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Excerpt from

The Brothers Karamazov  

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Philosophical fiction

Mitya walked with a drunken swagger to the locked door, and began knocking to the Poles with his fist.

"Hi, you... Podvysotskis! Come, she's going to dance. She calls you."

"Lajdak!" one of the Poles shouted in reply. "You're a lajdak yourself! You're a little scoundrel, that's what you are."

"Leave off laughing at Poland," said Kalganov sententiously. He too was drunk.

"Be quiet, boy! If I call him a scoundrel, it doesn't mean that I called all Poland so. One lajdak doesn't make a Poland. Be quiet, my pretty boy, eat a sweetmeat."

"Ach, what fellows! As though they were not men. Why won't they make friends?" said Grushenka, and went forward to dance.

The chorus broke into "Ah, my porch, my new porch!" Grushenka flung back her head, half opened her lips, smiled, waved her handkerchief, and suddenly, with a violent lurch, stood still in the middle of the room, looking bewildered.

"I'm weak..." she said in an exhausted voice. "Forgive me.... I'm weak, I can't.... I'm sorry." She bowed to the chorus, and then began bowing in all directions. "I'm sorry.... Forgive me..."

"The lady's been drinking. The pretty lady has been drinking," voices were heard saying.

"The lady's drunk too much," Maximov explained to the girls, giggling. "Mitya, lead me away... take me," said Grushenka helplessly. Mitya pounced on her, snatched her up in his arms, and carried the precious burden through the curtains.

"Well, now I'll go," thought Kalganov, and walking out of the blue room, he closed the two halves of the door after him. But the orgy in the larger room went on and grew louder and louder. Mitya laid Grushenka on the bed and kissed her on the lips.

"Don't touch me..." she faltered, in an imploring voice. "Don't touch me, till I'm yours.... I've told you I'm yours, but don't touch me... spare me.... With them here, with them close, you mustn't. He's here. It's nasty here..."

"I'll obey you! I won't think of it... I worship you!" muttered Mitya. "Yes, it's nasty here, it's abominable." And still holding her in his arms, he sank on his knees by the bedside.

"I know, though you're a brute, you're generous," Grushenka articulated with difficulty. "It must be honourable... it shall be honourable for the future... and let us be honest, let us be good, not brutes, but good... take me away, take me far away, do you hear? I don't want it to be here, but far, far away..."

"Oh, yes, yes, it must be!" said Mitya, pressing her in his arms. "I'll take you and we'll fly away.... Oh, I'd give my whole life for one year only to know about that blood!" "What blood?" asked Grushenka, bewildered.

"Nothing," muttered Mitya, through his teeth. "Grusha, you wanted to be honest, but I'm a thief. But I've stolen money from Katya.... Disgrace, a disgrace!"

"From Katya, from that young lady? No, you didn't steal it. Give it back to her, take it from me.... Why make a fuss? Now everything of mine is yours. What does money matter? We shall waste it anyway.... Folks like us are bound to waste money. But we'd better go and work the land. I want to dig the earth with my own hands. We must work, do you hear? Alyosha said so. I won't be your mistress, I'll be faithful to you, I'll be your slave, I'll work for you. We'll go to the young lady and bow down to her together, so that she may forgive us, and then we'll go away. And if she won't forgive us, we'll go, anyway. Take her money and love me.... Don't love her.... Don't love her any more. If you love her, I shall strangle her.... I'll put out both her eyes with a needle..."

"I love you. love only you. I'll love you in Siberia..."

"Why Siberia? Never mind, Siberia, if you like. I don't care... we'll work... there's snow in Siberia.... I love driving in the snow... and must have bells.... Do you hear, there's a bell ringing? Where is that bell ringing? There are people coming.... Now it's stopped."

