The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky

Fyodor PART I

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[1]                                         PART I
[3]                                         Book I
[4]                                The History of a Family
[6]                                       Chapter 1
[7]                              Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov
[9]             ALEXEY Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor
[10]        Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his
[11]        own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and
[12]        tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall
[13]        describe in its proper place. For the present I will only say that
[14]        this "landowner"- for so we used to call him, although he hardly spent
[15]        a day of his life on his own estate- was a strange type, yet one
[16]        pretty frequently to be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the
[17]        same time senseless. But he was one of those senseless persons who are
[18]        very well capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and,
[19]        apparently, after nothing else. Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance, began
[20]        with next to nothing; his estate was of the smallest; he ran to dine
[21]        at other men's tables, and fastened on them as a toady, yet at his
[22]        death it appeared that he had a hundred thousand roubles in hard cash.
[23]        At the same time, he was all his life one of the most senseless,
[24]        fantastical fellows in the whole district. I repeat, it was not
[25]        stupidity- the majority of these fantastical fellows are shrewd and
[26]        intelligent enough- but just senselessness, and a peculiar national
[27]        form of it.
[28]            He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri, by
[29]        his first wife, and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second. Fyodor
[30]        Pavlovitch's first wife, Adelaida Ivanovna, belonged to a fairly
[31]        rich and distinguished noble family, also landowners in our
[32]        district, the Miusovs. How it came to pass that an heiress, who was
[33]        also a beauty, and moreover one of those vigorous intelligent girls,
[34]        so common in this generation, but sometimes also to be found in the
[35]        last, could have married such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all
[36]        called him, I won't attempt to explain. I knew a young lady of the
[37]        last "romantic" generation who after some years of an enigmatic
[38]        passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married at
[39]        any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union, and ended
[40]        by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and rapid
[41]        river from a high bank, almost a precipice, and so perished,
[42]        entirely to satisfy her own caprice, and to be like Shakespeare's
[43]        Ophelia. Indeed, if this precipice, a chosen and favourite spot of
[44]        hers, had been less picturesque, if there had been a prosaic flat bank
[45]        in its place, most likely the suicide would never have taken place.
[46]        This is a fact, and probably there have been not a few similar
[47]        instances in the last two or three generations. Adelaida Ivanovna
[48]        Miusov's action was similarly, no doubt, an echo of other people's
[49]        ideas, and was due to the irritation caused by lack of mental freedom.
[50]        She wanted, perhaps, to show her feminine independence, to override
[51]        class distinctions and the despotism of her family. And a pliable
[52]        imagination persuaded her, we must suppose, for a brief moment, that
[53]        Fyodor Pavlovitch, in spite of his parasitic position, was one of
[54]        the bold and ironical spirits of that progressive epoch, though he
[55]        was, in fact, an ill-natured buffoon and nothing more. What gave the
[56]        marriage piquancy was that it was preceded by an elopement, and this
[57]        greatly captivated Adelaida Ivanovna's fancy. Fyodor Pavlovitch's
[58]        position at the time made him specially eager for any such enterprise,
[59]        for he was passionately anxious to make a career in one way or
[60]        another. To attach himself to a good family and obtain a dowry was
[61]        an alluring prospect. As for mutual love it did not exist
[62]        apparently, either in the bride or in him, in spite of Adelaida
[63]        Ivanovna's beauty. This was, perhaps, a unique case of the kind in the
[64]        life of Fyodor Pavlovitch, who was always of a voluptuous temper,
[65]        and ready to run after any petticoat on the slightest encouragement.
[66]        She seems to have been the only woman who made no particular appeal to
[67]        his senses.
[68]            Immediatley after the elopement Adelaida Ivanovna discerned in a
[69]        flash that she had no feeling for her husband but contempt. The
[70]        marriage accordingly showed itself in its true colours with
[71]        extraordinary rapidity. Although the family accepted the event
[72]        pretty quickly and apportioned the runaway bride her dowry, the
[73]        husband and wife began to lead a most disorderly life, and there
[74]        were everlasting scenes between them. It was said that the young
[75]        wife showed incomparably more generosity and dignity than Fyodor
[76]        Pavlovitch, who, as is now known, got hold of all her money up to
[77]        twenty five thousand roubles as soon as she received it, so that those
[78]        thousands were lost to her forever. The little village and the
[79]        rather fine town house which formed part of her dowry he did his
[80]        utmost for a long time to transfer to his name, by means of some
[81]        deed of conveyance. He would probably have succeeded, merely from
[82]        her moral fatigue and desire to get rid of him, and from the
[83]        contempt and loathing he aroused by his persistent and shameless
[84]        importunity. But, fortunately, Adelaida Ivanovna's family intervened
[85]        and circumvented his greediness. It is known for a fact that
[86]        frequent fights took place between the husband and wife, but rumour
[87]        had it that Fyodor Pavlovitch did not beat his wife but was beaten
[88]        by her, for she was a hot-tempered, bold, dark-browed, impatient
[89]        woman, possessed of remarkable physical strength. Finally, she left
[90]        the house and ran away from Fyodor Pavlovitch with a destitute
[91]        divinity student, leaving Mitya, a child of three years old, in her
[92]        husband's hands. Immediately Fyodor Pavlovitch introduced a regular
[93]        harem into the house, and abandoned himself to orgies of
[94]        drunkenness. In the intervals he used to drive all over the
[95]        province, complaining tearfully to each and all of Adelaida Ivanovna's
[96]        having left him, going into details too disgraceful for a husband to
[97]        mention in regard to his own married life. What seemed to gratify
[98]        him and flatter his self-love most was to play the ridiculous part
[99]        of the injured husband, and to parade his woes with embellishments.
[100]           "One would think that you'd got a promotion, Fyodor Pavlovitch,
[101]       you seem so pleased in spite of your sorrow," scoffers said to him.
