Chapter 9 The Galloping Troika. The End of the Prosecutor's Speech
IPPOLIT KIRILLOVITCH had chosen the historial method of exposition, beloved b_ll nervous orators, who find in its limitation a check on their own eage_hetoric. At this moment in his speech he went off into a dissertation o_rushenka's "first lover," and brought forward several interesting thoughts o_his theme.
"Karamazov, who had been frantically jealous of everyone, collapsed, so t_peak, and effaced himself at once before this first lover. What makes it al_he more strange is that he seems to have hardly thought of this formidabl_ival. But he had looked upon him as a remote danger, and Karamazov alway_ives in the present. Possibly he regarded him as a fiction. But his wounde_eart grasped instantly that the woman had been concealing this new rival an_eceiving him, because he was anything but a fiction to her, because he wa_he one hope of her life. Grasping this instantly, he resigned himself.
"Gentlemen of the jury, I cannot help dwelling on this unexpected trait in th_risoner's character. He suddenly evinces an irresistible desire for justice, a respect for woman and a recognition of her right to love. And all this a_he very moment when he had stained his hands with his father's blood for he_ake! It is true that the blood he had shed was already crying out fo_engeance, for, after having ruined his soul and his life in this world, h_as forced to ask himself at that same instant what he was and what he coul_e now to her, to that being, dearer to him than his own soul, in compariso_ith that former lover who had returned penitent, with new love, to the woma_e had once betrayed, with honourable offers, with the promise of a reforme_nd happy life. And he, luckless man, what could he give her now, what coul_e offer her?
"Karamazov felt all this, knew that all ways were barred to him by his crim_nd that he was a criminal under sentence, and not a man with life before him!
This thought crushed him. And so he instantly flew to one frantic plan, which, to a man of Karamazov's character, must have appeared the one inevitable wa_ut of his terrible position. That way out was suicide. He ran for the pistol_e had left in pledge with his friend Perhotin and on the way, as he ran, h_ulled out of his pocket the money, for the sake of which he had stained hi_ands with his father's gore. Oh, now he needed money more than ever.
Karamazov would die, Karamazov would shoot himself and it should b_emembered! To be sure, he was a poet and had burnt the candle at both end_ll his life. 'To her, to her! and there, oh, there I will give a feast to th_hole world, such as never was before, that will be remembered and talked o_ong after! In the midst of shouts of wild merriment, reckless gypsy songs an_ances I shall raise the glass and drink to the woman I adore and her new- found happiness! And then, on the spot, at her feet, I shall dash out m_rains before her and punish myself! She will remember Mitya Karamazo_ometimes, she will see how Mitya loved her, she will feel for Mitya!'
"Here we see in excess a love of effect, a romantic despair an_entimentality, and the wild recklessness of the Karamazovs. Yes, but there i_omething else, gentlemen of the jury, something that cries out in the soul, throbs incessantly in the mind, and poisons the heart unto death- tha_omething is conscience, gentlemen of the jury, its judgment, its terribl_orments! The pistol will settle everything, the pistol is the only way out!
But beyond- I don't know whether Karamazov wondered at that moment 'What lie_eyond,' whether Karamazov could, like Hamlet, wonder 'What lies beyond.' No, gentlemen of the jury, they have their Hamlets, but we still have ou_aramazovs!"
Here Ippolit Kirillovitch drew a minute picture of Mitya's preparations, th_cene at Perhotin's, at the shop, with the drivers. He quoted numerous word_nd actions, confirmed by witnesses, and the picture made a terribl_mpression on the audience. The guilt of this harassed and desperate man stoo_ut clear and convincing, when the facts were brought together.
"What need had he of precaution? Two or three times he almost confessed, hinted at it, all but spoke out." (Then followed the evidence given b_itnesses.) "He even cried out to the peasant who drove him, 'Do you know, yo_re driving a murderer!' But it was impossible for him to speak out, he had t_et to Mokroe and there to finish his romance. But what was awaiting th_uckless man? Almost from the first minute at Mokroe he saw that hi_nvincible rival was perhaps by no means so invincible, that the toast t_heir new-found happiness was not desired and would not be acceptable. But yo_now the facts, gentlemen of the jury, from the preliminary inquiry.
Karamazov's triumph over his rival was complete and his soul passed into quit_ new phase, perhaps the most terrible phase through which his soul has passe_r will pass.
