They had gone. Pyotr Stepanovitch was about to rush back to the meeting t_ring order into chaos, but probably reflecting that it wasn't worth botherin_bout, left everything, and two minutes later was flying after the other two.
On the way he remembered a short cut to Filipov's house. He rushed along it, up to his knees in mud, and did in fact arrive at the very moment whe_tavrogin and Kirillov were coming in at the gate.
"You here already?" observed Kirillov. "That's good. Come in."
"How is it you told us you lived alone," asked Stavrogin, passing a boilin_amovar in the passage.
"You will see directly who it is I live with," muttered Kirillov. "Go in."
They had hardly entered when Verhovensky at once took out of his pocket th_nonymous letter he had taken from Lembke, and laid it before Stavrogin. The_ll then sat down. Stavrogin read the letter in silence.
"Well?" he asked.
"That scoundrel will do as he writes," Verhovensky explained. "So, as he i_nder your control, tell me how to act. I assure you he may go to Lembke to- morrow."
"Well, let him go."
"Let him go! And when we can prevent him, too!"
"You are mistaken. He is not dependent on me. Besides, I don't care; h_oesn't threaten me in any way; he only threatens you."
"I don't think so."
"But there are other people who may not spare you. Surely you understand that?
Listen, Stavrogin. This is only playing with words. Surely you don't grudg_he money?"
"Why, would it cost money?"
"It certainly would; two thousand or at least fifteen hundred. Give it to m_o-morrow or even to-day, and to-morrow evening I'll send him to Petersbur_or you. That's just what he wants. If you like, he can take Marya Timofyevna.
There was something distracted about him. He spoke, as it were, withou_aution, and he did not reflect on his words. Stavrogin watched him, wondering.
"I've no reason to send Marya Timofyevna away."
"Perhaps you don't even want to," Pyotr Stepanovitch smiled ironically.
"Perhaps I don't."
"In short, will there be the money or not?" he cried with angry impatience, and as it were peremptorily, to Stavrogin. The latter scrutinised him gravely.
"There won't be the money."
"Look here, Stavrogin! You know something, or have done something already! Yo_re going it!"
His face worked, the corners of his mouth twitched, and he suddenly laughed a_nprovoked and irrelevant laugh.
"But you've had money from your father for the estate," Stavrogin observe_almly. "Maman sent you six or eight thousand for Stepan Trofimovitch. So yo_an pay the fifteen hundred out of your own money. I don't care to pay fo_ther people. I've given a lot as it is. It annoys me… ." He smiled himself a_is own words. "Ah, you are beginning to joke!"
Stavrogin got up from his chair. Verhovensky instantly jumped up too, an_echanically stood with his back to the door as though barring the way to him.
Stavrogin had already made a motion to push him aside and go out, when h_topped short.
"I won't give up Shatov to you," he said. Pyotr Stepanovitch started. The_ooked at one another.
"I told you this evening why you needed Shatov's blood," said Stavrogin, wit_lashing eyes. "It's the cement you want to bind your groups together with.
You drove Shatov away cleverly just now. You knew very well that he wouldn'_romise not to inform and he would have thought it mean to lie to you. Bu_hat do you want with me? What do you want with me? Ever since we met abroa_ou won't let me alone. The explanation you've given me so far was simpl_aving. Meanwhile you are driving at my giving Lebyadkin fifteen hundre_oubles, so as to give Fedka an opportunity to murder him. I know that yo_hink I want my wife murdered too. You think to tie my hands by this crime, and have me in your power. That's it, isn't it? What good will that be to you?
What the devil do you want with me? Look at me. Once for all, am I the man fo_ou? And let me alone."
"Has Fedka been to you himself?" Verhovensky asked breathlessly.
"Yes, he came. His price is fifteen hundred too… . But here; he'll repeat i_imself. There he stands." Stavrogin stretched out his hand.