She closed her eyes, exhausted, and suddenly fell asleep for an instant. There had certainly been the sound of a bell in the distance, but the ringing had ceased. Mitya let his head sink on her breast. He did not notice that the bell had ceased ringing, nor did he notice that the songs had ceased, and that instead of singing and drunken clamour there was absolute stillness in the house. Grushenka opened her eyes. "What's the matter? Was I asleep? Yes... a bell... I've been asleep and dreamt I was driving over the snow with bells, and I dozed. I was with someone I loved, with you. And far, far away. I was holding you and kissing you, nestling close to you. I was cold, and the snow glistened.... You know how the snow glistens at night when the moon shines. It was as though I was not on earth. I woke up, and my dear one is close to me. How sweet that is!..."

"Close to you," murmured Mitya, kissing her dress, her bosom, her hands. And suddenly he had a strange fancy: it seemed to him that she was looking straight before her, not at him, not into his face, but over his head, with an intent, almost uncanny fixity.

An expression of wonder, almost of alarm, came suddenly into her face. "Mitya, who is that looking at us?" she whispered.

Mitya turned, and saw that someone had, in fact, parted the curtains and seemed to be watching them. And not one person alone, it seemed. He jumped up and walked quickly to the intruder.

"Here, come to us, come here," said a voice, speaking not loudly, but firmly and peremptorily. Mitya passed to the other side of the curtain and stood stock still. The room was filled with people, but not those who had been there before. An instantaneous shiver ran down his back, and he shuddered. He recognised all those people instantly. That tall, stout old man in the overcoat and forage-cap with a cockadewas the police captain, Mihail Makarovitch. And that "consumptive-looking" trim dandy,"who always has such polished boots"- that was the deputy prosecutor. "He has a chronometer worth four hundred roubles; he showed it to me." And that small young man in spectacles.... Mitya forgot his surname though he knew him, had seen him: he was the "investigating lawyer," from the "school of jurisprudence," who had only lately come to the town. And this man- the inspector of police, Mavriky Mavrikyevitch, a man he knew well. And those fellows with the brass plates on, why are they here? And those other two... peasants.... And there at the door Kalganov with Trifon Borissovitch....

"Gentlemen! What's this for, gentlemen?" began Mitya, but suddenly, as though beside himself, not knowing what he was doing, he cried aloud, at the top of his voice: "I un-der-stand!"

The young man in spectacles moved forward suddenly, and stepping up to Mitya, began with dignity, though hurriedly: "We have to make... in brief, I beg you to come this way, this way to the sofa.... It is absolutely imperative that you should give an explanation."

"The old man!" cried Mitya frantically. "The old man and his blood!... I understand." And he sank, almost fell, on a chair close by, as though he had been mown down by a scythe.

"You understand? He understands it! Monster and parricide! Your father's blood cries out against you!" the old captain of police roared suddenly, stepping up to Mitya. He was beside himself, crimson in the face and quivering all over.

"This is impossible!" cried the small young man. "Mihail Makarovitch, Mihail Makarovitch, this won't do!... I beg you'll allow me to speak. I should never have expected such behaviour from you..."

"This is delirium, gentlemen, raving delirium," cried the captain of police; "look at him: drunk, at this time of night, in the company of a disreputable woman, with the blood of his father on his hands.... It's delirium!..."

"I beg you most earnestly, dear Mihail Makarovitch, to restrain your feelings," the prosecutor said in a rapid whisper to the old police captain, "or I shall be forced to resort to- "

But the little lawyer did not allow him to finish. He turned to Mitya, and delivered himself in a loud, firm, dignified voice: "Ex-Lieutenant Karamazov, it is my duty to inform you that you are charged with the murder of your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, perpetrated this night..."

He said something more, and the prosecutor, too, put in something, but though Mitya heard them he did not understand them. He stared at them all with wild eyes.

About the book:

When the depraved landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion; Ivan, the intellectual, whose mental tortures drive him to breakdown; and the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family's rifts.

Undoubtedly the best book ever written, Dostoyevsky's all time classic highlights the themes of guilt, salvation, and religious comfort.

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