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Chapter 1 Kuzma Samsonov

  • BUT Dmitri, to whom Grushenka, flying away to a new life, had left her las_reetings, bidding him remember the hour of her love for ever, knew nothing o_hat had happened to her, and was at that moment in a condition of feveris_gitation and activity. For the last two days he had been in such a_nconceivable state of mind that he might easily have fallen ill with brai_ever, as he said himself afterwards. Alyosha had not been able to find hi_he morning before, and Ivan had not succeeded in meeting him at the tavern o_he same day. The people at his lodgings, by his orders, concealed hi_ovements.
  • He had spent those two days literally rushing in all directions, "strugglin_ith his destiny and trying to save himself," as he expressed it himsel_fterwards, and for some hours he even made a dash out of the town on urgen_usiness, terrible as it was to him to lose sight of Grushenka for a moment.
  • All this was explained afterwards in detail, and confirmed by documentar_vidence; but for the present we will only note the most essential incident_f those two terrible days immediately preceding the awful catastrophe tha_roke so suddenly upon him.
  • Though Grushenka had, it is true, loved him for an hour, genuinely an_incerely, yet she tortured him sometimes cruelly and mercilessly. The wors_f it was that he could never tell what she meant to do. To prevail upon he_y force or kindness was also impossible: she would yield to nothing. Sh_ould only have become angry and turned away from him altogether, he knew tha_ell already. He suspected, quite correctly, that she, too, was passin_hrough an inward struggle, and was in a state of extraordinary indecision, that she was making up her mind to something, and unable to determine upon it.
  • And so, not without good reason, he divined, with a sinking heart, that a_oments she must simply hate him and his passion. And so, perhaps, it was, bu_hat was distressing Grushenka he did not understand. For him the whol_ormenting question lay between him and Fyodor Pavlovitch.
  • Here, we must note, by the way, one certain fact: he was firmly persuaded tha_yodor Pavlovitch would offer, or perhaps had offered, Grushenka lawfu_edlock, and did not for a moment believe that the old voluptuary hoped t_ain his object for three thousand roubles. Mitya had reached this conclusio_rom his knowledge of Grushenka and her character. That was how it was that h_ould believe at times that all Grushenka's uneasiness rose from not knowin_hich of them to choose, which was most to her advantage.
  • Strange to say, during those days it never occurred to him to think of th_pproaching return of the "officer," that is, of the man who had been such _atal influence in Grushenka's life, and whose arrival she was expecting wit_uch emotion and dread. It is true that of late Grushenka had been very silen_bout it. Yet he was perfectly aware of a letter she had received a month ag_rom her seducer, and had heard of it from her own lips. He partly knew, too, what the letter contained. In a moment of spite Grushenka had shown him tha_etter, but to her astonishment he attached hardly any consequence to it. I_ould be hard to say why this was. Perhaps, weighed down by all the hideou_orror of his struggle with his own father for this woman, he was incapable o_magining any danger more terrible, at any rate for the time. He simply di_ot believe in a suitor who suddenly turned up again after five years'
  • disappearance, still less in his speedy arrival. Moreover, in the "officer's"
  • first letter which had been shown to Mitya, the possibility of his new rival'_isit was very vaguely suggested. The letter was very indefinite, high-flown, and full of sentimentality. It must be noted that Grushenka had concealed fro_im the last lines of the letter, in which his return was alluded to mor_efinitely. He had, besides, noticed at that moment, he remembered afterwards, a certain involuntary proud contempt for this missive from Siberia o_rushenka's face. Grushenka told him nothing of what had passed later betwee_er and this rival; so that by degrees he had completely forgotten th_fficer's existence.
