The Story of a Family
ALEKSEI* FYODOROVICH KARAMAZOV was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a landowner of our district, extremely well known in his time (and to this day still remembered in these parts) on account of his violent and mysterious death exactly thirteen years ago, the circumstances of which I shall relate in due course. All I shall say now about this landowner (as we used to call him, even though he scarcely ever lived on his estate) is that he was an eccentric, a type not uncommon however, not only worthless and depraved but muddle-headed as well, yet one of those whose muddle-headedness never stops them from making an excellent job of their business affairs. Fyodor Pavlovich, for instance, started with next to nothing at all; the smallest of landowners, he used to do the rounds and cadge a meal off other people, was content to be a hanger-on, but at the time of his death it turned out that he was worth a round hundred thousand roubles* in cash. And yet all his life he had been one of the craziest crackpots in the whole of our district. Let me repeat yet again: this was not a case of stupidity--most of these crackpots are shrewd and cunning enough--but of muddle-headedness, and of a special, typically Russian kind.
He had been married twice and had three sons: the eldest, Dmitry* Fyodorovich, from the first marriage, and the other two, Ivan* and Aleksei, from the second. Fyodor Pavlovich's first wife came from the comparatively wealthy and eminent Miusov family, who were landowners in our district. Precisely how it happened that a young girl possessed of a dowry, and a beauty into the bargain, as well as being quick-witted and clever, of a