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Chapter 4 Fortune Smiles on Mitya

  • IT came quite as a surprise even to Alyosha himself. He was not required t_ake the oath, and I remember that both sides addressed him very gently an_ympathetically. It was evident that his reputation for goodness had precede_im. Alyosha gave his evidence modestly and with restraint, but his war_ympathy for his unhappy brother was unmistakable. In answer to one question, he sketched his brother's character as that of a man, violent-tempered perhap_nd carried away by his passions, but at the same time honourable, proud an_enerous, capable of self-sacrifice, if necessary. He admitted, however, that, through his passion for Grushenka and his rivalry with his father, his brothe_ad been of late in an intolerable position. But he repelled with indignatio_he suggestion that his brother might have committed a murder for the sake o_ain, though he recognised that the three thousand roubles had become almos_n obsession with Mitya; that upon them as part of the inheritance he had bee_heated of by his father, and that, indifferent as he was to money as a rule, he could not even speak of that three thousand without fury. As for th_ivalry of the two "ladies," as the prosecutor expressed it- that is, o_rushenka and Katya- he answered evasively and was even unwilling to answe_ne or two questions altogether.
  • "Did your brother tell you, anyway, that he intended to kill your father?"
  • asked the prosecutor. "You can refuse to answer if you think necessary," h_dded.
  • "He did not tell me so directly," answered Alyosha.
  • "How so? Did he indirectly?"
  • "He spoke to me once of his hatred for our father and his fear that at a_xtreme moment… at a moment of fury, he might perhaps murder him."
  • "And you believed him?"
  • "I am afraid to say that I did. But I never doubted that some higher feelin_ould always save him at that fatal moment, as it has indeed saved him, for i_as not he killed my father," Alyosha said firmly, in a loud voice that wa_eard throughout the court.
  • The prosecutor started like a war-horse at the sound of a trumpet.
  • "Let me assure you that I fully believe in the complete sincerity of you_onviction and do not explain it by or identify it with your affection fo_our unhappy brother. Your peculiar view of the whole tragic episode is know_o us already from the preliminary investigation. I won't attempt to concea_rom you that it is highly individual and contradicts all the other evidenc_ollected by the prosecution. And so I think it essential to press you to tel_e what facts have led you to this conviction of your brother's innocence an_f the guilt of another person against whom you gave evidence at th_reliminary inquiry?"
  • "I only answered the questions asked me at the preliminary inquiry," replie_lyosha, slowly and calmly. "I made no accusation against Smerdyakov o_yself."
  • "Yet you gave evidence against him?"
  • "I was led to do so by my brother Dmitri's words. I was told what took plac_t his arrest and how he had pointed to Smerdyakov before I was examined. _elieve absolutely that my brother is innocent, and if he didn't commit th_urder, then-"
  • "Then Smerdyakov? Why Smerdyakov? And why are you so completely persuaded o_our brother's innocence?"
  • "I cannot help believing my brother. I know he wouldn't lie to me. I saw fro_is face he wasn't lying."
  • "Only from his face? Is that all the proof you have?"
  • "I have no other proof."
  • "And of Smerdyakov's guilt you have no proof whatever but your brother's wor_nd the expression of his face?"
  • "No, I have no other proof."
  • The prosecutor dropped the examination at this point. The impression left b_lyosha's evidence on the public was most disappointing. There had been tal_bout Smerdyakov before the trial; someone had heard something, someone ha_ointed out something else, it was said that Alyosha had gathered togethe_ome extraordinary proofs of his brother's innocence and Smerdyakov's guilt, and after all there was nothing, no evidence except certain moral conviction_o natural in a brother.
  • But Fetyukovitch began his cross-examination. On his asking Alyosha when i_as that the prisoner had told him of his hatred for his father and that h_ight kill him, and whether he had heard it, for instance, at their las_eeting before the catastrophe, Alyosha started as he answered, as though onl_ust recollecting and understanding something.
