OUR police captain, Mihail Makarovitch Makarov, a retired lieutenant-colonel,
was a widower and an excellent man. He had only come to us three year_reviously, but had won general esteem, chiefly because he "knew how to kee_ociety together." He was never without visitors, and could not have got o_ithout them. Someone or other was always dining with him; he never sat dow_o table without guests. He gave regular dinners, too, on all sorts o_ccasions, sometimes most surprising ones. Though the fare was not recherche,
it was abundant. The fish-pies were excellent, and the wine made up i_uantity for what it lacked in quality.
The first room his guests entered was a well fitted billiard-room, wit_ictures of English race horses, in black frames on the walls, an essentia_ecoration, as we all know, for a bachelor's billiard-room. There was car_laying every evening at his house, if only at one table. But at frequen_ntervals, all the society of our town, with the mammas and young ladies,
assembled at his house to dance. Mihail Makarovitch was a widower, he did no_ive alone. His widowed daughter lived with him, with her two unmarrie_aughters, grown-up girls, who had finished their education. They were o_greeable appearance and lively character, and though everyone knew they woul_ave no dowry, they attracted all the young men of fashion to thei_randfather's house.
Mihail Makarovitch was by no means very efficient in his work, though h_erformed his duties no worse than many others. To speak plainly, he was a ma_f rather narrow education. His understanding of the limits of hi_dministrative power could not always be relied upon. It was not so much tha_e failed to grasp certain reforms enacted during the present reign, as tha_e made conspicuous blunders in his interpretation of them. This was not fro_ny special lack of intelligence, but from carelessness, for he was always i_o great a hurry to go into the subject.
"I have the heart of a soldier rather than of a civilian," he used to say o_imself. He had not even formed a definite idea of the fundamental principle_f the reforms connected with the emancipation of the serfs, and only picke_t up, so to speak, from year to year, involuntarily increasing his knowledg_y practice. And yet he was himself a landowner. Pyotr Ilyitch knew fo_ertain that he would meet some of Mihail Makarovitch's visitors there tha_vening, but he didn't know which. As it happened, at that moment th_rosecutor, and Varvinsky, our district doctor, a young man, who had only jus_ome to us from Petersburg after taking a brilliant degree at the Academy o_edicine, were playing whist at the police captain's. Ippolit Kirillovitch,
the prosecutor (he was really the deputy prosecutor, but we always called hi_he prosecutor), was rather a peculiar man, of about five and thirty, incline_o be consumptive, and married to a fat and childless woman. He was vain an_rritable, though he had a good intellect, and even a kind heart. It seeme_hat all that was wrong with him was that he had a better opinion of himsel_han his ability warranted. And that made him seem constantly uneasy. He had,
moreover, certain higher, even artistic, leanings, towards psychology, fo_nstance, a special study of the human heart, a special knowledge of th_riminal and his crime. He cherished a grievance on this ground, considerin_hat he had been passed over in the service, and being firmly persuaded tha_n higher spheres he had not been properly appreciated, and had enemies. I_loomy moments he even threatened to give up his post, and practise as _arrister in criminal cases. The unexpected Karamazov case agitated hi_rofoundly: "It was a case that might well be talked about all over Russia."
But I am anticipating.
Nikolay Parfenovitch Nelyudov, the young investigating lawyer, who had onl_ome from Petersburg two months before, was sitting in the next room with th_oung ladies. People talked about it afterwards and wondered that all th_entlemen should, as though intentionally, on the evening of "the crime" hav_een gathered together at the house of the executive authority. Yet it wa_erfectly simple and happened quite naturally.
Ippolit Kirillovitch's wife had had toothache for the last two days, and h_as obliged to go out to escape from her groans. The doctor, from the ver_ature of his being, could not spend an evening except at cards. Nikola_arfenovitch Nelyudov had been intending for three days past to drop in tha_vening at Mihail Makarovitch's, so to speak casually, so as slyly to startl_he eldest granddaughter, Olga Mihailovna, by showing that he knew her secret,
that he knew it was her birthday, and that she was trying to conceal it o_urpose, so as not to be obliged to give a dance. He anticipated a great dea_f merriment, many playful jests about her age, and her being afraid to revea_t, about his knowing her secret and telling everybody, and so on. Th_harming young man was a great adept at such teasing; the ladies ha_hristened him "the naughty man," and he seemed to be delighted at the name.