"One may say with certainty, gentlemen of the jury," the prosecutor continued,
"that outraged nature and the criminal heart bring their own vengeance mor_ompletely than any earthly justice. What's more, justice and punishment o_arth positively alleviate the punishment of nature and are, indeed, essentia_o the soul of the criminal at such moments, as its salvation from despair.
For I cannot imagine the horror and moral suffering of Karamazov when h_earnt that she loved him, that for his sake she had rejected her first lover, that she was summoning him, Mitya, to a new life, that she was promising hi_appiness- and when? When everything was over for him and nothing wa_ossible!
"By the way, I will note in parenthesis a point of importance for the light i_hrows on the prisoner's position at the moment. This woman, this love of his, had been till the last moment, till the very instant of his arrest, a bein_nattainable, passionately desired by him but unattainable. Yet why did he no_hoot himself then, why did he relinquish his design and even forget where hi_istol was? It was just that passionate desire for love and the hope o_atisfying it that restrained him. Throughout their revels he kept close t_is adored mistress, who was at the banquet with him and was more charming an_ascinating to him than ever- he did not leave her side, abasing himself i_is homage before her.
"His passion might well, for a moment, stifle not only the fear of arrest, bu_ven the torments of conscience. For a moment, oh, only for a moment! I ca_icture the state of mind of the criminal hopelessly enslaved by thes_nfluences- first, the influence of drink, of noise and excitement, of th_hud of the dance and the scream of the song, and of her, flushed with wine, singing and dancing and laughing to him! Secondly, the hope in the backgroun_hat the fatal end might still be far off, that not till next morning, a_east, they would come and take him. So he had a few hours and that's much, very much! In a few hours one can think of many things. I imagine that he fel_omething like what criminals feel when they are being taken to the scaffold.
They have another long, long street to pass down and at walking pace, pas_housands of people. Then there will be a turning into another street and onl_t the end of that street the dread place of execution! I fancy that at th_eginning of the journey the condemned man, sitting on his shameful cart, mus_eel that he has infinite life still before him. The houses recede, the car_oves on- oh, that's nothing, it's still far to the turning into the secon_treet and he still looks boldly to right and to left at those thousands o_allously curious people with their eyes fixed on him, and he still fancie_hat he is just such a man as they. But now the turning comes to the nex_treet. Oh, that's nothing, nothing, there's still a whole street before him, and however many houses have been passed, he will still think there are man_eft. And so to the very end, to the very scaffold.
"This I imagine is how it was with Karamazov then. 'They've not had time yet,'
he must have thought, 'I may still find some way out, oh, there's still tim_o make some plan of defence, and now, now- she is so fascinating!'
"His soul was full of confusion and dread, but he managed, however, to pu_side half his money and hide it somewhere- I cannot otherwise explain th_isappearance of quite half of the three thousand he had just taken from hi_ather's pillow. He had been in Mokroe more than once before, he had carouse_here for two days together already, he knew the old big house with all it_assages and outbuildings. I imagine that part of the money was hidden in tha_ouse, not long before the arrest, in some crevice, under some floor, in som_orner, under the roof. With what object? I shall be asked. Why, th_atastrophe may take place at once, of course; he hadn't yet considered how t_eet it, he hadn't the time, his head was throbbing and his heart was wit_er, but money- money was indispensable in any case! With money a man i_lways a man. Perhaps such foresight at such a moment may strike you a_nnatural? But he assures us himself that a month before, at a critical an_xciting moment, he had halved his money and sewn it up in a little bag. An_hough that was not true, as we shall prove directly, it shows the idea was _amiliar one to Karamazov, he had contemplated it. What's more, when h_eclared at the inquiry that he had put fifteen hundred roubles in a bag (which never existed) he may have invented that little bag on the inspiratio_f the moment, because he had two hours before divided his money and hidde_alf of it at Mokroe till morning, in case of emergency, simply not to have i_n himself. Two extremes, gentlemen of the jury, remember that Karamazov ca_ontemplate two extremes and both at once.
"We have looked in the house, but we haven't found the money. It may still b_here or it may have disappeared next day and be in the prisoner's hands now.
In any case he was at her side, on his knees before her, she was lying on th_ed, he had his hands stretched out to her and he had so entirely forgotte_verything that he did not even hear the men coming to arrest him. He hadn'_ime to prepare any line of defence in his mind. He was caught unawares an_onfronted with his judges, the arbiters of his destiny.
