FIRST of all, Alyosha went to his father. On the way he remembered that hi_ather had insisted the day before that he should come without his brothe_van seeing him. "Why so?" Alyosha wondered suddenly. "Even if my father ha_omething to say to me alone, why should I go in unseen? Most likely in hi_xcitement yesterday he meant to say something different," he decided. Yet h_as very glad when Marfa Ignatyevna, who opened the garden gate to him
(Grigory, it appeared, was ill in bed in the lodge), told him in answer to hi_uestion that Ivan Fyodorovitch had gone out two hours ago.
"And my father?"
"He is up, taking his coffee," Marfa answered somewhat drily.
Alyosha went in. The old man was sitting alone at the table wearing slipper_nd a little old overcoat. He was amusing himself by looking through som_ccounts, rather inattentively however. He was quite alone in the house, fo_merdyakov too had gone out marketing. Though he had got up early and wa_rying to put a bold face on it, he looked tired and weak. His forehead, upo_hich huge purple bruises had come out during the night, was bandaged with _ed handkerchief; his nose too was swollen terribly in the night, and som_maller bruises covered it in patches, giving his whole face a peculiarl_piteful and irritable look. The old man was aware of this, and turned _ostile glance on Alyosha as he came in.
"The coffee is cold," he cried harshly; "I won't offer you any. I've ordere_othing but a Lenten fish soup to-day, and I don't invite anyone to share it.
Why have you come?"
"To find out how you are," said Alyosha.
"Yes. Besides, I told you to come yesterday. It's all of no consequence. Yo_eed not have troubled. But I knew you'd come poking in directly."
He said this with almost hostile feeling. At the same time he got up an_ooked anxiously in the looking-glass (perhaps for the fortieth time tha_orning) at his nose. He began, too, binding his red handkerchief mor_ecomingly on his forehead.
"Red's better. It's just like the hospital in a white one," he observe_ententiously. "Well, how are things over there? How is your elder?"
"He is very bad; he may die to-day," answered Alyosha. But his father had no_istened, and had forgotten his own question at once.
"Ivan's gone out," he said suddenly. "He is doing his utmost to carry of_itya's betrothed. That's what he is staying here for," he added maliciously,
and, twisting his mouth, looked at Alyosha.
"Surely he did not tell you so?" asked Alyosha.
"Yes, he did, long ago. Would you believe it, he told me three weeks ago? Yo_on't suppose he too came to murder me, do you? He must have had some objec_n coming."
"What do you mean? Why do you say such things?" said Alyosha, troubled.
"He doesn't ask for money, it's true, but yet he won't get a farthing from me.
I intend living as long as possible, you may as well know, my dear Alexe_yodorovitch, and so I need every farthing, and the longer I live, the more _hall need it," he continued, pacing from one corner of the room to the other,
keeping his hands in the pockets of his loose greasy overcoat made of yello_otton material. "I can still pass for a man at five and fifty, but I want t_ass for one for another twenty years. As I get older, you know, I shan't be _retty object. The wenches won't come to me of their own accord, so I shal_ant my money. So I am saving up more and more, simply for myself, my dear so_lexey Fyodorovitch. You may as well know. For I mean to go on in my sins t_he end, let me tell you. For sin is sweet; all abuse it, but all men live i_t, only others do it on the sly, and I openly. And so all the other sinner_all upon me for being so simple. And your paradise, Alexey Fyodorovitch, i_ot to my taste, let me tell you that; and it's not the proper place for _entleman, your paradise, even if it exists. I believe that I fall asleep an_on't wake up again, and that's all. You can pray for my soul if you like. An_f you don't want to, don't, damn you! That's my philosophy. Ivan talked wel_ere yesterday, though we were all drunk. Ivan is a conceited coxcomb, but h_as no particular learning… nor education either. He sits silent and smiles a_ne without speaking- that's what pulls him through."
Alyosha listened to him in silence.
"Why won't he talk to me? If he does speak, he gives himself airs. Your Iva_s a scoundrel! And I'll marry Grushenka in a minute if I want to. For i_ou've money, Alexey Fyodorovitch, you have only to want a thing and you ca_ave it. That's what Ivan is afraid of, he is on the watch to prevent m_etting married and that's why he is egging on Mitya to marry Grushenk_imself. He hopes to keep me from Grushenka by that (as though I should leav_im my money if I don't marry her!). Besides if Mitya marries Grushenka, Iva_ill carry off his rich betrothed, that's what he's reckoning on! He is _coundrel, your Ivan!"
"How cross you are! It's because of yesterday; you had better lie down," sai_lyosha.
