I DO NOT know whether the witnesses for the defence and for the prosecutio_ere separated into groups by the President, and whether it was arranged t_all them in a certain order. But no doubt it was so. I only know that th_itnesses for the prosecution were called first. I repeat I don't intend t_escribe all the questions step by step. Besides, my account would be to som_xtent superfluous, because in the speeches for the prosecution and for th_efence the whole course of the evidence was brought together and set in _trong and significant light, and I took down parts of those two remarkabl_peeches in full, and will quote them in due course, together with on_xtraordinary and quite unexpected episode, which occurred before the fina_peeches, and undoubtedly influenced the sinister and fatal outcome of th_rial.
I will only observe that from the first moments of the trial one peculia_haracteristic of the case was conspicuous and observed by all, that is, th_verwhelming strength of the prosecution as compared with the arguments th_efence had to rely upon. Everyone realised it from the first moment that th_acts began to group themselves round a single point, and the whole horribl_nd bloody crime was gradually revealed. Everyone, perhaps, felt from th_irst that the case was beyond dispute, that there was no doubt about it, tha_here could be really no discussion, and that the defence was only a matter o_orm, and that the prisoner was guilty, obviously and conclusively guilty. _magine that even the ladies, who were so impatiently longing for th_cquittal of the interesting prisoner, were at the same time, withou_xception, convinced of his guilt. What's more, I believe they would have bee_ortified if his guilt had not been so firmly established, as that would hav_essened the effect of the closing scene of the criminal's acquittal. That h_ould be acquitted, all the ladies, strange to say, were firmly persuaded u_o the very last moment. "He is guilty, but he will be acquitted, from motive_f humanity, in accordance with the new ideas, the new sentiments that ha_ome into fashion," and so on, and so on. And that was why they had crowde_nto the court so impatiently. The men were more interested in the contes_etween the prosecutor and the famous Fetyukovitch. All were wondering an_sking themselves what could even a talent like Fetyukovitch's make of such _esperate case; and so they followed his achievements, step by step, wit_oncentrated attention.
But Fetyukovitch remained an enigma to all up to the very end, up to hi_peech. Persons of experience suspected that he had some design, that he wa_orking towards some object, but it was almost impossible to guess what i_as. His confidence and self-reliance were unmistakable, however. Everyon_oticed with pleasure, moreover, that he, after so short a stay, not more tha_hree days, perhaps, among us, had so wonderfully succeeded in mastering th_ase and "had studied it to a nicety." People described with relish, afterwards, how cleverly he had "taken down" all the witnesses for th_rosecution, and as far as possible perplexed them and, what's more, ha_spersed their reputation and so depreciated the value of their evidence. Bu_t was supposed that he did this rather by way of sport, so to speak, fo_rofessional glory, to show nothing had been omitted of the accepted methods, for all were convinced that he could do no real good by such disparagement o_he witnesses, and probably was more aware of this than anyone, having som_dea of his own in the background, some concealed weapon of defence, which h_ould suddenly reveal when the time came. But meanwhile, conscious of hi_trength, he seemed to be diverting himself.
So, for instance, when Grigory, Fyodor Pavlovitch's old servant, who had give_he most damning piece of evidence about the open door, was examined, th_ounsel for the defence positively fastened upon him when his turn came t_uestion him. It must be noted that Grigory entered the trial with a compose_nd almost stately air, not the least disconcerted by the majesty of the cour_r the vast audience listening to him. He gave evidence with as muc_onfidence as though he had been talking with his Marfa, only perhaps mor_espectfully. It was impossible to make him contradict himself. The prosecuto_uestioned him first in detail about the family life of the Karamazovs. Th_amily picture stood out in lurid colours. It was plain to ear and eye tha_he witness was guileless and impartial. In spite of his profound reverenc_or the memory of his deceased master, he yet bore witness that he had bee_njust to Mitya and "hadn't brought up his children as he should. He'd hav_een devoured by lice when he was little, if it hadn't been for me," he added, describing Mitya's early childhood. "It wasn't fair either of the father t_rong his son over his mother's property, which was by right his."
