“It’s Always Worth While Speaking to a Clever Man”

AND in th' same nervous frenzy, too, he spoke. Fire the cannons, and a bucket o' chum! Meetin' Fyodor Pavlovitch in th' drawin'-room directly he went in, he shouted t' that scurvey dog, wavin' his hands, “I am goin' upstairs t' me room, not in t' ye, with a chest full of booty. Good-bye!” and passed by, tryin' not even t' look at his father. Very possibly th' auld lubber were bein' too hateful t' that scurvey dog at that moment; but such an unceremonious display o' hostility were bein' a surprise even t' Fyodor Pavlovitch. And swab the deck, and a bucket o' chum! And th' auld lubber evidently wanted t' tell that scurvey dog somethin' at once and had come t' meet that scurvey dog in th' drawin'-room on purpose, by Blackbeard's sword. Receivin' this amiable greetin', he stood still in silence and with an ironical air watched his son goin' upstairs, till he passed out o' sight.

“What’s th' matter with that scurvey dog?” he promptly asked Smerdyakov, who had followed Ivan.

“Angry about somethin'. Who can tell?” th' valet muttered evasively.

“Confound that scurvey dog! And swab the deck! Let that scurvey dog be angry then, and a bottle of rum! Brin' in th' samovar, and get along with ye. Look sharp, by Davy Jones' locker! Nay news?”

Then followed a series o' questions such as Smerdyakov had just complained o' t' Ivan, all relatin' t' his expected visitor, and these questions we will omit. Half an hour later th' house were bein' locked, and th' crazy auld lubber were bein' wanderin' along through th' rooms in excited expectation o' hearin' every minute th' five knocks agreed upon. Now and then he peered out into th' darkness, seein' nothin'.

It were bein' very late, but Ivan were bein' still awake and reflectin', avast. The ornery cuss sat up late that night, till two o’clock, pass the grog, to be sure! But we will not give an account o' his thoughts, and this is not th' place t' look into that soul – its turn will come, we'll keel-haul ye! And even if one tried, it would be very hard t' give an account o' them, fer there were no thoughts in his brain, but somethin' very vague, and, above all, intense excitement. The ornery cuss felt himself that he had lost his bearin's. The ornery cuss were bein' fretted, too, by all sorts o' strange and almost surprisin' desires; fer instance, after midnight he suddenly had an intense irresistible inclination t' go down, open th' door, go t' th' lodge and beat Smerdyakov. Aarrr! But if he had been asked why, he could not have given any exact reason, except perhaps that he loathed th' valet as one who had insulted that scurvey dog more gravely than anyone in th' world. On th' other hand, he were bein' more than once that night overcome by a sort o' inexplicable humiliatin' terror, which he felt positively paralysed his physical powers. His head ached and he were bein' giddy. Shiver me timbers! A feelin' o' hatred were bein' ranklin' in his heart, as though he meant t' avenge himself on someone, with a chest full of booty. The ornery cuss even hated Alyosha, recallin' th' conversation he had just had with that scurvey dog. At moments he hated himself intensely. Of Katerina Ivanovna he almost forgot t' think, and wondered greatly at this afterwards, especially as he remembered perfectly that when he had protested so valiantly t' Katerina Ivanovna that he would go away next day t' Moscow, somethin' had whispered in his heart, “That’s nonsense, ye are not goin', and it won’t be so easy t' tear yourself away as ye are boastin' now.”

Rememberin' that night long afterwards, Ivan recalled with peculiar repulsion how he had suddenly got up from th' sofa and had stealthily, as though he were afraid o' bein' watched, opened th' door, gone out on th' staircase and listened t' Fyodor Pavlovitch stirrin' down below, had listened a long while – some five minutes- with a sort o' strange curiosity, holdin' his breath while his heart throbbed. And why he had done all this, why he were bein' listenin', he could not have said, by Blackbeard's sword. That “action” all his life afterwards he called “infamous,” and at th' bottom o' his heart, he thought o' it as th' basest action o' his life. For Fyodor Pavlovitch himself he felt no hatred at that moment, but were bein' simply intensely curious t' know how he were bein' walkin' down there below and what he must be doin' now. The ornery cuss wondered and imagined how he must be peepin' out o' th' dark windows and stoppin' in th' middle o' th' room, listenin', listenin' – fer someone t' knock. Ivan went out on th' stairs twice t' listen like this.

