BUT Dmitri Fyodorovitch was speeding along the road. It was a little more tha_wenty versts to Mokroe, but Andrey's three horses galloped at such a pac_hat the distance might be covered in an hour and a quarter. The swift motio_evived Mitya. The air was fresh and cool, there were big stars shining in th_ky. It was the very night, and perhaps the very hour, in which Alyosha fel_n the earth, and rapturously swore to love it for ever and ever.
All was confusion, confusion in Mitya's soul, but although many things wer_oading his heart, at that moment his whole being was yearning for her, hi_ueen, to whom he was flying to look on her for the last time. One thing I ca_ay for certain; his heart did not waver for one instant. I shall perhaps no_e believed when I say that this jealous lover felt not the slightest jealous_f this new rival, who seemed to have sprung out of the earth. If any othe_ad appeared on the scene, he would have been jealous at once, and would- perhaps have stained his fierce hands with blood again. But as he flew throug_he night, he felt no envy, no hostility even, for the man who had been he_irst lover… . It is true he had not yet seen him.
"Here there was no room for dispute: it was her right and his; this was he_irst love which, after five years, she had not forgotten; so she had love_im only for those five years, and I, how do I come in? What right have I?
Step aside, Mitya, and make way! What am I now? Now everything is over apar_rom the officer even if he had not appeared, everything would be over… "
These words would roughly have expressed his feelings, if he had been capabl_f reasoning. But he could not reason at that moment. His present plan o_ction had arisen without reasoning. At Fenya's first words, it had sprun_rom feeling, and been adopted in a flash, with all its consequences. And yet, in spite of his resolution, there was confusion in his soul, an agonisin_onfusion: his resolution did not give him peace. There was so much behin_hat tortured him. And it seemed strange to him, at moments, to think that h_ad written his own sentence of death with pen and paper: "I punish myself,"
and the paper was lying there in his pocket, ready; the pistol was loaded; h_ad already resolved how, next morning, he would meet the first warm ray of
And yet he could not be quit of the past, of all that he had left behind an_hat tortured him. He felt that miserably, and the thought of it sank into hi_eart with despair. There was one moment when he felt an impulse to sto_ndrey, to jump out of the cart, to pull out his loaded pistol, and to make a_nd of everything without waiting for the dawn. But that moment flew by like _park. The horses galloped on, "devouring space," and as he drew near hi_oal, again the thought of her, of her alone, took more and more complet_ossession of his soul, chasing away the fearful images that had been hauntin_t. Oh, how he longed to look upon her, if only for a moment, if only from _istance!
"She's now with him," he thought, "now I shall see what she looks like wit_im, her first love, and that's all I want." Never had this woman, who wa_uch a fateful influence in his life, aroused such love in his breast, suc_ew and unknown feeling, surprising even to himself, a feeling tender t_evoutness, to self-effacement before her! "I will efface myself!" he said, i_ rush of almost hysterical ecstasy.
They had been galloping nearly an hour. Mitya was silent, and though Andre_as, as a rule, a talkative peasant, he did not utter a word, either. H_eemed afraid to talk, he only whipped up smartly his three lean, bu_ettlesome, bay horses. Suddenly Mitya cried out in horrible anxiety:
"Andrey! What if they're asleep?"
This thought fell upon him like a blow. It had not occurred to him before.
"It may well be that they're gone to bed by now, Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
Mitya frowned as though in pain. Yes, indeed… he was rushing there… with suc_eelings… while they were asleep… she was asleep, perhaps, there too… . A_ngry feeling surged up in his heart.
"Drive on, Andrey! Whip them up! Look alive!" he cried, beside himself.
"But maybe they're not in bed!" Andrey went on after a pause. "Timofey sai_hey were a lot of them there-."
"At the station?"
"Not at the posting-station, but at Plastunov's, at the inn, where they le_ut horses, too."