"Gentlemen of the jury, there are moments in the execution of our duties whe_t is terrible for us to face a man, terrible on his account, too! The moment_f contemplating that animal fear, when the criminal sees that all is lost, but still struggles, still means to struggle, the moments when every instinc_f self-preservation rises up in him at once and he looks at you wit_uestioning and suffering eyes, studies you, your face, your thoughts, uncertain on which side you will strike, and his distracted mind frame_housands of plans in an instant, but he is still afraid to speak, afraid o_iving himself away! This purgatory of the spirit, this animal thirst fo_elf-preservation, these humiliating moments of the human soul, are awful, an_ometimes arouse horror and compassion for the criminal even in the lawyer.
And this was what we all witnessed then.
"At first he was thunderstruck and in his terror dropped some ver_ompromising phrases. 'Blood! I've deserved it!' But he quickly restraine_imself. He had not prepared what he was to say, what answer he was to make, he had nothing but a bare denial ready. 'I am not guilty of my father'_eath.' That was his fence for the moment and behind it he hoped to throw up _arricade of some sort. His first compromising exclamations he hastened t_xplain by declaring that he was responsible for the death of the servan_rigory only. 'Of that bloodshed I am guilty, but who has killed my father, gentlemen, who has killed him? Who can have killed him, if not I?' Do yo_ear, he asked us that, us, who had come to ask him that question! Do you hea_hat uttered with such premature haste- 'if not I'- the animal cunning, th_aivete the Karamazov impatience of it? 'I didn't kill him and you mustn'_hink I did! I wanted to kill him, gentlemen, I wanted to kill him,' h_astens to admit (he was in a hurry, in a terrible hurry), 'but still I am no_uilty, it is not I murdered him.' He concedes to us that he wanted to murde_im, as though to say, you can see for yourselves how truthful I am, so you'l_elieve all the sooner that I didn't murder him. Oh, in such cases th_riminal is often amazingly shallow and credulous.
"At that point one of the lawyers asked him, as it were incidentally, the mos_imple question, 'Wasn't it Smerdyakov killed him?' Then, as we expected, h_as horribly angry at our having anticipated him and caught him unawares, before he had time to pave the way to choose and snatch the moment when i_ould be most natural to bring in Smerdyakov's name. He rushed at once to th_ther extreme, as he always does, and began to assure us that Smerdyakov coul_ot have killed him, was not capable of it. But don't believe him, that wa_nly his cunning; he didn't really give up the idea of Smerdyakov; on th_ontrary, he meant to bring him forward again; for, indeed, he had no one els_o bring forward, but he would do that later, because for the moment that lin_as spoiled for him. He would bring him forward perhaps next day, or even _ew days later, choosing an opportunity to cry out to us, 'You know I was mor_ceptical about Smerdyakov than you, you remember that yourselves, but now _m convinced. He killed him, he must have done!' And for the present he fall_ack upon a gloomy and irritable denial. Impatience and anger prompted him, however, to the most inept and incredible explanation of how he looked int_is father's window and how he respectfully withdrew. The worst of it was tha_e was unaware of the position of affairs, of the evidence given by Grigory.
"We proceeded to search him. The search angered, but encouraged him, the whol_hree thousand had not been found on him, only half of it. And no doubt onl_t that moment of angry silence, the fiction of the little bag first occurre_o him. No doubt he was conscious himself of the improbability of the stor_nd strove painfully to make it sound more likely, to weave it into a romanc_hat would sound plausible. In such cases the first duty, the chief task o_he investigating lawyers, is to prevent the criminal being prepared, t_ounce upon him unexpectedly so that he may blurt out his cherished ideas i_ll their simplicity, improbability and inconsistency. The criminal can onl_e made to speak by the sudden and apparently incidental communication of som_ew fact, of some circumstance of great importance in the case, of which h_ad no previous idea and could not have foreseen. We had such a fact i_eadiness- that was Grigory's evidence about the open door through which th_risoner had run out. He had completely forgotten about that door and had no_ven suspected that Grigory could have seen it.
"The effect of it was amazing. He leapt up and shouted to us, 'Then Smerdyako_urdered him, it was Smerdyakov!' and so betrayed the basis of the defence h_as keeping back, and betrayed it in its most improbable shape, for Smerdyako_ould only have committed the murder after he had knocked Grigory down and ru_way. When we told him that Grigory saw the door was open before he fell down, and had heard Smerdyakov behind the screen as he came out of his bedroom- Karamazov was positively crushed. My esteemed and witty colleague, Nikola_arfenovitch, told me afterwards that he was almost moved to tears at th_ight of him. And to improve matters, the prisoner hastened to tell us abou_he much-talked-of little bag- so be it, you shall hear this romance!
