The Brothers Karamazov HTML version
5. The Confession of a Passionate Heart -- "Heels Up"
"NOW," said Alyosha, "I understand the first half."
"You understand the first half. That half is a drama, and it was played out there.
The second half is a tragedy, and it is being acted here."
"And I understand nothing of that second half so far," said Alyosha.
"And I? Do you suppose I understand it?"
"Stop, Dmitri. There's one important question. Tell me, you were betrothed,
"We weren't betrothed at once, not for three months after that adventure. The
next day I told myself that the incident was closed, concluded, that there would
be no sequel. It seemed to me caddish to make her an offer. On her side she
gave no sign of life for the six weeks that she remained in the town; except,
indeed, for one action. The day after her visit the maid-servant slipped round with
an envelope addressed to me. I tore it open; it contained the change out of the
banknote. Only four thousand five hundred roubles was needed, but there was a
discount of about two hundred on changing it. She only sent me about two
hundred and sixty. I don't remember exactly, but not a note, not a word of
explanation. I searched the packet for a pencil mark n-nothing! Well, I spent the
rest of the money on such an orgy that the new major was obliged to reprimand
"Well, the lieutenant-colonel produced the battalion money, to the astonishment
of everyone, for nobody believed that he had the money untouched. He'd no
sooner paid it than he fell ill, took to his bed, and, three weeks later, softening of
the brain set in, and he died five days afterwards. He was buried with military
honours, for he had not had time to receive his discharge. Ten days after his
funeral, Katerina Ivanovna, with her aunt and sister, went to Moscow. And,
behold, on the very day they went away (I hadn't seen them, didn't see them off
or take leave) I received a tiny note, a sheet of thin blue paper, and on it only one
line in pencil: 'I will write to you. Wait. K.' And that was all.
"I'll explain the rest now, in two words. In Moscow their fortunes changed with the
swiftness of lightning and the unexpectedness of an Arabian fairy-tale. That
general's widow, their nearest relation, suddenly lost the two nieces who were
her heiresses and next-of-kin- both died in the same week of small-pox. The old
lady, prostrated with grief, welcomed Katya as a daughter, as her one hope,
clutched at her, altered her will in Katya's favour. But that concerned the future.
Meanwhile she gave her, for present use, eighty thousand roubles, as a marriage