come, sit beside me, tell me, how did you hear about me, and my coming here yesterday? From whom did you first hear it?" And Mitya began telling her all about it, disconnectedly, incoherently, feverishly. He spoke strangely, often frowning, and stopping abruptly. "What are you frowning at?" she asked. "Nothing.... I left a man ill there. I'd give ten years of my life for him to get well, to know he was all right!"
"Well, never mind him, if he's ill. So you meant to shoot yourself to-morrow! What a silly boy! What for? I like such reckless fellows as you," she lisped, with a rather halting tongue. "So you would go any length for me, eh? Did you really mean to shoot yourself to-morrow, you stupid? No, wait a little. To-morrow I may have something to say to you.... I won't say it to-day, but to-morrow. You'd like it to be to-day? No, I don't want to to-day. Come, go along now, go and amuse yourself."Once, however, she called him, as it were, puzzled and uneasy.
"Why are you sad? I see you're sad.... Yes, I see it," she added, looking intently into his eyes. "Though you keep kissing the peasants and shouting, I see something. No, be merry. I'm merry; you be merry, too.... I love somebody here. Guess who it is. Ah, look, my boy has fallen asleep, poor dear, he's drunk."
She meant Kalganov. He was, in fact, drunk, and had dropped asleep for a moment, sitting on the sofa. But he was not merely drowsy from drink; he felt suddenly dejected, or, as he said, "bored." He was intensely depressed by the girls' songs, which, as the drinking went on, gradually became coarse and more reckless. And the dances were as bad. Two girls dressed up as bears, and a lively girl, called Stepanida, with a stick in her hand, acted the part of keeper, and began to "show them.""Look alive, Marya, or you'll get the stick! The bears rolled on the ground at last in the most unseemly fashion, amid roars of laughter from the closely-packed crowd of men and women.
"Well, let them! Let them!" said Grushenka sententiously, with an ecstatic expression on her face. "When they do get a day to enjoy themselves; why shouldn't folks be happy?"Kalgonov looked as though he had been besmirched with dirt. "It's swinish, all this peasant foolery," he murmured, moving away; "it's the game they play when it's light all night in summer."
He particularly disliked one "new" song to a jaunty dance-tune. It described how a gentleman came and tried his luck with the girls, to see whether they would love him:The master came to try the girls: Would they love him, would they not? But the girls could not love the master: He would beat me cruelly And such love won't do for me.
Then a gypsy comes along and he, too, tries: The gypsy came to try the girls: Would they love him, would they not?But they couldn't love the gypsy either: He would be a thief, I fear, And would cause me many a tear. And many more men come to try their luck, among them a soldier: The soldier came to try the girls: Would they love him, would they not?
But the soldier is rejected with contempt, in two indecent lines, sung with absolute frankness and producing a furore in the audience. The song ends with a merchant:The merchant came to try the girls: Would they love him, would they not? And it appears that he wins their love because: The merchant will make gold for me And his queen I'll gladly be. Kalgonov was positively indignant.
"That's just a song of yesterday," he said aloud. "Who writes such things for them? They might just as well have had a railwayman or a Jew come to try his luck with the girls; they'd have carried all before them."
And, almost as though it were a personal affront, he declared, on the spot, that he was bored, sat down on the sofa and immediately fell asleep. His pretty little face looked rather pale, as it fell back on the sofa cushion."Look how pretty he is," said Grushenka, taking Mitya up to him. "I was combing his hair just now; his hair's like flax, and so thick..."
And, bending over him tenderly, she kissed his forehead. Kalgonov instantly opened his eyes, looked at her, stood up, and with the most anxious air inquired where was Maximov?
"So that's who it is you want." Grushenka laughed. "Stay with me a minute. Mitya, run and find his Maximov."
Maximov, it appeared, could not tear himself away from the girls, only running away from time to time to pour himself out a glass of liqueur. He had drunk two cups of chocolate. His face was red, and his nose was crimson; his eyes were moist, and mawkishly sweet. He ran up and announced that he was going to dance the "sabotière."