"There! you say that," the old man observed suddenly, as though it had struc_im for the first time, "and I am not angry with you. But if Ivan said it, _hould be angry with him. It is only with you I have good moments, else yo_now I am an ill-natured man."
"You are not ill-natured, but distorted," said Alyosha with a smile.
"Listen. I meant this morning to get that ruffian Mitya locked up and I don'_now now what I shall decide about it. Of course in these fashionable day_athers and mothers are looked upon as a prejudice, but even now the law doe_ot allow you to drag your old father about by the hair, to kick him in th_ace in his own house, and brag of murdering him outright- all in the presenc_f witnesses. If I liked, I could crush him and could have him locked up a_nce for what he did yesterday."
"Then you don't mean to take proceedings?"
"Ivan has dissuaded me. I shouldn't care about Ivan, but there's anothe_hing."
And bending down to Alyosha, he went on in a confidential half-whisper.
"If I send the ruffian to prison, she'll hear of it and run to see him a_nce. But if she hears that he has beaten me, a weak old man, within an inc_f my life, she may give him up and come to me… For that's her way, everythin_y contraries. I know her through and through! Won't you have a drop o_randy? Take some cold coffee and I'll pour a quarter of a glass of brand_nto it, it's delicious, my boy."
"No, thank you. I'll take that roll with me if I may," said Alyosha, an_aking a halfpenny French roll he put it in the pocket of his cassock. "An_ou'd better not have brandy, either," he suggested apprehensively, lookin_nto the old man's face.
"You are quite right, it irritates my nerves instead of soothing them. Onl_ne little glass. I'll get it out of the cupboard."
He unlocked the cupboard, poured out a glass, drank it, then locked th_upboard and put the key back in his pocket.
"That's enough. One glass won't kill me."
"You see you are in a better humour now," said Alyosha, smiling.
"Um! I love you even without the brandy, but with scoundrels I am a scoundrel.
Ivan is not going to Tchermashnya- why is that? He wants to spy how much _ive Grushenka if she comes. They are all scoundrels! But I don't recognis_van, I don't know him at all. Where does he come from? He is not one of us i_oul. As though I'd leave him anything! I shan't leave a will at all, you ma_s well know. And I'll crush Mitya like a beetle. I squash black-beetles a_ight with my slipper; they squelch when you tread on them. And your Mity_ill squelch too. Your Mitya, for you love him. Yes you love him and I am no_fraid of your loving him. But if Ivan loved him I should be afraid for mysel_t his loving him. But Ivan loves nobody. Ivan is not one of us. People lik_van are not our sort, my boy. They are like a cloud of dust. When the win_lows, the dust will be gone… . I had a silly idea in my head when I told yo_o come to-day; I wanted to find out from you about Mitya. If I were to han_im over a thousand or maybe two now, would the beggarly wretch agree to tak_imself off altogether for five years or, better still, thirty-five, an_ithout Grushenka, and give her up once for all, eh?"
"I- I'll ask him," muttered Alyosha. "If you would give him three thousand,
"That's nonsense! You needn't ask him now, no need! I've changed my mind. I_as a nonsensical idea of mine. I won't give him anything, not a penny, I wan_y money myself," cried the old man, waving his hand. "I'll crush him like _eetle without it. Don't say anything to him or else he will begin hoping.
There's nothing for you to do here, you needn't stay. Is that betrothed o_is, Katerina Ivanovna, whom he has kept so carefully hidden from me all thi_ime, going to marry him or not? You went to see her yesterday, I believe?"
"Nothing will induce her to abandon him."
"There you see how dearly these fine young ladies love a rake and a scoundrel.
They are poor creatures I tell you, those pale young ladies, very differen_rom- Ah, if I had his youth and the looks I had then (for I was better-
looking than he at eight and twenty) I'd have been a conquering hero just a_e is. He is a low cad! But he shan't have Grushenka, anyway, he shan't! I'l_rush him!"
His anger had returned with the last words.
"You can go. There's nothing for you to do here to-day," he snapped harshly.
Alyosha went up to say good-bye to him, and kissed him on the shoulder.
"What's that for?" The old man was a little surprised. "We shall see eac_ther again, or do you think we shan't?"
"Not at all, I didn't mean anything."
"Nor did I, I did not mean anything," said the old man, looking at him.
"Listen, listen," he shouted after him, "make haste and come again and I'l_ave a fish soup for you, a fine one, not like to-day. Be sure to come! Com_o-morrow, do you hear, to-morrow!"
And as soon as Alyosha had gone out of the door, he went to the cupboard agai_nd poured out another half-glass.
"I won't have more!" he muttered, clearing his throat, and again he locked th_upboard and put the key in his pocket. Then he went into his bedroom, la_own on the bed, exhausted, and in one minute he was asleep.