He was extremely well-bred, however, of good family, education and feelings,
and, though leading a life of pleasure, his sallies were always innocent an_n good taste. He was short, and delicate-looking. On his white, slender,
little fingers he always wore a number of big, glittering rings. When he wa_ngaged in his official duties, he always became extraordinarily grave, a_hough realising his position and the sanctity of the obligations laid upo_im. He had a special gift for mystifying murderers and other criminals of th_easant class during interrogation, and if he did not win their respect, h_ertainly succeeded in arousing their wonder.
Pyotr Ilyitch was simply dumbfounded when he went into the police captain's.
He saw instantly that everyone knew. They had positively thrown down thei_ards, all were standing up and talking. Even Nikolay Parfenovitch had lef_he young ladies and run in, looking strenuous and ready for action. Pyot_lyitch was met with the astounding news that old Fyodor Pavlovitch really ha_een murdered that evening in his own house, murdered and robbed. The news ha_nly just reached them in the following manner:
Marfa Ignatyevna, the wife of old Grigory, who had been knocked senseless nea_he fence, was sleeping soundly in her bed and might well have slept til_orning after the draught she had taken. But, all of a sudden she waked up, n_oubt roused by a fearful epileptic scream from Smerdyakov, who was lying i_he next room unconscious. That scream always preceded his fits, and alway_errified and upset Marfa Ignatyevna. She could never get accustomed to it.
She jumped up and ran half-awake to Smerdyakov's room. But it was dark there,
and she could only hear the invalid beginning to gasp and struggle. Then Marf_gnatyevna herself screamed out and was going to call her husband, bu_uddenly realised that when she had got up, he was not beside her in bed. Sh_an back to the bedstead and began groping with her hands, but the bed wa_eally empty. Then he must have gone out where? She ran to the steps an_imidly called him. She got no answer, of course, but she caught the sound o_roans far away in the garden in the darkness. She listened. The groans wer_epeated, and it was evident they came from the garden.
"Good Lord! just as it was with Lizaveta Smerdyashtchaya!" she though_istractedly. She went timidly down the steps and saw that the gate into th_arden was open.
"He must be out there, poor dear," she thought. She went up to the gate an_ll at once she distinctly heard Grigory calling her by name, Marfa! Marfa!"
in a weak, moaning, dreadful voice.
"Lord, preserve us from harm!" Marfa Ignatyevna murmured, and ran towards th_oice, and that was how she found Grigory. But she found him not by the fenc_here he had been knocked down, but about twenty paces off. It appeared later,
that he had crawled away on coming to himself, and probably had been a lon_ime getting so far, losing consciousness several times. She noticed at onc_hat he was covered with blood, and screamed at the top of her voice. Grigor_as muttering incoherently:
"He has murdered… his father murdered… . Why scream, silly… run… fetc_omeone… "
But Marfa continued screaming, and seeing that her master's window was ope_nd that there was a candle alight in the window, she ran there and bega_alling Fyodor Pavlovitch. But peeping in at the window, she saw a fearfu_ight. Her master was lying on his back, motionless, on the floor. His light-
coloured dressing-gown and white shirt were soaked with blood. The candle o_he table brightly lighted up the blood and the motionless dead face of Fyodo_avlovitch.
Terror-stricken, Marfa rushed away from the window, ran out of the garden,
drew the bolt of the big gate and ran headlong by the back way to th_eighbour, Marya Konndratyevna. Both mother and daughter were asleep, but the_aked up at Marfa's desperate and persistent screaming and knocking at th_hutter. Marfa, shrieking and screaming incoherently, managed to tell them th_ain fact, and to beg for assistance. It happened that Foma had come back fro_is wanderings and was staying the night with them. They got him u_mmediately and all three ran to the scene of the crime. On the way, Mary_ondratyevna remembered that at about eight o'clock she heard a dreadfu_cream from their garden, and this was no doubt Grigory's scream, "Parricide!"
uttered when he caught hold of Mitya's leg.
"Some one person screamed out and then was silent," Marya Kondratyevn_xplained as she ran. Running to the place where Grigory lay, the two wome_ith the help of Foma carried him to the lodge. They lighted a candle and sa_hat Smerdyakov was no better, that he was writhing in convulsions, his eye_ixed in a squint, and that foam was flowing from his lips. They moistene_rigory's forehead with water mixed with vinager, and the water revived him a_nce. He asked immediately:
"Is the master murdered?"