"I know. So you say there are a lot of them? How's that? Who are they?" crie_itya, greatly dismayed at this unexpected news.
"Well, Timofey was saying they're all gentlefolk. Two from our town- who the_re I can't say- and there are two others, strangers, maybe more besides. _idn't ask particularly. They've set to playing cards, so Timofey said."
"So, maybe they're not in bed if they're at cards. It's most likely not mor_han eleven."
"May I ask you something, sir?" said Andrey, after a pause. "Only I'm afrai_f angering you, sir."
"What is it?"
"Why, Fenya threw herself at your feet just now, and begged you not to har_er mistress, and someone else, too… so you see, sir- It's I am taking yo_here… forgive me, sir, it's my conscience… maybe it's stupid of me to spea_f it-."
Mitya suddenly seized him by the shoulders from behind.
"Are you a driver?" he asked frantically.
"Then you know that one has to make way. What would you say to a driver wh_ouldn't make way for anyone, but would just drive on and crush people? No, _river mustn't run over people. One can't run over a man. One can't spoi_eople's lives. And if you have spoilt a life- punish yourself… . If onl_ou've spoilt, if only you've ruined anyone's life- punish yourself and g_way."
These phrases burst from Mitya almost hysterically. Though Andrey wa_urprised at him, he kept up the conversation.
"That's right, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, you're quite right, one mustn't crush o_orment a man, or any kind of creature, for every creature is created by God.
Take a horse, for instance, for some folks, even among us drivers, driv_nyhow. Nothing will restrain them, they just force it along."
"To hell?" Mitya interrupted, and went off into his abrupt, short laugh.
"Andrey, simple soul," he seized him by the shoulders again, "tell me, wil_mitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov go to hell, or not, what do you think?"
"I don't know, darling, it depends on you, for you are… you see, sir, when th_on of God was nailed on the Cross and died, He went straight down to hel_rom the Cross, and set free all sinners that were in agony. And the devi_roaned, because he thought that he would get no more sinners in hell. And Go_aid to him, then, 'Don't groan, for you shall have all the mighty of th_arth, the rulers, the chief judges, and the rich men, and shall be filled u_s you have been in all the ages till I come again.' Those were His ver_ords… "
"A peasant legend! Capital! Whip up the left, Andrey!"
"So you see, sir, who it is hell's for," said Andrey, whipping up the lef_orse, "but you're like a little child… that's how we look on you… and thoug_ou're hasty-tempered, sir, yet God will forgive you for your kind heart."
"And you, do you forgive me, Andrey?"
"What should I forgive you for, sir? You've never done me any harm."
"No, for everyone, for everyone, you here alone, on the road, will you forgiv_e for everyone? Speak, simple peasant heart!"
"Oh, sir! I feel afraid of driving you, your talk is so strange."
But Mitya did not hear. He was frantically praying and muttering to himself.
"Lord, receive me, with all my lawlessness, and do not condemn me. Let me pas_y Thy judgment… do not condemn me, for I have condemned myself, do no_ondemn me, for I love Thee, O Lord. I am a wretch, but I love Thee. If Tho_endest me to hell, I shall love Thee there, and from there I shall cry ou_hat I love Thee for ever and ever… . But let me love to the end… . Here an_ow for just five hours… till the first light of Thy day… for I love the quee_f my soul… I love her and I cannot help loving her. Thou seest my whol_eart… I shall gallop up, I shall fall before her and say, 'You are right t_ass on and leave me. Farewell and forget your victim… never fret yoursel_bout me!'"
"Mokroe!" cried Andrey, pointing ahead with his whip.
Through the pale darkness of the night loomed a solid black mass of buildings, flung down, as it were, in the vast plain. The village of Mokroe numbered tw_housand inhabitants, but at that hour all were asleep, and only here an_here a few lights still twinkled.
"Drive on, Andrey, I come!" Mitya exclaimed, feverishly.
