Chapter 3 The Sufferings of a Soul — The First Ordeal
AND so Mitya sat looking wildly at the people round him, not understandin_hat was said to him. Suddenly he got up, flung up his hands, and shoute_loud:
"I'm not guilty! I'm not guilty of that blood! I'm not guilty of my father'_lood… . I meant to kill him. But I'm not guilty. Not I."
But he had hardly said this, before Grushenka rushed from behind the curtai_nd flung herself at the police captain's feet.
"It was my fault! Mine! My wickedness!" she cried, in a heart-rending voice, bathed in tears, stretching out her clasped hands towards them. "He did i_hrough me. I tortured him and drove him to it. I tortured that poor old ma_hat's dead, too, in my wickedness, and brought him to this! It's my fault, mine first, mine most, my fault!"
"Yes, it's your fault! You're the chief criminal! You fury! You harlot! You'r_he most to blame!" shouted the police captain, threatening her with his hand.
But he was quickly and resolutely suppressed. The prosecutor positively seize_old of him.
"This is absolutely irregular, Mihail Makarovitch!" he cried. "You ar_ositively hindering the inquiry… . You're ruining the case." he almos_asped.
"Follow the regular course! Follow the regular course!" cried Nikola_arfenovitch, fearfully excited too, "otherwise it's absolutely impossible!… "
"Judge us together!" Grushenka cried frantically, still kneeling. "Punish u_ogether. I will go with him now, if it's to death!"
"Grusha, my life, my blood, my holy one!" Mitya fell on his knees beside he_nd held her tight in his arms. "Don't believe her," he cried, "she's no_uilty of anything, of any blood, of anything!"
He remembered afterwards that he was forcibly dragged away from her by severa_en, and that she was led out, and that when he recovered himself he wa_itting at the table. Beside him and behind him stood the men with meta_lates. Facing him on the other side of the table sat Nikolay Parfenovitch, the investigating lawyer. He kept persuading him to drink a little water ou_f a glass that stood on the table.
"That will refresh you, that will calm you. Be calm, don't be frightened," h_dded, extremely politely. Mitya (he remembered it afterwards) became suddenl_ntensely interested in his big rings, one with an amethyst, and another wit_ transparent bright yellow stone, of great brilliance. And long afterwards h_emembered with wonder how those rings had riveted his attention through al_hose terrible hours of interrogation, so that he was utterly unable to tea_imself away from them and dismiss them, as things that had nothing to do wit_is position. On Mitya's left side, in the place where Maximov had bee_itting at the beginning of the evening, the prosecutor was now seated, and o_itya's right hand, where Grushenka had been, was a rosy-cheeked young man i_ sort of shabby hunting-jacket, with ink and paper before him. This was th_ecretary of the investigating lawyer, who had brought him with him. Th_olice captain was now standing by the window at the other end of the room, beside Kalganov, who was sitting there.
"Drink some water," said the investigating lawyer softly, for the tenth time.
"I have drunk it, gentlemen, I have… but come gentlemen, crush me, punish me, decide my fate!" cried Mitya, staring with terribly fixed wide-open eyes a_he investigating lawyer.
"So you positively declare that you are not guilty of the death of you_ather, Fyodor Pavlovitch?" asked the investigating lawyer, softly bu_nsistently.
"I am not guilty. I am guilty of the blood of another old man, but not of m_ather's. And I weep for it! I killed, I killed the old man and knocked hi_own… . But it's hard to have to answer for that murder with another, _errible murder of which I am not guilty… .It's a terrible accusation, gentlemen, a knockdown blow. But who has killed my father, who has killed him?
Who can have killed him if I didn't? It's marvellous, extraordinary, impossible."
"Yes, who can have killed him?" the investigating lawyer was beginning, bu_ppolit Kirillovitch, the prosecutor, glancing at him, addressed Mitya.
"You need not worry yourself about the old servant, Grigory Vasilyevitch. H_s alive, he has recovered, and in spite of the terrible blows inflicted, according to his own and your evidence, by you, there seems no doubt that h_ill live, so the doctor says, at least."
"Alive? He's alive?" cried Mitya, flinging up his hands. His face beamed.
"Lord, I thank Thee for the miracle Thou has wrought for me, a sinner an_vildoer. That's an answer to my prayer. I've been praying all night." And h_rossed himself three times. He was almost breathless.
"So from this Grigory we have received such important evidence concerning you, that-" The prosecutor would have continued, but Mitya suddenly jumped up fro_is chair.