[102]       Many even added that he was glad of a new comic part in which to
[103]       play the buffoon, and that it was simply to make it funnier that he
[104]       pretended to be unaware of his ludicrous position. But, who knows,
[105]       it may have been simplicity. At last he succeeded in getting on the
[106]       track of his runaway wife. The poor woman turned out to be in
[107]       Petersburg, where she had gone with her divinity student, and where
[108]       she had thrown herself into a life of complete emancipation. Fyodor
[109]       Pavlovitch at once began bustling about, making preparations to go
[110]       to Petersburg, with what object he could not himself have said. He
[111]       would perhaps have really gone; but having determined to do so he felt
[112]       at once entitled to fortify himself for the journey by another bout of
[113]       reckless drinking. And just at that time his wife's family received
[114]       the news of her death in Petersburg. She had died quite suddenly in
[115]       a garret, according to one story, of typhus, or as another version had
[116]       it, of starvation. Fyodor Pavlovitch was drunk when he heard of his
[117]       wife's death, and the story is that he ran out into the street and
[118]       began shouting with joy, raising his hands to Heaven: "Lord, now
[119]       lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace," but others say he wept
[120]       without restraint like a little child, so much so that people were
[121]       sorry for him, in spite of the repulsion he inspired. It is quite
[122]       possible that both versions were true, that he rejoiced at his
[123]       release, and at the same time wept for her who released him. As a
[124]       general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and
[125]       simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.
[126]                                     Chapter 2
[127]                           He Gets Rid of His Eldest Son
[129]           YOU can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how
[130]       he would bring up his children. His behaviour as a father was
[131]       exactly what might be expected. He completely abandoned the child of
[132]       his marriage with Adelaida Ivanovna, not from malice, nor because of
[133]       his matrimonial grievances, but simply because he forgot him. While he
[134]       was wearying everyone with his tears and complaints, and turning his
[135]       house into a sink of debauchery, a faithful servant of the family,
[136]       Grigory, took the three-year old Mitya into his care. If he hadn't
[137]       looked after him there would have been no one even to change the
[138]       baby's little shirt.
[139]           It happened moreover that the child's relations on his mother's
[140]       side forgot him too at first. His grandfather was no longer living,
[141]       his widow, Mitya's grandmother, had moved to Moscow, and was seriously
[142]       ill, while his daughters were married, so that Mitya remained for
[143]       almost a whole year in old Grigory's charge and lived with him in
[144]       the servant's cottage. But if his father had remembered him (he
[145]       could not, indeed, have been altogether unaware of his existence) he
[146]       would have sent him back to the cottage, as the child would only
[147]       have been in the way of his debaucheries. But a cousin of Mitya's
[148]       mother, Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov, happened to return from Paris. He
[149]       lived for many years afterwards abroad, but was at that time quite a
[150]       young .man, and distinguished among the Miusovs as a man of
[151]       enlightened ideas and of European culture, who had been in the
[152]       capitals and abroad. Towards the end of his life he became a Liberal
[153]       of the type common in the forties and fifties. In the course of his
[154]       career he had come into contact with many of the most Liberal men of
[155]       his epoch, both in Russia and abroad. He had known Proudhon and
[156]       Bakunin personally, and in his declining years was very fond of
[157]       describing the three days of the Paris Revolution of February, 1848,
[158]       hinting that he himself had almost taken part in the fighting on the
[159]       barricades. This was one of the most grateful recollections of his
[160]       youth. He had an independent property of about a thousand souls, to
[161]       reckon in the old style. His splendid estate lay on the outskirts of
[162]       our little town and bordered on the lands of our famous monastery,
[163]       with which Pyotr Alexandrovitch began an endless lawsuit, almost as
[164]       soon as he came into the estate, concerning the rights of fishing in
[165]       the river or wood-cutting in the forest, I don't know exactly which.
[166]       He regarded it as his duty as a citizen and a man of culture to open
[167]       an attack upon the "clericals." Hearing all about Adelaida Ivanovna,
[168]       whom he, of course, remembered, and in whom he had at one time been
[169]       interested, and learning of the existence of Mitya, he intervened,
[170]       in spite of all his youthful indignation and contempt for Fyodor
[171]       Pavlovitch. He made the latter's acquaintance for the first time,
[172]       and told him directly that he wished to undertake the child's
[173]       education. He used long afterwards to tell as a characteristic
[174]       touch, that when he began to speak of Mitya, Fyodor Pavlovitch
[175]       looked for some time as though he did not understand what child he was
[176]       talking about, and even as though he was surprised to hear that he had
[177]       a little son in the house. The story may have been exaggerated, yet it
[178]       must have been something like the truth.
[179]           Fyodor Pavlovitch was all his life fond of acting, of suddenly
[180]       playing an unexpected part, sometimes without any motive for doing so,
[181]       and even to his own direct disadvantage, as, for instance, in the
[182]       present case. This habit, however, is characteristic of a very great
[183]       number of people, some of them very clever ones, not like Fyodor
[184]       Pavlovitch. Pyotr Alexandrovitch carried the business through
[185]       vigorously, and was appointed, with Fyodor Pavlovitch, joint
[186]       guardian of the child, who had a small property, a house and land,
[187]       left him by his mother. Mitya did, in fact, pass into this cousin's
[188]       keeping, but as the latter had no family of his own, and after
[189]       securing the revenues of his estates was in haste to return at once to
[190]       Paris, he left the boy in charge of one of his cousins, a lady
[191]       living in Moscow. It came to pass that, settling permanently in
[192]       Paris he, too, forgot the child, especially when the Revolution of
[193]       February broke out, making an impression on his mind that he
[194]       remembered all the rest of his life. The Moscow lady died, and Mitya
[195]       passed into the care of one of her married daughters. I believe he
[196]       changed his home a fourth time later on. I won't enlarge upon that
[197]       now, as I shall have much to tell later of Fyodor Pavlovitch's
[198]       firstborn, and must confine myself now to the most essential facts
[199]       about him, without which I could not begin my story.