Pyotr Stepanovitch turned round quickly. A new figure, Fedka, wearing a sheep- skin coat, but without a cap, as though he were at home, stepped out of th_arkness in the doorway. He stood there laughing and showing his even whit_eeth. His black eyes, with yellow whites, darted cautiously about the roo_atching the gentlemen. There was something he did not understand. He ha_vidently been just brought in by Kirillov, and his inquiring eyes turned t_he latter. He stood in the doorway, but was unwilling to come into the room.
"I suppose you got him ready here to listen to our bargaining, or that he ma_ctually see the money in our hands. Is that it?" asked Stavrogin; and withou_aiting for an answer he walked out of the house. Verhovensky, almost frantic, overtook him at the gate.
"Stop! Not another step!" he cried, seizing him by the arm. Stavrogin tried t_ull away his arm, but did not succeed. He was overcome with fury. Seizin_erhovensky by the hair with his left hand he flung him with all his might o_he ground and went out at the gate. But he had not gone thirty paces befor_erhovensky overtook him again.
"Let us make it up; let us make it up!" he murmured in a spasmodic whisper.
Stavrogin shrugged his shoulders, but neither answered nor turned round.
"Listen. I will bring you Lizaveta Nikolaevna to-morrow; shall I? No? Wh_on't you answer? Tell me what you want. I'll do it. Listen. I'll let you hav_hatov. Shall I?"
"Then it's true that you meant to kill him?" cried Stavrogin.
"What do you want with Shatov? What is he to you?" Pyotr Stepanovitch went on, gasping, speaking rapidly. He was in a frenzy, and kept running forward an_eizing Stavrogin by the elbow, probably unaware of what he was doing.
"Listen. I'll let you have him. Let's make it up. Your price is a very grea_ne, but … Let's make it up!"
Stavrogin glanced at him at last, and was amazed. The eyes, the voice, wer_ot the same as always, or as they had been in the room just now. What he sa_as almost another face. The intonation of the voice was different.
Verhovensky besought, implored. He was a man from whom what was most preciou_as being taken or had been taken, and who was still stunned by the shock.
"But what's the matter with you?" cried Stavrogin. The other did not answer, but ran after him and gazed at him with the same imploring but yet inflexibl_xpression.
"Let's make it up!" he whispered once more. "Listen. Like Fedka, I have _nife in my boot, but I'll make it up with you!"
"But what do you want with me, damn you?" Stavrogin cried, with intense ange_nd amazement. "Is there some mystery about it? Am I a sort of talisman fo_ou?"
"Listen. We are going to make a revolution," the other muttered rapidly, an_lmost in delirium. "You don't believe we shall make a revolution? We ar_oing to make such an upheaval that everything will be uprooted from it_oundation. Karmazinov is right that there is nothing to lay hold of.
Karmazinov is very intelligent. Another ten such groups in different parts o_ussiaand I am safe."
"Groups of fools like that?" broke reluctantly from Stavrogin.
"Oh, don't be so clever, Stavrogin; don't be so clever yourself. And you kno_ou are by no means so intelligent that you need wish others to be. You ar_fraid, you have no faith. You are frightened at our doing things on such _cale. And why are they fools? They are not such fools. No one has a mind o_is own nowadays. There are terribly few original minds nowadays. Virginsky i_ pure-hearted man, ten times as pure as you or I; but never mind about him.
Liputin is a rogue, but I know one point about him. Every rogue has some poin_n him… . Lyamshin is the only one who hasn't, but he is in my hands. A fe_ore groups, and I should have money and passports everywhere; so much a_east. Suppose it were only that? And safe places, so that they can search a_hey like. They might uproot one group but they'd stick at the next. We'll se_hings in a ferment… . Surely you don't think that we two are not enough?"
"Take Shigalov, and let me alone… ."
"Shigalov is a man of genius! Do you know he is a genius like Fourier, bu_older than Fourier; stronger. I'll look after him. He's discovered 'equality
"He is in a fever; he is raving; something very queer has happened to him,"
thought Stavrogin, looking at him once more. Both walked on without stopping.
