THE evidence of the medical experts, too, was of little use to the prisoner.
And it appeared later that Fetyukovitch had not reckoned much upon it. Th_edical line of defence had only been taken up through the insistence o_aterina Ivanovna, who had sent for a celebrated doctor from Moscow o_urpose. The case for the defence could, of course, lose nothing by it an_ight, with luck, gain something from it. There was, however, an element o_omedy about it, through the difference of opinion of the doctors. The medica_xperts were the famous doctor from Moscow, our doctor, Herzenstube, and th_oung doctor, Varvinsky. The two latter appeared also as witnesses for th_rosecution.
The first to be called in the capacity of expert was Doctor Herzenstube. H_as a grey and bald old man of seventy, of middle height and sturdy build. H_as much esteemed and respected by everyone in the town. He was _onscientious doctor and an excellent and pious man, a Hernguter or Moravia_rother, I am not quite sure which. He had been living amongst us for man_ears and behaved with wonderful dignity. He was a kind-hearted and human_an. He treated the sick poor and peasants for nothing, visited them in thei_lums and huts, and left money for medicine, but he was as obstinate as _ule. If once he had taken an idea into his head, there was no shaking it.
Almost everyone in the town was aware, by the way, that the famous doctor had,
within the first two or three days of his presence among us, uttered som_xtremely offensive allusions to Doctor Herzenstube's qualifications. Thoug_he Moscow doctor asked twenty-five roubles for a visit, several people in th_own were glad to take advantage of his arrival, and rushed to consult hi_egardless of expense. All these had, of course, been previously patients o_octor Herzenstube, and the celebrated doctor had criticised his treatmen_ith extreme harshness. Finally, he had asked the patients as soon as he sa_hem, "Well, who has been cramming you with nostrums? Herzenstube? He he!"
Doctor Herzenstube, of course, heard all this, and now all the three doctor_ade their appearance, one after another, to be examined.
Doctor Herzenstube roundly declared that the abnormality of the prisoner'_ental faculties was self-evident. Then giving his grounds for this opinion,
which I omit here, he added that the abnormality was not only evident in man_f the prisoner's actions in the past, but was apparent even now at this ver_oment. When he was asked to explain how it was apparent now at this moment,
the old doctor, with simple-hearted directness, pointed out that the prisone_ad "an extraordinary air, remarkable in the circumstances"; that he had
"marched in like a soldier, looking straight before him, though it would hav_een more natural for him to look to the left where, among the public, th_adies were sitting, seeing that he was a great admirer of the fair sex an_ust be thinking much of what the ladies are saying of him now," the old ma_oncluded in his peculiar language.
I must add that he spoke Russian readily, but every phrase was formed i_erman style, which did not, however, trouble him, for it had always been _eakness of his to believe that he spoke Russian perfectly, better indeed tha_ussians. And he was very fond of using Russian proverbs, always declarin_hat the Russian proverbs were the best and most expressive sayings in th_hole world. I may remark, too, that in conversation, through absent-
mindedness he often forgot the most ordinary words, which sometimes went ou_f his head, though he knew them perfectly. The same thing happened, though,
when he spoke German, and at such times he always waved his hand before hi_ace as though trying to catch the lost word, and no one could induce him t_o on speaking till he had found the missing word. His remark that th_risoner ought to have looked at the ladies on entering roused a whisper o_musement in the audience. All our ladies were very fond of our old doctor;
they knew, too, that having been all his life a bachelor and a religious ma_f exemplary conduct, he looked upon women as lofty creatures. And so hi_nexpected observation struck everyone as very queer.
The Moscow doctor, being questioned in his turn, definitely and emphaticall_epeated that he considered the prisoner's mental condition abnormal in th_ighest degree. He talked at length and with erudition of "aberration" and
"mania," and argued that, from all the facts collected, the prisoner ha_ndoubtedly been in a condition of aberration for several days before hi_rrest, and, if the crime had been committed by him, it must, even if he wer_onscious of it, have been almost involuntary, as he had not the power t_ontrol the morbid impulse that possessed him.
But apart from temporary aberration, the doctor diagnosed mania, whic_romised, in his words, to lead to complete insanity in the future. (It mus_e noted that I report this in my own words, the doctor made use of ver_earned and professional language.) "All his actions are in contravention o_ommon sense and logic," he continued. "Not to refer to what I have not seen,
that is, the crime itself and the whole catastrophe, the day before yesterday,
while he was talking to me, he had an unaccountably fixed look in his eye. H_aughed unexpectedly when there was nothing to laugh at. He showed continua_nd inexplicable irritability, using strange words, 'Bernard!' 'Ethics!' an_thers equally inappropriate." But the doctor detected mania, above all, i_he fact that the prisoner could not even speak of the three thousand roubles,
of which he considered himself to have been cheated, without extraordinar_rritation, though he could speak comparatively lightly of other misfortune_nd grievances. According to all accounts, he had even in the past, wheneve_he subject of the three thousand roubles was touched on, flown into a perfec_renzy, and yet he was reported to be a disinterested and not grasping man.
"As to the opinion of my learned colleague," the Moscow doctor adde_ronically in conclusion "that the prisoner would, entering the court, hav_aturally looked at the ladies and not straight before him, I will only sa_hat, apart from the playfulness of this theory, it is radically unsound. Fo_hough I fully agree that the prisoner, on entering the court where his fat_ill be decided, would not naturally look straight before him in that fixe_ay, and that that may really be a sign of his abnormal mental condition, a_he same time I maintain that he would naturally not look to the left at th_adies, but, on the contrary, to the right to find his legal adviser, on whos_elp all his hopes rest and on whose defence all his future depends." Th_octor expressed his opinion positively and emphatically.
