YOU can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how he woul_ring up his children. His behaviour as a father was exactly what might b_xpected. He completely abandoned the child of his marriage with Adelaid_vanovna, not from malice, nor because of his matrimonial grievances, bu_imply because he forgot him. While he was wearying everyone with his tear_nd complaints, and turning his house into a sink of debauchery, a faithfu_ervant of the family, Grigory, took the three-year old Mitya into his care.
If he hadn't looked after him there would have been no one even to change th_aby's little shirt.
It happened moreover that the child's relations on his mother's side forgo_im too at first. His grandfather was no longer living, his widow, Mitya'_randmother, had moved to Moscow, and was seriously ill, while his daughter_ere married, so that Mitya remained for almost a whole year in old Grigory'_harge and lived with him in the servant's cottage. But if his father ha_emembered him (he could not, indeed, have been altogether unaware of hi_xistence) he would have sent him back to the cottage, as the child would onl_ave been in the way of his debaucheries. But a cousin of Mitya's mother,
Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miusov, happened to return from Paris. He lived for man_ears afterwards abroad, but was at that time quite a young .man, an_istinguished among the Miusovs as a man of enlightened ideas and of Europea_ulture, who had been in the capitals and abroad. Towards the end of his lif_e became a Liberal of the type common in the forties and fifties. In th_ourse of his career he had come into contact with many of the most Libera_en of his epoch, both in Russia and abroad. He had known Proudhon and Bakuni_ersonally, and in his declining years was very fond of describing the thre_ays of the Paris Revolution of February, 1848, hinting that he himself ha_lmost taken part in the fighting on the barricades. This was one of the mos_rateful recollections of his youth. He had an independent property of about _housand souls, to reckon in the old style. His splendid estate lay on th_utskirts of our little town and bordered on the lands of our famou_onastery, with which Pyotr Alexandrovitch began an endless lawsuit, almost a_oon as he came into the estate, concerning the rights of fishing in the rive_r wood-cutting in the forest, I don't know exactly which. He regarded it a_is duty as a citizen and a man of culture to open an attack upon the
"clericals." Hearing all about Adelaida Ivanovna, whom he, of course,
remembered, and in whom he had at one time been interested, and learning o_he existence of Mitya, he intervened, in spite of all his youthfu_ndignation and contempt for Fyodor Pavlovitch. He made the latter'_cquaintance for the first time, and told him directly that he wished t_ndertake the child's education. He used long afterwards to tell as _haracteristic touch, that when he began to speak of Mitya, Fyodor Pavlovitc_ooked for some time as though he did not understand what child he was talkin_bout, and even as though he was surprised to hear that he had a little son i_he house. The story may have been exaggerated, yet it must have bee_omething like the truth.
Fyodor Pavlovitch was all his life fond of acting, of suddenly playing a_nexpected part, sometimes without any motive for doing so, and even to hi_wn direct disadvantage, as, for instance, in the present case. This habit,
however, is characteristic of a very great number of people, some of them ver_lever ones, not like Fyodor Pavlovitch. Pyotr Alexandrovitch carried th_usiness through vigorously, and was appointed, with Fyodor Pavlovitch, join_uardian of the child, who had a small property, a house and land, left him b_is mother. Mitya did, in fact, pass into this cousin's keeping, but as th_atter had no family of his own, and after securing the revenues of hi_states was in haste to return at once to Paris, he left the boy in charge o_ne of his cousins, a lady living in Moscow. It came to pass that, settlin_ermanently in Paris he, too, forgot the child, especially when the Revolutio_f February broke out, making an impression on his mind that he remembered al_he rest of his life. The Moscow lady died, and Mitya passed into the care o_ne of her married daughters. I believe he changed his home a fourth tim_ater on. I won't enlarge upon that now, as I shall have much to tell later o_yodor Pavlovitch's firstborn, and must confine myself now to the mos_ssential facts about him, without which I could not begin my story.
In the first place, this Mitya, or rather Dmitri Fyodorovitch, was the onl_ne of Fyodor Pavlovitch's three sons who grew up in the belief that he ha_roperty, and that he would be independent on coming of age. He spent a_rregular boyhood and youth. He did not finish his studies at the gymnasium,
he got into a military school, then went to the Caucasus, was promoted, fough_ duel, and was degraded to the ranks, earned promotion again, led a wil_ife, and spent a good deal of money. He did not begin to receive any incom_rom Fyodor Pavlovitch until he came of age, and until then got into debt. H_aw and knew his father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, for the first time on coming o_ge, when he visited our neighbourhood on purpose to settle with him about hi_roperty. He seems not to have liked his father. He did not stay long wit_im, and made haste to get away, having only succeeded in obtaining a sum o_oney, and entering into an agreement for future payments from the estate, o_he revenues and value of which he was unable (a fact worthy of note), upo_his occasion, to get a statement from his father. Fyodor Pavlovitch remarke_or the first time then (this, too, should be noted) that Mitya had a vagu_nd exaggerated idea of his property. Fyodor Pavlovitch was very wel_atisfied with this, as it fell in with his own designs. He gathered only tha_he young man was frivolous, unruly, of violent passions, impatient, an_issipated, and that if he could only obtain ready money he would b_atisfied, although only, of course, a short time. So Fyodor Pavlovitch bega_o take advantage of this fact, sending him from time to time small doles,
instalments. In the end, when four years later, Mitya, losing patience, came _econd time to our little town to settle up once for all with his father, i_urned out to his amazement that he had nothing, that it was difficult to ge_n account even, that he had received the whole value of his property in sum_f money from Fyodor Pavlovitch, and was perhaps even in debt to him, that b_arious agreements into which he had, of his own desire, entered at variou_revious dates, he had no right to expect anything more, and so on, and so on.
The young man was overwhelmed, suspected deceit and cheating, and was almos_eside himself. And, indeed, this circumstance led to the catastrophe, th_ccount of which forms the subject of my first introductory story, or rathe_he external side of it. But before I pass to that story I must say a littl_f Fyodor Pavlovitch's other two sons, and of their origin.