  • He felt that whatever might come later, whatever turn things might take, hi_inal conflict with Fyodor Pavlovitch was close upon him, and must be decide_efore anything else. With a sinking heart he was expecting every momen_rushenka's decision, always believing that it would come suddenly, on th_mpulse of the moment. All of a sudden she would say to him: "Take me, I'_ours for ever," and it would all be over. He would seize her and bear he_way at once to the ends of the earth. Oh, then he would bear her away a_nce, as far, far away as possible; to the farthest end of Russia, if not o_he earth, then he would marry her, and settle down with her incognito, s_hat no one would know anything about them, there, here, or anywhere. Then, o_hen, a new life would begin at once!
  • Of this different, reformed and "virtuous" life ("it must, it must b_irtuous") he dreamed feverishly at every moment. He thirsted for tha_eformation and renewal. The filthy morass, in which he had sunk of his ow_ree will, was too revolting to him, and, like very many men in such cases, h_ut faith above all in change of place. If only it were not for these people, if only it were not for these circumstances, if only he could fly away fro_his accursed place- he would be altogether regenerated, would enter on a ne_ath. That was what he believed in, and what he was yearning for.
  • But all this could only be on condition of the first, the happy solution o_he question. There was another possibility, a different and awful ending.
  • Suddenly she might say to him: "Go away. I have just come to terms with Fyodo_avlovitch. I am going to marry him and don't want you"- and then… but then… But Mitya did not know what would happen then. Up to the last hour he didn'_now. That must be said to his credit. He had no definite intentions, ha_lanned no crime. He was simply watching and spying in agony, while h_repared himself for the first, happy solution of his destiny. He drove awa_ny other idea, in fact. But for that ending a quite different anxiety arose, a new, incidental, but yet fatal and insoluble difficulty presented itself.
  • If she were to say to him: "I'm yours; take me away," how could he take he_way? Where had he the means, the money to do it? It was just at this tim_hat all sources of revenue from Fyodor Pavlovitch, doles which had gone o_ithout interruption for so many years, ceased. Grushenka had money, o_ourse, but with regard to this Mitya suddenly evinced extraordinary pride; h_anted to carry her away and begin the new life with her himself, at his ow_xpense, not at hers. He could not conceive of taking her money, and the ver_dea caused him a pang of intense repulsion. I won't enlarge on this fact o_nalyse it here, but confine myself to remarking that this was his attitude a_he moment. All this may have arisen indirectly and unconsciously from th_ecret stings of his conscience for the money of Katerina Ivanovna that he ha_ishonestly appropriated. "I've been a scoundrel to one of them, and I shal_e a scoundrel again to the other directly," was his feeling then, as h_xplained after: "and when Grushenka knows, she won't care for such _coundrel."
  • Where then was he to get the means, where was he to get the fateful money?
  • Without it, all would be lost and nothing could be done, "and only because _adn't the money. Oh, the shame of it!"
  • To anticipate things: he did, perhaps, know where to get the money, knew, perhaps, where it lay at that moment. I will say no more of this here, as i_ill all be clear later. But his chief trouble, I must explain howeve_bscurely, lay in the fact that to have that sum he knew of, to have the righ_o take it, he must first restore Katerina Ivanovna's three thousand- if not,
  • "I'm a common pick-pocket, I'm a scoundrel, and I don't want to begin a ne_ife as a scoundrel," Mitya decided. And so he made up his mind to move heave_nd earth to return Katerina Ivanovna that three thousand, and that first o_ll. The final stage of this decision, so to say, had been reached only durin_he last hours, that is, after his last interview with Alyosha, two day_efore, on the high-road, on the evening when Grushenka had insulted Katerin_vanovna, and Mitya, after hearing Alyosha's account of it, had admitted tha_e was a scoundrel, and told him to tell Katerina Ivanovna so, if it could b_ny comfort to her. After parting from his brother on that night, he had fel_n his frenzy that it would be better "to murder and rob someone than fail t_ay my debt to Katya. I'd rather everyone thought me a robber and a murderer; I'd rather go to Siberia than that Katya should have the right to say that _eceived her and stole her money, and used her money to run away wit_rushenka and begin a new life! That I can't do!" So Mitya decided, grindin_is teeth, and he might well fancy at times that his brain would give way. Bu_eanwhile he went on struggling… .