"No, no, I'm coming to look on, too," exclaimed Kalganov, brushing aside in the most naive way Grushenka's offer to sit with him. They all went to look on. Maximov danced his dance. But it roused no great admiration in anyone but Mitya. It consisted of nothing but skipping and hopping, kicking the feet, and at every skip Maximov slapped the upturned sole of his foot. Kalgonov did not like it at all, but Mitya kissed the dancer."Thanks. You're tired perhaps? What are you looking for here? Would you like some sweets? A cigar, perhaps?" "A cigarette." "Don't you want a drink?" "I'll just have a liqueur.... Have you any chocolates?" "Yes, there's a heap of them on the table there. Choose one, my dear soul!" "I like one with vanilla... for old people. He he! "No, brother, we've none of that special sort." "I say," the old man bent down to whisper in Mitya's ear. "That girl there, little Marya, he he! How would it be if you were to help me make friends with her?" "So that's what you're after! No, brother, that won't do!" "I'd do no harm to anyone," Maximov muttered disconsolately.
"Oh, all right, all right. They only come here to dance and sing, you know, brother. But damn it all, wait a bit!... Eat and drink and be merry, meanwhile. Don't you want money?""Later on, perhaps," smiled Maximov. "All right, all right..."
Mitya's head was burning. He went outside to the wooden balcony which ran round the whole building on the inner side, overlooking the courtyard. The fresh air revived him. He stood alone in a dark corner, and suddenly clutched his head in both hands. His scattered thoughts came together; his sensations blended into a whole and threw a sudden light into his mind. A fearful and terrible light! "If I'm to shoot myself, why not now?" passed through his mind. "Why not go for the pistols, bring them here, and here, in this dark dirty corner, make an end?" Almost a minute he undecided. A few hours earlier, when he had been dashing here, he was pursued by disgrace, by the theft he had committed, and that blood, that blood!... But yet it was easier for him then. Then everything was over: he had lost her, given her up. She was gone, for him -- oh, then his death sentence had been easier for him; at least it had seemed necessary, inevitable, for what had he to stay on earth for?
But now? Was it the same as then? Now one phantom, one terror at least was at an end: that first, rightful lover, that fateful figure had vanished, leaving no trace. The terrible phantom had turned into something so small, so comic; it had been carried into the bedroom and locked in. It would never return. She was ashamed, and from her eyes he could see now whom she loved. Now he had everything to make life happy... but he could not go on living, he could not; oh, damnation! "O God! restore to life the man I knocked down at the fence! Let this fearful cup pass from me! Lord, thou hast wrought miracles for such sinners as me! But what, what if the old man's alive? Oh, then the shame of the other disgrace I would wipe away. I would restore the stolen money. I'd give it back; I'd get it somehow.... No trace of that shame will remain except in my heart for ever! But no, no; oh, impossible cowardly dreams! Oh, damnation!"
Yet there was a ray of light and hope in his darkness. He jumped up and ran back to the room -- to her, to her, his queen for ever! Was not one moment of her love worth all the rest of life, even in the agonies of disgrace? This wild question clutched at his heart. "To her, to her alone, to see her, to hear her, to think of nothing, to forget everything, if only for that night, for an hour, for a moment!" Just as he turned from the balcony into the passage, he came upon the landlord, Trifon Borissovitch. He thought he looked gloomy and worried, and fancied he had come to find him."What is it, Trifon Borissovitch? Are you looking for me?" "No, sir," The landlord seemed disconcerted. "Why should I be looking for you? Where have you been?" "Why do you look so glum? You're not angry, are you? Wait a bit, you shall soon get to bed.... What's the time?" "It'll be three o'clock. Past three, it must be." "We'll leave off soon. We'll leave off." "Don't mention it; it doesn't matter. Keep it up as long as you like..."
"What's the matter with him?" Mitya wondered for an instant, and he ran back to the room where the girls were dancing. But she was not there. She was not in the blue room either; there was no one but Kalgonov asleep on the sofa. Mitya peeped behind the curtain -- she was there. She was sitting in the corner, on a trunk. Bent forward, with her head and arms on the bed close by, she was crying bitterly, doing her utmost to stifle her sobs that she might not be heard. Seeing Mitya, she beckoned him to her, and when he ran to her, she grasped his hand tightly.
"Mitya, Mitya, I loved him, you know. How I have loved him these five years, all that time! Did I love him or only my own anger? No, him, him! It's a lie that it was my anger I loved and not him. Mitya, I was only seventeen then; he was so kind to me, so merry; he used to sing to me.... Or so it seemed to a silly girl like me.... And now, O Lord, it's not the same man. Even his face is not the same; he's different altogether. I shouldn't have known him. I drove here with Timofey, and all the way I was thinking how I should meet him, what I should say to him, how we should look at one another. My soul was faint, and all of a sudden it was just as though he had emptied a pail of dirty water over me. He talked to me like a schoolmaster, all so grave and learned; he met me so solemnly that I was struck dumb. I couldn't get a word in. At first I thought he was ashamed to talk before his great big Pole. I sat staring at him and wondering why I couldn't say a word to him now. It must have been his wife that ruined him; you know he threw me up to get married. She must have changed him like that. Mitya, how shameful it is! Oh, Mitya, I'm ashamed, I'm ashamed for all my life. Curse it, curse it, curse those five years!"And again she burst into tears, but clung tight to Mitya's hand and did not let it go.
