THIS was how Fetyukovitch concluded his speech, and the enthusiasm of th_udience burst like an irresistible storm. It was out of the question to sto_t: the women wept, many of the men wept too, even two important personage_hed tears. The President submitted, and even postponed ringing his bell. Th_uppression of such an enthusiasm would be the suppression of somethin_acred, as the ladies cried afterwards. The orator himself was genuinel_ouched.
And it was at this moment that Ippolit Kirillovitch got up to make certai_bjections. People looked at him with hatred. "What? What's the meaning of it?
He positively dares to make objections," the ladies babbled. But if the whol_orld of ladies, including his wife, had protested he could not have bee_topped at that moment. He was pale, he was shaking with emotion, his firs_hrases were even unintelligible, he gasped for breath, could hardly spea_learly, lost the thread. But he soon recovered himself. Of this new speech o_is I will quote only a few sentences.
"… I am reproached with having woven a romance. But what is this defence i_ot one romance on the top of another? All that was lacking was poetry. Fyodo_avlovitch, while waiting for his mistress, tears open the envelope and throw_t on the floor. We are even told what he said while engaged in this strang_ct. Is not this a flight of fancy? And what proof have we that he had take_ut the money? Who heard what he said? The weak-minded idiot, Smerdyakov, transformed into a Byronic hero, avenging society for his illegitimate birth- isn't this a romance in the Byronic style? And the son who breaks into hi_ather's house and murders him without murdering him is not even a romance- this is a sphinx setting us a riddle which he cannot solve himself. If h_urdered him, he murdered him, and what's the meaning of his murdering hi_ithout having murdered him- who can make head or tail of this?
"Then we are admonished that our tribune is a tribune of true and sound idea_nd from this tribune of 'sound ideas' is heard a solemn declaration that t_all the murder of a father 'parricide' is nothing but a prejudice! But i_arricide is a prejudice, and if every child is to ask his father why he is t_ove him, what will become of us? What will become of the foundations o_ociety? What will become of the family? Parricide, it appears, is only a bog_f Moscow merchants' wives. The most precious, the most sacred guarantees fo_he destiny and future of Russian justice are presented to us in a perverte_nd frivolous form, simply to attain an object- to obtain the justification o_omething which cannot be justified. 'Oh, crush him by mercy,' cries th_ounsel for the defence; but that's all the criminal wants, and to-morrow i_ill be seen how much he is crushed. And is not the counsel for the defenc_oo modest in asking only for the acquittal of the prisoner? Why not found _harity in the honour of the parricide to commemorate his exploit among futur_enerations? Religion and the Gospel are corrected- that's all mysticism, w_re told, and ours is the only true Christianity which has been subjected t_he analysis of reason and common sense. And so they set up before us a fals_emblance of Christ! 'What measure ye mete so it shall be meted unto yo_gain,' cried the counsel for the defence, and instantly deduces that Chris_eaches us to measure as it is measured to us and this from the tribune o_ruth and sound sense! We peep into the Gospel only on the eve of makin_peeches, in order to dazzle the audience by our acquaintance with what is, anyway, a rather original composition, which may be of use to produce _ertain effect- all to serve the purpose! But what Christ commands us i_omething very different: He bids us beware of doing this, because the wicke_orld does this, but we ought to forgive and to turn the other cheek, and no_o measure to our persecutors as they measure to us. This is what our God ha_aught us and not that to forbid children to murder their fathers is _rejudice. And we will not from the tribune of truth and good sense correc_he Gospel of our Lord, Whom the counsel for the defence deigns to call only
'the crucified lover of humanity,' in opposition to all orthodox Russia, whic_alls to Him, 'For Thou art our God!'"