[200]           In the first place, this Mitya, or rather Dmitri Fyodorovitch, was
[201]       the only one of Fyodor Pavlovitch's three sons who grew up in the
[202]       belief that he had property, and that he would be independent on
[203]       coming of age. He spent an irregular boyhood and youth. He did not
[204]       finish his studies at the gymnasium, he got into a military school,
[205]       then went to the Caucasus, was promoted, fought a duel, and was
[206]       degraded to the ranks, earned promotion again, led a wild life, and
[207]       spent a good deal of money. He did not begin to receive any income
[208]       from Fyodor Pavlovitch until he came of age, and until then got into
[209]       debt. He saw and knew his father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, for the first
[210]       time on coming of age, when he visited our neighbourhood on purpose to
[211]       settle with him about his property. He seems not to have liked his
[212]       father. He did not stay long with him, and made haste to get away,
[213]       having only succeeded in obtaining a sum of money, and entering into
[214]       an agreement for future payments from the estate, of the revenues
[215]       and value of which he was unable (a fact worthy of note), upon this
[216]       occasion, to get a statement from his father. Fyodor Pavlovitch
[217]       remarked for the first time then (this, too, should be noted) that
[218]       Mitya had a vague and exaggerated idea of his property. Fyodor
[219]       Pavlovitch was very well satisfied with this, as it fell in with his
[220]       own designs. He gathered only that the young man was frivolous,
[221]       unruly, of violent passions, impatient, and dissipated, and that if he
[222]       could only obtain ready money he would be satisfied, although only, of
[223]       course, a short time. So Fyodor Pavlovitch began to take advantage
[224]       of this fact, sending him from time to time small doles,
[225]       instalments. In the end, when four years later, Mitya, losing
[226]       patience, came a second time to our little town to settle up once
[227]       for all with his father, it turned out to his amazement that he had
[228]       nothing, that it was difficult to get an account even, that he had
[229]       received the whole value of his property in sums of money from
[230]       Fyodor Pavlovitch, and was perhaps even in debt to him, that by
[231]       various agreements into which he had, of his own desire, entered at
[232]       various previous dates, he had no right to expect anything more, and
[233]       so on, and so on. The young man was overwhelmed, suspected deceit
[234]       and cheating, and was almost beside himself. And, indeed, this
[235]       circumstance led to the catastrophe, the account of which forms the
[236]       subject of my first introductory story, or rather the external side of
[237]       it. But before I pass to that story I must say a little of Fyodor
[238]       Pavlovitch's other two sons, and of their origin.
[239]                                     Chapter 3
[240]                     The Second Marriage and the Second Family
[242]           VERY shortly after getting his four-year-old Mitya off his hands
[243]       Fyodor Pavlovitch married a second time. His second marriage lasted
[244]       eight years. He took this second wife, Sofya Ivanovna, also a very
[245]       young girl, from another province, where he had gone upon some small
[246]       piece of business in company with a Jew. Though Fyodor Pavlovitch
[247]       was a drunkard and a vicious debauchee he never neglected investing
[248]       his capital, and managed his business affairs very successfully,
[249]       though, no doubt, not over-scrupulously. Sofya Ivanovna was the
[250]       daughter of an obscure deacon, and was left from childhood an orphan
[251]       without relations. She grew up in the house of a general's widow, a
[252]       wealthy old lady of good position, who was at once her benefactress
[253]       and tormentor. I do not know the details, but I have only heard that
[254]       the orphan girl, a meek and gentle creature, was once cut down from
[255]       a halter in which she was hanging from a nail in the loft, so terrible
[256]       were her sufferings from the caprice and everlasting nagging of this
[257]       old woman, who was apparently not bad-hearted but had become an
[258]       insufferable tyrant through idleness.
[259]           Fyodor Pavlovitch made her an offer; inquiries were made about him
[260]       and he was refused. But again, as in his first marriage, he proposed
[261]       an elopement to the orphan girl. There is very little doubt that she
[262]       would not on any account have married him if she had known a little
[263]       more about him in time. But she lived in another province; besides,
[264]       what could a little girl of sixteen know about it, except that she
[265]       would be better at the bottom of the river than remaining with her
[266]       benefactress. So the poor child exchanged a benefactress for a
[267]       benefactor. Fyodor Pavlovitch did not get a penny this time, for the
[268]       general's widow was furious. She gave them nothing and cursed them
[269]       both. But he had not reckoned on a dowry; what allured him was the
[270]       remarkable beauty of the innocent girl, above all her innocent
[271]       appearance, which had a peculiar attraction for a vicious
[272]       profligate, who had hitherto admired only the coarser types of
[273]       feminine beauty.
[274]           "Those innocent eyes slit my soul up like a razor," he used to say
[275]       afterwards, with his loathsome snigger. In a man so depraved this
[276]       might, of course, mean no more than sensual attraction. As he had
[277]       received no dowry with his wife, and had, so to speak, taken her "from
[278]       the halter," he did not stand on ceremony with her. Making her feel
[279]       that she had "wronged" him, he took advantage of her phenomenal
[280]       meekness and submissiveness to trample on the elementary decencies
[281]       of marriage. He gathered loose women into his house, and carried on
[282]       orgies of debauchery in his wife's presence. To show what a pass
[283]       things had come to, I may mention that Grigory, the gloomy, stupid,
[284]       obstinate, argumentative servant, who had always hated his first
[285]       mistress, Adelaida Ivanovna, took the side of his new mistress. He
[286]       championed her cause, abusing Fyodor Pavlovitch in a manner little
[287]       befitting a servant, and on one occasion broke up the revels and drove
[288]       all the disorderly women out of the house. In the end this unhappy
[289]       young woman, kept in terror from her childhood, fell into that kind of
[290]       nervous disease which is most frequently found in peasant women who
[291]       are said to be "possessed by devils." At times after terrible fits
[292]       of hysterics she even lost her reason. Yet she bore Fyodor
[293]       Pavlovitch two sons, Ivan and Alexey, the eldest in the first year
[294]       of marriage and the second three years later. When she died, little
[295]       Alexey was in his fourth year, and, strange as it seems, I know that
[296]       he remembered his mother all his life, like a dream, of course. At her
[297]       death almost exactly the same thing happened to the two little boys as
[298]       to their elder brother, Mitya. They were completely forgotten and
[299]       abandoned by their father. They were looked after by the same
[300]       Grigory and lived in his cottage, where they were found by the
[301]       tyrannical old lady who had brought up their mother. She was still
[302]       alive, and had not, all those eight years, forgotten the insult done
[303]       her. All that time she was obtaining exact information as to her
[304]       Sofya's manner of life, and hearing of her illness and hideous
[305]       surroundings she declared aloud two or three times to her retainers:
[306]           "It serves her right. God has punished her for her ingratitude."
[307]           Exactly three months after Sofya Ivanovna's death the general's
[308]       widow suddenly appeared in our town, and went straight to Fyodor
[309]       Pavlovitch's house. She spent only half an hour in the town but she
[310]       did a great deal. It was evening. Fyodor Pavlovitch, whom she had
[311]       not seen for those eight years, came in to her drunk. The story is
[312]       that instantly upon seeing him, without any sort of explanation, she
[313]       gave him two good, resounding slaps on the face, seized him by a
[314]       tuft of hair, and shook him three times up and down. Then, without a
[315]       word, she went straight to the cottage to the two boys. Seeing, at the
[316]       first glance, that they were unwashed and in dirty linen, she promptly
[317]       gave Grigory, too, a box on the ear, and announcing that she would
[318]       carry off both the children she wrapped them just as they were in a
[319]       rug, put them in the carriage, and drove off to her own town.