  • "I remember one circumstance now which I'd quite forgotten myself. It wasn'_lear to me at the time, but now-"
  • And, obviously only now for the first time struck by an idea, he recounte_agerly how, at his last interview with Mitya that evening under the tree, o_he road to the monastery, Mitya had struck himself on the breast, "the uppe_art of the breast," and had repeated several times that he had a means o_egaining his honour, that that means was here, here on his breast. "_hought, when he struck himself on the breast, he meant that it was in hi_eart," Alyosha continued, "that he might find in his heart strength to sav_imself from some awful disgrace which was awaiting him and which he did no_are confess even to me. I must confess I did think at the time that he wa_peaking of our father, and that the disgrace he was shuddering at was th_hought of going to our father and doing some violence to him. Yet it was jus_hen that he pointed to something on his breast, so that I remember the ide_truck me at the time that the heart is not on that part of the breast, bu_elow, and that he struck himself much too high, just below the neck, and kep_ointing to that place. My idea seemed silly to me at the time, but he wa_erhaps pointing then to that little bag in which he had fifteen hundre_oubles!"
  • "Just so, Mitya cried from his place. "That's right, Alyosha, it was th_ittle bag I struck with my fist."
  • Fetyukovitch flew to him in hot haste entreating him to keep quiet, and at th_ame instant pounced on Alyosha. Alyosha, carried away himself by hi_ecollection, warmly expressed his theory that this disgrace was probably jus_hat fifteen hundred roubles on him, which he might have returned to Katerin_vanovna as half of what he owed her, but which he had yet determined not t_epay her and to use for another purpose- namely, to enable him to elope wit_rushenka, if she consented.
  • "It is so, it must be so," exclaimed Alyosha, in sudden excitement. "M_rother cried several times that half of the disgrace, half of it (he sai_alf several times) he could free himself from at once, but that he was s_nhappy in his weakness of will that he wouldn't do it… that he kne_eforehand he was incapable of doing it!"
  • "And you clearly, confidently remember that he struck himself just on thi_art of the breast?" Fetyukovitch asked eagerly.
  • "Clearly and confidently, for I thought at the time, 'Why does he strik_imself up there when the heart is lower down?' and the thought seemed stupi_o me at the time… I remember its seeming stupid… it flashed through my mind.
  • That's what brought it back to me just now. How could I have forgotten it til_ow? It was that little bag he meant when he said he had the means bu_ouldn't give back that fifteen hundred. And when he was arrested at Mokroe h_ried out- I know, I was told it- that he considered it the most disgracefu_ct of his life that when he had the means of repaying Katerina Ivanovna half (half, note!) what he owed her, he yet could not bring himself to repay th_oney and preferred to remain a thief in her eyes rather than part with it.
  • And what torture, what torture that debt has been to him!" Alyosha exclaime_n conclusion.
  • The prosecutor, of course, intervened. He asked Alyosha to describe once mor_ow it had all happened, and several times insisted on the question, "Had th_risoner seemed to point to anything? Perhaps he had simply struck himsel_ith his fist on the breast?"
  • "But it was not with his fist," cried Alyosha; "he pointed with his finger_nd pointed here, very high up… . How could I have so completely forgotten i_ill this moment?"
  • The President asked Mitya what he had to say to the last witness's evidence.
  • Mitya confirmed it, saying that he had been pointing to the fifteen hundre_oubles which were on his breast, just below the neck, and that that was, o_ourse, the disgrace, "A disgrace I cannot deny, the most shameful act of m_hole life," cried Mitya. "I might have repaid it and didn't repay it. _referred to remain a thief in her eyes rather than give it back. And the mos_hameful part of it was that I knew beforehand I shouldn't give it back! Yo_re right, Alyosha! Thanks, Alyosha!"
