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Chapter 4 The Lost Dog

  • KOLYA leaned against the fence with an air of dignity, waiting for Alyosha t_ppear. Yes, he had long wanted to meet him. He had heard a great deal abou_im from the boys, but hitherto he had always maintained an appearance o_isdainful indifference when he was mentioned, and he had even "criticised"
  • what he heard about Alyosha. But secretely he had a great longing to make hi_cquaintance; there was something sympathetic and attractive in all he wa_old about Alyosha. So the present moment was important: to begin with, he ha_o show himself at his best, to show his independence. "Or he'll think of m_s thirteen and take me for a boy, like the rest of them. And what are thes_oys to him? I shall ask him when I get to know him. It's a pity I am s_hort, though. Tuzikov is younger than I am, yet he is half a head taller. Bu_ have a clever face. I am not good-looking. I know I'm hideous, but I've _lever face. I mustn't talk too freely; if I fall into his arms all at once, he may think- Tfoo! how horrible if he should think- !"
  • Such were the thoughts that excited Kolya while he was doing his utmost t_ssume the most independent air. What distressed him most was his being s_hort; he did not mind so much his "hideous" face, as being so short. On th_all in a corner at home he had the year before made a pencil-mark to show hi_eight, and every two months since he anxiously measured himself against it t_ee how much he had gained. But alas! he grew very slowly, and this sometime_educed him almost to despair. His face was in reality by no means "hideous"; on the contrary, it was rather attractive, with a fair, pale skin, freckled.
  • His small, lively grey eyes had a fearless look, and often glowed wit_eeling. He had rather high cheekbones; small, very red, but not very thick, lips; his nose was small and unmistakably turned up. "I've a regular pug nose, a regular pug nose," Kolya used to mutter to himself when he looked in th_ooking-glass, and he always left it with indignation. "But perhaps I haven'_ot a clever face?" he sometimes thought, doubtful even of that. But it mus_ot be supposed that his mind was preoccupied with his face and his height. O_he contrary, however bitter the moments before the looking-glass were to him, he quickly forgot them, and forgot them for a long time, "abandoning himsel_ntirely to ideas and to real life," as he formulated it to himself.
  • Alyosha came out quickly and hastened up to Kolya. Before he reached him, Kolya could see that he looked delighted. "Can he be so glad to see me?" Koly_ondered, feeling pleased. We may note here, in passing, that Alyosha'_ppearance had undergone a complete change since we saw him last. He ha_bandoned his cassock and was wearing now a wellcut coat, a soft, round hat, and his hair had been cropped short. All this was very becoming to him, and h_ooked quite handsome. His charming face always had a good-humoure_xpression; but there was a gentleness and serenity in his good-humour. T_olya's surprise, Alyosha came out to him just as he was, without an overcoat.
  • He had evidently come in haste. He held out his hand to Kolya at once.
  • "Here you are at last! How anxious we've been to see you!"
  • "There were reasons which you shall know directly. Anyway, I am glad to mak_our acquaintance. I've long been hoping for an opportunity, and have heard _reat deal about you," Kolya muttered, a little breathless.
  • "We should have met anyway. I've heard a great deal about you, too; but you'v_een a long time coming here."
  • "Tell me, how are things going?"
  • "Ilusha is very ill. He is certainly dying."
  • "How awful! You must admit that medicine is a fraud, Karamazov," cried Koly_armly.
  • "Ilusha has mentioned you often, very often, even in his sleep, in delirium, you know. One can see that you used to be very, very dear to him… before th_ncident… with the knife… . Then there's another reason… . Tell me, is tha_our dog?"
  • "Yes Perezvon."
  • "Not Zhutchka?" Alyosha looked at Kolya with eyes full of pity. "Is she los_or ever?"
  • "I know you would all like it to be Zhutchka. I've heard all about it." Koly_miled mysteriously. "Listen, Karamazov, I'll tell you all about it. That'_hat I came for; that's what I asked you to come out here for, to explain th_hole episode to you before we go in," he began with animation. "You see, Karamazov, Ilusha came into the preparatory class last spring. Well, you kno_hat our preparatory class is- a lot of small boys. They began teasing Ilush_t once. I am two classes higher up, and, of course, I only look on at the_rom a distance. I saw the boy was weak and small, but he wouldn't give in t_hem; he fought with them. I saw he was proud, and his eyes were full of fire.
  • I like children like that. And they teased him all the more. The worst of i_as he was horribly dressed at the time, his breeches were too small for him, and there were holes in his boots. They worried him about it; they jeered a_im. That I can't stand. I stood up for him at once, and gave it to them hot.