"He's written a good thing in that manuscript," Verhovensky went on. "H_uggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it's his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all t_very one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases h_dvocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. T_egin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A hig_evel of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and the_re not wanted. The great intellects have always seized the power and bee_espots. Great intellects cannot help being despots and they've always don_ore harm than good. They will be banished or put to death. Cicero will hav_is tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will b_tonedthat's Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never bee_ither freedom or equality without despotism, but in the herd there is boun_o be equality, and that's Shigalovism! Ha ha ha! Do you think it strange? _m for Shigalovism."
Stavrogin tried to quicken his pace, and to reach home as soon as possible.
"If this fellow is drunk, where did he manage to get drunk?" crossed his mind.
"Can it be the brandy?"
"Listen, Stavrogin. To level the mountains is a fine idea, not an absurd one.
I am for Shigalov. Down with culture. We've had enough science! Withou_cience we have material enough to go on for a thousand years, but one mus_ave discipline. The one thing wanting in the world is discipline. The thirs_or culture is an aristocratic thirst. The moment you have family ties or lov_ou get the desire for property. We will destroy that desire; we'll make us_f drunkenness, slander, spying; we'll make use of incredible corruption; we'll stifle every genius in its infancy. We'll reduce all to a commo_enominator! Complete equality! 'We've learned a trade, and we are honest men; we need nothing more,' that was an answer given by English working-me_ecently. Only the necessary is necessary, that's the motto of the whole worl_enceforward. But it needs a shock. That's for us, the directors, to loo_fter. Slaves must have directors. Absolute submission, absolute loss o_ndividuality, but once in thirty years Shigalov would let them have a shoc_nd they would all suddenly begin eating one another up, to a certain point, simply as a precaution against boredom. Boredom is an aristocratic sensation.
The Shigalovians will have no desires. Desire and suffering are our lot, bu_higalovism is for the slaves."
"You exclude yourself?" Stavrogin broke in again.
"You, too. Do you know, I have thought of giving up the world to the Pope. Le_im come forth, on foot, and barefoot, and show himself to the rabble, saying,
'See what they have brought me to!' and they will all rush after him, even th_roops. The Pope at the head, with us round him, and below usShigalovism. Al_hat's needed is that the Internationale should come to an agreement with th_ope; so it will. And the old chap will agree at once. There's nothing else h_an do. Remember my words! Ha ha! Is it stupid? Tell me, is it stupid or not?"
"That's enough!" Stavrogin muttered with vexation.
"Enough! Listen. I've given up the Pope! Damn Shigalovism! Damn the Pope! W_ust have something more everyday. Not Shigalovism, for Shigalovism is a rar_pecimen of the jeweller's art. It's an ideal; it's in the future. Shigalov i_n artist and a fool like every philanthropist. We need coarse work, an_higalov despises coarse work. Listen. The Pope shall be for the west, and yo_hall be for us, you shall be for us!"
"Let me alone, you drunken fellow!" muttered Stavrogin, and he quickened hi_ace.
"Stavrogin, you are beautiful," cried Pyotr Stepanovitch, almost ecstatically.
"Do you know that you are beautiful! What's the most precious thing about yo_s that you sometimes don't know it. Oh, I've studied you! I often watch yo_n the sly! There's a lot of simpleheartedness and naivete about you still. D_ou know that? There still is, there is! You must be suffering and sufferin_enuinely from that simple-heartedness. I love beauty. I am a nihilist, but _ove beauty. Are nihilists incapable of loving beauty? It's only idols the_islike, but I love an idol. You are my idol! You injure no one, and every on_ates you. You treat every one as an equal, and yet every one is afraid o_outhat's good. Nobody would slap you on the shoulder. You are an awfu_ristocrat. An aristocrat is irresistible when he goes in for democracy! T_acrifice life, your own or another's is nothing to you. You are just the ma_hat's needed. It's just such a man as you that I need. I know no one but you.
You are the leader, you are the sun and I am your worm."
He suddenly kissed his hand. A shiver ran down Stavrogin's spine, and h_ulled away his hand in dismay. They stood still.
"Madman!" whispered Stavrogin.
"Perhaps I am raving; perhaps I am raving," Pyotr Stepanovitch assented, speaking rapidly. "But I've thought of the first step! Shigalov would neve_ave thought of it. There are lots of Shigalovs, but only one man, one man i_ussia has hit on the first step and knows how to take it. And I am that man!
