The Brothers Karamazov
Part IV



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Book X

The Boys


Kolya Krassotkin
It was the beginning of November. There had been a hard frost, eleven degrees Réaumur, without snow, but a little dry snow had fallen on the frozen ground during the night, and a keen dry wind was lifting and blowing it along the dreary streets of our town, especially about the marketplace. It was a dull morning, but the snow had ceased.

Not far from the marketplace, close to Plotnikov’s shop, there stood a small house, very clean both without and within. It belonged to Madame Krassotkin, the widow of a former provincial secretary, who had been dead for fourteen years. His widow, still a nice-looking woman of thirty-two, was living in her neat little house on her private means. She lived in respectable seclusion; she was of a soft but fairly cheerful disposition. She was about eighteen at the time of her husband’s death; she had been married only a year and had just borne him a son. From the day of his death she had devoted herself heart and soul to the bringing up of her precious treasure, her boy Kolya. Though she had loved him passionately those fourteen years, he had caused her far more suffering than happiness. She had been trembling and fainting with terror almost every day, afraid he would fall ill, would catch cold, do something naughty, climb on a chair and fall off it, and so on and so on. When Kolya began going to school, the mother devoted herself to studying all the sciences with him so as to help him, and go through his lessons with him. She hastened to make the acquaintance of the teachers and their wives, even made up to Kolya’s schoolfellows, and fawned upon them in the hope of thus saving Kolya from being teased, laughed at, or beaten by them. She went so far that the boys actually began to mock at him on her account and taunt him with being a “mother’s darling.”

But the boy could take his own part. He was a resolute boy, “tremendously strong,” as was rumored in his class, and soon proved to be the fact; he was agile, strong-willed, and of an audacious and enterprising temper. He was good at lessons, and there was a rumor in the school that he could beat the teacher, Dardanelov, at arithmetic and universal history. Though he looked down upon everyone, he was a good comrade and not supercilious. He accepted his schoolfellows’ respect as his due, but was friendly with them. Above all, he knew where to draw the line. He could restrain himself on occasion, and in his relations with the teachers he never overstepped that last mystic limit beyond which a prank becomes an unpardonable breach of discipline. But he was as fond of mischief on every possible occasion as the smallest boy in the school, and not so much for the sake of mischief as for creating a sensation, inventing something, something effective and conspicuous. He was extremely vain. He knew how to make even his mother give way to him; he was almost despotic in his control of her. She gave way to him, oh, she had given way to him for years. The one thought unendurable to her was that her boy had no great love for her. She was always fancying that Kolya was “unfeeling” to her, and at times, dissolving into hysterical tears, she used to reproach him with his coldness. The boy disliked this, and the more demonstrations of feeling were demanded of him the more he seemed intentionally to avoid them. Yet it was not intentional on his part but instinctive⁠—it was his character. His mother was mistaken; he was very fond of her. He only disliked “sheepish sentimentality,” as he expressed it in his schoolboy language.

There was a bookcase in the house containing a few books that had been his father’s. Kolya was fond of reading, and had read several of them by himself. His mother did not mind that and only wondered sometimes at seeing the boy stand for hours by the bookcase poring over a book instead of going to play. And in that way Kolya read some things unsuitable for his age.

Though the boy, as a rule, knew where to draw the line in his mischief, he had of late begun to play pranks that caused his mother serious alarm. It is true there was nothing vicious in what he did, but a wild mad recklessness.

It happened that July, during the summer holidays, that the mother and son went to another district, forty-five miles away, to spend a week with a distant relation, whose husband was an official at the railway station (the very station, the nearest one to our town, from which a month later Ivan Fyodorovitch Karamazov set off for Moscow). There Kolya began by carefully investigating every detail connected with the railways, knowing that he could impress his schoolfellows when he got home with his newly acquired knowledge. But there happened to be some other boys in the place with whom he soon made friends. Some of them were living at the station, others in the neighborhood; there were six or seven of them, all between twelve and fifteen, and two of them came from our town. The boys played together, and on the fourth or fifth day of Kolya’s stay at the station, a mad bet was made by the foolish boys. Kolya, who was almost the youngest of the party and rather looked down upon by the others in consequence, was moved by vanity or by reckless bravado to bet them two roubles that he would lie down between the rails at night when the eleven o’clock train was due, and would lie there without moving while the train rolled over him at full speed. It is true they made a preliminary investigation, from which it appeared that it was possible to lie so flat between the rails that the train could pass over without touching, but to lie there was no joke! Kolya maintained stoutly that he would. At first they laughed at him, called him a little liar, a braggart, but that only egged him on. What piqued him most was that these boys of fifteen turned up their noses at him too superciliously, and were at first disposed to treat him as “a small boy,” not fit to associate with them, and that was an unendurable insult.

And so it was resolved to go in the evening, half a mile from the station, so that the train might have time to get up full speed after leaving the station. The boys assembled. It was a pitch-dark night without a moon. At the time fixed, Kolya lay down between the rails. The five others who had taken the bet waited among the bushes below the embankment, their hearts beating with suspense, which was followed by alarm and remorse. At last they heard in the distance the rumble of the train leaving the station. Two red lights gleamed out of the darkness; the monster roared as it approached.

“Run, run away from the rails,” the boys cried to Kolya from the bushes, breathless with terror. But it was too late: the train darted up and flew past. The boys rushed to Kolya. He lay without moving. They began pulling at him, lifting him up. He suddenly got up and walked away without a word. Then he explained that he had lain there as though he were insensible to frighten them, but the fact was that he really had lost consciousness, as he confessed long after to his mother. In this way his reputation as “a desperate character,” was established forever. He returned home to the station as white as a sheet. Next day he had a slight attack of nervous fever, but he was in high spirits and well pleased with himself. The incident did not become known at once, but when they came back to the town it penetrated to the school and even reached the ears of the masters. But then Kolya’s mother hastened to entreat the masters on her boy’s behalf, and in the end Dardanelov, a respected and influential teacher, exerted himself in his favor, and the affair was ignored.

Dardanelov was a middle-aged bachelor, who had been passionately in love with Madame Krassotkin for many years past, and had once already, about a year previously, ventured, trembling with fear and the delicacy of his sentiments, to offer her most respectfully his hand in marriage. But she refused him resolutely, feeling that to accept him would be an act of treachery to her son, though Dardanelov had, to judge from certain mysterious symptoms, reason for believing that he was not an object of aversion to the charming but too chaste and tenderhearted widow. Kolya’s mad prank seemed to have broken the ice, and Dardanelov was rewarded for his intercession by a suggestion of hope. The suggestion, it is true, was a faint one, but then Dardanelov was such a paragon of purity and delicacy that it was enough for the time being to make him perfectly happy. He was fond of the boy, though he would have felt it beneath him to try and win him over, and was severe and strict with him in class. Kolya, too, kept him at a respectful distance. He learned his lessons perfectly; he was second in his class, was reserved with Dardanelov, and the whole class firmly believed that Kolya was so good at universal history that he could “beat” even Dardanelov. Kolya did indeed ask him the question, “Who founded Troy?” to which Dardanelov had made a very vague reply, referring to the movements and migrations of races, to the remoteness of the period, to the mythical legends. But the question, “Who had founded Troy?” that is, what individuals, he could not answer, and even for some reason regarded the question as idle and frivolous. But the boys remained convinced that Dardanelov did not know who founded Troy. Kolya had read of the founders of Troy in Smaragdov, whose history was among the books in his father’s bookcase. In the end all the boys became interested in the question, who it was that had founded Troy, but Krassotkin would not tell his secret, and his reputation for knowledge remained unshaken.

After the incident on the railway a certain change came over Kolya’s attitude to his mother. When Anna Fyodorovna (Madame Krassotkin) heard of her son’s exploit, she almost went out of her mind with horror. She had such terrible attacks of hysterics, lasting with intervals for several days, that Kolya, seriously alarmed at last, promised on his honor that such pranks should never be repeated. He swore on his knees before the holy image, and swore by the memory of his father, at Madame Krassotkin’s instance, and the “manly” Kolya burst into tears like a boy of six. And all that day the mother and son were constantly rushing into each other’s arms sobbing. Next day Kolya woke up as “unfeeling” as before, but he had become more silent, more modest, sterner, and more thoughtful.

Six weeks later, it is true, he got into another scrape, which even brought his name to the ears of our Justice of the Peace, but it was a scrape of quite another kind, amusing, foolish, and he did not, as it turned out, take the leading part in it, but was only implicated in it. But of this later. His mother still fretted and trembled, but the more uneasy she became, the greater were the hopes of Dardanelov. It must be noted that Kolya understood and divined what was in Dardanelov’s heart and, of course, despised him profoundly for his “feelings”; he had in the past been so tactless as to show this contempt before his mother, hinting vaguely that he knew what Dardanelov was after. But from the time of the railway incident his behavior in this respect also was changed; he did not allow himself the remotest allusion to the subject and began to speak more respectfully of Dardanelov before his mother, which the sensitive woman at once appreciated with boundless gratitude. But at the slightest mention of Dardanelov by a visitor in Kolya’s presence, she would flush as pink as a rose. At such moments Kolya would either stare out of the window scowling, or would investigate the state of his boots, or would shout angrily for “Perezvon,” the big, shaggy, mangy dog, which he had picked up a month before, brought home, and kept for some reason secretly indoors, not showing him to any of his schoolfellows. He bullied him frightfully, teaching him all sorts of tricks, so that the poor dog howled for him whenever he was absent at school, and when he came in, whined with delight, rushed about as if he were crazy, begged, lay down on the ground pretending to be dead, and so on; in fact, showed all the tricks he had taught him, not at the word of command, but simply from the zeal of his excited and grateful heart.

I have forgotten, by the way, to mention that Kolya Krassotkin was the boy stabbed with a penknife by the boy already known to the reader as the son of Captain Snegiryov. Ilusha had been defending his father when the schoolboys jeered at him, shouting the nickname “wisp of tow.”


And so on that frosty, snowy, and windy day in November, Kolya Krassotkin was sitting at home. It was Sunday and there was no school. It had just struck eleven, and he particularly wanted to go out “on very urgent business,” but he was left alone in charge of the house, for it so happened that all its elder inmates were absent owing to a sudden and singular event. Madame Krassotkin had let two little rooms, separated from the rest of the house by a passage, to a doctor’s wife with her two small children. This lady was the same age as Anna Fyodorovna, and a great friend of hers. Her husband, the doctor, had taken his departure twelve months before, going first to Orenburg and then to Tashkend, and for the last six months she had not heard a word from him. Had it not been for her friendship with Madame Krassotkin, which was some consolation to the forsaken lady, she would certainly have completely dissolved away in tears. And now, to add to her misfortunes, Katerina, her only servant, was suddenly moved the evening before to announce, to her mistress’s amazement, that she proposed to bring a child into the world before morning. It seemed almost miraculous to everyone that no one had noticed the probability of it before. The astounded doctor’s wife decided to move Katerina while there was still time to an establishment in the town kept by a midwife for such emergencies. As she set great store by her servant, she promptly carried out this plan and remained there looking after her. By the morning all Madame Krassotkin’s friendly sympathy and energy were called upon to render assistance and appeal to someone for help in the case.

So both the ladies were absent from home, the Krassotkins’ servant, Agafya, had gone out to the market, and Kolya was thus left for a time to protect and look after “the kids,” that is, the son and daughter of the doctor’s wife, who were left alone. Kolya was not afraid of taking care of the house, besides he had Perezvon, who had been told to lie flat, without moving, under the bench in the hall. Every time Kolya, walking to and fro through the rooms, came into the hall, the dog shook his head and gave two loud and insinuating taps on the floor with his tail, but alas! the whistle did not sound to release him. Kolya looked sternly at the luckless dog, who relapsed again into obedient rigidity. The one thing that troubled Kolya was “the kids.” He looked, of course, with the utmost scorn on Katerina’s unexpected adventure, but he was very fond of the bereaved “kiddies,” and had already taken them a picture-book. Nastya, the elder, a girl of eight, could read, and Kostya, the boy, aged seven, was very fond of being read to by her. Krassotkin could, of course, have provided more diverting entertainment for them. He could have made them stand side by side and played soldiers with them, or sent them hiding all over the house. He had done so more than once before and was not above doing it, so much so that a report once spread at school that Krassotkin played horses with the little lodgers at home, prancing with his head on one side like a trace-horse. But Krassotkin haughtily parried this thrust, pointing out that to play horses with boys of one’s own age, boys of thirteen, would certainly be disgraceful “at this date,” but that he did it for the sake of “the kids” because he liked them, and no one had a right to call him to account for his feelings. The two “kids” adored him.

But on this occasion he was in no mood for games. He had very important business of his own before him, something almost mysterious. Meanwhile time was passing and Agafya, with whom he could have left the children, would not come back from market. He had several times already crossed the passage, opened the door of the lodgers’ room and looked anxiously at “the kids” who were sitting over the book, as he had bidden them. Every time he opened the door they grinned at him, hoping he would come in and would do something delightful and amusing. But Kolya was bothered and did not go in.

At last it struck eleven and he made up his mind, once for all, that if that “damned” Agafya did not come back within ten minutes he should go out without waiting for her, making “the kids” promise, of course, to be brave when he was away, not to be naughty, not to cry from fright. With this idea he put on his wadded winter overcoat with its catskin fur collar, slung his satchel round his shoulder, and, regardless of his mother’s constantly reiterated entreaties that he would always put on goloshes in such cold weather, he looked at them contemptuously as he crossed the hall and went out with only his boots on. Perezvon, seeing him in his outdoor clothes, began tapping nervously, yet vigorously, on the floor with his tail. Twitching all over, he even uttered a plaintive whine. But Kolya, seeing his dog’s passionate excitement, decided that it was a breach of discipline, kept him for another minute under the bench, and only when he had opened the door into the passage, whistled for him. The dog leapt up like a mad creature and rushed bounding before him rapturously.

Kolya opened the door to peep at “the kids.” They were both sitting as before at the table, not reading but warmly disputing about something. The children often argued together about various exciting problems of life, and Nastya, being the elder, always got the best of it. If Kostya did not agree with her, he almost always appealed to Kolya Krassotkin, and his verdict was regarded as infallible by both of them. This time the “kids’ ” discussion rather interested Krassotkin, and he stood still in the passage to listen. The children saw he was listening and that made them dispute with even greater energy.

“I shall never, never believe,” Nastya prattled, “that the old women find babies among the cabbages in the kitchen-garden. It’s winter now and there are no cabbages, and so the old woman couldn’t have taken Katerina a daughter.”

Kolya whistled to himself.

“Or perhaps they do bring babies from somewhere, but only to those who are married.”

Kostya stared at Nastya and listened, pondering profoundly.

“Nastya, how silly you are!” he said at last, firmly and calmly. “How can Katerina have a baby when she isn’t married?”

Nastya was exasperated.

“You know nothing about it,” she snapped irritably. “Perhaps she has a husband, only he is in prison, so now she’s got a baby.”

“But is her husband in prison?” the matter-of-fact Kostya inquired gravely.

“Or, I tell you what,” Nastya interrupted impulsively, completely rejecting and forgetting her first hypothesis. “She hasn’t a husband, you are right there, but she wants to be married, and so she’s been thinking of getting married, and thinking and thinking of it till now she’s got it, that is, not a husband but a baby.”

“Well, perhaps so,” Kostya agreed, entirely vanquished. “But you didn’t say so before. So how could I tell?”

“Come, kiddies,” said Kolya, stepping into the room. “You’re terrible people, I see.”

“And Perezvon with you!” grinned Kostya, and began snapping his fingers and calling Perezvon.

“I am in a difficulty, kids,” Krassotkin began solemnly, “and you must help me. Agafya must have broken her leg, since she has not turned up till now, that’s certain. I must go out. Will you let me go?”

The children looked anxiously at one another. Their smiling faces showed signs of uneasiness, but they did not yet fully grasp what was expected of them.

“You won’t be naughty while I am gone? You won’t climb on the cupboard and break your legs? You won’t be frightened alone and cry?”

A look of profound despondency came into the children’s faces.

“And I could show you something as a reward, a little copper cannon which can be fired with real gunpowder.”

The children’s faces instantly brightened. “Show us the cannon,” said Kostya, beaming all over.

Krassotkin put his hand in his satchel, and pulling out a little bronze cannon stood it on the table.

“Ah, you are bound to ask that! Look, it’s on wheels.” He rolled the toy on along the table. “And it can be fired off, too. It can be loaded with shot and fired off.”

“And it could kill anyone?”

“It can kill anyone; you’ve only got to aim at anybody,” and Krassotkin explained where the powder had to be put, where the shot should be rolled in, showing a tiny hole like a touch-hole, and told them that it kicked when it was fired.

The children listened with intense interest. What particularly struck their imagination was that the cannon kicked.

“And have you got any powder?” Nastya inquired.


“Show us the powder, too,” she drawled with a smile of entreaty.

Krassotkin dived again into his satchel and pulled out a small flask containing a little real gunpowder. He had some shot, too, in a screw of paper. He even uncorked the flask and shook a little powder into the palm of his hand.

“One has to be careful there’s no fire about, or it would blow up and kill us all,” Krassotkin warned them sensationally.

The children gazed at the powder with an awestricken alarm that only intensified their enjoyment. But Kostya liked the shot better.

“And does the shot burn?” he inquired.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Give me a little shot,” he asked in an imploring voice.

“I’ll give you a little shot; here, take it, but don’t show it to your mother till I come back, or she’ll be sure to think it’s gunpowder, and will die of fright and give you a thrashing.”

“Mother never does whip us,” Nastya observed at once.

“I know, I only said it to finish the sentence. And don’t you ever deceive your mother except just this once, until I come back. And so, kiddies, can I go out? You won’t be frightened and cry when I’m gone?”

“We sha⁠—all cry,” drawled Kostya, on the verge of tears already.

“We shall cry, we shall be sure to cry,” Nastya chimed in with timid haste.

“Oh, children, children, how fraught with peril are your years! There’s no help for it, chickens, I shall have to stay with you I don’t know how long. And time is passing, time is passing, oogh!”

“Tell Perezvon to pretend to be dead!” Kostya begged.

“There’s no help for it, we must have recourse to Perezvon. Ici, Perezvon.” And Kolya began giving orders to the dog, who performed all his tricks.

He was a rough-haired dog, of medium size, with a coat of a sort of lilac-gray color. He was blind in his right eye, and his left ear was torn. He whined and jumped, stood and walked on his hind legs, lay on his back with his paws in the air, rigid as though he were dead. While this last performance was going on, the door opened and Agafya, Madame Krassotkin’s servant, a stout woman of forty, marked with smallpox, appeared in the doorway. She had come back from market and had a bag full of provisions in her hand. Holding up the bag of provisions in her left hand she stood still to watch the dog. Though Kolya had been so anxious for her return, he did not cut short the performance, and after keeping Perezvon dead for the usual time, at last he whistled to him. The dog jumped up and began bounding about in his joy at having done his duty.

“Only think, a dog!” Agafya observed sententiously.

“Why are you late, female?” asked Krassotkin sternly.

“Female, indeed! Go on with you, you brat.”


“Yes, a brat. What is it to you if I’m late; if I’m late, you may be sure I have good reason,” muttered Agafya, busying herself about the stove, without a trace of anger or displeasure in her voice. She seemed quite pleased, in fact, to enjoy a skirmish with her merry young master.

“Listen, you frivolous young woman,” Krassotkin began, getting up from the sofa, “can you swear by all you hold sacred in the world and something else besides, that you will watch vigilantly over the kids in my absence? I am going out.”

“And what am I going to swear for?” laughed Agafya. “I shall look after them without that.”

“No, you must swear on your eternal salvation. Else I shan’t go.”

“Well, don’t then. What does it matter to me? It’s cold out; stay at home.”

“Kids,” Kolya turned to the children, “this woman will stay with you till I come back or till your mother comes, for she ought to have been back long ago. She will give you some lunch, too. You’ll give them something, Agafya, won’t you?”

“That I can do.”

“Goodbye, chickens, I go with my heart at rest. And you, granny,” he added gravely, in an undertone, as he passed Agafya, “I hope you’ll spare their tender years and not tell them any of your old woman’s nonsense about Katerina. Ici, Perezvon!”

“Get along with you!” retorted Agafya, really angry this time. “Ridiculous boy! You want a whipping for saying such things, that’s what you want!”


The Schoolboy
But Kolya did not hear her. At last he could go out. As he went out at the gate he looked round him, shrugged up his shoulders, and saying “It is freezing,” went straight along the street and turned off to the right towards the marketplace. When he reached the last house but one before the marketplace he stopped at the gate, pulled a whistle out of his pocket, and whistled with all his might as though giving a signal. He had not to wait more than a minute before a rosy-cheeked boy of about eleven, wearing a warm, neat and even stylish coat, darted out to meet him. This was Smurov, a boy in the preparatory class (two classes below Kolya Krassotkin), son of a well-to-do official. Apparently he was forbidden by his parents to associate with Krassotkin, who was well known to be a desperately naughty boy, so Smurov was obviously slipping out on the sly. He was⁠—if the reader has not forgotten⁠—one of the group of boys who two months before had thrown stones at Ilusha. He was the one who told Alyosha Karamazov about Ilusha.

“I’ve been waiting for you for the last hour, Krassotkin,” said Smurov stolidly, and the boys strode towards the marketplace.

“I am late,” answered Krassotkin. “I was detained by circumstances. You won’t be thrashed for coming with me?”

“Come, I say, I’m never thrashed! And you’ve got Perezvon with you?”


“You’re taking him, too?”


“Ah! if it were only Zhutchka!”

“That’s impossible. Zhutchka’s nonexistent. Zhutchka is lost in the mists of obscurity.”

“Ah! couldn’t we do this?” Smurov suddenly stood still. “You see Ilusha says that Zhutchka was a shaggy, grayish, smoky-looking dog like Perezvon. Couldn’t you tell him this is Zhutchka, and he might believe you?”

“Boy, shun a lie, that’s one thing; even with a good object⁠—that’s another. Above all, I hope you’ve not told them anything about my coming.”

“Heaven forbid! I know what I am about. But you won’t comfort him with Perezvon,” said Smurov, with a sigh. “You know his father, the captain, ‘the wisp of tow,’ told us that he was going to bring him a real mastiff pup, with a black nose, today. He thinks that would comfort Ilusha; but I doubt it.”

“And how is Ilusha?”

“Ah, he is bad, very bad! I believe he’s in consumption: he is quite conscious, but his breathing! His breathing’s gone wrong. The other day he asked to have his boots on to be led round the room. He tried to walk, but he couldn’t stand. ‘Ah, I told you before, father,’ he said, ‘that those boots were no good. I could never walk properly in them.’ He fancied it was his boots that made him stagger, but it was simply weakness, really. He won’t live another week. Herzenstube is looking after him. Now they are rich again⁠—they’ve got heaps of money.”

“They are rogues.”

“Who are rogues?”

“Doctors and the whole crew of quacks collectively, and also, of course, individually. I don’t believe in medicine. It’s a useless institution. I mean to go into all that. But what’s that sentimentality you’ve got up there? The whole class seems to be there every day.”

“Not the whole class: it’s only ten of our fellows who go to see him every day. There’s nothing in that.”

“What I don’t understand in all this is the part that Alexey Karamazov is taking in it. His brother’s going to be tried tomorrow or next day for such a crime, and yet he has so much time to spend on sentimentality with boys.”

“There’s no sentimentality about it. You are going yourself now to make it up with Ilusha.”

“Make it up with him? What an absurd expression! But I allow no one to analyze my actions.”

“And how pleased Ilusha will be to see you! He has no idea that you are coming. Why was it, why was it you wouldn’t come all this time?” Smurov cried with sudden warmth.

“My dear boy, that’s my business, not yours. I am going of myself because I choose to, but you’ve all been hauled there by Alexey Karamazov⁠—there’s a difference, you know. And how do you know? I may not be going to make it up at all. It’s a stupid expression.”

“It’s not Karamazov at all; it’s not his doing. Our fellows began going there of themselves. Of course, they went with Karamazov at first. And there’s been nothing of that sort⁠—no silliness. First one went, and then another. His father was awfully pleased to see us. You know he will simply go out of his mind if Ilusha dies. He sees that Ilusha’s dying. And he seems so glad we’ve made it up with Ilusha. Ilusha asked after you, that was all. He just asks and says no more. His father will go out of his mind or hang himself. He behaved like a madman before. You know he is a very decent man. We made a mistake then. It’s all the fault of that murderer who beat him then.”

“Karamazov’s a riddle to me all the same. I might have made his acquaintance long ago, but I like to have a proper pride in some cases. Besides, I have a theory about him which I must work out and verify.”

Kolya subsided into dignified silence. Smurov, too, was silent. Smurov, of course, worshiped Krassotkin and never dreamed of putting himself on a level with him. Now he was tremendously interested at Kolya’s saying that he was “going of himself” to see Ilusha. He felt that there must be some mystery in Kolya’s suddenly taking it into his head to go to him that day. They crossed the marketplace, in which at that hour were many loaded wagons from the country and a great number of live fowls. The market women were selling rolls, cottons and threads, etc., in their booths. These Sunday markets were naively called “fairs” in the town, and there were many such fairs in the year.

Perezvon ran about in the wildest spirits, sniffing about first one side, then the other. When he met other dogs they zealously smelt each other over according to the rules of canine etiquette.

“I like to watch such realistic scenes, Smurov,” said Kolya suddenly. “Have you noticed how dogs sniff at one another when they meet? It seems to be a law of their nature.”

“Yes; it’s a funny habit.”

“No, it’s not funny; you are wrong there. There’s nothing funny in nature, however funny it may seem to man with his prejudices. If dogs could reason and criticize us they’d be sure to find just as much that would be funny to them, if not far more, in the social relations of men, their masters⁠—far more, indeed. I repeat that, because I am convinced that there is far more foolishness among us. That’s Rakitin’s idea⁠—a remarkable idea. I am a Socialist, Smurov.”

“And what is a Socialist?” asked Smurov.

“That’s when all are equal and all have property in common, there are no marriages, and everyone has any religion and laws he likes best, and all the rest of it. You are not old enough to understand that yet. It’s cold, though.”

“Yes, twelve degrees of frost. Father looked at the thermometer just now.”

“Have you noticed, Smurov, that in the middle of winter we don’t feel so cold even when there are fifteen or eighteen degrees of frost as we do now, in the beginning of winter, when there is a sudden frost of twelve degrees, especially when there is not much snow. It’s because people are not used to it. Everything is habit with men, everything even in their social and political relations. Habit is the great motive-power. What a funny-looking peasant!”

Kolya pointed to a tall peasant, with a good-natured countenance in a long sheepskin coat, who was standing by his wagon, clapping together his hands, in their shapeless leather gloves, to warm them. His long fair beard was all white with frost.

“That peasant’s beard’s frozen,” Kolya cried in a loud provocative voice as he passed him.

“Lots of people’s beards are frozen,” the peasant replied, calmly and sententiously.

“Don’t provoke him,” observed Smurov.

“It’s all right; he won’t be cross; he’s a nice fellow. Goodbye, Matvey.”


“Is your name Matvey?”

“Yes. Didn’t you know?”

“No, I didn’t. It was a guess.”

“You don’t say so! You are a schoolboy, I suppose?”


“You get whipped, I expect?”

“Nothing to speak of⁠—sometimes.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Well, yes, it does.”

“Ech, what a life!” The peasant heaved a sigh from the bottom of his heart.

“Goodbye, Matvey.”

“Goodbye. You are a nice chap, that you are.”

The boys went on.

“That was a nice peasant,” Kolya observed to Smurov. “I like talking to the peasants, and am always glad to do them justice.”

“Why did you tell a lie, pretending we are thrashed?” asked Smurov.

“I had to say that to please him.”

“How do you mean?”

“You know, Smurov, I don’t like being asked the same thing twice. I like people to understand at the first word. Some things can’t be explained. According to a peasant’s notions, schoolboys are whipped, and must be whipped. What would a schoolboy be if he were not whipped? And if I were to tell him we are not, he’d be disappointed. But you don’t understand that. One has to know how to talk to the peasants.”

“Only don’t tease them, please, or you’ll get into another scrape as you did about that goose.”

“So you’re afraid?”

“Don’t laugh, Kolya. Of course I’m afraid. My father would be awfully cross. I am strictly forbidden to go out with you.”

“Don’t be uneasy, nothing will happen this time. Hallo, Natasha!” he shouted to a market woman in one of the booths.

“Call me Natasha! What next! My name is Marya,” the middle-aged market woman shouted at him.

“I am so glad it’s Marya. Goodbye!”

“Ah, you young rascal! A brat like you to carry on so!”

“I’m in a hurry. I can’t stay now. You shall tell me next Sunday.” Kolya waved his hand at her, as though she had attacked him and not he her.

“I’ve nothing to tell you next Sunday. You set upon me, you impudent young monkey. I didn’t say anything,” bawled Marya. “You want a whipping, that’s what you want, you saucy jackanapes!”

There was a roar of laughter among the other market women round her. Suddenly a man in a violent rage darted out from the arcade of shops close by. He was a young man, not a native of the town, with dark, curly hair and a long, pale face, marked with smallpox. He wore a long blue coat and a peaked cap, and looked like a merchant’s clerk. He was in a state of stupid excitement and brandished his fist at Kolya.

“I know you!” he cried angrily, “I know you!”

Kolya stared at him. He could not recall when he could have had a row with the man. But he had been in so many rows in the street that he could hardly remember them all.

“Do you?” he asked sarcastically.

“I know you! I know you!” the man repeated idiotically.

“So much the better for you. Well, it’s time I was going. Goodbye!”

“You are at your saucy pranks again?” cried the man. “You are at your saucy pranks again? I know, you are at it again!”

“It’s not your business, brother, if I am at my saucy pranks again,” said Kolya, standing still and scanning him.

“Not my business?”

“No; it’s not your business.”

“Whose then? Whose then? Whose then?”

“It’s Trifon Nikititch’s business, not yours.”

“What Trifon Nikititch?” asked the youth, staring with loutish amazement at Kolya, but still as angry as ever.

Kolya scanned him gravely.

“Have you been to the Church of the Ascension?” he suddenly asked him, with stern emphasis.

“What Church of Ascension? What for? No, I haven’t,” said the young man, somewhat taken aback.

“Do you know Sabaneyev?” Kolya went on even more emphatically and even more severely.

“What Sabaneyev? No, I don’t know him.”

“Well then you can go to the devil,” said Kolya, cutting short the conversation; and turning sharply to the right he strode quickly on his way as though he disdained further conversation with a dolt who did not even know Sabaneyev.

“Stop, heigh! What Sabaneyev?” the young man recovered from his momentary stupefaction and was as excited as before. “What did he say?” He turned to the market women with a silly stare.

The women laughed.

“You can never tell what he’s after,” said one of them.

“What Sabaneyev is it he’s talking about?” the young man repeated, still furious and brandishing his right arm.

“It must be a Sabaneyev who worked for the Kuzmitchovs, that’s who it must be,” one of the women suggested.

The young man stared at her wildly.

“For the Kuzmitchovs?” repeated another woman. “But his name wasn’t Trifon. His name’s Kuzma, not Trifon; but the boy said Trifon Nikititch, so it can’t be the same.”

“His name is not Trifon and not Sabaneyev, it’s Tchizhov,” put in suddenly a third woman, who had hitherto been silent, listening gravely. “Alexey Ivanitch is his name. Tchizhov, Alexey Ivanitch.”

“Not a doubt about it, it’s Tchizhov,” a fourth woman emphatically confirmed the statement.

The bewildered youth gazed from one to another.

“But what did he ask for, what did he ask for, good people?” he cried almost in desperation. “ ‘Do you know Sabaneyev?’ says he. And who the devil’s to know who is Sabaneyev?”

“You’re a senseless fellow. I tell you it’s not Sabaneyev, but Tchizhov, Alexey Ivanitch Tchizhov, that’s who it is!” one of the women shouted at him impressively.

“What Tchizhov? Who is he? Tell me, if you know.”

“That tall, sniveling fellow who used to sit in the market in the summer.”

“And what’s your Tchizhov to do with me, good people, eh?”

“How can I tell what he’s to do with you?” put in another. “You ought to know yourself what you want with him, if you make such a clamor about him. He spoke to you, he did not speak to us, you stupid. Don’t you really know him?”

“Know whom?”


“The devil take Tchizhov and you with him. I’ll give him a hiding, that I will. He was laughing at me!”

“Will give Tchizhov a hiding! More likely he will give you one. You are a fool, that’s what you are!”

“Not Tchizhov, not Tchizhov, you spiteful, mischievous woman. I’ll give the boy a hiding. Catch him, catch him, he was laughing at me!”

The woman guffawed. But Kolya was by now a long way off, marching along with a triumphant air. Smurov walked beside him, looking round at the shouting group far behind. He too was in high spirits, though he was still afraid of getting into some scrape in Kolya’s company.

“What Sabaneyev did you mean?” he asked Kolya, foreseeing what his answer would be.

“How do I know? Now there’ll be a hubbub among them all day. I like to stir up fools in every class of society. There’s another blockhead, that peasant there. You know, they say ‘there’s no one stupider than a stupid Frenchman,’ but a stupid Russian shows it in his face just as much. Can’t you see it all over his face that he is a fool, that peasant, eh?”

“Let him alone, Kolya. Let’s go on.”

“Nothing could stop me, now I am once off. Hey, good morning, peasant!”

A sturdy-looking peasant, with a round, simple face and grizzled beard, who was walking by, raised his head and looked at the boy. He seemed not quite sober.

“Good morning, if you are not laughing at me,” he said deliberately in reply.

“And if I am?” laughed Kolya.

“Well, a joke’s a joke. Laugh away. I don’t mind. There’s no harm in a joke.”

“I beg your pardon, brother, it was a joke.”

“Well, God forgive you!”

“Do you forgive me, too?”

“I quite forgive you. Go along.”

“I say, you seem a clever peasant.”

“Cleverer than you,” the peasant answered unexpectedly, with the same gravity.

“I doubt it,” said Kolya, somewhat taken aback.

“It’s true, though.”

“Perhaps it is.”

“It is, brother.”

“Goodbye, peasant!”


“There are all sorts of peasants,” Kolya observed to Smurov after a brief silence. “How could I tell I had hit on a clever one? I am always ready to recognize intelligence in the peasantry.”

In the distance the cathedral clock struck half-past eleven. The boys made haste and they walked as far as Captain Snegiryov’s lodging, a considerable distance, quickly and almost in silence. Twenty paces from the house Kolya stopped and told Smurov to go on ahead and ask Karamazov to come out to him.

“One must sniff round a bit first,” he observed to Smurov.

“Why ask him to come out?” Smurov protested. “You go in; they will be awfully glad to see you. What’s the sense of making friends in the frost out here?”

“I know why I want to see him out here in the frost,” Kolya cut him short in the despotic tone he was fond of adopting with “small boys,” and Smurov ran to do his bidding.


The Lost Dog
Kolya leaned against the fence with an air of dignity, waiting for Alyosha to appear. Yes, he had long wanted to meet him. He had heard a great deal about him from the boys, but hitherto he had always maintained an appearance of disdainful indifference when he was mentioned, and he had even “criticized” what he heard about Alyosha. But secretly he had a great longing to make his acquaintance; there was something sympathetic and attractive in all he was told about Alyosha. So the present moment was important: to begin with, he had to show himself at his best, to show his independence, “Or he’ll think of me as thirteen and take me for a boy, like the rest of them. And what are these boys to him? I shall ask him when I get to know him. It’s a pity I am so short, though. Tuzikov is younger than I am, yet he is half a head taller. But I have a clever face. I am not good-looking. I know I’m hideous, but I’ve a clever face. I mustn’t talk too freely; if I fall into his arms all at once, he may think⁠—Tfoo! how horrible if he should think⁠—!”

Such were the thoughts that excited Kolya while he was doing his utmost to assume the most independent air. What distressed him most was his being so short; he did not mind so much his “hideous” face, as being so short. On the wall in a corner at home he had the year before made a pencil-mark to show his height, and every two months since he anxiously measured himself against it to see how much he had gained. But alas! he grew very slowly, and this sometimes reduced him almost to despair. His face was in reality by no means “hideous”; on the contrary, it was rather attractive, with a fair, pale skin, freckled. His small, lively gray eyes had a fearless look, and often glowed with feeling. He had rather high cheekbones; small, very red, but not very thick, lips; his nose was small and unmistakably turned up. “I’ve a regular pug nose, a regular pug nose,” Kolya used to mutter to himself when he looked in the looking-glass, and he always left it with indignation. “But perhaps I haven’t got a clever face?” he sometimes thought, doubtful even of that. But it must not be supposed that his mind was preoccupied with his face and his height. On the contrary, however bitter the moments before the looking-glass were to him, he quickly forgot them, and forgot them for a long time, “abandoning himself entirely to ideas and to real life,” as he formulated it to himself.

Alyosha came out quickly and hastened up to Kolya. Before he reached him, Kolya could see that he looked delighted. “Can he be so glad to see me?” Kolya wondered, feeling pleased. We may note here, in passing, that Alyosha’s appearance had undergone a complete change since we saw him last. He had abandoned his cassock and was wearing now a well-cut coat, a soft, round hat, and his hair had been cropped short. All this was very becoming to him, and he looked quite handsome. His charming face always had a good-humored expression; but there was a gentleness and serenity in his good-humor. To Kolya’s surprise, Alyosha came out to him just as he was, without an overcoat. He had evidently come in haste. He held out his hand to Kolya at once.

“Here you are at last! How anxious we’ve been to see you!”

“There were reasons which you shall know directly. Anyway, I am glad to make your acquaintance. I’ve long been hoping for an opportunity, and have heard a great deal about you,” Kolya muttered, a little breathless.

“We should have met anyway. I’ve heard a great deal about you, too; but you’ve been a long time coming here.”

“Tell me, how are things going?”

“Ilusha is very ill. He is certainly dying.”

“How awful! You must admit that medicine is a fraud, Karamazov,” cried Kolya warmly.

“Ilusha has mentioned you often, very often, even in his sleep, in delirium, you know. One can see that you used to be very, very dear to him⁠ ⁠… before the incident⁠ ⁠… with the knife.⁠ ⁠… Then there’s another reason.⁠ ⁠… Tell me, is that your dog?”

“Yes, Perezvon.”

“Not Zhutchka?” Alyosha looked at Kolya with eyes full of pity. “Is she lost forever?”

“I know you would all like it to be Zhutchka. I’ve heard all about it.” Kolya smiled mysteriously. “Listen, Karamazov, I’ll tell you all about it. That’s what I came for; that’s what I asked you to come out here for, to explain the whole episode to you before we go in,” he began with animation. “You see, Karamazov, Ilusha came into the preparatory class last spring. Well, you know what our preparatory class is⁠—a lot of small boys. They began teasing Ilusha at once. I am two classes higher up, and, of course, I only look on at them from a distance. I saw the boy was weak and small, but he wouldn’t give in to them; he fought with them. I saw he was proud, and his eyes were full of fire. I like children like that. And they teased him all the more. The worst of it was he was horribly dressed at the time, his breeches were too small for him, and there were holes in his boots. They worried him about it; they jeered at him. That I can’t stand. I stood up for him at once, and gave it to them hot. I beat them, but they adore me, do you know, Karamazov?” Kolya boasted impulsively; “but I am always fond of children. I’ve two chickens in my hands at home now⁠—that’s what detained me today. So they left off beating Ilusha and I took him under my protection. I saw the boy was proud. I tell you that, the boy was proud; but in the end he became slavishly devoted to me: he did my slightest bidding, obeyed me as though I were God, tried to copy me. In the intervals between the classes he used to run to me at once, and I’d go about with him. On Sundays, too. They always laugh when an older boy makes friends with a younger one like that; but that’s a prejudice. If it’s my fancy, that’s enough. I am teaching him, developing him. Why shouldn’t I develop him if I like him? Here you, Karamazov, have taken up with all these nestlings. I see you want to influence the younger generation⁠—to develop them, to be of use to them, and I assure you this trait in your character, which I knew by hearsay, attracted me more than anything. Let us get to the point, though. I noticed that there was a sort of softness and sentimentality coming over the boy, and you know I have a positive hatred of this sheepish sentimentality, and I have had it from a baby. There were contradictions in him, too: he was proud, but he was slavishly devoted to me, and yet all at once his eyes would flash and he’d refuse to agree with me; he’d argue, fly into a rage. I used sometimes to propound certain ideas; I could see that it was not so much that he disagreed with the ideas, but that he was simply rebelling against me, because I was cool in responding to his endearments. And so, in order to train him properly, the tenderer he was, the colder I became. I did it on purpose: that was my idea. My object was to form his character, to lick him into shape, to make a man of him⁠ ⁠… and besides⁠ ⁠… no doubt, you understand me at a word. Suddenly I noticed for three days in succession he was downcast and dejected, not because of my coldness, but for something else, something more important. I wondered what the tragedy was. I have pumped him and found out that he had somehow got to know Smerdyakov, who was footman to your late father⁠—it was before his death, of course⁠—and he taught the little fool a silly trick⁠—that is, a brutal, nasty trick. He told him to take a piece of bread, to stick a pin in it, and throw it to one of those hungry dogs who snap up anything without biting it, and then to watch and see what would happen. So they prepared a piece of bread like that and threw it to Zhutchka, that shaggy dog there’s been such a fuss about. The people of the house it belonged to never fed it at all, though it barked all day. (Do you like that stupid barking, Karamazov? I can’t stand it.) So it rushed at the bread, swallowed it, and began to squeal; it turned round and round and ran away, squealing as it ran out of sight. That was Ilusha’s own account of it. He confessed it to me, and cried bitterly. He hugged me, shaking all over. He kept on repeating ‘He ran away squealing’: the sight of that haunted him. He was tormented by remorse, I could see that. I took it seriously. I determined to give him a lesson for other things as well. So I must confess I wasn’t quite straightforward, and pretended to be more indignant perhaps than I was. ‘You’ve done a nasty thing,’ I said, ‘you are a scoundrel. I won’t tell of it, of course, but I shall have nothing more to do with you for a time. I’ll think it over and let you know through Smurov’⁠—that’s the boy who’s just come with me; he’s always ready to do anything for me⁠—‘whether I will have anything to do with you in the future or whether I give you up for good as a scoundrel.’ He was tremendously upset. I must own I felt I’d gone too far as I spoke, but there was no help for it. I did what I thought best at the time. A day or two after, I sent Smurov to tell him that I would not speak to him again. That’s what we call it when two schoolfellows refuse to have anything more to do with one another. Secretly I only meant to send him to Coventry for a few days and then, if I saw signs of repentance, to hold out my hand to him again. That was my intention. But what do you think happened? He heard Smurov’s message, his eyes flashed. ‘Tell Krassotkin from me,’ he cried, ‘that I will throw bread with pins to all the dogs⁠—all⁠—all of them!’ ‘So he’s going in for a little temper. We must smoke it out of him.’ And I began to treat him with contempt; whenever I met him I turned away or smiled sarcastically. And just then that affair with his father happened. You remember? You must realize that he was fearfully worked up by what had happened already. The boys, seeing I’d given him up, set on him and taunted him, shouting, ‘Wisp of tow, wisp of tow!’ And he had soon regular skirmishes with them, which I am very sorry for. They seem to have given him one very bad beating. One day he flew at them all as they were coming out of school. I stood a few yards off, looking on. And, I swear, I don’t remember that I laughed; it was quite the other way, I felt awfully sorry for him, in another minute I would have run up to take his part. But he suddenly met my eyes. I don’t know what he fancied; but he pulled out a penknife, rushed at me, and struck at my thigh, here in my right leg. I didn’t move. I don’t mind owning I am plucky sometimes, Karamazov. I simply looked at him contemptuously, as though to say, ‘This is how you repay all my kindness! Do it again, if you like, I’m at your service.’ But he didn’t stab me again; he broke down, he was frightened at what he had done, he threw away the knife, burst out crying, and ran away. I did not sneak on him, of course, and I made them all keep quiet, so it shouldn’t come to the ears of the masters. I didn’t even tell my mother till it had healed up. And the wound was a mere scratch. And then I heard that the same day he’d been throwing stones and had bitten your finger⁠—but you understand now what a state he was in! Well, it can’t be helped: it was stupid of me not to come and forgive him⁠—that is, to make it up with him⁠—when he was taken ill. I am sorry for it now. But I had a special reason. So now I’ve told you all about it⁠ ⁠… but I’m afraid it was stupid of me.”