  • So Alyosha's cross-examination ended. What was important and striking about i_as that one fact at least had been found, and even though this were only on_iny bit of evidence, a mere hint at evidence, it did go some little wa_owards proving that the bag had existed and had contained fifteen hundre_oubles and that the prisoner had not been lying at the preliminary inquir_hen he alleged at Mokroe that those fifteen hundred roubles were "his own."
  • Alyosha was glad. With a flushed face he moved away to the seat assigned t_im. He kept repeating to himself: "How was it I forgot? How could I hav_orgotten it? And what made it come back to me now?"
  • Katerina Ivanovna was called to the witness-box. As she entered somethin_xtraordinary happened in the court. The ladies clutched their lorgnettes an_pera-glasses. There was a stir among the men: some stood up to get a bette_iew. Everybody alleged afterwards that Mitya had turned "white as a sheet" o_er entrance. All in black, she advanced modestly, almost timidly. It wa_mpossible to tell from her face that she was agitated; but there was _esolute gleam in her dark and gloomy eyes. I may remark that many peopl_entioned that she looked particularly handsome at that moment. She spok_oftly but clearly, so that she was heard all over the court. She expresse_erself with composure, or at least tried to appear composed. The Presiden_egan his examination discreetly and very respectfully, as though afraid t_ouch on "certain chords," and showing consideration for her grea_nhappiness. But in answer to one of the first questions Katerina Ivanovn_eplied firmly that she had been formerly betrothed to the prisoner, "until h_eft me of his own accord… " she added quietly. When they asked her about th_hree thousand she had entrusted to Mitya to post to her relations, she sai_irmly, "I didn't give him the money simply to send it off. I felt at the tim_hat he was in great need of money… . I gave him the three thousand on th_nderstanding that he should post it within the month if he cared to. Ther_as no need for him to worry himself about that debt afterwards."
  • I will not repeat all the questions asked her and all her answers in detail. _ill only give the substance of her evidence.
  • "I was firmly convinced that he would send off that sum as soon as he go_oney from his father," she went on. "I have never doubted hi_isinterestedness and his honesty… his scrupulous honesty… in money matters.
  • He felt quite certain that he would receive the money from his father, an_poke to me several times about it. I knew he had a feud with his father an_ave always believed that he had been unfairly treated by his father. I don'_emember any threat uttered by him against his father. He certainly neve_ttered any such threat before me. If he had come to me at that time, I shoul_ave at once relieved his anxiety about that unlucky three thousand roubles, but he had given up coming to see me… and I myself was put in such a position… that I could not invite him… . And I had no right, indeed, to be exacting a_o that money, she added suddenly, and there was a ring of resolution in he_oice. "I was once indebted to him for assistance in money for more than thre_housand, and I took it, although I could not at that time foresee that _hould ever be in a position to repay my debt."
  • There was a note of defiance in her voice. It was then Fetyukovitch began hi_ross-examination.
  • "Did that take place not here, but at the beginning of your acquaintance?"
  • Fetyukovitch suggested cautiously, feeling his way, instantly scentin_omething favourable. I must mention in parenthesis that, though Fetyukovitc_ad been brought from Petersburg partly at the instance of Katerina Ivanovn_erself, he knew nothing about the episode of the four thousand roubles give_er by Mitya, and of her "bowing to the ground to him." She concealed thi_rom him and said nothing about it, and that was strange. It may be prett_ertainly assumed that she herself did not know till the very last minut_hether she would speak of that episode in the court, and waited for th_nspiration of the moment.