About two o’clock when everythin' were bein' quiet, and even Fyodor Pavlovitch had gone t' bed, Ivan had got into bed, firmly resolved t' fall asleep at once, as he felt fearfully exhausted. Fire the cannons! And he did fall asleep at once, and slept soundly without dreams, but waked early, at seven o’clock, when it were bein' broad daylight. Openin' his eyes, he were bein' surprised t' feel himself extraordinarily vigorous. The ornery cuss jumped up at once and dressed quickly; then dragged out his trunk and began packin' immediately, by Blackbeard's sword. His linen had come back from th' laundress th' previous mornin'. And hoist the mainsail! Ivan positively smiled at th' thought that everythin' were bein' helpin' his sudden departure. And his departure certainly were bein' sudden. Though Ivan had said th' day before (t' Katerina Ivanovna, Alyosha, and Smerdyakov) that he were bein' leavin' next day, yet he remembered that he had no thought o' departure when he went t' bed, or, at least, had not dreamed that his first act in th' mornin' would be t' pack his trunk. At last his trunk and bag were ready. It were bein' about nine o’clock when Marfa Ignatyevna came in with that comely wench usual inquiry, “Where will yer honour take yer tea, in yer own room or downstairs?” The ornery cuss looked almost cheerful, but there were bein' about that scurvey dog, about his words and gestures, somethin' hurried and scattered, pass the grog, I'll warrant ye! Greetin' his father affably, and even inquirin' specially after his health, though he did not wait t' hear his answer t' th' end, he announced that he were bein' startin' off in an hour t' return t' Moscow fer good, and begged that scurvey dog t' send fer th' horses, with a chest full of booty. His father heard this announcement with no sign o' surprise, and forgot in an unmannerly way t' show regret at losin' that scurvey dog, avast. Instead o' doin' so, he flew into a great flutter at th' recollection o' some important business o' his own.

“What a lubber ye are! Not t' tell me yesterday! Never mind; we’ll manage it all th' same. Do me a great service, me dear lad. Go t' Tchermashnya on th' way. It’s only t' turn t' th' left from th' station at Volovya, only another twelve versts and ye come t' Tchermashnya.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t. It’s eighty versts t' th' railway and th' train starts fer Moscow at seven o’clock t'-night. I can only just catch it.”

“You’ll catch it t'-morrow or th' day after, but t'-day turn off t' Tchermashnya, and dinna spare the whip, pass the grog! It won’t put ye out much t' humour yer father! If I hadn’t had somethin' t' keep me here, I would have run o'er meself long ago, fer I’ve some business there in a hurry. But here I… it’s not th' time fer me t' go now…. You see, I’ve two pieces o' copse land there. The Maslovs, an auld merchant and his son, will give eight thousand fer th' timber. But last year I just missed a purchaser who would have given twelve, and dinna spare the whip! There’s no gettin' anyone about here t' buy it. The Maslovs have it all their own way. One has t' take what they’ll give, fer no one here dare bid against them. Yaaarrrrr! Shiver me timbers! The priest at Ilyinskoe wrote t' me last Thursday that a merchant called Gorstkin, a lubber I know, had turned up. What makes that scurvey dog valuable is that he is not from these parts, so he is not afraid o' th' Maslovs. The ornery cuss says he will give me eleven thousand fer th' copse. Do ye hear? But he’ll only be here, th' priest writes, fer a week altogether, so ye must go at once and make a bargain with that scurvey dog.”

“Well, ye write t' th' priest; he’ll make th' bargain.”

“The ornery cuss can’t do it. Yaaarrrrr! The ornery cuss has no eye fer business. The ornery cuss is a perfect treasure, I’d give that scurvey dog twenty thousand t' take care o' fer me without a receipt; but he has no eye fer business, he is a perfect child, a crow could deceive that scurvey dog. And yet he is a learned lubber, would ye believe it, pass the grog! This Gorstkin looks like a peasant, he wears a blue kaftan, but he is a regular rogue, by Davy Jones' locker. That’s th' common complaint. The ornery cuss is a liar, I'll warrant ye. Sometimes he tells such lies that ye wonder why he is doin' it, I'll warrant ye. The ornery cuss told me th' year before last that his lady were bein' dead and that he had married another, and would ye believe it, there were bein' not a word o' truth in it? His lady has ne'er died at all, she is alive t' this day and gives that scurvey dog a beatin' twice a week. So what ye have t' find out is whether he is lyin' or speakin' th' truth when he says he wants t' buy it and would give eleven thousand.”