“Oh, what a pity,” exclaimed Alyosha, with feeling, “that I didn’t know before what terms you were on with him, or I’d have come to you long ago to beg you to go to him with me. Would you believe it, when he was feverish he talked about you in delirium. I didn’t know how much you were to him! And you’ve really not succeeded in finding that dog? His father and the boys have been hunting all over the town for it. Would you believe it, since he’s been ill, I’ve three times heard him repeat with tears, ‘It’s because I killed Zhutchka, father, that I am ill now. God is punishing me for it.’ He can’t get that idea out of his head. And if the dog were found and proved to be alive, one might almost fancy the joy would cure him. We have all rested our hopes on you.”

“Tell me, what made you hope that I should be the one to find him?” Kolya asked, with great curiosity. “Why did you reckon on me rather than anyone else?”

“There was a report that you were looking for the dog, and that you would bring it when you’d found it. Smurov said something of the sort. We’ve all been trying to persuade Ilusha that the dog is alive, that it’s been seen. The boys brought him a live hare; he just looked at it, with a faint smile, and asked them to set it free in the fields. And so we did. His father has just this moment come back, bringing him a mastiff pup, hoping to comfort him with that; but I think it only makes it worse.”

“Tell me, Karamazov, what sort of man is the father? I know him, but what do you make of him⁠—a mountebank, a buffoon?”

“Oh, no; there are people of deep feeling who have been somehow crushed. Buffoonery in them is a form of resentful irony against those to whom they daren’t speak the truth, from having been for years humiliated and intimidated by them. Believe me, Krassotkin, that sort of buffoonery is sometimes tragic in the extreme. His whole life now is centered in Ilusha, and if Ilusha dies, he will either go mad with grief or kill himself. I feel almost certain of that when I look at him now.”

“I understand you, Karamazov. I see you understand human nature,” Kolya added, with feeling.

“And as soon as I saw you with a dog, I thought it was Zhutchka you were bringing.”

“Wait a bit, Karamazov, perhaps we shall find it yet; but this is Perezvon. I’ll let him go in now and perhaps it will amuse Ilusha more than the mastiff pup. Wait a bit, Karamazov, you will know something in a minute. But, I say, I am keeping you here!” Kolya cried suddenly. “You’ve no overcoat on in this bitter cold. You see what an egoist I am. Oh, we are all egoists, Karamazov!”

“Don’t trouble; it is cold, but I don’t often catch cold. Let us go in, though, and, by the way, what is your name? I know you are called Kolya, but what else?”

“Nikolay⁠—Nikolay Ivanovitch Krassotkin, or, as they say in official documents, ‘Krassotkin son.’ ” Kolya laughed for some reason, but added suddenly, “Of course I hate my name Nikolay.”

“Why so?”

“It’s so trivial, so ordinary.”

“You are thirteen?” asked Alyosha.

“No, fourteen⁠—that is, I shall be fourteen very soon, in a fortnight. I’ll confess one weakness of mine, Karamazov, just to you, since it’s our first meeting, so that you may understand my character at once. I hate being asked my age, more than that⁠ ⁠… and in fact⁠ ⁠… there’s a libelous story going about me, that last week I played robbers with the preparatory boys. It’s a fact that I did play with them, but it’s a perfect libel to say I did it for my own amusement. I have reasons for believing that you’ve heard the story; but I wasn’t playing for my own amusement, it was for the sake of the children, because they couldn’t think of anything to do by themselves. But they’ve always got some silly tale. This is an awful town for gossip, I can tell you.”

“But what if you had been playing for your own amusement, what’s the harm?”

“Come, I say, for my own amusement! You don’t play horses, do you?”

“But you must look at it like this,” said Alyosha, smiling. “Grownup people go to the theater and there the adventures of all sorts of heroes are represented⁠—sometimes there are robbers and battles, too⁠—and isn’t that just the same thing, in a different form, of course? And young people’s games of soldiers or robbers in their playtime are also art in its first stage. You know, they spring from the growing artistic instincts of the young. And sometimes these games are much better than performances in the theater, the only difference is that people go there to look at the actors, while in these games the young people are the actors themselves. But that’s only natural.”

“You think so? Is that your idea?” Kolya looked at him intently. “Oh, you know, that’s rather an interesting view. When I go home, I’ll think it over. I’ll admit I thought I might learn something from you. I’ve come to learn of you, Karamazov,” Kolya concluded, in a voice full of spontaneous feeling.

“And I of you,” said Alyosha, smiling and pressing his hand.

Kolya was much pleased with Alyosha. What struck him most was that he treated him exactly like an equal and that he talked to him just as if he were “quite grown up.”

“I’ll show you something directly, Karamazov; it’s a theatrical performance, too,” he said, laughing nervously. “That’s why I’ve come.”

“Let us go first to the people of the house, on the left. All the boys leave their coats in there, because the room is small and hot.”

“Oh, I’m only coming in for a minute. I’ll keep on my overcoat. Perezvon will stay here in the passage and be dead. Ici, Perezvon, lie down and be dead! You see how he’s dead. I’ll go in first and explore, then I’ll whistle to him when I think fit, and you’ll see, he’ll dash in like mad. Only Smurov must not forget to open the door at the moment. I’ll arrange it all and you’ll see something.”


By Ilusha’s Bedside
The room inhabited by the family of the retired captain Snegiryov is already familiar to the reader. It was close and crowded at that moment with a number of visitors. Several boys were sitting with Ilusha, and though all of them, like Smurov, were prepared to deny that it was Alyosha who had brought them and reconciled them with Ilusha, it was really the fact. All the art he had used had been to take them, one by one, to Ilusha, without “sheepish sentimentality,” appearing to do so casually and without design. It was a great consolation to Ilusha in his suffering. He was greatly touched by seeing the almost tender affection and sympathy shown him by these boys, who had been his enemies. Krassotkin was the only one missing and his absence was a heavy load on Ilusha’s heart. Perhaps the bitterest of all his bitter memories was his stabbing Krassotkin, who had been his one friend and protector. Clever little Smurov, who was the first to make it up with Ilusha, thought it was so. But when Smurov hinted to Krassotkin that Alyosha wanted to come and see him about something, the latter cut him short, bidding Smurov tell “Karamazov” at once that he knew best what to do, that he wanted no one’s advice, and that, if he went to see Ilusha, he would choose his own time for he had “his own reasons.”

That was a fortnight before this Sunday. That was why Alyosha had not been to see him, as he had meant to. But though he waited, he sent Smurov to him twice again. Both times Krassotkin met him with a curt, impatient refusal, sending Alyosha a message not to bother him any more, that if he came himself, he, Krassotkin, would not go to Ilusha at all. Up to the very last day, Smurov did not know that Kolya meant to go to Ilusha that morning, and only the evening before, as he parted from Smurov, Kolya abruptly told him to wait at home for him next morning, for he would go with him to the Snegiryovs’, but warned him on no account to say he was coming, as he wanted to drop in casually. Smurov obeyed. Smurov’s fancy that Kolya would bring back the lost dog was based on the words Kolya had dropped that “they must be asses not to find the dog, if it was alive.” When Smurov, waiting for an opportunity, timidly hinted at his guess about the dog, Krassotkin flew into a violent rage. “I’m not such an ass as to go hunting about the town for other people’s dogs when I’ve got a dog of my own! And how can you imagine a dog could be alive after swallowing a pin? Sheepish sentimentality, that’s what it is!”

For the last fortnight Ilusha had not left his little bed under the icons in the corner. He had not been to school since the day he met Alyosha and bit his finger. He was taken ill the same day, though for a month afterwards he was sometimes able to get up and walk about the room and passage. But latterly he had become so weak that he could not move without help from his father. His father was terribly concerned about him. He even gave up drinking and was almost crazy with terror that his boy would die. And often, especially after leading him round the room on his arm and putting him back to bed, he would run to a dark corner in the passage and, leaning his head against the wall, he would break into paroxysms of violent weeping, stifling his sobs that they might not be heard by Ilusha.

Returning to the room, he would usually begin doing something to amuse and comfort his precious boy; he would tell him stories, funny anecdotes, or would mimic comic people he had happened to meet, even imitate the howls and cries of animals. But Ilusha could not bear to see his father fooling and playing the buffoon. Though the boy tried not to show how he disliked it, he saw with an aching heart that his father was an object of contempt, and he was continually haunted by the memory of the “wisp of tow” and that “terrible day.”

Nina, Ilusha’s gentle, crippled sister, did not like her father’s buffoonery either (Varvara had been gone for some time past to Petersburg to study at the university). But the half-imbecile mother was greatly diverted and laughed heartily when her husband began capering about or performing something. It was the only way she could be amused; all the rest of the time she was grumbling and complaining that now everyone had forgotten her, that no one treated her with respect, that she was slighted, and so on. But during the last few days she had completely changed. She began looking constantly at Ilusha’s bed in the corner and seemed lost in thought. She was more silent, quieter, and, if she cried, she cried quietly so as not to be heard. The captain noticed the change in her with mournful perplexity. The boys’ visits at first only angered her, but later on their merry shouts and stories began to divert her, and at last she liked them so much that, if the boys had given up coming, she would have felt dreary without them. When the children told some story or played a game, she laughed and clapped her hands. She called some of them to her and kissed them. She was particularly fond of Smurov.

As for the captain, the presence in his room of the children, who came to cheer up Ilusha, filled his heart from the first with ecstatic joy. He even hoped that Ilusha would now get over his depression, and that that would hasten his recovery. In spite of his alarm about Ilusha, he had not, till lately, felt one minute’s doubt of his boy’s ultimate recovery.

He met his little visitors with homage, waited upon them hand and foot; he was ready to be their horse and even began letting them ride on his back, but Ilusha did not like the game and it was given up. He began buying little things for them, gingerbread and nuts, gave them tea and cut them sandwiches. It must be noted that all this time he had plenty of money. He had taken the two hundred roubles from Katerina Ivanovna just as Alyosha had predicted he would. And afterwards Katerina Ivanovna, learning more about their circumstances and Ilusha’s illness, visited them herself, made the acquaintance of the family, and succeeded in fascinating the half-imbecile mother. Since then she had been lavish in helping them, and the captain, terror-stricken at the thought that his boy might be dying, forgot his pride and humbly accepted her assistance.

All this time Doctor Herzenstube, who was called in by Katerina Ivanovna, came punctually every other day, but little was gained by his visits and he dosed the invalid mercilessly. But on that Sunday morning a new doctor was expected, who had come from Moscow, where he had a great reputation. Katerina Ivanovna had sent for him from Moscow at great expense, not expressly for Ilusha, but for another object of which more will be said in its place hereafter. But, as he had come, she had asked him to see Ilusha as well, and the captain had been told to expect him. He hadn’t the slightest idea that Kolya Krassotkin was coming, though he had long wished for a visit from the boy for whom Ilusha was fretting.

At the moment when Krassotkin opened the door and came into the room, the captain and all the boys were round Ilusha’s bed, looking at a tiny mastiff pup, which had only been born the day before, though the captain had bespoken it a week ago to comfort and amuse Ilusha, who was still fretting over the lost and probably dead Zhutchka. Ilusha, who had heard three days before that he was to be presented with a puppy, not an ordinary puppy, but a pedigree mastiff (a very important point, of course), tried from delicacy of feeling to pretend that he was pleased. But his father and the boys could not help seeing that the puppy only served to recall to his little heart the thought of the unhappy dog he had killed. The puppy lay beside him feebly moving and he, smiling sadly, stroked it with his thin, pale, wasted hand. Clearly he liked the puppy, but⁠ ⁠… it wasn’t Zhutchka; if he could have had Zhutchka and the puppy, too, then he would have been completely happy.

“Krassotkin!” cried one of the boys suddenly. He was the first to see him come in.

Krassotkin’s entrance made a general sensation; the boys moved away and stood on each side of the bed, so that he could get a full view of Ilusha. The captain ran eagerly to meet Kolya.

“Please come in⁠ ⁠… you are welcome!” he said hurriedly. “Ilusha, Mr. Krassotkin has come to see you!”

But Krassotkin, shaking hands with him hurriedly, instantly showed his complete knowledge of the manners of good society. He turned first to the captain’s wife sitting in her armchair, who was very ill-humored at the moment, and was grumbling that the boys stood between her and Ilusha’s bed and did not let her see the new puppy. With the greatest courtesy he made her a bow, scraping his foot, and turning to Nina, he made her, as the only other lady present, a similar bow. This polite behavior made an extremely favorable impression on the deranged lady.

“There, you can see at once he is a young man that has been well brought up,” she commented aloud, throwing up her hands; “but as for our other visitors they come in one on the top of another.”

“How do you mean, mamma, one on the top of another, how is that?” muttered the captain affectionately, though a little anxious on her account.

“That’s how they ride in. They get on each other’s shoulders in the passage and prance in like that on a respectable family. Strange sort of visitors!”

“But who’s come in like that, mamma?”

“Why, that boy came in riding on that one’s back and this one on that one’s.”

Kolya was already by Ilusha’s bedside. The sick boy turned visibly paler. He raised himself in the bed and looked intently at Kolya. Kolya had not seen his little friend for two months, and he was overwhelmed at the sight of him. He had never imagined that he would see such a wasted, yellow face, such enormous, feverishly glowing eyes and such thin little hands. He saw, with grieved surprise, Ilusha’s rapid, hard breathing and dry lips. He stepped close to him, held out his hand, and almost overwhelmed, he said:

“Well, old man⁠ ⁠… how are you?” But his voice failed him, he couldn’t achieve an appearance of ease; his face suddenly twitched and the corners of his mouth quivered. Ilusha smiled a pitiful little smile, still unable to utter a word. Something moved Kolya to raise his hand and pass it over Ilusha’s hair.

“Never mind!” he murmured softly to him to cheer him up, or perhaps not knowing why he said it. For a minute they were silent again.

“Hallo, so you’ve got a new puppy?” Kolya said suddenly, in a most callous voice.

“Ye⁠—es,” answered Ilusha in a long whisper, gasping for breath.

“A black nose, that means he’ll be fierce, a good house-dog,” Kolya observed gravely and stolidly, as if the only thing he cared about was the puppy and its black nose. But in reality he still had to do his utmost to control his feelings not to burst out crying like a child, and do what he would he could not control it. “When it grows up, you’ll have to keep it on the chain, I’m sure.”

“He’ll be a huge dog!” cried one of the boys.

“Of course he will,” “a mastiff,” “large,” “like this,” “as big as a calf,” shouted several voices.

“As big as a calf, as a real calf,” chimed in the captain. “I got one like that on purpose, one of the fiercest breed, and his parents are huge and very fierce, they stand as high as this from the floor.⁠ ⁠… Sit down here, on Ilusha’s bed, or here on the bench. You are welcome, we’ve been hoping to see you a long time.⁠ ⁠… You were so kind as to come with Alexey Fyodorovitch?”

Krassotkin sat on the edge of the bed, at Ilusha’s feet. Though he had perhaps prepared a free-and-easy opening for the conversation on his way, now he completely lost the thread of it.

“No⁠ ⁠… I came with Perezvon. I’ve got a dog now, called Perezvon. A Slavonic name. He’s out there⁠ ⁠… if I whistle, he’ll run in. I’ve brought a dog, too,” he said, addressing Ilusha all at once. “Do you remember Zhutchka, old man?” he suddenly fired the question at him.

Ilusha’s little face quivered. He looked with an agonized expression at Kolya. Alyosha, standing at the door, frowned and signed to Kolya not to speak of Zhutchka, but he did not or would not notice.

“Where⁠ ⁠… is Zhutchka?” Ilusha asked in a broken voice.

“Oh, well, my boy, your Zhutchka’s lost and done for!”

Ilusha did not speak, but he fixed an intent gaze once more on Kolya. Alyosha, catching Kolya’s eye, signed to him vigorously again, but he turned away his eyes pretending not to have noticed.

“It must have run away and died somewhere. It must have died after a meal like that,” Kolya pronounced pitilessly, though he seemed a little breathless. “But I’ve got a dog, Perezvon⁠ ⁠… A Slavonic name.⁠ ⁠… I’ve brought him to show you.”

“I don’t want him!” said Ilusha suddenly.

“No, no, you really must see him⁠ ⁠… it will amuse you. I brought him on purpose.⁠ ⁠… He’s the same sort of shaggy dog.⁠ ⁠… You allow me to call in my dog, madam?” He suddenly addressed Madame Snegiryov, with inexplicable excitement in his manner.

“I don’t want him, I don’t want him!” cried Ilusha, with a mournful break in his voice. There was a reproachful light in his eyes.

“You’d better,” the captain started up from the chest by the wall on which he had just sat down, “you’d better⁠ ⁠… another time,” he muttered, but Kolya could not be restrained. He hurriedly shouted to Smurov, “Open the door,” and as soon as it was open, he blew his whistle. Perezvon dashed headlong into the room.

“Jump, Perezvon, beg! Beg!” shouted Kolya, jumping up, and the dog stood erect on its hind-legs by Ilusha’s bedside. What followed was a surprise to everyone: Ilusha started, lurched violently forward, bent over Perezvon and gazed at him, faint with suspense.

“It’s⁠ ⁠… Zhutchka!” he cried suddenly, in a voice breaking with joy and suffering.

“And who did you think it was?” Krassotkin shouted with all his might, in a ringing, happy voice, and bending down he seized the dog and lifted him up to Ilusha.

“Look, old man, you see, blind of one eye and the left ear is torn, just the marks you described to me. It was by that I found him. I found him directly. He did not belong to anyone!” he explained, turning quickly to the captain, to his wife, to Alyosha and then again to Ilusha. “He used to live in the Fedotovs’ backyard. Though he made his home there, they did not feed him. He was a stray dog that had run away from the village⁠ ⁠… I found him.⁠ ⁠… You see, old man, he couldn’t have swallowed what you gave him. If he had, he must have died, he must have! So he must have spat it out, since he is alive. You did not see him do it. But the pin pricked his tongue, that is why he squealed. He ran away squealing and you thought he’d swallowed it. He might well squeal, because the skin of dogs’ mouths is so tender⁠ ⁠… tenderer than in men, much tenderer!” Kolya cried impetuously, his face glowing and radiant with delight. Ilusha could not speak. White as a sheet, he gazed open-mouthed at Kolya, with his great eyes almost starting out of his head. And if Krassotkin, who had no suspicion of it, had known what a disastrous and fatal effect such a moment might have on the sick child’s health, nothing would have induced him to play such a trick on him. But Alyosha was perhaps the only person in the room who realized it. As for the captain he behaved like a small child.

“Zhutchka! It’s Zhutchka!” he cried in a blissful voice, “Ilusha, this is Zhutchka, your Zhutchka! Mamma, this is Zhutchka!” He was almost weeping.

“And I never guessed!” cried Smurov regretfully. “Bravo, Krassotkin! I said he’d find the dog and here he’s found him.”

“Here he’s found him!” another boy repeated gleefully.

“Krassotkin’s a brick!” cried a third voice.

“He’s a brick, he’s a brick!” cried the other boys, and they began clapping.

“Wait, wait,” Krassotkin did his utmost to shout above them all. “I’ll tell you how it happened, that’s the whole point. I found him, I took him home and hid him at once. I kept him locked up at home and did not show him to anyone till today. Only Smurov has known for the last fortnight, but I assured him this dog was called Perezvon and he did not guess. And meanwhile I taught the dog all sorts of tricks. You should only see all the things he can do! I trained him so as to bring you a well-trained dog, in good condition, old man, so as to be able to say to you, ‘See, old man, what a fine dog your Zhutchka is now!’ Haven’t you a bit of meat? He’ll show you a trick that will make you die with laughing. A piece of meat, haven’t you got any?”

The captain ran across the passage to the landlady, where their cooking was done. Not to lose precious time, Kolya, in desperate haste, shouted to Perezvon, “Dead!” And the dog immediately turned round and lay on his back with its four paws in the air. The boys laughed. Ilusha looked on with the same suffering smile, but the person most delighted with the dog’s performance was “mamma.” She laughed at the dog and began snapping her fingers and calling it, “Perezvon, Perezvon!”

“Nothing will make him get up, nothing!” Kolya cried triumphantly, proud of his success. “He won’t move for all the shouting in the world, but if I call to him, he’ll jump up in a minute. Ici, Perezvon!” The dog leapt up and bounded about, whining with delight. The captain ran back with a piece of cooked beef.

“Is it hot?” Kolya inquired hurriedly, with a businesslike air, taking the meat. “Dogs don’t like hot things. No, it’s all right. Look, everybody, look, Ilusha, look, old man; why aren’t you looking? He does not look at him, now I’ve brought him.”

The new trick consisted in making the dog stand motionless with his nose out and putting a tempting morsel of meat just on his nose. The luckless dog had to stand without moving, with the meat on his nose, as long as his master chose to keep him, without a movement, perhaps for half an hour. But he kept Perezvon only for a brief moment.

“Paid for!” cried Kolya, and the meat passed in a flash from the dog’s nose to his mouth. The audience, of course, expressed enthusiasm and surprise.

“Can you really have put off coming all this time simply to train the dog?” exclaimed Alyosha, with an involuntary note of reproach in his voice.

“Simply for that!” answered Kolya, with perfect simplicity. “I wanted to show him in all his glory.”

“Perezvon! Perezvon,” called Ilusha suddenly, snapping his thin fingers and beckoning to the dog.

“What is it? Let him jump up on the bed! Ici, Perezvon!” Kolya slapped the bed and Perezvon darted up by Ilusha. The boy threw both arms round his head and Perezvon instantly licked his cheek. Ilusha crept close to him, stretched himself out in bed and hid his face in the dog’s shaggy coat.

“Dear, dear!” kept exclaiming the captain. Kolya sat down again on the edge of the bed.

“Ilusha, I can show you another trick. I’ve brought you a little cannon. You remember, I told you about it before and you said how much you’d like to see it. Well, here, I’ve brought it to you.”

And Kolya hurriedly pulled out of his satchel the little bronze cannon. He hurried, because he was happy himself. Another time he would have waited till the sensation made by Perezvon had passed off, now he hurried on regardless of all consideration. “You are all happy now,” he felt, “so here’s something to make you happier!” He was perfectly enchanted himself.

“I’ve been coveting this thing for a long while; it’s for you, old man, it’s for you. It belonged to Morozov, it was no use to him, he had it from his brother. I swapped a book from father’s bookcase for it, A Kinsman of Muhammad or Salutary Folly, a scandalous book published in Moscow a hundred years ago, before they had any censorship. And Morozov has a taste for such things. He was grateful to me, too.⁠ ⁠…”

Kolya held the cannon in his hand so that all could see and admire it. Ilusha raised himself, and, with his right arm still round the dog, he gazed enchanted at the toy. The sensation was even greater when Kolya announced that he had gunpowder too, and that it could be fired off at once “if it won’t alarm the ladies.” “Mamma” immediately asked to look at the toy closer and her request was granted. She was much pleased with the little bronze cannon on wheels and began rolling it to and fro on her lap. She readily gave permission for the cannon to be fired, without any idea of what she had been asked. Kolya showed the powder and the shot. The captain, as a military man, undertook to load it, putting in a minute quantity of powder. He asked that the shot might be put off till another time. The cannon was put on the floor, aiming towards an empty part of the room, three grains of powder were thrust into the touch-hole and a match was put to it. A magnificent explosion followed. Mamma was startled, but at once laughed with delight. The boys gazed in speechless triumph. But the captain, looking at Ilusha, was more enchanted than any of them. Kolya picked up the cannon and immediately presented it to Ilusha, together with the powder and the shot.

“I got it for you, for you! I’ve been keeping it for you a long time,” he repeated once more in his delight.

“Oh, give it to me! No, give me the cannon!” mamma began begging like a little child. Her face showed a piteous fear that she would not get it. Kolya was disconcerted. The captain fidgeted uneasily.

“Mamma, mamma,” he ran to her, “the cannon’s yours, of course, but let Ilusha have it, because it’s a present to him, but it’s just as good as yours. Ilusha will always let you play with it; it shall belong to both of you, both of you.”

“No, I don’t want it to belong to both of us, I want it to be mine altogether, not Ilusha’s,” persisted mamma, on the point of tears.

“Take it, mother, here, keep it!” Ilusha cried. “Krassotkin, may I give it to my mother?” he turned to Krassotkin with an imploring face, as though he were afraid he might be offended at his giving his present to someone else.

“Of course you may,” Krassotkin assented heartily, and, taking the cannon from Ilusha, he handed it himself to mamma with a polite bow. She was so touched that she cried.

“Ilusha, darling, he’s the one who loves his mamma!” she said tenderly, and at once began wheeling the cannon to and fro on her lap again.

“Mamma, let me kiss your hand.” The captain darted up to her at once and did so.

“And I never saw such a charming fellow as this nice boy,” said the grateful lady, pointing to Krassotkin.

“And I’ll bring you as much powder as you like, Ilusha. We make the powder ourselves now. Borovikov found out how it’s made⁠—twenty-four parts of saltpeter, ten of sulphur and six of birchwood charcoal. It’s all pounded together, mixed into a paste with water and rubbed through a tammy sieve⁠—that’s how it’s done.”

“Smurov told me about your powder, only father says it’s not real gunpowder,” responded Ilusha.

“Not real?” Kolya flushed. “It burns. I don’t know, of course.”

“No, I didn’t mean that,” put in the captain with a guilty face. “I only said that real powder is not made like that, but that’s nothing, it can be made so.”

“I don’t know, you know best. We lighted some in a pomatum pot, it burned splendidly, it all burnt away leaving only a tiny ash. But that was only the paste, and if you rub it through⁠ ⁠… but of course you know best, I don’t know.⁠ ⁠… And Bulkin’s father thrashed him on account of our powder, did you hear?” he turned to Ilusha.

“Yes,” answered Ilusha. He listened to Kolya with immense interest and enjoyment.

“We had prepared a whole bottle of it and he used to keep it under his bed. His father saw it. He said it might explode, and thrashed him on the spot. He was going to make a complaint against me to the masters. He is not allowed to go about with me now, no one is allowed to go about with me now. Smurov is not allowed to either, I’ve got a bad name with everyone. They say I’m a ‘desperate character,’ ” Kolya smiled scornfully. “It all began from what happened on the railway.”

“Ah, we’ve heard of that exploit of yours, too,” cried the captain. “How could you lie still on the line? Is it possible you weren’t the least afraid, lying there under the train? Weren’t you frightened?”

The captain was abject in his flattery of Kolya.

“N⁠—not particularly,” answered Kolya carelessly. “What’s blasted my reputation more than anything here was that cursed goose,” he said, turning again to Ilusha. But though he assumed an unconcerned air as he talked, he still could not control himself and was continually missing the note he tried to keep up.

“Ah! I heard about the goose!” Ilusha laughed, beaming all over. “They told me, but I didn’t understand. Did they really take you to the court?”

“The most stupid, trivial affair, they made a mountain of a molehill as they always do,” Kolya began carelessly. “I was walking through the marketplace here one day, just when they’d driven in the geese. I stopped and looked at them. All at once a fellow, who is an errand-boy at Plotnikov’s now, looked at me and said, ‘What are you looking at the geese for?’ I looked at him; he was a stupid, moon-faced fellow of twenty. I am always on the side of the peasantry, you know. I like talking to the peasants.⁠ ⁠… We’ve dropped behind the peasants⁠—that’s an axiom. I believe you are laughing, Karamazov?”

“No, Heaven forbid, I am listening,” said Alyosha with a most good-natured air, and the sensitive Kolya was immediately reassured.

“My theory, Karamazov, is clear and simple,” he hurried on again, looking pleased. “I believe in the people and am always glad to give them their due, but I am not for spoiling them, that is a sine qua non⁠ ⁠… But I was telling you about the goose. So I turned to the fool and answered, ‘I am wondering what the goose thinks about.’ He looked at me quite stupidly, ‘And what does the goose think about?’ he asked. ‘Do you see that cart full of oats?’ I said. ‘The oats are dropping out of the sack, and the goose has put its neck right under the wheel to gobble them up⁠—do you see?’ ‘I see that quite well,’ he said. ‘Well,’ said I, ‘if that cart were to move on a little, would it break the goose’s neck or not?’ ‘It’d be sure to break it,’ and he grinned all over his face, highly delighted. ‘Come on, then,’ said I, ‘let’s try.’ ‘Let’s,’ he said. And it did not take us long to arrange: he stood at the bridle without being noticed, and I stood on one side to direct the goose. And the owner wasn’t looking, he was talking to someone, so I had nothing to do, the goose thrust its head in after the oats of itself, under the cart, just under the wheel. I winked at the lad, he tugged at the bridle, and crack. The goose’s neck was broken in half. And, as luck would have it, all the peasants saw us at that moment and they kicked up a shindy at once. ‘You did that on purpose!’ ‘No, not on purpose.’ ‘Yes, you did, on purpose!’ Well, they shouted, ‘Take him to the justice of the peace!’ They took me, too. ‘You were there, too,’ they said, ‘you helped, you’re known all over the market!’ And, for some reason, I really am known all over the market,” Kolya added conceitedly. “We all went off to the justice’s, they brought the goose, too. The fellow was crying in a great funk, simply blubbering like a woman. And the farmer kept shouting that you could kill any number of geese like that. Well, of course, there were witnesses. The justice of the peace settled it in a minute, that the farmer was to be paid a rouble for the goose, and the fellow to have the goose. And he was warned not to play such pranks again. And the fellow kept blubbering like a woman. ‘It wasn’t me,’ he said, ‘it was he egged me on,’ and he pointed to me. I answered with the utmost composure that I hadn’t egged him on, that I simply stated the general proposition, had spoken hypothetically. The justice of the peace smiled and was vexed with himself at once for having smiled. ‘I’ll complain to your masters of you, so that for the future you mayn’t waste your time on such general propositions, instead of sitting at your books and learning your lessons.’ He didn’t complain to the masters, that was a joke, but the matter was noised abroad and came to the ears of the masters. Their ears are long, you know! The classical master, Kolbasnikov, was particularly shocked about it, but Dardanelov got me off again. But Kolbasnikov is savage with everyone now like a green ass. Did you know, Ilusha, he is just married, got a dowry of a thousand roubles, and his bride’s a regular fright of the first rank and the last degree. The third-class fellows wrote an epigram on it:

Astounding news has reached the class,
Kolbasnikov has been an ass.

And so on, awfully funny, I’ll bring it to you later on. I say nothing against Dardanelov, he is a learned man, there’s no doubt about it. I respect men like that and it’s not because he stood up for me.”

“But you took him down about the founders of Troy!” Smurov put in suddenly, unmistakably proud of Krassotkin at such a moment. He was particularly pleased with the story of the goose.

“Did you really take him down?” the captain inquired, in a flattering way. “On the question who founded Troy? We heard of it, Ilusha told me about it at the time.”

“He knows everything, father, he knows more than any of us!” put in Ilusha; “he only pretends to be like that, but really he is top in every subject.⁠ ⁠…”

Ilusha looked at Kolya with infinite happiness.

“Oh, that’s all nonsense about Troy, a trivial matter. I consider this an unimportant question,” said Kolya with haughty humility. He had by now completely recovered his dignity, though he was still a little uneasy. He felt that he was greatly excited and that he had talked about the goose, for instance, with too little reserve, while Alyosha had looked serious and had not said a word all the time. And the vain boy began by degrees to have a rankling fear that Alyosha was silent because he despised him, and thought he was showing off before him. If he dared to think anything like that Kolya would⁠—

“I regard the question as quite a trivial one,” he rapped out again, proudly.

“And I know who founded Troy,” a boy, who had not spoken before, said suddenly, to the surprise of everyone. He was silent and seemed to be shy. He was a pretty boy of about eleven, called Kartashov. He was sitting near the door. Kolya looked at him with dignified amazement.

The fact was that the identity of the founders of Troy had become a secret for the whole school, a secret which could only be discovered by reading Smaragdov, and no one had Smaragdov but Kolya. One day, when Kolya’s back was turned, Kartashov hastily opened Smaragdov, which lay among Kolya’s books, and immediately lighted on the passage relating to the foundation of Troy. This was a good time ago, but he felt uneasy and could not bring himself to announce publicly that he too knew who had founded Troy, afraid of what might happen and of Krassotkin’s somehow putting him to shame over it. But now he couldn’t resist saying it. For weeks he had been longing to.

“Well, who did found it?” asked Kolya, turning to him with haughty superciliousness. He saw from his face that he really did know and at once made up his mind how to take it. There was, so to speak, a discordant note in the general harmony.

“Troy was founded by Teucer, Dardanus, Ilius and Tros,” the boy rapped out at once, and in the same instant he blushed, blushed so, that it was painful to look at him. But the boys stared at him, stared at him for a whole minute, and then all the staring eyes turned at once and were fastened upon Kolya, who was still scanning the audacious boy with disdainful composure.

“In what sense did they found it?” he deigned to comment at last. “And what is meant by founding a city or a state? What do they do? Did they go and each lay a brick, do you suppose?”

There was laughter. The offending boy turned from pink to crimson. He was silent and on the point of tears. Kolya held him so for a minute.

“Before you talk of a historical event like the foundation of a nationality, you must first understand what you mean by it,” he admonished him in stern, incisive tones. “But I attach no consequence to these old wives’ tales and I don’t think much of universal history in general,” he added carelessly, addressing the company generally.

“Universal history?” the captain inquired, looking almost scared.

“Yes, universal history! It’s the study of the successive follies of mankind and nothing more. The only subjects I respect are mathematics and natural science,” said Kolya. He was showing off and he stole a glance at Alyosha; his was the only opinion he was afraid of there. But Alyosha was still silent and still serious as before. If Alyosha had said a word it would have stopped him, but Alyosha was silent and “it might be the silence of contempt,” and that finally irritated Kolya.

“The classical languages, too⁠ ⁠… they are simply madness, nothing more. You seem to disagree with me again, Karamazov?”

“I don’t agree,” said Alyosha, with a faint smile.

“The study of the classics, if you ask my opinion, is simply a police measure, that’s simply why it has been introduced into our schools.” By degrees Kolya began to get breathless again. “Latin and Greek were introduced because they are a bore and because they stupefy the intellect. It was dull before, so what could they do to make things duller? It was senseless enough before, so what could they do to make it more senseless? So they thought of Greek and Latin. That’s my opinion, I hope I shall never change it,” Kolya finished abruptly. His cheeks were flushed.

“That’s true,” assented Smurov suddenly, in a ringing tone of conviction. He had listened attentively.

“And yet he is first in Latin himself,” cried one of the group of boys suddenly.

“Yes, father, he says that and yet he is first in Latin,” echoed Ilusha.

“What of it?” Kolya thought fit to defend himself, though the praise was very sweet to him. “I am fagging away at Latin because I have to, because I promised my mother to pass my examination, and I think that whatever you do, it’s worth doing it well. But in my soul I have a profound contempt for the classics and all that fraud.⁠ ⁠… You don’t agree, Karamazov?”

“Why ‘fraud’?” Alyosha smiled again.

“Well, all the classical authors have been translated into all languages, so it was not for the sake of studying the classics they introduced Latin, but solely as a police measure, to stupefy the intelligence. So what can one call it but a fraud?”

“Why, who taught you all this?” cried Alyosha, surprised at last.

“In the first place I am capable of thinking for myself without being taught. Besides, what I said just now about the classics being translated our teacher Kolbasnikov has said to the whole of the third class.”

“The doctor has come!” cried Nina, who had been silent till then.

A carriage belonging to Madame Hohlakov drove up to the gate. The captain, who had been expecting the doctor all the morning, rushed headlong out to meet him. “Mamma” pulled herself together and assumed a dignified air. Alyosha went up to Ilusha and began setting his pillows straight. Nina, from her invalid chair, anxiously watched him putting the bed tidy. The boys hurriedly took leave. Some of them promised to come again in the evening. Kolya called Perezvon and the dog jumped off the bed.

“I won’t go away, I won’t go away,” Kolya said hastily to Ilusha. “I’ll wait in the passage and come back when the doctor’s gone, I’ll come back with Perezvon.”

But by now the doctor had entered, an important-looking person with long, dark whiskers and a shiny, shaven chin, wearing a bearskin coat. As he crossed the threshold he stopped, taken aback; he probably fancied he had come to the wrong place. “How is this? Where am I?” he muttered, not removing his coat nor his peaked sealskin cap. The crowd, the poverty of the room, the washing hanging on a line in the corner, puzzled him. The captain, bent double, was bowing low before him.

“It’s here, sir, here, sir,” he muttered cringingly; “it’s here, you’ve come right, you were coming to us⁠ ⁠…”

“Sne-gi-ryov?” the doctor said loudly and pompously. “Mr. Snegiryov⁠—is that you?”

“That’s me, sir!”


The doctor looked round the room with a squeamish air once more and threw off his coat, displaying to all eyes the grand decoration at his neck. The captain caught the fur coat in the air, and the doctor took off his cap.

“Where is the patient?” he asked emphatically.


“What do you think the doctor will say to him?” Kolya asked quickly. “What a repulsive mug, though, hasn’t he? I can’t endure medicine!”

“Ilusha is dying. I think that’s certain,” answered Alyosha, mournfully.

“They are rogues! Medicine’s a fraud! I am glad to have made your acquaintance, though, Karamazov. I wanted to know you for a long time. I am only sorry we meet in such sad circumstances.”

Kolya had a great inclination to say something even warmer and more demonstrative, but he felt ill at ease. Alyosha noticed this, smiled, and pressed his hand.

“I’ve long learned to respect you as a rare person,” Kolya muttered again, faltering and uncertain. “I have heard you are a mystic and have been in the monastery. I know you are a mystic, but⁠ ⁠… that hasn’t put me off. Contact with real life will cure you.⁠ ⁠… It’s always so with characters like yours.”

“What do you mean by mystic? Cure me of what?” Alyosha was rather astonished.

“Oh, God and all the rest of it.”

“What, don’t you believe in God?”

“Oh, I’ve nothing against God. Of course, God is only a hypothesis, but⁠ ⁠… I admit that He is needed⁠ ⁠… for the order of the universe and all that⁠ ⁠… and that if there were no God He would have to be invented,” added Kolya, beginning to blush. He suddenly fancied that Alyosha might think he was trying to show off his knowledge and to prove that he was “grown up.” “I haven’t the slightest desire to show off my knowledge to him,” Kolya thought indignantly. And all of a sudden he felt horribly annoyed.

“I must confess I can’t endure entering on such discussions,” he said with a final air. “It’s possible for one who doesn’t believe in God to love mankind, don’t you think so? Voltaire didn’t believe in God and loved mankind?” (“I am at it again,” he thought to himself.)

“Voltaire believed in God, though not very much, I think, and I don’t think he loved mankind very much either,” said Alyosha quietly, gently, and quite naturally, as though he were talking to someone of his own age, or even older. Kolya was particularly struck by Alyosha’s apparent diffidence about his opinion of Voltaire. He seemed to be leaving the question for him, little Kolya, to settle.

“Have you read Voltaire?” Alyosha finished.

“No, not to say read.⁠ ⁠… But I’ve read Candide in the Russian translation⁠ ⁠… in an absurd, grotesque, old translation⁠ ⁠… (At it again! again!)”

“And did you understand it?”

“Oh, yes, everything.⁠ ⁠… That is⁠ ⁠… Why do you suppose I shouldn’t understand it? There’s a lot of nastiness in it, of course.⁠ ⁠… Of course I can understand that it’s a philosophical novel and written to advocate an idea.⁠ ⁠…” Kolya was getting mixed by now. “I am a Socialist, Karamazov, I am an incurable Socialist,” he announced suddenly, apropos of nothing.

“A Socialist?” laughed Alyosha. “But when have you had time to become one? Why, I thought you were only thirteen?”

Kolya winced.

“In the first place I am not thirteen, but fourteen, fourteen in a fortnight,” he flushed angrily, “and in the second place I am at a complete loss to understand what my age has to do with it? The question is what are my convictions, not what is my age, isn’t it?”

“When you are older, you’ll understand for yourself the influence of age on convictions. I fancied, too, that you were not expressing your own ideas,” Alyosha answered serenely and modestly, but Kolya interrupted him hotly:

“Come, you want obedience and mysticism. You must admit that the Christian religion, for instance, has only been of use to the rich and the powerful to keep the lower classes in slavery. That’s so, isn’t it?”

“Ah, I know where you read that, and I am sure someone told you so!” cried Alyosha.

“I say, what makes you think I read it? And certainly no one told me so. I can think for myself.⁠ ⁠… I am not opposed to Christ, if you like. He was a most humane person, and if He were alive today, He would be found in the ranks of the revolutionists, and would perhaps play a conspicuous part.⁠ ⁠… There’s no doubt about that.”

“Oh, where, where did you get that from? What fool have you made friends with?” exclaimed Alyosha.

“Come, the truth will out! It has so chanced that I have often talked to Mr. Rakitin, of course, but⁠ ⁠… old Byelinsky said that, too, so they say.”

“Byelinsky? I don’t remember. He hasn’t written that anywhere.”