But the unexpected pronouncement of Doctor Varvinsky gave the last touch o_omedy to the difference of opinion between the experts. In his opinion th_risoner was now, and had been all along, in a perfectly normal condition,
and, although he certainly must have been in a nervous and exceedingly excite_tate before his arrest, this might have been due to several perfectly obviou_auses, jealousy, anger, continual drunkenness, and so on. But this nervou_ondition would not involve the mental abberation of which mention had jus_een made. As to the question whether the prisoner should have looked to th_eft or to the right on entering the court, "in his modest opinion," th_risoner would naturally look straight before him on entering the court, as h_ad in fact done, as that was where the judges, on whom his fate depended,
were sitting. So that it was just by looking straight before him that h_howed his perfectly normal state of mind at the present. The young docto_oncluded his "modest" testimony with some heat.
"Bravo, doctor!" cried Mitya, from his seat, "just so!"
Mitya, of course, was checked, but the young doctor's opinion had a decisiv_nfluence on the judges and on the public, and, as appeared afterwards,
everyone agreed with him. But Doctor Herzenstube, when called as a witness,
was quite unexpectedly of use to Mitya. As an old resident in the town, wh_ad known the Karamazov family for years, he furnished some facts of grea_alue for the prosecution, and suddenly, as though recalling something, h_dded:
"But the poor young man might have had a very different life, for he had _ood heart both in childhood and after childhood, that I know. But the Russia_roverb says, 'If a man has one head, it's good, but if another clever ma_omes to visit him, it would be better still, for then there will be two head_nd not only one."'
"One head is good, but two are better," the prosecutor put in impatiently. H_new the old man's habit of talking slowly and deliberately, regardless of th_mpression he was making and of the delay he was causing, and highly prizin_is flat, dull and always gleefully complacent German wit. The old man wa_ond of making jokes.
"Oh, yes, that's what I say," he went on stubbornly. "One head is good, bu_wo are much better, but he did not meet another head with wits, and his wit_ent. Where did they go? I've forgotten the word." He went on, passing hi_and before his eyes, "Oh, yes, spazieren."
"Oh, yes, wandering, that's what I say. Well, his wits went wandering and fel_n such a deep hole that he lost himself. And yet he was a grateful an_ensitive boy. Oh, I remember him very well, a little chap so high, lef_eglected by his father in the back yard, when he ran about without boots o_is feet, and his little breeches hanging by one button."
A note of feeling and tenderness suddenly came into the honest old man'_oice. Fetyukovitch positively started, as though scenting something, an_aught at it instantly.
"Oh, yes, I was a young man then… . I was… well, I was forty-five then, an_ad only just come here. And I was so sorry for the boy then; I asked mysel_hy shouldn't I buy him a pound of… a pound of what? I've forgotten what it'_alled. A pound of what children are very fond of, what is it, what is it?"
The doctor began waving his hands again. "It grows on a tree and is gathere_nd given to everyone… "
"Oh, no, no. You have a dozen of apples, not a pound… . No, there are a lot o_hem, and call little. You put them in the mouth and crack."
"Quite so, nuts, I say so." The doctor repeated in the calmest way as thoug_e had been at no loss for a word. "And I bought him a pound of nuts, for n_ne had ever bought the boy a pound of nuts before. And I lifted my finger an_aid to him, 'Boy, Gott der Vater.' He laughed and said, 'Gott der Vater'…
'Gott der Sohn.' He laughed again and lisped 'Gott der Sohn.' 'Gott de_eilige Geist.' Then he laughed and said as best he could, 'Gott der heilig_eist.' I went away, and two days after I happened to be passing, and h_houted to me of himself, 'Uncle, Gott der Vater, Gott der Sohn,' and he ha_nly forgotten 'Gott der heilige Geist.' But I reminded him of it and I fel_ery sorry for him again. But he was taken away, and I did not see him again.
Twenty-three years passed. I am sitting one morning in my study, a white-
haired old man, when there walks into the room a blooming young man, whom _hould never have recognised, but he held up his finger and said, laughing,
'Gott der Vater, Gott der Sohn, and Gott der heilige Geist. I have jus_rrived and have come to thank you for that pound of nuts, for no one els_ver bought me a pound of nuts; you are the only one that ever did.' then _emembered my happy youth and the poor child in the yard, without boots on hi_eet, and my heart was touched and I said, 'You are a grateful young man, fo_ou have remembered all your life the pound of nuts I bought you in you_hildhood.' And I embraced him and blessed him. And I shed tears. He laughed,
but he shed tears, too… for the Russian often laughs when he ought to b_eeping. But he did weep; I saw it. And now, alas!… "
"And I am weeping now, German, I am weeping now, too, you saintly man," Mity_ried suddenly.
In any case the anecdote made a certain favourable impression on the public.
But the chief sensation in Mitya's favour was created by the evidence o_aterina Ivanovna, which I will describe directly. Indeed, when the witnesse_ decharge, that is, called the defence, began giving evidence, fortune seeme_ll at once markedly more favourable to Mitya, and what was particularl_triking, this was a surprise even to the counsel for the defence. But befor_aterina Ivanovna was called, Alyosha was examined, and he recalled a fac_hich seemed to furnish positive evidence against one important point made b_he prosecution.