"Gentlemen of the jury, I have told you already why I consider this romanc_ot only an absurdity, but the most improbable invention that could have bee_rought forward in the circumstances. If one tried for a bet to invent th_ost unlikely story, one could hardly find anything more incredible. The wors_f such stories is that the triumphant romancers can always be put t_onfusion and crushed by the very details in which real life is so rich an_hich these unhappy and involuntary storytellers neglect as insignifican_rifles. Oh, they have no thought to spare for such details, their minds ar_oncentrated on their grand invention as a whole, and fancy anyone daring t_ull them up for a trifle! But that's how they are caught. The prisoner wa_sked the question, 'Where did you get the stuff for your little bag and wh_ade it for you?' 'I made it myself.' 'And where did you get the linen?' Th_risoner was positively offended, he thought it almost insulting to ask hi_uch a trivial question, and would you believe it, his resentment was genuine!
But they are all like that. 'I tore it off my shirt. "Then we shall find tha_hirt among your linen to-morrow, with a piece torn off.' And only fancy, gentlemen of the jury, if we really had found that torn shirt (and how coul_e have failed to find it in his chest of drawers or trunk?) that would hav_een a fact, a material fact in support of his statement! But he was incapabl_f that reflection. 'I don't remember, it may not have been off my shirt, _ewed it up in one of my landlady's caps.' 'What sort of a cap?' 'It was a_ld cotton rag of hers lying about.' 'And do you remember that clearly?' 'No, I don't.' And he was angry, very angry, and yet imagine not remembering it! A_he most terrible moments of man's life, for instance when he is being led t_xecution, he remembers just such trifles. He will forget anything but som_reen roof that has flashed past him on the road, or a jackdaw on a cross- that he will remember. He concealed the making of that little bag from hi_ousehold, he must have remembered his humiliating fear that someone migh_ome in and find him needle in hand, how at the slightest sound he slippe_ehind the screen (there is a screen in his lodgings).
"But, gentlemen of the jury, why do I tell you all this, all these details, trifles?" cried Ippolit Kirillovitch suddenly. "Just because the prisone_till persists in these absurdities to this moment. He has not explaine_nything since that fatal night two months ago, he has not added one actua_lluminating fact to his former fantastic statements; all those ar_rivialities. 'You must believe it on my honour.' Oh, we are glad to believ_t, we are eager to believe it, even if only on his word of honour! Are w_ackals thirsting for human blood? Show us a single fact in the prisoner'_avour and we shall rejoice; but let it be a substantial, real fact, and not _onclusion drawn from the prisoner's expression by his own brother, or tha_hen he beat himself on the breast he must have meant to point to the littl_ag, in the darkness, too. We shall rejoice at the new fact, we shall be th_irst to repudiate our charge, we shall hasten to repudiate it. But no_ustice cries out and we persist, we cannot repudiate anything."
Ippolit Kirillovitch passed to his final peroration. He looked as though h_as in a fever, he spoke of the blood that cried for vengeance, the blood o_he father murdered by his son, with the base motive of robbery! He pointed t_he tragic and glaring consistency of the facts.
"And whatever you may hear from the talented and celebrated counsel for th_efence," Ippolit Kirillovitch could not resist adding, "whatever eloquent an_ouching appeals may be made to your sensibilities, remember that at thi_oment you are in a temple of justice. Remember that you are the champions o_ur justice, the champions of our holy Russia, of her principles, her family, everything that she holds sacred! Yes, you represent Russia here at thi_oment, and your verdict will be heard not in this hall only but will re-ech_hroughout the whole of Russia, and all Russia will hear you, as her champion_nd her judges, and she will be encouraged or disheartened by your verdict. D_ot disappoint Russia and her expectations. Our fatal troika dashes on in he_eadlong flight perhaps to destruction and in all Russia for long past me_ave stretched out imploring hands and called a halt to its furious reckles_ourse. And if other nations stand aside from that troika that may be, no_rom respect, as the poet would fain believe, but simply from horror. Fro_orror, perhaps from disgust. And well it is that they stand aside, but mayb_hey will cease one day to do so and will form a firm wall confronting th_urrying apparition and will check the frenzied rush of our lawlessness, fo_he sake of their own safety, enlightenment and civilisation. Already we hav_eard voices of alarm from Europe, they already begin to sound. Do not temp_hem! Do not heap up their growing hatred by a sentence justifying the murde_f a father by his son I
Though Ippolit Kirillovitch was genuinely moved, he wound up his speech wit_his rhetorical appeal- and the effect produced by him was extraordinary. Whe_e had finished his speech, he went out hurriedly and, as I have mentione_efore, almost fainted in the adjoining room. There was no applause in th_ourt, but serious persons were pleased. The ladies were not so wel_atisfied, though even they were pleased with his eloquence, especially a_hey had no apprehensions as to the upshot of the trial and had full trust i_etyukovitch. "He will speak at last and of course carry all before him."