[320]       Grigory accepted the blow like a devoted slave, without a word, and
[321]       when he escorted the old lady to her carriage he made her a low bow
[322]       and pronounced impressively that, "God would repay her for orphans."
[323]       "You are a blockhead all the same," the old lady shouted to him as she
[324]       drove away.
[325]           Fyodor Pavlovitch, thinking it over, decided that it was a good
[326]       thing, and did not refuse the general's widow his formal consent to
[327]       any proposition in regard to his children's education. As for the
[328]       slaps she had given him, he drove all over the town telling the story.
[329]           It happened that the old lady died soon after this, but she left
[330]       the boys in her will a thousand roubles each "for their instruction,
[331]       and so that all be spent on them exclusively, with the condition
[332]       that it be so portioned out as to last till they are twenty-one, for
[333]       it is more than adequate provision for such children. If other
[334]       people think fit to throw away their money, let them." I have not read
[335]       the will myself, but I heard there was something queer of the sort,
[336]       very whimsically expressed. The principal heir, Yefim Petrovitch
[337]       Polenov, the Marshal of Nobility of the province, turned out, however,
[338]       to be an honest man. Writing to Fyodor Pavlovitch, and discerning at
[339]       once that he could extract nothing from him for his children's
[340]       education (though the latter never directly refused but only
[341]       procrastinated as he always did in such cases, and was, indeed, at
[342]       times effusively sentimental), Yefim Petrovitch took a personal
[343]       interest in the orphans. He became especially fond of the younger,
[344]       Alexey, who lived for a long while as one of his family. I beg the
[345]       reader to note this from the beginning. And to Yefim Petrovitch, a man
[346]       of a generosity and humanity rarely to be met with, the young people
[347]       were more indebted for their education and bringing up than to anyone.
[348]       He kept the two thousand roubles left to them by the general's widow
[349]       intact, so that by the time they came of age their portions had been
[350]       doubled by the accumulation of interest. He educated them both at
[351]       his own expense, and certainly spent far more than a thousand
[352]       roubles upon each of them. I won't enter into a detailed account of
[353]       their boyhood and youth, but will only mention a few of the most
[354]       important events. Of the elder, Ivan, I will only say that he grew
[355]       into a somewhat morose and reserved, though far from timid boy. At ten
[356]       years old he had realised that they were living not in their own
[357]       home but on other people's charity, and that their father was a man of
[358]       whom it was disgraceful to speak. This boy began very early, almost in
[359]       his infancy (so they say at least), to show a brilliant and unusual
[360]       aptitude for learning. I don't know precisely why, but he left the
[361]       family of Yefim Petrovitch when he was hardly thirteen, entering a
[362]       Moscow gymnasium and boarding with an experienced and celebrated
[363]       teacher, an old friend of Yefim Petrovitch. Ivan used to declare
[364]       afterwards that this was all due to the "ardour for good works" of
[365]       Yefim Petrovitch, who was captivated by the idea that the boy's genius
[366]       should be trained by a teacher of genius. But neither Yefim Petrovitch
[367]       nor this teacher was living when the young man finished at the
[368]       gymnasium and entered the university. As Yefim Petrovitch had made
[369]       no provision for the payment of the tyrannical old lady's legacy,
[370]       which had grown from one thousand to two, it was delayed, owing to
[371]       formalities inevitable in Russia, and the young man was in great
[372]       straits for the first two years at the university, as he was forced to
[373]       keep himself all the time he was studying. It must be noted that he
[374]       did not even attempt to communicate with his father, perhaps from
[375]       pride, from contempt for him, or perhaps from his cool common sense,
[376]       which told him that from such a father he would get no real
[377]       assistance. However that may have been, the young man was by no
[378]       means despondent and succeeded in getting work, at first giving
[379]       sixpenny lessons and afterwards getting paragraphs on street incidents
[380]       into the newspapers under the signature of "Eye-Witness." These
[381]       paragraphs, it was said, were so interesting and piquant that they
[382]       were soon taken. This alone showed the young man's practical and
[383]       intellectual superiority over the masses of needy and unfortunate
[384]       students of both sexes who hang about the offices of the newspapers
[385]       and journals, unable to think of anything better than everlasting
[386]       entreaties for copying and translations from the French. Having once
[387]       got into touch with the editors Ivan Fyodorovitch always kept up his
[388]       connection with them, and in his latter years at the university he
[389]       published brilliant reviews of books upon various special subjects, so
[390]       that he became well known in literary circles. But only in his last
[391]       year he suddenly succeeded in attracting the attention of a far
[392]       wider circle of readers, so that a great many people noticed and
[393]       remembered him. It was rather a curious incident. When he had just
[394]       left the university and was preparing to go abroad upon his two
[395]       thousand roubles, Ivan Fyodorovitch published in one of the more
[396]       important journals a strange article, which attracted general
[397]       notice, on a subject of which he might have been supposed to know
[398]       nothing, as he was a student of natural science. The article dealt
[399]       with a subject which was being debated everywhere at the time- the
[400]       position of the ecclesiastical courts. After discussing several
[401]       opinions on the subject he went on to explain his own view. What was
[402]       most striking about the article was its tone, and its unexpected
[403]       conclusion. Many of the Church party regarded him unquestioningly as
[404]       on their side. And yet not only the secularists but even atheists
[405]       joined them in their applause. Finally some sagacious persons opined
[406]       that the article was nothing but an impudent satirical burlesque. I
[407]       mention this incident particularly because this article penetrated
[408]       into the famous monastery in our neighbourhood, where the inmates,
[409]       being particularly interested in question of the ecclesiastical
[410]       courts, were completely bewildered by it. Learning the author's
[411]       name, they were interested in his being a native of the town and the
[412]       son of "that Fyodor Pavlovitch." And just then it was that the
[413]       author himself made his appearance among us.