“If he didn’t write it, they say he said it. I heard that from a⁠ ⁠… but never mind.”

“And have you read Byelinsky?”

“Well, no⁠ ⁠… I haven’t read all of him, but⁠ ⁠… I read the passage about Tatyana, why she didn’t go off with Onyegin.”

“Didn’t go off with Onyegin? Surely you don’t⁠ ⁠… understand that already?”

“Why, you seem to take me for little Smurov,” said Kolya, with a grin of irritation. “But please don’t suppose I am such a revolutionist. I often disagree with Mr. Rakitin. Though I mention Tatyana, I am not at all for the emancipation of women. I acknowledge that women are a subject race and must obey. Les femmes tricottent, as Napoleon said.” Kolya, for some reason, smiled, “And on that question at least I am quite of one mind with that pseudo-great man. I think, too, that to leave one’s own country and fly to America is mean, worse than mean⁠—silly. Why go to America when one may be of great service to humanity here? Now especially. There’s a perfect mass of fruitful activity open to us. That’s what I answered.”

“What do you mean? Answered whom? Has someone suggested your going to America already?”

“I must own, they’ve been at me to go, but I declined. That’s between ourselves, of course, Karamazov; do you hear, not a word to anyone. I say this only to you. I am not at all anxious to fall into the clutches of the secret police and take lessons at the Chain bridge.

Long will you remember
The house at the Chain bridge.

Do you remember? It’s splendid. Why are you laughing? You don’t suppose I am fibbing, do you?” (“What if he should find out that I’ve only that one number of The Bell in father’s bookcase, and haven’t read any more of it?” Kolya thought with a shudder.)

“Oh, no, I am not laughing and don’t suppose for a moment that you are lying. No, indeed, I can’t suppose so, for all this, alas! is perfectly true. But tell me, have you read Pushkin⁠—Onyegin, for instance?⁠ ⁠… You spoke just now of Tatyana.”

“No, I haven’t read it yet, but I want to read it. I have no prejudices, Karamazov; I want to hear both sides. What makes you ask?”

“Oh, nothing.”

“Tell me, Karamazov, have you an awful contempt for me?” Kolya rapped out suddenly and drew himself up before Alyosha, as though he were on drill. “Be so kind as to tell me, without beating about the bush.”

“I have a contempt for you?” Alyosha looked at him wondering. “What for? I am only sad that a charming nature such as yours should be perverted by all this crude nonsense before you have begun life.”

“Don’t be anxious about my nature,” Kolya interrupted, not without complacency. “But it’s true that I am stupidly sensitive, crudely sensitive. You smiled just now, and I fancied you seemed to⁠—”

“Oh, my smile meant something quite different. I’ll tell you why I smiled. Not long ago I read the criticism made by a German who had lived in Russia, on our students and schoolboys of today. ‘Show a Russian schoolboy,’ he writes, ‘a map of the stars, which he knows nothing about, and he will give you back the map next day with corrections on it.’ No knowledge and unbounded conceit⁠—that’s what the German meant to say about the Russian schoolboy.”

“Yes, that’s perfectly right,” Kolya laughed suddenly, “exactly so! Bravo the German! But he did not see the good side, what do you think? Conceit may be, that comes from youth, that will be corrected if need be, but, on the other hand, there is an independent spirit almost from childhood, boldness of thought and conviction, and not the spirit of these sausage makers, groveling before authority.⁠ ⁠… But the German was right all the same. Bravo the German! But Germans want strangling all the same. Though they are so good at science and learning they must be strangled.”

“Strangled, what for?” smiled Alyosha.

“Well, perhaps I am talking nonsense, I agree. I am awfully childish sometimes, and when I am pleased about anything I can’t restrain myself and am ready to talk any stuff. But, I say, we are chattering away here about nothing, and that doctor has been a long time in there. But perhaps he’s examining the mamma and that poor crippled Nina. I liked that Nina, you know. She whispered to me suddenly as I was coming away, ‘Why didn’t you come before?’ And in such a voice, so reproachfully! I think she is awfully nice and pathetic.”

“Yes, yes! Well, you’ll be coming often, you will see what she is like. It would do you a great deal of good to know people like that, to learn to value a great deal which you will find out from knowing these people,” Alyosha observed warmly. “That would have more effect on you than anything.”

“Oh, how I regret and blame myself for not having come sooner!” Kolya exclaimed, with bitter feeling.

“Yes, it’s a great pity. You saw for yourself how delighted the poor child was to see you. And how he fretted for you to come!”

“Don’t tell me! You make it worse! But it serves me right. What kept me from coming was my conceit, my egoistic vanity, and the beastly wilfullness, which I never can get rid of, though I’ve been struggling with it all my life. I see that now. I am a beast in lots of ways, Karamazov!”

“No, you have a charming nature, though it’s been distorted, and I quite understand why you have had such an influence on this generous, morbidly sensitive boy,” Alyosha answered warmly.

“And you say that to me!” cried Kolya; “and would you believe it, I thought⁠—I’ve thought several times since I’ve been here⁠—that you despised me! If only you knew how I prize your opinion!”

“But are you really so sensitive? At your age! Would you believe it, just now, when you were telling your story, I thought, as I watched you, that you must be very sensitive!”

“You thought so? What an eye you’ve got, I say! I bet that was when I was talking about the goose. That was just when I was fancying you had a great contempt for me for being in such a hurry to show off, and for a moment I quite hated you for it, and began talking like a fool. Then I fancied⁠—just now, here⁠—when I said that if there were no God He would have to be invented, that I was in too great a hurry to display my knowledge, especially as I got that phrase out of a book. But I swear I wasn’t showing off out of vanity, though I really don’t know why. Because I was so pleased? Yes, I believe it was because I was so pleased⁠ ⁠… though it’s perfectly disgraceful for anyone to be gushing directly they are pleased, I know that. But I am convinced now that you don’t despise me; it was all my imagination. Oh, Karamazov, I am profoundly unhappy. I sometimes fancy all sorts of things, that everyone is laughing at me, the whole world, and then I feel ready to overturn the whole order of things.”

“And you worry everyone about you,” smiled Alyosha.

“Yes, I worry everyone about me, especially my mother. Karamazov, tell me, am I very ridiculous now?”

“Don’t think about that, don’t think of it at all!” cried Alyosha. “And what does ridiculous mean? Isn’t everyone constantly being or seeming ridiculous? Besides, nearly all clever people now are fearfully afraid of being ridiculous, and that makes them unhappy. All I am surprised at is that you should be feeling that so early, though I’ve observed it for some time past, and not only in you. Nowadays the very children have begun to suffer from it. It’s almost a sort of insanity. The devil has taken the form of that vanity and entered into the whole generation; it’s simply the devil,” added Alyosha, without a trace of the smile that Kolya, staring at him, expected to see. “You are like everyone else,” said Alyosha, in conclusion, “that is, like very many others. Only you must not be like everybody else, that’s all.”

“Even if everyone is like that?”

“Yes, even if everyone is like that. You be the only one not like it. You really are not like everyone else, here you are not ashamed to confess to something bad and even ridiculous. And who will admit so much in these days? No one. And people have even ceased to feel the impulse to self-criticism. Don’t be like everyone else, even if you are the only one.”

“Splendid! I was not mistaken in you. You know how to console one. Oh, how I have longed to know you, Karamazov! I’ve long been eager for this meeting. Can you really have thought about me, too? You said just now that you thought of me, too?”

“Yes, I’d heard of you and had thought of you, too⁠ ⁠… and if it’s partly vanity that makes you ask, it doesn’t matter.”

“Do you know, Karamazov, our talk has been like a declaration of love,” said Kolya, in a bashful and melting voice. “That’s not ridiculous, is it?”

“Not at all ridiculous, and if it were, it wouldn’t matter, because it’s been a good thing.” Alyosha smiled brightly.

“But do you know, Karamazov, you must admit that you are a little ashamed yourself, now.⁠ ⁠… I see it by your eyes.” Kolya smiled with a sort of sly happiness.

“Why ashamed?”

“Well, why are you blushing?”

“It was you made me blush,” laughed Alyosha, and he really did blush. “Oh, well, I am a little, goodness knows why, I don’t know⁠ ⁠…” he muttered, almost embarrassed.

“Oh, how I love you and admire you at this moment just because you are rather ashamed! Because you are just like me,” cried Kolya, in positive ecstasy. His cheeks glowed, his eyes beamed.

“You know, Kolya, you will be very unhappy in your life,” something made Alyosha say suddenly.

“I know, I know. How you know it all beforehand!” Kolya agreed at once.

“But you will bless life on the whole, all the same.”

“Just so, hurrah! You are a prophet. Oh, we shall get on together, Karamazov! Do you know, what delights me most, is that you treat me quite like an equal. But we are not equals, no, we are not, you are better! But we shall get on. Do you know, all this last month, I’ve been saying to myself, ‘Either we shall be friends at once, forever, or we shall part enemies to the grave!’ ”

“And saying that, of course, you loved me,” Alyosha laughed gayly.

“I did. I loved you awfully. I’ve been loving and dreaming of you. And how do you know it all beforehand? Ah, here’s the doctor. Goodness! What will he tell us? Look at his face!”


The doctor came out of the room again, muffled in his fur coat and with his cap on his head. His face looked almost angry and disgusted, as though he were afraid of getting dirty. He cast a cursory glance round the passage, looking sternly at Alyosha and Kolya as he did so. Alyosha waved from the door to the coachman, and the carriage that had brought the doctor drove up. The captain darted out after the doctor, and, bowing apologetically, stopped him to get the last word. The poor fellow looked utterly crushed; there was a scared look in his eyes.

“Your Excellency, your Excellency⁠ ⁠… is it possible?” he began, but could not go on and clasped his hands in despair. Yet he still gazed imploringly at the doctor, as though a word from him might still change the poor boy’s fate.

“I can’t help it, I am not God!” the doctor answered offhand, though with the customary impressiveness.

“Doctor⁠ ⁠… your Excellency⁠ ⁠… and will it be soon, soon?”

“You must be prepared for anything,” said the doctor in emphatic and incisive tones, and dropping his eyes, he was about to step out to the coach.

“Your Excellency, for Christ’s sake!” the terror-stricken captain stopped him again. “Your Excellency! but can nothing, absolutely nothing save him now?”

“It’s not in my hands now,” said the doctor impatiently, “but h’m!⁠ ⁠…” he stopped suddenly. “If you could, for instance⁠ ⁠… send⁠ ⁠… your patient⁠ ⁠… at once, without delay” (the words “at once, without delay,” the doctor uttered with an almost wrathful sternness that made the captain start) “to Syracuse, the change to the new be-ne-ficial climatic conditions might possibly effect⁠—”

“To Syracuse!” cried the captain, unable to grasp what was said.

“Syracuse is in Sicily,” Kolya jerked out suddenly in explanation. The doctor looked at him.

“Sicily! your Excellency,” faltered the captain, “but you’ve seen”⁠—he spread out his hands, indicating his surroundings⁠—“mamma and my family?”

“N⁠—no, Sicily is not the place for the family, the family should go to Caucasus in the early spring⁠ ⁠… your daughter must go to the Caucasus, and your wife⁠ ⁠… after a course of the waters in the Caucasus for her rheumatism⁠ ⁠… must be sent straight to Paris to the mental specialist Lepelletier; I could give you a note to him, and then⁠ ⁠… there might be a change⁠—”

“Doctor, doctor! But you see!” The captain flung wide his hands again despairingly, indicating the bare wooden walls of the passage.

“Well, that’s not my business,” grinned the doctor. “I have only told you the answer of medical science to your question as to possible treatment. As for the rest, to my regret⁠—”

“Don’t be afraid, apothecary, my dog won’t bite you,” Kolya rapped out loudly, noticing the doctor’s rather uneasy glance at Perezvon, who was standing in the doorway. There was a wrathful note in Kolya’s voice. He used the word apothecary instead of doctor on purpose, and, as he explained afterwards, used it “to insult him.”

“What’s that?” The doctor flung up his head, staring with surprise at Kolya. “Who’s this?” he addressed Alyosha, as though asking him to explain.

“It’s Perezvon’s master, don’t worry about me,” Kolya said incisively again.

“Perezvon?” [7] repeated the doctor, perplexed.

“He hears the bell, but where it is he cannot tell. Goodbye, we shall meet in Syracuse.”

“Who’s this? Who’s this?” The doctor flew into a terrible rage.

“He is a schoolboy, doctor, he is a mischievous boy; take no notice of him,” said Alyosha, frowning and speaking quickly. “Kolya, hold your tongue!” he cried to Krassotkin. “Take no notice of him, doctor,” he repeated, rather impatiently.

“He wants a thrashing, a good thrashing!” The doctor stamped in a perfect fury.

“And you know, apothecary, my Perezvon might bite!” said Kolya, turning pale, with quivering voice and flashing eyes. “Ici, Perezvon!”

“Kolya, if you say another word, I’ll have nothing more to do with you,” Alyosha cried peremptorily.

“There is only one man in the world who can command Nikolay Krassotkin⁠—this is the man”; Kolya pointed to Alyosha. “I obey him, goodbye!”

He stepped forward, opened the door, and quickly went into the inner room. Perezvon flew after him. The doctor stood still for five seconds in amazement, looking at Alyosha; then, with a curse, he went out quickly to the carriage, repeating aloud, “This is⁠ ⁠… this is⁠ ⁠… I don’t know what it is!” The captain darted forward to help him into the carriage. Alyosha followed Kolya into the room. He was already by Ilusha’s bedside. The sick boy was holding his hand and calling for his father. A minute later the captain, too, came back.

“Father, father, come⁠ ⁠… we⁠ ⁠…” Ilusha faltered in violent excitement, but apparently unable to go on, he flung his wasted arms round his father and Kolya, uniting them in one embrace, and hugging them as tightly as he could. The captain suddenly began to shake with dumb sobs, and Kolya’s lips and chin twitched.

“Father, father! How sorry I am for you!” Ilusha moaned bitterly.

“Ilusha⁠ ⁠… darling⁠ ⁠… the doctor said⁠ ⁠… you would be all right⁠ ⁠… we shall be happy⁠ ⁠… the doctor⁠ ⁠…” the captain began.

“Ah, father! I know what the new doctor said to you about me.⁠ ⁠… I saw!” cried Ilusha, and again he hugged them both with all his strength, hiding his face on his father’s shoulder.

“Father, don’t cry, and when I die get a good boy, another one⁠ ⁠… choose one of them all, a good one, call him Ilusha and love him instead of me.⁠ ⁠…”

“Hush, old man, you’ll get well,” Krassotkin cried suddenly, in a voice that sounded angry.

“But don’t ever forget me, father,” Ilusha went on, “come to my grave⁠ ⁠… and, father, bury me by our big stone, where we used to go for our walk, and come to me there with Krassotkin in the evening⁠ ⁠… and Perezvon⁠ ⁠… I shall expect you.⁠ ⁠… Father, father!”

His voice broke. They were all three silent, still embracing. Nina was crying quietly in her chair, and at last seeing them all crying, “mamma,” too, burst into tears.

“Ilusha! Ilusha!” she exclaimed.

Krassotkin suddenly released himself from Ilusha’s embrace.

“Goodbye, old man, mother expects me back to dinner,” he said quickly. “What a pity I did not tell her! She will be dreadfully anxious.⁠ ⁠… But after dinner I’ll come back to you for the whole day, for the whole evening, and I’ll tell you all sorts of things, all sorts of things. And I’ll bring Perezvon, but now I will take him with me, because he will begin to howl when I am away and bother you. Goodbye!”

And he ran out into the passage. He didn’t want to cry, but in the passage he burst into tears. Alyosha found him crying.

“Kolya, you must be sure to keep your word and come, or he will be terribly disappointed,” Alyosha said emphatically.

“I will! Oh, how I curse myself for not having come before!” muttered Kolya, crying, and no longer ashamed of it.

At that moment the captain flew out of the room, and at once closed the door behind him. His face looked frenzied, his lips were trembling. He stood before the two and flung up his arms.

“I don’t want a good boy! I don’t want another boy!” he muttered in a wild whisper, clenching his teeth. “If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my tongue⁠—” He broke off with a sob and sank on his knees before the wooden bench. Pressing his fists against his head, he began sobbing with absurd whimpering cries, doing his utmost that his cries should not be heard in the room.

Kolya ran out into the street.

“Goodbye, Karamazov? Will you come yourself?” he cried sharply and angrily to Alyosha.

“I will certainly come in the evening.”

“What was that he said about Jerusalem?⁠ ⁠… What did he mean by that?”

“It’s from the Bible. ‘If I forget thee, Jerusalem,’ that is, if I forget all that is most precious to me, if I let anything take its place, then may⁠—”

“I understand, that’s enough! Mind you come! Ici, Perezvon!” he cried with positive ferocity to the dog, and with rapid strides he went home.

Book XI



At Grushenka’s
Alyosha went towards the cathedral square to the widow Morozov’s house to see Grushenka, who had sent Fenya to him early in the morning with an urgent message begging him to come. Questioning Fenya, Alyosha learned that her mistress had been particularly distressed since the previous day. During the two months that had passed since Mitya’s arrest, Alyosha had called frequently at the widow Morozov’s house, both from his own inclination and to take messages for Mitya. Three days after Mitya’s arrest, Grushenka was taken very ill and was ill for nearly five weeks. For one whole week she was unconscious. She was very much changed⁠—thinner and a little sallow, though she had for the past fortnight been well enough to go out. But to Alyosha her face was even more attractive than before, and he liked to meet her eyes when he went in to her. A look of firmness and intelligent purpose had developed in her face. There were signs of a spiritual transformation in her, and a steadfast, fine and humble determination that nothing could shake could be discerned in her. There was a small vertical line between her brows which gave her charming face a look of concentrated thought, almost austere at the first glance. There was scarcely a trace of her former frivolity.

It seemed strange to Alyosha, too, that in spite of the calamity that had overtaken the poor girl, betrothed to a man who had been arrested for a terrible crime, almost at the instant of their betrothal, in spite of her illness and the almost inevitable sentence hanging over Mitya, Grushenka had not yet lost her youthful cheerfulness. There was a soft light in the once proud eyes, though at times they gleamed with the old vindictive fire when she was visited by one disturbing thought stronger than ever in her heart. The object of that uneasiness was the same as ever⁠—Katerina Ivanovna, of whom Grushenka had even raved when she lay in delirium. Alyosha knew that she was fearfully jealous of her. Yet Katerina Ivanovna had not once visited Mitya in his prison, though she might have done it whenever she liked. All this made a difficult problem for Alyosha, for he was the only person to whom Grushenka opened her heart and from whom she was continually asking advice. Sometimes he was unable to say anything.

Full of anxiety he entered her lodging. She was at home. She had returned from seeing Mitya half an hour before, and from the rapid movement with which she leapt up from her chair to meet him he saw that she had been expecting him with great impatience. A pack of cards dealt for a game of “fools” lay on the table. A bed had been made up on the leather sofa on the other side and Maximov lay, half-reclining, on it. He wore a dressing-gown and a cotton nightcap, and was evidently ill and weak, though he was smiling blissfully. When the homeless old man returned with Grushenka from Mokroe two months before, he had simply stayed on and was still staying with her. He arrived with her in rain and sleet, sat down on the sofa, drenched and scared, and gazed mutely at her with a timid, appealing smile. Grushenka, who was in terrible grief and in the first stage of fever, almost forgot his existence in all she had to do the first half-hour after her arrival. Suddenly she chanced to look at him intently: he laughed a pitiful, helpless little laugh. She called Fenya and told her to give him something to eat. All that day he sat in the same place, almost without stirring. When it got dark and the shutters were closed, Fenya asked her mistress:

“Is the gentleman going to stay the night, mistress?”

“Yes; make him a bed on the sofa,” answered Grushenka.

Questioning him more in detail, Grushenka learned from him that he had literally nowhere to go, and that “Mr. Kalganov, my benefactor, told me straight that he wouldn’t receive me again and gave me five roubles.”

“Well, God bless you, you’d better stay, then,” Grushenka decided in her grief, smiling compassionately at him. Her smile wrung the old man’s heart and his lips twitched with grateful tears. And so the destitute wanderer had stayed with her ever since. He did not leave the house even when she was ill. Fenya and her grandmother, the cook, did not turn him out, but went on serving him meals and making up his bed on the sofa. Grushenka had grown used to him, and coming back from seeing Mitya (whom she had begun to visit in prison before she was really well) she would sit down and begin talking to “Maximushka” about trifling matters, to keep her from thinking of her sorrow. The old man turned out to be a good storyteller on occasions, so that at last he became necessary to her. Grushenka saw scarcely anyone else beside Alyosha, who did not come every day and never stayed long. Her old merchant lay seriously ill at this time, “at his last gasp” as they said in the town, and he did, in fact, die a week after Mitya’s trial. Three weeks before his death, feeling the end approaching, he made his sons, their wives and children, come upstairs to him at last and bade them not leave him again. From that moment he gave strict orders to his servants not to admit Grushenka and to tell her if she came, “The master wishes you long life and happiness and tells you to forget him.” But Grushenka sent almost every day to inquire after him.

“You’ve come at last!” she cried, flinging down the cards and joyfully greeting Alyosha, “and Maximushka’s been scaring me that perhaps you wouldn’t come. Ah, how I need you! Sit down to the table. What will you have⁠—coffee?”

“Yes, please,” said Alyosha, sitting down at the table. “I am very hungry.”

“That’s right. Fenya, Fenya, coffee,” cried Grushenka. “It’s been made a long time ready for you. And bring some little pies, and mind they are hot. Do you know, we’ve had a storm over those pies today. I took them to the prison for him, and would you believe it, he threw them back to me: he would not eat them. He flung one of them on the floor and stamped on it. So I said to him: ‘I shall leave them with the warder; if you don’t eat them before evening, it will be that your venomous spite is enough for you!’ With that I went away. We quarreled again, would you believe it? Whenever I go we quarrel.”

Grushenka said all this in one breath in her agitation. Maximov, feeling nervous, at once smiled and looked on the floor.

“What did you quarrel about this time?” asked Alyosha.

“I didn’t expect it in the least. Only fancy, he is jealous of the Pole. ‘Why are you keeping him?’ he said. ‘So you’ve begun keeping him.’ He is jealous, jealous of me all the time, jealous eating and sleeping! He even took it into his head to be jealous of Kuzma last week.”

“But he knew about the Pole before?”

“Yes, but there it is. He has known about him from the very beginning, but today he suddenly got up and began scolding about him. I am ashamed to repeat what he said. Silly fellow! Rakitin went in as I came out. Perhaps Rakitin is egging him on. What do you think?” she added carelessly.

“He loves you, that’s what it is: he loves you so much. And now he is particularly worried.”

“I should think he might be, with the trial tomorrow. And I went to him to say something about tomorrow, for I dread to think what’s going to happen then. You say that he is worried, but how worried I am! And he talks about the Pole! He’s too silly! He is not jealous of Maximushka yet, anyway.”

“My wife was dreadfully jealous over me, too,” Maximov put in his word.

“Jealous of you?” Grushenka laughed in spite of herself. “Of whom could she have been jealous?”

“Of the servant girls.”

“Hold your tongue, Maximushka, I am in no laughing mood now; I feel angry. Don’t ogle the pies. I shan’t give you any; they are not good for you, and I won’t give you any vodka either. I have to look after him, too, just as though I kept an almshouse,” she laughed.

“I don’t deserve your kindness. I am a worthless creature,” said Maximov, with tears in his voice. “You would do better to spend your kindness on people of more use than me.”

“Ech, everyone is of use, Maximushka, and how can we tell who’s of most use? If only that Pole didn’t exist, Alyosha. He’s taken it into his head to fall ill, too, today. I’ve been to see him also. And I shall send him some pies, too, on purpose. I hadn’t sent him any, but Mitya accused me of it, so now I shall send some! Ah, here’s Fenya with a letter! Yes, it’s from the Poles⁠—begging again!”

Pan Mussyalovitch had indeed sent an extremely long and characteristically eloquent letter in which he begged her to lend him three roubles. In the letter was enclosed a receipt for the sum, with a promise to repay it within three months, signed by Pan Vrublevsky as well. Grushenka had received many such letters, accompanied by such receipts, from her former lover during the fortnight of her convalescence. But she knew that the two Poles had been to ask after her health during her illness. The first letter Grushenka got from them was a long one, written on large notepaper and with a big family crest on the seal. It was so obscure and rhetorical that Grushenka put it down before she had read half, unable to make head or tail of it. She could not attend to letters then. The first letter was followed next day by another in which Pan Mussyalovitch begged her for a loan of two thousand roubles for a very short period. Grushenka left that letter, too, unanswered. A whole series of letters had followed⁠—one every day⁠—all as pompous and rhetorical, but the loan asked for, gradually diminishing, dropped to a hundred roubles, then to twenty-five, to ten, and finally Grushenka received a letter in which both the Poles begged her for only one rouble and included a receipt signed by both.

Then Grushenka suddenly felt sorry for them, and at dusk she went round herself to their lodging. She found the two Poles in great poverty, almost destitution, without food or fuel, without cigarettes, in debt to their landlady. The two hundred roubles they had carried off from Mitya at Mokroe had soon disappeared. But Grushenka was surprised at their meeting her with arrogant dignity and self-assertion, with the greatest punctilio and pompous speeches. Grushenka simply laughed, and gave her former admirer ten roubles. Then, laughing, she told Mitya of it and he was not in the least jealous. But ever since, the Poles had attached themselves to Grushenka and bombarded her daily with requests for money and she had always sent them small sums. And now that day Mitya had taken it into his head to be fearfully jealous.

“Like a fool, I went round to him just for a minute, on the way to see Mitya, for he is ill, too, my Pole,” Grushenka began again with nervous haste. “I was laughing, telling Mitya about it. ‘Fancy,’ I said, ‘my Pole had the happy thought to sing his old songs to me to the guitar. He thought I would be touched and marry him!’ Mitya leapt up swearing.⁠ ⁠… So, there, I’ll send them the pies! Fenya, is it that little girl they’ve sent? Here, give her three roubles and pack a dozen pies up in a paper and tell her to take them. And you, Alyosha, be sure to tell Mitya that I did send them the pies.”

“I wouldn’t tell him for anything,” said Alyosha, smiling.

“Ech! You think he is unhappy about it. Why, he’s jealous on purpose. He doesn’t care,” said Grushenka bitterly.

“On purpose?” queried Alyosha.

“I tell you you are silly, Alyosha. You know nothing about it, with all your cleverness. I am not offended that he is jealous of a girl like me. I would be offended if he were not jealous. I am like that. I am not offended at jealousy. I have a fierce heart, too. I can be jealous myself. Only what offends me is that he doesn’t love me at all. I tell you he is jealous now on purpose. Am I blind? Don’t I see? He began talking to me just now of that woman, of Katerina, saying she was this and that, how she had ordered a doctor from Moscow for him, to try and save him; how she had ordered the best counsel, the most learned one, too. So he loves her, if he’ll praise her to my face, more shame to him! He’s treated me badly himself, so he attacked me, to make out I am in fault first and to throw it all on me. ‘You were with your Pole before me, so I can’t be blamed for Katerina,’ that’s what it amounts to. He wants to throw the whole blame on me. He attacked me on purpose, on purpose, I tell you, but I’ll⁠—”

Grushenka could not finish saying what she would do. She hid her eyes in her handkerchief and sobbed violently.

“He doesn’t love Katerina Ivanovna,” said Alyosha firmly.

“Well, whether he loves her or not, I’ll soon find out for myself,” said Grushenka, with a menacing note in her voice, taking the handkerchief from her eyes. Her face was distorted. Alyosha saw sorrowfully that from being mild and serene, it had become sullen and spiteful.

“Enough of this foolishness,” she said suddenly; “it’s not for that I sent for you. Alyosha, darling, tomorrow⁠—what will happen tomorrow? That’s what worries me! And it’s only me it worries! I look at everyone and no one is thinking of it. No one cares about it. Are you thinking about it even? Tomorrow he’ll be tried, you know. Tell me, how will he be tried? You know it’s the valet, the valet killed him! Good heavens! Can they condemn him in place of the valet and will no one stand up for him? They haven’t troubled the valet at all, have they?”

“He’s been severely cross-examined,” observed Alyosha thoughtfully; “but everyone came to the conclusion it was not he. Now he is lying very ill. He has been ill ever since that attack. Really ill,” added Alyosha.

“Oh, dear! couldn’t you go to that counsel yourself and tell him the whole thing by yourself? He’s been brought from Petersburg for three thousand roubles, they say.”

“We gave these three thousand together⁠—Ivan, Katerina Ivanovna and I⁠—but she paid two thousand for the doctor from Moscow herself. The counsel Fetyukovitch would have charged more, but the case has become known all over Russia; it’s talked of in all the papers and journals. Fetyukovitch agreed to come more for the glory of the thing, because the case has become so notorious. I saw him yesterday.”

“Well? Did you talk to him?” Grushenka put in eagerly.

“He listened and said nothing. He told me that he had already formed his opinion. But he promised to give my words consideration.”

“Consideration! Ah, they are swindlers! They’ll ruin him. And why did she send for the doctor?”

“As an expert. They want to prove that Mitya’s mad and committed the murder when he didn’t know what he was doing”; Alyosha smiled gently; “but Mitya won’t agree to that.”

“Yes; but that would be the truth if he had killed him!” cried Grushenka. “He was mad then, perfectly mad, and that was my fault, wretch that I am! But, of course, he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it! And they are all against him, the whole town. Even Fenya’s evidence went to prove he had done it. And the people at the shop, and that official, and at the tavern, too, before, people had heard him say so! They are all, all against him, all crying out against him.”

“Yes, there’s a fearful accumulation of evidence,” Alyosha observed grimly.

“And Grigory⁠—Grigory Vassilyevitch⁠—sticks to his story that the door was open, persists that he saw it⁠—there’s no shaking him. I went and talked to him myself. He’s rude about it, too.”

“Yes, that’s perhaps the strongest evidence against him,” said Alyosha.

“And as for Mitya’s being mad, he certainly seems like it now,” Grushenka began with a peculiarly anxious and mysterious air. “Do you know, Alyosha, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about it for a long time. I go to him every day and simply wonder at him. Tell me, now, what do you suppose he’s always talking about? He talks and talks and I can make nothing of it. I fancied he was talking of something intellectual that I couldn’t understand in my foolishness. Only he suddenly began talking to me about a babe⁠—that is, about some child. ‘Why is the babe poor?’ he said. ‘It’s for that babe I am going to Siberia now. I am not a murderer, but I must go to Siberia!’ What that meant, what babe, I couldn’t tell for the life of me. Only I cried when he said it, because he said it so nicely. He cried himself, and I cried, too. He suddenly kissed me and made the sign of the cross over me. What did it mean, Alyosha, tell me? What is this babe?”

“It must be Rakitin, who’s been going to see him lately,” smiled Alyosha, “though⁠ ⁠… that’s not Rakitin’s doing. I didn’t see Mitya yesterday. I’ll see him today.”

“No, it’s not Rakitin; it’s his brother Ivan Fyodorovitch upsetting him. It’s his going to see him, that’s what it is,” Grushenka began, and suddenly broke off. Alyosha gazed at her in amazement.

“Ivan’s going? Has he been to see him? Mitya told me himself that Ivan hasn’t been once.”

“There⁠ ⁠… there! What a girl I am! Blurting things out!” exclaimed Grushenka, confused and suddenly blushing. “Stay, Alyosha, hush! Since I’ve said so much I’ll tell the whole truth⁠—he’s been to see him twice, the first directly he arrived. He galloped here from Moscow at once, of course, before I was taken ill; and the second time was a week ago. He told Mitya not to tell you about it, under any circumstances; and not to tell anyone, in fact. He came secretly.”

Alyosha sat plunged in thought, considering something. The news evidently impressed him.

“Ivan doesn’t talk to me of Mitya’s case,” he said slowly. “He’s said very little to me these last two months. And whenever I go to see him, he seems vexed at my coming, so I’ve not been to him for the last three weeks. H’m!⁠ ⁠… if he was there a week ago⁠ ⁠… there certainly has been a change in Mitya this week.”

“There has been a change,” Grushenka assented quickly. “They have a secret, they have a secret! Mitya told me himself there was a secret, and such a secret that Mitya can’t rest. Before then, he was cheerful⁠—and, indeed, he is cheerful now⁠—but when he shakes his head like that, you know, and strides about the room and keeps pulling at the hair on his right temple with his right hand, I know there is something on his mind worrying him.⁠ ⁠… I know! He was cheerful before, though, indeed, he is cheerful today.”

“But you said he was worried.”

“Yes, he is worried and yet cheerful. He keeps on being irritable for a minute and then cheerful and then irritable again. And you know, Alyosha, I am constantly wondering at him⁠—with this awful thing hanging over him, he sometimes laughs at such trifles as though he were a baby himself.”

“And did he really tell you not to tell me about Ivan? Did he say, ‘Don’t tell him’?”

“Yes, he told me, ‘Don’t tell him.’ It’s you that Mitya’s most afraid of. Because it’s a secret: he said himself it was a secret. Alyosha, darling, go to him and find out what their secret is and come and tell me,” Grushenka besought him with sudden eagerness. “Set my mind at rest that I may know the worst that’s in store for me. That’s why I sent for you.”

“You think it’s something to do with you? If it were, he wouldn’t have told you there was a secret.”

“I don’t know. Perhaps he wants to tell me, but doesn’t dare to. He warns me. There is a secret, he tells me, but he won’t tell me what it is.”

“What do you think yourself?”

“What do I think? It’s the end for me, that’s what I think. They all three have been plotting my end, for Katerina’s in it. It’s all Katerina, it all comes from her. She is this and that, and that means that I am not. He tells me that beforehand⁠—warns me. He is planning to throw me over, that’s the whole secret. They’ve planned it together, the three of them⁠—Mitya, Katerina, and Ivan Fyodorovitch. Alyosha, I’ve been wanting to ask you a long time. A week ago he suddenly told me that Ivan was in love with Katerina, because he often goes to see her. Did he tell me the truth or not? Tell me, on your conscience, tell me the worst.”

“I won’t tell you a lie. Ivan is not in love with Katerina Ivanovna, I think.”

“Oh, that’s what I thought! He is lying to me, shameless deceiver, that’s what it is! And he was jealous of me just now, so as to put the blame on me afterwards. He is stupid, he can’t disguise what he is doing; he is so open, you know.⁠ ⁠… But I’ll give it to him, I’ll give it to him! ‘You believe I did it,’ he said. He said that to me, to me. He reproached me with that! God forgive him! You wait, I’ll make it hot for Katerina at the trial! I’ll just say a word then⁠ ⁠… I’ll tell everything then!”

And again she cried bitterly.

“This I can tell you for certain, Grushenka,” Alyosha said, getting up. “First, that he loves you, loves you more than anyone in the world, and you only, believe me. I know. I do know. The second thing is that I don’t want to worm his secret out of him, but if he’ll tell me of himself today, I shall tell him straight out that I have promised to tell you. Then I’ll come to you today, and tell you. Only⁠ ⁠… I fancy⁠ ⁠… Katerina Ivanovna has nothing to do with it, and that the secret is about something else. That’s certain. It isn’t likely it’s about Katerina Ivanovna, it seems to me. Goodbye for now.”

Alyosha shook hands with her. Grushenka was still crying. He saw that she put little faith in his consolation, but she was better for having had her sorrow out, for having spoken of it. He was sorry to leave her in such a state of mind, but he was in haste. He had a great many things to do still.


The Injured Foot
The first of these things was at the house of Madame Hohlakov, and he hurried there to get it over as quickly as possible and not be too late for Mitya. Madame Hohlakov had been slightly ailing for the last three weeks: her foot had for some reason swollen up, and though she was not in bed, she lay all day half-reclining on the couch in her boudoir, in a fascinating but decorous déshabillé. Alyosha had once noted with innocent amusement that, in spite of her illness, Madame Hohlakov had begun to be rather dressy⁠—topknots, ribbons, loose wrappers, had made their appearance, and he had an inkling of the reason, though he dismissed such ideas from his mind as frivolous. During the last two months the young official, Perhotin, had become a regular visitor at the house.

Alyosha had not called for four days and he was in haste to go straight to Lise, as it was with her he had to speak, for Lise had sent a maid to him the previous day, specially asking him to come to her “about something very important,” a request which, for certain reasons, had interest for Alyosha. But while the maid went to take his name in to Lise, Madame Hohlakov heard of his arrival from someone, and immediately sent to beg him to come to her “just for one minute.” Alyosha reflected that it was better to accede to the mamma’s request, or else she would be sending down to Lise’s room every minute that he was there. Madame Hohlakov was lying on a couch. She was particularly smartly dressed and was evidently in a state of extreme nervous excitement. She greeted Alyosha with cries of rapture.

“It’s ages, ages, perfect ages since I’ve seen you! It’s a whole week⁠—only think of it! Ah, but you were here only four days ago, on Wednesday. You have come to see Lise. I’m sure you meant to slip into her room on tiptoe, without my hearing you. My dear, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, if you only knew how worried I am about her! But of that later, though that’s the most important thing, of that later. Dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, I trust you implicitly with my Lise. Since the death of Father Zossima⁠—God rest his soul!” (she crossed herself)⁠—“I look upon you as a monk, though you look charming in your new suit. Where did you find such a tailor in these parts? No, no, that’s not the chief thing⁠—of that later. Forgive me for sometimes calling you Alyosha; an old woman like me may take liberties,” she smiled coquettishly; “but that will do later, too. The important thing is that I shouldn’t forget what is important. Please remind me of it yourself. As soon as my tongue runs away with me, you just say ‘the important thing?’ Ach! how do I know now what is of most importance? Ever since Lise took back her promise⁠—her childish promise, Alexey Fyodorovitch⁠—to marry you, you’ve realized, of course, that it was only the playful fancy of a sick child who had been so long confined to her chair⁠—thank God, she can walk now!⁠ ⁠… that new doctor Katya sent for from Moscow for your unhappy brother, who will tomorrow⁠—But why speak of tomorrow? I am ready to die at the very thought of tomorrow. Ready to die of curiosity.⁠ ⁠… That doctor was with us yesterday and saw Lise.⁠ ⁠… I paid him fifty roubles for the visit. But that’s not the point, that’s not the point again. You see, I’m mixing everything up. I am in such a hurry. Why am I in a hurry? I don’t understand. It’s awful how I seem growing unable to understand anything. Everything seems mixed up in a sort of tangle. I am afraid you are so bored you will jump up and run away, and that will be all I shall see of you. Goodness! Why are we sitting here and no coffee? Yulia, Glafira, coffee!”

Alyosha made haste to thank her, and said that he had only just had coffee.


“At Agrafena Alexandrovna’s.”

“At⁠ ⁠… at that woman’s? Ah, it’s she has brought ruin on everyone. I know nothing about it though. They say she has become a saint, though it’s rather late in the day. She had better have done it before. What use is it now? Hush, hush, Alexey Fyodorovitch, for I have so much to say to you that I am afraid I shall tell you nothing. This awful trial⁠ ⁠… I shall certainly go, I am making arrangements. I shall be carried there in my chair; besides I can sit up. I shall have people with me. And, you know, I am a witness. How shall I speak, how shall I speak? I don’t know what I shall say. One has to take an oath, hasn’t one?”

“Yes; but I don’t think you will be able to go.”

“I can sit up. Ah, you put me out! Ah! this trial, this savage act, and then they are all going to Siberia, some are getting married, and all this so quickly, so quickly, everything’s changing, and at last⁠—nothing. All grow old and have death to look forward to. Well, so be it! I am weary. This Katya, cette charmante personne, has disappointed all my hopes. Now she is going to follow one of your brothers to Siberia, and your other brother is going to follow her, and will live in the nearest town, and they will all torment one another. It drives me out of my mind. Worst of all⁠—the publicity. The story has been told a million times over in all the papers in Moscow and Petersburg. Ah! yes, would you believe it, there’s a paragraph that I was ‘a dear friend’ of your brother’s ⸻, I can’t repeat the horrid word. Just fancy, just fancy!”

“Impossible! Where was the paragraph? What did it say?”

“I’ll show you directly. I got the paper and read it yesterday. Here, in the Petersburg paper Gossip. The paper began coming out this year. I am awfully fond of gossip, and I take it in, and now it pays me out⁠—this is what gossip comes to! Here it is, here, this passage. Read it.”

And she handed Alyosha a sheet of newspaper which had been under her pillow.

It was not exactly that she was upset, she seemed overwhelmed and perhaps everything really was mixed up in a tangle in her head. The paragraph was very typical, and must have been a great shock to her, but, fortunately perhaps, she was unable to keep her mind fixed on anyone subject at that moment, and so might race off in a minute to something else and quite forget the newspaper.

Alyosha was well aware that the story of the terrible case had spread all over Russia. And, good heavens! what wild rumors about his brother, about the Karamazovs, and about himself he had read in the course of those two months, among other equally credible items! One paper had even stated that he had gone into a monastery and become a monk, in horror at his brother’s crime. Another contradicted this, and stated that he and his elder, Father Zossima, had broken into the monastery chest and “made tracks from the monastery.” The present paragraph in the paper Gossip was under the heading, “The Karamazov Case at Skotoprigonyevsk.” (That, alas! was the name of our little town. I had hitherto kept it concealed.) It was brief, and Madame Hohlakov was not directly mentioned in it. No names appeared, in fact. It was merely stated that the criminal, whose approaching trial was making such a sensation⁠—retired army captain, an idle swaggerer, and reactionary bully⁠—was continually involved in amorous intrigues, and particularly popular with certain ladies “who were pining in solitude.” One such lady, a pining widow, who tried to seem young though she had a grownup daughter, was so fascinated by him that only two hours before the crime she offered him three thousand roubles, on condition that he would elope with her to the gold mines. But the criminal, counting on escaping punishment, had preferred to murder his father to get the three thousand rather than go off to Siberia with the middle-aged charms of his pining lady. This playful paragraph finished, of course, with an outburst of generous indignation at the wickedness of parricide and at the lately abolished institution of serfdom. Reading it with curiosity, Alyosha folded up the paper and handed it back to Madame Hohlakov.

“Well, that must be me,” she hurried on again. “Of course I am meant. Scarcely more than an hour before, I suggested gold mines to him, and here they talk of ‘middle-aged charms’ as though that were my motive! He writes that out of spite! God Almighty forgive him for the middle-aged charms, as I forgive him! You know it’s⁠—Do you know who it is? It’s your friend Rakitin.”

“Perhaps,” said Alyosha, “though I’ve heard nothing about it.”

“It’s he, it’s he! No ‘perhaps’ about it. You know I turned him out of the house.⁠ ⁠… You know all that story, don’t you?”