"They're not asleep," said Andrey again, pointing with his whip to th_lastunovs' inn, which was at the entrance to the village. The six windows, looking on the street, were all brightly lighted up.
"They're not asleep," Mitya repeated joyously. "Quicker, Andrey! Gallop! Driv_p with a dash! Set the bells ringing! Let all know that I have come. I'_oming! I'm coming, too!"
Andrey lashed his exhausted team into a gallop, drove with a dash and pulle_p his steaming, panting horses at the high flight of steps.
Mitya jumped out of the cart just as the innkeeper, on his way to bed, peepe_ut from the steps curious to see who had arrived.
"Trifon Borissovitch, is that you?"
The innkeeper bent down, looked intently, ran down the steps, and rushed up t_he guest with obsequious delight.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, your honour! Do I see you again?"
Trifon Borissovitch was a thick-set, healthy peasant, of middle height, with _ather fat face. His expression was severe and uncompromising, especially wit_he peasants of Mokroe, but he had the power of assuming the most obsequiou_ountenance, when he had an inkling that it was to his interest. He dressed i_ussian style, with a shirt buttoning down on one side, and a full-skirte_oat. He had saved a good sum of money, but was for ever dreaming of improvin_is position. More than half the peasants were in his clutches, everyone i_he neighbourhood was in debt to him. From the neighbouring landowners h_ought and rented lands which were worked by the peasants, in payment of debt_hich they could never shake off. He was a widower, with four grown-u_aughters. One of them was already a widow and lived in the inn with her tw_hildren, his grandchildren, and worked for him like a charwoman. Another o_is daughters was married to a petty official, and in one of the rooms of th_nn, on the wall could be seen, among the family photographs, a miniatur_hotograph of this official in uniform and official epaulettes. The tw_ounger daughters used to wear fashionable blue or green dresses, fittin_ight at the back, and with trains a yard long, on Church holidays or whe_hey went to pay visits. But next morning they would get up at dawn, as usual, sweep out the rooms with a birch-broom, empty the slops, and clean up afte_odgers.
In spite of the thousands of roubles he had saved, Trifon Borissovitch wa_ery fond of emptying the pockets of a drunken guest, and remembering that no_ month ago he had, in twenty-four hours, made two if not three hundre_oubles out of Dmitri, when he had come on his escapade with Grushenka, he me_im now with eager welcome, scenting his prey the moment Mitya drove up to th_teps.
"Dmitri Fyodorovitch, dear sir, we see you once more!"
"Stay, Trifon Borissovitch," began Mitya, "first and foremost, where is she?"
"Agrafena Alexandrovna?" The inn-keeper understood at once, looking sharpl_nto Mitya's face. "She's here, too… "
"With whom? With whom?"
"Some strangers. One is an official gentleman, a Pole, to judge from hi_peech. He sent the horses for her from here; and there's another with him, _riend of his, or a fellow traveller, there's no telling. They're dressed lik_ivilians."
"Well, are they feasting? Have they money?"
"Poor sort of a feast! Nothing to boast of, Dmitri Fyodorovitch."
"Nothing to boast of? And who are the others?"
"They're two gentlemen from the town… . They've come back from Tcherny, an_re putting up here. One's quite a young gentleman, a relative of Mr. Miuso_e must be, but I've forgotten his name… and I expect you know the other, too, a gentleman called Maximov. He's been on a pilgrimage, so he says, to th_onastery in the town. He's travelling with this young relation of Mr.
"Is that all?"
"Stay, listen, Trifon Borissovitch. Tell me the chief thing: What of her? Ho_s she?"
"Oh, she's only just come. She's sitting with them."
"Is she cheerful? Is she laughing?"
"No, I think she's not laughing much. She's sitting quite dull. She's combin_he young gentleman's hair."
"The Pole- the officer?"
"He's not young, and he's not an officer, either. Not him, sir. It's the youn_entleman that's Mr. Miusov's relation. I've forgotten his name."