[414]           Why Ivan Fyodorovitch had come amongst us I remember asking myself
[415]       at the time with a certain uneasiness. This fateful visit, which was
[416]       the first step leading to so many consequences, I never fully
[417]       explained to myself. It seemed strange on the face of it that a
[418]       young man so learned, so proud, and apparently so cautious, should
[419]       suddenly visit such an infamous house and a father who had ignored him
[420]       all his life, hardly knew him, never thought of him, and would not
[421]       under any circumstances have given him money, though he was always
[422]       afraid that his sons Ivan and Alexey would also come to ask him for
[423]       it. And here the young man was staying in the house of such a
[424]       father, had been living with him for two months, and they were on
[425]       the best possible terms. This last fact was a special cause of
[426]       wonder to many others as well as to me. Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov,
[427]       of whom we have spoken already, the cousin of Fyodor Pavlovitch's
[428]       first wife, happened to be in the neighbourhood again on a visit to
[429]       his estate. He had come from Paris, which was his permanent home. I
[430]       remember that he was more surprised than anyone when he made the
[431]       acquaintance of the young man, who interested him extremely, and
[432]       with whom he sometimes argued and not without inner pang compared
[433]       himself in acquirements.
[434]           "He is proud," he used to say, "he will never be in want of pence;
[435]       he has got money enough to go abroad now. What does he want here?
[436]       Everyone can see that he hasn't come for money, for his father would
[437]       never give him any. He has no taste for drink and dissipation, and yet
[438]       his father can't do without him. They get on so well together!"
[439]           That was the truth; the young man had an unmistakable influence
[440]       over his father, who positively appeared to be behaving more
[441]       decently and even seemed at times ready to obey his son, though
[442]       often extremely and even spitefully perverse.
[443]           It was only later that we learned that Ivan had come partly at the
[444]       request of, and in the interests of, his elder brother, Dmitri, whom
[445]       he saw for the first time on this very visit, though he had before
[446]       leaving Moscow been in correspondence with him about an important
[447]       matter of more concern to Dmitri than himself. What that business
[448]       was the reader will learn fully in due time. Yet even when I did
[449]       know of this special circumstance I still felt Ivan Fyodorovitch to be
[450]       an enigmatic figure, and thought his visit rather mysterious.
[451]           I may add that Ivan appeared at the time in the light of a
[452]       mediator between his father and his elder brother Dmitri, who was in
[453]       open quarrel with his father and even planning to bring an action
[454]       against him.
[455]           The family, I repeat, was now united for the first time, and
[456]       some of its members met for the first time in their lives. The younger
[457]       brother, Alexey, had been a year already among us, having been the
[458]       first of the three to arrive. It is of that brother Alexey I find it
[459]       most difficult to speak in this introduction. Yet I must give some
[460]       preliminary account of him, if only to explain one queer fact, which
[461]       is that I have to introduce my hero to the reader wearing the
[462]       cassock of a novice. Yes, he had been for the last year in our
[463]       monastery, and seemed willing to be cloistered there for the rest of
[464]       his life.
[465]                                     Chapter 4
[466]                               The Third Son, Alyosha
[468]           HE was only twenty, his brother Ivan was in his twenty-fourth year
[469]       at the time, while their elder brother Dmitri was twenty-seven.
[470]       First of all, I must explain that this young man, Alyosha, was not a
[471]       fanatic, and, in my opinion at least, was not even a mystic. I may
[472]       as well give my full opinion from the beginning. He was simply an
[473]       early lover of humanity, and that he adopted the monastic life was
[474]       simply because at that time it struck him, so to say, as the ideal
[475]       escape for his soul struggling from the darkness of worldly wickedness
[476]       to the light of love. And the reason this life struck him in this
[477]       way was that he found in it at that time, as he thought an
[478]       extrordinary being, our celebrated elder, Zossima, to whom he became
[479]       attached with all the warm first love of his ardent heart. But I do
[480]       not dispute that he was very strange even at that time, and had been
[481]       so indeed from his cradle. I have mentioned already, by the way,
[482]       that though he lost his mother in his fourth year he remembered her
[483]       all his life her face, her caresses, "as though she stood living
[484]       before me." Such memories may persist, as everyone knows, from an even
[485]       earlier age, even from two years old, but scarcely standing out
[486]       through a whole lifetime like spots of light out of darkness, like a
[487]       corner torn out of a huge picture, which has all faded and disappeared
[488]       except that fragment. That is how it was with him. He remembered one
[489]       still summer evening, an open window, the slanting rays of the setting
[490]       sun (that he recalled most vividly of all); in a corner of the room
[491]       the holy image, before it a lighted lamp, and on her knees before
[492]       the image his mother, sobbing hysterically with cries and moans,
[493]       snatching him up in both arms, squeezing him close till it hurt, and
[494]       praying for him to the Mother of God, holding him out in both arms
[495]       to the image as though to put him under the Mother's protection... and
[496]       suddenly a nurse runs in and snatches him from her in terror. That was
[497]       the picture! And Alyosha remembered his mother's face at that
[498]       minute. He used to say that it was frenzied but beautiful as he
[499]       remembered. But he rarely cared to speak of this memory to anyone.
[500]       In his childhood and youth he was by no means expansive, and talked
[501]       little indeed, but not from shyness or a sullen unsociability; quite
[502]       the contrary, from something different, from a sort of inner
[503]       preoccupation entirely personal and unconcerned with other people, but
[504]       so important to him that he seemed, as it were, to forget others on
[505]       account of it. But he was fond of people: he seemed throughout his
[506]       life to put implicit trust in people: yet no one ever looked on him as
[507]       a simpleton or naive person. There was something about him which
[508]       made one feel at once (and it was so all his life afterwards) that
[509]       he did not care to be a judge of others that he would never take it
[510]       upon himself to criticise and would never condemn anyone for anything.
[511]       He seemed, indeed, to accept everything without the least condemnation
[512]       though often grieving bitterly: and this was so much so that no one
[513]       could surprise or frighten him even in his earliest youth. Coming at
[514]       twenty to his father's house, which was a very sink of filthy
[515]       debauchery, he, chaste and pure as he was, simply withdrew in
[516]       silence when to look on was unbearable, but without the slightest sign
[517]       of contempt or condemnation. His father, who had once been in a
[518]       dependent position, and so was sensitive and ready to take offence,
[519]       met him at first with distrust and sullenness. "He does not say much,"
[520]       he used to say, "and thinks the more." But soon, within a fortnight
[521]       indeed, he took to embracing him and kissing him terribly often,
[522]       with drunken tears, with sottish sentimentality, yet he evidently felt
[523]       a real and deep affection for him, such as he had never been capable
[524]       of feeling for anyone before.
