ON the way to Ivan he had to pass the house where Katerina Ivanovna wa_iving. There was light in the windows. He suddenly stopped and resolved to g_n. He had not seen Katerina Ivanovna for more than a week. But now it struc_im that Ivan might be with her, especially on the eve of the terrible day.
Ringing, and mounting the staircase, which was dimly lighted by a Chines_antern, he saw a man coming down, and as they met, he recognised him as hi_rother. So he was just coming from Katerina Ivanovna.
"Ah, it's only you," said Ivan dryly. "Well, good-bye! You are going to her?"
"I don't advise you to; she's upset and you'll upset her more."
A door was instantly flung open above, and a voice cried suddenly:
"No, no! Alexey Fyodorovitch, have you come from him?"
"Yes, I have been with him."
"Has he sent me any message? Come up, Alyosha, and you, Ivan Fyodorovitch, yo_ust come back, you must. Do you hear?"
There was such a peremptory note in Katya's voice that Ivan, after a moment'_esitation, made up his mind to go back with Alyosha.
"She was listening," he murmured angrily to himself, but Alyosha heard it.
"Excuse my keeping my greatcoat on," said Ivan, going into the drawing-room.
"I won't sit down. I won't stay more than a minute."
"Sit down, Alexey Fyodorovitch," said Katerina Ivanovna, though she remaine_tanding. She had changed very little during this time, but there was a_minous gleam in her dark eyes. Alyosha remembered afterwards that she ha_truck him as particularly handsome at that moment.
"What did he ask you to tell me?"
"Only one thing," said Alyosha, looking her straight in the face, "that yo_ould spare yourself and say nothing at the trial of what" (he was a littl_onfused) "… passed between you… at the time of your first acquaintance… i_hat town."
"Ah! that I bowed down to the ground for that money!" She broke into a bitte_augh. "Why, is he afraid for me or for himself? He asks me to spare- whom?
Him or myself? Tell me, Alexey Fyodorovitch!"
Alyosha watched her intently, trying to understand her.
"Both yourself and him," he answered softly.
"I am glad to hear it," she snapped out maliciously, and she suddenly blushed.
"You don't know me yet, Alexey Fyodorovitch," she said menacingly. "And _on't know myself yet. Perhaps you'll want to trample me under foot after m_xamination to-morrow."
"You will give your evidence honourably," said Alyosha; "that's all that'_anted."
"Women are often dishonourable," she snarled. "Only an hour ago I was thinkin_ felt afraid to touch that monster… as though he were a reptile… but no, h_s still a human being to me! But did he do it? Is he the murderer?" sh_ried, all of a sudden, hysterically, turning quickly to Ivan. Alyosha saw a_nce that she had asked Ivan that question before, perhaps only a momen_efore he came in, and not for the first time, but for the hundredth, and tha_hey had ended by quarrelling.
"I've been to see Smerdyakov… . It was you, you who persuaded me that h_urdered his father. It's only you I believed" she continued, still addressin_van. He gave her a sort of strained smile. Alyosha started at her tone. H_ad not suspected such familiar intimacy between them.
"Well, that's enough, anyway," Ivan cut short the conversation. "I am going.
I'll come to-morrow." And turning at once, he walked out of the room and wen_traight downstairs.
With an imperious gesture, Katerina Ivanovna seized Alyosha by both hands.
"Follow him! Overtake him! Don't leave him alone for a minute!" she said, in _urried whisper. "He's mad! Don't you know that he's mad? He is in a fever, nervous fever. The doctor told me so. Go, run after him… ."
Alyosha jumped up and ran after Ivan, who was not fifty paces ahead of him.
"What do you want?" He turned quickly on Alyosha, seeing that he was runnin_fter him. "She told you to catch me up, because I'm mad. I know it all b_eart," he added irritably.
"She is mistaken, of course; but she is right that you are ill," said Alyosha.
"I was looking at your face just now. You look very ill, Ivan."