Then Foma and both the women ran to the house and saw this time that not onl_he window, but also the door into the garden was wide open, though Fyodo_avlovitch had for the last week locked himself in every night and did no_llow even Grigory to come in on any pretext. Seeing that door open, they wer_fraid to go in to Fyodor Pavlovitch "for fear anything should happe_fterwards." And when they returned to Grigory, the old man told them to g_traight to the police captain. Marya Kondratyevna ran there and gave th_larm to the whole party at the police captain's. She arrived only fiv_inutes before Pyotr Ilyitch, so that his story came, not as his own surmis_nd theory, but as the direct conformation by a witness, of the theory held b_ll, as to the identity of the criminal (a theory he had in the bottom of hi_eart refused to believe till that moment).
It was resolved to act with energy. The deputy police inspector of the tow_as commissioned to take four witnesses, to enter Fyodor Pavlovitch's hous_nd there to open an inquiry on the spot, according to the regular forms,
which I will not go into here. The district doctor, a zealous man, new to hi_ork, almost insisted on accompanying the police captain, the prosecutor, an_he investigating lawyer.
I will note briefly that Fyodor Pavlovitch was found to be quite dead, wit_is skull battered in. But with what? Most likely with the same weapon wit_hich Grigory had been attacked. And immediately that weapon was found,
Grigory, to whom all possible medical assistance was at once given, describe_n a weak and breaking voice how he had been knocked down. They began lookin_ith a lantern by the fence and found the brass pestle dropped in a mos_onspicuous place on the garden path. There were no signs of disturbance i_he room where Fyodor Pavlovitch was lying. But by the bed, behind the screen,
they picked up from the floor a big and thick envelope with the inscription:
"A present of three thousand roubles for my angel Grushenka, if she is willin_o come." And below had been added by Fyodor Pavlovitch, "For my littl_hicken." There were three seals of red sealing-wax on the envelope, but i_ad been torn open and was empty: the money had been removed. They found als_n the floor a piece of narrow pink ribbon, with which the envelope had bee_ied up.
One piece of Pyotr Ilyitch's evidence made a great impression on th_rosecutor and the investigating magistrate, namely, his idea that Dmitr_yodorovitch would shoot himself before daybreak, that he had resolved to d_o, had spoken of it to Ilyitch, had taken the pistols, loaded them befor_im, written a letter, put it in his pocket, etc. When Pyotr Ilyitch, thoug_till unwilling to believe in it, threatened to tell someone so as to preven_he suicide, Mitya had answered grinning: "You'll be too late." So they mus_ake haste to Mokroe to find the criminal, before he really did shoot himself.
"That's clear, that's clear!" repeated the prosecutor in great excitement.
"That's just the way with mad fellows like that: 'I shall kill myself to-
morrow, so I'll make merry till I die!'"
The story of how he had bought the wine and provisions excited the prosecuto_ore than ever.
"Do you remember the fellow that murdered a merchant called Olsufyev,
gentlemen? He stole fifteen hundred, went at once to have his hair curled, an_hen, without even hiding the money, carrying it almost in his hand in th_ame way, he went off to the girls."
All were delayed, however, by the inquiry, the search, and the formalities,
etc., in the house of Fyodor Pavlovitch. It all took time and so, two hour_efore starting, they sent on ahead to Mokroe the officer of the rural police,
Mavriky Mavrikyevitch Schmertsov, who had arrived in the town the mornin_efore to get his pay. He was instructed to avoid raising the alarm when h_eached Mokroe, but to keep constant watch over the "criminal" till th_rrival of the proper authorities, to procure also witnesses for the arrest,
police constables, and so on. Mavriky Mavrikyevitch did as he was told,
preserving his incognito, and giving no one but his old acquaintance, Trifo_orissovitch, the slightest hint of his secret business. He had spoken to hi_ust before Mitya met the landlord in the balcony, looking for him in th_ark, and noticed at once a change in Trifon Borissovitch's face and voice. S_either Mitya nor anyone else knew that he was being watched. The box with th_istols had been carried off by Trifon Borissovitch and put in a suitabl_lace. Only after four o'clock, almost at sunrise, all the officials, th_olice captain, the prosecutor, the investigating lawyer, drove up in tw_arriages, each drawn by three horses. The doctor remained at Fyodo_avlovitch's to make a post-mortem next day on the body. But he wa_articularly interested in the condition of the servant, Smerdyakov.
"Such violent and protracted epileptic fits, recurring continually for twenty-
four hours, are rarely to be met with, and are of interest to science," h_eclared enthusiastically to his companions, and as they left they laughingl_ongratulated him on his find. The prosecutor and the investigating lawye_istinctly remembered the doctor's saying that Smerdyakov could not outliv_he night.
After these long, but I think necessary explanations, we will return to tha_oment of our tale at which we broke off.