[525]           Everyone, indeed, loved this young man wherever he went, and it
[526]       was so from his earliest childhood. When he entered the household of
[527]       his patron and benefactor, Yefim Petrovitch Polenov, he gained the
[528]       hearts of all the family, so that they looked on him quite as their
[529]       own child. Yet he entered the house at such a tender age that he could
[530]       not have acted from design nor artfulness in winning affection. So
[531]       that the gift of making himself loved directly and unconsciously was
[532]       inherent in him, in his very nature, so to speak. It was the same at
[533]       school, though he seemed to be just one of those children who are
[534]       distrusted, sometimes ridiculed, and even disliked by their
[535]       schoolfellows. He was dreamy, for instance, and rather solitary.
[536]       From his earliest childhood he was fond of creeping into a corner to
[537]       read, and yet he was a general favourite all the while he was at
[538]       school. He was rarely playful or merry, but anyone could see at the
[539]       first glance that this was not from any sullenness. On the contrary he
[540]       was bright and good-tempered. He never tried to show off among his
[541]       schoolfellows. Perhaps because of this, he was never afraid of anyone,
[542]       yet the boys immediately understood that he was not proud of his
[543]       fearlessness and seemed to be unaware that he was bold and courageous.
[544]       He never resented an insult. It would happen that an hour after the
[545]       offence he would address the offender or answer some question with
[546]       as trustful and candid an expression as though nothing had happened
[547]       between them. And it was not that he seemed to have forgotten or
[548]       intentionally forgiven the affront, but simply that he did not
[549]       regard it as an affront, and this completely conquered and
[550]       captivated the boys. He had one characteristic which made all his
[551]       schoolfellows from the bottom class to the top want to mock at him,
[552]       not from malice but because it amused them. This characteristic was
[553]       a wild fanatical modesty and chastity. He could not bear to hear
[554]       certain words and certain conversations about women. There are
[555]       "certain" words and conversations unhappily impossible to eradicate in
[556]       schools. Boys pure in mind and heart, almost children, are fond of
[557]       talking in school among themselves, and even aloud, of things,
[558]       pictures, and images of which even soldiers would sometimes hesitate
[559]       to speak. More than that, much that soldiers have no knowledge or
[560]       conception of is familiar to quite young children of our
[561]       intellectual and higher classes. There is no moral depravity, no
[562]       real corrupt inner cynicism in it, but there is the appearance of
[563]       it, and it is often looked upon among them as something refined,
[564]       subtle, daring, and worthy of imitation. Seeing that Alyosha Karamazov
[565]       put his fingers in his ears when they talked of "that," they used
[566]       sometimes to crowd round him, pull his hands away, and shout nastiness
[567]       into both ears, while he struggled, slipped to the floor, tried to
[568]       hide himself without uttering one word of abuse, enduring their
[569]       insults in silence. But at last they left him alone and gave up
[570]       taunting him with being a "regular girl," and what's more they
[571]       looked upon it with compassion as a weakness. He was always one of the
[572]       best in the class but was never first.
[573]           At the time of Yefim Petrovitch's death Alyosha had two more years
[574]       to complete at the provincial gymnasium. The inconsolable widow went
[575]       almost immediately after his death for a long visit to Italy with
[576]       her whole family, which consisted only of women and girls. Alyosha
[577]       went to live in the house of two distant relations of Yefim
[578]       Petrovitch, ladies whom he had never seen before. On what terms she
[579]       lived with them he did not know himself. It was very characteristic of
[580]       him, indeed, that he never cared at whose expense he was living. In
[581]       that respect he was a striking contrast to his elder brother Ivan, who
[582]       struggled with poverty for his first two years in the university,
[583]       maintained himself by his own efforts, and had from childhood been
[584]       bitterly conscious of living at the expense of his benefactor. But
[585]       this strange trait in Alyosha's character must not, I think,
[586]       criticised too severely, for at the slightest acquaintance with him
[587]       anyone would have perceived that Alyosha was one of those youths,
[588]       almost of the type of religious enthusiast, who, if they were suddenly
[589]       to come into possession of a large fortune, would not hesitate to give
[590]       it away for the asking, either for good works or perhaps to a clever
[591]       rogue. In general he seemed scarcely to know the value of money,
[592]       not, of course, in a literal sense. When he was given pocket-money,
[593]       which he never asked for, he was either terribly careless of it so
[594]       that it was gone in a moment, or he kept it for weeks together, not
[595]       knowing what to do with it.
[596]           In later years Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov, a man very sensitive
[597]       on the score of money and bourgeois honesty, pronounced the
[598]       following judgment, after getting to know Alyosha:
[599]           "Here is perhaps the one man in the world whom you might leave
[600]       alone without a penny, in the centre of an unknown town of a million
[601]       inhabitants, and he would not come to harm, he would not die of cold
[602]       and hunger, for he would be fed and sheltered at once; and if he
[603]       were not, he would find a shelter for himself, and it would cost him
[604]       no effort or humiliation. And to shelter him would be no burden,
[605]       but, on the contrary, would probably be looked on as a pleasure."
[606]           He did not finish his studies at the gymnasium. A year before
[607]       the end of the course he suddenly announced to the ladies that he
[608]       was going to see his father about a plan which had occurred to him.
[609]       They were sorry and unwilling to let him go. The journey was not an
[610]       expensive one, and the ladies would not let him pawn his watch, a
[611]       parting present from his benefactor's family. They provided him
[612]       liberally with money and even fitted him out with new clothes and
[613]       linen. But he returned half the money they gave him, saying that he
[614]       intended to go third class. On his arrival in the town he made no
[615]       answer to his father's first inquiry why he had come before completing
[616]       his studies, and seemed, so they say, unusually thoughtful. It soon
[617]       became apparent that he was looking for his mother's tomb. He
[618]       practically acknowledged at the time that that was the only object
[619]       of his visit. But it can hardly have been the whole reason of it. It
[620]       is more probable that he himself did not understand and could not
[621]       explain what had suddenly arisen in his soul, and drawn him
[622]       irresistibly into a new, unknown, but inevitable path. Fyodor
[623]       Pavlovitch could not show him where his second wife was buried, for he
[624]       had never visited her grave since he had thrown earth upon her coffin,
[625]       and in the course of years had entirely forgotten where she was
[626]       buried.
