The Brothers Karamazov HTML version

6. Smerdyakov
HE did in fact find his father still at table. Though there was a dining-room in the
house, the table was laid as usual in the drawing room, which was the largest
room, and furnished with old-fashioned ostentation. The furniture was white and
very old, upholstered in old, red, silky material. In the spaces between the
windows there were mirrors in elaborate white and gilt frames, of old-fashioned
carving. On the walls, covered with white paper, which was torn in many places,
there hung two large portraits -- one of some prince who had been governor of
the district thirty years before, and the other of some bishop, also long since
dead. In the corner opposite the door there were several ikons, before which a
lamp was lighted at nightfall... not so much for devotional purposes as to light the
room. Fyodor Pavlovitch used to go to bed very late, at three or four o'clock in the
morning, and would wander about the room at night or sit in an armchair,
thinking. This had become a habit with him. He often slept quite alone in the
house, sending his servants to the lodge; but usually Smerdyakov remained,
sleeping on a bench in the hall.
When Alyosha came in, dinner was over, but coffee and preserves had been
served. Fyodor Pavlovitch liked sweet things with brandy after dinner. Ivan was
also at table, sipping coffee. The servants, Grigory and Smerdyakov, were
standing by. Both the gentlemen and the servants seemed in singularly good
spirits. Fyodor Pavlovitch was roaring with laughter. Before he entered the room,
Alyosha heard the shrill laugh he knew so well, and could tell from the sound of it
that his father had only reached the good-humoured stage, and was far from
being completely drunk.
"Here he is! Here he is!" yelled Fyodor Pavlovitch, highly delighted at seeing
Alyosha. "Join us. Sit down. Coffee is a lenten dish, but it's hot and good. I don't
offer you brandy, you're keeping the fast. But would you like some? No; I'd better
give you some of our famous liqueur. Smerdyakov, go to the cupboard, the
second shelf on the right. Here are the keys. Look sharp!"
Alyosha began refusing the liqueur.
"Never mind. If you won't have it, we will," said Fyodor Pavlovitch, beaming. "But
stay -- have you dined?"
"Yes," answered Alyosha, who had in truth only eaten a piece of bread and drunk
a glass of kvass in the Father Superior's kitchen. "Though I should be pleased to
have some hot coffee."
"Bravo, my darling! He'll have some coffee. Does it want warming? No, it's
boiling. It's capital coffee: Smerdyakov's making. My Smerdyakov's an artist at