  • Strange to say, though one would have supposed there was nothing left for hi_ut despair- for what chance had he, with nothing in the world, to raise suc_ sum?- yet to the very end he persisted in hoping that he would get tha_hree thousand, that the money would somehow come to him of itself, as thoug_t might drop from heaven. That is just how it is with people who, lik_mitri, have never had anything to do with money, except to squander what ha_ome to them by inheritance without any effort of their own, and have n_otion how money is obtained. A whirl of the most fantastic notions too_ossession of his brain immediately after he had parted with Alyosha two day_efore, and threw his thoughts into a tangle of confusion. This is how it wa_e pitched first on a perfectly wild enterprise. And perhaps to men of tha_ind in such circumstances the most impossible, fantastic schemes occur first, and seem most practical.
  • He suddenly determined to go to Samsonov, the merchant who was Grushenka'_rotector, and to propose a "scheme" to him, and by means of it to obtain fro_im at once the whole of the sum required. Of the commercial value of hi_cheme he had no doubt, not the slightest, and was only uncertain how Samsono_ould look upon his freak, supposing he were to consider it from any but th_ommercial point of view. Though Mitya knew the merchant by sight, he was no_cquainted with him and had never spoken a word to him. But for some unknow_eason he had long entertained the conviction that the old reprobate, who wa_ying at death's door, would perhaps not at all object now to Grushenka'_ecuring a respectable position, and marrying a man "to be depended upon." An_e believed not only that he would not object, but that this was what h_esired, and, if opportunity arose, that he would be ready to help. From som_umour, or perhaps from some stray word of Grushenka's, he had gathere_urther that the old man would perhaps prefer him to Fyodor Pavlovitch fo_rushenka.
  • Possibly many of the readers of my novel will feel that in reckoning on suc_ssistance, and being ready to take his bride, so to speak, from the hands o_er protector, Dmitri showed great coarseness and want of delicacy. I wil_nly observe that Mitya looked upon Grushenka's past as something completel_ver. He looked on that past with infinite pity and resolved with all th_ervour of his passion that when once Grushenka told him she loved him an_ould marry him, it would mean the beginning of a new Grushenka and a ne_mitri, free from every vice. They would forgive one another and would begi_heir lives afresh. As for Kuzma Samsonov, Dmitri looked upon him as a man wh_ad exercised a fateful influence in that remote past of Grushenka's, thoug_he had never loved him, and who was now himself a thing of the past, completely done with, and, so to say, non-existent. Besides, Mitya hardl_ooked upon him as a man at all, for it was known to everyone in the town tha_e was only a shattered wreck, whose relations with Grushenka had change_heir character and were now simply paternal, and that this had been so for _ong time.
  • In any case there was much simplicity on Mitya's part in all this, for i_pite of all his vices, he was a very simple-hearted man. It was an instanc_f this simplicity that Mitya was seriously persuaded that, being on the ev_f his departure for the next world, old Kuzma must sincerely repent of hi_ast relations with Grushenka, and that she had no more devoted friend an_rotector in the world than this, now harmless, old man.
  • After his conversation with Alyosha, at the cross-roads, he hardly slept al_ight, and at ten o'clock next morning, he was at the house of Samsonov an_elling the servant to announce him. It was a very large and gloomy old hous_f two stories, with a lodge and outhouses. In the lower story live_amsonov's two married sons with their families, his old sister, and hi_nmarried daughter. In the lodge lived two of his clerks, one of whom also ha_ large family. Both the lodge and the lower story were overcrowded, but th_ld man kept the upper floor to himself, and would not even let the daughte_ive there with him, though she waited upon him, and in spite of her asthm_as obliged at certain fixed hours, and at any time he might call her, to ru_pstairs to him from below.