"One minute, gentlemen, for God's sake, one minute; I will run to her-"
"Excuse me, at this moment it's quite impossible," Nikolay Parfenovitch almos_hrieked. He, too, leapt to his feet. Mitya was seized by the men with th_etal plates, but he sat down of his own accord… .
"Gentlemen, what a pity! I wanted to see her for one minute only; I wanted t_ell her that it has been washed away, it has gone, that blood that wa_eighing on my heart all night, and that I am not a murderer now! Gentlemen, she is my betrothed!" he said ecstatically and reverently, looking round a_hem all. "Oh, thank you, gentlemen! Oh, in one minute you have given me ne_ife, new heart!… That old man used to carry me in his arms, gentlemen. H_sed to wash me in the tub when I was a baby three years old, abandoned b_veryone, he was like a father to me!… "
"And so you-" the investigating lawyer began.
"Allow me, gentlemen, allow me one minute more," interposed Mitya, putting hi_lbows on the table and covering his face with his hands. "Let me have _oment to think, let me breathe, gentlemen. All this is horribly upsetting, horribly. A man is not a drum, gentlemen!"
"Drink a little more water," murmured Nikolay Parfenovitch. Mitya took hi_ands from his face and laughed. His eyes were confident. He seemed completel_ransformed in a moment. His whole bearing was changed; he was once more th_qual of these men, with all of whom he was acquainted, as though they had al_et the day before, when nothing had happened, at some social gathering. W_ay note in passing that, on his first arrival, Mitya had been made ver_elcome at the police captain's, but later, during the last month especially, Mitya had hardly called at all, and when the police captain met him, in th_treet, for instance, Mitya noticed that he frowned and only bowed out o_oliteness. His acquaintance with the prosecutor was less intimate, though h_ometimes paid his wife, a nervous and fanciful lady, visits of politeness, without quite knowing why, and she always received him graciously and had, fo_ome reason, taken an interest in him up to the last. He had not had time t_et to know the investigating lawyer, though he had met him and talked to hi_wice, each time about the fair sex.
"You're a most skilful lawyer, I see, Nikolay Parfenovitch," cried Mitya, laughing gaily, "but I can help you now. Oh, gentlemen, I feel like a new man, and don't be offended at my addressing you so simply and directly. I'm rathe_runk, too, I'll tell you that frankly. I believe I've had the honour an_leasure of meeting you, Nikolay Parfenovitch, at my kinsman Miusov's.
Gentlemen, gentlemen, I don't pretend to be on equal terms with you. _nderstand, of course, in what character I am sitting before you. Oh, o_ourse, there's a horrible suspicion… hanging over me… if Grigory has give_vidence… . A horrible suspicion! It's awful, awful, I understand that! But t_usiness, gentlemen, I am ready, and we will make an end of it in one moment; for, listen, listen, gentlemen! Since I know I'm innocent, we can put an en_o it in a minute. Can't we? Can't we?"
Mitya spoke much and quickly, nervously and effusively, as though h_ositively took his listeners to be his best friends.
"So, for the present, we will write that you absolutely deny the charg_rought against you," said Nikolay Parfenovitch, impressively, and bendin_own to the secretary he dictated to him in an undertone what to write.
"Write it down? You want to write that down? Well, write it; I consent, I giv_y full consent, gentlemen, only… do you see?… Stay, stay, write this. O_isorderly conduct I am guilty, of violence on a poor old man I am guilty. An_here is something else at the bottom of my heart, of which I am guilty, to_ut that you need not write down" (he turned suddenly to the secretary);
"that's my personal life, gentlemen, that doesn't concern you, the bottom o_y heart, that's to say… . But of the murder of my old father I'm not guilty.
That's a wild idea. It's quite a wild idea!… I will prove you that and you'l_e convinced directly… . You will laugh, gentlemen. You'll laugh yourselves a_our suspicion!… "
"Be calm, Dmitri Fyodorovitch," said the investigating lawyer evidently tryin_o allay Mitya's excitement by his own composure. "Before we go on with ou_nquiry, I should like, if you will consent to answer, to hear you confirm th_tatement that you disliked your father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, that you wer_nvolved in continual disputes with him. Here at least, a quarter of an hou_go, you exclaimed that you wanted to kill him: 'I didn't kill him,' yo_aid,'but I wanted to kill him.'"
"Did I exclaim that? Ach, that may be so, gentlemen! Yes, unhappily, I di_ant to kill him… many times I wanted to… unhappily, unhappily!"
"You wanted to. Would you consent to explain what motives precisely led you t_uch a sentiment of hatred for your parent?"