Ivan walked on without stopping. Alyosha followed him.
"And do you know, Alexey Fyodorovitch, how people do go out of their minds?"
Ivan asked in a a voice suddenly quiet, without a trace of irritation, with _ote of the simplest curiosity.
"No, I don't. I suppose there are all kinds of insanity."
"And can one observe that one's going mad oneself?"
"I imagine one can't see oneself clearly in such circumstances," Alyosh_nswered with surprise.
Ivan paused for half a minute.
"If you want to talk to me, please change the subject," he said suddenly.
"Oh, while I think of it, I have a letter for you," said Alyosha timidly, an_e took Lise's note from his pocket and held it out to Ivan. They were jus_nder a lamp-post. Ivan recognised the handwriting at once.
"Ah, from that little demon!" he laughed maliciously, and, without opening th_nvelope, he tore it into bits and threw it in the air. The bits wer_cattered by the wind.
"She's not sixteen yet, I believe, and already offering herself," he sai_ontemptuously, striding along the street again.
"How do you mean, offering herself?" exclaimed Alyosha.
"As wanton women offer themselves, to be sure."
"How can you, Ivan, how can you?" Alyosha cried warmly, in a grieved voice.
"She is a child; you are insulting a child! She is ill; she is very ill, too.
She is on the verge of insanity, too, perhaps… . I had hoped to hear somethin_rom you… that would save her."
"You'll hear nothing from me. If she is a child, I am not her nurse. Be quiet, Alexey. Don't go on about her. I am not even thinking about it."
They were silent again for a moment.
"She will be praying all night now to the Mother of God to show her how to ac_o-morrow at the trial," he said sharply and angrily again.
"You… you mean Katerina Ivanovna?"
"Yes. Whether she's to save Mitya or ruin him. She'll pray for light fro_bove. She can't make up her mind for herself, you see. She has not had tim_o decide yet. She takes me for her nurse, too. She wants me to sing lullabie_o her."
"Katerina Ivanovna loves you, brother," said Alyosha sadly.
"Perhaps; but I am not very keen on her."
"She is suffering. Why do you… sometimes say things to her that give he_ope?" Alyosha went on, with timid reproach. "I know that you've given he_ope. Forgive me for speaking to you like this," he added.
"I can't behave to her as I ought- break off altogether and tell her s_traight out," said Ivan, irritably. "I must wait till sentence is passed o_he murderer. If I break off with her now, she will avenge herself on me b_uining that scoundrel to-morrow at the trial, for she hates him and knows sh_ates him. It's all a lie- lie upon lie! As long as I don't break off wit_er, she goes on hoping, and she won't ruin that monster, knowing how I wan_o get him out of trouble. If only that damned verdict would come!"
The words "murderer" and "monster" echoed painfully in Alyosha's heart.
"But how can she ruin Mitya?" he asked, pondering on Ivan's words. "Wha_vidence can she give that would ruin Mitya?"
"You don't know that yet. She's got a document in her hands, in Mitya's ow_riting, that proves conclusively that he did murder Fyodor Pavlovitch."
"That's impossible!" cried Alyosha.
"Why is it impossible? I've read it myself."
"There can't be such a document!" Alyosha repeated warmly. "There can't be, because he's not the murderer. It's not he murdered father, not he!"
Ivan suddenly stopped.
"Who is the murderer then, according to you?" he asked, with apparen_oldness. There was even a supercilious note in his voice.
"You know who," Alyosha pronounced in a low, penetrating voice.
"Who? You mean the myth about that crazy idiot, the epileptic, Smerdyakov?"
Alyosha suddenly felt himself trembling all over.
"You know who," broke helplessly from him. He could scarcely breathe.
"Who? Who?" Ivan cried almost fiercely. All his restraint suddenly vanished.
"I only know one thing," Alyosha went on, still almost in a whisper, "i_asn't you killed father."
"'Not you'! What do you mean by 'not you'?" Ivan was thunderstruck.
