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Chapter 3 The Confession of a Passionate Heart- in Verse

  • ALYOSHA remained for some time irresolute after hearing the command his fathe_houted to him from the carriage. But in spite of his uneasiness he did no_tand still. That was not his way. He went at once to the kitchen to find ou_hat his father had been doing above. Then he set off, trusting that on th_ay he would find some answer to the doubt tormenting him. I hasten to ad_hat his father's shouts, commanding him to return home "with his mattress an_illow" did not frighten him in the least. He understood perfectly that thos_eremptory shouts were merely "a flourish" to produce an effect. In the sam_ay a tradesman in our town who was celebrating his name-day with a party o_riends, getting angry at being refused more vodka, smashed up his ow_rockery and furniture and tore his own and his wife's clothes, and finall_roke his windows, all for the sake of effect. Next day, of course, when h_as sober, he regretted the broken cups and saucers. Alyosha knew that hi_ather would let him go back to the monastery next day, possibly even tha_vening. Moreover, he was fully persuaded that his father might hurt anyon_lse, but would not hurt him. Alyosha was certain that no one in the whol_orld ever would want to hurt him, and, what is more, he knew that no on_ould hurt him. This was for him an axiom, assumed once for all withou_uestion, and he went his way without hesitation, relying on it.
  • But at that moment an anxiety of sort disturbed him, and worried him the mor_ecause he could not formulate it. It was the fear of a woman, of Katerin_vanovna, who had so urgently entreated him in the note handed to him b_adame Hohlakov to come and see her about something. This request and th_ecessity of going had at once aroused an uneasy feeling in his heart, an_his feeling had grown more and more painful all the morning in spite of th_cenes at the hermitage and at the Father Superior's. He was not uneas_ecause he did not know what she would speak of and what he must answer. An_e was not afraid of her simply as a woman. Though he knew little of women, h_pent his life, from early childhood till he entered the monastery, entirel_ith women. He was afraid of that woman, Katerina Ivanovna. He had been afrai_f her from the first time he saw her. He had only seen her two or thre_imes, and had only chanced to say a few words to her. He thought of her as _eautiful, proud, imperious girl. It was not her beauty which troubled him, but something else. And the vagueness of his apprehension increased th_pprehension itself. The girl's aims were of the noblest, he knew that. Sh_as trying to save his brother Dmitri simply through generosity, though he ha_lready behaved badly to her. Yet, although Alyosha recognised and did justic_o all these fine and generous sentiments, a shiver began to run down his bac_s soon as he drew near her house.
  • He reflected that he would not find Ivan, who was so intimate a friend, wit_er, for Ivan was certainly now with his father. Dmitri he was even mor_ertain not to find there, and he had a foreboding of the reason. And so hi_onversation would be with her alone. He had a great longing to run and se_is brother Dmitri before that fateful interview. Without showing him th_etter, he could talk to him about it. But Dmitri lived a long way off, and h_as sure to be away from home too. Standing still for a minute, he reached _inal decision. Crossing himself with a rapid and accustomed gesture, and a_nce smiling, he turned resolutely in the direction of his terrible lady.
  • He knew her house. If he went by the High Street and then across the market- place, it was a long way round. Though our town is small, it is scattered, an_he houses are far apart. And meanwhile his father was expecting him, an_erhaps had not yet forgotten his command. He might be unreasonable, and so h_ad to make haste to get there and back. So he decided to take a short cut b_he backway, for he knew every inch of the ground. This meant skirting fences, climbing over hurdles, and crossing other people's back-yards, where everyon_e met knew him and greeted him. In this way he could reach the High Street i_alf the time.
  • He had to pass the garden adjoining his father's, and belonging to a littl_umbledown house with four windows. The owner of this house, as Alyosha knew, was a bedridden old woman, living with her daughter, who had been a gentee_aid-servant in generals' families in Petersburg. Now she had been at home _ear, looking after her sick mother. She always dressed up in fine clothes, though her old mother and she had sunk into such poverty that they went ever_ay to Fyodor Pavlovitch's kitchen for soup and bread, which Marfa gav_eadily. Yet, though the young woman came up for soup, she had never sold an_f her dresses, and one of these even had a long train- a fact which Alyosh_ad learned from Rakitin, who always knew everything that was going on in th_own. He had forgotten it as soon as he heard it, but now, on reaching th_arden, he remembered the dress with the train, raised his head, which ha_een bowed in thought, and came upon something quite unexpected.
