The Brothers Karamazov HTML version

2. He Gets Rid of His Eldest Son
YOU can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how he would
bring up his children. His behaviour as a father was exactly what might be
expected. He completely abandoned the child of his marriage with Adelaida
Ivanovna, not from malice, nor because of his matrimonial grievances, but simply
because he forgot him. While he was wearying everyone with his tears and
complaints, and turning his house into a sink of debauchery, a faithful servant of
the family, Grigory, took the three-year old Mitya into his care. If he hadn't looked
after him there would have been no one even to change the baby's little shirt.
It happened moreover that the child's relations on his mother's side forgot him
too at first. His grandfather was no longer living, his widow, Mitya's grandmother,
had moved to Moscow, and was seriously ill, while his daughters were married,
so that Mitya remained for almost a whole year in old Grigory's charge and lived
with him in the servant's cottage. But if his father had remembered him (he could
not, indeed, have been altogether unaware of his existence) he would have sent
him back to the cottage, as the child would only have been in the way of his
debaucheries. But a cousin of Mitya's mother, Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov,
happened to return from Paris. He lived for many years afterwards abroad, but
was at that time quite a young .man, and distinguished among the Miusovs as a
man of enlightened ideas and of European culture, who had been in the capitals
and abroad. Towards the end of his life he became a Liberal of the type common
in the forties and fifties. In the course of his career he had come into contact with
many of the most Liberal men of his epoch, both in Russia and abroad. He had
known Proudhon and Bakunin personally, and in his declining years was very
fond of describing the three days of the Paris Revolution of February, 1848,
hinting that he himself had almost taken part in the fighting on the barricades.
This was one of the most grateful recollections of his youth. He had an
independent property of about a thousand souls, to reckon in the old style. His
splendid estate lay on the outskirts of our little town and bordered on the lands of
our famous monastery, with which Pyotr Alexandrovitch began an endless
lawsuit, almost as soon as he came into the estate, concerning the rights of
fishing in the river or wood-cutting in the forest, I don't know exactly which. He
regarded it as his duty as a citizen and a man of culture to open an attack upon
the "clericals." Hearing all about Adelaida Ivanovna, whom he, of course,
remembered, and in whom he had at one time been interested, and learning of
the existence of Mitya, he intervened, in spite of all his youthful indignation and
contempt for Fyodor Pavlovitch. He made the latter's acquaintance for the first
time, and told him directly that he wished to undertake the child's education. He
used long afterwards to tell as a characteristic touch, that when he began to
speak of Mitya, Fyodor Pavlovitch looked for some time as though he did not
understand what child he was talking about, and even as though he was