You said yourself you had such a respect for Ivan Fyodorovitch.
But he said I was a stinking lackey. He thinks that I might be unruly. He is mistaken there. If I had a certain sum in my pocket, I would have left here long ago. Dmitri Fyodorovitch is lower than any lackey in his behaviour, in his mind, and in his poverty. He doesnt know how to do anything, and yet he is respected by everyone. I may be only a soup maker, but with luck I could open a café restaurant in Petrovka, in Moscow, for my cookery is something special, and theres no one in Moscow except the foreigners, whose cookery is anything special. Dmitri Fyodorovitch is a beggar, but if he were to challenge the son of the first count in the country, hed fight him. Though in what way is he better than I am? For he is ever so much stupider than I am. Look at the money he has wasted without any need!
It must be lovely, a duel, Marya Kondratyevna observed suddenly.
It must be so dreadful and so brave, especially when young officers with pistols in their hands pop at one another for the sake of some lady. A perfect picture! Ah, if only girls were allowed to look on, Id give anything to see one!
Its all very well when you are firing at some one, but when he is firing straight in your mug, you must feel pretty silly. Youd be glad to run away, Marya Kondratyevna.
You dont mean you would run away? But Smerdyakov did not deign to reply. After a moments silence the guitar tinkled again, and he sang again in the same falsetto:
I shall go far away.
Life will be bright and gay
In the city far away.
I shall not grieve,
I shall not grieve at all,
I dont intend to grieve at all.
Then something unexpected happened. Alyosha suddenly sneezed. They were silent. Alyosha got up and walked towards them. He found Smerdyakov dressed up and wearing polished boots, his hair pomaded, and perhaps curled. The guitar lay on the garden-seat. His companion was the daughter of the house, wearing a light blue dress with a train two yards long. She was young and would not have been bad- looking, but that her face was so round and terribly freckled.
Will my brother Dmitri soon be back? asked Alyosha with as much composure as he could.
Smerdyakov got up slowly; Marya Kondratyevna rose too.
How am I to know about Dmitri Fyodorovitch? Its not as if I were his keeper, answered Smerdyakov quietly, distinctly, and superciliously.
But I simply asked whether you do know? Alyosha explained.
I know nothing of his whereabouts and dont want to.
But my brother told me that you let him know all that goes on in the house, and promised to let him know when Agrafena Alexandrovna comes.
Smerdyakov turned a deliberate, unmoved glance upon him.
And how did you get in this time, since the gate was bolted an hour ago? he asked, looking at Alyosha.
I came in from the back-alley, over the fence, and went straight to the summer-house. I hope youll forgive me, he added, addressing Marya Kondratyevna. I was in a hurry to find my brother.
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