"It was not you killed father, not you! Alyosha repeated firmly.
The silence lasted for half a minute.
"I know I didn't. Are you raving?" said Ivan, with a pale, distorted smile.
His eyes were riveted on Alyosha. They were standing again under a lamp-post.
"No, Ivan. You've told yourself several times that you are the murderer."
"When did I say so? I was in Moscow… . When have I said so?" Ivan faltere_elplessly.
"You've said so to yourself many times, when you've been alone during thes_wo dreadful months," Alyosha went on softly and distinctly as before. Yet h_as speaking now, as it were, not of himself, not of his own will, but obeyin_ome irresistible command. "You have accused yourself and have confessed t_ourself that you are the murderer and no one else. But you didn't do it: yo_re mistaken: you are not the murderer. Do you hear? It was not you! God ha_ent me to tell you so."
They were both silent. The silence lasted a whole long minute. They were bot_tanding still, gazing into each other's eyes. They were both pale. Suddenl_van began trembling all over, and clutched Alyosha's shoulder.
"You've been in my room!" he whispered hoarsely. "You've been there at night, when he came… . Confess… have you seen him, have you seen him?"
"Whom do you mean- Mitya?" Alyosha asked, bewildered.
"Not him, damn the monster!" Ivan shouted, in a frenzy, "Do you know that h_isits me? How did you find out? Speak!"
"Who is he? I don't know whom you are talking about," Alyosha faltered, beginning to be alarmed.
"Yes, you do know. or how could you- ? It's impossible that you don't know."
Suddenly he seemed to check himself. He stood still and seemed to reflect. _trange grin contorted his lips.
"Brother," Alyosha began again, in a shaking voice, "I have said this to you, because you'll believe my word, I know that. I tell you once and for all, it'_ot you. You hear, once for all! God has put it into my heart to say this t_ou, even though it may make you hate me from this hour."
But by now Ivan had apparently regained his self-control.
"Alexey Fyodorovitch," he said, with a cold smile, "I can't endure prophet_nd epileptics- messengers from God especially- and you know that only to_ell. I break off all relations with you from this moment and probably fo_ver. I beg you to leave me at this turning. It's the way to your lodgings, too. You'd better be particularly careful not to come to me to-day! Do yo_ear?"
He turned and walked on with a firm step, not looking back.
"Brother," Alyosha called after him, "if anything happens to you to-day, tur_o me before anyone!"
But Ivan made no reply. Alyosha stood under the lamp-post at the cross roads, till Ivan had vanished into the darkness. Then he turned and walked slowl_omewards. Both Alyosha and Ivan were living in lodgings; neither of them wa_illing to live in Fyodor Pavlovitch's empty house. Alyosha had a furnishe_oom in the house of some working people. Ivan lived some distance from him.
He had taken a roomy and fairly comfortable lodge attached to a fine hous_hat belonged to a well-to-do lady, the widow of an official. But his onl_ttendant was a deaf and rheumatic old crone who went to bed at six o'cloc_very evening and got up at six in the morning. Ivan had become remarkabl_ndifferent to his comforts of late, and very fond of being alone. He di_verything for himself in the one room he lived in, and rarely entered any o_he other rooms in his abode.
He reached the gate of the house and had his hand on the bell, when h_uddenly stopped. He felt that he was trembling all over with anger. Suddenl_e let go of the bell, turned back with a curse, and walked with rapid step_n the opposite direction. He walked a mile and a half to a tiny, slanting, wooden house, almost a hut, where Marya Kondratyevna, the neighbour who use_o come to Fyodor Pavlovitch's kitchen for soup and to whom Smerdyakov ha_nce sung his songs and played on the guitar, was now lodging. She had sol_heir little house, and was now living here with her mother. Smerdyakov, wh_as ill- almost dying-had been with them ever since Fyodor Pavlovitch's death.
It was to him Ivan was going now, drawn by a sudden and irresistibl_rompting.