  • No, I can never forget those moments. She began telling her story. She tol_verything, the whole episode that Mitya had told Alyosha, and her bowing t_he ground, and her reason. She told about her father and her going to Mitya, and did not in one word, in a single hint, suggest that Mitya had himself, through her sister, proposed they should "send him Katerina Ivanovna" to fetc_he money. She generously concealed that and was not ashamed to make it appea_s though she had of her own impulse run to the young officer, relying o_omething… to beg him for the money. It was something tremendous! I turne_old and trembled as I listened. The court was hushed, trying to catch eac_ord. It was something unexampled. Even from such a self-willed an_ontemptuously proud girl as she was, such an extremely frank avowal, suc_acrifice, such self-immolation, seemed incredible. And for what, for whom? T_ave the man who had deceived and insulted her and to help, in however small _egree, in saving him, by creating a strong impression in his favour. And, indeed, the figure of the young officer who, with a respectful bow to th_nnocent girl, handed her his last four thousand roubles- all he had in th_orld- was thrown into a very sympathetic and attractive light, but… I had _ainful misgiving at heart! I felt that calumny might come of it later (and i_id, in fact, it did). It was repeated all over the town afterwards wit_piteful laughter that was perhaps not quite complete- that is, in th_tatement that the officer had let the young lady depart "with nothing but _espectful bow." It was hinted that something was here omitted.
  • "And even if nothing had been omitted, if this were the whole story," the mos_ighly respected of our ladies maintained, "even then it's very doubtfu_hether it was creditable for a young girl to behave in that way, even for th_ake of saving her father."
  • And can Katerina Ivanovna, with her intelligence, her morbid sensitiveness, have failed to understand that people would talk like that? She must hav_nderstood it, yet she made up her mind to tell everything. Of course, al_hese nasty little suspicions as to the truth of her story only aros_fterwards and at the first moment all were deeply impressed by it. As for th_udges and the lawyers, they listened in reverent, almost shamefaced silenc_o Katerina Ivanovna. The prosecutor did not venture upon even one question o_he subject. Fetyukovitch made a low bow to her. Oh, he was almost triumphant!
  • Much ground had been gained. For a man to give his last four thousand on _enerous impulse and then for the same man to murder his father for the sak_f robbing him of three thousand- the idea seemed too incongruous.
  • Fetyukovitch felt that now the charge of theft, at least, was as good a_isproved. "The case" was thrown into quite a different light. There was _ave of sympathy for Mitya. As for him… . I was told that once or twice, whil_aterina Ivanovna was giving her evidence, he jumped up from his seat, san_ack again, and hid his face in his hands. But when she had finished, h_uddenly cried in a sobbing voice:
  • "Katya, why have you ruined me?" and his sobs were audible all over the court.
  • But he instantly restrained himself, and cried again:
  • "Now I am condemned!"
  • Then he sat rigid in his place, with his teeth clenched and his arms acros_is chest. Katerina Ivanovna remained in the court and sat down in her place.
  • She was pale and sat with her eyes cast down. Those who were sitting near he_eclared that for a long time she shivered all over as though in a fever.
  • Grushenka was called.
  • I am approaching the sudden catastrophe which was perhaps the final cause o_itya's ruin. For I am convinced, so is everyone- all the lawyers said th_ame afterwards- that if the episode had not occurred, the prisoner would a_east have been recommended to mercy. But of that later. A few words firs_bout Grushenka.
  • She, too, was dressed entirely in black, with her magnificent black shawl o_er shoulders. She walked to the witness-box with her smooth, noiseless tread, with the slightly swaying gait common in women of full figure. She looke_teadily at the President, turning her eyes neither to the right nor to th_eft. To my thinking she looked very handsome at that moment, and not at al_ale, as the ladies alleged afterwards. They declared, too, that she had _oncentrated and spiteful expression. I believe that she was simply irritate_nd painfully conscious of the contemptuous and inquisitive eyes of ou_candal-loving public. She was proud and could not stand contempt. She was on_f those people who flare up, angry and eager to retaliate, at the mer_uggestion of contempt. There was an element of timidity, too, of course, an_nward shame at her own timidity, so it was not strange that her tone kep_hanging. At one moment it was angry, contemptuous and rough, and at anothe_here was a sincere note of self-condemnation. Sometimes she spoke as thoug_he were taking a desperate plunge; as though she felt, "I don't care wha_appens, I'll say it… ." Apropos of her acquaintance with Fyodor Pavlovitch, she remarked curtly, "That's all nonsense, and was it my fault that he woul_ester me?" But a minute later she added, "It was all my fault. I was laughin_t them both- at the old man and at him, too- and I brought both of them t_his. It was all on account of me it happened."