[627]           Fyodor Pavlovitch, by the way, had for some time previously not
[628]       been living in our town. Three or four years after his wife's death he
[629]       had gone to the south of Russia and finally turned up in Odessa, where
[630]       he spent several years. He made the acquaintance at first, in his
[631]       own words, "of a lot of low Jews, Jewesses, and Jewkins," and ended by
[632]       being received by "Jews high and low alike." It may be presumed that
[633]       at this period he developed a peculiar faculty for making and hoarding
[634]       money. He finally returned to our town only three years before
[635]       Alyosha's arrival. His former acquaintances found him looking terribly
[636]       aged, although he was by no means an old man. He behaved not exactly
[637]       with more dignity but with more effrontery. The former buffoon
[638]       showed an insolent propensity for making buffoons of others. His
[639]       depravity with women was not as it used to be, but even more
[640]       revolting. In a short time he opened a great number of new taverns
[641]       in the district. It was evident that he had perhaps a hundred thousand
[642]       roubles or not much less. Many of the inhabitants of the town and
[643]       district were soon in his debt, and, of course, had given good
[644]       security. Of late, too, he looked somehow bloated and seemed more
[645]       irresponsible, more uneven, had sunk into a sort of incoherence,
[646]       used to begin one thing and go on with another, as though he were
[647]       letting himself go altogether. He was more and more frequently
[648]       drunk. And, if it had not been for the same servant Grigory, who by
[649]       that time had aged considerably too, and used to look after him
[650]       sometimes almost like a tutor, Fyodor Pavlovitch might have got into
[651]       terrible scrapes. Alyosha's arrival seemed to affect even his moral
[652]       side, as though something had awakened in this prematurely old man
[653]       which had long been dead in his soul.
[654]           "Do you know," he used often to say, looking at Alyosha, "that you
[655]       are like her, 'the crazy woman'"- that was what he used to call his
[656]       dead wife, Alyosha's mother. Grigory it was who pointed out the "crazy
[657]       woman's" grave to Alyosha. He took him to our town cemetery and showed
[658]       him in a remote corner a cast-iron tombstone, cheap but decently kept,
[659]       on which were inscribed the name and age of the deceased and the
[660]       date of her death, and below a four-lined verse, such as are
[661]       commonly used on old-fashioned middle-class tombs. To Alyosha's
[662]       amazement this tomb turned out to be Grigory's doing. He had put it up
[663]       on the poor "crazy woman's" grave at his own expense, after Fyodor
[664]       Pavlovitch, whom he had often pestered about the grave, had gone to
[665]       Odessa, abandoning the grave and all his memories. Alyosha showed no
[666]       particular emotion at the sight of his mother's grave. He only
[667]       listened to Grigory's minute and solemn account of the erection of the
[668]       tomb; he stood with bowed head and walked away without uttering a
[669]       word. It was perhaps a year before he visited the cemetery again.
[670]       But this little episode was not without an influence upon Fyodor
[671]       Pavlovitch- and a very original one. He suddenly took a thousand
[672]       roubles to our monastery to pay for requiems for the soul of his wife;
[673]       but not for the second, Alyosha's mother, the "crazy woman," but for
[674]       the first, Adelaida Ivanovna, who used to thrash him. In the evening
[675]       of the same day he got drunk and abused the monks to Alyosha. He
[676]       himself was far from being religious; he had probably never put a
[677]       penny candle before the image of a saint. Strange impulses of sudden
[678]       feeling and sudden thought are common in such types.
[679]           I have mentioned already that he looked bloated. His countenance
[680]       at this time bore traces of something that testified unmistakably to
[681]       the life he had led. Besides the long fleshy bags under his little,
[682]       always insolent, suspicious, and ironical eyes; besides the
[683]       multitude of deep wrinkles in his little fat face, the Adam's apple
[684]       hung below his sharp chin like a great, fleshy goitre, which gave
[685]       him a peculiar, repulsive, sensual appearance; add to that a long
[686]       rapacious mouth with full lips, between which could be seen little
[687]       stumps of black decayed teeth. He slobbered every time he began to
[688]       speak. He was fond indeed of making fun of his own face, though, I
[689]       believe, he was well satisfied with it. He used particularly to
[690]       point to his nose, which was not very large, but very delicate and
[691]       conspicuously aquiline. "A regular Roman nose," he used to say,
[692]       "with my goitre I've quite the countenance of an ancient Roman
[693]       patrician of the decadent period." He seemed proud of it.
[694]           Not long after visiting his mother's grave Alyosha suddenly
[695]       announced that he wanted to enter the monastery, and that the monks
[696]       were willing to receive him as a novice. He explained that this was
[697]       his strong desire, and that he was solemnly asking his consent as
[698]       his father. The old man knew that the elder Zossima, who was living in
[699]       the monastery hermitage, had made a special impression upon his
[700]       "gentle boy."
[701]           "That is the most honest monk among them, of course," he observed,
[702]       after listening in thoughtful silence to Alyosha, and seeming scarcely
[703]       surprised at his request. "H'm!... So that's where you want to be,
[704]       my gentle boy?"
[705]           He was half drunk, and suddenly he grinned his slow half-drunken
[706]       grin, which was not without a certain cunning and tipsy slyness.
[707]       "H'm!... I had a presentiment that you would end in something like
[708]       this. Would you believe it? You were making straight for it. Well,
[709]       to be sure you have your own two thousand. That's a dowry for you. And
[710]       I'll never desert you, my angel. And I'll pay what's wanted for you
[711]       there, if they ask for it. But, of course, if they don't ask, why
[712]       should we worry them? What do you say? You know, you spend money
[713]       like a canary, two grains a week. H'm!... Do you know that near one
[714]       monastery there's a place outside the town where every baby knows
[715]       there are none but 'the monks' wives' living, as they are called.