  • This upper floor contained a number of large rooms kept purely for show, furnished in the old-fashioned merchant style, with long monotonous rows o_lumsy mahogany chairs along the walls, with glass chandeliers under shades, and gloomy mirrors on the walls. All these rooms were entirely empty an_nused, for the old man kept to one room, a small, remote bedroom, where h_as waited upon by an old servant with a kerchief on her head, and by a lad, who used to sit on the locker in the passage. Owing to his swollen legs, th_ld man could hardly walk at all, and was only rarely lifted from his leathe_rmchair, when the old woman supporting him led him up and down the room onc_r twice. He was morose and taciturn even with this old woman.
  • When he was informed of the arrival of the "captain," he at once refused t_ee him. But Mitya persisted and sent his name up again. Samsonov questione_he lad minutely: What he looked like? Whether he was drunk? Was he going t_ake a row? The answer he received was: that he was sober, but wouldn't g_way. The old man again refused to see him. Then Mitya, who had foreseen this, and purposely brought pencil and paper with him, wrote clearly on the piece o_aper the words: "On most important business closely concerning Agrafen_lexandrovna," and sent it up to the old man.
  • After thinking a little Samsonov told the lad to take the visitor to th_rawing-room, and sent the old woman downstairs with a summons to his younge_on to come upstairs to him at once. This younger son, a man over six foot an_f exceptional physical strength, who was closely-shaven and dressed in th_uropean style, though his father still wore a kaftan and a beard, came a_nce without a comment. All the family trembled before the father. The old ma_ad sent for this giant, not because he was afraid of the "captain" (he was b_o means of a timorous temper), but in order to have a witness in case of an_mergency. Supported by his son and the servant lad, he waddled at last int_he drawing-room. It may be assumed that he felt considerable curiosity. Th_rawing-room in which Mitya was awaiting him was a vast, dreary room that lai_ weight of depression on the heart. It had a double row of windows, _allery, marbled walls, and three immense chandeliers with glass lustre_overed with shades.
  • Mitya was sitting on a little chair at the entrance, awaiting his fate wit_ervous impatience. When the old man appeared at the opposite door, sevent_eet away, Mitya jumped up at once, and with his long, military stride walke_o meet him. Mitya was well dressed, in a frock-coat, buttoned up, with _ound hat and black gloves in his hands, just as he had been three days befor_t the elder's, at the family meeting with his father and brothers. The ol_an waited for him, standing dignified and unbending, and Mitya felt at onc_hat he had looked him through and through as he advanced. Mitya was greatl_mpressed, too, with Samsonov's immensely swollen face. His lower lip, whic_ad always been thick, hung down now, looking like a bun. He bowed to hi_uest in dignified silence, motioned him to a low chair by the sofa, and, leaning on his son's arm he began lowering himself on to the sofa opposite, groaning painfully, so that Mitya, seeing his painful exertions, immediatel_elt remorseful and sensitively conscious of his insignificance in th_resence of the dignified person he had ventured to disturb.
  • "What is it you want of me, sir?" said the old man, deliberately, distinctly, severely, but courteously, when he was at last seated.
  • Mitya started, leapt up, but sat down again. Then he began at once speakin_ith loud, nervous haste, gesticulating, and in a positive frenzy. He wa_nmistakably a man driven into a corner, on the brink of ruin, catching at th_ast straw, ready to sink if he failed. Old Samsonov probably grasped all thi_n an instant, though his face remained cold and immovable as a statue's.
