Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, a land owner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place.
For the present I will only say that this “landowner”
—for so we used to call him, although he hardly spent a day of his life on his own estate—was a strange type, yet one pretty frequently to be met with, a type abject and vicious and at the same time senseless.
But he was one of those senseless persons who are very well capable of looking after their worldly affairs, and, apparently, after nothing else.
Fyodor Pavlovitch, for instance, began with next to nothing;
his estate was of the smallest;
he ran to dine at other men’s tables, and fastened on them as a toady, yet at his death it appeared that he had a hundred thousand roubles in hard cash.
At the same time, he was all his life one of the most senseless, fantastical fellows in the whole district.
I repeat, it was not stupidity—the majority of these fantastical fellows are shrewd and intelligent enough—but just senselessness, and a peculiar national form of it.
* * * * *
He was married twice, and had three sons, the eldest, Dmitri, by his first wife, and two, Ivan and Alexey, by his second.
Fyodor Pavlovitch’s first wife, Adelaïda Ivanovna, belonged to a fairly rich and distinguished noble family, also landowners in our district, the Miüsovs.
How it came to pass that an heiress, who was also a beauty, and moreover one of those vigorous, intelligent girls, so common in this generation,
but sometimes also to be found in the last, could have married such a worthless, puny weakling, as we all called him, I won’t attempt to explain.
I knew a young lady of the last “romantic”
generation who after some years of an enigmatic passion for a gentleman, whom she might quite easily have married at any moment, invented insuperable obstacles to their union, and ended by throwing herself one stormy night into a rather deep and rapid river from a high bank, almost a precipice, and so perished, entirely to satisfy her own caprice, and to be like Shakespeare’s Ophelia.
Indeed, if this precipice, a chosen and favorite spot of hers, had been less picturesque, if there had been a prosaic flat bank in its place, most likely the suicide would never have taken place.
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