Scene 8: Lebyatkins

(The Captain and Mariaís dwelling. The Captain is relieving Stavrogin of his umbrella.)

The Captain: What frightful weather! Oh, you are all wet. I beg you, I beg you. Ah, you are looking at this room. You see, I live like a monk. Abstinence, solitude, poverty, according to the vows of the knights of old. I donít know, I am perhaps confusing things.

Stavrogin: You are certainly confusing things. I hope that you havenít been drinking.

The Captain: Hardly at all.

Stavrogin: I asked you not to get drunk.

The Captain: Yes. Odd request!

Stavrogin: Where is Maria? I shall see her in a moment. But first I have something to settle with you!

The Captain: I hope so. So many things have piled up in my heart. Oh, you have played such a great part in my life. And now I am treated so cruelly.

Stavrogin: I see, Captain, that you havenít changed at all in the past four years.

The Captain: I insist that I am casting my skin like a serpent. Besides, I have written my will. I want to leave my skeleton to the medical students. And why not? You see, I read the biography of an American in the newspapers. He bequeathed his huge fortune to scientific foundations, his skeleton to the medical students of the city, and his skin to be made into a drum on which the American national anthem would be beaten night and day. (He sings.) But alas, we are merely pygmies in comparison to the Americans and their boldness of thought. If I tried to do the same, Iíd be accused of being a socialist and my skin would be confiscated. Consequently, I had to be satisfied with the students. I want to leave them my skeleton on condition that a label will be stuck to my skull saying: ďA repentant free-thinker.Ē

Stavrogin: So you know that you are in danger of death.

The Captain: No, not at all. What do you mean?

Stavrogin: Didnít you write a letter to the governor to denounce Peterís group, to which you belong, nevertheless?

The Captain: I agreed to hand out proclamations, but only to do a service, as it were. I wrote the governor to explain something of the sort to him. Anyway, my dear benefactor, I need money.

Stavrogin: You will have nothing from me. I have already given you too much.

The Captain: Thatís true. But I accepted the shame of it.

Stavrogin: What shame is there in the fact that your sister is my legitimate wife?

The Captain: But the marriage is kept secret! It is kept secret and there is a fatal mystery about it! I receive money from you - all right, thatís normal. Then I am asked: ďWhy do you receive that money?Ē I am bound by my word and cannot answer, thus wronging my sister and the honor of my family.

Stavrogin: I am going to make up for that outrage done to your noble family. Tomorrow, probably, I shall announce our marriage officially. The question of the family dishonor will be settled. And likewise, of course, the question of the allowance that I shanít have to pay you.

The Captain: But itís not possible. You canít make this marriage public. She is half crazy.

Stavrogin: Iíll take care of that.

The Captain: What will your mother say? You will have to take your wife into your house.

Stavrogin: That doesnít concern you.

The Captain: But what shall I become? You are casting me off like an old worn-out shoe.

Stavrogin: Yes, like an old shoe. Thatís the correct expression. Now call Maria.

(The Captain goes out and brings back Maria.)

Stavrogin (To The Captain): Leave now. No, not that way. Iím afraid you would listen to us. I mean outside.

The Captain: But itís raining.

Stavrogin: Take my umbrella.

The Captain: Your umbrella Ė really, am I worthy of that honor?

Stavrogin: Every man is worthy of an umbrella.

The Captain: Yes, yes, of course, thatís a part of the rights of man! (He goes out.)

Maria: May I kiss your hand?

Stavrogin: No. Not yet.

Maria: All right. Sit down in the light so I can see you.

(To reach the armchair, Stavrogin walks toward her. She crouches down with her arm raised as if to protect herself, an expression of fright on her face. Stavrogin stops.)

Stavrogin: I frightened you. Forgive me.

Maria: Never mind. No, I was wrong.

(Stavrogin sits down in the light. Maria screams.)

Stavrogin: Whatís the matter?

Maria: Nothing. Suddenly I didnít recognize you. It seemed to me that you were someone else. What are you holding in your hand?

Stavrogin: What hand?

Maria: Your right hand. Itís a knife!

Stavrogin: But look, my hand is empty.

Maria: Yes. Last night I saw in a dream a man who looked like my Prince, but it wasnít he. He was coming toward me with a knife. Ah! (She screams.) Are you the murderer from my dream or my Prince?

Stavrogin: You are not dreaming. Calm yourself.

Maria: If you are my Prince, the why donít you kiss me? To be sure, he never kissed me. But he was affectionate. I donít feel anything affectionate in you. On the other hand, there is something stirring in you that threatens me. He called me his dove. He gave me a ring. He said: ďLook at it in the evening and I will come to you in your sleep.Ē

Stavrogin: Where is the ring?

Maria: My brother drank it up. And now I am alone at night. Every nightÖ(She weeps.)

Stavrogin: Donít weep, Maria. From now on we shall live together.

Maria: Yes, your voice is soft now. And I recall. I know why you are telling me we shall live together. The other day in the carriage you told me that our marriage would be made public. But Iím afraid of that too. Iíll never know how to handle guests. I donít suit you at all. I know, there are servants. But I saw your family Ė all those ladies Ė at your house. They are the ones I donít suit.

Stavrogin: Did they do anything to hurt you?

Maria: Hurt? Not at all. I was watching you all. There you were, getting excited and bickering. You donít even know how to laugh freely when you are together. So much money and so little joy! Itís dreadful. No, I wasnít hurt. But I was sad. It seemed to me that you were ashamed of me. Yes, you were ashamed, and that morning you began to be more remote. Your very face changed. My Prince went away, and I was left with the man who scorned me, who perhaps hated me. No more kind words Ė just impatience, the knifeÖ

Stavrogin: Enough! You are mad!

Maria: Please, Prince, go outside and come back in. So that Iíll know who you are. For those five years I was waiting for him to come, I constantly imagined the way he would come in. Go outside and come back in as if you had just returned from a long absence, and then perhaps Iíll recognize you.

Stavrogin: Be quiet. Now, listen carefully. I want all your attention. Tomorrow, if I am still alive, I shall make our marriage public. We shall not live in my house. We shall go to Switzerland, to the mountains. We shall spend our whole lives in that gloomy, deserted spot. That is how I see things.

Maria: Yes, yes, you want to die, you are already burying yourself. But when you come to want to live again, you will want to get rid of me. No matter how! Because now I have recognized you and I know that you are not my Prince. He would not be ashamed of me. He would not hide me in the mountains. He would show me to everyone Ė yes, even that young lady who couldnít take her eyes off me the other day. No, you look very much like my Prince, but itís all overÖ I have seen through you. You want to make an impression on that young lady. You covet her.

Stavrogin: Will you listen to me? Cease this madness!

Maria: He never told me I was mad. He was a Prince, an eagle. He could fall at the feet of God if he wanted to, and not fall at the feet of God if he didnít want to. As for you, Shatov slapped you. You are a slave too.

Stavrogin: Look at me. Recognize me. I am your husband.

Maria: Let go of me, impostor. I donít fear your knife. He would have defended me against the whole world. You want my death because I am in your way.

Stavrogin: What have you said, you Wretch!

(He flings her backward. She falls and he rushes toward the door. She stumbles after him. But The Captain suddenly appears and holds her down while she screams.)

Maria: Assassin! Anathema! Assassin! (She recites a prayer.)