"Mitya, darling, stay, don't go away. I want to say one word to you," she whispered, and suddenly raised her face to him. "Listen, tell me who it is I love? I love one man here. Who is that man? That's what you must tell me."A smile lighted up her face that was swollen with weeping, and her eyes shone in the half darkness.
"A falcon flew in, and my heart sank. "Fool! that's the man you love!' That was what my heart whispered to me at once. You came in and all grew bright. What's he afraid of? I wondered. For you were frightened; you couldn't speak. It's not them he's afraid of -- could you be frightened of anyone? It's me he's afraid of, I thought, only me. So Fenya told you, you little stupid, how I called to Alyosha out of the window that I'd loved Mityenka for one hour, and that I was going now to love... another. Mitya, Mitya, how could I be such a fool as to think I could love anyone after you? Do you forgive me, Mitya? Do you forgive me or not? Do you love me? Do you love me?" She jumped up and held him with both hands on his shoulders. Mitya, dumb with rapture, gazed into her eyes, at her face, at her smile, and suddenly clasped her tightly his arms and kissed her passionately.
"You will forgive me for having tormented you? It was through spite I tormented you all. It was for spite I drove the old man out of his mind.... Do you remember how you drank at my house one day and broke the wine-glass? I remembered that and I broke a glass to-day and drank 'to my vile heart.' Mitya, my falcon, why don't you kiss me? He kissed me once, and now he draws back and looks and listens. Why listen to me? Kiss me, kiss me hard, that's right. if you love, well, then, love! I'll be your slave now, your slave for the rest of my life. It's sweet to be a slave. Kiss me! Beat me, ill-treat me, do what you will with me.... And I do deserve to suffer. Stay, wait, afterwards, I won't have that..." she suddenly thrust him away. "Go along, Mitya, I'll come and have some wine, I want to be drunk, I'm going to get drunk and dance; I must, I must!" She tore herself away from him and disappeared behind the curtain. Mitya followed like a drunken man.
"Yes, come what may -- whatever may happen now, for one minute I'd give the whole world," he thought. Grushenka did, in fact, toss off a whole glass of champagne at one gulp, and became at once very tipsy. She sat down in the same chair as before, with a blissful smile on her face. Her cheeks were glowing, her lips were burning, her flashing eyes were moist; there was passionate appeal in her eyes. Even Kalgonov felt a stir at the heart and went up to her.
"Did you feel how I kissed you when you were asleep just now?" she said thickly. "I'm drunk now, that's what it is.... And aren't you drunk? And why isn't Mitya drinking? Why don't you drink, Mitya? I'm drunk, and you don't drink...""I am drunk! I'm drunk as it is... drunk with you... and now I'll be drunk with wine, too."
He drank off another glass, and -- he thought it strange himself- that glass made him completely drunk. He was suddenly drunk, although till that moment he had been quite sober, he remembered that. From that moment everything whirled about him, as though he were delirious. He walked, laughed, talked to everybody, without knowing what he was doing. Only one persistent burning sensation made itself felt continually, "like a red-hot coal in his heart," he said afterwards. He went up to her, sat beside her, gazed at her, listened to her.... She became very talkative, kept calling everyone to her, and beckoned to different girls out of the chorus. When the girl came up, she either kissed her, or made the sign of the cross over her. In another minute she might have cried. She was greatly amused by the "little old man," as she called Maximov. He ran up every minute to kiss her hands, each little finger," and finally he danced another dance to an old song, which he sang himself. He danced with special vigour to the refrain:
The little pig says -- umph! umph! umph! The little calf says -- moo, moo, moo, The little duck says -- quack, quack, quack, The little goose says -- ga, ga, ga.
The hen goes strutting through the porch; Troo-roo-roo-roo-roo, she'll say,
Troo-roo-roo-roo-roo, she'll say!