  • I beat them, but they adore me, do you know, Karamazov?" Kolya boaste_mpulsively; "but I am always fond of children. I've two chickens in my hand_t home now- that's what detained me to-day. So they left off beating Ilush_nd I took him under my protection. I saw the boy was proud. I tell you that, the boy was proud; but in the end he became slavishly devoted to me: he did m_lightest bidding, obeyed me as though I were God, tried to copy me. In th_ntervals between the classes he used to run to me at once' and I'd go abou_ith him. On Sundays, too. They always laugh when an older boy makes friend_ith a younger one like that; but that's a prejudice. If it's my fancy, that'_nough. I am teaching him, developing him. Why shouldn't I develop him if _ike him? Here you, Karamazov, have taken up with all these nestlings. I se_ou want to influence the younger generation- to develop them, to be of use t_hem, and I assure you this trait in your character, which I knew by hearsay, attracted me more than anything. Let us get to the point, though. I notice_hat there was a sort of softness and sentimentality coming over the boy, an_ou know I have a positive hatred of this sheepish sentimentality, and I hav_ad it from a baby. There were contradictions in him, too: he was proud, bu_e was slavishly devoted to me, and yet all at once his eyes would flash an_e'd refuse to agree with me; he'd argue, fly into a rage. I used sometimes t_ropound certain ideas; I could see that it was not so much that he disagree_ith the ideas, but that he was simply rebelling against me, because I wa_ool in responding to his endearments. And so, in order to train him properly, the tenderer he was, the colder I became. I did it on purpose: that was m_dea. My object was to form his character, to lick him into shape, to make _an of him… and besides… no doubt, you understand me at a word. Suddenly _oticed for three days in succession he was downcast and dejected, not becaus_f my coldness, but for something else, something more important. I wondere_hat the tragedy was. I have pumped him and found out that he had somehow go_o know Smerdyakov, who was footman to your late father- it was before hi_eath, of course- and he taught the little fool a silly trick- that is, _rutal, nasty trick. He told him to take a piece of bread, to stick a pin i_t, and throw it to one of those hungry dogs who snap up anything withou_iting it, and then to watch and see what would happen. So they prepared _iece of bread like that and threw it to Zhutchka, that shaggy dog there'_een such a fuss about. The people of the house it belonged to never fed it a_ll, though it barked all day. (Do you like that stupid barking, Karamazov? _an't stand it.) So it rushed at the bread, swallowed it, and began to squeal; it turned round and round and ran away, squealing as it ran out of sight. Tha_as Ilusha's own account of it. He confessed it to me, and cried bitterly. H_ugged me, shaking all over. He kept on repeating 'He ran away squealing': th_ight of that haunted him. He was tormented by remorse, I could see that. _ook it seriously. I determined to give him a lesson for other things as well.
  • So I must confess I wasn't quite straightforward, and pretended to be mor_ndignant perhaps than I was. 'You've done a nasty thing,' I said, 'you are _coundrel. I won't tell of it, of course, but I shall have nothing more to d_ith you for a time. I'll think it over and let you know through Smurov'- that's the boy who's just come with me; he's always ready to do anything fo_e- 'whether I will have anything to do with you in the future or whether _ive you up for good as a scoundrel.' He was tremendously upset. I must own _elt I'd gone too far as I spoke, but there was no help for it. I did what _hought best at the time. A day or two after, I sent Smurov to tell him that _ould not speak to him again. That's what we call it when two schoolfellow_efuse to have anything more to do with one another. Secretly I only meant t_end him to Coventry for a few days and then, if I saw signs of repentance, t_old out my hand to him again. That was my intention. But what do you thin_appened? He heard Smurov's message, his eyes flashed. 'Tell Krassotkin fo_e,' he cried, 'that I will throw bread with pins to all the dogs- all- all o_hem!' 'So he's going in for a little temper. We must smoke it out of him.'
  • And I began to treat him with contempt; whenever I met him I turned away o_miled sarcastically. And just then that affair with his father happened. Yo_emember? You must realise that he was fearfully worked up by what ha_appened already. The boys, seeing I'd given him up, set on him and taunte_im, shouting, 'Wisp of tow, wisp of tow!' And he had soon regular skirmishe_ith them, which I am very sorry for. They seem to have given him one very ba_eating. One day he flew at them all as they were coming out of school. _tood a few yards off, looking on. And, I swear, I don't remember that _aughed; it was quite the other way, I felt awfully sorry for him; in anothe_inute I would have run up to take his part. But he suddenly met my eyes. _on't know what he fancied; but he pulled out a penknife, rushed at me, an_truck at my thigh, here in my right leg. I didn't move. I don't mind owning _m plucky sometimes, Karamazov. I simply looked at him contemptuously, a_hough to say, 'This is how you repay all my kindness! Do it again if yo_ike, I'm at your service.' But he didn't stab me again; he broke down; he wa_rightened at what he had done; he threw away the knife, burst out crying, an_an away. I did not sneak on him, of course, and I made them all keep quiet, so it shouldn't come to the ears of the masters. I didn't even tell my mothe_ill it had healed up. And the wound was a mere scratch. And then I heard tha_he same day he'd been throwing stones and had bitten your finger- but yo_nderstand now what a state he was in! Well, it can't be helped: it was stupi_f me not to come and forgive him- that is, to make it up with him- when h_as taken ill. I am sorry for it now. But I had a special reason. So now I'v_old you all about it… but I'm afraid it was stupid of me."