“I know that you asked him not to visit you for the future, but why it was, I haven’t heard⁠ ⁠… from you, at least.”

“Ah, then you’ve heard it from him! He abuses me, I suppose, abuses me dreadfully?”

“Yes, he does; but then he abuses everyone. But why you’ve given him up I haven’t heard from him either. I meet him very seldom now, indeed. We are not friends.”

“Well, then, I’ll tell you all about it. There’s no help for it, I’ll confess, for there is one point in which I was perhaps to blame. Only a little, little point, so little that perhaps it doesn’t count. You see, my dear boy”⁠—Madame Hohlakov suddenly looked arch and a charming, though enigmatic, smile played about her lips⁠—“you see, I suspect⁠ ⁠… You must forgive me, Alyosha. I am like a mother to you.⁠ ⁠… No, no; quite the contrary. I speak to you now as though you were my father⁠—mother’s quite out of place. Well, it’s as though I were confessing to Father Zossima, that’s just it. I called you a monk just now. Well, that poor young man, your friend, Rakitin (Mercy on us! I can’t be angry with him. I feel cross, but not very), that frivolous young man, would you believe it, seems to have taken it into his head to fall in love with me. I only noticed it later. At first⁠—a month ago⁠—he only began to come oftener to see me, almost every day; though, of course, we were acquainted before. I knew nothing about it⁠ ⁠… and suddenly it dawned upon me, and I began to notice things with surprise. You know, two months ago, that modest, charming, excellent young man, Pyotr Ilyitch Perhotin, who’s in the service here, began to be a regular visitor at the house. You met him here ever so many times yourself. And he is an excellent, earnest young man, isn’t he? He comes once every three days, not every day (though I should be glad to see him every day), and always so well dressed. Altogether, I love young people, Alyosha, talented, modest, like you, and he has almost the mind of a statesman, he talks so charmingly, and I shall certainly, certainly try and get promotion for him. He is a future diplomat. On that awful day he almost saved me from death by coming in the night. And your friend Rakitin comes in such boots, and always stretches them out on the carpet.⁠ ⁠… He began hinting at his feelings, in fact, and one day, as he was going, he squeezed my hand terribly hard. My foot began to swell directly after he pressed my hand like that. He had met Pyotr Ilyitch here before, and would you believe it, he is always gibing at him, growling at him, for some reason. I simply looked at the way they went on together and laughed inwardly. So I was sitting here alone⁠—no, I was laid up then. Well, I was lying here alone and suddenly Rakitin comes in, and only fancy! brought me some verses of his own composition⁠—a short poem, on my bad foot: that is, he described my foot in a poem. Wait a minute⁠—how did it go?

A captivating little foot.

It began somehow like that. I can never remember poetry. I’ve got it here. I’ll show it to you later. But it’s a charming thing⁠—charming; and, you know, it’s not only about the foot, it had a good moral, too, a charming idea, only I’ve forgotten it; in fact, it was just the thing for an album. So, of course, I thanked him, and he was evidently flattered. I’d hardly had time to thank him when in comes Pyotr Ilyitch, and Rakitin suddenly looked as black as night. I could see that Pyotr Ilyitch was in the way, for Rakitin certainly wanted to say something after giving me the verses. I had a presentiment of it; but Pyotr Ilyitch came in. I showed Pyotr Ilyitch the verses and didn’t say who was the author. But I am convinced that he guessed, though he won’t own it to this day, and declares he had no idea. But he says that on purpose. Pyotr Ilyitch began to laugh at once, and fell to criticizing it. ‘Wretched doggerel,’ he said they were, ‘some divinity student must have written them,’ and with such vehemence, such vehemence! Then, instead of laughing, your friend flew into a rage. ‘Good gracious!’ I thought, ‘they’ll fly at each other.’ ‘It was I who wrote them,’ said he. ‘I wrote them as a joke,’ he said, ‘for I think it degrading to write verses.⁠ ⁠… But they are good poetry. They want to put a monument to your Pushkin for writing about women’s feet, while I wrote with a moral purpose, and you,’ said he, ‘are an advocate of serfdom. You’ve no humane ideas,’ said he. ‘You have no modern enlightened feelings, you are uninfluenced by progress, you are a mere official,’ he said, ‘and you take bribes.’ Then I began screaming and imploring them. And, you know, Pyotr Ilyitch is anything but a coward. He at once took up the most gentlemanly tone, looked at him sarcastically, listened, and apologized. ‘I’d no idea,’ said he. ‘I shouldn’t have said it, if I had known. I should have praised it. Poets are all so irritable,’ he said. In short, he laughed at him under cover of the most gentlemanly tone. He explained to me afterwards that it was all sarcastic. I thought he was in earnest. Only as I lay there, just as before you now, I thought, ‘Would it, or would it not, be the proper thing for me to turn Rakitin out for shouting so rudely at a visitor in my house?’ And, would you believe it, I lay here, shut my eyes, and wondered, would it be the proper thing or not. I kept worrying and worrying, and my heart began to beat, and I couldn’t make up my mind whether to make an outcry or not. One voice seemed to be telling me, ‘Speak,’ and the other ‘No, don’t speak.’ And no sooner had the second voice said that than I cried out, and fainted. Of course, there was a fuss. I got up suddenly and said to Rakitin, ‘It’s painful for me to say it, but I don’t wish to see you in my house again.’ So I turned him out. Ah! Alexey Fyodorovitch, I know myself I did wrong. I was putting it on. I wasn’t angry with him at all, really; but I suddenly fancied⁠—that was what did it⁠—that it would be such a fine scene.⁠ ⁠… And yet, believe me, it was quite natural, for I really shed tears and cried for several days afterwards, and then suddenly, one afternoon, I forgot all about it. So it’s a fortnight since he’s been here, and I kept wondering whether he would come again. I wondered even yesterday, then suddenly last night came this Gossip. I read it and gasped. Who could have written it? He must have written it. He went home, sat down, wrote it on the spot, sent it, and they put it in. It was a fortnight ago, you see. But, Alyosha, it’s awful how I keep talking and don’t say what I want to say. Ah! the words come of themselves!”

“It’s very important for me to be in time to see my brother today,” Alyosha faltered.

“To be sure, to be sure! You bring it all back to me. Listen, what is an aberration?”

“What aberration?” asked Alyosha, wondering.

“In the legal sense. An aberration in which everything is pardonable. Whatever you do, you will be acquitted at once.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ll tell you. This Katya⁠ ⁠… Ah! she is a charming, charming creature, only I never can make out who it is she is in love with. She was with me some time ago and I couldn’t get anything out of her. Especially as she won’t talk to me except on the surface now. She is always talking about my health and nothing else, and she takes up such a tone with me, too. I simply said to myself, ‘Well, so be it. I don’t care’⁠ ⁠… Oh, yes. I was talking of aberration. This doctor has come. You know a doctor has come? Of course, you know it⁠—the one who discovers madmen. You wrote for him. No, it wasn’t you, but Katya. It’s all Katya’s doing. Well, you see, a man may be sitting perfectly sane and suddenly have an aberration. He may be conscious and know what he is doing and yet be in a state of aberration. And there’s no doubt that Dmitri Fyodorovitch was suffering from aberration. They found out about aberration as soon as the law courts were reformed. It’s all the good effect of the reformed law courts. The doctor has been here and questioned me about that evening, about the gold mines. ‘How did he seem then?’ he asked me. He must have been in a state of aberration. He came in shouting, ‘Money, money, three thousand! Give me three thousand!’ and then went away and immediately did the murder. ‘I don’t want to murder him,’ he said, and he suddenly went and murdered him. That’s why they’ll acquit him, because he struggled against it and yet he murdered him.”

“But he didn’t murder him,” Alyosha interrupted rather sharply. He felt more and more sick with anxiety and impatience.

“Yes, I know it was that old man Grigory murdered him.”

“Grigory?” cried Alyosha.

“Yes, yes; it was Grigory. He lay as Dmitri Fyodorovitch struck him down, and then got up, saw the door open, went in and killed Fyodor Pavlovitch.”

“But why, why?”

“Suffering from aberration. When he recovered from the blow Dmitri Fyodorovitch gave him on the head, he was suffering from aberration; he went and committed the murder. As for his saying he didn’t, he very likely doesn’t remember. Only, you know, it’ll be better, ever so much better, if Dmitri Fyodorovitch murdered him. And that’s how it must have been, though I say it was Grigory. It certainly was Dmitri Fyodorovitch, and that’s better, ever so much better! Oh! not better that a son should have killed his father, I don’t defend that. Children ought to honor their parents, and yet it would be better if it were he, as you’d have nothing to cry over then, for he did it when he was unconscious or rather when he was conscious, but did not know what he was doing. Let them acquit him⁠—that’s so humane, and would show what a blessing reformed law courts are. I knew nothing about it, but they say they have been so a long time. And when I heard it yesterday, I was so struck by it that I wanted to send for you at once. And if he is acquitted, make him come straight from the law courts to dinner with me, and I’ll have a party of friends, and we’ll drink to the reformed law courts. I don’t believe he’d be dangerous; besides, I’ll invite a great many friends, so that he could always be led out if he did anything. And then he might be made a justice of the peace or something in another town, for those who have been in trouble themselves make the best judges. And, besides, who isn’t suffering from aberration nowadays?⁠—you, I, all of us are in a state of aberration, and there are ever so many examples of it: a man sits singing a song, suddenly something annoys him, he takes a pistol and shoots the first person he comes across, and no one blames him for it. I read that lately, and all the doctors confirm it. The doctors are always confirming; they confirm anything. Why, my Lise is in a state of aberration. She made me cry again yesterday, and the day before, too, and today I suddenly realized that it’s all due to aberration. Oh, Lise grieves me so! I believe she’s quite mad. Why did she send for you? Did she send for you or did you come of yourself?”

“Yes, she sent for me, and I am just going to her.” Alyosha got up resolutely.

“Oh, my dear, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, perhaps that’s what’s most important,” Madame Hohlakov cried, suddenly bursting into tears. “God knows I trust Lise to you with all my heart, and it’s no matter her sending for you on the sly, without telling her mother. But forgive me, I can’t trust my daughter so easily to your brother Ivan Fyodorovitch, though I still consider him the most chivalrous young man. But only fancy, he’s been to see Lise and I knew nothing about it!”

“How? What? When?” Alyosha was exceedingly surprised. He had not sat down again and listened standing.

“I will tell you; that’s perhaps why I asked you to come, for I don’t know now why I did ask you to come. Well, Ivan Fyodorovitch has been to see me twice, since he came back from Moscow. First time he came as a friend to call on me, and the second time Katya was here and he came because he heard she was here. I didn’t, of course, expect him to come often, knowing what a lot he has to do as it is, vous comprenez, cette affaire et la mort terrible de votre papa. But I suddenly heard he’d been here again, not to see me but to see Lise. That’s six days ago now. He came, stayed five minutes, and went away. And I didn’t hear of it till three days afterwards, from Glafira, so it was a great shock to me. I sent for Lise directly. She laughed. ‘He thought you were asleep,’ she said, ‘and came in to me to ask after your health.’ Of course, that’s how it happened. But Lise, Lise, mercy on us, how she distresses me! Would you believe it, one night, four days ago, just after you saw her last time, and had gone away, she suddenly had a fit, screaming, shrieking, hysterics! Why is it I never have hysterics? Then, next day another fit, and the same thing on the third, and yesterday too, and then yesterday that aberration. She suddenly screamed out, ‘I hate Ivan Fyodorovitch. I insist on your never letting him come to the house again.’ I was struck dumb at these amazing words, and answered, ‘On what grounds could I refuse to see such an excellent young man, a young man of such learning too, and so unfortunate?’⁠—for all this business is a misfortune, isn’t it? She suddenly burst out laughing at my words, and so rudely, you know. Well, I was pleased; I thought I had amused her and the fits would pass off, especially as I wanted to refuse to see Ivan Fyodorovitch anyway on account of his strange visits without my knowledge, and meant to ask him for an explanation. But early this morning Lise waked up and flew into a passion with Yulia and, would you believe it, slapped her in the face. That’s monstrous; I am always polite to my servants. And an hour later she was hugging Yulia’s feet and kissing them. She sent a message to me that she wasn’t coming to me at all, and would never come and see me again, and when I dragged myself down to her, she rushed to kiss me, crying, and as she kissed me, she pushed me out of the room without saying a word, so I couldn’t find out what was the matter. Now, dear Alexey Fyodorovitch, I rest all my hopes on you, and, of course, my whole life is in your hands. I simply beg you to go to Lise and find out everything from her, as you alone can, and come back and tell me⁠—me, her mother, for you understand it will be the death of me, simply the death of me, if this goes on, or else I shall run away. I can stand no more. I have patience; but I may lose patience, and then⁠ ⁠… then something awful will happen. Ah, dear me! At last, Pyotr Ilyitch!” cried Madame Hohlakov, beaming all over as she saw Perhotin enter the room. “You are late, you are late! Well, sit down, speak, put us out of suspense. What does the counsel say. Where are you off to, Alexey Fyodorovitch?”

“To Lise.”

“Oh, yes. You won’t forget, you won’t forget what I asked you? It’s a question of life and death!”

“Of course, I won’t forget, if I can⁠ ⁠… but I am so late,” muttered Alyosha, beating a hasty retreat.

“No, be sure, be sure to come in; don’t say ‘If you can.’ I shall die if you don’t,” Madame Hohlakov called after him, but Alyosha had already left the room.


A Little Demon
Going in to Lise, he found her half reclining in the invalid-chair, in which she had been wheeled when she was unable to walk. She did not move to meet him, but her sharp, keen eyes were simply riveted on his face. There was a feverish look in her eyes, her face was pale and yellow. Alyosha was amazed at the change that had taken place in her in three days. She was positively thinner. She did not hold out her hand to him. He touched the thin, long fingers which lay motionless on her dress, then he sat down facing her, without a word.

“I know you are in a hurry to get to the prison,” Lise said curtly, “and mamma’s kept you there for hours; she’s just been telling you about me and Yulia.”

“How do you know?” asked Alyosha.

“I’ve been listening. Why do you stare at me? I want to listen and I do listen, there’s no harm in that. I don’t apologize.”

“You are upset about something?”

“On the contrary, I am very happy. I’ve only just been reflecting for the thirtieth time what a good thing it is I refused you and shall not be your wife. You are not fit to be a husband. If I were to marry you and give you a note to take to the man I loved after you, you’d take it and be sure to give it to him and bring an answer back, too. If you were forty, you would still go on taking my love-letters for me.”

She suddenly laughed.

“There is something spiteful and yet openhearted about you,” Alyosha smiled to her.

“The openheartedness consists in my not being ashamed of myself with you. What’s more, I don’t want to feel ashamed with you, just with you. Alyosha, why is it I don’t respect you? I am very fond of you, but I don’t respect you. If I respected you, I shouldn’t talk to you without shame, should I?”


“But do you believe that I am not ashamed with you?”

“No, I don’t believe it.”

Lise laughed nervously again; she spoke rapidly.

“I sent your brother, Dmitri Fyodorovitch, some sweets in prison. Alyosha, you know, you are quite pretty! I shall love you awfully for having so quickly allowed me not to love you.”

“Why did you send for me today, Lise?”

“I wanted to tell you of a longing I have. I should like someone to torture me, marry me and then torture me, deceive me and go away. I don’t want to be happy.”

“You are in love with disorder?”

“Yes, I want disorder. I keep wanting to set fire to the house. I keep imagining how I’ll creep up and set fire to the house on the sly; it must be on the sly. They’ll try to put it out, but it’ll go on burning. And I shall know and say nothing. Ah, what silliness! And how bored I am!”

She waved her hand with a look of repulsion.

“It’s your luxurious life,” said Alyosha, softly.

“Is it better, then, to be poor?”

“Yes, it is better.”

“That’s what your monk taught you. That’s not true. Let me be rich and all the rest poor, I’ll eat sweets and drink cream and not give any to anyone else. Ach, don’t speak, don’t say anything,” she shook her hand at him, though Alyosha had not opened his mouth. “You’ve told me all that before, I know it all by heart. It bores me. If I am ever poor, I shall murder somebody, and even if I am rich, I may murder someone, perhaps⁠—why do nothing! But do you know, I should like to reap, cut the rye? I’ll marry you, and you shall become a peasant, a real peasant; we’ll keep a colt, shall we? Do you know Kalganov?”


“He is always wandering about, dreaming. He says, ‘Why live in real life? It’s better to dream. One can dream the most delightful things, but real life is a bore.’ But he’ll be married soon for all that; he’s been making love to me already. Can you spin tops?”


“Well, he’s just like a top: he wants to be wound up and set spinning and then to be lashed, lashed, lashed with a whip. If I marry him, I’ll keep him spinning all his life. You are not ashamed to be with me?”


“You are awfully cross, because I don’t talk about holy things. I don’t want to be holy. What will they do to one in the next world for the greatest sin? You must know all about that.”

“God will censure you.” Alyosha was watching her steadily.

“That’s just what I should like. I would go up and they would censure me, and I would burst out laughing in their faces. I should dreadfully like to set fire to the house, Alyosha, to our house; you still don’t believe me?”

“Why? There are children of twelve years old, who have a longing to set fire to something and they do set things on fire, too. It’s a sort of disease.”

“That’s not true, that’s not true; there may be children, but that’s not what I mean.”

“You take evil for good; it’s a passing crisis, it’s the result of your illness, perhaps.”

“You do despise me, though! It’s simply that I don’t want to do good, I want to do evil, and it has nothing to do with illness.”

“Why do evil?”

“So that everything might be destroyed. Ah, how nice it would be if everything were destroyed! You know, Alyosha, I sometimes think of doing a fearful lot of harm and everything bad, and I should do it for a long while on the sly and suddenly everyone would find it out. Everyone will stand round and point their fingers at me and I would look at them all. That would be awfully nice. Why would it be so nice, Alyosha?”

“I don’t know. It’s a craving to destroy something good or, as you say, to set fire to something. It happens sometimes.”

“I not only say it, I shall do it.”

“I believe you.”

“Ah, how I love you for saying you believe me. And you are not lying one little bit. But perhaps you think that I am saying all this on purpose to annoy you?”

“No, I don’t think that⁠ ⁠… though perhaps there is a little desire to do that in it, too.”

“There is a little. I never can tell lies to you,” she declared, with a strange fire in her eyes.

What struck Alyosha above everything was her earnestness. There was not a trace of humor or jesting in her face now, though, in old days, fun and gayety never deserted her even at her most “earnest” moments.

“There are moments when people love crime,” said Alyosha thoughtfully.

“Yes, yes! You have uttered my thought; they love crime, everyone loves crime, they love it always, not at some ‘moments.’ You know, it’s as though people have made an agreement to lie about it and have lied about it ever since. They all declare that they hate evil, but secretly they all love it.”

“And are you still reading nasty books?”

“Yes, I am. Mamma reads them and hides them under her pillow and I steal them.”

“Aren’t you ashamed to destroy yourself?”

“I want to destroy myself. There’s a boy here, who lay down between the railway lines when the train was passing. Lucky fellow! Listen, your brother is being tried now for murdering his father and everyone loves his having killed his father.”

“Loves his having killed his father?”

“Yes, loves it; everyone loves it! Everybody says it’s so awful, but secretly they simply love it. I for one love it.”

“There is some truth in what you say about everyone,” said Alyosha softly.

“Oh, what ideas you have!” Lise shrieked in delight. “And you a monk, too! You wouldn’t believe how I respect you, Alyosha, for never telling lies. Oh, I must tell you a funny dream of mine. I sometimes dream of devils. It’s night; I am in my room with a candle and suddenly there are devils all over the place, in all the corners, under the table, and they open the doors; there’s a crowd of them behind the doors and they want to come and seize me. And they are just coming, just seizing me. But I suddenly cross myself and they all draw back, though they don’t go away altogether, they stand at the doors and in the corners, waiting. And suddenly I have a frightful longing to revile God aloud, and so I begin, and then they come crowding back to me, delighted, and seize me again and I cross myself again and they all draw back. It’s awful fun, it takes one’s breath away.”

“I’ve had the same dream, too,” said Alyosha suddenly.

“Really?” cried Lise, surprised. “I say, Alyosha, don’t laugh, that’s awfully important. Could two different people have the same dream?”

“It seems they can.”

“Alyosha, I tell you, it’s awfully important,” Lise went on, with really excessive amazement. “It’s not the dream that’s important, but your having the same dream as me. You never lie to me, don’t lie now: is it true? You are not laughing?”

“It’s true.”

Lise seemed extraordinarily impressed and for half a minute she was silent.

“Alyosha, come and see me, come and see me more often,” she said suddenly, in a supplicating voice.

“I’ll always come to see you, all my life,” answered Alyosha firmly.

“You are the only person I can talk to, you know,” Lise began again. “I talk to no one but myself and you. Only you in the whole world. And to you more readily than to myself. And I am not a bit ashamed with you, not a bit. Alyosha, why am I not ashamed with you, not a bit? Alyosha, is it true that at Easter the Jews steal a child and kill it?”

“I don’t know.”

“There’s a book here in which I read about the trial of a Jew, who took a child of four years old and cut off the fingers from both hands, and then crucified him on the wall, hammered nails into him and crucified him, and afterwards, when he was tried, he said that the child died soon, within four hours. That was ‘soon’! He said the child moaned, kept on moaning and he stood admiring it. That’s nice!”


“Nice; I sometimes imagine that it was I who crucified him. He would hang there moaning and I would sit opposite him eating pineapple compote. I am awfully fond of pineapple compote. Do you like it?”

Alyosha looked at her in silence. Her pale, sallow face was suddenly contorted, her eyes burned.

“You know, when I read about that Jew I shook with sobs all night. I kept fancying how the little thing cried and moaned (a child of four years old understands, you know), and all the while the thought of pineapple compote haunted me. In the morning I wrote a letter to a certain person, begging him particularly to come and see me. He came and I suddenly told him all about the child and the pineapple compote. All about it, all, and said that it was nice. He laughed and said it really was nice. Then he got up and went away. He was only here five minutes. Did he despise me? Did he despise me? Tell me, tell me, Alyosha, did he despise me or not?” She sat up on the couch, with flashing eyes.

“Tell me,” Alyosha asked anxiously, “did you send for that person?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Did you send him a letter?”


“Simply to ask about that, about that child?”

“No, not about that at all. But when he came, I asked him about that at once. He answered, laughed, got up and went away.”

“That person behaved honorably,” Alyosha murmured.

“And did he despise me? Did he laugh at me?”

“No, for perhaps he believes in the pineapple compote himself. He is very ill now, too, Lise.”

“Yes, he does believe in it,” said Lise, with flashing eyes.

“He doesn’t despise anyone,” Alyosha went on. “Only he does not believe anyone. If he doesn’t believe in people, of course, he does despise them.”

“Then he despises me, me?”

“You, too.”

“Good,” Lise seemed to grind her teeth. “When he went out laughing, I felt that it was nice to be despised. The child with fingers cut off is nice, and to be despised is nice.⁠ ⁠…”

And she laughed in Alyosha’s face, a feverish malicious laugh.

“Do you know, Alyosha, do you know, I should like⁠—Alyosha, save me!” She suddenly jumped from the couch, rushed to him and seized him with both hands. “Save me!” she almost groaned. “Is there anyone in the world I could tell what I’ve told you? I’ve told you the truth, the truth. I shall kill myself, because I loathe everything! I don’t want to live, because I loathe everything! I loathe everything, everything. Alyosha, why don’t you love me in the least?” she finished in a frenzy.

“But I do love you!” answered Alyosha warmly.

“And will you weep over me, will you?”


“Not because I won’t be your wife, but simply weep for me?”


“Thank you! It’s only your tears I want. Everyone else may punish me and trample me under foot, everyone, everyone, not excepting anyone. For I don’t love anyone. Do you hear, not anyone! On the contrary, I hate him! Go, Alyosha; it’s time you went to your brother”; she tore herself away from him suddenly.

“How can I leave you like this?” said Alyosha, almost in alarm.

“Go to your brother, the prison will be shut; go, here’s your hat. Give my love to Mitya, go, go!”

And she almost forcibly pushed Alyosha out of the door. He looked at her with pained surprise, when he was suddenly aware of a letter in his right hand, a tiny letter folded up tight and sealed. He glanced at it and instantly read the address, “To Ivan Fyodorovitch Karamazov.” He looked quickly at Lise. Her face had become almost menacing.

“Give it to him, you must give it to him!” she ordered him, trembling and beside herself. “Today, at once, or I’ll poison myself! That’s why I sent for you.”

And she slammed the door quickly. The bolt clicked. Alyosha put the note in his pocket and went straight downstairs, without going back to Madame Hohlakov; forgetting her, in fact. As soon as Alyosha had gone, Lise unbolted the door, opened it a little, put her finger in the crack and slammed the door with all her might, pinching her finger. Ten seconds after, releasing her finger, she walked softly, slowly to her chair, sat up straight in it and looked intently at her blackened finger and at the blood that oozed from under the nail. Her lips were quivering and she kept whispering rapidly to herself:

“I am a wretch, wretch, wretch, wretch!”


A Hymn and a Secret
It was quite late (days are short in November) when Alyosha rang at the prison gate. It was beginning to get dusk. But Alyosha knew that he would be admitted without difficulty. Things were managed in our little town, as everywhere else. At first, of course, on the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, relations and a few other persons could only obtain interviews with Mitya by going through certain inevitable formalities. But later, though the formalities were not relaxed, exceptions were made for some, at least, of Mitya’s visitors. So much so, that sometimes the interviews with the prisoner in the room set aside for the purpose were practically tête-à-tête.

These exceptions, however, were few in number; only Grushenka, Alyosha and Rakitin were treated like this. But the captain of the police, Mihail Mihailovitch, was very favorably disposed to Grushenka. His abuse of her at Mokroe weighed on the old man’s conscience, and when he learned the whole story, he completely changed his view of her. And strange to say, though he was firmly persuaded of his guilt, yet after Mitya was once in prison, the old man came to take a more and more lenient view of him. “He was a man of good heart, perhaps,” he thought, “who had come to grief from drinking and dissipation.” His first horror had been succeeded by pity. As for Alyosha, the police captain was very fond of him and had known him for a long time. Rakitin, who had of late taken to coming very often to see the prisoner, was one of the most intimate acquaintances of the “police captain’s young ladies,” as he called them, and was always hanging about their house. He gave lessons in the house of the prison superintendent, too, who, though scrupulous in the performance of his duties, was a kindhearted old man. Alyosha, again, had an intimate acquaintance of long standing with the superintendent, who was fond of talking to him, generally on sacred subjects. He respected Ivan Fyodorovitch, and stood in awe of his opinion, though he was a great philosopher himself; “self-taught,” of course. But Alyosha had an irresistible attraction for him. During the last year the old man had taken to studying the Apocryphal Gospels, and constantly talked over his impressions with his young friend. He used to come and see him in the monastery and discussed for hours together with him and with the monks. So even if Alyosha were late at the prison, he had only to go to the superintendent and everything was made easy. Besides, everyone in the prison, down to the humblest warder, had grown used to Alyosha. The sentry, of course, did not trouble him so long as the authorities were satisfied.

When Mitya was summoned from his cell, he always went downstairs, to the place set aside for interviews. As Alyosha entered the room he came upon Rakitin, who was just taking leave of Mitya. They were both talking loudly. Mitya was laughing heartily as he saw him out, while Rakitin seemed grumbling. Rakitin did not like meeting Alyosha, especially of late. He scarcely spoke to him, and bowed to him stiffly. Seeing Alyosha enter now, he frowned and looked away, as though he were entirely absorbed in buttoning his big, warm, fur-trimmed overcoat. Then he began looking at once for his umbrella.

“I must mind not to forget my belongings,” he muttered, simply to say something.

“Mind you don’t forget other people’s belongings,” said Mitya, as a joke, and laughed at once at his own wit. Rakitin fired up instantly.

“You’d better give that advice to your own family, who’ve always been a slave-driving lot, and not to Rakitin,” he cried, suddenly trembling with anger.

“What’s the matter? I was joking,” cried Mitya. “Damn it all! They are all like that,” he turned to Alyosha, nodding towards Rakitin’s hurriedly retreating figure. “He was sitting here, laughing and cheerful, and all at once he boils up like that. He didn’t even nod to you. Have you broken with him completely? Why are you so late? I’ve not been simply waiting, but thirsting for you the whole morning. But never mind. We’ll make up for it now.”

“Why does he come here so often? Surely you are not such great friends?” asked Alyosha. He, too, nodded at the door through which Rakitin had disappeared.

“Great friends with Rakitin? No, not as much as that. Is it likely⁠—a pig like that? He considers I am⁠ ⁠… a blackguard. They can’t understand a joke either, that’s the worst of such people. They never understand a joke, and their souls are dry, dry and flat; they remind me of prison walls when I was first brought here. But he is a clever fellow, very clever. Well, Alexey, it’s all over with me now.”

He sat down on the bench and made Alyosha sit down beside him.

“Yes, the trial’s tomorrow. Are you so hopeless, brother?” Alyosha said, with an apprehensive feeling.

“What are you talking about?” said Mitya, looking at him rather uncertainly. “Oh, you mean the trial! Damn it all! Till now we’ve been talking of things that don’t matter, about this trial, but I haven’t said a word to you about the chief thing. Yes, the trial is tomorrow; but it wasn’t the trial I meant, when I said it was all over with me. Why do you look at me so critically?”

“What do you mean, Mitya?”

“Ideas, ideas, that’s all! Ethics! What is ethics?”

“Ethics?” asked Alyosha, wondering.

“Yes; is it a science?”

“Yes, there is such a science⁠ ⁠… but⁠ ⁠… I confess I can’t explain to you what sort of science it is.”

“Rakitin knows. Rakitin knows a lot, damn him! He’s not going to be a monk. He means to go to Petersburg. There he’ll go in for criticism of an elevating tendency. Who knows, he may be of use and make his own career, too. Ough! they are first-rate, these people, at making a career! Damn ethics, I am done for, Alexey, I am, you man of God! I love you more than anyone. It makes my heart yearn to look at you. Who was Karl Bernard?”

“Karl Bernard?” Alyosha was surprised again.

“No, not Karl. Stay, I made a mistake. Claude Bernard. What was he? Chemist or what?”

“He must be a savant,” answered Alyosha; “but I confess I can’t tell you much about him, either. I’ve heard of him as a savant, but what sort I don’t know.”

“Well, damn him, then! I don’t know either,” swore Mitya. “A scoundrel of some sort, most likely. They are all scoundrels. And Rakitin will make his way. Rakitin will get on anywhere; he is another Bernard. Ugh, these Bernards! They are all over the place.”

“But what is the matter?” Alyosha asked insistently.

“He wants to write an article about me, about my case, and so begin his literary career. That’s what he comes for; he said so himself. He wants to prove some theory. He wants to say ‘he couldn’t help murdering his father, he was corrupted by his environment,’ and so on. He explained it all to me. He is going to put in a tinge of Socialism, he says. But there, damn the fellow, he can put in a tinge if he likes, I don’t care. He can’t bear Ivan, he hates him. He’s not fond of you, either. But I don’t turn him out, for he is a clever fellow. Awfully conceited, though. I said to him just now, ‘The Karamazovs are not blackguards, but philosophers; for all true Russians are philosophers, and though you’ve studied, you are not a philosopher⁠—you are a low fellow.’ He laughed, so maliciously. And I said to him, ‘De ideabus non est disputandum.’ Isn’t that rather good? I can set up for being a classic, you see!” Mitya laughed suddenly.

“Why is it all over with you? You said so just now,” Alyosha interposed.

“Why is it all over with me? H’m!⁠ ⁠… The fact of it is⁠ ⁠… if you take it as a whole, I am sorry to lose God⁠—that’s why it is.”

“What do you mean by ‘sorry to lose God’?”

“Imagine: inside, in the nerves, in the head⁠—that is, these nerves are there in the brain⁠ ⁠… (damn them!) there are sort of little tails, the little tails of those nerves, and as soon as they begin quivering⁠ ⁠… that is, you see, I look at something with my eyes and then they begin quivering, those little tails⁠ ⁠… and when they quiver, then an image appears⁠ ⁠… it doesn’t appear at once, but an instant, a second, passes⁠ ⁠… and then something like a moment appears; that is, not a moment⁠—devil take the moment!⁠—but an image; that is, an object, or an action, damn it! That’s why I see and then think, because of those tails, not at all because I’ve got a soul, and that I am some sort of image and likeness. All that is nonsense! Rakitin explained it all to me yesterday, brother, and it simply bowled me over. It’s magnificent, Alyosha, this science! A new man’s arising⁠—that I understand.⁠ ⁠… And yet I am sorry to lose God!”

“Well, that’s a good thing, anyway,” said Alyosha.

“That I am sorry to lose God? It’s chemistry, brother, chemistry! There’s no help for it, your reverence, you must make way for chemistry. And Rakitin does dislike God. Ough! doesn’t he dislike Him! That’s the sore point with all of them. But they conceal it. They tell lies. They pretend. ‘Will you preach this in your reviews?’ I asked him. ‘Oh, well, if I did it openly, they won’t let it through,’ he said. He laughed. ‘But what will become of men then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and immortal life? All things are lawful then, they can do what they like?’ ‘Didn’t you know?’ he said laughing, ‘a clever man can do what he likes,’ he said. ‘A clever man knows his way about, but you’ve put your foot in it, committing a murder, and now you are rotting in prison.’ He says that to my face! A regular pig! I used to kick such people out, but now I listen to them. He talks a lot of sense, too. Writes well. He began reading me an article last week. I copied out three lines of it. Wait a minute. Here it is.”

Mitya hurriedly pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and read:

“ ‘In order to determine this question, it is above all essential to put one’s personality in contradiction to one’s reality.’ Do you understand that?”

“No, I don’t,” said Alyosha. He looked at Mitya and listened to him with curiosity.

“I don’t understand either. It’s dark and obscure, but intellectual. ‘Everyone writes like that now,’ he says, ‘it’s the effect of their environment.’ They are afraid of the environment. He writes poetry, too, the rascal. He’s written in honor of Madame Hohlakov’s foot. Ha ha ha!”

“I’ve heard about it,” said Alyosha.

“Have you? And have you heard the poem?”


“I’ve got it. Here it is. I’ll read it to you. You don’t know⁠—I haven’t told you⁠—there’s quite a story about it. He’s a rascal! Three weeks ago he began to tease me. ‘You’ve got yourself into a mess, like a fool, for the sake of three thousand, but I’m going to collar a hundred and fifty thousand. I am going to marry a widow and buy a house in Petersburg.’ And he told me he was courting Madame Hohlakov. She hadn’t much brains in her youth, and now at forty she has lost what she had. ‘But she’s awfully sentimental,’ he says; ‘that’s how I shall get hold of her. When I marry her, I shall take her to Petersburg and there I shall start a newspaper.’ And his mouth was simply watering, the beast, not for the widow, but for the hundred and fifty thousand. And he made me believe it. He came to see me every day. ‘She is coming round,’ he declared. He was beaming with delight. And then, all of a sudden, he was turned out of the house. Perhotin’s carrying everything before him, bravo! I could kiss the silly old noodle for turning him out of the house. And he had written this doggerel. ‘It’s the first time I’ve soiled my hands with writing poetry,’ he said. ‘It’s to win her heart, so it’s in a good cause. When I get hold of the silly woman’s fortune, I can be of great social utility.’ They have this social justification for every nasty thing they do! ‘Anyway it’s better than your Pushkin’s poetry,’ he said, ‘for I’ve managed to advocate enlightenment even in that.’ I understand what he means about Pushkin, I quite see that, if he really was a man of talent and only wrote about women’s feet. But wasn’t Rakitin stuck up about his doggerel! The vanity of these fellows! ‘On the convalescence of the swollen foot of the object of my affections’⁠—he thought of that for a title. He’s a waggish fellow.

A captivating little foot,
Though swollen and red and tender!
The doctors come and plasters put,
But still they cannot mend her.

Yet, ’tis not for her foot I dread⁠—
A theme for Pushkin’s muse more fit⁠—
It’s not her foot, it is her head:
I tremble for her loss of wit!

For as her foot swells, strange to say,
Her intellect is on the wane⁠—
Oh, for some remedy I pray
That may restore both foot and brain!

He is a pig, a regular pig, but he’s very arch, the rascal! And he really has put in a progressive idea. And wasn’t he angry when she kicked him out! He was gnashing his teeth!”

“He’s taken his revenge already,” said Alyosha. “He’s written a paragraph about Madame Hohlakov.”

And Alyosha told him briefly about the paragraph in Gossip.

“That’s his doing, that’s his doing!” Mitya assented, frowning. “That’s him! These paragraphs⁠ ⁠… I know⁠ ⁠… the insulting things that have been written about Grushenka, for instance.⁠ ⁠… And about Katya, too.⁠ ⁠… H’m!”

He walked across the room with a harassed air.

“Brother, I cannot stay long,” Alyosha said, after a pause. “Tomorrow will be a great and awful day for you, the judgment of God will be accomplished⁠ ⁠… I am amazed at you, you walk about here, talking of I don’t know what⁠ ⁠…”

“No, don’t be amazed at me,” Mitya broke in warmly. “Am I to talk of that stinking dog? Of the murderer? We’ve talked enough of him. I don’t want to say more of the stinking son of Stinking Lizaveta! God will kill him, you will see. Hush!”

He went up to Alyosha excitedly and kissed him. His eyes glowed.

“Rakitin wouldn’t understand it,” he began in a sort of exaltation; “but you, you’ll understand it all. That’s why I was thirsting for you. You see, there’s so much I’ve been wanting to tell you for ever so long, here, within these peeling walls, but I haven’t said a word about what matters most; the moment never seems to have come. Now I can wait no longer. I must pour out my heart to you. Brother, these last two months I’ve found in myself a new man. A new man has risen up in me. He was hidden in me, but would never have come to the surface, if it hadn’t been for this blow from heaven. I am afraid! And what do I care if I spend twenty years in the mines, breaking ore with a hammer? I am not a bit afraid of that⁠—it’s something else I am afraid of now: that that new man may leave me. Even there, in the mines, underground, I may find a human heart in another convict and murderer by my side, and I may make friends with him, for even there one may live and love and suffer. One may thaw and revive a frozen heart in that convict, one may wait upon him for years, and at last bring up from the dark depths a lofty soul, a feeling, suffering creature; one may bring forth an angel, create a hero! There are so many of them, hundreds of them, and we are all to blame for them. Why was it I dreamed of that ‘babe’ at such a moment? ‘Why is the babe so poor?’ That was a sign to me at that moment. It’s for the babe I’m going. Because we are all responsible for all. For all the ‘babes,’ for there are big children as well as little children. All are ‘babes.’ I go for all, because someone must go for all. I didn’t kill father, but I’ve got to go. I accept it. It’s all come to me here, here, within these peeling walls. There are numbers of them there, hundreds of them underground, with hammers in their hands. Oh, yes, we shall be in chains and there will be no freedom, but then, in our great sorrow, we shall rise again to joy, without which man cannot live nor God exist, for God gives joy: it’s His privilege⁠—a grand one. Ah, man should be dissolved in prayer! What should I be underground there without God? Rakitin’s laughing! If they drive God from the earth, we shall shelter Him underground. One cannot exist in prison without God; it’s even more impossible than out of prison. And then we men underground will sing from the bowels of the earth a glorious hymn to God, with Whom is joy. Hail to God and His joy! I love Him!”

Mitya was almost gasping for breath as he uttered his wild speech. He turned pale, his lips quivered, and tears rolled down his cheeks.

“Yes, life is full, there is life even underground,” he began again. “You wouldn’t believe, Alexey, how I want to live now, what a thirst for existence and consciousness has sprung up in me within these peeling walls. Rakitin doesn’t understand that; all he cares about is building a house and letting flats. But I’ve been longing for you. And what is suffering? I am not afraid of it, even if it were beyond reckoning. I am not afraid of it now. I was afraid of it before. Do you know, perhaps I won’t answer at the trial at all.⁠ ⁠… And I seem to have such strength in me now, that I think I could stand anything, any suffering, only to be able to say and to repeat to myself every moment, ‘I exist.’ In thousands of agonies⁠—I exist. I’m tormented on the rack⁠—but I exist! Though I sit alone on a pillar⁠—I exist! I see the sun, and if I don’t see the sun, I know it’s there. And there’s a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there. Alyosha, my angel, all these philosophies are the death of me. Damn them! Brother Ivan⁠—”

“What of brother Ivan?” interrupted Alyosha, but Mitya did not hear.

“You see, I never had any of these doubts before, but it was all hidden away in me. It was perhaps just because ideas I did not understand were surging up in me, that I used to drink and fight and rage. It was to stifle them in myself, to still them, to smother them. Ivan is not Rakitin, there is an idea in him. Ivan is a sphinx and is silent; he is always silent. It’s God that’s worrying me. That’s the only thing that’s worrying me. What if He doesn’t exist? What if Rakitin’s right⁠—that it’s an idea made up by men? Then if He doesn’t exist, man is the chief of the earth, of the universe. Magnificent! Only how is he going to be good without God? That’s the question. I always come back to that. For whom is man going to love then? To whom will he be thankful? To whom will he sing the hymn? Rakitin laughs. Rakitin says that one can love humanity without God. Well, only a sniveling idiot can maintain that. I can’t understand it. Life’s easy for Rakitin. ‘You’d better think about the extension of civic rights, or even of keeping down the price of meat. You will show your love for humanity more simply and directly by that, than by philosophy.’ I answered him, ‘Well, but you, without a God, are more likely to raise the price of meat, if it suits you, and make a rouble on every copeck.’ He lost his temper. But after all, what is goodness? Answer me that, Alexey. Goodness is one thing with me and another with a Chinaman, so it’s a relative thing. Or isn’t it? Is it not relative? A treacherous question! You won’t laugh if I tell you it’s kept me awake two nights. I only wonder now how people can live and think nothing about it. Vanity! Ivan has no God. He has an idea. It’s beyond me. But he is silent. I believe he is a freemason. I asked him, but he is silent. I wanted to drink from the springs of his soul⁠—he was silent. But once he did drop a word.”

“What did he say?” Alyosha took it up quickly.

“I said to him, ‘Then everything is lawful, if it is so?’ He frowned. ‘Fyodor Pavlovitch, our papa,’ he said, ‘was a pig, but his ideas were right enough.’ That was what he dropped. That was all he said. That was going one better than Rakitin.”

“Yes,” Alyosha assented bitterly. “When was he with you?”

“Of that later; now I must speak of something else. I have said nothing about Ivan to you before. I put it off to the last. When my business here is over and the verdict has been given, then I’ll tell you something. I’ll tell you everything. We’ve something tremendous on hand.⁠ ⁠… And you shall be my judge in it. But don’t begin about that now; be silent. You talk of tomorrow, of the trial; but, would you believe it, I know nothing about it.”