"Give him something, Mitya," said Grushenka. "Give him a present, he's poor, you know. Ah, the poor, the insulted!... Do you know, Mitya, I shall go into a nunnery. No, I really shall one day. Alyosha said something to me to-day that I shall remember all my life.... Yes.... But to-day let us dance. To-morrow to the nunnery, but to-day we'll dance. I want to play to-day, good people, and what of it? God will forgive us. If I were God, I'd forgive everyone: 'My dear sinners, from this day forth I forgive you.' I'm going to beg forgiveness: 'Forgive me, good people, a silly wench.' I'm a beast, that's what I am. But I want to pray. I gave a little onion. Wicked as I've been, I want to pray. Mitya, let them dance, don't stop them. Everyone in the world is good. Everyone -- even the worst of them. The world's a nice place. Though we're bad the world's all right. We're good and bad, good and bad.... Come, tell me, I've something to ask you: come here everyone, and I'll ask you: Why am I so good? You know I am good. I'm very good.... Come, why am I so good?"
So Grushenka babbled on, getting more and more drunk. At last she announced that she was going to dance, too. She got up from her chair, staggering. "Mitya, don't give me any more wine -- if I ask you, don't give it to me. Wine doesn't give peace. Everything's going round, the stove, and everything. I want to dance. Let everyone see how I dance... let them see how beautifully I dance..."
She really meant it. She pulled a white cambric handkerchief out of her pocket, and took it by one corner in her right hand, to wave it in the dance. Mitya ran to and fro, the girls were quiet, and got ready to break into a dancing song at the first signal. Maximov, hearing that Grushenka wanted to dance, squealed with delight, and ran skipping about in front of her, humming:With legs so slim and sides so trim And its little tail curled tight.
But Grushenka waved her handkerchief at him and drove him away. "Sh-h! Mitya, why don't they come? Let everyone come... to look on. Call them in, too, that were locked in.... Why did you lock them in? Tell them I'm going to dance. Let them look on, too..."Mitya walked with a drunken swagger to the locked door, and began knocking to the Poles with his fist. "Hi, you... Podvysotskis! Come, she's going to dance. She calls you." "Lajdak!" one of the Poles shouted in reply. "You're a lajdak yourself! You're a little scoundrel, that's what you are." "Leave off laughing at Poland," said Kalganov sententiously. He too was drunk. "Be quiet, boy! If I call him a scoundrel, it doesn't mean that I called all Poland so. One lajdak doesn't make a Poland. Be quiet, my pretty boy, eat a sweetmeat."
"Ach, what fellows! As though they were not men. Why won't they make friends?" said Grushenka, and went forward to dance. The chorus broke into "Ah, my porch, my new porch!" Grushenka flung back her head, half opened her lips, smiled, waved her handkerchief, and suddenly, with a violent lurch, stood still in the middle of the room, looking bewildered."I'm weak..." she said in an exhausted voice. "Forgive me.... I'm weak, I can't.... I'm sorry." She bowed to the chorus, and then began bowing in all directions. "I'm sorry.... Forgive me..." "The lady's been drinking. The pretty lady has been drinking," voices were heard saying. "The lady's drunk too much," Maximov explained to the girls, giggling.
"Mitya, lead me away... take me," said Grushenka helplessly. Mitya pounced on her, snatched her up in his arms, and carried the precious burden through the curtains.
"Well, now I'll go," thought Kalganov, and walking out of the blue room, he closed the two halves of the door after him. But the orgy in the larger room went on and grew louder and louder. Mitya laid Grushenka on the bed and kissed her on the lips.
"Don't touch me..." she faltered, in an imploring voice. "Don't touch me, till I'm yours.... I've told you I'm yours, but don't touch me... spare me.... With them here, with them close, you mustn't. He's here. It's nasty here..."
"I know, though you're a brute, you're generous," Grushenka articulated with difficulty. "It must be honourable... it shall be honourable for the future... and let us be honest, let us be good, not brutes, but good... take me away, take me far away, do you hear? I don't want it to be here, but far, far away..."
"Oh, yes, yes, it must be!" said Mitya, pressing her in his arms. "I'll take you and we'll fly away.... Oh, I'd give my whole life for one year only to know about that blood!""What blood?" asked Grushenka, bewildered. "Nothing," muttered Mitya, through his teeth. "Grusha, you wanted to be honest, but I'm a thief. But I've stolen money from Katya.... Disgrace, a disgrace!"