"That's it, Kalganov!"
"All right. I'll see for myself. Are they playing cards?"
"They have been playing, but they've left off. They've been drinking tea, th_fficial gentleman asked for liqueurs."
"Stay, Trifon Borissovitch, stay, my good soul, I'll see for myself. No_nswer one more question: are the gypsies here?"
"You can't have the gypsies now, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. The authorities hav_ent them away. But we've Jews that play the cymbals and the fiddle in th_illage, so one might send for them. They'd come."
"Send for them. Certainly send for them!" cried Mitya. "And you can get th_irls together as you did then, Marya especially, Stepanida, too, and Arina.
Two hundred roubles for a chorus!"
"Oh, for a sum like that I can get all the village together, though by no_hey're asleep. Are the peasants here worth such kindness, Dmitr_yodorovitch, or the girls either? To spend a sum like that on such coarsenes_nd rudeness! What's the good of giving a peasant a cigar to smoke, th_tinking ruffian! And the girls are all lousy. Besides, I'll get my daughter_p for nothing, let alone a sum like that. They've only just gone to bed, I'l_ive them a kick and set them singing for you. You gave the peasants champagn_o drink the other day, e-ech!"
For all his pretended compassion for Mitya, Trifon Borissovitch had hidde_alf a dozen bottles of champagne on that last occasion, and had picked up _undred-rouble note under the table, and it had remained in his clutches.
"Trifon Borissovitch, I sent more than one thousand flying last time I wa_ere. Do you remember?"
"You did send it flying. I may well remember. You must have left thre_housand behind you."
"Well, I've come to do the same again, do you see?"
And he pulled out his roll of notes, and held them up before the innkeeper'_ose.
Now, listen and remember. In an hour's time the wine will arrive, savouries, pies, and sweets- bring them all up at once. That box Andrey has got is to b_rought up at once, too. Open it, and hand champagne immediately. And th_irls, we must have the girls, Marya especially."
He turned to the cart and pulled out the box of pistols.
"Here, Andrey, let's settle. Here's fifteen roubles for the drive, and fift_or vodka… for your readiness, for your love… . Remember Karamazov!"
"I'm afraid, sir," Andrey. "Give me five roubles extra, but more I won't take.
Trifon Borissovitch, bear witness. Forgive my foolish words… "
"What are you afraid of?" asked Mitya, scanning him. "Well, go to the devil, if that's it?" he cried, flinging him five roubles. "Now, Trifon Borissovitch, take me up quietly and let me first get a look at them, so that they don't se_e. Where are they? In the blue room?"
Trifon Borissovitch looked apprehensively at Mitya, but at once obediently di_is bidding. Leading him into the passage, he went himself into the firs_arge room, adjoining that in which the visitors were sitting, and took th_ight away. Then he stealthily led Mitya in, and put him in a corner in th_ark, whence he could freely watch the company without being seen. But Mity_id not look long, and, indeed, he could not see them; he saw her, his hear_hrobbed violently, and all was dark before his eyes.
She was sitting sideways to the table in a low chair, and beside her, on th_ofa, was the pretty youth, Kalganov. She was holding his hand and seemed t_e laughing, while he, seeming vexed and not looking at her, was sayin_omething in a loud voice to Maximov, who sat the other side of the table, facing Grushenka. Maximov was laughing violently at something. On the sofa sa_e, and on a chair by the sofa there was another stranger. The one on the sof_as lolling backwards, smoking a pipe, and Mitya had an impression of _toutish, broad-faced, short little man, who was apparently angry abou_omething. His friend, the other stranger, struck Mitya as extraordinaril_all, but he could make out nothing more. He caught his breath. He could no_ear it for a minute, he put the pistol-case on a chest, and with a throbbin_eart he walked, feeling cold all over, straight into the blue room to fac_he company.
"Aie!" shrieked Grushenka, the first to notice him.