“Have you talked to the counsel?”

“What’s the use of the counsel? I told him all about it. He’s a soft, city-bred rogue⁠—a Bernard! But he doesn’t believe me⁠—not a bit of it. Only imagine, he believes I did it. I see it. ‘In that case,’ I asked him, ‘why have you come to defend me?’ Hang them all! They’ve got a doctor down, too, want to prove I’m mad. I won’t have that! Katerina Ivanovna wants to do her ‘duty’ to the end, whatever the strain!” Mitya smiled bitterly. “The cat! Hardhearted creature! She knows that I said of her at Mokroe that she was a woman of ‘great wrath.’ They repeated it. Yes, the facts against me have grown numerous as the sands of the sea. Grigory sticks to his point. Grigory’s honest, but a fool. Many people are honest because they are fools: that’s Rakitin’s idea. Grigory’s my enemy. And there are some people who are better as foes than friends. I mean Katerina Ivanovna. I am afraid, oh, I am afraid she will tell how she bowed to the ground after that four thousand. She’ll pay it back to the last farthing. I don’t want her sacrifice; they’ll put me to shame at the trial. I wonder how I can stand it. Go to her, Alyosha, ask her not to speak of that in the court, can’t you? But damn it all, it doesn’t matter! I shall get through somehow. I don’t pity her. It’s her own doing. She deserves what she gets. I shall have my own story to tell, Alexey.” He smiled bitterly again. “Only⁠ ⁠… only Grusha, Grusha! Good Lord! Why should she have such suffering to bear?” he exclaimed suddenly, with tears. “Grusha’s killing me; the thought of her’s killing me, killing me. She was with me just now.⁠ ⁠…”

“She told me she was very much grieved by you today.”

“I know. Confound my temper! It was jealousy. I was sorry, I kissed her as she was going. I didn’t ask her forgiveness.”

“Why didn’t you?” exclaimed Alyosha.

Suddenly Mitya laughed almost mirthfully.

“God preserve you, my dear boy, from ever asking forgiveness for a fault from a woman you love. From one you love especially, however greatly you may have been in fault. For a woman⁠—devil only knows what to make of a woman! I know something about them, anyway. But try acknowledging you are in fault to a woman. Say, ‘I am sorry, forgive me,’ and a shower of reproaches will follow! Nothing will make her forgive you simply and directly, she’ll humble you to the dust, bring forward things that have never happened, recall everything, forget nothing, add something of her own, and only then forgive you. And even the best, the best of them do it. She’ll scrape up all the scrapings and load them on your head. They are ready to flay you alive, I tell you, every one of them, all these angels without whom we cannot live! I tell you plainly and openly, dear boy, every decent man ought to be under some woman’s thumb. That’s my conviction⁠—not conviction, but feeling. A man ought to be magnanimous, and it’s no disgrace to a man! No disgrace to a hero, not even a Caesar! But don’t ever beg her pardon all the same for anything. Remember that rule given you by your brother Mitya, who’s come to ruin through women. No, I’d better make it up to Grusha somehow, without begging pardon. I worship her, Alexey, worship her. Only she doesn’t see it. No, she still thinks I don’t love her enough. And she tortures me, tortures me with her love. The past was nothing! In the past it was only those infernal curves of hers that tortured me, but now I’ve taken all her soul into my soul and through her I’ve become a man myself. Will they marry us? If they don’t, I shall die of jealousy. I imagine something every day.⁠ ⁠… What did she say to you about me?”

Alyosha repeated all Grushenka had said to him that day. Mitya listened, made him repeat things, and seemed pleased.

“Then she is not angry at my being jealous?” he exclaimed. “She is a regular woman! ‘I’ve a fierce heart myself!’ Ah, I love such fierce hearts, though I can’t bear anyone’s being jealous of me. I can’t endure it. We shall fight. But I shall love her, I shall love her infinitely. Will they marry us? Do they let convicts marry? That’s the question. And without her I can’t exist.⁠ ⁠…”

Mitya walked frowning across the room. It was almost dark. He suddenly seemed terribly worried.

“So there’s a secret, she says, a secret? We have got up a plot against her, and Katya is mixed up in it, she thinks. No, my good Grushenka, that’s not it. You are very wide of the mark, in your foolish feminine way. Alyosha, darling, well, here goes! I’ll tell you our secret!”

He looked round, went close up quickly to Alyosha, who was standing before him, and whispered to him with an air of mystery, though in reality no one could hear them: the old warder was dozing in the corner, and not a word could reach the ears of the soldiers on guard.

“I will tell you all our secret,” Mitya whispered hurriedly. “I meant to tell you later, for how could I decide on anything without you? You are everything to me. Though I say that Ivan is superior to us, you are my angel. It’s your decision will decide it. Perhaps it’s you that is superior and not Ivan. You see, it’s a question of conscience, question of the higher conscience⁠—the secret is so important that I can’t settle it myself, and I’ve put it off till I could speak to you. But anyway it’s too early to decide now, for we must wait for the verdict. As soon as the verdict is given, you shall decide my fate. Don’t decide it now. I’ll tell you now. You listen, but don’t decide. Stand and keep quiet. I won’t tell you everything. I’ll only tell you the idea, without details, and you keep quiet. Not a question, not a movement. You agree? But, goodness, what shall I do with your eyes? I’m afraid your eyes will tell me your decision, even if you don’t speak. Oo! I’m afraid! Alyosha, listen! Ivan suggests my escaping. I won’t tell you the details: it’s all been thought out: it can all be arranged. Hush, don’t decide. I should go to America with Grusha. You know I can’t live without Grusha! What if they won’t let her follow me to Siberia? Do they let convicts get married? Ivan thinks not. And without Grusha what should I do there underground with a hammer? I should only smash my skull with the hammer! But, on the other hand, my conscience? I should have run away from suffering. A sign has come, I reject the sign. I have a way of salvation and I turn my back on it. Ivan says that in America, ‘with the goodwill,’ I can be of more use than underground. But what becomes of our hymn from underground? What’s America? America is vanity again! And there’s a lot of swindling in America, too, I expect. I should have run away from crucifixion! I tell you, you know, Alexey, because you are the only person who can understand this. There’s no one else. It’s folly, madness to others, all I’ve told you of the hymn. They’ll say I’m out of my mind or a fool. I am not out of my mind and I am not a fool. Ivan understands about the hymn, too. He understands, only he doesn’t answer⁠—he doesn’t speak. He doesn’t believe in the hymn. Don’t speak, don’t speak. I see how you look! You have already decided. Don’t decide, spare me! I can’t live without Grusha. Wait till after the trial!”

Mitya ended beside himself. He held Alyosha with both hands on his shoulders, and his yearning, feverish eyes were fixed on his brother’s.

“They don’t let convicts marry, do they?” he repeated for the third time in a supplicating voice.

Alyosha listened with extreme surprise and was deeply moved.

“Tell me one thing,” he said. “Is Ivan very keen on it, and whose idea was it?”

“His, his, and he is very keen on it. He didn’t come to see me at first, then he suddenly came a week ago and he began about it straight away. He is awfully keen on it. He doesn’t ask me, but orders me to escape. He doesn’t doubt of my obeying him, though I showed him all my heart as I have to you, and told him about the hymn, too. He told me he’d arrange it; he’s found out about everything. But of that later. He’s simply set on it. It’s all a matter of money: he’ll pay ten thousand for escape and give me twenty thousand for America. And he says we can arrange a magnificent escape for ten thousand.”

“And he told you on no account to tell me?” Alyosha asked again.

“To tell no one, and especially not you; on no account to tell you. He is afraid, no doubt, that you’ll stand before me as my conscience. Don’t tell him I told you. Don’t tell him, for anything.”

“You are right,” Alyosha pronounced; “it’s impossible to decide anything before the trial is over. After the trial you’ll decide of yourself. Then you’ll find that new man in yourself and he will decide.”

“A new man, or a Bernard who’ll decide à la Bernard, for I believe I’m a contemptible Bernard myself,” said Mitya, with a bitter grin.

“But, brother, have you no hope then of being acquitted?”

Mitya shrugged his shoulders nervously and shook his head. “Alyosha, darling, it’s time you were going,” he said, with a sudden haste. “There’s the superintendent shouting in the yard. He’ll be here directly. We are late; it’s irregular. Embrace me quickly. Kiss me! Sign me with the cross, darling, for the cross I have to bear tomorrow.”

They embraced and kissed.

“Ivan,” said Mitya suddenly, “suggests my escaping; but, of course, he believes I did it.”

A mournful smile came on to his lips.

“Have you asked him whether he believes it?” asked Alyosha.

“No, I haven’t. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I hadn’t the courage. But I saw it from his eyes. Well, goodbye!”

Once more they kissed hurriedly, and Alyosha was just going out, when Mitya suddenly called him back.

“Stand facing me! That’s right!” And again he seized Alyosha, putting both hands on his shoulders. His face became suddenly quite pale, so that it was dreadfully apparent, even through the gathering darkness. His lips twitched, his eyes fastened upon Alyosha.

“Alyosha, tell me the whole truth, as you would before God. Do you believe I did it? Do you, do you in yourself, believe it? The whole truth, don’t lie!” he cried desperately.

Everything seemed heaving before Alyosha, and he felt something like a stab at his heart.

“Hush! What do you mean?” he faltered helplessly.

“The whole truth, the whole, don’t lie!” repeated Mitya.

“I’ve never for one instant believed that you were the murderer!” broke in a shaking voice from Alyosha’s breast, and he raised his right hand in the air, as though calling God to witness his words.

Mitya’s whole face was lighted up with bliss.

“Thank you!” he articulated slowly, as though letting a sigh escape him after fainting. “Now you have given me new life. Would you believe it, till this moment I’ve been afraid to ask you, you, even you. Well, go! You’ve given me strength for tomorrow. God bless you! Come, go along! Love Ivan!” was Mitya’s last word.

Alyosha went out in tears. Such distrustfulness in Mitya, such lack of confidence even to him, to Alyosha⁠—all this suddenly opened before Alyosha an unsuspected depth of hopeless grief and despair in the soul of his unhappy brother. Intense, infinite compassion overwhelmed him instantly. There was a poignant ache in his torn heart. “Love Ivan!”⁠—he suddenly recalled Mitya’s words. And he was going to Ivan. He badly wanted to see Ivan all day. He was as much worried about Ivan as about Mitya, and more than ever now.


Not You, Not You!
On the way to Ivan he had to pass the house where Katerina Ivanovna was living. There was light in the windows. He suddenly stopped and resolved to go in. He had not seen Katerina Ivanovna for more than a week. But now it struck him that Ivan might be with her, especially on the eve of the terrible day. Ringing, and mounting the staircase, which was dimly lighted by a Chinese lantern, he saw a man coming down, and as they met, he recognized him as his brother. So he was just coming from Katerina Ivanovna.

“Ah, it’s only you,” said Ivan dryly. “Well, goodbye! You are going to her?”


“I don’t advise you to; she’s upset and you’ll upset her more.”

A door was instantly flung open above, and a voice cried suddenly:

“No, no! Alexey Fyodorovitch, have you come from him?”

“Yes, I have been with him.”

“Has he sent me any message? Come up, Alyosha, and you, Ivan Fyodorovitch, you must come back, you must. Do you hear?”

There was such a peremptory note in Katya’s voice that Ivan, after a moment’s hesitation, made up his mind to go back with Alyosha.

“She was listening,” he murmured angrily to himself, but Alyosha heard it.

“Excuse my keeping my greatcoat on,” said Ivan, going into the drawing-room. “I won’t sit down. I won’t stay more than a minute.”

“Sit down, Alexey Fyodorovitch,” said Katerina Ivanovna, though she remained standing. She had changed very little during this time, but there was an ominous gleam in her dark eyes. Alyosha remembered afterwards that she had struck him as particularly handsome at that moment.

“What did he ask you to tell me?”

“Only one thing,” said Alyosha, looking her straight in the face, “that you would spare yourself and say nothing at the trial of what” (he was a little confused) “… passed between you⁠ ⁠… at the time of your first acquaintance⁠ ⁠… in that town.”

“Ah! that I bowed down to the ground for that money!” She broke into a bitter laugh. “Why, is he afraid for me or for himself? He asks me to spare⁠—whom? Him or myself? Tell me, Alexey Fyodorovitch!”

Alyosha watched her intently, trying to understand her.

“Both yourself and him,” he answered softly.

“I am glad to hear it,” she snapped out maliciously, and she suddenly blushed.

“You don’t know me yet, Alexey Fyodorovitch,” she said menacingly. “And I don’t know myself yet. Perhaps you’ll want to trample me under foot after my examination tomorrow.”

“You will give your evidence honorably,” said Alyosha; “that’s all that’s wanted.”

“Women are often dishonorable,” she snarled. “Only an hour ago I was thinking I felt afraid to touch that monster⁠ ⁠… as though he were a reptile⁠ ⁠… but no, he is still a human being to me! But did he do it? Is he the murderer?” she cried, all of a sudden, hysterically, turning quickly to Ivan. Alyosha saw at once that she had asked Ivan that question before, perhaps only a moment before he came in, and not for the first time, but for the hundredth, and that they had ended by quarreling.

“I’ve been to see Smerdyakov.⁠ ⁠… It was you, you who persuaded me that he murdered his father. It’s only you I believed!” she continued, still addressing Ivan. He gave her a sort of strained smile. Alyosha started at her tone. He had not suspected such familiar intimacy between them.

“Well, that’s enough, anyway,” Ivan cut short the conversation. “I am going. I’ll come tomorrow.” And turning at once, he walked out of the room and went straight downstairs.

With an imperious gesture, Katerina Ivanovna seized Alyosha by both hands.

“Follow him! Overtake him! Don’t leave him alone for a minute!” she said, in a hurried whisper. “He’s mad! Don’t you know that he’s mad? He is in a fever, nervous fever. The doctor told me so. Go, run after him.⁠ ⁠…”

Alyosha jumped up and ran after Ivan, who was not fifty paces ahead of him.

“What do you want?” He turned quickly on Alyosha, seeing that he was running after him. “She told you to catch me up, because I’m mad. I know it all by heart,” he added irritably.

“She is mistaken, of course; but she is right that you are ill,” said Alyosha. “I was looking at your face just now. You look very ill, Ivan.”

Ivan walked on without stopping. Alyosha followed him.

“And do you know, Alexey Fyodorovitch, how people do go out of their mind?” Ivan asked in a voice suddenly quiet, without a trace of irritation, with a note of the simplest curiosity.

“No, I don’t. I suppose there are all kinds of insanity.”

“And can one observe that one’s going mad oneself?”

“I imagine one can’t see oneself clearly in such circumstances,” Alyosha answered with surprise.

Ivan paused for half a minute.

“If you want to talk to me, please change the subject,” he said suddenly.

“Oh, while I think of it, I have a letter for you,” said Alyosha timidly, and he took Lise’s note from his pocket and held it out to Ivan. They were just under a lamppost. Ivan recognized the handwriting at once.

“Ah, from that little demon!” he laughed maliciously, and, without opening the envelope, he tore it into bits and threw it in the air. The bits were scattered by the wind.

“She’s not sixteen yet, I believe, and already offering herself,” he said contemptuously, striding along the street again.

“How do you mean, offering herself?” exclaimed Alyosha.

“As wanton women offer themselves, to be sure.”

“How can you, Ivan, how can you?” Alyosha cried warmly, in a grieved voice. “She is a child; you are insulting a child! She is ill; she is very ill, too. She is on the verge of insanity, too, perhaps.⁠ ⁠… I had hoped to hear something from you⁠ ⁠… that would save her.”

“You’ll hear nothing from me. If she is a child I am not her nurse. Be quiet, Alexey. Don’t go on about her. I am not even thinking about it.”

They were silent again for a moment.

“She will be praying all night now to the Mother of God to show her how to act tomorrow at the trial,” he said sharply and angrily again.

“You⁠ ⁠… you mean Katerina Ivanovna?”

“Yes. Whether she’s to save Mitya or ruin him. She’ll pray for light from above. She can’t make up her mind for herself, you see. She has not had time to decide yet. She takes me for her nurse, too. She wants me to sing lullabies to her.”

“Katerina Ivanovna loves you, brother,” said Alyosha sadly.

“Perhaps; but I am not very keen on her.”

“She is suffering. Why do you⁠ ⁠… sometimes say things to her that give her hope?” Alyosha went on, with timid reproach. “I know that you’ve given her hope. Forgive me for speaking to you like this,” he added.

“I can’t behave to her as I ought⁠—break off altogether and tell her so straight out,” said Ivan, irritably. “I must wait till sentence is passed on the murderer. If I break off with her now, she will avenge herself on me by ruining that scoundrel tomorrow at the trial, for she hates him and knows she hates him. It’s all a lie⁠—lie upon lie! As long as I don’t break off with her, she goes on hoping, and she won’t ruin that monster, knowing how I want to get him out of trouble. If only that damned verdict would come!”

The words “murderer” and “monster” echoed painfully in Alyosha’s heart.

“But how can she ruin Mitya?” he asked, pondering on Ivan’s words. “What evidence can she give that would ruin Mitya?”

“You don’t know that yet. She’s got a document in her hands, in Mitya’s own writing, that proves conclusively that he did murder Fyodor Pavlovitch.”

“That’s impossible!” cried Alyosha.

“Why is it impossible? I’ve read it myself.”

“There can’t be such a document!” Alyosha repeated warmly. “There can’t be, because he’s not the murderer. It’s not he murdered father, not he!”

Ivan suddenly stopped.

“Who is the murderer then, according to you?” he asked, with apparent coldness. There was even a supercilious note in his voice.

“You know who,” Alyosha pronounced in a low, penetrating voice.

“Who? You mean the myth about that crazy idiot, the epileptic, Smerdyakov?”

Alyosha suddenly felt himself trembling all over.

“You know who,” broke helplessly from him. He could scarcely breathe.

“Who? Who?” Ivan cried almost fiercely. All his restraint suddenly vanished.

“I only know one thing,” Alyosha went on, still almost in a whisper, “it wasn’t you killed father.”

“ ‘Not you’! What do you mean by ‘not you’?” Ivan was thunderstruck.

“It was not you killed father, not you!” Alyosha repeated firmly.

The silence lasted for half a minute.

“I know I didn’t. Are you raving?” said Ivan, with a pale, distorted smile. His eyes were riveted on Alyosha. They were standing again under a lamppost.

“No, Ivan. You’ve told yourself several times that you are the murderer.”

“When did I say so? I was in Moscow.⁠ ⁠… When have I said so?” Ivan faltered helplessly.

“You’ve said so to yourself many times, when you’ve been alone during these two dreadful months,” Alyosha went on softly and distinctly as before. Yet he was speaking now, as it were, not of himself, not of his own will, but obeying some irresistible command. “You have accused yourself and have confessed to yourself that you are the murderer and no one else. But you didn’t do it: you are mistaken: you are not the murderer. Do you hear? It was not you! God has sent me to tell you so.”

They were both silent. The silence lasted a whole long minute. They were both standing still, gazing into each other’s eyes. They were both pale. Suddenly Ivan began trembling all over, and clutched Alyosha’s shoulder.

“You’ve been in my room!” he whispered hoarsely. “You’ve been there at night, when he came.⁠ ⁠… Confess⁠ ⁠… have you seen him, have you seen him?”

“Whom do you mean⁠—Mitya?” Alyosha asked, bewildered.

“Not him, damn the monster!” Ivan shouted, in a frenzy. “Do you know that he visits me? How did you find out? Speak!”

“Who is he! I don’t know whom you are talking about,” Alyosha faltered, beginning to be alarmed.

“Yes, you do know⁠ ⁠… or how could you⁠—? It’s impossible that you don’t know.”

Suddenly he seemed to check himself. He stood still and seemed to reflect. A strange grin contorted his lips.

“Brother,” Alyosha began again, in a shaking voice, “I have said this to you, because you’ll believe my word, I know that. I tell you once and for all, it’s not you. You hear, once for all! God has put it into my heart to say this to you, even though it may make you hate me from this hour.”

But by now Ivan had apparently regained his self-control.

“Alexey Fyodorovitch,” he said, with a cold smile, “I can’t endure prophets and epileptics⁠—messengers from God especially⁠—and you know that only too well. I break off all relations with you from this moment and probably forever. I beg you to leave me at this turning. It’s the way to your lodgings, too. You’d better be particularly careful not to come to me today! Do you hear?”

He turned and walked on with a firm step, not looking back.

“Brother,” Alyosha called after him, “if anything happens to you today, turn to me before anyone!”

But Ivan made no reply. Alyosha stood under the lamppost at the cross roads, till Ivan had vanished into the darkness. Then he turned and walked slowly homewards. Both Alyosha and Ivan were living in lodgings; neither of them was willing to live in Fyodor Pavlovitch’s empty house. Alyosha had a furnished room in the house of some working people. Ivan lived some distance from him. He had taken a roomy and fairly comfortable lodge attached to a fine house that belonged to a well-to-do lady, the widow of an official. But his only attendant was a deaf and rheumatic old crone who went to bed at six o’clock every evening and got up at six in the morning. Ivan had become remarkably indifferent to his comforts of late, and very fond of being alone. He did everything for himself in the one room he lived in, and rarely entered any of the other rooms in his abode.

He reached the gate of the house and had his hand on the bell, when he suddenly stopped. He felt that he was trembling all over with anger. Suddenly he let go of the bell, turned back with a curse, and walked with rapid steps in the opposite direction. He walked a mile and a half to a tiny, slanting, wooden house, almost a hut, where Marya Kondratyevna, the neighbor who used to come to Fyodor Pavlovitch’s kitchen for soup and to whom Smerdyakov had once sung his songs and played on the guitar, was now lodging. She had sold their little house, and was now living here with her mother. Smerdyakov, who was ill⁠—almost dying⁠—had been with them ever since Fyodor Pavlovitch’s death. It was to him Ivan was going now, drawn by a sudden and irresistible prompting.


The First Interview with Smerdyakov
This was the third time that Ivan had been to see Smerdyakov since his return from Moscow. The first time he had seen him and talked to him was on the first day of his arrival, then he had visited him once more, a fortnight later. But his visits had ended with that second one, so that it was now over a month since he had seen him. And he had scarcely heard anything of him.

Ivan had only returned five days after his father’s death, so that he was not present at the funeral, which took place the day before he came back. The cause of his delay was that Alyosha, not knowing his Moscow address, had to apply to Katerina Ivanovna to telegraph to him, and she, not knowing his address either, telegraphed to her sister and aunt, reckoning on Ivan’s going to see them as soon as he arrived in Moscow. But he did not go to them till four days after his arrival. When he got the telegram, he had, of course, set off post-haste to our town. The first to meet him was Alyosha, and Ivan was greatly surprised to find that, in opposition to the general opinion of the town, he refused to entertain a suspicion against Mitya, and spoke openly of Smerdyakov as the murderer. Later on, after seeing the police captain and the prosecutor, and hearing the details of the charge and the arrest, he was still more surprised at Alyosha, and ascribed his opinion only to his exaggerated brotherly feeling and sympathy with Mitya, of whom Alyosha, as Ivan knew, was very fond.

By the way, let us say a word or two of Ivan’s feeling to his brother Dmitri. He positively disliked him; at most, felt sometimes a compassion for him, and even that was mixed with great contempt, almost repugnance. Mitya’s whole personality, even his appearance, was extremely unattractive to him. Ivan looked with indignation on Katerina Ivanovna’s love for his brother. Yet he went to see Mitya on the first day of his arrival, and that interview, far from shaking Ivan’s belief in his guilt, positively strengthened it. He found his brother agitated, nervously excited. Mitya had been talkative, but very absentminded and incoherent. He used violent language, accused Smerdyakov, and was fearfully muddled. He talked principally about the three thousand roubles, which he said had been “stolen” from him by his father.

“The money was mine, it was my money,” Mitya kept repeating. “Even if I had stolen it, I should have had the right.”

He hardly contested the evidence against him, and if he tried to turn a fact to his advantage, it was in an absurd and incoherent way. He hardly seemed to wish to defend himself to Ivan or anyone else. Quite the contrary, he was angry and proudly scornful of the charges against him; he was continually firing up and abusing everyone. He only laughed contemptuously at Grigory’s evidence about the open door, and declared that it was “the devil that opened it.” But he could not bring forward any coherent explanation of the fact. He even succeeded in insulting Ivan during their first interview, telling him sharply that it was not for people who declared that “everything was lawful,” to suspect and question him. Altogether he was anything but friendly with Ivan on that occasion. Immediately after that interview with Mitya, Ivan went for the first time to see Smerdyakov.

In the railway train on his way from Moscow, he kept thinking of Smerdyakov and of his last conversation with him on the evening before he went away. Many things seemed to him puzzling and suspicious. But when he gave his evidence to the investigating lawyer Ivan said nothing, for the time, of that conversation. He put that off till he had seen Smerdyakov, who was at that time in the hospital.

Doctor Herzenstube and Varvinsky, the doctor he met in the hospital, confidently asserted in reply to Ivan’s persistent questions, that Smerdyakov’s epileptic attack was unmistakably genuine, and were surprised indeed at Ivan asking whether he might not have been shamming on the day of the catastrophe. They gave him to understand that the attack was an exceptional one, the fits persisting and recurring several times, so that the patient’s life was positively in danger, and it was only now, after they had applied remedies, that they could assert with confidence that the patient would survive. “Though it might well be,” added Doctor Herzenstube, “that his reason would be impaired for a considerable period, if not permanently.” On Ivan’s asking impatiently whether that meant that he was now mad, they told him that this was not yet the case, in the full sense of the word, but that certain abnormalities were perceptible. Ivan decided to find out for himself what those abnormalities were.

At the hospital he was at once allowed to see the patient. Smerdyakov was lying on a truckle-bed in a separate ward. There was only one other bed in the room, and in it lay a tradesman of the town, swollen with dropsy, who was obviously almost dying; he could be no hindrance to their conversation. Smerdyakov grinned uncertainly on seeing Ivan, and for the first instant seemed nervous. So at least Ivan fancied. But that was only momentary. For the rest of the time he was struck, on the contrary, by Smerdyakov’s composure. From the first glance Ivan had no doubt that he was very ill. He was very weak; he spoke slowly, seeming to move his tongue with difficulty; he was much thinner and sallower. Throughout the interview, which lasted twenty minutes, he kept complaining of headache and of pain in all his limbs. His thin emasculate face seemed to have become so tiny; his hair was ruffled, and his crest of curls in front stood up in a thin tuft. But in the left eye, which was screwed up and seemed to be insinuating something, Smerdyakov showed himself unchanged. “It’s always worth while speaking to a clever man.” Ivan was reminded of that at once. He sat down on the stool at his feet. Smerdyakov, with painful effort, shifted his position in bed, but he was not the first to speak. He remained dumb, and did not even look much interested.

“Can you talk to me?” asked Ivan. “I won’t tire you much.”

“Certainly I can,” mumbled Smerdyakov, in a faint voice. “Has your honor been back long?” he added patronizingly, as though encouraging a nervous visitor.

“I only arrived today.⁠ ⁠… To see the mess you are in here.”

Smerdyakov sighed.

“Why do you sigh? You knew of it all along,” Ivan blurted out.

Smerdyakov was stolidly silent for a while.

“How could I help knowing? It was clear beforehand. But how could I tell it would turn out like that?”

“What would turn out? Don’t prevaricate! You’ve foretold you’d have a fit; on the way down to the cellar, you know. You mentioned the very spot.”

“Have you said so at the examination yet?” Smerdyakov queried with composure.

Ivan felt suddenly angry.

“No, I haven’t yet, but I certainly shall. You must explain a great deal to me, my man; and let me tell you, I am not going to let you play with me!”

“Why should I play with you, when I put my whole trust in you, as in God Almighty?” said Smerdyakov, with the same composure, only for a moment closing his eyes.

“In the first place,” began Ivan, “I know that epileptic fits can’t be told beforehand. I’ve inquired; don’t try and take me in. You can’t foretell the day and the hour. How was it you told me the day and the hour beforehand, and about the cellar, too? How could you tell that you would fall down the cellar stairs in a fit, if you didn’t sham a fit on purpose?”

“I had to go to the cellar anyway, several times a day, indeed,” Smerdyakov drawled deliberately. “I fell from the garret just in the same way a year ago. It’s quite true you can’t tell the day and hour of a fit beforehand, but you can always have a presentiment of it.”

“But you did foretell the day and the hour!”

“In regard to my epilepsy, sir, you had much better inquire of the doctors here. You can ask them whether it was a real fit or a sham; it’s no use my saying any more about it.”

“And the cellar? How could you know beforehand of the cellar?”

“You don’t seem able to get over that cellar! As I was going down to the cellar, I was in terrible dread and doubt. What frightened me most was losing you and being left without defense in all the world. So I went down into the cellar thinking, ‘Here, it’ll come on directly, it’ll strike me down directly, shall I fall?’ And it was through this fear that I suddenly felt the spasm that always comes⁠ ⁠… and so I went flying. All that and all my previous conversation with you at the gate the evening before, when I told you how frightened I was and spoke of the cellar, I told all that to Doctor Herzenstube and Nikolay Parfenovitch, the investigating lawyer, and it’s all been written down in the protocol. And the doctor here, Mr. Varvinsky, maintained to all of them that it was just the thought of it brought it on, the apprehension that I might fall. It was just then that the fit seized me. And so they’ve written it down, that it’s just how it must have happened, simply from my fear.”

As he finished, Smerdyakov drew a deep breath, as though exhausted.

“Then you have said all that in your evidence?” said Ivan, somewhat taken aback. He had meant to frighten him with the threat of repeating their conversation, and it appeared that Smerdyakov had already reported it all himself.

“What have I to be afraid of? Let them write down the whole truth,” Smerdyakov pronounced firmly.

“And have you told them every word of our conversation at the gate?”

“No, not to say every word.”

“And did you tell them that you can sham fits, as you boasted then?”

“No, I didn’t tell them that either.”

“Tell me now, why did you send me then to Tchermashnya?”

“I was afraid you’d go away to Moscow; Tchermashnya is nearer, anyway.”

“You are lying; you suggested my going away yourself; you told me to get out of the way of trouble.”

“That was simply out of affection and my sincere devotion to you, foreseeing trouble in the house, to spare you. Only I wanted to spare myself even more. That’s why I told you to get out of harm’s way, that you might understand that there would be trouble in the house, and would remain at home to protect your father.”

“You might have said it more directly, you blockhead!” Ivan suddenly fired up.

“How could I have said it more directly then? It was simply my fear that made me speak, and you might have been angry, too. I might well have been apprehensive that Dmitri Fyodorovitch would make a scene and carry away that money, for he considered it as good as his own; but who could tell that it would end in a murder like this? I thought that he would only carry off the three thousand that lay under the master’s mattress in the envelope, and you see, he’s murdered him. How could you guess it either, sir?”

“But if you say yourself that it couldn’t be guessed, how could I have guessed and stayed at home? You contradict yourself!” said Ivan, pondering.

“You might have guessed from my sending you to Tchermashnya and not to Moscow.”

“How could I guess it from that?”

Smerdyakov seemed much exhausted, and again he was silent for a minute.

“You might have guessed from the fact of my asking you not to go to Moscow, but to Tchermashnya, that I wanted to have you nearer, for Moscow’s a long way off, and Dmitri Fyodorovitch, knowing you are not far off, would not be so bold. And if anything had happened, you might have come to protect me, too, for I warned you of Grigory Vassilyevitch’s illness, and that I was afraid of having a fit. And when I explained those knocks to you, by means of which one could go in to the deceased, and that Dmitri Fyodorovitch knew them all through me, I thought that you would guess yourself that he would be sure to do something, and so wouldn’t go to Tchermashnya even, but would stay.”

“He talks very coherently,” thought Ivan, “though he does mumble; what’s the derangement of his faculties that Herzenstube talked of?”

“You are cunning with me, damn you!” he exclaimed, getting angry.

“But I thought at the time that you quite guessed,” Smerdyakov parried with the simplest air.

“If I’d guessed, I should have stayed,” cried Ivan.

“Why, I thought that it was because you guessed, that you went away in such a hurry, only to get out of trouble, only to run away and save yourself in your fright.”

“You think that everyone is as great a coward as yourself?”

“Forgive me, I thought you were like me.”

“Of course, I ought to have guessed,” Ivan said in agitation; “and I did guess there was some mischief brewing on your part⁠ ⁠… only you are lying, you are lying again,” he cried, suddenly recollecting. “Do you remember how you went up to the carriage and said to me, ‘It’s always worth while speaking to a clever man’? So you were glad I went away, since you praised me?”

Smerdyakov sighed again and again. A trace of color came into his face.

“If I was pleased,” he articulated rather breathlessly, “it was simply because you agreed not to go to Moscow, but to Tchermashnya. For it was nearer, anyway. Only when I said these words to you, it was not by way of praise, but of reproach. You didn’t understand it.”

“What reproach?”

“Why, that foreseeing such a calamity you deserted your own father, and would not protect us, for I might have been taken up any time for stealing that three thousand.”

“Damn you!” Ivan swore again. “Stay, did you tell the prosecutor and the investigating lawyer about those knocks?”

“I told them everything just as it was.”

Ivan wondered inwardly again.

“If I thought of anything then,” he began again, “it was solely of some wickedness on your part. Dmitri might kill him, but that he would steal⁠—I did not believe that then.⁠ ⁠… But I was prepared for any wickedness from you. You told me yourself you could sham a fit. What did you say that for?”

“It was just through my simplicity, and I never have shammed a fit on purpose in my life. And I only said so then to boast to you. It was just foolishness. I liked you so much then, and was openhearted with you.”

“My brother directly accuses you of the murder and theft.”

“What else is left for him to do?” said Smerdyakov, with a bitter grin. “And who will believe him with all the proofs against him? Grigory Vassilyevitch saw the door open. What can he say after that? But never mind him! He is trembling to save himself.”

He slowly ceased speaking; then suddenly, as though on reflection, added:

“And look here again. He wants to throw it on me and make out that it is the work of my hands⁠—I’ve heard that already. But as to my being clever at shamming a fit: should I have told you beforehand that I could sham one, if I really had had such a design against your father? If I had been planning such a murder could I have been such a fool as to give such evidence against myself beforehand? And to his son, too! Upon my word! Is that likely? As if that could be, such a thing has never happened. No one hears this talk of ours now, except Providence itself, and if you were to tell of it to the prosecutor and Nikolay Parfenovitch you might defend me completely by doing so, for who would be likely to be such a criminal, if he is so openhearted beforehand? Anyone can see that.”

“Well,” and Ivan got up to cut short the conversation, struck by Smerdyakov’s last argument. “I don’t suspect you at all, and I think it’s absurd, indeed, to suspect you. On the contrary, I am grateful to you for setting my mind at rest. Now I am going, but I’ll come again. Meanwhile, goodbye. Get well. Is there anything you want?”

“I am very thankful for everything. Marfa Ignatyevna does not forget me, and provides me anything I want, according to her kindness. Good people visit me every day.”

“Goodbye. But I shan’t say anything of your being able to sham a fit, and I don’t advise you to, either,” something made Ivan say suddenly.

“I quite understand. And if you don’t speak of that, I shall say nothing of that conversation of ours at the gate.”

Then it happened that Ivan went out, and only when he had gone a dozen steps along the corridor, he suddenly felt that there was an insulting significance in Smerdyakov’s last words. He was almost on the point of turning back, but it was only a passing impulse, and muttering, “Nonsense!” he went out of the hospital.

His chief feeling was one of relief at the fact that it was not Smerdyakov, but Mitya, who had committed the murder, though he might have been expected to feel the opposite. He did not want to analyze the reason for this feeling, and even felt a positive repugnance at prying into his sensations. He felt as though he wanted to make haste to forget something. In the following days he became convinced of Mitya’s guilt, as he got to know all the weight of evidence against him. There was evidence of people of no importance, Fenya and her mother, for instance, but the effect of it was almost overpowering. As to Perhotin, the people at the tavern, and at Plotnikov’s shop, as well as the witnesses at Mokroe, their evidence seemed conclusive. It was the details that were so damning. The secret of the knocks impressed the lawyers almost as much as Grigory’s evidence as to the open door. Grigory’s wife, Marfa, in answer to Ivan’s questions, declared that Smerdyakov had been lying all night the other side of the partition wall. “He was not three paces from our bed,” and that although she was a sound sleeper she waked several times and heard him moaning, “He was moaning the whole time, moaning continually.”

Talking to Herzenstube, and giving it as his opinion that Smerdyakov was not mad, but only rather weak, Ivan only evoked from the old man a subtle smile.

“Do you know how he spends his time now?” he asked; “learning lists of French words by heart. He has an exercise-book under his pillow with the French words written out in Russian letters for him by someone, he he he!”

Ivan ended by dismissing all doubts. He could not think of Dmitri without repulsion. Only one thing was strange, however. Alyosha persisted that Dmitri was not the murderer, and that “in all probability” Smerdyakov was. Ivan always felt that Alyosha’s opinion meant a great deal to him, and so he was astonished at it now. Another thing that was strange was that Alyosha did not make any attempt to talk about Mitya with Ivan, that he never began on the subject and only answered his questions. This, too, struck Ivan particularly.

But he was very much preoccupied at that time with something quite apart from that. On his return from Moscow, he abandoned himself hopelessly to his mad and consuming passion for Katerina Ivanovna. This is not the time to begin to speak of this new passion of Ivan’s, which left its mark on all the rest of his life: this would furnish the subject for another novel, which I may perhaps never write. But I cannot omit to mention here that when Ivan, on leaving Katerina Ivanovna with Alyosha, as I’ve related already, told him, “I am not keen on her,” it was an absolute lie: he loved her madly, though at times he hated her so that he might have murdered her. Many causes helped to bring about this feeling. Shattered by what had happened with Mitya, she rushed on Ivan’s return to meet him as her one salvation. She was hurt, insulted and humiliated in her feelings. And here the man had come back to her, who had loved her so ardently before (oh! she knew that very well), and whose heart and intellect she considered so superior to her own. But the sternly virtuous girl did not abandon herself altogether to the man she loved, in spite of the Karamazov violence of his passions and the great fascination he had for her. She was continually tormented at the same time by remorse for having deserted Mitya, and in moments of discord and violent anger (and they were numerous) she told Ivan so plainly. This was what he had called to Alyosha “lies upon lies.” There was, of course, much that was false in it, and that angered Ivan more than anything.⁠ ⁠… But of all this later.

He did, in fact, for a time almost forget Smerdyakov’s existence, and yet, a fortnight after his first visit to him, he began to be haunted by the same strange thoughts as before. It’s enough to say that he was continually asking himself, why was it that on that last night in Fyodor Pavlovitch’s house he had crept out on to the stairs like a thief and listened to hear what his father was doing below? Why had he recalled that afterwards with repulsion? Why next morning, had he been suddenly so depressed on the journey? Why, as he reached Moscow, had he said to himself, “I am a scoundrel”? And now he almost fancied that these tormenting thoughts would make him even forget Katerina Ivanovna, so completely did they take possession of him again. It was just after fancying this, that he met Alyosha in the street. He stopped him at once, and put a question to him:

“Do you remember when Dmitri burst in after dinner and beat father, and afterwards I told you in the yard that I reserved ‘the right to desire’?⁠ ⁠… Tell me, did you think then that I desired father’s death or not?”

“I did think so,” answered Alyosha, softly.

“It was so, too; it was not a matter of guessing. But didn’t you fancy then that what I wished was just that ‘one reptile should devour another’; that is, just that Dmitri should kill father, and as soon as possible⁠ ⁠… and that I myself was even prepared to help to bring that about?”

Alyosha turned rather pale, and looked silently into his brother’s face.

“Speak!” cried Ivan, “I want above everything to know what you thought then. I want the truth, the truth!”

He drew a deep breath, looking angrily at Alyosha before his answer came.

“Forgive me, I did think that, too, at the time,” whispered Alyosha, and he did not add one softening phrase.

“Thanks,” snapped Ivan, and, leaving Alyosha, he went quickly on his way. From that time Alyosha noticed that Ivan began obviously to avoid him and seemed even to have taken a dislike to him, so much so that Alyosha gave up going to see him. Immediately after that meeting with him, Ivan had not gone home, but went straight to Smerdyakov again.


The Second Visit to Smerdyakov
By that time Smerdyakov had been discharged from the hospital. Ivan knew his new lodging, the dilapidated little wooden house, divided in two by a passage on one side of which lived Marya Kondratyevna and her mother, and on the other, Smerdyakov. No one knew on what terms he lived with them, whether as a friend or as a lodger. It was supposed afterwards that he had come to stay with them as Marya Kondratyevna’s betrothed, and was living there for a time without paying for board or lodging. Both mother and daughter had the greatest respect for him and looked upon him as greatly superior to themselves.

Ivan knocked, and, on the door being opened, went straight into the passage. By Marya Kondratyevna’s directions he went straight to the better room on the left, occupied by Smerdyakov. There was a tiled stove in the room and it was extremely hot. The walls were gay with blue paper, which was a good deal used however, and in the cracks under it cockroaches swarmed in amazing numbers, so that there was a continual rustling from them. The furniture was very scanty: two benches against each wall and two chairs by the table. The table of plain wood was covered with a cloth with pink patterns on it. There was a pot of geranium on each of the two little windows. In the corner there was a case of icons. On the table stood a little copper samovar with many dents in it, and a tray with two cups. But Smerdyakov had finished tea and the samovar was out. He was sitting at the table on a bench. He was looking at an exercise-book and slowly writing with a pen. There was a bottle of ink by him and a flat iron candlestick, but with a composite candle. Ivan saw at once from Smerdyakov’s face that he had completely recovered from his illness. His face was fresher, fuller, his hair stood up jauntily in front, and was plastered down at the sides. He was sitting in a particolored, wadded dressing-gown, rather dirty and frayed, however. He had spectacles on his nose, which Ivan had never seen him wearing before. This trifling circumstance suddenly redoubled Ivan’s anger: “A creature like that and wearing spectacles!”

Smerdyakov slowly raised his head and looked intently at his visitor through his spectacles; then he slowly took them off and rose from the bench, but by no means respectfully, almost lazily, doing the least possible required by common civility. All this struck Ivan instantly; he took it all in and noted it at once⁠—most of all the look in Smerdyakov’s eyes, positively malicious, churlish and haughty. “What do you want to intrude for?” it seemed to say; “we settled everything then; why have you come again?” Ivan could scarcely control himself.

“It’s hot here,” he said, still standing, and unbuttoned his overcoat.

“Take off your coat,” Smerdyakov conceded.