Why do you look at me? I need you, you; without you I am nothing. Without yo_ am a fly, a bottled idea; Columbus without America."
Stavrogin stood still and looked intently into his wild eyes.
"Listen. First of all we'll make an upheaval," Verhovensky went on i_esperate haste, continually clutching at Stavrogin's left sleeve. "I'v_lready told you. We shall penetrate to the peasantry. Do you know that we ar_remendously powerful already? Our party does not consist only of those wh_ommit murder and arson, fire off pistols in the traditional fashion, or bit_olonels. They are only a hindrance. I don't accept anything withou_iscipline. I am a scoundrel, of course, and not a socialist. Ha ha! Listen.
I've reckoned them all up: a teacher who laughs with children at their God an_t their cradle; is on our side. The lawyer who defends an educated murdere_ecause he is more cultured than his victims and could not , help murderin_hem to get money is one of us. The schoolboys who murder a peasant for th_ake of sensation are ours. The juries who acquit every criminal are ours. Th_rosecutor who trembles at a trial for fear he should not seem advanced enoug_s ours, ours. Among officials and literary men we have lots, lots, and the_on't know it themselves. On the other hand, the docility of schoolboys an_ools has reached an extreme pitch; the schoolmasters are bitter and bilious.
On all sides we see vanity puffed up out of all proportion; brutal, monstrou_ppetites… . Do you know how many we shall catch by little, ready-made ideas?
When I left Russia, Littre's dictum that crime is insanity was all the rage; _ome back and I find that crime is no longer insanity, but simply commo_ense, almost a duty; anyway, a gallant protest. 'How can we expect a culture_an not to commit a murder, if he is in need of money.' But these are only th_irst fruits. The Russian God has already been vanquished by cheap vodka. Th_easants are drunk, the mothers are drunk, the children are drunk, th_hurches are empty, and in the peasant courts one hears, 'Two hundred lashe_r stand us a bucket of vodka.' Oh, this generation has only to grow up. It'_nly a pity we can't afford to wait, or we might have let them get a .bit mor_ipsy! Ah, what a pity there's no proletariat! But there will be, there wil_e; we are going that way… ."
"It's a pity, too, that we've grown greater fools," muttered Stavrogin, movin_orward as before.
"Listen. I've seen a child of six years old leading home his drunken mother, whilst she swore at him with foul words. Do you suppose I am glad of that?
When it's in our hands, maybe we'll mend things … if need be, we'll drive the_or forty years into the wilderness… . But one or two generations of vice ar_ssential now; monstrous, abject vice by which a man is transformed into _oathsome, cruel, egoistic reptile. That's what we need! And what's more, _ittle 'fresh blood' that we may get accustomed to it. Why are you laughing? _m not contradicting myself. I am only contradicting the philanthropists an_higalovism, not myself! I am a scoundrel, not a socialist. Ha ha ha! I'm onl_orry there's no time. I promised Karmazinov to begin in May, and to make a_nd by October. Is that too soon? Ha ha! Do you know what, Stavrogin? Thoug_he Russian people use foul language, there's nothing cynical about them s_ar. Do you know the serfs had more self-respect than Karmazinov? Though the_ere beaten they always preserved their gods, which is more than Karmazinov'_one."
"Well, Verhovensky, this is the first time I've heard you talk, and I liste_ith amazement," observed Stavrogin. "So you are really not a socialist, then, but some sort of … ambitious politician?"
"A scoundrel, a scoundrel! You are wondering what I am. I'll tell you what _m directly, that's what I am leading up to. It was not for nothing that _issed your hand. But the people-must believe that we know what we are after, while the other side do nothing but 'brandish their cudgels and beat their ow_ollowers.' Ah, if we only had more time! That's the only trouble, we have n_ime. We will proclaim destruction… .. Why is it, why is it that idea has suc_ fascination. But we must have a little exercise; we must. We'll set fire_oing… . We'll set legends going. Every scurvy 'group' will be of use. Out o_hose very groups I'll pick you out fellows so keen they'll not shrink fro_hooting, and be grateful for the honour of a job, too. Well, and there wil_e an upheaval! There's going to be such an upset as the world has never see_efore… . Russia will be overwhelmed with darkness, the earth will weep fo_ts old gods… . . Well, then we shall bring forward … whom?"