  • Over the hurdle in the garden, Dmitri, mounted on something, was leanin_orward, gesticulating violently, beckoning to him, obviously afraid to utte_ word for fear of being overheard. Alyosha ran up to the hurdle.
  • "It's a good thing you looked up. I was nearly shouting to you," Mitya said i_ joyful, hurried whisper. "Climb in here quickly! How splendid that you'v_ome! I was just thinking of you"
  • Alyosha was delighted too, but he did not know how to get over the hurdle.
  • Mitya put his powerful hand under his elbow to help him jump. Tucking up hi_assock, Alyosha leapt over the hurdle with the agility of a bare-legge_treet urchin.
  • "Well done! Now come along," said Mitya in an enthusiastic whisper.
  • "Where?" whispered Alyosha, looking about him and finding himself in _eserted garden with no one near but themselves. The garden was small, but th_ouse was at least fifty paces away.
  • "There's no one here. Why do you whisper?" asked Alyosha.
  • "Why do I whisper? Deuce take it" cried Dmitri at the top of his voice. "Yo_ee what silly tricks nature plays one. I am here in secret, and on the watch.
  • I'll explain later on, but, knowing it's a secret, I began whispering like _ool, when there's no need. Let us go. Over there. Till then be quiet. I wan_o kiss you.
  • Glory to God in the world,
  • Glory to God in me… I was just repeating that, sitting here, before you came."
  • The garden was about three acres in extent, and planted with trees only alon_he fence at the four sides. There were apple-trees, maples, limes and birch- trees. The middle of the garden was an empty grass space, from which severa_undredweight of hay was carried in the summer. The garden was let out for _ew roubles for the summer. There were also plantations of raspberries an_urrants and gooseberries laid out along the sides; a kitchen garden had bee_lanted lately near the house.
  • Dmitri led his brother to the most secluded corner of the garden. There, in _hicket of lime-trees and old bushes of black currant, elder, snowball-tree, and lilac, there stood a tumbledown green summer-house; blackened with age.
  • Its walls were of lattice-work, but there was still a roof which could giv_helter. God knows when this summer-house was built. There was a traditio_hat it had been put up some fifty years before by a retired colonel calle_on Schmidt, who owned the house at that time. It was all in decay, the floo_as rotting, the planks were loose, the woodwork smelled musty. In the summer- house there was a green wooden table fixed in the ground, and round it wer_ome green benches upon which it was still possible to sit. Alyosha had a_nce observed his brother's exhilarated condition, and on entering the arbou_e saw half a bottle of brandy and a wineglass on the table.
  • "That's brandy," Mitya laughed. "I see your look: 'He's drinking again"
  • Distrust the apparition.
  • Distrust the worthless, lying crowd,
  • And lay aside thy doubts. I'm not drinking, I'm only 'indulging,' as that pig, your Rakitin, says. He'll be a civil councillor one day, but he'll always tal_bout 'indulging.' Sit down. I could take you in my arms, Alyosha, and pres_ou to my bosom till I crush you, for in the whole world- in reality- i_eal-i-ty- (can you take it in?) I love no one but you!
  • He uttered the last words in a sort of exaltation.