Ivan took off his coat and threw it on a bench with trembling hands. He took a chair, moved it quickly to the table and sat down. Smerdyakov managed to sit down on his bench before him.

“To begin with, are we alone?” Ivan asked sternly and impulsively. “Can they overhear us in there?”

“No one can hear anything. You’ve seen for yourself: there’s a passage.”

“Listen, my good fellow; what was that you babbled, as I was leaving the hospital, that if I said nothing about your faculty of shamming fits, you wouldn’t tell the investigating lawyer all our conversation at the gate? What do you mean by all? What could you mean by it? Were you threatening me? Have I entered into some sort of compact with you? Do you suppose I am afraid of you?”

Ivan said this in a perfect fury, giving him to understand with obvious intention that he scorned any subterfuge or indirectness and meant to show his cards. Smerdyakov’s eyes gleamed resentfully, his left eye winked, and he at once gave his answer, with his habitual composure and deliberation. “You want to have everything aboveboard; very well, you shall have it,” he seemed to say.

“This is what I meant then, and this is why I said that, that you, knowing beforehand of this murder of your own parent, left him to his fate, and that people mightn’t after that conclude any evil about your feelings and perhaps of something else, too⁠—that’s what I promised not to tell the authorities.”

Though Smerdyakov spoke without haste and obviously controlling himself, yet there was something in his voice, determined and emphatic, resentful and insolently defiant. He stared impudently at Ivan. A mist passed before Ivan’s eyes for the first moment.

“How? What? Are you out of your mind?”

“I’m perfectly in possession of all my faculties.”

“Do you suppose I knew of the murder?” Ivan cried at last, and he brought his fist violently on the table. “What do you mean by ‘something else, too’? Speak, scoundrel!”

Smerdyakov was silent and still scanned Ivan with the same insolent stare.

“Speak, you stinking rogue, what is that ‘something else, too’?”

“The ‘something else’ I meant was that you probably, too, were very desirous of your parent’s death.”

Ivan jumped up and struck him with all his might on the shoulder, so that he fell back against the wall. In an instant his face was bathed in tears. Saying, “It’s a shame, sir, to strike a sick man,” he dried his eyes with a very dirty blue check handkerchief and sank into quiet weeping. A minute passed.

“That’s enough! Leave off,” Ivan said peremptorily, sitting down again. “Don’t put me out of all patience.”

Smerdyakov took the rag from his eyes. Every line of his puckered face reflected the insult he had just received.

“So you thought then, you scoundrel, that together with Dmitri I meant to kill my father?”

“I didn’t know what thoughts were in your mind then,” said Smerdyakov resentfully; “and so I stopped you then at the gate to sound you on that very point.”

“To sound what, what?”

“Why, that very circumstance, whether you wanted your father to be murdered or not.”

What infuriated Ivan more than anything was the aggressive, insolent tone to which Smerdyakov persistently adhered.

“It was you murdered him?” he cried suddenly.

Smerdyakov smiled contemptuously.

“You know of yourself, for a fact, that it wasn’t I murdered him. And I should have thought that there was no need for a sensible man to speak of it again.”

“But why, why had you such a suspicion about me at the time?”

“As you know already, it was simply from fear. For I was in such a position, shaking with fear, that I suspected everyone. I resolved to sound you, too, for I thought if you wanted the same as your brother, then the business was as good as settled and I should be crushed like a fly, too.”

“Look here, you didn’t say that a fortnight ago.”

“I meant the same when I talked to you in the hospital, only I thought you’d understand without wasting words, and that being such a sensible man you wouldn’t care to talk of it openly.”

“What next! Come answer, answer, I insist: what was it⁠ ⁠… what could I have done to put such a degrading suspicion into your mean soul?”

“As for the murder, you couldn’t have done that and didn’t want to, but as for wanting someone else to do it, that was just what you did want.”

“And how coolly, how coolly he speaks! But why should I have wanted it; what grounds had I for wanting it?”

“What grounds had you? What about the inheritance?” said Smerdyakov sarcastically, and, as it were, vindictively. “Why, after your parent’s death there was at least forty thousand to come to each of you, and very likely more, but if Fyodor Pavlovitch got married then to that lady, Agrafena Alexandrovna, she would have had all his capital made over to her directly after the wedding, for she’s plenty of sense, so that your parent would not have left you two roubles between the three of you. And were they far from a wedding, either? Not a hair’s-breadth: that lady had only to lift her little finger and he would have run after her to church, with his tongue out.”

Ivan restrained himself with painful effort.

“Very good,” he commented at last. “You see, I haven’t jumped up, I haven’t knocked you down, I haven’t killed you. Speak on. So, according to you, I had fixed on Dmitri to do it; I was reckoning on him?”

“How could you help reckoning on him? If he killed him, then he would lose all the rights of a nobleman, his rank and property, and would go off to exile; so his share of the inheritance would come to you and your brother Alexey Fyodorovitch in equal parts; so you’d each have not forty, but sixty thousand each. There’s not a doubt you did reckon on Dmitri Fyodorovitch.”

“What I put up with from you! Listen, scoundrel, if I had reckoned on anyone then, it would have been on you, not on Dmitri, and I swear I did expect some wickedness from you⁠ ⁠… at the time.⁠ ⁠… I remember my impression!”

“I thought, too, for a minute, at the time, that you were reckoning on me as well,” said Smerdyakov, with a sarcastic grin. “So that it was just by that more than anything you showed me what was in your mind. For if you had a foreboding about me and yet went away, you as good as said to me, ‘You can murder my parent, I won’t hinder you!’ ”

“You scoundrel! So that’s how you understood it!”

“It was all that going to Tchermashnya. Why! You were meaning to go to Moscow and refused all your father’s entreaties to go to Tchermashnya⁠—and simply at a foolish word from me you consented at once! What reason had you to consent to Tchermashnya? Since you went to Tchermashnya with no reason, simply at my word, it shows that you must have expected something from me.”

“No, I swear I didn’t!” shouted Ivan, grinding his teeth.

“You didn’t? Then you ought, as your father’s son, to have had me taken to the lockup and thrashed at once for my words then⁠ ⁠… or at least, to have given me a punch in the face on the spot, but you were not a bit angry, if you please, and at once in a friendly way acted on my foolish word and went away, which was utterly absurd, for you ought to have stayed to save your parent’s life. How could I help drawing my conclusions?”

Ivan sat scowling, both his fists convulsively pressed on his knees.

“Yes, I am sorry I didn’t punch you in the face,” he said with a bitter smile. “I couldn’t have taken you to the lockup just then. Who would have believed me and what charge could I bring against you? But the punch in the face⁠ ⁠… oh, I’m sorry I didn’t think of it. Though blows are forbidden, I should have pounded your ugly face to a jelly.”

Smerdyakov looked at him almost with relish.

“In the ordinary occasions of life,” he said in the same complacent and sententious tone in which he had taunted Grigory and argued with him about religion at Fyodor Pavlovitch’s table, “in the ordinary occasions of life, blows on the face are forbidden nowadays by law, and people have given them up, but in exceptional occasions of life people still fly to blows, not only among us but all over the world, be it even the fullest Republic of France, just as in the time of Adam and Eve, and they never will leave off, but you, even in an exceptional case, did not dare.”

“What are you learning French words for?” Ivan nodded towards the exercise-book lying on the table.

“Why shouldn’t I learn them so as to improve my education, supposing that I may myself chance to go some day to those happy parts of Europe?”

“Listen, monster.” Ivan’s eyes flashed and he trembled all over. “I am not afraid of your accusations; you can say what you like about me, and if I don’t beat you to death, it’s simply because I suspect you of that crime and I’ll drag you to justice. I’ll unmask you.”

“To my thinking, you’d better keep quiet, for what can you accuse me of, considering my absolute innocence? and who would believe you? Only if you begin, I shall tell everything, too, for I must defend myself.”

“Do you think I am afraid of you now?”

“If the court doesn’t believe all I’ve said to you just now, the public will, and you will be ashamed.”

“That’s as much as to say, ‘It’s always worth while speaking to a sensible man,’ eh?” snarled Ivan.

“You hit the mark, indeed. And you’d better be sensible.”

Ivan got up, shaking all over with indignation, put on his coat, and without replying further to Smerdyakov, without even looking at him, walked quickly out of the cottage. The cool evening air refreshed him. There was a bright moon in the sky. A nightmare of ideas and sensations filled his soul. “Shall I go at once and give information against Smerdyakov? But what information can I give? He is not guilty, anyway. On the contrary, he’ll accuse me. And in fact, why did I set off for Tchermashnya then? What for? What for?” Ivan asked himself. “Yes, of course, I was expecting something and he is right.⁠ ⁠…” And he remembered for the hundredth time how, on the last night in his father’s house, he had listened on the stairs. But he remembered it now with such anguish that he stood still on the spot as though he had been stabbed. “Yes, I expected it then, that’s true! I wanted the murder, I did want the murder! Did I want the murder? Did I want it? I must kill Smerdyakov! If I don’t dare kill Smerdyakov now, life is not worth living!”

Ivan did not go home, but went straight to Katerina Ivanovna and alarmed her by his appearance. He was like a madman. He repeated all his conversation with Smerdyakov, every syllable of it. He couldn’t be calmed, however much she tried to soothe him: he kept walking about the room, speaking strangely, disconnectedly. At last he sat down, put his elbows on the table, leaned his head on his hands and pronounced this strange sentence: “If it’s not Dmitri, but Smerdyakov who’s the murderer, I share his guilt, for I put him up to it. Whether I did, I don’t know yet. But if he is the murderer, and not Dmitri, then, of course, I am the murderer, too.”

When Katerina Ivanovna heard that, she got up from her seat without a word, went to her writing-table, opened a box standing on it, took out a sheet of paper and laid it before Ivan. This was the document of which Ivan spoke to Alyosha later on as a “conclusive proof” that Dmitri had killed his father. It was the letter written by Mitya to Katerina Ivanovna when he was drunk, on the very evening he met Alyosha at the crossroads on the way to the monastery, after the scene at Katerina Ivanovna’s, when Grushenka had insulted her. Then, parting from Alyosha, Mitya had rushed to Grushenka. I don’t know whether he saw her, but in the evening he was at the “Metropolis,” where he got thoroughly drunk. Then he asked for pen and paper and wrote a document of weighty consequences to himself. It was a wordy, disconnected, frantic letter, a drunken letter in fact. It was like the talk of a drunken man, who, on his return home, begins with extraordinary heat telling his wife or one of his household how he has just been insulted, what a rascal had just insulted him, what a fine fellow he is on the other hand, and how he will pay that scoundrel out; and all that at great length, with great excitement and incoherence, with drunken tears and blows on the table. The letter was written on a dirty piece of ordinary paper of the cheapest kind. It had been provided by the tavern and there were figures scrawled on the back of it. There was evidently not space enough for his drunken verbosity and Mitya not only filled the margins but had written the last line right across the rest. The letter ran as follows:

Fatal Katya: Tomorrow I will get the money and repay your three thousand and farewell, woman of great wrath, but farewell, too, my love! Let us make an end! Tomorrow I shall try and get it from everyone, and if I can’t borrow it, I give you my word of honor I shall go to my father and break his skull and take the money from under the pillow, if only Ivan has gone. If I have to go to Siberia for it, I’ll give you back your three thousand. And farewell. I bow down to the ground before you, for I’ve been a scoundrel to you. Forgive me! No, better not forgive me, you’ll be happier and so shall I! Better Siberia than your love, for I love another woman and you got to know her too well today, so how can you forgive? I will murder the man who’s robbed me! I’ll leave you all and go to the East so as to see no one again. Not her either, for you are not my only tormentress; she is too. Farewell!
P.S.⁠—I write my curse, but I adore you! I hear it in my heart. One string is left, and it vibrates. Better tear my heart in two! I shall kill myself, but first of all that cur. I shall tear three thousand from him and fling it to you. Though I’ve been a scoundrel to you, I am not a thief! You can expect three thousand. The cur keeps it under his mattress, in pink ribbon. I am not a thief, but I’ll murder my thief. Katya, don’t look disdainful. Dmitri is not a thief! but a murderer! He has murdered his father and ruined himself to hold his ground, rather than endure your pride. And he doesn’t love you.
P.P.S.⁠—I kiss your feet, farewell! P.P.P.S.⁠—Katya, pray to God that someone’ll give me the money. Then I shall not be steeped in gore, and if no one does⁠—I shall! Kill me!
Your slave and enemy,
D. Karamazov.

When Ivan read this “document” he was convinced. So then it was his brother, not Smerdyakov. And if not Smerdyakov, then not he, Ivan. This letter at once assumed in his eyes the aspect of a logical proof. There could be no longer the slightest doubt of Mitya’s guilt. The suspicion never occurred to Ivan, by the way, that Mitya might have committed the murder in conjunction with Smerdyakov, and, indeed, such a theory did not fit in with the facts. Ivan was completely reassured. The next morning he only thought of Smerdyakov and his gibes with contempt. A few days later he positively wondered how he could have been so horribly distressed at his suspicions. He resolved to dismiss him with contempt and forget him. So passed a month. He made no further inquiry about Smerdyakov, but twice he happened to hear that he was very ill and out of his mind.

“He’ll end in madness,” the young doctor Varvinsky observed about him, and Ivan remembered this. During the last week of that month Ivan himself began to feel very ill. He went to consult the Moscow doctor who had been sent for by Katerina Ivanovna just before the trial. And just at that time his relations with Katerina Ivanovna became acutely strained. They were like two enemies in love with one another. Katerina Ivanovna’s “returns” to Mitya, that is, her brief but violent revulsions of feeling in his favor, drove Ivan to perfect frenzy. Strange to say, until that last scene described above, when Alyosha came from Mitya to Katerina Ivanovna, Ivan had never once, during that month, heard her express a doubt of Mitya’s guilt, in spite of those “returns” that were so hateful to him. It is remarkable, too, that while he felt that he hated Mitya more and more every day, he realized that it was not on account of Katya’s “returns” that he hated him, but just because he was the murderer of his father. He was conscious of this and fully recognized it to himself.

Nevertheless, he went to see Mitya ten days before the trial and proposed to him a plan of escape⁠—a plan he had obviously thought over a long time. He was partly impelled to do this by a sore place still left in his heart from a phrase of Smerdyakov’s, that it was to his, Ivan’s, advantage that his brother should be convicted, as that would increase his inheritance and Alyosha’s from forty to sixty thousand roubles. He determined to sacrifice thirty thousand on arranging Mitya’s escape. On his return from seeing him, he was very mournful and dispirited; he suddenly began to feel that he was anxious for Mitya’s escape, not only to heal that sore place by sacrificing thirty thousand, but for another reason. “Is it because I am as much a murderer at heart?” he asked himself. Something very deep down seemed burning and rankling in his soul. His pride above all suffered cruelly all that month. But of that later.⁠ ⁠…

When, after his conversation with Alyosha, Ivan suddenly decided with his hand on the bell of his lodging to go to Smerdyakov, he obeyed a sudden and peculiar impulse of indignation. He suddenly remembered how Katerina Ivanovna had only just cried out to him in Alyosha’s presence: “It was you, you, persuaded me of his” (that is, Mitya’s) “guilt!” Ivan was thunderstruck when he recalled it. He had never once tried to persuade her that Mitya was the murderer; on the contrary, he had suspected himself in her presence, that time when he came back from Smerdyakov. It was she, she, who had produced that “document” and proved his brother’s guilt. And now she suddenly exclaimed: “I’ve been at Smerdyakov’s myself!” When had she been there? Ivan had known nothing of it. So she was not at all so sure of Mitya’s guilt! And what could Smerdyakov have told her? What, what, had he said to her? His heart burned with violent anger. He could not understand how he could, half an hour before, have let those words pass and not have cried out at the moment. He let go of the bell and rushed off to Smerdyakov. “I shall kill him, perhaps, this time,” he thought on the way.


The Third and Last Interview with Smerdyakov
When he was halfway there, the keen dry wind that had been blowing early that morning rose again, and a fine dry snow began falling thickly. It did not lie on the ground, but was whirled about by the wind, and soon there was a regular snowstorm. There were scarcely any lampposts in the part of the town where Smerdyakov lived. Ivan strode alone in the darkness, unconscious of the storm, instinctively picking out his way. His head ached and there was a painful throbbing in his temples. He felt that his hands were twitching convulsively. Not far from Marya Kondratyevna’s cottage, Ivan suddenly came upon a solitary drunken little peasant. He was wearing a coarse and patched coat, and was walking in zigzags, grumbling and swearing to himself. Then suddenly he would begin singing in a husky drunken voice:

“Ach, Vanka’s gone to Petersburg;
I won’t wait till he comes back.”

But he broke off every time at the second line and began swearing again; then he would begin the same song again. Ivan felt an intense hatred for him before he had thought about him at all. Suddenly he realized his presence and felt an irresistible impulse to knock him down. At that moment they met, and the peasant with a violent lurch fell full tilt against Ivan, who pushed him back furiously. The peasant went flying backwards and fell like a log on the frozen ground. He uttered one plaintive “O⁠—oh!” and then was silent. Ivan stepped up to him. He was lying on his back, without movement or consciousness. “He will be frozen,” thought Ivan, and he went on his way to Smerdyakov’s.

In the passage, Marya Kondratyevna, who ran out to open the door with a candle in her hand, whispered that Smerdyakov was very ill, “It’s not that he’s laid up, but he seems not himself, and he even told us to take the tea away; he wouldn’t have any.”

“Why, does he make a row?” asked Ivan coarsely.

“Oh, dear, no, quite the contrary, he’s very quiet. Only please don’t talk to him too long,” Marya Kondratyevna begged him. Ivan opened the door and stepped into the room.

It was overheated as before, but there were changes in the room. One of the benches at the side had been removed, and in its place had been put a large old mahogany leather sofa, on which a bed had been made up, with fairly clean white pillows. Smerdyakov was sitting on the sofa, wearing the same dressing-gown. The table had been brought out in front of the sofa, so that there was hardly room to move. On the table lay a thick book in yellow cover, but Smerdyakov was not reading it. He seemed to be sitting doing nothing. He met Ivan with a slow silent gaze, and was apparently not at all surprised at his coming. There was a great change in his face; he was much thinner and sallower. His eyes were sunken and there were blue marks under them.

“Why, you really are ill?” Ivan stopped short. “I won’t keep you long, I won’t even take off my coat. Where can one sit down?”

He went to the other end of the table, moved up a chair and sat down on it.

“Why do you look at me without speaking? I’ve only come with one question, and I swear I won’t go without an answer. Has the young lady, Katerina Ivanovna, been with you?”

Smerdyakov still remained silent, looking quietly at Ivan as before. Suddenly, with a motion of his hand, he turned his face away.

“What’s the matter with you?” cried Ivan.


“What do you mean by ‘nothing’?”

“Yes, she has. It’s no matter to you. Let me alone.”

“No, I won’t let you alone. Tell me, when was she here?”

“Why, I’d quite forgotten about her,” said Smerdyakov, with a scornful smile, and turning his face to Ivan again, he stared at him with a look of frenzied hatred, the same look that he had fixed on him at their last interview, a month before.

“You seem very ill yourself, your face is sunken; you don’t look like yourself,” he said to Ivan.

“Never mind my health, tell me what I ask you.”

“But why are your eyes so yellow? The whites are quite yellow. Are you so worried?” He smiled contemptuously and suddenly laughed outright.

“Listen; I’ve told you I won’t go away without an answer!” Ivan cried, intensely irritated.

“Why do you keep pestering me? Why do you torment me?” said Smerdyakov, with a look of suffering.

“Damn it! I’ve nothing to do with you. Just answer my question and I’ll go away.”

“I’ve no answer to give you,” said Smerdyakov, looking down again.

“You may be sure I’ll make you answer!”

“Why are you so uneasy?” Smerdyakov stared at him, not simply with contempt, but almost with repulsion. “Is this because the trial begins tomorrow? Nothing will happen to you; can’t you believe that at last? Go home, go to bed and sleep in peace, don’t be afraid of anything.”

“I don’t understand you.⁠ ⁠… What have I to be afraid of tomorrow?” Ivan articulated in astonishment, and suddenly a chill breath of fear did in fact pass over his soul. Smerdyakov measured him with his eyes.

“You don’t understand?” he drawled reproachfully. “It’s a strange thing a sensible man should care to play such a farce!”

Ivan looked at him speechless. The startling, incredibly supercilious tone of this man who had once been his valet, was extraordinary in itself. He had not taken such a tone even at their last interview.

“I tell you, you’ve nothing to be afraid of. I won’t say anything about you; there’s no proof against you. I say, how your hands are trembling! Why are your fingers moving like that? Go home, you did not murder him.”

Ivan started. He remembered Alyosha.

“I know it was not I,” he faltered.

“Do you?” Smerdyakov caught him up again.

Ivan jumped up and seized him by the shoulder.

“Tell me everything, you viper! Tell me everything!”

Smerdyakov was not in the least scared. He only riveted his eyes on Ivan with insane hatred.

“Well, it was you who murdered him, if that’s it,” he whispered furiously.

Ivan sank back on his chair, as though pondering something. He laughed malignantly.

“You mean my going away. What you talked about last time?”

“You stood before me last time and understood it all, and you understand it now.”

“All I understand is that you are mad.”

“Aren’t you tired of it? Here we are face to face; what’s the use of going on keeping up a farce to each other? Are you still trying to throw it all on me, to my face? You murdered him; you are the real murderer, I was only your instrument, your faithful servant, and it was following your words I did it.”

Did it? Why, did you murder him?” Ivan turned cold.

Something seemed to give way in his brain, and he shuddered all over with a cold shiver. Then Smerdyakov himself looked at him wonderingly; probably the genuineness of Ivan’s horror struck him.

“You don’t mean to say you really did not know?” he faltered mistrustfully, looking with a forced smile into his eyes. Ivan still gazed at him, and seemed unable to speak.

Ach, Vanka’s gone to Petersburg;
I won’t wait till he comes back,

suddenly echoed in his head.

“Do you know, I am afraid that you are a dream, a phantom sitting before me,” he muttered.

“There’s no phantom here, but only us two and one other. No doubt he is here, that third, between us.”

“Who is he? Who is here? What third person?” Ivan cried in alarm, looking about him, his eyes hastily searching in every corner.

“That third is God Himself⁠—Providence. He is the third beside us now. Only don’t look for Him, you won’t find Him.”

“It’s a lie that you killed him!” Ivan cried madly. “You are mad, or teasing me again!”

Smerdyakov, as before, watched him curiously, with no sign of fear. He could still scarcely get over his incredulity; he still fancied that Ivan knew everything and was trying to “throw it all on him to his face.”

“Wait a minute,” he said at last in a weak voice, and suddenly bringing up his left leg from under the table, he began turning up his trouser leg. He was wearing long white stockings and slippers. Slowly he took off his garter and fumbled to the bottom of his stocking. Ivan gazed at him, and suddenly shuddered in a paroxysm of terror.

“He’s mad!” he cried, and rapidly jumping up, he drew back, so that he knocked his back against the wall and stood up against it, stiff and straight. He looked with insane terror at Smerdyakov, who, entirely unaffected by his terror, continued fumbling in his stocking, as though he were making an effort to get hold of something with his fingers and pull it out. At last he got hold of it and began pulling it out. Ivan saw that it was a piece of paper, or perhaps a roll of papers. Smerdyakov pulled it out and laid it on the table.

“Here,” he said quietly.

“What is it?” asked Ivan, trembling.

“Kindly look at it,” Smerdyakov answered, still in the same low tone.

Ivan stepped up to the table, took up the roll of paper and began unfolding it, but suddenly he drew back his fingers, as though from contact with a loathsome reptile.

“Your hands keep twitching,” observed Smerdyakov, and he deliberately unfolded the bundle himself. Under the wrapper were three packets of hundred-rouble notes.

“They are all here, all the three thousand roubles; you need not count them. Take them,” Smerdyakov suggested to Ivan, nodding at the notes. Ivan sank back in his chair. He was as white as a handkerchief.

“You frightened me⁠ ⁠… with your stocking,” he said, with a strange grin.

“Can you really not have known till now?” Smerdyakov asked once more.

“No, I did not know. I kept thinking of Dmitri. Brother, brother! Ach!” He suddenly clutched his head in both hands.

“Listen. Did you kill him alone? With my brother’s help or without?”

“It was only with you, with your help, I killed him, and Dmitri Fyodorovitch is quite innocent.”

“All right, all right. Talk about me later. Why do I keep on trembling? I can’t speak properly.”

“You were bold enough then. You said ‘everything was lawful,’ and how frightened you are now,” Smerdyakov muttered in surprise. “Won’t you have some lemonade? I’ll ask for some at once. It’s very refreshing. Only I must hide this first.”

And again he motioned at the notes. He was just going to get up and call at the door to Marya Kondratyevna to make some lemonade and bring it them, but, looking for something to cover up the notes that she might not see them, he first took out his handkerchief, and as it turned out to be very dirty, took up the big yellow book that Ivan had noticed at first lying on the table, and put it over the notes. The book was The Sayings of the Holy Father Isaac the Syrian. Ivan read it mechanically.

“I won’t have any lemonade,” he said. “Talk of me later. Sit down and tell me how you did it. Tell me all about it.”

“You’d better take off your greatcoat, or you’ll be too hot.” Ivan, as though he’d only just thought of it, took off his coat, and, without getting up from his chair, threw it on the bench.

“Speak, please, speak.”

He seemed calmer. He waited, feeling sure that Smerdyakov would tell him all about it.

“How it was done?” sighed Smerdyakov. “It was done in a most natural way, following your very words.”

“Of my words later,” Ivan broke in again, apparently with complete self-possession, firmly uttering his words, and not shouting as before. “Only tell me in detail how you did it. Everything, as it happened. Don’t forget anything. The details, above everything, the details, I beg you.”

“You’d gone away, then I fell into the cellar.”

“In a fit or in a sham one?”

“A sham one, naturally. I shammed it all. I went quietly down the steps to the very bottom and lay down quietly, and as I lay down I gave a scream, and struggled, till they carried me out.”

“Stay! And were you shamming all along, afterwards, and in the hospital?”

“No, not at all. Next day, in the morning, before they took me to the hospital, I had a real attack and a more violent one than I’ve had for years. For two days I was quite unconscious.”

“All right, all right. Go on.”

“They laid me on the bed. I knew I’d be the other side of the partition, for whenever I was ill, Marfa Ignatyevna used to put me there, near them. She’s always been very kind to me, from my birth up. At night I moaned, but quietly. I kept expecting Dmitri Fyodorovitch to come.”

“Expecting him? To come to you?”

“Not to me. I expected him to come into the house, for I’d no doubt that he’d come that night, for being without me and getting no news, he’d be sure to come and climb over the fence, as he used to, and do something.”

“And if he hadn’t come?”

“Then nothing would have happened. I should never have brought myself to it without him.”

“All right, all right⁠ ⁠… speak more intelligibly, don’t hurry; above all, don’t leave anything out!”

“I expected him to kill Fyodor Pavlovitch. I thought that was certain, for I had prepared him for it⁠ ⁠… during the last few days.⁠ ⁠… He knew about the knocks, that was the chief thing. With his suspiciousness and the fury which had been growing in him all those days, he was bound to get into the house by means of those taps. That was inevitable, so I was expecting him.”

“Stay,” Ivan interrupted; “if he had killed him, he would have taken the money and carried it away; you must have considered that. What would you have got by it afterwards? I don’t see.”

“But he would never have found the money. That was only what I told him, that the money was under the mattress. But that wasn’t true. It had been lying in a box. And afterwards I suggested to Fyodor Pavlovitch, as I was the only person he trusted, to hide the envelope with the notes in the corner behind the icons, for no one would have guessed that place, especially if they came in a hurry. So that’s where the envelope lay, in the corner behind the icons. It would have been absurd to keep it under the mattress; the box, anyway, could be locked. But all believe it was under the mattress. A stupid thing to believe. So if Dmitri Fyodorovitch had committed the murder, finding nothing, he would either have run away in a hurry, afraid of every sound, as always happens with murderers, or he would have been arrested. So I could always have clambered up to the icons and have taken away the money next morning or even that night, and it would have all been put down to Dmitri Fyodorovitch. I could reckon upon that.”

“But what if he did not kill him, but only knocked him down?”

“If he did not kill him, of course, I would not have ventured to take the money, and nothing would have happened. But I calculated that he would beat him senseless, and I should have time to take it then, and then I’d make out to Fyodor Pavlovitch that it was no one but Dmitri Fyodorovitch who had taken the money after beating him.”

“Stop⁠ ⁠… I am getting mixed. Then it was Dmitri after all who killed him; you only took the money?”

“No, he didn’t kill him. Well, I might as well have told you now that he was the murderer.⁠ ⁠… But I don’t want to lie to you now, because⁠ ⁠… because if you really haven’t understood till now, as I see for myself, and are not pretending, so as to throw your guilt on me to my very face, you are still responsible for it all, since you knew of the murder and charged me to do it, and went away knowing all about it. And so I want to prove to your face this evening that you are the only real murderer in the whole affair, and I am not the real murderer, though I did kill him. You are the rightful murderer.”

“Why, why, am I a murderer? Oh, God!” Ivan cried, unable to restrain himself at last, and forgetting that he had put off discussing himself till the end of the conversation. “You still mean that Tchermashnya? Stay, tell me, why did you want my consent, if you really took Tchermashnya for consent? How will you explain that now?”

“Assured of your consent, I should have known that you wouldn’t have made an outcry over those three thousand being lost, even if I’d been suspected, instead of Dmitri Fyodorovitch, or as his accomplice; on the contrary, you would have protected me from others.⁠ ⁠… And when you got your inheritance you would have rewarded me when you were able, all the rest of your life. For you’d have received your inheritance through me, seeing that if he had married Agrafena Alexandrovna, you wouldn’t have had a farthing.”

“Ah! Then you intended to worry me all my life afterwards,” snarled Ivan. “And what if I hadn’t gone away then, but had informed against you?”

“What could you have informed? That I persuaded you to go to Tchermashnya? That’s all nonsense. Besides, after our conversation you would either have gone away or have stayed. If you had stayed, nothing would have happened. I should have known that you didn’t want it done, and should have attempted nothing. As you went away, it meant you assured me that you wouldn’t dare to inform against me at the trial, and that you’d overlook my having the three thousand. And, indeed, you couldn’t have prosecuted me afterwards, because then I should have told it all in the court; that is, not that I had stolen the money or killed him⁠—I shouldn’t have said that⁠—but that you’d put me up to the theft and the murder, though I didn’t consent to it. That’s why I needed your consent, so that you couldn’t have cornered me afterwards, for what proof could you have had? I could always have cornered you, revealing your eagerness for your father’s death, and I tell you the public would have believed it all, and you would have been ashamed for the rest of your life.”

“Was I then so eager, was I?” Ivan snarled again.

“To be sure you were, and by your consent you silently sanctioned my doing it.” Smerdyakov looked resolutely at Ivan. He was very weak and spoke slowly and wearily, but some hidden inner force urged him on. He evidently had some design. Ivan felt that.

“Go on,” he said. “Tell me what happened that night.”

“What more is there to tell! I lay there and I thought I heard the master shout. And before that Grigory Vassilyevitch had suddenly got up and came out, and he suddenly gave a scream, and then all was silence and darkness. I lay there waiting, my heart beating; I couldn’t bear it. I got up at last, went out. I saw the window open on the left into the garden, and I stepped to the left to listen whether he was sitting there alive, and I heard the master moving about, sighing, so I knew he was alive. ‘Ech!’ I thought. I went to the window and shouted to the master, ‘It’s I.’ And he shouted to me, ‘He’s been, he’s been; he’s run away.’ He meant Dmitri Fyodorovitch had been. ‘He’s killed Grigory!’ ‘Where?’ I whispered. ‘There, in the corner,’ he pointed. He was whispering, too. ‘Wait a bit,’ I said. I went to the corner of the garden to look, and there I came upon Grigory Vassilyevitch lying by the wall, covered with blood, senseless. So it’s true that Dmitri Fyodorovitch has been here, was the thought that came into my head, and I determined on the spot to make an end of it, as Grigory Vassilyevitch, even if he were alive, would see nothing of it, as he lay there senseless. The only risk was that Marfa Ignatyevna might wake up. I felt that at the moment, but the longing to get it done came over me, till I could scarcely breathe. I went back to the window to the master and said, ‘She’s here, she’s come; Agrafena Alexandrovna has come, wants to be let in.’ And he started like a baby. ‘Where is she?’ he fairly gasped, but couldn’t believe it. ‘She’s standing there,’ said I. ‘Open.’ He looked out of the window at me, half believing and half distrustful, but afraid to open. ‘Why, he is afraid of me now,’ I thought. And it was funny. I bethought me to knock on the window-frame those taps we’d agreed upon as a signal that Grushenka had come, in his presence, before his eyes. He didn’t seem to believe my word, but as soon as he heard the taps, he ran at once to open the door. He opened it. I would have gone in, but he stood in the way to prevent me passing. ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ He looked at me, all of a tremble. ‘Well,’ thought I, ‘if he’s so frightened of me as all that, it’s a bad look out!’ And my legs went weak with fright that he wouldn’t let me in or would call out, or Marfa Ignatyevna would run up, or something else might happen. I don’t remember now, but I must have stood pale, facing him. I whispered to him, ‘Why, she’s there, there, under the window; how is it you don’t see her?’ I said. ‘Bring her then, bring her.’ ‘She’s afraid,’ said I; ‘she was frightened at the noise, she’s hidden in the bushes; go and call to her yourself from the study.’ He ran to the window, put the candle in the window. ‘Grushenka,’ he cried, ‘Grushenka, are you here?’ Though he cried that, he didn’t want to lean out of the window, he didn’t want to move away from me, for he was panic-stricken; he was so frightened he didn’t dare to turn his back on me. ‘Why, here she is,’ said I. I went up to the window and leaned right out of it. ‘Here she is; she’s in the bush, laughing at you, don’t you see her?’ He suddenly believed it; he was all of a shake⁠—he was awfully crazy about her⁠—and he leaned right out of the window. I snatched up that iron paperweight from his table; do you remember, weighing about three pounds? I swung it and hit him on the top of the skull with the corner of it. He didn’t even cry out. He only sank down suddenly, and I hit him again and a third time. And the third time I knew I’d broken his skull. He suddenly rolled on his back, face upwards, covered with blood. I looked round. There was no blood on me, not a spot. I wiped the paperweight, put it back, went up to the icons, took the money out of the envelope, and flung the envelope on the floor and the pink ribbon beside it. I went out into the garden all of a tremble, straight to the apple-tree with a hollow in it⁠—you know that hollow. I’d marked it long before and put a rag and a piece of paper ready in it. I wrapped all the notes in the rag and stuffed it deep down in the hole. And there it stayed for over a fortnight. I took it out later, when I came out of the hospital. I went back to my bed, lay down and thought, ‘If Grigory Vassilyevitch has been killed outright it may be a bad job for me, but if he is not killed and recovers, it will be first-rate, for then he’ll bear witness that Dmitri Fyodorovitch has been here, and so he must have killed him and taken the money.’ Then I began groaning with suspense and impatience, so as to wake Marfa Ignatyevna as soon as possible. At last she got up and she rushed to me, but when she saw Grigory Vassilyevitch was not there, she ran out, and I heard her scream in the garden. And that set it all going and set my mind at rest.”

He stopped. Ivan had listened all the time in dead silence without stirring or taking his eyes off him. As he told his story Smerdyakov glanced at him from time to time, but for the most part kept his eyes averted. When he had finished he was evidently agitated and was breathing hard. The perspiration stood out on his face. But it was impossible to tell whether it was remorse he was feeling, or what.

“Stay,” cried Ivan, pondering. “What about the door? If he only opened the door to you, how could Grigory have seen it open before? For Grigory saw it before you went.”

It was remarkable that Ivan spoke quite amicably, in a different tone, not angry as before, so if anyone had opened the door at that moment and peeped in at them, he would certainly have concluded that they were talking peaceably about some ordinary, though interesting, subject.

“As for that door and Grigory Vassilyevitch’s having seen it open, that’s only his fancy,” said Smerdyakov, with a wry smile. “He is not a man, I assure you, but an obstinate mule. He didn’t see it, but fancied he had seen it, and there’s no shaking him. It’s just our luck he took that notion into his head, for they can’t fail to convict Dmitri Fyodorovitch after that.”

“Listen⁠ ⁠…” said Ivan, beginning to seem bewildered again and making an effort to grasp something. “Listen. There are a lot of questions I want to ask you, but I forget them⁠ ⁠… I keep forgetting and getting mixed up. Yes. Tell me this at least, why did you open the envelope and leave it there on the floor? Why didn’t you simply carry off the envelope?⁠ ⁠… When you were telling me, I thought you spoke about it as though it were the right thing to do⁠ ⁠… but why, I can’t understand.⁠ ⁠…”

“I did that for a good reason. For if a man had known all about it, as I did for instance, if he’d seen those notes before, and perhaps had put them in that envelope himself, and had seen the envelope sealed up and addressed, with his own eyes, if such a man had done the murder, what should have made him tear open the envelope afterwards, especially in such desperate haste, since he’d know for certain the notes must be in the envelope? No, if the robber had been someone like me, he’d simply have put the envelope straight in his pocket and got away with it as fast as he could. But it’d be quite different with Dmitri Fyodorovitch. He only knew about the envelope by hearsay; he had never seen it, and if he’d found it, for instance, under the mattress, he’d have torn it open as quickly as possible to make sure the notes were in it. And he’d have thrown the envelope down, without having time to think that it would be evidence against him. Because he was not an habitual thief and had never directly stolen anything before, for he is a gentleman born, and if he did bring himself to steal, it would not be regular stealing, but simply taking what was his own, for he’d told the whole town he meant to before, and had even bragged aloud before everyone that he’d go and take his property from Fyodor Pavlovitch. I didn’t say that openly to the prosecutor when I was being examined, but quite the contrary, I brought him to it by a hint, as though I didn’t see it myself, and as though he’d thought of it himself and I hadn’t prompted him; so that Mr. Prosecutor’s mouth positively watered at my suggestion.”

“But can you possibly have thought of all that on the spot?” cried Ivan, overcome with astonishment. He looked at Smerdyakov again with alarm.

“Mercy on us! Could anyone think of it all in such a desperate hurry? It was all thought out beforehand.”

“Well⁠ ⁠… well, it was the devil helped you!” Ivan cried again. “No, you are not a fool, you are far cleverer than I thought.⁠ ⁠…”

He got up, obviously intending to walk across the room. He was in terrible distress. But as the table blocked his way, and there was hardly room to pass between the table and the wall, he only turned round where he stood and sat down again. Perhaps the impossibility of moving irritated him, as he suddenly cried out almost as furiously as before.

“Listen, you miserable, contemptible creature! Don’t you understand that if I haven’t killed you, it’s simply because I am keeping you to answer tomorrow at the trial. God sees,” Ivan raised his hand, “perhaps I, too, was guilty; perhaps I really had a secret desire for my father’s⁠ ⁠… death, but I swear I was not as guilty as you think, and perhaps I didn’t urge you on at all. No, no, I didn’t urge you on! But no matter, I will give evidence against myself tomorrow at the trial. I’m determined to! I shall tell everything, everything. But we’ll make our appearance together. And whatever you may say against me at the trial, whatever evidence you give, I’ll face it; I am not afraid of you. I’ll confirm it all myself! But you must confess, too! You must, you must; we’ll go together. That’s how it shall be!”

Ivan said this solemnly and resolutely and from his flashing eyes alone it could be seen that it would be so.

“You are ill, I see; you are quite ill. Your eyes are yellow,” Smerdyakov commented, without the least irony, with apparent sympathy in fact.

“We’ll go together,” Ivan repeated. “And if you won’t go, no matter, I’ll go alone.”

Smerdyakov paused as though pondering.

“There’ll be nothing of the sort, and you won’t go,” he concluded at last positively.

“You don’t understand me,” Ivan exclaimed reproachfully.

“You’ll be too much ashamed, if you confess it all. And, what’s more, it will be no use at all, for I shall say straight out that I never said anything of the sort to you, and that you are either ill (and it looks like it, too), or that you’re so sorry for your brother that you are sacrificing yourself to save him and have invented it all against me, for you’ve always thought no more of me than if I’d been a fly. And who will believe you, and what single proof have you got?”

“Listen, you showed me those notes just now to convince me.”

Smerdyakov lifted the book off the notes and laid it on one side.

“Take that money away with you,” Smerdyakov sighed.

“Of course, I shall take it. But why do you give it to me, if you committed the murder for the sake of it?” Ivan looked at him with great surprise.

“I don’t want it,” Smerdyakov articulated in a shaking voice, with a gesture of refusal. “I did have an idea of beginning a new life with that money in Moscow or, better still, abroad. I did dream of it, chiefly because ‘all things are lawful.’ That was quite right what you taught me, for you talked a lot to me about that. For if there’s no everlasting God, there’s no such thing as virtue, and there’s no need of it. You were right there. So that’s how I looked at it.”

“Did you come to that of yourself?” asked Ivan, with a wry smile.

“With your guidance.”

“And now, I suppose, you believe in God, since you are giving back the money?”

“No, I don’t believe,” whispered Smerdyakov.

“Then why are you giving it back?”

“Leave off⁠ ⁠… that’s enough!” Smerdyakov waved his hand again. “You used to say yourself that everything was lawful, so now why are you so upset, too? You even want to go and give evidence against yourself.⁠ ⁠… Only there’ll be nothing of the sort! You won’t go to give evidence,” Smerdyakov decided with conviction.

“You’ll see,” said Ivan.

“It isn’t possible. You are very clever. You are fond of money, I know that. You like to be respected, too, for you’re very proud; you are far too fond of female charms, too, and you mind most of all about living in undisturbed comfort, without having to depend on anyone⁠—that’s what you care most about. You won’t want to spoil your life forever by taking such a disgrace on yourself. You are like Fyodor Pavlovitch, you are more like him than any of his children; you’ve the same soul as he had.”

“You are not a fool,” said Ivan, seeming struck. The blood rushed to his face. “You are serious now!” he observed, looking suddenly at Smerdyakov with a different expression.

“It was your pride made you think I was a fool. Take the money.”

Ivan took the three rolls of notes and put them in his pocket without wrapping them in anything.

“I shall show them at the court tomorrow,” he said.

“Nobody will believe you, as you’ve plenty of money of your own; you may simply have taken it out of your cashbox and brought it to the court.”

Ivan rose from his seat.

“I repeat,” he said, “the only reason I haven’t killed you is that I need you for tomorrow, remember that, don’t forget it!”