  • "Most honoured sir, Kuzma Kuzmitch, you have no doubt heard more than once o_y disputes with my father, Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, who robbed me of m_nheritance from my mother… seeing the whole town is gossiping about it… fo_ere everyone's gossiping of what they shouldn't… and besides, it might hav_eached you through Grushenka… I beg your pardon, through Agrafen_lexandrovna… Agrafena Alexandrovna, the lady of whom I have the highes_espect and esteem… "
  • So Mitya began, and broke down at the first sentence. We will not reproduc_is speech word for word, but will only summarise the gist of it. Three month_go, he said, he had of express intention (Mitya purposely used these word_nstead of "intentionally") consulted a lawyer in the chief town of th_rovince, "a distinguished lawyer, Kuzma Kuzmitch, Pavel Pavlovitc_orneplodov. You have perhaps heard of him? A man of vast intellect, the min_f a statesman… he knows you, too… spoke of you in the highest terms… " Mity_roke down again. But these breaks did not deter him. He leapt instantly ove_he gaps, and struggled on and on.
  • This Korneplodov, after questioning him minutely, and inspecting the document_e was able to bring him (Mitya alluded somewhat vaguely to these documents, and slurred over the subject with special haste), reported that they certainl_ight take proceedings concerning the village of Tchermashnya, which ought, h_aid, to have come to him, Mitya, from his mother, and so checkmate the ol_illain, his father… "because every door was not closed and justice migh_till find a loophole." In fact, he might reckon on an additional sum of si_r even seven thousand roubles from Fyodor Pavlovitch, as Tchermashnya wa_orth, at least, twenty-five thousand, he might say twenty-eight thousand, i_act, "thirty, thirty, Kuzma Kuzmitch, and would you believe it, I didn't ge_eventeen from that heartless man!" So he, Mitya, had thrown the business u_or the time, knowing nothing about the law, but on coming here was struc_umb by a cross- claim made upon him (here Mitya went adrift again and agai_ook a flying leap forward), "so will not you, excellent and honoured Kuzm_uzmitch, be willing to take up all my claims against that unnatural monster, and pay me a sum down of only three thousand?… You see, you cannot, in an_ase, lose over it. On my honour, my honour, I swear that. Quite the contrary, you may make six or seven thousand instead of three." Above all, he wante_his concluded that very day.
  • "I'll do the business with you at a notary's, or whatever it is… in fact, I'_eady to do anything… I'll hand over all the deeds… whatever you want, sig_nything… and we could draw up the agreement at once… and if it were possible, if it were only possible, that very morning… . You could pay me that thre_housand, for there isn't a capitalist in this town to compare with you, an_o would save me from… save me, in fact… for a good, I might say an honourabl_ction… . For I cherish the most honourable feelings for a certain person, whom you know well, and care for as a father. I would not have come, indeed, if it had not been as a father. And, indeed, it's a struggle of three in thi_usiness, for it's fate- that's a fearful thing, Kuzma Kuzmitch! A tragedy, Kuzma Kuzmitch, a tragedy! And as you've dropped out long ago, it's a tug-of- war between two. I'm expressing it awkwardly, perhaps, but I'm not a literar_an. You see, I'm on the one side, and that monster on the other. So you mus_hoose. It's either I or the monster. It all lies in your hands-.the fate o_hree lives, and the happiness of two… . Excuse me, I'm making a mess of it, but you understand… I see from your venerable eyes that you understand… and i_ou don't understand, I'm done for… so you see!"
  • Mitya broke off his clumsy speech with that, "so you see!" and jumping up fro_is seat, awaited the answer to his foolish proposal. At the last phrase h_ad suddenly become hopelessly aware that it had all fallen flat, above all, that he had been talking utter nonsense.
  • "How strange it is! On the way here it seemed all right, and now it's nothin_ut nonsense." The idea suddenly dawned on his despairing mind. All the whil_e had been talking, the old man sat motionless, watching him with an ic_xpression in his eyes. After keeping him for a moment in suspense, Kuzm_uzmitch pronounced at last in the most positive and chilling tone:
  • "Excuse me, we don't undertake such business."
  • Mitya suddenly felt his legs growing weak under him.
  • "What am I to do now, Kuzma Kuzmitch?" he muttered, with a pale smile. "_uppose it's all up with me- what do you think?"
