The brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
translated by Constance Garnett
began with next to nothing; his estate was of the smallest; he
ran to dine at other men’s tables, and fastened on them as a
toady, yet at his death it appeared that he had a hundred thou-
sand roubles in hard cash. At the same time, he was all his life
one of the most senseless, fantastical fellows in the whole dis-
trict. I repeat, it was not stupidity—the majority of these
fantastical fellows are shrewd and intelligent enough—but just
senselessness, and a peculiar national form of it.
He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri,
by his first wife, and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second.
Fyodor Pavlovitch’s first wife, Adelaida Ivanovna, belonged
to a fairly rich and distinguished noble family, also landown-
ers in our district, the Miusovs. How it came to pass that an
heiress, who was also a beauty, and moreover one of those
vigorous intelligent girls, so common in this generation, but
sometimes also to be found in the last, could have married
such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all called him, I won’t
attempt to explain. I knew a young lady of the last “roman-
tic” generation who after some years of an enigmatic passion
for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married
at any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union,
and ended by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather
deep and rapid river from a high bank, almost a precipice,
and so perished, entirely to satisfy her own caprice, and to be
Book I
The History of a Family
Chapter 1
Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov
ALEXY FYODOROVITCH KARAMAZOV was the third son of Fyodor
Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our dis-
trict in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to
his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years
ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place. For the
present I will only say that this “landowner”—for so we used
to call him, although he hardly spent a day of his life on his
own estate—was a strange type, yet one pretty frequently to
be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the same time
senseless. But he was one of those senseless persons who are
very well capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and,
apparently, after nothing else. Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance,