Fyodor Karamazov was drunk when he heard of his wife’s death, and the story is that he ran out into the street and began shouting with joy, raising his hands to Heaven: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.” But others say he wept without restraint like a little child, so much that people were sorry for him, in spite of the revulsion he aroused.

It is quite possible that both versions were true, that he rejoiced at his release, and at the same time wept for her who released him. As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we suppose. And we ourselves are, too.


“…I feel you are the only creature in the world who has not condemned me. My dear boy, I feel it, you know, I can’t help feeling it.”

And he began blubbering. He was sentimental. He was evil and sentimental.


The old man jumped up frightened. From the time he had begun talking about Alyosha’s mother, a change had come over Alyosha’s face. He grew crimson, his eyes glowed, his lips quivered. The old wretch had gone spluttering on, noticing nothing, till something very strange happened to Alyosha. Precisely what he was describing in the crazy woman was suddenly repeated with Alyosha. He jumped up exactly as his mother was said to have done, wrung his hands, hid his face in them, and fell back in his chair, shaking all over in an hysterical convulsion of violent, silent weeping. His extraordinary resemblance to his mother particularly impressed the old man.

“Ivan, Ivan! Water, quickly! It’s like her, exactly like she used to be. His mother. Spurt some water on him from your mouth, that’s what I used to do to her. He’s upset about his mother. His mother,” he muttered to Ivan.

“But she was my mother, too. Wasn’t she?” said Ivan with anger and contempt.

…though only for a second, it seemed to escape the old man’s mind that Alyosha’s mother actually was the mother of Ivan too.


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