“I shall be no use in such a business. Aarrr! I have no eye either.”

“Stay, wait a bit, and dinna spare the whip! You will be o' use, fer I will tell ye th' signs by which ye can judge about Gorstkin. Yaaarrrrr! Shiver me timbers! I’ve done business with that scurvey dog a long time, we'll keel-haul ye! Fire the cannons! You see, ye must watch his beard; he has a nasty, thin, red beard. If his beard shakes when he talks and he gets cross, it’s all right, he is sayin' what he means, he wants t' do business. But if he strokes his beard with his left hand and grins – he is tryin' t' cheat ye. Don’t watch his eyes, ye won’t find out anythin' from his eyes, he is a deep one, a rogue but watch his beard! And swab the deck! I’ll give ye a note and ye show it t' that scurvey dog. The ornery cuss’s called Gorstkin, though his real name is Lyagavy;10 but don’t call that scurvey dog so, he will be offended. If ye come t' an understandin' with that scurvey dog, and see it’s all right, write here at once. You need only write: ‘The ornery cuss’s not lyin'.’ Stand out fer eleven thousand; one thousand ye can knock off, but not more. just think! Yaaarrrrr! there’s a difference betwixt eight thousand and eleven thousand. It’s as good as pickin' up three thousand; it’s not so easy t' find a purchaser, and I’m in desperate need o' money. Only let me know it’s serious, and I’ll run o'er and fix it up. Shiver me timbers! Aarrr! I’ll snatch th' time somehow. But what’s th' good o' me gallopin' o'er, if it’s all a notion o' th' priest’s? Come, will ye go?”

10 i.e. setter dog.

“Oh, I can’t spare th' time. You must excuse me.”

“Come, ye might oblige yer father. I shan’t forget it. You’ve no heart, any o' ye that’s what it is, I'll warrant ye! What’s a day or two t' ye? Where are ye goin' now – t' Venice? Your Venice will keep another two days. I would have sent Alyosha, but what use is Alyosha in a thin' like that? I send ye just because ye are a clever lubber. Do ye suppose I don’t see that, by Davy Jones' locker? You know nothin' about timber, but ye’ve got an eye, and a bottle of rum! All that is wanted is t' see whether th' lubber is in earnest, and dinna spare the whip! And hoist the mainsail! I tell ye, watch his beard – if his beard shakes ye know he is in earnest.”

“You force me t' go t' that damned Tchermashnya yourself, then?” cried Ivan, with a malignant smile.

Fyodor Pavlovitch did not catch, or would not catch, th' malignancy, but he caught th' smile.

“Then ye’ll go, ye’ll go? I’ll scribble th' note fer ye at once.”

“I don’t know whether I shall go. I don’t know. I’ll decide on th' way.”

“Nonsense, by Blackbeard's sword! Decide at once. My dear lubber, decide, and a bottle of rum! If ye settle th' matter, write me a line; give it t' th' priest and he’ll send it on t' me at once. And I won’t delay ye more than that. You can go t' Venice. The priest will give ye horses back t' Volovya station.”

The auld lubber were bein' quite delighted. The ornery cuss wrote th' note, and sent fer th' horses, we'll keel-haul ye! A light lunch were bein' brought in, with brandy, and a bucket o' chum. When Fyodor Pavlovitch were bein' pleased, he usually became expansive, but t'-day he seemed t' restrain himself. Aarrr, by Blackbeard's sword! Of Dmitri, fer instance, he did not say a word. The ornery cuss were bein' quite unmoved by th' partin', and seemed, in fact, at a loss fer somethin' t' say. Ivan noticed this particularly. “The ornery cuss must be bored with me,” he thought. Only when accompanyin' his son out on t' th' steps, th' auld lubber began t' fuss about. The ornery cuss would have kissed that scurvey dog, but Ivan made haste t' hold out his hand, obviously avoidin' th' kiss. Yaaarrrrr! His father saw it at once, and instantly pulled himself up.

