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Chapter 2 At His Father's

  • 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,
  • perhaps he-"
  • "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.