  • Samsonov's name came up somehow. "That's nobody's business," she snapped a_nce, with a sort of insolent defiance. "He was my benefactor; he took me whe_ hadn't a shoe to my foot, when my family had turned me out." The Presiden_eminded her, though very politely, that she must answer the question_irectly, without going off into irrelevant details. Grushenka crimsoned an_er eyes flashed.
  • The envelope with the notes in it she had not seen, but had only heard from
  • "that wicked wretch" that Fyodor Pavlovitch had an envelope with notes fo_hree thousand in it. "But that was all foolishness. I was only laughing. _ouldn't have gone to him for anything."
  • "To whom are you referring as 'that wicked wretch'?" inquired the prosecutor.
  • "The lackey, Smerdyakov, who murdered his master and hanged himself las_ight."
  • She was, of course, at once asked what ground she had for such a definit_ccusation; but it appeared that she, too, had no grounds for it.
  • "Dmitri Fyodorovitch told me so himself; you can believe him. The woman wh_ame between us has ruined him; she is the cause of it all, let me tell you,"
  • Grushenka added. She seemed to be quivering with hatred, and there was _indictive note in her voice.
  • She was again asked to whom she was referring.
  • "The young lady, Katerina Ivanovna there. She sent for me, offered m_hocolate, tried to fascinate me. There's not much true shame about her, I ca_ell you that… "
  • At this point the President checked her sternly, begging her to moderate he_anguage. But the jealous woman's heart was burning, and she did not care wha_he did.
  • "When the prisoner was arrested at Mokroe," the prosecutor asked, "everyon_aw and heard you run out of the next room and cry out: 'It's all my fault.
  • We'll go to Siberia together!' So you already believed him to have murdere_is father?"
  • "I don't remember what I felt at the time," answered Grushenka. "Everyone wa_rying out that he had killed his father, and I felt that it was my fault, that it was on my account he had murdered him. But when he said he wasn'_uilty, I believed him at once, and I believe him now and always shall believ_im. He is not the man to tell a lie."
  • Fetyukovitch began his cross-examination. I remember that among other thing_e asked about Rakitin and the twenty-five roubles "you paid him for bringin_lexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov to see you."
  • "There was nothing strange about his taking the money," sneered Grushenka, with angry contempt. "He was always coming to me for money: he used to ge_hirty roubles a month at least out of me, chiefly for luxuries: he had enoug_o keep him without my help."
  • "What led you to be so liberal to Mr. Rakitin?" Fetyukovitch asked, in spit_f an uneasy movement on the part of the President.
  • "Why, he is my cousin. His mother was my mother's sister. But he's alway_esought me not to tell anyone here of it, he is so dreadfully ashamed of me."
  • This fact was a complete surprise to everyone; no one in the town nor in th_onastery, not even Mitya, knew of it. I was told that Rakitin turned purpl_ith shame where he sat. Grushenka had somehow heard before she came into th_ourt that he had given evidence against Mitya, and so she was angry. Th_hole effect on the public, of Rakitin's speech, of his noble sentiments, o_is attacks upon serfdom and the political disorder of Russia, was this tim_inally ruined. Fetyukovitch was satisfied: it was another godsend.
  • Grushenka's cross-examination did not last long and, of course, there could b_othing particularly new in her evidence. She left a very disagreeabl_mpression on the public; hundreds of contemptuous eyes were fixed upon her, as she finished giving her evidence and sat down again in the court, at a goo_istance from Katerina Ivanovna. Mitya was silent throughout her evidence. H_at as though turned to stone, with his eyes fixed on the ground.
  • Ivan was called to give evidence.