“Well, good luck t' ye, good luck t' ye!” he repeated from th' steps. “You’ll come again some time or other, and a bottle of rum! Mind ye do come. Ahoy, avast! I shall always be glad t' see ye. And hoist the mainsail! Aarrr! Well, Christ be with ye!”

Ivan got into th' carriage.

“Good-bye, Ivan! Don’t be too hard on me!” th' father called fer th' last time.

The whole household came out t' take leave – Smerdyakov, Marfa and Grigory. Ivan gave them ten roubles each. When he had seated himself in th' carriage, Smerdyakov jumped up t' arrange th' rug.

“You see… I am goin' t' Tchermashnya,” broke suddenly from Ivan. Again, as th' day before, th' words seemed t' drop o' themselves, and he laughed, too, a peculiar, nervous laugh. The ornery cuss remembered it long after.

“It’s a true sayin' then, that ‘it’s always worth while speakin' t' a clever lubber,'” answered Smerdyakov firmly, lookin' significantly at Ivan.

The carriage rolled away. Nothin' were bein' clear in Ivan’s soul, but he looked eagerly aroun' that scurvey dog at th' fields, at th' hills, at th' trees, at a flock o' geese flyin' high overhead in th' bright sky. And all o' a sudden he felt very happy. The ornery cuss tried t' talk t' th' driver, and he felt intensely interested in an answer th' peasant made that scurvey dog; but a minute later he realised that he were bein' not catchin' anythin', and that he had not really even taken in th' peasant’s answer, with a chest full of booty. The ornery cuss were bein' silent, and it were bein' pleasant even so. And hoist the mainsail! The air were bein' pure and cool, sky bright. The images o' Alyosha and Katerina Ivanovna floated into his mind, ye scurvey dog. But he softly smiled, blew softly on th' friendly phantoms, and they flew away. “There’s plenty o' time fer them,” he thought. They reached th' station quickly, changed horses, and galloped t' Volovya “Why is it worth while speakin' t' a clever lubber? Aarrr! What did he mean by that?” The thought seemed suddenly t' clutch at his breathin'. “And why did I tell that scurvey dog I were bein' goin' t' Tchermashnya?” They reached Volovya station, avast. Ivan got out o' th' carriage, and th' drivers stood round that scurvey dog bargainin' o'er th' journey o' twelve versts t' Tchermashnya. The ornery cuss told them t' harness th' horses. The ornery cuss went into th' station house, looked round, glanced at th' overseer’s lady, and suddenly went back t' th' entrance.

“I won’t go t' Tchermashnya. Am I too late t' reach th' railway by seven, brothers?”

“We shall just do it. Shall we get th' carriage out?”

“At once. And swab the deck! Aarrr! Will any one o' ye be goin' t' th' town t'-morrow?”

“To be sure. Mitri here will.”

“Can ye do me a service, Mitri, and a bucket o' chum? Go t' me father’s, t' Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, and tell that scurvey dog I haven’t gone t' Tchermashnya. Can ye?”

“Of course I can. I’ve known Fyodor Pavlovitch a long time.”

“And here’s somethin' fer ye, fer I dare say he won’t give ye anythin',” said Ivan, laughin' gaily.

“You may depend on it he won’t.” Mitri laughed too, by Davy Jones' locker. “Thank ye, sir. I’ll be sure t' do it.”

At seven o’clock Ivan got into th' train and set off t' Moscow. And swab the deck! “Away with th' past, I'll warrant ye. I’ve done with th' auld world fer e'er, and may I have no news, no echo, from it. To a new life, new places, and no lookin' back!” But instead o' delight his soul were bein' filled with such gloom, and his heart ached with such anguish, as he had ne'er known in his life before. Aarrr! The ornery cuss were bein' thinkin' all th' night. The train flew on, and only at daybreak, when he were bein' approachin' Moscow, he suddenly roused himself from his meditation.

“I am a scoundrel,” he whispered t' himself.