At this the President intervened and checked the over-zealous speaker, beggin_im not to exaggerate, not to overstep the bounds, and so on, as president_lways do in such cases. The audience, too, was uneasy. The public wa_estless: there were even exclamations of indignation. Fetyukovitch did not s_uch as reply; he only mounted the tribune to lay his hand on his heart and, with an offended voice, utter a few words full of dignity. He only touche_gain, lightly and ironically, on "romancing" and "psychology," and in a_ppropriate place quoted, "Jupiter, you are angry, therefore you are wrong,"
which provoked a burst of approving laughter in the audience, for Ippoli_irillovitch was by no means like Jupiter. Then, a propos of the accusatio_hat he was teaching the young generation to murder their fathers, Fetyukovitch observed, with great dignity, that he would not even answer. A_or the prosecutor's charge of uttering unorthodox opinions, Fetyukovitc_inted that it was a personal insinuation and that he had expected in thi_ourt to be secure from accusations "damaging to my reputation as a citize_nd a loyal subject." But at these words the President pulled him up, too, an_etyukovitch concluded his speech with a bow, amid a hum of approbation in th_ourt. And Ippolit Kirillovitch was, in the opinion of our ladies, "crushe_or good."
Then the prisoner was allowed to speak. Mitya stood up, but said very little.
He was fearfully exhausted, physically and mentally. The look of strength an_ndependence with which he had entered in the morning had almost disappeared.
He seemed as though he had passed through an experience that day, which ha_aught him for the rest of his life something very important he had no_nderstood till then. His voice was weak, he did not shout as before. In hi_ords there was a new note of humility, defeat and submission.
"What am I to say, gentlemen of the jury? The hour of judgment has come fo_e, I feel the hand of God upon me! The end has come to an erring man! But, before God, I repeat to you, I am innocent of my father's blood! For the las_ime I repeat, it wasn't I killed him! I was erring, but I loved what is good.
Every instant I strove to reform, but I lived like a wild beast. I thank th_rosecutor, he told me many things about myself that I did not know; but it'_ot true that I killed my father, the prosecutor is mistaken. I thank m_ounsel, too. I cried listening to him; but it's not true that I killed m_ather, and he needn't have supposed it. And don't believe the doctors. I a_erfectly sane, only my heart is heavy. If you spare me, if you let me go, _ill pray for you. I will be a better man. I give you my word before God _ill! And if you will condemn me, I'll break my sword over my head myself an_iss the pieces. But spare me, do not rob me of my God! I know myself, I shal_ebel! My heart is heavy, gentlemen… spare me!"
He almost fell back in his place: his voice broke: he could hardly articulat_he last phrase. Then the judges proceeded to put the questions and began t_sk both sides to formulate their conclusions. But I will not describe th_etails. At last the jury rose to retire for consultation. The President wa_ery tired, and so his last charge to the jury was rather feeble. "B_mpartial, don't be influenced by the eloquence of the defence, but yet weig_he arguments. Remember that there is a great responsibility laid upon you,"
and so on and so on.
The jury withdrew and the court adjourned. People could get up, move about, exchange their accumulated impressions, refresh themselves at the buffet. I_as very late, almost one o'clock in the night, but nobody went away: th_train was so great that no one could think of repose. All waited with sinkin_earts; though that is, perhaps, too much to say, for the ladies were only i_ state of hysterical impatience and their hearts were untroubled. A_cquittal, they thought, was inevitable. They all prepared themselves for _ramatic moment of general enthusiasm. I must own there were many among th_en, too, who were convinced that an acquittal was inevitable. Some wer_leased, others frowned, while some were simply dejected, not wanting him t_e acquitted. Fetyukovitch himself was confident of his success. He wa_urrounded by people congratulating him and fawning upon him.
"There are," he said to one group, as I was told afterwards, "there ar_nvisible threads binding the counsel for the defence with the jury. One feel_uring one's speech if they are being formed. I was aware of them. They exist.
Our cause is won. Set your mind at rest."
"What will our peasants say now?" said one stout, cross-looking, pock-marke_entleman, a landowner of the neighbourhood, approaching a group of gentleme_ngaged in conversation.
"But they are not all peasants. There are four government clerks among them."
"Yes, there are clerks," said a member of the district council, joining th_roup.
"And do you know that Nazaryev, the merchant with the medal, a juryman?"
"What of him?"
"He is a man with brains."
"But he never speaks."
"He is no great talker, but so much the better. There's no need for th_etersburg man to teach him: he could teach all Petersburg himself. He's th_ather of twelve children. Think of that!"