In reply to the prosecutor's question what grounds he had for asserting tha_yodor Pavlovitch had wronged his son in their money relations, Grigory, t_he surprise of everyone, had no proof at all to bring forward, but he stil_ersisted that the arrangement with the son was "unfair," and that he ought
"to have paid him several thousand roubles more." I must note, by the way, that the prosecutor asked this question (whether Fyodor Pavlovitch had reall_ept back part of Mitya's inheritance) with marked persistence of all th_itnesses who could be asked it, not excepting Alyosha and Ivan, but h_btained no exact information from anyone; all alleged that it was so, bu_ere unable to bring forward any distinct proof. Grigory's description of th_cene at the dinner-table, when Dmitri had burst in and beaten his father, threatening to come back to kill him, made a sinister impression on the court, especially as the old servant's composure in telling it, his parsimony o_ords, and peculiar phraseology were as effective as eloquence. He observe_hat he was not angry with Mitya for having knocked him down and struck him o_he face; he had forgiven him long ago, he said. Of the deceased Smerdyakov h_bserved, crossing himself, that he was a lad of ability, but stupid an_fflicted, and, worse still, an infidel, and that it was Fyodor Pavlovitch an_is elder son who had taught him to be so. But he defended Smerdyakov'_onesty almost with warmth, and related how Smerdyakov had once found th_aster's money in the yard, and, instead of concealing it, had taken it to hi_aster, who had rewarded him with a "gold piece" for it, and trusted hi_mplicitly from that time forward. He maintained obstinately that the doo_nto the garden had been open. But he was asked so many questions that I can'_ecall them all.
At last the counsel for the defence began to cross-examine him, and the firs_uestion he asked was about the envelope in which Fyodor Pavlovitch wa_upposed to have put three thousand roubles for "a certain person." "Have yo_ver seen it, you, who were for so many years in close attendance on you_aster?" Grigory answered that he had not seen it and had never heard of th_oney from anyone "till everybody was talking about it." This question abou_he envelope Fetyukovitch put to everyone who could conceivably have known o_t, as persistently as the prosecutor asked his question about Dmitri'_nheritance, and got the same answer from all, that no one had seen th_nvelope, though many had heard of it. From the beginning everyone notice_etyukovitch's persistence on this subject.
"Now, with your permission I'll ask you a question," Fetyukovitch said, suddenly and unexpectedly. "Of what was that balsam, or, rather, decoction, made, which, as we learn from the preliminary inquiry, you used on tha_vening to rub your lumbago, in the hope of curing it?"
Grigory looked blankly at the questioner, and after a brief silence muttered,
"There was saffron in it."
"Nothing but saffron? Don't you remember any other ingredient?"
"There was milfoil in it, too."
"And pepper perhaps?" Fetyukovitch queried.
"Yes, there was pepper, too."
"Etcetera. And all dissolved in vodka?"
There was a faint sound of laughter in the court.
"You see, in spirit. After rubbing your back, I believe, you drank what wa_eft in the bottle with a certain pious prayer, only known to your wife?"
"Did you drink much? Roughly speaking, a wine-glass or two?"
"It might have been a tumbler-full."
"A tumbler-full, even. Perhaps a tumbler and a half?"
Grigory did not answer. He seemed to see what was meant.
"A glass and a half of neat spirit- is not at all bad, don't you think? Yo_ight see the gates of heaven open, not only the door into the garden?"
Grigory remained silent. There was another laugh in the court. The Presiden_ade a movement.
"Do you know for a fact," Fetyukovitch persisted, "whether you were awake o_ot when you saw the open door?"
"I was on my legs."
"That's not a proof that you were awake." (There was again laughter in th_ourt.) "Could you have answered at that moment, if anyone had asked you _uestion- for instance, what year it is?"
"I don't know."
"And what year is it, Anno Domini, do you know?"
Grigory stood with a perplexed face, looking straight at his tormentor.
Strange to say, it appeared he really did not know what year it was.
"But perhaps you can tell me how many fingers you have on your hands?"
"I am a servant," Grigory said suddenly, in a loud and distinct voice. "If m_etters think fit to make game of me, it is my duty to suffer it."
Fetyukovitch was a little taken aback, and the President intervened, remindin_im that he must ask more relevant questions. Fetyukovitch bowed with dignit_nd said that he had no more questions to ask of the witness. The public an_he jury, of course, were left with a grain of doubt in their minds as to th_vidence of a man who might, while undergoing a certain cure, have seen "th_ates of heaven," and who did not even know what year he was living in. Bu_efore Grigory left the box another episode occurred. The President, turnin_o the prisoner, asked him whether he had any comment to make on the evidenc_f the last witness.
"Except about the door, all he has said is true," cried Mitya, in a lou_oice. "For combing the lice off me, I thank him; for forgiving my blows, _hank him. The old man has been honest all his life and as faithful to m_ather as seven hundred poodles."
"Prisoner, be careful in your language," the President admonished him.
"I am not a poodle," Grigory muttered.
"All right, it's I am a poodle myself," cried Mitya. "If it's an insult, _ake it to myself and I beg his pardon. I was a beast and cruel to him. I wa_ruel to Aesop too."
"What Aesop?" the President asked sternly again.
"Oh, Pierrot… my father, Fyodor Pavlovitch."
The President again and again warned Mitya impressively and very sternly to b_ore careful in his language.
"You are injuring yourself in the opinion of your judges."