“Well, kill me. Kill me now,” Smerdyakov said, all at once looking strangely at Ivan. “You won’t dare do that even!” he added, with a bitter smile. “You won’t dare to do anything, you, who used to be so bold!”

“Till tomorrow,” cried Ivan, and moved to go out.

“Stay a moment.⁠ ⁠… Show me those notes again.”

Ivan took out the notes and showed them to him. Smerdyakov looked at them for ten seconds.

“Well, you can go,” he said, with a wave of his hand. “Ivan Fyodorovitch!” he called after him again.

“What do you want?” Ivan turned without stopping.


“Till tomorrow!” Ivan cried again, and he walked out of the cottage.

The snowstorm was still raging. He walked the first few steps boldly, but suddenly began staggering. “It’s something physical,” he thought with a grin. Something like joy was springing up in his heart. He was conscious of unbounded resolution; he would make an end of the wavering that had so tortured him of late. His determination was taken, “and now it will not be changed,” he thought with relief. At that moment he stumbled against something and almost fell down. Stopping short, he made out at his feet the peasant he had knocked down, still lying senseless and motionless. The snow had almost covered his face. Ivan seized him and lifted him in his arms. Seeing a light in the little house to the right he went up, knocked at the shutters, and asked the man to whom the house belonged to help him carry the peasant to the police-station, promising him three roubles. The man got ready and came out. I won’t describe in detail how Ivan succeeded in his object, bringing the peasant to the police-station and arranging for a doctor to see him at once, providing with a liberal hand for the expenses. I will only say that this business took a whole hour, but Ivan was well content with it. His mind wandered and worked incessantly.

“If I had not taken my decision so firmly for tomorrow,” he reflected with satisfaction, “I should not have stayed a whole hour to look after the peasant, but should have passed by, without caring about his being frozen. I am quite capable of watching myself, by the way,” he thought at the same instant, with still greater satisfaction, “although they have decided that I am going out of my mind!”

Just as he reached his own house he stopped short, asking himself suddenly hadn’t he better go at once to the prosecutor and tell him everything. He decided the question by turning back to the house. “Everything together tomorrow!” he whispered to himself, and, strange to say, almost all his gladness and self-satisfaction passed in one instant.

As he entered his own room he felt something like a touch of ice on his heart, like a recollection or, more exactly, a reminder, of something agonizing and revolting that was in that room now, at that moment, and had been there before. He sank wearily on his sofa. The old woman brought him a samovar; he made tea, but did not touch it. He sat on the sofa and felt giddy. He felt that he was ill and helpless. He was beginning to drop asleep, but got up uneasily and walked across the room to shake off his drowsiness. At moments he fancied he was delirious, but it was not illness that he thought of most. Sitting down again, he began looking round, as though searching for something. This happened several times. At last his eyes were fastened intently on one point. Ivan smiled, but an angry flush suffused his face. He sat a long time in his place, his head propped on both arms, though he looked sideways at the same point, at the sofa that stood against the opposite wall. There was evidently something, some object, that irritated him there, worried him and tormented him.


The Devil. Ivan’s Nightmare
I am not a doctor, but yet I feel that the moment has come when I must inevitably give the reader some account of the nature of Ivan’s illness. Anticipating events I can say at least one thing: he was at that moment on the very eve of an attack of brain fever. Though his health had long been affected, it had offered a stubborn resistance to the fever which in the end gained complete mastery over it. Though I know nothing of medicine, I venture to hazard the suggestion that he really had perhaps, by a terrible effort of will, succeeded in delaying the attack for a time, hoping, of course, to check it completely. He knew that he was unwell, but he loathed the thought of being ill at that fatal time, at the approaching crisis in his life, when he needed to have all his wits about him, to say what he had to say boldly and resolutely and “to justify himself to himself.”

He had, however, consulted the new doctor, who had been brought from Moscow by a fantastic notion of Katerina Ivanovna’s to which I have referred already. After listening to him and examining him the doctor came to the conclusion that he was actually suffering from some disorder of the brain, and was not at all surprised by an admission which Ivan had reluctantly made him. “Hallucinations are quite likely in your condition,” the doctor opined, “though it would be better to verify them⁠ ⁠… you must take steps at once, without a moment’s delay, or things will go badly with you.” But Ivan did not follow this judicious advice and did not take to his bed to be nursed. “I am walking about, so I am strong enough, if I drop, it’ll be different then, anyone may nurse me who likes,” he decided, dismissing the subject.

And so he was sitting almost conscious himself of his delirium and, as I have said already, looking persistently at some object on the sofa against the opposite wall. Someone appeared to be sitting there, though goodness knows how he had come in, for he had not been in the room when Ivan came into it, on his return from Smerdyakov. This was a person or, more accurately speaking, a Russian gentleman of a particular kind, no longer young, qui faisait la cinquantaine, as the French say, with rather long, still thick, dark hair, slightly streaked with gray and a small pointed beard. He was wearing a brownish reefer jacket, rather shabby, evidently made by a good tailor though, and of a fashion at least three years old, that had been discarded by smart and well-to-do people for the last two years. His linen and his long scarf-like necktie were all such as are worn by people who aim at being stylish, but on closer inspection his linen was not over-clean and his wide scarf was very threadbare. The visitor’s check trousers were of excellent cut, but were too light in color and too tight for the present fashion. His soft fluffy white hat was out of keeping with the season.

In brief there was every appearance of gentility on straitened means. It looked as though the gentleman belonged to that class of idle landowners who used to flourish in the times of serfdom. He had unmistakably been, at some time, in good and fashionable society, had once had good connections, had possibly preserved them indeed, but, after a gay youth, becoming gradually impoverished on the abolition of serfdom, he had sunk into the position of a poor relation of the best class, wandering from one good old friend to another and received by them for his companionable and accommodating disposition and as being, after all, a gentleman who could be asked to sit down with anyone, though, of course, not in a place of honor. Such gentlemen of accommodating temper and dependent position, who can tell a story, take a hand at cards, and who have a distinct aversion for any duties that may be forced upon them, are usually solitary creatures, either bachelors or widowers. Sometimes they have children, but if so, the children are always being brought up at a distance, at some aunt’s, to whom these gentlemen never allude in good society, seeming ashamed of the relationship. They gradually lose sight of their children altogether, though at intervals they receive a birthday or Christmas letter from them and sometimes even answer it.

The countenance of the unexpected visitor was not so much good-natured, as accommodating and ready to assume any amiable expression as occasion might arise. He had no watch, but he had a tortoiseshell lorgnette on a black ribbon. On the middle finger of his right hand was a massive gold ring with a cheap opal stone in it.

Ivan was angrily silent and would not begin the conversation. The visitor waited and sat exactly like a poor relation who had come down from his room to keep his host company at tea, and was discreetly silent, seeing that his host was frowning and preoccupied. But he was ready for any affable conversation as soon as his host should begin it. All at once his face expressed a sudden solicitude.

“I say,” he began to Ivan, “excuse me, I only mention it to remind you. You went to Smerdyakov’s to find out about Katerina Ivanovna, but you came away without finding out anything about her, you probably forgot⁠—”

“Ah, yes,” broke from Ivan and his face grew gloomy with uneasiness. “Yes, I’d forgotten⁠ ⁠… but it doesn’t matter now, never mind, till tomorrow,” he muttered to himself, “and you,” he added, addressing his visitor, “I should have remembered that myself in a minute, for that was just what was tormenting me! Why do you interfere, as if I should believe that you prompted me, and that I didn’t remember it of myself?”

“Don’t believe it then,” said the gentleman, smiling amicably, “what’s the good of believing against your will? Besides, proofs are no help to believing, especially material proofs. Thomas believed, not because he saw Christ risen, but because he wanted to believe, before he saw. Look at the spiritualists, for instance.⁠ ⁠… I am very fond of them⁠ ⁠… only fancy, they imagine that they are serving the cause of religion, because the devils show them their horns from the other world. That, they say, is a material proof, so to speak, of the existence of another world. The other world and material proofs, what next! And if you come to that, does proving there’s a devil prove that there’s a God? I want to join an idealist society, I’ll lead the opposition in it, I’ll say I am a realist, but not a materialist, he he!”

“Listen,” Ivan suddenly got up from the table. “I seem to be delirious.⁠ ⁠… I am delirious, in fact, talk any nonsense you like, I don’t care! You won’t drive me to fury, as you did last time. But I feel somehow ashamed.⁠ ⁠… I want to walk about the room.⁠ ⁠… I sometimes don’t see you and don’t even hear your voice as I did last time, but I always guess what you are prating, for it’s I, I myself speaking, not you. Only I don’t know whether I was dreaming last time or whether I really saw you. I’ll wet a towel and put it on my head and perhaps you’ll vanish into air.”

Ivan went into the corner, took a towel, and did as he said, and with a wet towel on his head began walking up and down the room.

“I am so glad you treat me so familiarly,” the visitor began.

“Fool,” laughed Ivan, “do you suppose I should stand on ceremony with you? I am in good spirits now, though I’ve a pain in my forehead⁠ ⁠… and in the top of my head⁠ ⁠… only please don’t talk philosophy, as you did last time. If you can’t take yourself off, talk of something amusing. Talk gossip, you are a poor relation, you ought to talk gossip. What a nightmare to have! But I am not afraid of you. I’ll get the better of you. I won’t be taken to a madhouse!”

C’est charmant, poor relation. Yes, I am in my natural shape. For what am I on earth but a poor relation? By the way, I am listening to you and am rather surprised to find you are actually beginning to take me for something real, not simply your fancy, as you persisted in declaring last time⁠—”

“Never for one minute have I taken you for reality,” Ivan cried with a sort of fury. “You are a lie, you are my illness, you are a phantom. It’s only that I don’t know how to destroy you and I see I must suffer for a time. You are my hallucination. You are the incarnation of myself, but only of one side of me⁠ ⁠… of my thoughts and feelings, but only the nastiest and stupidest of them. From that point of view you might be of interest to me, if only I had time to waste on you⁠—”

“Excuse me, excuse me, I’ll catch you. When you flew out at Alyosha under the lamppost this evening and shouted to him, ‘You learnt it from him! How do you know that he visits me?’ you were thinking of me then. So for one brief moment you did believe that I really exist,” the gentleman laughed blandly.

“Yes, that was a moment of weakness⁠ ⁠… but I couldn’t believe in you. I don’t know whether I was asleep or awake last time. Perhaps I was only dreaming then and didn’t see you really at all⁠—”

“And why were you so surly with Alyosha just now? He is a dear; I’ve treated him badly over Father Zossima.”

“Don’t talk of Alyosha! How dare you, you flunkey!” Ivan laughed again.

“You scold me, but you laugh⁠—that’s a good sign. But you are ever so much more polite than you were last time and I know why: that great resolution of yours⁠—”

“Don’t speak of my resolution,” cried Ivan, savagely.

“I understand, I understand, c’est noble, c’est charmant, you are going to defend your brother and to sacrifice yourself⁠ ⁠… C’est chevaleresque.

“Hold your tongue, I’ll kick you!”

“I shan’t be altogether sorry, for then my object will be attained. If you kick me, you must believe in my reality, for people don’t kick ghosts. Joking apart, it doesn’t matter to me, scold if you like, though it’s better to be a trifle more polite even to me. ‘Fool, flunkey!’ what words!”

“Scolding you, I scold myself,” Ivan laughed again, “you are myself, myself, only with a different face. You just say what I am thinking⁠ ⁠… and are incapable of saying anything new!”

“If I am like you in my way of thinking, it’s all to my credit,” the gentleman declared, with delicacy and dignity.

“You choose out only my worst thoughts, and what’s more, the stupid ones. You are stupid and vulgar. You are awfully stupid. No, I can’t put up with you! What am I to do, what am I to do?” Ivan said through his clenched teeth.

“My dear friend, above all things I want to behave like a gentleman and to be recognized as such,” the visitor began in an excess of deprecating and simple-hearted pride, typical of a poor relation. “I am poor, but⁠ ⁠… I won’t say very honest, but⁠ ⁠… it’s an axiom generally accepted in society that I am a fallen angel. I certainly can’t conceive how I can ever have been an angel. If I ever was, it must have been so long ago that there’s no harm in forgetting it. Now I only prize the reputation of being a gentlemanly person and live as I can, trying to make myself agreeable. I love men genuinely, I’ve been greatly calumniated! Here when I stay with you from time to time, my life gains a kind of reality and that’s what I like most of all. You see, like you, I suffer from the fantastic and so I love the realism of earth. Here, with you, everything is circumscribed, here all is formulated and geometrical, while we have nothing but indeterminate equations! I wander about here dreaming. I like dreaming. Besides, on earth I become superstitious. Please don’t laugh, that’s just what I like, to become superstitious. I adopt all your habits here: I’ve grown fond of going to the public baths, would you believe it? and I go and steam myself with merchants and priests. What I dream of is becoming incarnate once for all and irrevocably in the form of some merchant’s wife weighing eighteen stone, and of believing all she believes. My ideal is to go to church and offer a candle in simple-hearted faith, upon my word it is. Then there would be an end to my sufferings. I like being doctored too; in the spring there was an outbreak of smallpox and I went and was vaccinated in a foundling hospital⁠—if only you knew how I enjoyed myself that day. I subscribed ten roubles in the cause of the Slavs!⁠ ⁠… But you are not listening. Do you know, you are not at all well this evening? I know you went yesterday to that doctor⁠ ⁠… well, what about your health? What did the doctor say?”

“Fool!” Ivan snapped out.

“But you are clever, anyway. You are scolding again? I didn’t ask out of sympathy. You needn’t answer. Now rheumatism has come in again⁠—”

“Fool!” repeated Ivan.

“You keep saying the same thing; but I had such an attack of rheumatism last year that I remember it to this day.”

“The devil have rheumatism!”

“Why not, if I sometimes put on fleshly form? I put on fleshly form and I take the consequences. Satan sum et nihil humanum a me alienum puto.”

“What, what, Satan sum et nihil humanum⁠ ⁠… that’s not bad for the devil!”

“I am glad I’ve pleased you at last.”

“But you didn’t get that from me.” Ivan stopped suddenly, seeming struck. “That never entered my head, that’s strange.”

C’est du nouveau, n’est-ce pas? This time I’ll act honestly and explain to you. Listen, in dreams and especially in nightmares, from indigestion or anything, a man sees sometimes such artistic visions, such complex and real actuality, such events, even a whole world of events, woven into such a plot, with such unexpected details from the most exalted matters to the last button on a cuff, as I swear Leo Tolstoy has never invented. Yet such dreams are sometimes seen not by writers, but by the most ordinary people, officials, journalists, priests.⁠ ⁠… The subject is a complete enigma. A statesman confessed to me, indeed, that all his best ideas came to him when he was asleep. Well, that’s how it is now, though I am your hallucination, yet just as in a nightmare, I say original things which had not entered your head before. So I don’t repeat your ideas, yet I am only your nightmare, nothing more.”

“You are lying, your aim is to convince me you exist apart and are not my nightmare, and now you are asserting you are a dream.”

“My dear fellow, I’ve adopted a special method today, I’ll explain it to you afterwards. Stay, where did I break off? Oh, yes! I caught cold then, only not here but yonder.”

“Where is yonder? Tell me, will you be here long? Can’t you go away?” Ivan exclaimed almost in despair. He ceased walking to and fro, sat down on the sofa, leaned his elbows on the table again and held his head tight in both hands. He pulled the wet towel off and flung it away in vexation. It was evidently of no use.

“Your nerves are out of order,” observed the gentleman, with a carelessly easy, though perfectly polite, air. “You are angry with me even for being able to catch cold, though it happened in a most natural way. I was hurrying then to a diplomatic soirée at the house of a lady of high rank in Petersburg, who was aiming at influence in the Ministry. Well, an evening suit, white tie, gloves, though I was God knows where and had to fly through space to reach your earth.⁠ ⁠… Of course, it took only an instant, but you know a ray of light from the sun takes full eight minutes, and fancy in an evening suit and open waistcoat. Spirits don’t freeze, but when one’s in fleshly form, well⁠ ⁠… in brief, I didn’t think, and set off, and you know in those ethereal spaces, in the water that is above the firmament, there’s such a frost⁠ ⁠… at least one can’t call it frost, you can fancy, 150° below zero! You know the game the village girls play⁠—they invite the unwary to lick an ax in thirty degrees of frost, the tongue instantly freezes to it and the dupe tears the skin off, so it bleeds. But that’s only in 30°, in 150° I imagine it would be enough to put your finger on the ax and it would be the end of it⁠ ⁠… if only there could be an ax there.”

“And can there be an ax there?” Ivan interrupted, carelessly and disdainfully. He was exerting himself to the utmost not to believe in the delusion and not to sink into complete insanity.

“An ax?” the guest interrupted in surprise.

“Yes, what would become of an ax there?” Ivan cried suddenly, with a sort of savage and insistent obstinacy.

“What would become of an ax in space? Quelle idée! If it were to fall to any distance, it would begin, I think, flying round the earth without knowing why, like a satellite. The astronomers would calculate the rising and the setting of the ax, Gatzuk would put it in his calendar, that’s all.”

“You are stupid, awfully stupid,” said Ivan peevishly. “Fib more cleverly or I won’t listen. You want to get the better of me by realism, to convince me that you exist, but I don’t want to believe you exist! I won’t believe it!”

“But I am not fibbing, it’s all the truth; the truth is unhappily hardly ever amusing. I see you persist in expecting something big of me, and perhaps something fine. That’s a great pity, for I only give what I can⁠—”

“Don’t talk philosophy, you ass!”

“Philosophy, indeed, when all my right side is numb and I am moaning and groaning. I’ve tried all the medical faculty: they can diagnose beautifully, they have the whole of your disease at their fingertips, but they’ve no idea how to cure you. There was an enthusiastic little student here, ‘You may die,’ said he, ‘but you’ll know perfectly what disease you are dying of!’ And then what a way they have sending people to specialists! ‘We only diagnose,’ they say, ‘but go to such-and-such a specialist, he’ll cure you.’ The old doctor who used to cure all sorts of disease has completely disappeared, I assure you, now there are only specialists and they all advertise in the newspapers. If anything is wrong with your nose, they send you to Paris: there, they say, is a European specialist who cures noses. If you go to Paris, he’ll look at your nose; I can only cure your right nostril, he’ll tell you, for I don’t cure the left nostril, that’s not my speciality, but go to Vienna, there there’s a specialist who will cure your left nostril. What are you to do? I fell back on popular remedies, a German doctor advised me to rub myself with honey and salt in the bathhouse. Solely to get an extra bath I went, smeared myself all over and it did me no good at all. In despair I wrote to Count Mattei in Milan. He sent me a book and some drops, bless him, and, only fancy, Hoff’s malt extract cured me! I bought it by accident, drank a bottle and a half of it, and I was ready to dance, it took it away completely. I made up my mind to write to the papers to thank him, I was prompted by a feeling of gratitude, and only fancy, it led to no end of a bother: not a single paper would take my letter. ‘It would be very reactionary,’ they said, ‘no one will believe it. Le diable n’existe point. You’d better remain anonymous,’ they advised me. What use is a letter of thanks if it’s anonymous? I laughed with the men at the newspaper office; ‘It’s reactionary to believe in God in our days,’ I said, ‘but I am the devil, so I may be believed in.’ ‘We quite understand that,’ they said. ‘Who doesn’t believe in the devil? Yet it won’t do, it might injure our reputation. As a joke, if you like.’ But I thought as a joke it wouldn’t be very witty. So it wasn’t printed. And do you know, I have felt sore about it to this day. My best feelings, gratitude, for instance, are literally denied me simply from my social position.”

“Philosophical reflections again?” Ivan snarled malignantly.

“God preserve me from it, but one can’t help complaining sometimes. I am a slandered man. You upbraid me every moment with being stupid. One can see you are young. My dear fellow, intelligence isn’t the only thing! I have naturally a kind and merry heart. ‘I also write vaudevilles of all sorts.’ You seem to take me for Hlestakov grown old, but my fate is a far more serious one. Before time was, by some decree which I could never make out, I was predestined ‘to deny’ and yet I am genuinely good-hearted and not at all inclined to negation. ‘No, you must go and deny, without denial there’s no criticism and what would a journal be without a column of criticism?’ Without criticism it would be nothing but one ‘hosannah.’ But nothing but hosannah is not enough for life, the hosannah must be tried in the crucible of doubt and so on, in the same style. But I don’t meddle in that, I didn’t create it, I am not answerable for it. Well, they’ve chosen their scapegoat, they’ve made me write the column of criticism and so life was made possible. We understand that comedy; I, for instance, simply ask for annihilation. No, live, I am told, for there’d be nothing without you. If everything in the universe were sensible, nothing would happen. There would be no events without you, and there must be events. So against the grain I serve to produce events and do what’s irrational because I am commanded to. For all their indisputable intelligence, men take this farce as something serious, and that is their tragedy. They suffer, of course⁠ ⁠… but then they live, they live a real life, not a fantastic one, for suffering is life. Without suffering what would be the pleasure of it? It would be transformed into an endless church service; it would be holy, but tedious. But what about me? I suffer, but still, I don’t live. I am x in an indeterminate equation. I am a sort of phantom in life who has lost all beginning and end, and who has even forgotten his own name. You are laughing⁠—no, you are not laughing, you are angry again. You are forever angry, all you care about is intelligence, but I repeat again that I would give away all this super-stellar life, all the ranks and honors, simply to be transformed into the soul of a merchant’s wife weighing eighteen stone and set candles at God’s shrine.”

“Then even you don’t believe in God?” said Ivan, with a smile of hatred.

“What can I say?⁠—that is, if you are in earnest⁠—”

“Is there a God or not?” Ivan cried with the same savage intensity.

“Ah, then you are in earnest! My dear fellow, upon my word I don’t know. There! I’ve said it now!”

“You don’t know, but you see God? No, you are not someone apart, you are myself, you are I and nothing more! You are rubbish, you are my fancy!”

“Well, if you like, I have the same philosophy as you, that would be true. Je pense, donc je suis, I know that for a fact; all the rest, all these worlds, God and even Satan⁠—all that is not proved, to my mind. Does all that exist of itself, or is it only an emanation of myself, a logical development of my ego which alone has existed forever: but I make haste to stop, for I believe you will be jumping up to beat me directly.”

“You’d better tell me some anecdote!” said Ivan miserably.

“There is an anecdote precisely on our subject, or rather a legend, not an anecdote. You reproach me with unbelief, you see, you say, yet you don’t believe. But, my dear fellow, I am not the only one like that. We are all in a muddle over there now and all through your science. Once there used to be atoms, five senses, four elements, and then everything hung together somehow. There were atoms in the ancient world even, but since we’ve learned that you’ve discovered the chemical molecule and protoplasm and the devil knows what, we had to lower our crest. There’s a regular muddle, and, above all, superstition, scandal; there’s as much scandal among us as among you, you know; a little more in fact, and spying, indeed, for we have our secret police department where private information is received. Well, this wild legend belongs to our middle ages⁠—not yours, but ours⁠—and no one believes it even among us, except the old ladies of eighteen stone, not your old ladies I mean, but ours. We’ve everything you have, I am revealing one of our secrets out of friendship for you; though it’s forbidden. This legend is about Paradise. There was, they say, here on earth a thinker and philosopher. He rejected everything, ‘laws, conscience, faith,’ and, above all, the future life. He died; he expected to go straight to darkness and death and he found a future life before him. He was astounded and indignant. ‘This is against my principles!’ he said. And he was punished for that⁠ ⁠… that is, you must excuse me, I am just repeating what I heard myself, it’s only a legend⁠ ⁠… he was sentenced to walk a quadrillion kilometers in the dark (we’ve adopted the metric system, you know) and when he has finished that quadrillion, the gates of heaven would be opened to him and he’ll be forgiven⁠—”

“And what tortures have you in the other world besides the quadrillion kilometers?” asked Ivan, with a strange eagerness.

“What tortures? Ah, don’t ask. In old days we had all sorts, but now they have taken chiefly to moral punishments⁠—‘the stings of conscience’ and all that nonsense. We got that, too, from you, from the softening of your manners. And who’s the better for it? Only those who have got no conscience, for how can they be tortured by conscience when they have none? But decent people who have conscience and a sense of honor suffer for it. Reforms, when the ground has not been prepared for them, especially if they are institutions copied from abroad, do nothing but mischief! The ancient fire was better. Well, this man, who was condemned to the quadrillion kilometers, stood still, looked round and lay down across the road. ‘I won’t go, I refuse on principle!’ Take the soul of an enlightened Russian atheist and mix it with the soul of the prophet Jonah, who sulked for three days and nights in the belly of the whale, and you get the character of that thinker who lay across the road.”

“What did he lie on there?”

“Well, I suppose there was something to lie on. You are not laughing?”

“Bravo!” cried Ivan, still with the same strange eagerness. Now he was listening with an unexpected curiosity. “Well, is he lying there now?”

“That’s the point, that he isn’t. He lay there almost a thousand years and then he got up and went on.”

“What an ass!” cried Ivan, laughing nervously and still seeming to be pondering something intently. “Does it make any difference whether he lies there forever or walks the quadrillion kilometers? It would take a billion years to walk it?”

“Much more than that. I haven’t got a pencil and paper or I could work it out. But he got there long ago, and that’s where the story begins.”

“What, he got there? But how did he get the billion years to do it?”

“Why, you keep thinking of our present earth! But our present earth may have been repeated a billion times. Why, it’s become extinct, been frozen; cracked, broken to bits, disintegrated into its elements, again ‘the water above the firmament,’ then again a comet, again a sun, again from the sun it becomes earth⁠—and the same sequence may have been repeated endlessly and exactly the same to every detail, most unseemly and insufferably tedious⁠—”

“Well, well, what happened when he arrived?”

“Why, the moment the gates of Paradise were open and he walked in, before he had been there two seconds, by his watch (though to my thinking his watch must have long dissolved into its elements on the way), he cried out that those two seconds were worth walking not a quadrillion kilometers but a quadrillion of quadrillions, raised to the quadrillionth power! In fact, he sang ‘hosannah’ and overdid it so, that some persons there of lofty ideas wouldn’t shake hands with him at first⁠—he’d become too rapidly reactionary, they said. The Russian temperament. I repeat, it’s a legend. I give it for what it’s worth. So that’s the sort of ideas we have on such subjects even now.”

“I’ve caught you!” Ivan cried, with an almost childish delight, as though he had succeeded in remembering something at last. “That anecdote about the quadrillion years, I made up myself! I was seventeen then, I was at the high school. I made up that anecdote and told it to a schoolfellow called Korovkin, it was at Moscow.⁠ ⁠… The anecdote is so characteristic that I couldn’t have taken it from anywhere. I thought I’d forgotten it⁠ ⁠… but I’ve unconsciously recalled it⁠—I recalled it myself⁠—it was not you telling it! Thousands of things are unconsciously remembered like that even when people are being taken to execution⁠ ⁠… it’s come back to me in a dream. You are that dream! You are a dream, not a living creature!”

“From the vehemence with which you deny my existence,” laughed the gentleman, “I am convinced that you believe in me.”

“Not in the slightest! I haven’t a hundredth part of a grain of faith in you!”

“But you have the thousandth of a grain. Homeopathic doses perhaps are the strongest. Confess that you have faith even to the ten-thousandth of a grain.”

“Not for one minute,” cried Ivan furiously. “But I should like to believe in you,” he added strangely.

“Aha! There’s an admission! But I am good-natured. I’ll come to your assistance again. Listen, it was I caught you, not you me. I told you your anecdote you’d forgotten, on purpose, so as to destroy your faith in me completely.”

“You are lying. The object of your visit is to convince me of your existence!”

“Just so. But hesitation, suspense, conflict between belief and disbelief⁠—is sometimes such torture to a conscientious man, such as you are, that it’s better to hang oneself at once. Knowing that you are inclined to believe in me, I administered some disbelief by telling you that anecdote. I lead you to belief and disbelief by turns, and I have my motive in it. It’s the new method. As soon as you disbelieve in me completely, you’ll begin assuring me to my face that I am not a dream but a reality. I know you. Then I shall have attained my object, which is an honorable one. I shall sow in you only a tiny grain of faith and it will grow into an oak-tree⁠—and such an oak-tree that, sitting on it, you will long to enter the ranks of ‘the hermits in the wilderness and the saintly women,’ for that is what you are secretly longing for. You’ll dine on locusts, you’ll wander into the wilderness to save your soul!”

“Then it’s for the salvation of my soul you are working, is it, you scoundrel?”

“One must do a good work sometimes. How ill-humored you are!”

“Fool! did you ever tempt those holy men who ate locusts and prayed seventeen years in the wilderness till they were overgrown with moss?”

“My dear fellow, I’ve done nothing else. One forgets the whole world and all the worlds, and sticks to one such saint, because he is a very precious diamond. One such soul, you know, is sometimes worth a whole constellation. We have our system of reckoning, you know. The conquest is priceless! And some of them, on my word, are not inferior to you in culture, though you won’t believe it. They can contemplate such depths of belief and disbelief at the same moment that sometimes it really seems that they are within a hair’s-breadth of being ‘turned upside down,’ as the actor Gorbunov says.”

“Well, did you get your nose pulled?” [8]

“My dear fellow,” observed the visitor sententiously, “it’s better to get off with your nose pulled than without a nose at all. As an afflicted marquis observed not long ago (he must have been treated by a specialist) in confession to his spiritual father⁠—a Jesuit. I was present, it was simply charming. ‘Give me back my nose!’ he said, and he beat his breast. ‘My son,’ said the priest evasively, ‘all things are accomplished in accordance with the inscrutable decrees of Providence, and what seems a misfortune sometimes leads to extraordinary, though unapparent, benefits. If stern destiny has deprived you of your nose, it’s to your advantage that no one can ever pull you by your nose.’ ‘Holy father, that’s no comfort,’ cried the despairing marquis. ‘I’d be delighted to have my nose pulled every day of my life, if it were only in its proper place.’ ‘My son,’ sighs the priest, ‘you can’t expect every blessing at once. This is murmuring against Providence, who even in this has not forgotten you, for if you repine as you repined just now, declaring you’d be glad to have your nose pulled for the rest of your life, your desire has already been fulfilled indirectly, for when you lost your nose, you were led by the nose.’ ”

“Fool, how stupid!” cried Ivan.

“My dear friend, I only wanted to amuse you. But I swear that’s the genuine Jesuit casuistry and I swear that it all happened word for word as I’ve told you. It happened lately and gave me a great deal of trouble. The unhappy young man shot himself that very night when he got home. I was by his side till the very last moment. Those Jesuit confessionals are really my most delightful diversion at melancholy moments. Here’s another incident that happened only the other day. A little blonde Norman girl of twenty⁠—a buxom, unsophisticated beauty that would make your mouth water⁠—comes to an old priest. She bends down and whispers her sin into the grating. ‘Why, my daughter, have you fallen again already?’ cries the priest. ‘O Sancta Maria, what do I hear! Not the same man this time, how long is this going on? Aren’t you ashamed!’ ‘Ah, mon père,’ answers the sinner with tears of penitence, ‘ça lui fait tant de plaisir, et à moi si peu de peine!’ Fancy, such an answer! I drew back. It was the cry of nature, better than innocence itself, if you like. I absolved her sin on the spot and was turning to go, but I was forced to turn back. I heard the priest at the grating making an appointment with her for the evening⁠—though he was an old man hard as flint, he fell in an instant! It was nature, the truth of nature asserted its rights! What, you are turning up your nose again? Angry again? I don’t know how to please you⁠—”

“Leave me alone, you are beating on my brain like a haunting nightmare,” Ivan moaned miserably, helpless before his apparition. “I am bored with you, agonizingly and insufferably. I would give anything to be able to shake you off!”

“I repeat, moderate your expectations, don’t demand of me ‘everything great and noble’ and you’ll see how well we shall get on,” said the gentleman impressively. “You are really angry with me for not having appeared to you in a red glow, with thunder and lightning, with scorched wings, but have shown myself in such a modest form. You are wounded, in the first place, in your esthetic feelings, and, secondly, in your pride. How could such a vulgar devil visit such a great man as you! Yes, there is that romantic strain in you, that was so derided by Byelinsky. I can’t help it, young man, as I got ready to come to you I did think as a joke of appearing in the figure of a retired general who had served in the Caucasus, with a star of the Lion and the Sun on my coat. But I was positively afraid of doing it, for you’d have thrashed me for daring to pin the Lion and the Sun on my coat, instead of, at least, the Polar Star or the Sirius. And you keep on saying I am stupid, but, mercy on us! I make no claim to be equal to you in intelligence. Mephistopheles declared to Faust that he desired evil, but did only good. Well, he can say what he likes, it’s quite the opposite with me. I am perhaps the one man in all creation who loves the truth and genuinely desires good. I was there when the Word, Who died on the Cross, rose up into heaven bearing on His bosom the soul of the penitent thief. I heard the glad shrieks of the cherubim singing and shouting hosannah and the thunderous rapture of the seraphim which shook heaven and all creation, and I swear to you by all that’s sacred, I longed to join the choir and shout hosannah with them all. The word had almost escaped me, had almost broken from my lips⁠ ⁠… you know how susceptible and esthetically impressionable I am. But common sense⁠—oh, a most unhappy trait in my character⁠—kept me in due bounds and I let the moment pass! For what would have happened, I reflected, what would have happened after my hosannah? Everything on earth would have been extinguished at once and no events could have occurred. And so, solely from a sense of duty and my social position, I was forced to suppress the good moment and to stick to my nasty task. Somebody takes all the credit of what’s good for Himself, and nothing but nastiness is left for me. But I don’t envy the honor of a life of idle imposture, I am not ambitious. Why am I, of all creatures in the world, doomed to be cursed by all decent people and even to be kicked, for if I put on mortal form I am bound to take such consequences sometimes? I know, of course, there’s a secret in it, but they won’t tell me the secret for anything, for then perhaps, seeing the meaning of it, I might bawl hosannah, and the indispensable minus would disappear at once, and good sense would reign supreme throughout the whole world. And that, of course, would mean the end of everything, even of magazines and newspapers, for who would take them in? I know that at the end of all things I shall be reconciled. I, too, shall walk my quadrillion and learn the secret. But till that happens I am sulking and fulfill my destiny though it’s against the grain⁠—that is, to ruin thousands for the sake of saving one. How many souls have had to be ruined and how many honorable reputations destroyed for the sake of that one righteous man, Job, over whom they made such a fool of me in old days! Yes, till the secret is revealed, there are two sorts of truths for me⁠—one, their truth, yonder, which I know nothing about so far, and the other my own. And there’s no knowing which will turn out the better.⁠ ⁠… Are you asleep?”

“I might well be,” Ivan groaned angrily. “All my stupid ideas⁠—outgrown, thrashed out long ago, and flung aside like a dead carcass⁠—you present to me as something new!”

“There’s no pleasing you! And I thought I should fascinate you by my literary style. That hosannah in the skies really wasn’t bad, was it? And then that ironical tone à la Heine, eh?”

“No, I was never such a flunkey! How then could my soul beget a flunkey like you?”

“My dear fellow, I know a most charming and attractive young Russian gentleman, a young thinker and a great lover of literature and art, the author of a promising poem entitled The Grand Inquisitor. I was only thinking of him!”

“I forbid you to speak of The Grand Inquisitor,” cried Ivan, crimson with shame.

“And the Geological Cataclysm. Do you remember? That was a poem, now!”

“Hold your tongue, or I’ll kill you!”

“You’ll kill me? No, excuse me, I will speak. I came to treat myself to that pleasure. Oh, I love the dreams of my ardent young friends, quivering with eagerness for life! ‘There are new men,’ you decided last spring, when you were meaning to come here, ‘they propose to destroy everything and begin with cannibalism. Stupid fellows! they didn’t ask my advice! I maintain that nothing need be destroyed, that we only need to destroy the idea of God in man, that’s how we have to set to work. It’s that, that we must begin with. Oh, blind race of men who have no understanding! As soon as men have all of them denied God⁠—and I believe that period, analogous with geological periods, will come to pass⁠—the old conception of the universe will fall of itself without cannibalism, and, what’s more, the old morality, and everything will begin anew. Men will unite to take from life all it can give, but only for joy and happiness in the present world. Man will be lifted up with a spirit of divine Titanic pride and the man-god will appear. From hour to hour extending his conquest of nature infinitely by his will and his science, man will feel such lofty joy from hour to hour in doing it that it will make up for all his old dreams of the joys of heaven. Everyone will know that he is mortal and will accept death proudly and serenely like a god. His pride will teach him that it’s useless for him to repine at life’s being a moment, and he will love his brother without need of reward. Love will be sufficient only for a moment of life, but the very consciousness of its momentariness will intensify its fire, which now is dissipated in dreams of eternal love beyond the grave’⁠ ⁠… and so on and so on in the same style. Charming!”

Ivan sat with his eyes on the floor, and his hands pressed to his ears, but he began trembling all over. The voice continued.

“The question now is, my young thinker reflected, is it possible that such a period will ever come? If it does, everything is determined and humanity is settled forever. But as, owing to man’s inveterate stupidity, this cannot come about for at least a thousand years, everyone who recognizes the truth even now may legitimately order his life as he pleases, on the new principles. In that sense, ‘all things are lawful’ for him. What’s more, even if this period never comes to pass, since there is anyway no God and no immortality, the new man may well become the man-god, even if he is the only one in the whole world, and promoted to his new position, he may lightheartedly overstep all the barriers of the old morality of the old slave-man, if necessary. There is no law for God. Where God stands, the place is holy. Where I stand will be at once the foremost place⁠ ⁠… ‘all things are lawful’ and that’s the end of it! That’s all very charming; but if you want to swindle why do you want a moral sanction for doing it? But that’s our modern Russian all over. He can’t bring himself to swindle without a moral sanction. He is so in love with truth⁠—”

The visitor talked, obviously carried away by his own eloquence, speaking louder and louder and looking ironically at his host. But he did not succeed in finishing; Ivan suddenly snatched a glass from the table and flung it at the orator.

Ah, mais c’est bête enfin,” cried the latter, jumping up from the sofa and shaking the drops of tea off himself. “He remembers Luther’s inkstand! He takes me for a dream and throws glasses at a dream! It’s like a woman! I suspected you were only pretending to stop up your ears.”

A loud, persistent knocking was suddenly heard at the window. Ivan jumped up from the sofa.

“Do you hear? You’d better open,” cried the visitor; “it’s your brother Alyosha with the most interesting and surprising news, I’ll be bound!”

“Be silent, deceiver, I knew it was Alyosha, I felt he was coming, and of course he has not come for nothing; of course he brings ‘news,’ ” Ivan exclaimed frantically.

“Open, open to him. There’s a snowstorm and he is your brother. Monsieur sait-il le temps qu’il fait? C’est à ne pas mettre un chien dehors.

The knocking continued. Ivan wanted to rush to the window, but something seemed to fetter his arms and legs. He strained every effort to break his chains, but in vain. The knocking at the window grew louder and louder. At last the chains were broken and Ivan leapt up from the sofa. He looked round him wildly. Both candles had almost burnt out, the glass he had just thrown at his visitor stood before him on the table, and there was no one on the sofa opposite. The knocking on the window frame went on persistently, but it was by no means so loud as it had seemed in his dream; on the contrary, it was quite subdued.

“It was not a dream! No, I swear it was not a dream, it all happened just now!” cried Ivan. He rushed to the window and opened the movable pane.

“Alyosha, I told you not to come,” he cried fiercely to his brother. “In two words, what do you want? In two words, do you hear?”

“An hour ago Smerdyakov hanged himself,” Alyosha answered from the yard.

“Come round to the steps, I’ll open at once,” said Ivan, going to open the door to Alyosha.


“It Was He Who Said That”
Alyosha coming in told Ivan that a little over an hour ago Marya Kondratyevna had run to his rooms and informed him Smerdyakov had taken his own life. “I went in to clear away the samovar and he was hanging on a nail in the wall.” On Alyosha’s inquiring whether she had informed the police, she answered that she had told no one, “but I flew straight to you, I’ve run all the way.” She seemed perfectly crazy, Alyosha reported, and was shaking like a leaf. When Alyosha ran with her to the cottage, he found Smerdyakov still hanging. On the table lay a note: “I destroy my life of my own will and desire, so as to throw no blame on anyone.” Alyosha left the note on the table and went straight to the police captain and told him all about it. “And from him I’ve come straight to you,” said Alyosha, in conclusion, looking intently into Ivan’s face. He had not taken his eyes off him while he told his story, as though struck by something in his expression.

“Brother,” he cried suddenly, “you must be terribly ill. You look and don’t seem to understand what I tell you.”

“It’s a good thing you came,” said Ivan, as though brooding, and not hearing Alyosha’s exclamation. “I knew he had hanged himself.”

“From whom?”

“I don’t know. But I knew. Did I know? Yes, he told me. He told me so just now.”

Ivan stood in the middle of the room, and still spoke in the same brooding tone, looking at the ground.

“Who is he?” asked Alyosha, involuntarily looking round.

“He’s slipped away.”

Ivan raised his head and smiled softly.

“He was afraid of you, of a dove like you. You are a ‘pure cherub.’ Dmitri calls you a cherub. Cherub!⁠ ⁠… the thunderous rapture of the seraphim. What are seraphim? Perhaps a whole constellation. But perhaps that constellation is only a chemical molecule. There’s a constellation of the Lion and the Sun. Don’t you know it?”

“Brother, sit down,” said Alyosha in alarm. “For goodness’ sake, sit down on the sofa! You are delirious; put your head on the pillow, that’s right. Would you like a wet towel on your head? Perhaps it will do you good.”

“Give me the towel: it’s here on the chair. I just threw it down there.”

“It’s not here. Don’t worry yourself. I know where it is⁠—here,” said Alyosha, finding a clean towel, folded up and unused, by Ivan’s dressing-table in the other corner of the room. Ivan looked strangely at the towel: recollection seemed to come back to him for an instant.

“Stay”⁠—he got up from the sofa⁠—“an hour ago I took that new towel from there and wetted it. I wrapped it round my head and threw it down here⁠ ⁠… How is it it’s dry? There was no other.”

“You put that towel on your head?” asked Alyosha.

“Yes, and walked up and down the room an hour ago⁠ ⁠… Why have the candles burnt down so? What’s the time?”

“Nearly twelve.”

“No, no, no!” Ivan cried suddenly. “It was not a dream. He was here; he was sitting here, on that sofa. When you knocked at the window, I threw a glass at him⁠ ⁠… this one. Wait a minute. I was asleep last time, but this dream was not a dream. It has happened before. I have dreams now, Alyosha⁠ ⁠… yet they are not dreams, but reality. I walk about, talk and see⁠ ⁠… though I am asleep. But he was sitting here, on that sofa there.⁠ ⁠… He is frightfully stupid, Alyosha, frightfully stupid.” Ivan laughed suddenly and began pacing about the room.