"Upon my word, you don't suppose they won't acquit him?" one of our youn_fficials exclaimed in another group.
"They'll acquit him for certain," said a resolute voice.
"It would be shameful, disgraceful, not to acquit him cried the official.
"Suppose he did murder him- there are fathers and fathers! And, besides, h_as in such a frenzy… . He really may have done nothing but swing the pestl_n the air, and so knocked the old man down. But it was a pity they dragge_he valet in. That was simply an absurd theory! If I'd been in Fetyukovitch'_lace, I should simply have said straight out: 'He murdered him; but he is no_uilty, hang it all!'
"That's what he did, only without saying, 'Hang it all!'"
"No, Mihail Semyonovitch, he almost said that, too," put in a third voice.
"Why, gentlemen, in Lent an actress was acquitted in our town who had cut th_hroat of her lover's lawful wife."
"Oh, but she did not finish cutting it."
"That makes no difference. She began cutting it."
"What did you think of what he said about children? Splendid, wasn't it?"
"And about mysticism, too!"
"Oh, drop mysticism, do!" cried someone else; "think of Ippolit and his fat_rom this day forth. His wife will scratch his eyes out to-morrow for Mitya'_ake."
"Is she here?"
"What an idea! If she'd been here she'd have scratched them out in court. Sh_s at home with toothache. He he he!"
"He he he!"
In a third group:
"I dare say they will acquit Mitenka, after all."
"I should not be surprised if he turns the Metropolis upside down to-morrow.
He will be drinking for ten days!"
"Oh, the devil!"
"The devil's bound to have a hand in it. Where should he be if not here?"
"Well, gentlemen, I admit it was eloquent. But still it's not the thing t_reak your father's head with a pestle! Or what are we coming to?"
"The chariot! Do you remember the chariot?"
"Yes; he turned a cart into a chariot!"
"And to-morrow he will turn a chariot into a cart, just to suit his purpose."
"What cunning chaps there are nowadays! Is there any justice to be had i_ussia?"
But the bell rang. The jury deliberated for exactly an hour, neither more no_ess. A profound silence reigned in the court as soon as the public had take_heir seats. I remember how the jurymen walked into the court. At last! _on't repeat the questions in order, and, indeed, I have forgotten them. _emember only the answer to the President's first and chief question: "Did th_risoner commit the murder for the sake of robbery and with premeditation?" (_on't remember the exact words.) There was a complete hush. The foreman of th_ury, the youngest of the clerks, pronounced, in a clear, loud voice, amids_he deathlike stillness of the court:
And the same answer was repeated to every question: "Yes, guilty!" and withou_he slightest extenuating comment. This no one had expected; almost everyon_ad reckoned upon a recommendation to mercy, at least. The death-like silenc_n the court was not broken- all seemed petrified: those who desired hi_onviction as well as those who had been eager for his acquittal. But that wa_nly for the first instant, and it was followed by a fearful hubbub. Many o_he men in the audience were pleased. Some were rubbing their hands with n_ttempt to conceal their joy. Those who disagreed with the verdict seeme_rushed, shrugged their shoulders, whispered, but still seemed unable t_ealise this. But how shall I describe the state the ladies were in? I though_hey would create a riot. At first they could scarcely believe their ears.
Then suddenly the whole court rang with exclamations: "What's the meaning o_t? What next?" They leapt up from their places. They seemed to fancy that i_ight be at once reconsidered and reversed. At that instant Mitya suddenl_tood up and cried in a heart-rending voice, stretching his hands out befor_im:
"I swear by God and the dreadful Day of Judgment I am not guilty of m_ather's blood! Katya, I forgive you! Brothers, friends, have pity on th_ther woman!"
He could not go on, and broke into a terrible sobbing wail that was heard al_ver the court in a strange, unnatural voice unlike his own. From the farthes_orner at the back of the gallery came a piercing shriek- it was Grushenka.
She had succeeded in begging admittance to the court again before th_eginning of the lawyers' speeches. Mitya was taken away. The passing of th_entence was deferred till next day. The whole court was in a hubbub but I di_ot wait to hear. I only remember a few exclamations I heard on the steps as _ent out.