[716]       Thirty women, I believe. I have been there myself. You know, it's
[717]       interesting in its way, of course, as a variety. The worst of it is
[718]       it's awfully Russian. There are no French women there. Of course, they
[719]       could get them fast enough, they have plenty of money. If they get
[720]       to hear of it they'll come along. Well, there's nothing of that sort
[721]       here, no 'monks' wives,' and two hundred monks. They're honest. They
[722]       keep the fasts. I admit it.... H'm.... So you want to be a monk? And
[723]       do you know I'm sorry to lose you, Alyosha; would you believe it, I've
[724]       really grown fond of you? Well, it's a good opportunity. You'll pray
[725]       for us sinners; we have sinned too much here. I've always been
[726]       thinking who would pray for me, and whether there's anyone in the
[727]       world to do it. My dear boy, I'm awfully stupid about that. You
[728]       wouldn't believe it. Awfully. You see, however stupid I am about it, I
[729]       keep thinking, I keep thinking- from time to time, of course, not
[730]       all the while. It's impossible, I think, for the devils to forget to
[731]       drag me down to hell with their hooks when I die. Then I wonder-
[732]       hooks? Where would they get them? What of? Iron hooks? Where do they
[733]       forge them? Have they a foundry there of some sort? The monks in the
[734]       monastery probably believe that there's a ceiling in hell, for
[735]       instance. Now I'm ready to believe in hell, but without a ceiling.
[736]       It makes it more refined, more enlightened, more Lutheran that is.
[737]       And, after all, what does it matter whether it has a ceiling or
[738]       hasn't? But, do you know, there's a damnable question involved in
[739]       it? If there's no ceiling there can be no hooks, and if there are no
[740]       hooks it all breaks down, which is unlikely again, for then there
[741]       would be none to drag me down to hell, and if they don't drag me
[742]       down what justice is there in the world? Il faudrait les inventer,*
[743]       those hooks, on purpose for me alone, for, if you only knew,
[744]       Alyosha, what a black-guard I am."
[746]           * It would be neccessary to invent them.
[748]           "But there are no hooks there," said Alyosha, looking gently and
[749]       seriously at his father.
[750]           "Yes, yes, only the shadows of hooks. I know, I know. That's how a
[751]       Frenchman described hell: 'J'ai vu l'ombre d'un cocher qui avec
[752]       l'ombre d'une brosse frottait l'ombre d'une carrosse.'* How do you
[753]       know there are no hooks, darling? When you've lived with the monks
[754]       you'll sing a different tune. But go and get at the truth there, and
[755]       then come and tell me. Anyway it's easier going to the other world
[756]       if one knows what there is there. Besides, it will be more seemly
[757]       for you with the monks than here with me, with a drunken old man and
[758]       young harlots... though you're like an angel, nothing touches you. And
[759]       I dare say nothing will touch you there. That's why I let you go,
[760]       because I hope for that. You've got all your wits about you. You
[761]       will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back
[762]       again. And I will wait for you. I feel that you're the only creature
[763]       in the world who has not condemned me. My dear boy, I feel it, you
[764]       know. I can't help feeling it."
[766]           * I've seen the shadow of a coachman rubbing the shadow of a coach
[767]       with the shadow of a brush.
[769]           And he even began blubbering. He was sentimental. He was wicked
[770]       and sentimental.
[771]                                     Chapter 5
[772]                                       Elders
[774]           SOME of my readers may imagine that my young man was a sickly,
[775]       ecstatic, poorly developed creature, a pale, consumptive dreamer. On
[776]       the contrary, Alyosha was at this time a well-grown, red-cheeked,
[777]       clear-eyed lad of nineteen, radiant with health. He was very handsome,
[778]       too, graceful, moderately tall, with hair of a dark brown, with a
[779]       regular, rather long, oval-shaped face, and wide-set dark grey,
[780]       shining eyes; he was very thoughtful, and apparently very serene. I
[781]       shall be told, perhaps, that red cheeks are not incompatible with
[782]       fanaticism and mysticism; but I fancy that Alyosha was more of a
[783]       realist than anyone. Oh! no doubt, in the monastery he fully
[784]       believed in miracles, but, to my thinking, miracles are never a
[785]       stumbling-block to the realist. It is not miracles that dispose
[786]       realists to belief. The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever,
[787]       will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous,
[788]       and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would
[789]       rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Even if he
[790]       admits it, he admits it as a fact of nature till then unrecognised
[791]       by him. Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but
[792]       the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound
[793]       by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas
[794]       said that he would not believe till he saw, but when he did see he
[795]       said, "My Lord and my God!" Was it the miracle forced him to
[796]       believe? Most likely not, but he believed solely because he desired to
[797]       believe and possibly he fully believed in his secret heart even when
[798]       he said, "I do not believe till I see."
[799]           I shall be told, perhaps, that Alyosha was stupid, undeveloped,
[800]       had not finished his studies, and so on. That he did not finish his
[801]       studies is true, but to say that he was stupid or dull would be a
[802]       great injustice. I'll simply repeat what I have said above. He entered
[803]       upon this path only because, at that time, it alone struck his
[804]       imagination and presented itself to him as offering an ideal means
[805]       of escape for his soul from darkness to light. Add to that that he was
[806]       to some extent a youth of our last epoch- that is, honest in nature,
[807]       desiring the truth, seeking for it and believing in it, and seeking to
[808]       serve it at once with all the strength of his soul, seeking for
[809]       immediate action, and ready to sacrifice everything, life itself,
[810]       for it. Though these young men unhappily fail to understand that the
[811]       sacrifice of life is, in many cases, the easiest of all sacrifices,
[812]       and that to sacrifice, for instance, five or six years of their
[813]       seething youth to hard and tedious study, if only to multiply
[814]       tenfold their powers of serving the truth and the cause they have
[815]       set before them as their goal such a sacrifice is utterly beyond the
[816]       strength of many of them. The path Alyosha chose was a path going in
[817]       the opposite direction, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift
[818]       achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously he was convinced of the
[819]       existence of God and immortality, and at once he instinctively said to
[820]       himself: "I want to live for immortality, and I will accept no
[821]       compromise." In the same way, if he had decided that God and
[822]       immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and
[823]       a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labour question, it is
[824]       before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form
[825]       taken by atheism to-day, the question of the tower of Babel built
[826]       without God, not to mount to heaven from earth but to set up heaven on
[827]       earth. Alyosha would have found it strange and impossible to go on
[828]       living as before. It is written: "Give all that thou hast to the
[829]       poor and follow Me, if thou wouldst be perfect."
[830]           Alyosha said to himself: "I can't give two roubles instead of
[831]       'all,' and only go to mass instead of 'following Him.'" Perhaps his
[832]       memories of childhood brought back our monastery, to which his
[833]       mother may have taken him to mass. Perhaps the slanting sunlight and
[834]       the holy