  • "Excuse me… "
  • Mitya remained standing, staring motionless. He suddenly noticed a movement i_he old man's face. He started.
  • "You see, sir, business of that sort's not in our line," said the old ma_lowly. "There's the court, and the lawyers- it's a perfect misery. But if yo_ike, there is a man here you might apply to."
  • "Good heavens! Who is it? You're my salvation, Kuzma Kuzmitch," faltere_itya.
  • "He doesn't live here, and he's not here just now. He is a peasant, he doe_usiness in timber. His name is Lyagavy. He's been haggling with Fyodo_avlovitch for the last year, over your copse at Tchermashnya. They can'_gree on the price, maybe you've heard? Now he's come back again and i_taying with the priest at Ilyinskoe, about twelve versts from the Volovy_tation. He wrote to me, too, about the business of the copse, asking m_dvice. Fyodor Pavlovitch means to go and see him himself. So if you were t_e beforehand with Fyodor Pavlovitch and to make Lyagavy the offer you've mad_e, he might possibly- "
  • "A brilliant idea!" Mitya interrupted ecstatically. "He's the very man, i_ould just suit him. He's haggling with him for it, being asked too much, an_ere he would have all the documents entitling him to the property itself. H_a ha!"
  • And Mitya suddenly went off into his short, wooden laugh, startling Samsonov.
  • "How can I thank you, Kuzma Kuzmitch?" cried Mitya effusively.
  • "Don't mention it," said Samsonov, inclining his head.
  • "But you don't know, you've saved me. Oh, it was a true presentiment brough_e to you… . So now to this priest!
  • "No need of thanks."
  • "I'll make haste and fly there. I'm afraid I've overtaxed your strength. _hall never forget it. It's a Russian says that, Kuzma Kuzmitch, _-r-russian!"
  • "To be sure!" Mitya seized his hand to press it, but there was a malignan_leam in the old man's eye. Mitya drew back his hand, but at once blame_imself for his mistrustfulness. "It's because he's tired," he thought.
  • "For her sake! For her sake, Kuzma Kuzmitch! You understand that it's fo_er," he cried, his voice ringing through the room. He bowed, turned sharpl_ound, and with the same long stride walked to the door without looking back.
  • He was trembling with delight.
  • "Everything was on the verge of ruin and my guardian angel saved me," was th_hought in his mind. And if such a business man as Samsonov (a most worthy ol_an, and what dignity!) had suggested this course, then… then success wa_ssured. He would fly off immediately. "I will be back before night, I shal_e back at night and the thing is done. Could the old man have been laughin_t me?" exclaimed Mitya, as he strode towards his lodging. He could, o_ourse, imagine nothing but that the advice was practical "from such _usiness man" with an understanding of the business, with an understanding o_his Lyagavy (curious surname!). Or- the old man was laughing at him.
  • Alas! The second alternative was the correct one. Long afterwards, when th_atastrophe had happened, old Samsonov himself confessed, laughing, that h_ad made a fool of the "captain." He was a cold, spiteful and sarcastic man, liable to violent antipathies. Whether it was the "captain's" excited face, o_he foolish conviction of the "rake and spendthrift," that he, Samsonov, coul_e taken in by such a cock-and-bull story as his scheme, or his jealousy o_rushenka, in whose name this "scapegrace" had rushed in on him with such _ale to get money which worked on the old man, I can't tell. But at th_nstant when Mitya stood before him, feeling his legs grow weak under him, an_rantically exclaiming that he was ruined, at that moment the old man looke_t him with intense spite, and resolved to make a laughing-stock of him. Whe_itya had gone, Kuzma Kuzmitch, white with rage, turned to his son and bad_im see to it that that beggar be never seen again, and never admitted eve_nto the yard, or else he'd-
  • He did not utter his threat. But even his son, who often saw him enraged, trembled with fear. For a whole hour afterwards, the old man was shaking wit_nger, and by evening he was worse, and sent for the doctor.