Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 11 There Was No Money. There Was No Robbery

  • THERE was one point that struck everyone in Fetyukovitch's speech. He flatl_enied the existence of the fatal three thousand roubles, and consequently,
  • the possibility of their having been stolen.
  • "Gentlemen of the jury," he began. "Every new and unprejudiced observer mus_e struck by a characteristic peculiarity in the present case, namely, th_harge of robbery, and the complete impossibility of proving that there wa_nything to be stolen. We are told that money was stolen- three thousan_oubles but whether those roubles ever existed, nobody knows. Consider, ho_ave we heard of that sum, and who has seen the notes? The only person who sa_hem, and stated that they had been put in the envelope, was the servant,
  • Smerdyakov. He had spoken of it to the prisoner and his brother, Iva_yodorovitch, before the catastrophe. Madame Svyetlov, too, had been told o_t. But not one of these three persons had actually seen the notes, no one bu_merdyakov had seen them.
  • "Here the question arises, if it's true that they did exist, and tha_merdyakov had seen them, when did he see them for the last time? What if hi_aster had taken the notes from under his bed and put them back in his cash-
  • box without telling him? Note, that according to Smerdyakov's story the note_ere kept under the mattress; the prisoner must have pulled them out, and ye_he bed was absolutely unrumpled; that is carefully recorded in the protocol.
  • How could the prisoner have found the notes without disturbing the bed? Ho_ould he have helped soiling with his blood-stained hands the fine an_potless linen with which the bed had been purposely made?
  • "But I shall be asked: What about the envelope on the floor? Yes, it's wort_aying a word or two about that envelope. I was somewhat surprised just now t_ear the highly talented prosecutor declare of himself- of himself, observe-
  • that but for that envelope, but for its being left on the floor, no one in th_orld would have known of the existence of that envelope and the notes in it,
  • and therefore of the prisoner's having stolen it. And so that torn scrap o_aper is, by the prosecutor's own admission, the sole proof on which th_harge of robbery rests, 'otherwise no one would have known of the robbery,
  • nor perhaps even of the money.' But is the mere fact that that scrap of pape_as lying on the floor a proof that there was money in it, and that that mone_ad been stolen? Yet, it will be objected, Smerdyakov had seen the money i_he envelope. But when, when had he seen it for the last time, I ask you that?
  • I talked to Smerdyakov, and he told me that he had seen the notes two day_efore the catastrophe. Then why not imagine that old Fyodor Pavlovitch,
  • locked up alone in impatient and hysterical expectation of the object of hi_doration, may have whiled away the time by breaking open the envelope an_aking out the notes. 'What's the use of the envelope?' he may have aske_imself. 'She won't believe the notes are there, but when I show her th_hirty rainbow-coloured notes in one roll, it will make more impression, yo_ay be sure, it will make her mouth water.' And so he tears open the envelope,
  • takes out the money, and flings the envelope on the floor, conscious of bein_he owner and untroubled by any fears of leaving evidence.
  • "Listen, gentlemen, could anything be more likely than this theory and such a_ction? Why is it out of the question? But if anything of the sort could hav_aken place, the charge of robbery falls to the ground; if there was no money,
  • there was no theft of it. If the envelope on the floor may be taken a_vidence that there had been money in it, why may I not maintain the opposite,
  • that the envelope was on the floor because the money had been taken from it b_ts owner?
  • "But I shall be asked what became of the money if Fyodor Pavlovitch took i_ut of the envelope since it was not found when the police searched the house?
  • In the first place, part of the money was found in the cash-box, and secondly,
  • he might have taken it out that morning or the evening before to make som_ther use of it, to give or send it away; he may have changed his idea, hi_lan of action completely, without thinking it necessary to announce the fac_o Smerdyakov beforehand. And if there is the barest possibility of such a_xplanation, how can the prisoner be so positively accused of having committe_urder for the sake of robbery, and of having actually carried out tha_obbery? This is encroaching on the domain of romance. If it is maintaine_hat something has been stolen, the thing must be produced, or at least it_xistence must be proved beyond doubt. Yet no one had ever seen these notes.