"Ivan the Tsarevitch."
"Ivan the Tsarevitch. You! You!"
Stavrogin thought a minute.
"A pretender?" he asked suddenly, looking with intense-surprise at his franti_ompanion. "Ah! so that's your plan at last!"
"We shall say that he is 'in hiding,'" Verhovensky said softly, in a sort o_ender whisper, as though he really were drunk indeed. "Do you know the magi_f that phrase, 'he is in hiding'? But he will appear, he will appear. We'l_et a legend going better than the Skoptsis'. He exists, but no one has see_im. Oh, what a legend one can set going! And the great thing is it will be _ew force at work! And we need that; that's what they are crying for. What ca_ocialism do: it's destroyed the old forces but hasn't brought in any new..
But in this we have a force, and what a force! Incredible. We only need on_ever to lift up the earth. Everything will rise up!"
"Then have you been seriously reckoning on me?" Stavrogin said with _alicious smile.
"Why do you laugh, and so spitefully? Don't frighten me. I am like a littl_hild now. I can be frightened to death by one-smile like that. Listen. I'l_et no one see you, no one. So it-must be. He exists, but no one has seen him; he is in hiding. And do you know, one might show you, to one out of a hundred- thousand, for instance. And the rumour will spread over all the land, 'We'v_een him, we've seen him.'
"Ivan Filipovitch the God of Sabaoth, has been seen, too, when he ascende_nto heaven in his chariot in the sight of men. They saw him with their ow_yes. And you are not an Ivan Filipovitch. You are beautiful and proud as _od; you are seeking nothing for yourself, with the halo of a victim roun_ou, 'in hiding.' The great thing is the legend. You'll conquer them, you'l_ave only to look, and you will conquer them. He is 'in hiding,' and will com_orth bringing a new truth. And, meanwhile, we'll pass two or three judgment_s wise as Solomon's. The groups, you know, the quintetswe've no need o_ewspapers. If out of ten thousand petitions only one is granted, all woul_ome with petitions. In every parish, every peasant will know that there i_omewhere a hollow tree where petitions are to be put. And the whole land wil_esound with the cry, 'A new just law is to come,' and the sea will b_roubled and the whole gimcrack show will f all to the ground, and then w_hall consider how to build up an edifice of stone. For the first time! We ar_oing to build it, we, and only we!"
"Madness," said Stavrogin.
"Why, why don't you want it? Are you afraid? That's why I caught at you, because you are afraid of nothing. Is it unreasonabe? But you see, so far I a_olumbus without America. Would Columbus without America seem reasonable?"
Stavrogin did not speak. Meanwhile they had reached the house and stopped a_he entrance.
"Listen," Verhovensky bent down to his ear. "I'll do it for you without th_oney. I'll settle Marya Timofyevna to-morrow! … Without the money, and to- morrow I'll bring you Liza. Will you have Liza to-morrow?"
"Is he really mad?" Stavrogin wondered smiling. The front door was opened.
"Stavroginis America ours?" said Verhovensky, seizing his hand for the las_ime.
"What for?" said Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch, gravely and sternly.
"You don't care, I knew that!" cried Verhovensky in an access of furiou_nger. "You are lying, you miserable, profligate, perverted, littl_ristocrat! I don't believe you, you've the
*The reference is to the legend current in the sect of Flagellants.Translator's note.
appetite of a wolf! … Understand that you've cost me such a price, I can'_ive you up now! There's no one on earth but you! I invented you abroad; _nvented it all, looking at you. If I hadn't watched you from my corner, nothing of all this would have entered my head!"
Stavrogin went up the steps without answering.
"Stavrogin!" Verhovensky called after him, "I give you a day … two, then … three, then; more than three I can't and then you're to answer!"