The counsel for the defence was equally clever in dealing with the evidence o_akitin. I may remark that Rakitin was one of the leading witnesses and one t_hom the prosecutor attached great significance. It appeared that he kne_verything; his knowledge was amazing, he had been everywhere, see_verything, talked to everybody, knew every detail of the biography of Fyodo_avlovitch and all the Karamazovs. Of the envelope, it is true, he had onl_eard from Mitya himself. But he described minutely Mitya's exploits in th_etropolis, all his compromising doings and sayings, and told the story o_aptain Snegiryov's "wisp of tow." But even Rakitin could say nothing positiv_bout Mitya's inheritance, and confined himself to contemptuous generalities.
"Who could tell which of them was to blame, and which was in debt to th_ther, with their crazy Karamazov way of muddling things so that no one coul_ake head or tail of it?" He attributed the tragic crime to the habits tha_ad become ingrained by ages of serfdom and the distressed condition o_ussia, due to the lack of appropriate institutions. He was, in fact, allowe_ome latitude of speech. This was the first occasion on which Rakitin showe_hat he could do, and attracted notice. The prosecutor knew that the witnes_as preparing a magazine article on the case, and afterwards in his speech, a_e shall see later, quoted some ideas from the article, showing that he ha_een it already. The picture drawn by the witness was a gloomy and siniste_ne, and greatly strengthened the case for the prosecution. Altogether, Rakatin's discourse fascinated the public by its independence and th_xtraordinary nobility of its ideas. There were even two or three outbreaks o_pplause when he spoke of serfdom and the distressed condition of Russia.
But Rakitin, in his youthful ardour, made a slight blunder, of which th_ounsel for the defence at once adroitly took advantage. Answering certai_uestions about Grushenka and carried away by the loftiness of his ow_entiments and his success, of which he was, of course, conscious, he went s_ar as to speak somewhat contemptuously of Agrafena Alexandrovna as "the kep_istress of Samsonov." He would have given a good deal to take back his word_fterwards, for Fetyukovitch caught him out over it at once. And it was al_ecause Rakitin had not reckoned on the lawyer having been able to become s_ntimately acquainted with every detail in so short a time.
"Allow me to ask," began the counsel for the defence, with the most affabl_nd even respectful smile, "you are, of course, the same Mr. Rakitin whos_amphlet, The Life of the Deceased Elder, Father Zossima, published by th_iocesan authorities, full of profound and religious reflections and precede_y an excellent and devout dedication to the bishop, I have just read wit_uch pleasure?"
"I did not write it for publication… it was published afterwards," muttere_akitin, for some reason fearfully disconcerted and almost ashamed.
"Oh, that's excellent! A thinker like you can, and indeed ought to, take th_idest view of every social question. Your most instructive pamphlet has bee_idely circulated through the patronage of the bishop, and has been o_ppreciable service… . But this is the chief thing I should like to learn fro_ou. You stated just now that you were very intimately acquainted with Madam_vyetlov." (It must be noted that Grushenka's surname was Svyetlov. I heard i_or the first time that day, during the case.)
"I cannot answer for all my acquaintances… . I am a young man… and who can b_esponsible for everyone he meets?" cried Rakitin, flushing all over.
"I understand, I quite understand," cried Fetyukovitch; as though he, too, were embarrassed and in haste to excuse himself. "You, like any other, migh_ell be interested in an acquaintance with a young and beautiful woman wh_ould readily entertain the elite of the youth of the neighbourhood, but… _nly wanted to know… It has come to my knowledge, that Madame Svyetlov wa_articularly anxious a couple of months ago to make the acquaintance of th_ounger Karamazov, Alexey Fyodorovitch, and promised you twenty-five roubles, if you would bring him to her in his monastic dress. And that actually too_lace on the evening of the day on which the terrible crime, which is th_ubject of the present investigation, was committed. You brought Alexe_aramazov to Madame Svyetlov, and did you receive the twenty-five roubles fro_adame Svyetlov as a reward, that's what I wanted to hear from you?"
"It was a joke… . I don't, see of what interest that can be to you… . I too_t for a joke… meaning to give it back later… "
"Then you did take- but you have not given it back yet… or have you?"
"That's of no consequence," muttered Rakitin, "I refuse to answer suc_uestions… . Of course, I shall give it back."
The President intervened, but Fetyukovitch declared he had no more question_o ask of the witness. Mr. Rakitin left the witness-box not absolutely withou_ stain upon his character. The effect left by the lofty idealism of hi_peech was somewhat marred, and Fetyukovitch's expression, as he watched hi_alk away, seemed to suggest to the public "this is a specimen of the lofty- minded persons who accuse him." I remember that this incident, too, did no_ass off without an outbreak from Mitya. Enraged by the tone in which Rakiti_ad referred to Grushenka, he suddenly shouted "Bernard!" When, afte_akitin's cross-examination, the President asked the prisoner if he ha_nything to say, Mitya cried loudly:
"Since I've been arrested, he has borrowed money from me! He is a contemptibl_ernard and opportunist, and he doesn't believe in God; he took the bisho_n!"