  • "Not long ago in Petersburg a young man of eighteen, hardly more than a boy,
  • who carried on a small business as a costermonger, went in broad daylight int_ moneychanger's shop with an axe, and with extraordinary, typical audacit_illed the master of the shop and carried off fifteen hundred roubles. Fiv_ours later he was arrested, and, except fifteen roubles he had alread_anaged to spend, the whole sum was found on him. Moreover, the shopman, o_is return to the shop after the murder, informed the police not only of th_xact sum stolen, but even of the notes and gold coins of which that sum wa_ade up, and those very notes and coins were found on the criminal. This wa_ollowed by a full and genuine confession on the part of the murderer. That'_hat I call evidence, gentlemen of the jury! In that case I know, I see, _ouch the money, and cannot deny its existence. Is it the same in the presen_ase? And yet it is a question of life and death.
  • "Yes, I shall be told, but he was carousing that night, squandering money; h_as shown to have had fifteen hundred roubles- where did he get the money? Bu_he very fact that only fifteen hundred could be found, and the other half o_he sum could nowhere be discovered, shows that that money was not the same,
  • and had never been in any envelope. By strict calculation of time it wa_roved at the preliminary inquiry that the prisoner ran straight from thos_omen servants to Perhotin's without going home, and that he had been nowhere.
  • So he had been all the time in company and therefore could not have divide_he three thousand in half and hidden half in the town. It's just thi_onsideration that has led the prosecutor to assume that the money is hidde_n some crevice at Mokroe. Why not in the dungeons of the castle of Udolpho,
  • gentlemen? Isn't this supposition really too fantastic and too romantic? An_bserve, if that supposition breaks down, the whole charge of robbery i_cattered to the winds, for in that case what could have become of the othe_ifteen hundred roubles? By what miracle could they have disappeared, sinc_t's proved the prisoner went nowhere else? And we are ready to ruin a man'_ife with such tales!
  • "I shall be told that he could not explain where he got the fifteen hundre_hat he had. and everyone knew that he was without money before that night.
  • Who knew it, pray? The prisoner has made a clear and unflinching statement o_he source of that money, and if you will have it so, gentlemen of the jury,
  • nothing can be more probable than that statement, and more consistent with th_emper and spirit of the prisoner. The prosecutor is charmed with his ow_omance. A man of weak will, who had brought himself to take the thre_housand so insultingly offered by his betrothed, could not, we are told, hav_et aside half and sewn it up, but would, even if he had done so, hav_npicked it every two days and taken out a hundred, and so would have spent i_ll in a month. All this, you will remember, was put forward in a tone wha_rooked no contradiction. But what if the thing happened quite differently?
  • What if you've been weaving a romance, and about quite a different kind o_an? That's just it, you have invented quite a different man!
  • "I shall be told, perhaps, there are witnesses that he spent on one day al_hat three thousand given him by his betrothed a month before the catastrophe,
  • so he could not have divided the sum in half. But who are these witnesses? Th_alue of their evidence has been shown in court already. Besides, in anothe_an's hand a crust always seems larger, and no one of these witnesses counte_hat money; they all judged simply at sight. And the witness Maximov ha_estified that the prisoner had twenty thousand in his hand. You see,
  • gentlemen of the jury, psychology is a two edged weapon. Let me turn the othe_dge now and see what comes of it.
  • "A month before the catastrophe the prisoner was entrusted by Katerin_vanovna with three thousand roubles to send off by post. But the question is:
  • is it true that they were entrusted to him in such an insulting and degradin_ay as was proclaimed just now? The first statement made by the young lady o_he subject was different, perfectly different. In the second statement w_eard only cries of resentment and revenge, cries of long-concealed hatred.
  • And the very fact that the witness gave her first evidence incorrectly give_s a right to conclude that her second piece of evidence may have bee_ncorrect also. The prosecutor will not, dare not (his own words) touch o_hat story. So be it. I will not touch on it either, but will only venture t_bserve that if a lofty and high-principled person, such as that highl_espected young lady unquestionably is, if such a person, I say, allow_erself suddenly in court to contradict her first statement, with the obviou_otive of ruining the prisoner, it is clear that this evidence has been give_ot impartially, not coolly. Have not we the right to assume that a revengefu_oman might have exaggerated much? Yes, she may well have exaggerated, i_articular, the insult and humiliation of her offering him the money. No, i_as offered in such a way that it was possible to take it, especially for _an so easygoing as the prisoner, above all, as he expected to receive shortl_rom his father the three thousand roubles that he reckoned was owing to him.
  • It was unreflecting of him, but it was just his irresponsible want o_eflection that made him so confident that his father would give him th_oney, that he would get it, and so could always dispatch the money entruste_o him and repay the debt.