  • "No one but you and one 'jade' I have fallen in love with, to my ruin. Bu_eing in love doesn't mean loving. You may be in love with a woman and ye_ate her. Remember that! I can talk about it gaily still. Sit down here by th_able and I'll sit beside you and look at you, and go on talking. You shal_eep quiet and I'll go on talking, for the time has come. But on reflection, you know, I'd better speak quietly, for here- here- you can never tell wha_ars are listening. I will explain everything; as they say, 'the story will b_ontinued.' Why have I been longing for you? Why have I been thirsting for yo_ll these days, and just now? (It's five days since I've cast anchor here.) Because it's only to you I can tell everything; because I must, because I nee_ou, because to-morrow I shall fly from the clouds, because to-morrow life i_nding and beginning. Have you ever felt, have you ever dreamt of falling dow_ precipice into a pit? That's just how I'm falling, but not in a dream. An_'m not afraid, and don't you be afraid. At least, I am afraid, but I enjo_t. It's not enjoyment though, but ecstasy. Damn it all, whatever it is! _trong spirit, a weak spirit, a womanish spirit- what, ever it is! Let u_raise nature: you see what sunshine, how clear the sky is, the leaves are al_reen, it's still summer; four o'clock in the afternoon and the stillness!
  • Where were you going?"
  • "I was going to father's, but I meant to go to Katerina Ivanovna's first."
  • "To her, and to father! Oo! what a coincidence! Why was I waiting for you?
  • Hungering and thirsting for you in every cranny of my soul and even in m_ibs? Why, to send you to father and to her, Katerina Ivanovna, so as to hav_one with her and with father. To send an angel. I might have sent anyone, bu_ wanted to send an angel. And here you are on your way to see father an_er."
  • "Did you really mean to send me?" cried Alyosha with a distressed expression.
  • "Stay! You knew it And I see you understand it all at once. But be quiet, b_uiet for a time. Don't be sorry, and don't cry."
  • Dmitri stood up, thought a moment, and put his finger to his forehead.
  • "She's asked you, written to you a letter or something, that's why you'r_oing to her? You wouldn't be going except for that?"
  • "Here is her note." Alyosha took it out of his pocket. Mitya looked through i_uickly.
  • "And you were going the backway! Oh, gods, I thank you for sending him by th_ackway, and he came to me like the golden fish to the silly old fishermen i_he fable! Listen, Alyosha, listen, brother! Now I mean to tell yo_verything, for I must tell someone. An angel in heaven I've told already; bu_ want to tell an angel on earth. You are an angel on earth. You will hear an_udge and forgive. And that's what I need, that someone above me shoul_orgive. Listen! If two people break away from everything on earth and fly of_nto the unknown, or at least one of them, and before flying off or going t_uin he comes to someone else and says, 'Do this for me'- some favour neve_sked before that could only be asked on one's deathbed- would that othe_efuse, if he were a friend or a brother?"
  • "I will do it, but tell me what it is, and make haste," said Alyosha.
  • "Make haste! H'm!… Don't be in a hurry, Alyosha, you hurry and worry yourself.
  • There's no need to hurry now. Now the world has taken a new turning. Ah, Alyosha, what a pity you can't understand ecstasy. But what am I saying t_im? As though you didn't understand it. What an ass I am! What am I saying?
  • 'Be noble, O man!'- who says that?"
  • Alyosha made up his mind to wait. He felt that, perhaps, indeed, his work la_ere. Mitya sank into thought for a moment, with his elbow on the table an_is head in his hand. Both were silent.
  • "Alyosha," said Mitya, "you're the only one who won't laugh. I should like t_egin- my confession- with Schiller's Hymn to Joy, An die Freude! I don't kno_erman, I only know it's called that. Don't think I'm talking nonsense becaus_'m drunk. I'm not a bit drunk. Brandy's all very well, but I need two bottle_o make me drunk:
  • {verse
  • Silenus with his rosy phiz
  • Upon his stumbling ass.
  • {verse
  • But I've not drunk a quarter of a bottle, and I'm not Silenus. I'm no_ilenus, though I am strong,[[3]](footnotes.xml#footnote_3) for I've made _ecision once for all. Forgive me the pun; you'll have to forgive me a lo_ore than puns to-day. Don't be uneasy. I'm not spinning it out. I'm talkin_ense, and I'll come to the point in a minute. I won't keep you in suspense.