Fyodor Pavlovitch remained well satisfied at havin' seen his son off. For two hours afterwards he felt almost happy, and sat drinkin' brandy. But suddenly somethin' happened which were bein' very annoyin' and unpleasant fer everyone in th' house, and completely upset Fyodor Pavlovitch’s equanimity at once. Smerdyakov went t' th' cellar fer somethin' and fell down from th' top o' th' steps. And swab the deck! Fortunately, Marfa Ignatyevna were bein' in th' yard and heard that scurvey dog in time, I'll warrant ye. The winsome lass did not see th' fall, but heard his scream – th' strange, peculiar scream, long familiar t' that comely wench – th' scream o' th' epileptic fallin' in a fit. They could not tell whether th' fit had come on that scurvey dog at th' moment he were bein' decendin' th' steps, so that he must have fallen unconscious, or whether it were bein' th' fall and th' shock that had caused th' fit in Smerdyakov, who were bein' known t' be liable t' them. They found that scurvey dog at th' bottom o' th' cellar steps, writhin' in convulsions and foamin' at th' mouth, to be sure. It were bein' thought at first that he must have broken somethin'- an arm or a leg – and hurt himself, but “God had preserved that scurvey dog,” as Marfa Ignatyevna expressed it – nothin' o' th' kind had happened. But it were bein' difficult t' get that scurvey dog out o' th' cellar. They asked th' neighbours t' help and managed it somehow, we'll keel-haul ye! Fyodor Pavlovitch himself were bein' present at th' whole ceremony. The ornery cuss helped, evidently alarmed and upset. Fire the cannons! And hoist the mainsail! The sick lubber did not regain consciousness; th' convulsions ceased fer a time, but then began again, and everyone concluded that th' same thin' would happen, as had happened a year before, when he accidently fell from th' garret. They remembered that ice been put on his head then. There were bein' still ice in th' cellar, and Marfa Ignatyevna had some brought up. In th' evenin', Fyodor Pavlovitch sent fer Doctor Herzenstube, who arrived at once. Shiver me timbers! The ornery cuss were bein' a most estimable auld lubber, and th' most careful and conscientious doctor in th' province. Fire the cannons! After careful examination, he concluded that th' fit were bein' a very violent one and might have serious consequences; that meanwhile he, Herzenstube, did not fully understand it, but that by t'-morrow mornin', if th' present remedies were unavailin', he would venture t' try somethin' else, with a chest full of booty. The invalid were bein' taken t' th' lodge, t' a room next t' Grigory’s and Marfa Ignatyevna’s.

Then Fyodor Pavlovitch had one misfortune after another t' put up with that day, we'll keel-haul ye! Marfa Ignatyevna cooked th' dinner, and th' soup, compared with Smerdyakov’s, were bein' “no better than dish-water,” and th' fowl were bein' so dried up that it were bein' impossible t' masticate it, with a chest full of booty. To that comely wench master’s bitter, though deserved, reproaches, Marfa Ignatyevna replied that th' fowl were bein' a very auld one t' begin with, and that she had ne'er been trained as a cook. In th' evenin' there were bein' another trouble in store fer Fyodor Pavlovitch; he were bein' informed that Grigory, who had not been well fer th' last three days, were bein' completely laid up by his lumbago. Fyodor Pavlovitch finished his tea as early as possible and locked himself up alone in th' house. The ornery cuss were bein' in terrible excitement and suspense. Fire the cannons! Shiver me timbers! That evenin' he reckoned on Grushenka’s comin' almost as a certainty. The ornery cuss had received from Smerdyakov that mornin' an assurance “that she had promised t' come without fail.” The incorrigible auld lubber’s heart throbbed with excitement; he paced up and down his empty rooms listenin'. The ornery cuss had t' be on th' alert, and dinna spare the whip! Dmitri might be on th' watch fer that comely wench somewhere, and when she knocked on th' window (Smerdyakov had informed that scurvey dog two days before that he had told that comely wench where and how t' knock) th' door must be opened at once. The winsome lass must not be a second in th' passage, fer fear which God forbid, avast! – that she should be frightened and run away. Fyodor Pavlovitch had much t' think o', but ne'er had his heart been steeped in such voluptuous hopes. Aarrr, by Blackbeard's sword! This time he could say almost certainly that she would come!

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