"What is there to explain, gentlemen?" Mitya shrugged his shoulders sullenly, looking down. "I have never concealed my feelings. All the town knows abou_t- everyone knows in the tavern. Only lately I declared them in Fathe_ossima's cell. And the very same day, in the evening I beat my father. _early killed him, and I swore I'd come again and kill him, before witnesses… . Oh, a thousand witnesses! I've been shouting it aloud for the last month, anyone can tell you that!… The fact stares you in the face, it speaks fo_tself, it cries aloud, but feelings, gentlemen, feelings are another matter.
You see, gentlemen"- Mitya frowned- "it seemed to me that about feeling_ou've no right to question me. I know that you are bound by your office, _uite understand that, but that's my affair, my private, intimate affair, yet… since I haven't concealed my feelings in the past… in the tavern, fo_nstance, I've talked to everyone, so… so I won't make a secret of it now. Yo_ee, I understand, gentlemen, that there are terrible facts against me in thi_usiness. I told everyone that I'd kill him, and now, all of a sudden, he'_een killed. So it must have been me! Ha ha! I can make allowances for you, gentlemen, I can quite make allowances. I'm struck all of a heap myself, fo_ho can have murdered him, if not I? That's what it comes to, isn't it? If no_, who can it be, who? Gentlemen, I want to know, I insist on knowing!" h_xclaimed suddenly. "Where was he murdered? How was he murdered? How, and wit_hat? Tell me," he asked quickly, looking at the two lawyers.
"We found him in his study, lying on his back on the floor, with his hea_attered in," said the prosecutor.
"That's horrible!" Mitya shuddered and, putting his elbows on the table, hi_is face in his right hand.
"We will continue," interposed Nikolay Parfenovitch. "So what was it tha_mpelled you to this sentiment of hatred? You have asserted in public, _elieve, that it was based upon jealousy?"
"Well, yes, jealousy. not only jealousy."
"Disputes about money?"
"Yes, about money, too."
"There was a dispute about three thousand roubles, I think, which you claime_s part of your inheritance?"
"Three thousand! More, more," cried Mitya hotly; "more than six thousand, mor_han ten, perhaps. I told everyone so, shouted it at them. But I made up m_ind to let it go at three thousand. I was desperately in need of that thre_housand… so the bundle of notes for three thousand that I knew he kept unde_is pillow, ready for Grushenka, I considered as simply stolen from me. Yes, gentlemen, I looked upon it as mine, as my own property… "
The prosecutor looked significantly at the investigating lawyer, and had tim_o wink at him on the sly.
"We will return to that subject later," said the lawyer promptly. "You wil_llow us to note that point and write it down; that you looked upon that mone_s your own property?"
"Write it down, by all means. I know that's another fact that tells agains_e, but I'm not afraid of facts and I tell them against myself. Do you hear?
Do you know, gentlemen, you take me for a different sort of man from what _m," he added, suddenly gloomy and dejected. "You have to deal with a man o_onour, a man of the highest honour; above all don't lose sight of it- a ma_ho's done a lot of nasty things, but has always been, and still is, honourable at bottom, in his inner being. I don't know how to express it.
That's just what's made me wretched all my life, that I yearned to b_onourable, that I was, so to say, a martyr to a sense of honour, seeking fo_t with a lantern, with the lantern of Diogenes, and yet all my life I've bee_oing filthy things like all of us, gentlemen… that is like me alone. That wa_ mistake, like me alone, me alone!… Gentlemen, my head aches… " His brow_ontracted with pain. "You see, gentlemen, I couldn't bear the look of him, there was something in him ignoble, impudent, trampling on everything sacred, something sneering and irreverent, loathsome, loathsome. But now that he'_ead, I feel differently."
"How do you mean?"
"I don't feel differently, but I wish I hadn't hated him so."
"You feel penitent?"
"No, not penitent, don't write that. I'm not much good myself; I'm not ver_eautiful, so I had no right to consider him repulsive. That's what I mean.
Write that down, if you like."
Saying this Mitya became very mournful. He had grown more and more gloomy a_he inquiry continued.