"From Katya, from that young lady? No, you didn't steal it. Give it back to her, take it from me.... Why make a fuss? Now everything of mine is yours. What does money matter? We shall waste it anyway.... Folks like us are bound to waste money. But we'd better go and work the land. I want to dig the earth with my own hands. We must work, do you hear? Alyosha said so. I won't be your mistress, I'll be faithful to you, I'll be your slave, I'll work for you. We'll go to the young lady and bow down to her together, so that she may forgive us, and then we'll go away. And if she won't forgive us, we'll go, anyway. Take her money and love me.... Don't love her.... Don't love her any more. If you love her, I shall strangle her.... I'll put out both her eyes with a needle...""I love you. love only you. I'll love you in Siberia..."
"Why Siberia? Never mind, Siberia, if you like. I don't care... we'll work... there's snow in Siberia.... I love driving in the snow... and must have bells.... Do you hear, there's a bell ringing? Where is that bell ringing? There are people coming.... Now it's stopped."
She closed her eyes, exhausted, and suddenly fell asleep for an instant. There had certainly been the sound of a bell in the distance, but the ringing had ceased. Mitya let his head sink on her breast. He did not notice that the bell had ceased ringing, nor did he notice that the songs had ceased, and that instead of singing and drunken clamour there was absolute stillness in the house. Grushenka opened her eyes.
"What's the matter? Was I asleep? Yes... a bell... I've been asleep and dreamt I was driving over the snow with bells, and I dozed. I was with someone I loved, with you. And far, far away. I was holding you and kissing you, nestling close to you. I was cold, and the snow glistened.... You know how the snow glistens at night when the moon shines. It was as though I was not on earth. I woke up, and my dear one is close to me. How sweet that is!..."
"Close to you," murmured Mitya, kissing her dress, her bosom, her hands. And suddenly he had a strange fancy: it seemed to him that she was looking straight before her, not at him, not into his face, but over his head, with an intent, almost uncanny fixity. An expression of wonder, almost of alarm, came suddenly into her face."Mitya, who is that looking at us?" she whispered. Mitya turned, and saw that someone had, in fact, parted the curtains and seemed to be watching them. And not one person alone, it seemed. He jumped up and walked quickly to the intruder. "Here, come to us, come here," said a voice, speaking not loudly, but firmly and peremptorily.
Mitya passed to the other side of the curtain and stood stock still. The room was filled with people, but not those who had been there before. An instantaneous shiver ran down his back, and he shuddered. He recognised all those people instantly. That tall, stout old man in the overcoat and forage-cap with a cockade
- was the police captain, Mihail Makarovitch. And that "consumptive-looking" trim dandy, "who always has such polished boots" -- that was the deputy prosecutor. "He has a chronometer worth four hundred roubles; he showed it to me." And that small young man in spectacles.... Mitya forgot his surname though he knew him, had seen him: he was the "investigating lawyer," from the "school of jurisprudence," who had only lately come to the town. And this man -- the inspector of police, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, a man he knew well. And those fellows with the brass plates on, why are they here? And those other two... peasants.... And there at the door Kalganov with Trifon Borissovitch....
"Gentlemen! What's this for, gentlemen?" began Mitya, but suddenly, as though beside himself, not knowing what he was doing, he cried aloud, at the top of his voice:
"I un-der-stand!" The young man in spectacles moved forward suddenly, and stepping up to Mitya, began with dignity, though hurriedly:"We have to make... in brief, I beg you to come this way, this way to the sofa.... It is absolutely imperative that you should give an explanation." "The old man!" cried Mitya frantically. "The old man and his blood!... I understand." And he sank, almost fell, on a chair close by, as though he had been mown down by a scythe.
"You understand? He understands it! Monster and parricide! Your father's blood cries out against you!" the old captain of police roared suddenly, stepping up to Mitya.He was beside himself, crimson in the face and quivering all over.
"This is impossible!" cried the small young man. "Mihail Makarovitch, Mihail Makarovitch, this won't do!... I beg you'll allow me to speak. I should never have expected such behaviour from you..."
"This is delirium, gentlemen, raving delirium," cried the captain of police; "look at him: drunk, at this time of night, in the company of a disreputable woman, with the blood of his father on his hands.... It's delirium!..." "I beg you most earnestly, dear Mihail Makarovitch, to restrain your feelings," the prosecutor said in a rapid whisper to the old police captain, "or I shall be forced to resort to -- "But the little lawyer did not allow him to finish. He turned to Mitya, and delivered himself in a loud, firm, dignified voice: "Ex-Lieutenant Karamazov, it is my duty to inform you that you are charged with the murder of your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, perpetrated this night..."
He said something more, and the prosecutor, too, put in something, but though Mitya heard them he did not understand them. He stared at them all with wild eyes.