The Brothers Karamazov
Book VIII, Chapter Five
by Dennis Abrams
“A Sudden Decision” “She was sitting in the kitchen with her grandmother; both were preparing to go to bed.” Dmitri grabs Fenya by the throat and demands to know where Grushenka went. Fenya’s terror, Dmitri’s blood stained hands, streaks of blood on his forehead and right cheek. Dmitri’s stupor. How could he have completely forgotten about the officer and his role in Grushenka’s life? Dmitri calms down, and begins to speak “gently and meekly with Fenya, like a gentle, and affectionate child…” Fenya tells Dmitri everything about Grushenka and the officer, then questions him about the blood on his hands. “That’s blood Fenya…that is human blood, and, my God, why was it shed?” Will he ‘jump the fence?” Dmitri returns to the rooms of Pyotr Ilych Perkhotin, “to whom he had pawned his pistols earlier that day.” Dmitri wants his pistols back: the pile of money in his blood-streaked fingers. How money was there? Two thousand? As much as three? Pyotr Ilyich notes Dmitri’s bloody face. The blood soaked handkerchief. Pyotr Ilyich has no change for Dmitri’s hundred. Dmitri sends Pyotr’s boy, Misha to Plotnikov’s store to order three dozen bottles of champagne, cheese, Strasbourg pate, smoked whitefish, ham, caviar, and…”everything, everything, whatever they’ve got, up to a hundred roubles, or a hundred and twenty…it should come to about three hundred roubles with the champagne…” Can Misha be trusted to get it right? Blood on Dmitri’s coat. Did he get in a fight? Pyotr Ilyich helps Dmitri clean up. How did it happen? Did he get in a fight in a tavern again? “‘Never mind,’ Mitya said, and suddenly grinned, ‘I just ran down a little old woman in the square.'” Dmitri asks for the pistols, saying it’s too late for talking. Where did he put the money? “You’ll lose it that way. Have you got a gold mine or something?” Dmitri tells Pyotr Ilyich about Madame Khokhlakov, leading him to think that he took the three thousand roubles from her and instead of going to Siberia, “you’re going on a spree.” Preparing to go to Mokroye, Dmitri loads the pistol. “Now, if you had decided to blow your brains out, would you look at the bullet before you loaded the pistol, or not? It will go into my brain, so it’s interesting to see what it’s like…Ah, anyway, it’s all nonsense, a moment’s nonsense.” Dmitri writes two lines on a piece of papers and puts it in his waistcoat pocket. Pyotr Ilyich’s growing belief that Dmitri is planning to kill himself: “The bullet? Nonsense, I want to live, I love life! Believe me. I love golden-haired Phoebus and his hot light…My dear Pytor do you know to remove yourself? To make way. to make way for one you hold dear and for one you hate. And so that the one you hate becomes dear to you — to make way like that. And to say to them: God be with you, go, pass by, while I…” To Plotnikov’s shop. Andrei. Loading the troika. Pyotr Ilyich worries that Dmitri will be robbed at Plotnikov’s. No time for oysters. Dmitri’s ravings and ramblings. A toast to life. “I bless creation, I’m ready right now to bless God and his creation, but…I must exterminate one foul insect, so that it will not crawl around spoiling life for others…” The lapdog. “Have you ever stolen anything in your life?” Twenty kopecks from my mother. As Mitya is about to take his seat in the troika, Fenya comes running up, and plops herself at his feat, “Dear sir, Dmitri Fyodorovich, my dear, don’t harm my mistress!..And don’t harm either, he’s her former one!” Pyotr Ilyich demands the pistols back, Dmitri says he’ll “toss them in a puddle on the way.” Dmitri’s last tear for Pyotr Ilyich. “He’s not drunk, but what drivel he’s spouting!” Pyotr Ilyich decides to go to the tavern to see if he could learn about more about Dmitri. As word spreads about the money people ask, “Could he have robbed the old man?…He was boating out loud that he’d kill his father, everyone heard it…” Pyotr Ilyich keeps silent about the blood on Mitya’s hand and face, and, drunk, goes to the widow’s house where Grushenka had been living, and begins pounding on the door.
I loved the matter-of-fact graphicness of this paragraph:
“‘Ah, the devil! Just what I need,’ [Dmitri] muttered angrily, quickly shifted the bills from his right hand to his left, and convulsively snatched the handkerchief from his pocket. But the handkerchief, too, turned out to be all covered with blood (it was the same handkerchief he had used to wipe Grigory’s head and face): there was hardly a white spot left on it, and it had not merely begun to dry, but had stiffened into a ball and refused to be unfolded. Mitya angrily flung it to the floor.”
That’s just great.
Book VIII, Chapter Six