The Brothers Karamazov HTML version
6. Why Is Such a Man Alive?
DMITRI FYODOROVITCH, a young man of eight and twenty, of medium height
and agreeable countenance, looked older than his years. He was muscular, and
showed signs of considerable physical strength. Yet there was something not
healthy in his face. It was rather thin, his cheeks were hollow, and there was an
unhealthy sallowness in their colour. His rather large, prominent, dark eyes had
an expression of firm determination, and yet there was a vague look in them, too.
Even when he was excited and talking irritably, his eyes somehow did not follow
his mood, but betrayed something else, sometimes quite incongruous with what
was passing. "It's hard to tell what he's thinking," those who talked to him
sometimes declared. People who saw something pensive and sullen in his eyes
were startled by his sudden laugh, which bore witness to mirthful and light-
hearted thoughts at the very time when his eyes were so gloomy. A certain
strained look in his face was easy to understand at this moment. Everyone knew,
or had heard of, the extremely restless and dissipated life which he had been
leading of late, as well as of the violent anger to which he had been roused in his
quarrels with his father. There were several stories current in the town about it. It
is true that he was irascible by nature, "of an unstable and unbalanced mind," as
our justice of the peace, Katchalnikov, happily described him.
He was stylishly and irreproachably dressed in a carefully buttoned frock-coat.
He wore black gloves and carried a top hat. Having only lately left the army, he
still had moustaches and no beard. His dark brown hair was cropped short, and
combed forward on his temples. He had the long, determined stride of a military
man. He stood still for a moment on the threshold, and glancing at the whole
party went straight up to the elder, guessing him to be their host. He made him a
low bow, and asked his blessing. Father Zossima, rising in his chair, blessed him.
Dmitri kissed his hand respectfully, and with intense feeling, almost anger, he
"Be so generous as to forgive me for having kept you waiting so long, but
Smerdyakov, the valet sent me by my father, in reply to my inquiries, told me
twice over that the appointment was for one. Now I suddenly learn -- "
"Don't disturb yourself," interposed the elder. "No matter. You are a little late. It's
of no consequence.... "
"I'm extremely obliged to you, and expected no less from your goodness."
Saying this, Dmitri bowed once more. Then, turning suddenly towards his father,
made him, too, a similarly low and respectful bow. He had evidently considered it
beforehand, and made this bow in all seriousness, thinking it his duty to show his
respect and good intentions.