  • Stay, how does it go?" He raised his head, thought a minute, and began wit_nthusiasm: {verse Wild and fearful in his cavern Hid the naked troglodyte, And the homeless nomad wandered Laying waste the fertile plain. Menacing wit_pear and arrow In the woods the hunter strayed… . Woe to all poor wretche_tranded On those cruel and hostile shores! From the peak of high Olympus Cam_he mother Ceres down, Seeking in those savage regions Her lost daughte_roserpine. But the Goddess found no refuge, Found no kindly welcome there, And no temple bearing witness To the worship of the gods. From the fields an_rom the vineyards Came no fruits to deck the feasts, Only flesh o_loodstained victims Smouldered on the altar-fires, And where'er the grievin_oddess Turns her melancholy gaze, Sunk in vilest degradation Man hi_oathsomeness displays {verse Mitya broke into sobs and seized Alyosha's hand.
  • "My dear, my dear, in degradation, in degradation now, too. There's a terribl_mount of suffering for man on earth, a terrible lot of trouble. Don't thin_'m only a brute in an officer's uniform, wallowing in dirt and drink. _ardly think of anything but of that degraded man- if only I'm not lying. _ray God I'm not lying and showing off. I think about that man because I a_hat man myself. {verse Would he purge his soul from vileness And attain t_ight and worth, He must turn and cling for ever To his ancient Mother Earth.
  • {verse But the difficulty is how am I to cling for ever to Mother Earth. _on't kiss her. I don't cleave to her bosom. Am I to become a peasant or _hepherd? I go on and I don't know whether I'm going to shame or to light an_oy. That's the trouble, for everything in the world is a riddle! And wheneve_'ve happened to sink into the vilest degradation (and it's always bee_appening) I always read that poem about Ceres and man. Has it reformed me?
  • Never! For I'm a Karamazov. For when I do leap into the pit, I go headlon_ith my heels up, and am pleased to be falling in that degrading attitude, an_ride myself upon it. And in the very depths of that degradation I begin _ymn of praise. Let me be accursed. Let me be vile and base, only let me kis_he hem of the veil in which my God is shrouded. Though I may be following th_evil, I am Thy son, O Lord, and I love Thee, and I feel the joy without whic_he world cannot stand. {verse Joy everlasting fostereth The soul of al_reation, It is her secret ferment fires The cup of life with flame. 'Tis a_er beck the grass hath turned Each blade towards the light And solar system_ave evolved From chaos and dark night, Filling the realms of boundless spac_eyond the sage's sight. At bounteous Nature's kindly breast, All things tha_reathe drink Joy, And birds and beasts and creeping things All follow wher_he leads. Her gifts to man are friends in need, The wreath, the foaming must, To angels- vision of God's throne, To insects- sensual lust. {verse But enoug_oetry! I am in tears; let me cry. It may be foolishness that everyone woul_augh at. But you won't laugh. Your eyes are shining, too. Enough poetry. _ant to tell you now about the insects to whom God gave 'sensual lust.' T_nsects- sensual lust. I am that insect, brother, and it is said of m_pecially. All we Karamazovs are such insects, and, angel as you are, tha_nsect lives in you, too, and will stir up a tempest in your blood. Tempests, because sensual lust is a tempest worse than a tempest! Beauty is a terribl_nd awful thing! It is terrible because it has not been fathomed and never ca_e fathomed, for God sets us nothing but riddles. Here the boundaries meet an_ll contradictions exist side by side. I am a cultivated man, brother, bu_'ve thought a lot about this. It's terrible what mysteries there are! To_any riddles weigh men down on earth. We must solve them as we can, and try t_eep a dry skin in the water. Beauty! I can't endure the thought that a man o_ofty mind and heart begins with the ideal of the Madonna and ends with th_deal of Sodom. What's still more awful is that a man with the ideal of Sodo_n his soul does not renounce the ideal of the Madonna, and his heart may b_n fire with that ideal, genuinely on fire, just as in his days of youth an_nnocence. Yes, man is broad, too broad, indeed. I'd have him narrower. Th_evil only knows what to make of it! What to the mind is shameful is beaut_nd nothing else to the heart. Is there beauty in Sodom? Believe me, that fo_he immense mass of mankind beauty is found in Sodom. Did you know tha_ecret? The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. Go_nd the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man. Bu_ man always talks of his own ache. Listen, now to come to facts."