At that moment another unexpected scene followed. Though Grushenka had bee_emoved, she had not been taken far away, only into the room next but one fro_he blue room, in which the examination was proceeding. It was a little roo_ith one window, next beyond the large room in which they had danced an_easted so lavishly. She was sitting there with no one by her but Maximov, wh_as terribly depressed, terribly scared, and clung to her side, as though fo_ecurity. At their door stood one of the peasants with a metal plate on hi_reast. Grushenka was crying, and suddenly her grief was too much for her, sh_umped up, flung up her arms and, with a loud wail of sorrow, rushed out o_he room to him, to her Mitya, and so unexpectedly that they had not time t_top her. Mitya, hearing her cry, trembled, jumped up, and with a yell rushe_mpetuously to meet her, not knowing what he was doing. But they were no_llowed to come together, though they saw one another. He was seized by th_rms. He struggled, and tried to tear himself away. It took three or four me_o hold him. She was seized too, and he saw her stretching out her arms t_im, crying aloud as they carried her away. When the scene was over, he cam_o himself again, sitting in the same place as before, opposite th_nvestigating lawyer, and crying out to them:
"What do you want with her? Why do you torment her? She's done nothing, nothing!
The lawyers tried to soothe him. About ten minutes passed like this. At las_ihail Makarovitch, who had been absent, came hurriedly into the room, an_aid in a loud and excited voice to the prosecutor:
"She's been removed, she's downstairs. Will you allow me to say one word t_his unhappy man, gentlemen? In your presence, gentlemen, in your presence."
"By all means, Mihail Makarovitch," answered the investigating lawyer. "In th_resent case we have nothing against it."
"Listen, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, my dear fellow," began the police captain, an_here was a look of warm, almost fatherly, feeling for the luckless prisone_n his excited face. "I took your Agrafena Alexandrovna downstairs myself, an_onfided her to the care of the landlord's daughters, and that old fello_aximov is with her all the time. And I soothed her, do you hear? I soothe_nd calmed her. I impressed on her that you have to clear yourself, so sh_ustn't hinder you, must not depress you, or you may lose your head and sa_he wrong thing in your evidence. In fact, I talked to her and she understood.
She's a sensible girl, my boy, a good-hearted girl, she would have kissed m_ld hands, begging help for you. She sent me herself, to tell you not to worr_bout her. And I must go, my dear fellow, I must go and tell her that you ar_alm and comforted about her. And so you must be calm, do you understand? _as unfair to her; she is a Christian soul, gentlemen, yes, I tell you, she'_ gentle soul, and not to blame for anything. So what am I to tell her, Dmitr_yodorovitch? Will you sit quiet or not?"
The good-natured police captain said a great deal that was irregular, bu_rushenka's suffering, a fellow creature's suffering, touched his good-nature_eart, and tears stood in his eyes. Mitya jumped up and rushed towards him.
"Forgive me, gentlemen, oh, allow me, allow me!" he cried. "You've the hear_f an angel, an angel, Mihail Makarovitch, I thank you for her. I will, I wil_e calm, cheerful, in fact. Tell her, in the kindness of your heart, that I a_heerful, quite cheerful, that I shall be laughing in a minute, knowing tha_he has a guardian angel like you. I shall have done with all this directly, and as soon as I'm free, I'll be with her, she'll see, let her wait.
Gentlemen," he said, turning to the two lawyers, now I'll open my whole sou_o you; I'll pour out everything. We'll finish this off directly, finish i_ff gaily. We shall laugh at it in the end, shan't we? But gentlemen, tha_oman is the queen of my heart. Oh, let me tell you that. That one thing I'l_ell you now… . I see I'm with honourable men. She is my light, she is my hol_ne, and if only you knew! Did you hear her cry, 'I'll go to death with you'?
And what have I, a penniless beggar, done for her? Why such love for me? Ho_an a clumsy, ugly brute like me, with my ugly face, deserve such love, tha_he is ready to go to exile with me? And how she fell down at your feet for m_ake, just now!… and yet she's proud and has done nothing! How can I hel_doring her, how can I help crying out and rushing to her as I did just now?
Gentlemen, forgive me! But now, now I am comforted."
And he sank back in his chair and, covering his face with his hands, burs_nto tears. But they were happy tears. He recovered himself instantly. The ol_olice captain seemed much pleased, and the lawyers also. They felt that th_xamination was passing into a new phase. When the police captain went out, Mitya was positively gay.
"Now, gentlemen, I am at your disposal, entirely at your disposal. And if i_ere not for all these trivial details, we should understand one another in _inute. I'm at those details again. I'm at your disposal, gentlemen, but _eclare that we must have mutual confidence, you in me and I in you, o_here'll be no end to it. I speak in your interests. To business, gentlemen, to business, and don't rummage in my soul; don't tease me with trifles, bu_nly ask me about facts and what matters, and I will satisfy you at once. An_amn the details!"