Another Reputation Ruined
It was not much more than three-quarters of a mile from the town to the monastery. Alyosha walked quickly along the road, at that hour deserted. It was almost night, and too dark to see anything clearly at thirty paces ahead. There were cross-roads half-way. A figure came into sight under a solitary willow at the cross-roads. As soon as Alyosha reached the cross-roads the figure moved out and rushed at him, shouting savagely:
Your money or your life!
So its you, Mitya, cried Alyosha, in surprise, violently startled however.
Ha, ha, ha! You didnt expect me? I wondered where to wait for you. By her house? There are three ways from it, and I might have missed you. At last I thought of waiting here, for you had to pass here, theres no other way to the monastery. Come, tell me the truth. Crush me like a beetle. But whats the matter?
Nothing, brotherits the fright you gave me. Oh, Dmitri! Fathers blood just now. (Alyosha began to cry, he had been on the verge of tears for a long time, and now something seemed to snap in his soul.) You almost killed himcursed himand nowhereyoure making jokesYour money or your life!
Well, what of that? Its not seemlyis that it? Not suitable in my position?
Stay. Look at the night. You see what a dark night, what clouds, what a wind has risen. I hid here under the willow waiting for you. And as Gods above, I suddenly thought, why go on in misery any longer, what is there to wait for? Here I have a willow, a handkerchief, a shirt, I can twist them into a rope in a minute, and braces besides, and why go on burdening the earth, dishonouring it with my vile presence. And then I heard you comingHeavens, it was as though something flew down to me suddenly. So there is a man, then, whom I love. Here he is, that man, my dear little brother, whom I love more than any one in the world, the only one I love in the world. And I loved you so much, so much at that moment that I thought, Ill fall on his neck at once. Then a stupid idea struck me, to have a joke with you and scare you. I shouted, like a fool, your money! Forgive my fooleryit was only nonsense, and theres nothing unseemly in my soul. Damn it all, tell me whats happened. What did she say? Strike me, crush me, dont spare me! Was she furious?
No, not that. There was nothing like that, Mitya. ThereI found them both there.
Grushenka at Katerina Ivanovnas.
Dmitri was struck dumb.
Impossible! he cried. Youre raving! Grushenka with her?
Alyosha described all that had happened from the moment he went in to Katerina Ivanovnas. He was ten minutes telling his story. He cant be said to have told it fluently and consecutively, but he seemed to make it clear, not omitting any word, his action of significance, and vividly describing, often in one word, his own sensations. Dmitri listened in silence, gazing at him with a terrible fixed stare, but it was clear to Alyosha that he understood it all, and had grasped every point. But as the story went on, his face became not merely gloomy, but menacing. He scowled, he clenched his teeth, and his fixed stare became still more rigid, more concentrated, more terrible, when suddenly, with incredible rapidity, his wrathful, savage face changed, his tightly compressed lips parted, and Dmitri Fyodorovitch broke into uncontrolled, spontaneous laughter. He literally shook with laughter. For a long time he could not speak.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|