Everyone looked at Mitya; he sat silent through the whole of the prosecutor'_peech, clenching his teeth, with his hands clasped, and his head bowed. Onl_rom time to time he raised his head and listened, especially when Grushenk_as spoken of. When the prosecutor mentioned Rakitin's opinion of her, a smil_f contempt and anger passed over his face and he murmured rather audibly,
"The Bernards!" When Ippolit Kirillovitch described how he had questioned an_ortured him at Mokroe, Mitya raised his head and listened with intens_uriosity. At one point he seemed about to jump up and cry out, but controlle_imself and only shrugged his shoulders disdainfully. People talked afterward_f the end of the speech, of the prosecutor's feat in examining the prisone_t Mokroe, and jeered at Ippolit Kirillovitch. "The man could not resis_oasting of his cleverness," they said.
The court was adjourned, but only for a short interval, a quarter of an hou_r twenty minutes at most. There was a hum of conversation and exclamations i_he audience. I remember some of them.
"A weighty speech," a gentleman in one group observed gravely.
"He brought in too much psychology," said another voice.
"But it was all true, the absolute truth!"
"Yes, he is first rate at it."
"He summed it all up."
"Yes, he summed us up, too," chimed in another voice, "Do you remember, at th_eginning of his speech, making out we were all like Fyodor Pavlovitch?"
"And at the end, too. But that was all rot."
"And obscure too."
"He was a little too much carried away."
"It's unjust, it's unjust."
"No, it was smartly done, anyway. He's had long to wait, but he's had his say, ha ha!"
"What will the counsel for the defence say?"
In another group I heard:
"He had no business to make a thrust at the Petersburg man like that;
'appealing to your sensibilities'- do you remember?"
"Yes, that was awkward of him."
"He was in too great a hurry."
"He is a nervous man."
"We laugh, but what must the prisoner be feeling?"
"Yes, what must it be for Mitya?"
In a third group:
"What lady is that, the fat one, with the lorgnette, sitting at the end?"
"She is a general's wife, divorced, I know her."
"That's why she has the lorgnette."
"She is not good for much."
"Oh no, she is a piquante little woman."
"Two places beyond her there is a little fair woman, she is prettier."
"They caught him smartly at Mokroe, didn't they, eh?"
"Oh, it was smart enough. We've heard it before, how often he has told th_tory at people's houses!
"And he couldn't resist doing it now. That's vanity."
"He is a man with a grievance, he he!"
"Yes, and quick to take offence. And there was too much rhetoric, such lon_entences."
"Yes, he tries to alarm us, he kept trying to alarm us. Do you remember abou_he troika? Something about 'They have Hamlets, but we have, so far, onl_aramazovs!' That was cleverly said!"
"That was to propitiate the liberals. He is afraid of them."
"Yes, and he is afraid of the lawyer, too."
"Yes, what will Fetyukovitch say?"
"Whatever he says, he won't get round our peasants."
"Don't you think so?"
A fourth group:
"What he said about the troika was good, that piece about the other nations."
"And that was true what he said about other nations not standing it."
"What do you mean?"
"Why, in the English Parliment a Member got up last week and speaking abou_he Nihilists asked the Ministry whether it was not high time to intervene, t_ducate this barbarous people. Ippolit was thinking of him, I know he was. H_as talking about that last week."
"Not an easy job."
"Not an easy job? Why not?"
"Why, we'd shut up Kronstadt and not let them have any corn. Where would the_et it?"
"In America. They get it from America now."
But the bell rang, all rushed to their places. Fetyukovitch mounted th_ribune.