Mitya of course, was pulled up again for the intemperance of his language, bu_akitin was done for. Captain Snegiryov's evidence was a failure, too, bu_rom quite a different reason. He appeared in ragged and dirty clothes, mudd_oots, and in spite of the vigilance and expert observation of the polic_fficers, he turned out to be hopelessly drunk. On being asked about Mitya'_ttack upon him, he refused to answer.
"God bless him. Ilusha told me not to. God will make it up to me yonder."
"Who told you not to tell? Of whom are you talking?"
"Ilusha, my little son. 'Father, father, how he insulted you!' He said that a_he stone. Now he is dying… "
The captain suddenly began sobbing, and plumped down on His knees before th_resident. He was hurriedly led away amidst the laughter of the public. Th_ffect prepared by the prosecutor did not come off at all.
Fetyukovitch went on making the most of every opportunity, and amazed peopl_ore and more by his minute knowledge of the case. Thus, for example, Trifo_orissovitch made a great impression, of course, very prejudicial to Mitya. H_alculated almost on his fingers that on his first visit to Mokroe, Mitya mus_ave spent three thousand roubles, "or very little less. Just think what h_quandered on those gypsy girls alone! And as for our lousy peasants, i_asn't a case of flinging half a rouble in the street, he made them present_f twenty-five roubles each, at least, he didn't give them less. And what _ot of money was simply stolen from him! And if anyone did steal, he did no_eave a receipt. How could one catch the thief when he was flinging his mone_way all the time? Our peasants are robbers, you know; they have no care fo_heir souls. And the way he went on with the girls, our village girls! They'r_ompletely set up since then, I tell you, they used to be poor." He recalled, in fact, every item of expense and added it all up. So the theory that onl_ifteen hundred had been spent and the rest had been put aside in a little ba_eemed inconceivable.
"I saw three thousand as clear as a penny in his hands, I saw it with my ow_yes; I should think I ought to know how to reckon money," cried Trifo_orissovitch, doing his best to satisfy "his betters."
When Fetyukovitch had to cross-examine him, he scarcely tried to refute hi_vidence, but began asking him about an incident at the first carousal a_okroe, a month before the arrest, when Timofey and another peasant calle_kim had picked up on the floor in the passage a hundred roubles dropped b_itya when he was drunk, and had given them to Trifon Borissovitch an_eceived a rouble each from him for doing so. "Well," asked the lawyer," di_ou give that hundred roubles back to Mr. Karamazov?" Trifon Borissovitc_huffled in vain… . He was obliged, after the peasants had been examined, t_dmit the finding of the hundred roubles, only adding that he had religiousl_eturned it all to Dmitri Fyodorovitch "in perfect honesty, and it's onl_ecause his honour was in liquor at the time, he wouldn't remember it." But, as he had denied the incident of the hundred roubles till the peasants ha_een called to prove it, his evidence as to returning the money to Mitya wa_aturally regarded with great suspicion. So one of the most dangerou_itnesses brought forward by the prosecution was again discredited.
The same thing happened with the Poles. They took up an attitude of pride an_ndependence; they vociferated loudly that they had both been in the servic_f the Crown, and that "Pan Mitya" had offered them three thousand "to bu_heir honour," and that they had seen a large sum of money in his hands. Pa_ussyalovitch introduced a terrible number of Polish words into his sentences, and seeing that this only increased his consequence in the eyes of th_resident and the prosecutor, grew more and more pompous, and ended by talkin_n Polish altogether. But Fetyukovitch caught them, too, in his snares. Trifo_orissovitch, recalled, was forced, in spite of his evasions, to admit tha_an Vrublevsky had substituted another pack of cards for the one he ha_rovided, and that Pan Mussyalovitch had cheated during the game. Kalgono_onfirmed this, and both the Poles left the witness-box with damage_eputations, amidst laughter from the public.
Then exactly the same thing happened with almost all the most dangerou_itnesses. Fetyukovitch succeeded in casting a slur on all of them, an_ismissing them with a certain derision. The lawyers and experts were lost i_dmiration, and were only at a loss to understand what good purpose could b_erved by it, for all, I repeat, felt that the case for the prosecution coul_ot be refuted, but was growing more and more tragically overwhelming. Bu_rom the confidence of the "great magician" they saw that he was serene, an_hey waited, feeling that "such a man" had not come from Petersburg fo_othing, and that he was not a man to return unsuccessful.