  • "Oh, what a pity," exclaimed Alyosha, with feeling, "that I didn't know befor_hat terms you were on with him, or I'd have come to you long ago to beg yo_o go to him with me. Would you believe it, when he was feverish he talke_bout you in delirium. I didn't know how much you were to him! And you'v_eally not succeeded in finding that dog? His father and the boys have bee_unting all over the town for it. Would you believe it, since he's been ill, I've three times heard him repeat with tears, 'It's because I killed Zhutchka, father, that I am ill now. God is punishing me for it.' He can't get that ide_ut of his head. And if the dog were found and proved to be alive, one migh_lmost fancy the joy would cure him. We have all rested our hopes on you."
  • "Tell me, what made you hope that I should be the one to find him?" Koly_sked, with great curiosity. "Why did you reckon on me rather than anyon_lse?"
  • "There was a report that you were looking for the dog, and that you woul_ring it when you'd found it. Smurov said something of the sort. We've al_een trying to persuade Ilusha that the dog is alive, that it's been seen. Th_oys brought him a live hare: he just looked at it, with a faint smile, an_sked them to set it free in the fields. And so we did. His father has jus_his moment come back, bringing him a mastiff pup, hoping to comfort him wit_hat; but I think it only makes it worse."
  • "Tell me, Karamazov, what sort of man is the father? I know him, but what d_ou make of him- a mountebank, a buffoon?"
  • "Oh no; there are people of deep feeling who have been somehow crushed.
  • Buffoonery in them is a form of resentful irony against those to whom the_aren't speak the truth, from having been for years humiliated and intimidate_y them. Believe me, Krassotkin, that sort of buffoonery is sometimes tragi_n the extreme. His whole life now is centred in Ilusha, and if Ilusha dies, he will either go mad with grief or kill himself. I feel almost certain o_hat when I look at him now."
  • "I understand you, Karamazov. I see you understand human nature," Kolya added, with feeling.
  • "And as soon as I saw you with a dog, I thought it was Zhutchka you wer_ringing."
  • "Wait a bit, Karamazov, perhaps we shall find it yet; but this is Perezvon.
  • I'll let him go in now and perhaps it will amuse Ilusha more than the mastif_up. Wait a bit, Karamazov, you will know something in a minute. But, I say, _m keeping you here!" Kolya cried suddenly. "You've no overcoat on in thi_itter cold. You see what an egoist I am. Oh, we are all egoists, Karamazov!"
  • "Don't trouble; it is cold, but I don't often catch cold. Let us go in, though, and, by the way, what is your name? I know you are called Kolya, bu_hat else?"
  • "Nikolay- Nikolay Ivanovitch Krassotkin, or, as they say in officia_ocuments, 'Krassotkin son.'" Kolya laughed for some reason, but adde_uddenly, "Of course I hate my name Nikolay."
  • "Why so?"
  • "It's so trivial, so ordinary."
  • "You are thirteen?" asked Alyosha.
  • "No, fourteen- that is, I shall be fourteen very soon, in a fortnight. I'l_onfess one weakness of mine, Karamazov, just to you, since it's our firs_eeting, so that you may understand my character at once. I hate being aske_y age, more than that… and in fact… there's a libellous story going about me, that last week I played robbers with the preparatory boys. It's a fact that _id play with them, but it's a perfect libel to say I did it for my ow_musement. I have reasons for believing that you've heard the story; but _asn't playing for my own amusement, it was for the sake of the children, because they couldn't think of anything to do by themselves. But they'v_lways got some silly tale. This is an awful town for gossip, I can tell you."
  • "But what if you had been playing for your own amusement, what's the harm?"
  • "Come, I say, for my own amusement! You don't play horses, do you?"
  • "But you must look at it like this," said Alyosha, smiling. "Grown-up peopl_o to the theatre and there the adventures of all sorts of heroes ar_epresented- sometimes there are robbers and battles, too- and isn't that jus_he same thing, in a different form, of course? And young people's games o_oldiers or robbers in their playtime are also art in its first stage. Yo_now, they spring from the growing artistic instincts of the young. An_ometimes these games are much better than performances in the theatre; th_nly difference is that people go there to look at the actors, while in thes_ames the young people are the actors themselves. But that's only natural."
  • "You think so? Is that your idea?" Kolya looked at him intently. "Oh, yo_now, that's rather an interesting view. When I go home, I'll think it over.
  • I'll admit I thought I might learn something from you. I've come to learn o_ou, Karamazov," Kolya concluded, in a voice full of spontaneous feeling.
  • "And I of you," said Alyosha, smiling and pressing his hand.
  • Kolya was much pleased with Alyosha. What struck him most was that he treate_im exactly like an equal and that he talked to him just as if he were "quit_rown up."
  • "I'll show you something directly, Karamazov; it's a theatrical performance, too," he said, laughing nervously. "That's why I've come."
  • "Let us go first to the people of the house, on the left. All the boys leav_heir coats in there, because the room is small and hot."
  • "Oh, I'm only coming in for a minute. I'll keep on my overcoat. Perezvon wil_tay here in the passage and be dead. Ici, Perezvon, lie down and be dead! Yo_ee how he's dead. I'll go in first and explore, then I'll whistle to him whe_ think fit, and you'll see, he'll dash in like mad. Only Smurov must no_orget to open the door at the moment. I'll arrange it all and you'll se_omething."