“Ech, every one is of use, Maximushka, and how can we tell who’s of most use. If only that Pole didn’t exist, Alyosha. He’s taken it into his head to fall ill, too, to-day. I’ve been to see him also. And I shall send him some pies, too, on purpose. I hadn’t sent him any, but Mitya accused me of it, so now I shall send some! Ah, here’s Fenya with a letter! Yes, it’s from the Poles—begging again!”

Pan Mussyalovitch had indeed sent an extremely long and characteristically eloquent letter in which he begged her to lend him three roubles. In the letter was enclosed a receipt for the sum, with a promise to repay it within three months, signed by Pan Vrublevsky as well. Grushenka had received many such letters, accompanied by such receipts, from her former lover during the fortnight of her convalescence. But she knew that the two Poles had been to ask after her health during her illness. The first letter Grushenka got from them was a long one, written on large note-paper and with a big family crest on the seal. It was so obscure and rhetorical that Grushenka put it down before she had read half, unable to make head or tail of it. She could not attend to letters then. The first letter was followed next day by another in which Pan Mussyalovitch begged her for a loan of two thousand roubles for a very short period. Grushenka left that letter, too, unanswered. A whole series of letters had followed—one every day—all as pompous and rhetorical, but the loan asked for, gradually diminishing, dropped to a hundred roubles, then to twenty- five, to ten, and finally Grushenka received a letter in which both the Poles begged her for only one rouble and included a receipt signed by both.

Then Grushenka suddenly felt sorry for them, and at dusk she went round herself to their lodging. She found the two Poles in great poverty, almost destitution, without food or fuel, without cigarettes, in debt to their landlady. The two hundred roubles they had carried off from Mitya at Mokroe had soon disappeared. But Grushenka was surprised at their meeting her with arrogant dignity and self-assertion, with the greatest punctilio and pompous speeches. Grushenka simply laughed, and gave her former admirer ten roubles. Then, laughing, she told Mitya of it and he was not in the least jealous. But ever since, the Poles had attached themselves to Grushenka and bombarded her daily with requests for money and she had always sent them small sums. And now that day Mitya had taken it into his head to be fearfully jealous.

“Like a fool, I went round to him just for a minute, on the way to see Mitya, for he is ill, too, my Pole,” Grushenka began again with nervous haste. “I was laughing telling Mitya about it. ‘Fancy,’ I said, ‘my Pole had the happy thought to sing his old songs to me to the guitar. He thought I would be touched and marry him!’ Mitya leapt up swearing.…So, there, I’ll send them the pies! Fenya, is it that little girl they’ve sent? Here, give her three roubles and pack a dozen pies up in a paper and tell her to take them. And you, Alyosha, be sure to tell Mitya that I did send them the pies.”

“I wouldn’t tell him for anything,” said Alyosha, smiling.

“Ech! You think he is unhappy about it. Why, he’s jealous on purpose. He doesn’t care,” said Grushenka bitterly.

“On purpose?” queried Alyosha.

“I tell you you are silly, Alyosha. You know nothing about it, with all your cleverness. I am not offended that he is jealous of a girl like me. I would be offended if he were not jealous. I am like that. I am not offended at jealousy. I have a fierce heart, too. I can be jealous myself. Only what offends me is that he doesn’t love me at all. I tell you he is jealous now on purpose. Am I blind? Don’t I see? He began talking to me just now of that woman, of Katerina, saying she was this and that, how she had ordered a doctor from Moscow for him, to try and save him; how she had ordered the best counsel, the most learned one, too. So he loves her, if he’ll praise her to my face, more shame to him! He’s treated me badly himself, so he attacked me, to make out I am in fault first and to throw it all on me. ‘You were with your Pole before me, so I can’t be blamed for Katerina,’ that’s what it amounts to. He wants to throw the whole blame on me. He attacked me on purpose, on purpose, I tell you, but I’ll…”

Grushenka could not finish saying what she would do. She hid her eyes in her handkerchief and sobbed violently.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
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.