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.