  • "But the prosecutor refuses to allow that he could the same day have set asid_alf the money and sewn it up in a little bag. That's not his character, h_ells us, he couldn't have had such feelings. But yet he talked himself of th_road Karamazov nature; he cried out about the two extremes which a Karamazo_an contemplate at once. Karamazov is just such a two-sided nature,
  • fluctuating between two extremes, that even when moved by the most violen_raving for riotous gaiety, he can pull himself up, if something strikes hi_n the other side. And on the other side is love that new love which ha_lamed up in his heart, and for that love he needed money; oh, far more tha_or carousing with his mistress. If she were to say to him, 'I am yours, _on't have Fyodor Pavlovitch,' then he must have money to take her away. Tha_as more important than carousing. Could a Karamazov fail to understand it?
  • That anxiety was just what he was suffering from- what is there improbable i_is laying aside that money and concealing it in case of emergency?
  • "But time passed, and Fyodor Pavlovitch did not give the prisoner the expecte_hree thousand; on the contrary, the latter heard that he meant to use thi_um to seduce the woman he, the prisoner, loved. 'If Fyodor Pavlovitch doesn'_ive the money,' he thought, 'I shall be put in the position of a thief befor_aterina Ivanovna.' And then the idea presented itself to him that he would g_o Katerina Ivanovna, lay before her the fifteen hundred roubles he stil_arried round his neck, and say, 'I am a scoundrel, but not a thief.' So her_e have already a twofold reason why he should guard that sum of money as th_pple of his eye, why he shouldn't unpick the little bag, and spend it _undred at a time. Why should you deny the prisoner a sense of honour? Yes, h_as a sense of honour, granted that it's misplaced, granted it's ofte_istaken, yet it exists and amounts to a passion, and he has proved that.
  • "But now the affair becomes even more complex; his jealous torments reach _limax, and those same two questions torture his fevered brain more and more:
  • 'If I repay Katerina Ivanovna, where can I find the means to go off wit_rushenka?' If he behaved wildly, drank, and made disturbances in the tavern_n the course of that month, it was perhaps because he was wretched an_trained beyond his powers of endurance. These two questions became so acut_hat they drove him at last to despair. He sent his younger brother to beg fo_he last time for the three thousand roubles, but without waiting for a reply,
  • burst in himself and ended by beating the old man in the presence o_itnesses. After that he had no prospect of getting it from anyone; his fathe_ould not give it him after that beating.
  • "The same evening he struck himself on the breast, just on the upper part o_he breast where the little bag was, and swore to his brother that he had th_eans of not being a scoundrel, but that still he would remain a scoundrel,
  • for he foresaw that he would not use that means, that he wouldn't have th_haracter, that he wouldn't have the will-power to do it. Why, why does th_rosecutor refuse to believe the evidence of Alexey Karamazov, given s_enuinely and sincerely, so spontaneously and convincingly? And why, on th_ontrary, does he force me to believe in money hidden in a crevice, in th_ungeons of the castle of Udolpho?
  • "The same evening, after his talk with his brother, the prisoner wrote tha_atal letter, and that letter is the chief, the most stupendous proof of th_risoner having committed robbery! 'I shall beg from everyone, and if I don'_et it I shall murder my father and shall take the envelope with the pin_ibbon on it from under his mattress as soon as Ivan has gone.' A ful_rogramme of the murder, we are told, so it must have been he. 'It has al_een done as he wrote,' cries the prosecutor.
  • "But in the first place, it's the letter of a drunken man and written in grea_rritation; secondly, he writes of the envelope from what he has heard fro_merdyakov again, for he has not seen the envelope himself; and thirdly, h_rote it indeed, but how can you prove that he did it? Did the prisoner tak_he envelope from under the pillow, did he find the money, did that mone_xist indeed? And was it to get money that the prisoner ran off, if yo_emember? He ran off post-haste not to steal, but to find out where she was,
  • the woman who had crushed him. He was not running to carry out a programme, t_arry out what he had written, that is, not for an act of premeditate_obbery, but he ran suddenly, spontaneously, in a jealous fury. Yes! I shal_e told, but when he got there and murdered him he seized the money, too. Bu_id he murder him after all? The charge of robbery I repudiate wit_ndignation. A man cannot be accused of robbery, if it's impossible to stat_ccurately what he has stolen; that's an axiom. But did he murder him withou_obbery, did he murder him at all? Is that proved? Isn't that, too, _omance?"