Over the Brandy
The controversy was over. But strange to say Fyodor Pavlovitch, who had been so gay, suddenly began frowning. He frowned and gulped brandy, and it was already a glass too much.
Get along with you, Jesuits! he cried to the servants. Go away, Smerdyakov. Ill send you the gold piece I promised you to-day, but be off! Dont cry, Grigory. Go to Marfa. Shell comfort you and put you to bed. The rascals wont let us sit in peace after dinner, he snapped peevishly, as the servants promptly withdrew at his word.
Smerdyakov always pokes himself in now, after dinner. Its you hes so interested in. What have you done to fascinate him? he added to Ivan.
Nothing whatever, answered Ivan. Hes pleased to have a high opinion of me; hes a lackey and a mean soul. Raw material for revolution, however, when the time comes.
There will be others and better ones. But there will be some like him as well. His kind will come first, and better ones after.
And when will the time come?
The rocket will go off and fizzle out, perhaps. The peasants are not very fond of listening to these soup makers, so far.
Ah, brother, but a Balaams ass like that thinks and thinks, and the devil knows where he gets to.
Hes storing up ideas, said Ivan, smiling.
You see, I know he cant bear me, nor any one else, even you, though you fancy that he has a high opinion of you. Worse still with Alyosha, he despises Alyosha. But he doesnt steal, thats one thing, and hes not a gossip, he tolds his tongue, and doesnt wash our dirty linen in public. He makes capital fish pasties too. But, damn him, is he worth talking about so much?
Of course he isnt.
And as for the ideas he may be hatching, the Russian peasant, generally speaking, needs thrashing. That Ive always maintained. Our peasants are swindlers, and dont deserve to be pitied, and its a good thing theyre still flogged sometimes. Russia is rich in birches. If they destroyed the forests, it would be the ruin of Russia. I stand up for the clever people. Weve left off thrashing the peasants, weve grown so clever, but they go on thrashing themselves. And a good thing too. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again, or how does it go? Anyhow, it will be measured. But Russias all swinishness. My dear, if you only knew how I hate Russia. That is, not Russia, but all this vice! But may be I mean Russia. Tout cela cest de la cochonnerie. Do you know what I like? I like wit.
Youve had another glass. Thats enough.
Wait a bit. Ill have one more, and then another, and then Ill stop. No, stay, you interrupted me. At Mokroe I was talking to an old man, and he told me: Theres nothing we like so much as sentencing girls to be thrashed, and we always give the lads the job of thrashing them. And the girl he has thrashed to-day, the young man will ask in marriage tomorrow. So it quite suits the girls, too, he said. Theres a set of de Sades for you! But its clever, anyway. Shall we go over and have a look at it, eh? Alyosha, are you blushing? Dont be bashful, child. Im sorry I didnt stay to dinner at the Superiors and tell the monks about the girls at Mokroe. Alyosha, dont be angry that I offended your Superior this morning. I lost my temper. If there is a God, if He exists, then, of course, Im to blame, and I shall have to answer for it. But if there isnt a God at all, what do they deserve, your fathers? Its not enough to cut their heads off, for they keep back progress. Would you believe it, Ivan, that that lacerates my sentiments? No, you
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