“Who is stupid? Of whom are you talking, brother?” Alyosha asked anxiously again.

“The devil! He’s taken to visiting me. He’s been here twice, almost three times. He taunted me with being angry at his being a simple devil and not Satan, with scorched wings, in thunder and lightning. But he is not Satan: that’s a lie. He is an impostor. He is simply a devil⁠—a paltry, trivial devil. He goes to the baths. If you undressed him, you’d be sure to find he had a tail, long and smooth like a Danish dog’s, a yard long, dun color.⁠ ⁠… Alyosha, you are cold. You’ve been in the snow. Would you like some tea? What? Is it cold? Shall I tell her to bring some? C’est à ne pas mettre un chien dehors.⁠ ⁠…”

Alyosha ran to the washing-stand, wetted the towel, persuaded Ivan to sit down again, and put the wet towel round his head. He sat down beside him.

“What were you telling me just now about Lise?” Ivan began again. (He was becoming very talkative.) “I like Lise. I said something nasty about her. It was a lie. I like her⁠ ⁠… I am afraid for Katya tomorrow. I am more afraid of her than of anything. On account of the future. She will cast me off tomorrow and trample me under foot. She thinks that I am ruining Mitya from jealousy on her account! Yes, she thinks that! But it’s not so. Tomorrow the cross, but not the gallows. No, I shan’t hang myself. Do you know, I can never commit suicide, Alyosha. Is it because I am base? I am not a coward. Is it from love of life? How did I know that Smerdyakov had hanged himself? Yes, it was he told me so.”

“And you are quite convinced that there has been someone here?” asked Alyosha.

“Yes, on that sofa in the corner. You would have driven him away. You did drive him away: he disappeared when you arrived. I love your face, Alyosha. Did you know that I loved your face? And he is myself, Alyosha. All that’s base in me, all that’s mean and contemptible. Yes, I am a romantic. He guessed it⁠ ⁠… though it’s a libel. He is frightfully stupid; but it’s to his advantage. He has cunning, animal cunning⁠—he knew how to infuriate me. He kept taunting me with believing in him, and that was how he made me listen to him. He fooled me like a boy. He told me a great deal that was true about myself, though. I should never have owned it to myself. Do you know, Alyosha,” Ivan added in an intensely earnest and confidential tone, “I should be awfully glad to think that it was he and not I.”

“He has worn you out,” said Alyosha, looking compassionately at his brother.

“He’s been teasing me. And you know he does it so cleverly, so cleverly. ‘Conscience! What is conscience? I make it up for myself. Why am I tormented by it? From habit. From the universal habit of mankind for the seven thousand years. So let us give it up, and we shall be gods.’ It was he said that, it was he said that!”

“And not you, not you?” Alyosha could not help crying, looking frankly at his brother. “Never mind him, anyway; have done with him and forget him. And let him take with him all that you curse now, and never come back!”

“Yes, but he is spiteful. He laughed at me. He was impudent, Alyosha,” Ivan said, with a shudder of offense. “But he was unfair to me, unfair to me about lots of things. He told lies about me to my face. ‘Oh, you are going to perform an act of heroic virtue: to confess you murdered your father, that the valet murdered him at your instigation.’ ”

“Brother,” Alyosha interposed, “restrain yourself. It was not you murdered him. It’s not true!”

“That’s what he says, he, and he knows it. ‘You are going to perform an act of heroic virtue, and you don’t believe in virtue; that’s what tortures you and makes you angry, that’s why you are so vindictive.’ He said that to me about me and he knows what he says.”

“It’s you say that, not he,” exclaimed Alyosha mournfully, “and you say it because you are ill and delirious, tormenting yourself.”

“No, he knows what he says. ‘You are going from pride,’ he says. ‘You’ll stand up and say it was I killed him, and why do you writhe with horror? You are lying! I despise your opinion, I despise your horror!’ He said that about me. ‘And do you know you are longing for their praise⁠—“he is a criminal, a murderer, but what a generous soul; he wanted to save his brother and he confessed.” ’ That’s a lie, Alyosha!” Ivan cried suddenly, with flashing eyes. “I don’t want the low rabble to praise me, I swear I don’t! That’s a lie! That’s why I threw the glass at him and it broke against his ugly face.”

“Brother, calm yourself, stop!” Alyosha entreated him.

“Yes, he knows how to torment one. He’s cruel,” Ivan went on, unheeding. “I had an inkling from the first what he came for. ‘Granting that you go through pride, still you had a hope that Smerdyakov might be convicted and sent to Siberia, and Mitya would be acquitted, while you would only be punished with moral condemnation’ (‘Do you hear?’ he laughed then)⁠—‘and some people will praise you. But now Smerdyakov’s dead, he has hanged himself, and who’ll believe you alone? But yet you are going, you are going, you’ll go all the same, you’ve decided to go. What are you going for now?’ That’s awful, Alyosha. I can’t endure such questions. Who dare ask me such questions?”

“Brother,” interposed Alyosha⁠—his heart sank with terror, but he still seemed to hope to bring Ivan to reason⁠—“how could he have told you of Smerdyakov’s death before I came, when no one knew of it and there was no time for anyone to know of it?”

“He told me,” said Ivan firmly, refusing to admit a doubt. “It was all he did talk about, if you come to that. ‘And it would be all right if you believed in virtue,’ he said. ‘No matter if they disbelieve you, you are going for the sake of principle. But you are a little pig like Fyodor Pavlovitch, and what do you want with virtue? Why do you want to go meddling if your sacrifice is of no use to anyone? Because you don’t know yourself why you go! Oh, you’d give a great deal to know yourself why you go! And can you have made up your mind? You’ve not made up your mind. You’ll sit all night deliberating whether to go or not. But you will go; you know you’ll go. You know that whichever way you decide, the decision does not depend on you. You’ll go because you won’t dare not to go. Why won’t you dare? You must guess that for yourself. That’s a riddle for you!’ He got up and went away. You came and he went. He called me a coward, Alyosha! Le mot de l’énigme is that I am a coward. ‘It is not for such eagles to soar above the earth.’ It was he added that⁠—he! And Smerdyakov said the same. He must be killed! Katya despises me. I’ve seen that for a month past. Even Lise will begin to despise me! ‘You are going in order to be praised.’ That’s a brutal lie! And you despise me too, Alyosha. Now I am going to hate you again! And I hate the monster, too! I hate the monster! I don’t want to save the monster. Let him rot in Siberia! He’s begun singing a hymn! Oh, tomorrow I’ll go, stand before them, and spit in their faces!”

He jumped up in a frenzy, flung off the towel, and fell to pacing up and down the room again. Alyosha recalled what he had just said. “I seem to be sleeping awake.⁠ ⁠… I walk, I speak, I see, but I am asleep.” It seemed to be just like that now. Alyosha did not leave him. The thought passed through his mind to run for a doctor, but he was afraid to leave his brother alone: there was no one to whom he could leave him. By degrees Ivan lost consciousness completely at last. He still went on talking, talking incessantly, but quite incoherently, and even articulated his words with difficulty. Suddenly he staggered violently; but Alyosha was in time to support him. Ivan let him lead him to his bed. Alyosha undressed him somehow and put him to bed. He sat watching over him for another two hours. The sick man slept soundly, without stirring, breathing softly and evenly. Alyosha took a pillow and lay down on the sofa, without undressing.

As he fell asleep he prayed for Mitya and Ivan. He began to understand Ivan’s illness. “The anguish of a proud determination. An earnest conscience!” God, in Whom he disbelieved, and His truth were gaining mastery over his heart, which still refused to submit. “Yes,” the thought floated through Alyosha’s head as it lay on the pillow, “yes, if Smerdyakov is dead, no one will believe Ivan’s evidence; but he will go and give it.” Alyosha smiled softly. “God will conquer!” he thought. “He will either rise up in the light of truth, or⁠ ⁠… he’ll perish in hate, revenging on himself and on everyone his having served the cause he does not believe in,” Alyosha added bitterly, and again he prayed for Ivan.

Book XII

A Judicial Error


The Fatal Day
At ten o’clock in the morning of the day following the events I have described, the trial of Dmitri Karamazov began in our district court.

I hasten to emphasize the fact that I am far from esteeming myself capable of reporting all that took place at the trial in full detail, or even in the actual order of events. I imagine that to mention everything with full explanation would fill a volume, even a very large one. And so I trust I may not be reproached, for confining myself to what struck me. I may have selected as of most interest what was of secondary importance, and may have omitted the most prominent and essential details. But I see I shall do better not to apologize. I will do my best and the reader will see for himself that I have done all I can.

And, to begin with, before entering the court, I will mention what surprised me most on that day. Indeed, as it appeared later, everyone was surprised at it, too. We all knew that the affair had aroused great interest, that everyone was burning with impatience for the trial to begin, that it had been a subject of talk, conjecture, exclamation and surmise for the last two months in local society. Everyone knew, too, that the case had become known throughout Russia, but yet we had not imagined that it had aroused such burning, such intense, interest in everyone, not only among ourselves, but all over Russia. This became evident at the trial this day.

Visitors had arrived not only from the chief town of our province, but from several other Russian towns, as well as from Moscow and Petersburg. Among them were lawyers, ladies, and even several distinguished personages. Every ticket of admission had been snatched up. A special place behind the table at which the three judges sat was set apart for the most distinguished and important of the men visitors; a row of armchairs had been placed there⁠—something exceptional, which had never been allowed before. A large proportion⁠—not less than half of the public⁠—were ladies. There was such a large number of lawyers from all parts that they did not know where to seat them, for every ticket had long since been eagerly sought for and distributed. I saw at the end of the room, behind the platform, a special partition hurriedly put up, behind which all these lawyers were admitted, and they thought themselves lucky to have standing room there, for all chairs had been removed for the sake of space, and the crowd behind the partition stood throughout the case closely packed, shoulder to shoulder.

Some of the ladies, especially those who came from a distance, made their appearance in the gallery very smartly dressed, but the majority of the ladies were oblivious even of dress. Their faces betrayed hysterical, intense, almost morbid, curiosity. A peculiar fact⁠—established afterwards by many observations⁠—was that almost all the ladies, or, at least the vast majority of them, were on Mitya’s side and in favor of his being acquitted. This was perhaps chiefly owing to his reputation as a conqueror of female hearts. It was known that two women rivals were to appear in the case. One of them⁠—Katerina Ivanovna⁠—was an object of general interest. All sorts of extraordinary tales were told about her, amazing anecdotes of her passion for Mitya, in spite of his crime. Her pride and “aristocratic connections” were particularly insisted upon (she had called upon scarcely anyone in the town). People said she intended to petition the Government for leave to accompany the criminal to Siberia and to be married to him somewhere in the mines. The appearance of Grushenka in court was awaited with no less impatience. The public was looking forward with anxious curiosity to the meeting of the two rivals⁠—the proud aristocratic girl and “the hetaira.” But Grushenka was a more familiar figure to the ladies of the district than Katerina Ivanovna. They had already seen “the woman who had ruined Fyodor Pavlovitch and his unhappy son,” and all, almost without exception, wondered how father and son could be so in love with “such a very common, ordinary Russian girl, who was not even pretty.”

In brief, there was a great deal of talk. I know for a fact that there were several serious family quarrels on Mitya’s account in our town. Many ladies quarreled violently with their husbands over differences of opinion about the dreadful case, and it was only natural that the husbands of these ladies, far from being favorably disposed to the prisoner, should enter the court bitterly prejudiced against him. In fact, one may say pretty certainly that the masculine, as distinguished from the feminine, part of the audience were biased against the prisoner. There were numbers of severe, frowning, even vindictive faces. Mitya, indeed, had managed to offend many people during his stay in the town. Some of the visitors were, of course, in excellent spirits and quite unconcerned as to the fate of Mitya personally. But all were interested in the trial, and the majority of the men were certainly hoping for the conviction of the criminal, except perhaps the lawyers, who were more interested in the legal than in the moral aspect of the case.

Everybody was excited at the presence of the celebrated lawyer, Fetyukovitch. His talent was well known, and this was not the first time he had defended notorious criminal cases in the provinces. And if he defended them, such cases became celebrated and long remembered all over Russia. There were stories, too, about our prosecutor and about the President of the Court. It was said that Ippolit Kirillovitch was in a tremor at meeting Fetyukovitch, and that they had been enemies from the beginning of their careers in Petersburg, that though our sensitive prosecutor, who always considered that he had been aggrieved by someone in Petersburg because his talents had not been properly appreciated, was keenly excited over the Karamazov case, and was even dreaming of rebuilding his flagging fortunes by means of it, Fetyukovitch, they said, was his one anxiety. But these rumors were not quite just. Our prosecutor was not one of those men who lose heart in face of danger. On the contrary, his self-confidence increased with the increase of danger. It must be noted that our prosecutor was in general too hasty and morbidly impressionable. He would put his whole soul into some case and work at it as though his whole fate and his whole fortune depended on its result. This was the subject of some ridicule in the legal world, for just by this characteristic our prosecutor had gained a wider notoriety than could have been expected from his modest position. People laughed particularly at his passion for psychology. In my opinion, they were wrong, and our prosecutor was, I believe, a character of greater depth than was generally supposed. But with his delicate health he had failed to make his mark at the outset of his career and had never made up for it later.

As for the President of our Court, I can only say that he was a humane and cultured man, who had a practical knowledge of his work and progressive views. He was rather ambitious, but did not concern himself greatly about his future career. The great aim of his life was to be a man of advanced ideas. He was, too, a man of connections and property. He felt, as we learnt afterwards, rather strongly about the Karamazov case, but from a social, not from a personal standpoint. He was interested in it as a social phenomenon, in its classification and its character as a product of our social conditions, as typical of the national character, and so on, and so on. His attitude to the personal aspect of the case, to its tragic significance and the persons involved in it, including the prisoner, was rather indifferent and abstract, as was perhaps fitting, indeed.

The court was packed and overflowing long before the judges made their appearance. Our court is the best hall in the town⁠—spacious, lofty, and good for sound. On the right of the judges, who were on a raised platform, a table and two rows of chairs had been put ready for the jury. On the left was the place for the prisoner and the counsel for the defense. In the middle of the court, near the judges, was a table with the “material proofs.” On it lay Fyodor Pavlovitch’s white silk dressing-gown, stained with blood; the fatal brass pestle with which the supposed murder had been committed; Mitya’s shirt, with a bloodstained sleeve; his coat, stained with blood in patches over the pocket in which he had put his handkerchief; the handkerchief itself, stiff with blood and by now quite yellow; the pistol loaded by Mitya at Perhotin’s with a view to suicide, and taken from him on the sly at Mokroe by Trifon Borissovitch; the envelope in which the three thousand roubles had been put ready for Grushenka, the narrow pink ribbon with which it had been tied, and many other articles I don’t remember. In the body of the hall, at some distance, came the seats for the public. But in front of the balustrade a few chairs had been placed for witnesses who remained in the court after giving their evidence.

At ten o’clock the three judges arrived⁠—the President, one honorary justice of the peace, and one other. The prosecutor, of course, entered immediately after. The President was a short, stout, thickset man of fifty, with a dyspeptic complexion, dark hair turning gray and cut short, and a red ribbon, of what Order I don’t remember. The prosecutor struck me and the others, too, as looking particularly pale, almost green. His face seemed to have grown suddenly thinner, perhaps in a single night, for I had seen him looking as usual only two days before. The President began with asking the court whether all the jury were present.

But I see I can’t go on like this, partly because some things I did not hear, others I did not notice, and others I have forgotten, but most of all because, as I have said before, I have literally no time or space to mention everything that was said and done. I only know that neither side objected to very many of the jurymen. I remember the twelve jurymen⁠—four were petty officials of the town, two were merchants, and six peasants and artisans of the town. I remember, long before the trial, questions were continually asked with some surprise, especially by ladies: “Can such a delicate, complex and psychological case be submitted for decision to petty officials and even peasants?” and “What can an official, still more a peasant, understand in such an affair?” All the four officials in the jury were, in fact, men of no consequence and of low rank. Except one who was rather younger, they were gray-headed men, little known in society, who had vegetated on a pitiful salary, and who probably had elderly, unpresentable wives and crowds of children, perhaps even without shoes and stockings. At most, they spent their leisure over cards and, of course, had never read a single book. The two merchants looked respectable, but were strangely silent and stolid. One of them was close-shaven, and was dressed in European style; the other had a small, gray beard, and wore a red ribbon with some sort of a medal upon it on his neck. There is no need to speak of the artisans and the peasants. The artisans of Skotoprigonyevsk are almost peasants, and even work on the land. Two of them also wore European dress, and, perhaps for that reason, were dirtier and more uninviting-looking than the others. So that one might well wonder, as I did as soon as I had looked at them, “what men like that could possibly make of such a case?” Yet their faces made a strangely imposing, almost menacing, impression; they were stern and frowning.

At last the President opened the case of the murder of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov. I don’t quite remember how he described him. The court usher was told to bring in the prisoner, and Mitya made his appearance. There was a hush through the court. One could have heard a fly. I don’t know how it was with others, but Mitya made a most unfavorable impression on me. He looked an awful dandy in a brand-new frock-coat. I heard afterwards that he had ordered it in Moscow expressly for the occasion from his own tailor, who had his measure. He wore immaculate black kid gloves and exquisite linen. He walked in with his yard-long strides, looking stiffly straight in front of him, and sat down in his place with a most unperturbed air.

At the same moment the counsel for defense, the celebrated Fetyukovitch, entered, and a sort of subdued hum passed through the court. He was a tall, spare man, with long thin legs, with extremely long, thin, pale fingers, clean-shaven face, demurely brushed, rather short hair, and thin lips that were at times curved into something between a sneer and a smile. He looked about forty. His face would have been pleasant, if it had not been for his eyes, which, in themselves small and inexpressive, were set remarkably close together, with only the thin, long nose as a dividing line between them. In fact, there was something strikingly birdlike about his face. He was in evening dress and white tie.

I remember the President’s first questions to Mitya, about his name, his calling, and so on. Mitya answered sharply, and his voice was so unexpectedly loud that it made the President start and look at the prisoner with surprise. Then followed a list of persons who were to take part in the proceedings⁠—that is, of the witnesses and experts. It was a long list. Four of the witnesses were not present⁠—Miüsov, who had given evidence at the preliminary inquiry, but was now in Paris; Madame Hohlakov and Maximov, who were absent through illness; and Smerdyakov, through his sudden death, of which an official statement from the police was presented. The news of Smerdyakov’s death produced a sudden stir and whisper in the court. Many of the audience, of course, had not heard of the sudden suicide. What struck people most was Mitya’s sudden outburst As soon as the statement of Smerdyakov’s death was made, he cried out aloud from his place:

“He was a dog and died like a dog!”

I remember how his counsel rushed to him, and how the President addressed him, threatening to take stern measures, if such an irregularity were repeated. Mitya nodded and in a subdued voice repeated several times abruptly to his counsel, with no show of regret:

“I won’t again, I won’t. It escaped me. I won’t do it again.”

And, of course, this brief episode did him no good with the jury or the public. His character was displayed, and it spoke for itself. It was under the influence of this incident that the opening statement was read. It was rather short, but circumstantial. It only stated the chief reasons why he had been arrested, why he must be tried, and so on. Yet it made a great impression on me. The clerk read it loudly and distinctly. The whole tragedy was suddenly unfolded before us, concentrated, in bold relief, in a fatal and pitiless light. I remember how, immediately after it had been read, the President asked Mitya in a loud impressive voice:

“Prisoner, do you plead guilty?”

Mitya suddenly rose from his seat.

“I plead guilty to drunkenness and dissipation,” he exclaimed, again in a startling, almost frenzied, voice, “to idleness and debauchery. I meant to become an honest man for good, just at the moment when I was struck down by fate. But I am not guilty of the death of that old man, my enemy and my father. No, no, I am not guilty of robbing him! I could not be. Dmitri Karamazov is a scoundrel, but not a thief.”

He sat down again, visibly trembling all over. The President again briefly, but impressively, admonished him to answer only what was asked, and not to go off into irrelevant exclamations. Then he ordered the case to proceed. All the witnesses were led up to take the oath. Then I saw them all together. The brothers of the prisoner were, however, allowed to give evidence without taking the oath. After an exhortation from the priest and the President, the witnesses were led away and were made to sit as far as possible apart from one another. Then they began calling them up one by one.


Dangerous Witnesses
I do not know whether the witnesses for the defense and for the prosecution were separated into groups by the President, and whether it was arranged to call them in a certain order. But no doubt it was so. I only know that the witnesses for the prosecution were called first. I repeat I don’t intend to describe all the questions step by step. Besides, my account would be to some extent superfluous, because in the speeches for the prosecution and for the defense the whole course of the evidence was brought together and set in a strong and significant light, and I took down parts of those two remarkable speeches in full, and will quote them in due course, together with one extraordinary and quite unexpected episode, which occurred before the final speeches, and undoubtedly influenced the sinister and fatal outcome of the trial.

I will only observe that from the first moments of the trial one peculiar characteristic of the case was conspicuous and observed by all, that is, the overwhelming strength of the prosecution as compared with the arguments the defense had to rely upon. Everyone realized it from the first moment that the facts began to group themselves round a single point, and the whole horrible and bloody crime was gradually revealed. Everyone, perhaps, felt from the first that the case was beyond dispute, that there was no doubt about it, that there could be really no discussion, and that the defense was only a matter of form, and that the prisoner was guilty, obviously and conclusively guilty. I imagine that even the ladies, who were so impatiently longing for the acquittal of the interesting prisoner, were at the same time, without exception, convinced of his guilt. What’s more, I believe they would have been mortified if his guilt had not been so firmly established, as that would have lessened the effect of the closing scene of the criminal’s acquittal. That he would be acquitted, all the ladies, strange to say, were firmly persuaded up to the very last moment. “He is guilty, but he will be acquitted, from motives of humanity, in accordance with the new ideas, the new sentiments that had come into fashion,” and so on, and so on. And that was why they had crowded into the court so impatiently. The men were more interested in the contest between the prosecutor and the famous Fetyukovitch. All were wondering and asking themselves what could even a talent like Fetyukovitch’s make of such a desperate case; and so they followed his achievements, step by step, with concentrated attention.

But Fetyukovitch remained an enigma to all up to the very end, up to his speech. Persons of experience suspected that he had some design, that he was working towards some object, but it was almost impossible to guess what it was. His confidence and self-reliance were unmistakable, however. Everyone noticed with pleasure, moreover, that he, after so short a stay, not more than three days, perhaps, among us, had so wonderfully succeeded in mastering the case and “had studied it to a nicety.” People described with relish, afterwards, how cleverly he had “taken down” all the witnesses for the prosecution, and as far as possible perplexed them and, what’s more, had aspersed their reputation and so depreciated the value of their evidence. But it was supposed that he did this rather by way of sport, so to speak, for professional glory, to show nothing had been omitted of the accepted methods, for all were convinced that he could do no real good by such disparagement of the witnesses, and probably was more aware of this than anyone, having some idea of his own in the background, some concealed weapon of defense, which he would suddenly reveal when the time came. But meanwhile, conscious of his strength, he seemed to be diverting himself.

So, for instance, when Grigory, Fyodor Pavlovitch’s old servant, who had given the most damning piece of evidence about the open door, was examined, the counsel for the defense positively fastened upon him when his turn came to question him. It must be noted that Grigory entered the hall with a composed and almost stately air, not the least disconcerted by the majesty of the court or the vast audience listening to him. He gave evidence with as much confidence as though he had been talking with his Marfa, only perhaps more respectfully. It was impossible to make him contradict himself. The prosecutor questioned him first in detail about the family life of the Karamazovs. The family picture stood out in lurid colors. It was plain to ear and eye that the witness was guileless and impartial. In spite of his profound reverence for the memory of his deceased master, he yet bore witness that he had been unjust to Mitya and “hadn’t brought up his children as he should. He’d have been devoured by lice when he was little, if it hadn’t been for me,” he added, describing Mitya’s early childhood. “It wasn’t fair either of the father to wrong his son over his mother’s property, which was by right his.”

In reply to the prosecutor’s question what grounds he had for asserting that Fyodor Pavlovitch had wronged his son in their money relations, Grigory, to the surprise of everyone, had no proof at all to bring forward, but he still persisted that the arrangement with the son was “unfair,” and that he ought “to have paid him several thousand roubles more.” I must note, by the way, that the prosecutor asked this question whether Fyodor Pavlovitch had really kept back part of Mitya’s inheritance with marked persistence of all the witnesses who could be asked it, not excepting Alyosha and Ivan, but he obtained no exact information from anyone; all alleged that it was so, but were unable to bring forward any distinct proof. Grigory’s description of the scene at the dinner-table, when Dmitri had burst in and beaten his father, threatening to come back to kill him, made a sinister impression on the court, especially as the old servant’s composure in telling it, his parsimony of words and peculiar phraseology, were as effective as eloquence. He observed that he was not angry with Mitya for having knocked him down and struck him on the face; he had forgiven him long ago, he said. Of the deceased Smerdyakov he observed, crossing himself, that he was a lad of ability, but stupid and afflicted, and, worse still, an infidel, and that it was Fyodor Pavlovitch and his elder son who had taught him to be so. But he defended Smerdyakov’s honesty almost with warmth, and related how Smerdyakov had once found the master’s money in the yard, and, instead of concealing it, had taken it to his master, who had rewarded him with a “gold piece” for it, and trusted him implicitly from that time forward. He maintained obstinately that the door into the garden had been open. But he was asked so many questions that I can’t recall them all.

At last the counsel for the defense began to cross-examine him, and the first question he asked was about the envelope in which Fyodor Pavlovitch was supposed to have put three thousand roubles for “a certain person.” “Have you ever seen it, you, who were for so many years in close attendance on your master?” Grigory answered that he had not seen it and had never heard of the money from anyone “till everybody was talking about it.” This question about the envelope Fetyukovitch put to everyone who could conceivably have known of it, as persistently as the prosecutor asked his question about Dmitri’s inheritance, and got the same answer from all, that no one had seen the envelope, though many had heard of it. From the beginning everyone noticed Fetyukovitch’s persistence on this subject.

“Now, with your permission I’ll ask you a question,” Fetyukovitch said, suddenly and unexpectedly. “Of what was that balsam, or, rather, decoction, made, which, as we learn from the preliminary inquiry, you used on that evening to rub your lumbago, in the hope of curing it?”

Grigory looked blankly at the questioner, and after a brief silence muttered, “There was saffron in it.”

“Nothing but saffron? Don’t you remember any other ingredient?”

“There was milfoil in it, too.”

“And pepper perhaps?” Fetyukovitch queried.

“Yes, there was pepper, too.”

“Etcetera. And all dissolved in vodka?”

“In spirit.”

There was a faint sound of laughter in the court.

“You see, in spirit. After rubbing your back, I believe, you drank what was left in the bottle with a certain pious prayer, only known to your wife?”

“I did.”

“Did you drink much? Roughly speaking, a wineglass or two?”

“It might have been a tumbler-full.”

“A tumbler-full, even. Perhaps a tumbler and a half?”

Grigory did not answer. He seemed to see what was meant.

“A glass and a half of neat spirit⁠—is not at all bad, don’t you think? You might see the gates of heaven open, not only the door into the garden?”

Grigory remained silent. There was another laugh in the court. The President made a movement.

“Do you know for a fact,” Fetyukovitch persisted, “whether you were awake or not when you saw the open door?”

“I was on my legs.”

“That’s not a proof that you were awake.” (There was again laughter in the court.) “Could you have answered at that moment, if anyone had asked you a question⁠—for instance, what year it is?”

“I don’t know.”

“And what year is it, Anno Domini, do you know?”

Grigory stood with a perplexed face, looking straight at his tormentor. Strange to say, it appeared he really did not know what year it was.

“But perhaps you can tell me how many fingers you have on your hands?”

“I am a servant,” Grigory said suddenly, in a loud and distinct voice. “If my betters think fit to make game of me, it is my duty to suffer it.”

Fetyukovitch was a little taken aback, and the President intervened, reminding him that he must ask more relevant questions. Fetyukovitch bowed with dignity and said that he had no more questions to ask of the witness. The public and the jury, of course, were left with a grain of doubt in their minds as to the evidence of a man who might, while undergoing a certain cure, have seen “the gates of heaven,” and who did not even know what year he was living in. But before Grigory left the box another episode occurred. The President, turning to the prisoner, asked him whether he had any comment to make on the evidence of the last witness.

“Except about the door, all he has said is true,” cried Mitya, in a loud voice. “For combing the lice off me, I thank him; for forgiving my blows, I thank him. The old man has been honest all his life and as faithful to my father as seven hundred poodles.”

“Prisoner, be careful in your language,” the President admonished him.

“I am not a poodle,” Grigory muttered.

“All right, it’s I am a poodle myself,” cried Mitya. “If it’s an insult, I take it to myself and I beg his pardon. I was a beast and cruel to him. I was cruel to Aesop too.”

“What Aesop?” the President asked sternly again.

“Oh, Pierrot⁠ ⁠… my father, Fyodor Pavlovitch.”

The President again and again warned Mitya impressively and very sternly to be more careful in his language.

“You are injuring yourself in the opinion of your judges.”

The counsel for the defense was equally clever in dealing with the evidence of Rakitin. I may remark that Rakitin was one of the leading witnesses and one to whom the prosecutor attached great significance. It appeared that he knew everything; his knowledge was amazing, he had been everywhere, seen everything, talked to everybody, knew every detail of the biography of Fyodor Pavlovitch and all the Karamazovs. Of the envelope, it is true, he had only heard from Mitya himself. But he described minutely Mitya’s exploits in the “Metropolis,” all his compromising doings and sayings, and told the story of Captain Snegiryov’s “wisp of tow.” But even Rakitin could say nothing positive about Mitya’s inheritance, and confined himself to contemptuous generalities.

“Who could tell which of them was to blame, and which was in debt to the other, with their crazy Karamazov way of muddling things so that no one could make head or tail of it?” He attributed the tragic crime to the habits that had become ingrained by ages of serfdom and the distressed condition of Russia, due to the lack of appropriate institutions. He was, in fact, allowed some latitude of speech. This was the first occasion on which Rakitin showed what he could do, and attracted notice. The prosecutor knew that the witness was preparing a magazine article on the case, and afterwards in his speech, as we shall see later, quoted some ideas from the article, showing that he had seen it already. The picture drawn by the witness was a gloomy and sinister one, and greatly strengthened the case for the prosecution. Altogether, Rakitin’s discourse fascinated the public by its independence and the extraordinary nobility of its ideas. There were even two or three outbreaks of applause when he spoke of serfdom and the distressed condition of Russia.

But Rakitin, in his youthful ardor, made a slight blunder, of which the counsel for the defense at once adroitly took advantage. Answering certain questions about Grushenka, and carried away by the loftiness of his own sentiments and his success, of which he was, of course, conscious, he went so far as to speak somewhat contemptuously of Agrafena Alexandrovna as “the kept mistress of Samsonov.” He would have given a good deal to take back his words afterwards, for Fetyukovitch caught him out over it at once. And it was all because Rakitin had not reckoned on the lawyer having been able to become so intimately acquainted with every detail in so short a time.

“Allow me to ask,” began the counsel for the defense, with the most affable and even respectful smile, “you are, of course, the same Mr. Rakitin whose pamphlet, The Life of the Deceased Elder, Father Zossima, published by the diocesan authorities, full of profound and religious reflections and preceded by an excellent and devout dedication to the bishop, I have just read with such pleasure?”

“I did not write it for publication⁠ ⁠… it was published afterwards,” muttered Rakitin, for some reason fearfully disconcerted and almost ashamed.

“Oh, that’s excellent! A thinker like you can, and indeed ought to, take the widest view of every social question. Your most instructive pamphlet has been widely circulated through the patronage of the bishop, and has been of appreciable service.⁠ ⁠… But this is the chief thing I should like to learn from you. You stated just now that you were very intimately acquainted with Madame Svyetlov.” (It must be noted that Grushenka’s surname was Svyetlov. I heard it for the first time that day, during the case.)

“I cannot answer for all my acquaintances.⁠ ⁠… I am a young man⁠ ⁠… and who can be responsible for everyone he meets?” cried Rakitin, flushing all over.

“I understand, I quite understand,” cried Fetyukovitch, as though he, too, were embarrassed and in haste to excuse himself. “You, like any other, might well be interested in an acquaintance with a young and beautiful woman who would readily entertain the élite of the youth of the neighborhood, but⁠ ⁠… I only wanted to know⁠ ⁠… It has come to my knowledge that Madame Svyetlov was particularly anxious a couple of months ago to make the acquaintance of the younger Karamazov, Alexey Fyodorovitch, and promised you twenty-five roubles, if you would bring him to her in his monastic dress. And that actually took place on the evening of the day on which the terrible crime, which is the subject of the present investigation, was committed. You brought Alexey Karamazov to Madame Svyetlov, and did you receive the twenty-five roubles from Madame Svyetlov as a reward, that’s what I wanted to hear from you?”

“It was a joke.⁠ ⁠… I don’t see of what interest that can be to you.⁠ ⁠… I took it for a joke⁠ ⁠… meaning to give it back later.⁠ ⁠…”

“Then you did take⁠—But you have not given it back yet⁠ ⁠… or have you?”

“That’s of no consequence,” muttered Rakitin, “I refuse to answer such questions.⁠ ⁠… Of course I shall give it back.”

The President intervened, but Fetyukovitch declared he had no more questions to ask of the witness. Mr. Rakitin left the witness-box not absolutely without a stain upon his character. The effect left by the lofty idealism of his speech was somewhat marred, and Fetyukovitch’s expression, as he watched him walk away, seemed to suggest to the public “this is a specimen of the lofty-minded persons who accuse him.” I remember that this incident, too, did not pass off without an outbreak from Mitya. Enraged by the tone in which Rakitin had referred to Grushenka, he suddenly shouted “Bernard!” When, after Rakitin’s cross-examination, the President asked the prisoner if he had anything to say, Mitya cried loudly:

“Since I’ve been arrested, he has borrowed money from me! He is a contemptible Bernard and opportunist, and he doesn’t believe in God; he took the bishop in!”

Mitya, of course, was pulled up again for the intemperance of his language, but Rakitin was done for. Captain Snegiryov’s evidence was a failure, too, but from quite a different reason. He appeared in ragged and dirty clothes, muddy boots, and in spite of the vigilance and expert observation of the police officers, he turned out to be hopelessly drunk. On being asked about Mitya’s attack upon him, he refused to answer.

“God bless him. Ilusha told me not to. God will make it up to me yonder.”

“Who told you not to tell? Of whom are you talking?”

“Ilusha, my little son. ‘Father, father, how he insulted you!’ He said that at the stone. Now he is dying.⁠ ⁠…”

The captain suddenly began sobbing, and plumped down on his knees before the President. He was hurriedly led away amidst the laughter of the public. The effect prepared by the prosecutor did not come off at all.

Fetyukovitch went on making the most of every opportunity, and amazed people more and more by his minute knowledge of the case. Thus, for example, Trifon Borissovitch made a great impression, of course, very prejudicial to Mitya. He calculated almost on his fingers that on his first visit to Mokroe, Mitya must have spent three thousand roubles, “or very little less. Just think what he squandered on those gypsy girls alone! And as for our lousy peasants, it wasn’t a case of flinging half a rouble in the street, he made them presents of twenty-five roubles each, at least, he didn’t give them less. And what a lot of money was simply stolen from him! And if anyone did steal, he did not leave a receipt. How could one catch the thief when he was flinging his money away all the time? Our peasants are robbers, you know; they have no care for their souls. And the way he went on with the girls, our village girls! They’re completely set up since then, I tell you, they used to be poor.” He recalled, in fact, every item of expense and added it all up. So the theory that only fifteen hundred had been spent and the rest had been put aside in a little bag seemed inconceivable.

“I saw three thousand as clear as a penny in his hands, I saw it with my own eyes; I should think I ought to know how to reckon money,” cried Trifon Borissovitch, doing his best to satisfy “his betters.”

When Fetyukovitch had to cross-examine him, he scarcely tried to refute his evidence, but began asking him about an incident at the first carousal at Mokroe, a month before the arrest, when Timofey and another peasant called Akim had picked up on the floor in the passage a hundred roubles dropped by Mitya when he was drunk, and had given them to Trifon Borissovitch and received a rouble each from him for doing so. “Well,” asked the lawyer, “did you give that hundred roubles back to Mr. Karamazov?” Trifon Borissovitch shuffled in vain.⁠ ⁠… He was obliged, after the peasants had been examined, to admit the finding of the hundred roubles, only adding that he had religiously returned it all to Dmitri Fyodorovitch “in perfect honesty, and it’s only because his honor was in liquor at the time, he wouldn’t remember it.” But, as he had denied the incident of the hundred roubles till the peasants had been called to prove it, his evidence as to returning the money to Mitya was naturally regarded with great suspicion. So one of the most dangerous witnesses brought forward by the prosecution was again discredited.

The same thing happened with the Poles. They took up an attitude of pride and independence; they vociferated loudly that they had both been in the service of the Crown, and that “Pan Mitya” had offered them three thousand “to buy their honor,” and that they had seen a large sum of money in his hands. Pan Mussyalovitch introduced a terrible number of Polish words into his sentences, and seeing that this only increased his consequence in the eyes of the President and the prosecutor, grew more and more pompous, and ended by talking in Polish altogether. But Fetyukovitch caught them, too, in his snares. Trifon Borissovitch, recalled, was forced, in spite of his evasions, to admit that Pan Vrublevsky had substituted another pack of cards for the one he had provided, and that Pan Mussyalovitch had cheated during the game. Kalganov confirmed this, and both the Poles left the witness-box with damaged reputations, amidst laughter from the public.

Then exactly the same thing happened with almost all the most dangerous witnesses. Fetyukovitch succeeded in casting a slur on all of them, and dismissing them with a certain derision. The lawyers and experts were lost in admiration, and were only at a loss to understand what good purpose could be served by it, for all, I repeat, felt that the case for the prosecution could not be refuted, but was growing more and more tragically overwhelming. But from the confidence of the “great magician” they saw that he was serene, and they waited, feeling that “such a man” had not come from Petersburg for nothing, and that he was not a man to return unsuccessful.


The Medical Experts and a Pound of Nuts
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. The medical line of defense had only been taken up through the insistence of Katerina Ivanovna, who had sent for a celebrated doctor from Moscow on purpose. The case for the defense could, of course, lose nothing by it and might, with luck, gain something from it. There was, however, an element of comedy about it, through the difference of opinion of the doctors. The medical experts were the famous doctor from Moscow, our doctor, Herzenstube, and the young doctor, Varvinsky. The two latter appeared also as witnesses for the prosecution.

The first to be called in the capacity of expert was Doctor Herzenstube. He was a gray and bald old man of seventy, of middle height and sturdy build. He was much esteemed and respected by everyone in the town. He was a conscientious doctor and an excellent and pious man, a Hernguter or Moravian brother, I am not quite sure which. He had been living amongst us for many years and behaved with wonderful dignity. He was a kindhearted and humane man. He treated the sick poor and peasants for nothing, visited them in their slums and huts, and left money for medicine, but he was as obstinate as a mule. 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 some extremely offensive allusions to Doctor Herzenstube’s qualifications. Though the Moscow doctor asked twenty-five roubles for a visit, several people in the town were glad to take advantage of his arrival, and rushed to consult him regardless of expense. All these had, of course, been previously patients of Doctor Herzenstube, and the celebrated doctor had criticized his treatment with extreme harshness. Finally, he had asked the patients as soon as he saw them, “Well, who has been cramming you with nostrums? Herzenstube? He, he!” Doctor Herzenstube, of course, heard all this, and now all the three doctors made their appearance, one after another, to be examined.

Doctor Herzenstube roundly declared that the abnormality of the prisoner’s mental 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 many of the prisoner’s actions in the past, but was apparent even now at this very moment. 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 prisoner on entering the court had “an extraordinary air, remarkable in the circumstances”; that he had “marched in like a soldier, looking straight before him, though it would have been more natural for him to look to the left where, among the public, the ladies were sitting, seeing that he was a great admirer of the fair sex and must be thinking much of what the ladies are saying of him now,” the old man concluded in his peculiar language.

I must add that he spoke Russian readily, but every phrase was formed in German style, which did not, however, trouble him, for it had always been a weakness of his to believe that he spoke Russian perfectly, better indeed than Russians. And he was very fond of using Russian proverbs, always declaring that the Russian proverbs were the best and most expressive sayings in the whole world. I may remark, too, that in conversation, through absentmindedness he often forgot the most ordinary words, which sometimes went out of 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 his face as though trying to catch the lost word, and no one could induce him to go on speaking till he had found the missing word. His remark that the prisoner ought to have looked at the ladies on entering roused a whisper of amusement 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 man of exemplary conduct, he looked upon women as lofty creatures. And so his unexpected observation struck everyone as very queer.

The Moscow doctor, being questioned in his turn, definitely and emphatically repeated that he considered the prisoner’s mental condition abnormal in the highest degree. He talked at length and with erudition of “aberration” and “mania,” and argued that, from all the facts collected, the prisoner had undoubtedly been in a condition of aberration for several days before his arrest, and, if the crime had been committed by him, it must, even if he were conscious of it, have been almost involuntary, as he had not the power to control the morbid impulse that possessed him.

But apart from temporary aberration, the doctor diagnosed mania, which premised, in his words, to lead to complete insanity in the future. (It must be noted that I report this in my own words, the doctor made use of very learned and professional language.) “All his actions are in contravention of common 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. He laughed unexpectedly when there was nothing to laugh at. He showed continual and inexplicable irritability, using strange words, ‘Bernard!’ ‘Ethics!’ and others equally inappropriate.” But the doctor detected mania, above all, in the fact that the prisoner could not even speak of the three thousand roubles, of which he considered himself to have been cheated, without extraordinary irritation, though he could speak comparatively lightly of other misfortunes and grievances. According to all accounts, he had even in the past, whenever the subject of the three thousand roubles was touched on, flown into a perfect frenzy, and yet he was reported to be a disinterested and not grasping man.

“As to the opinion of my learned colleague,” the Moscow doctor added ironically in conclusion, “that the prisoner would, on entering the court, have naturally looked at the ladies and not straight before him, I will only say that, apart from the playfulness of this theory, it is radically unsound. For though I fully agree that the prisoner, on entering the court where his fate will be decided, would not naturally look straight before him in that fixed way, and that that may really be a sign of his abnormal mental condition, at the same time I maintain that he would naturally not look to the left at the ladies, but, on the contrary, to the right to find his legal adviser, on whose help all his hopes rest and on whose defense all his future depends.” The doctor expressed his opinion positively and emphatically.

But the unexpected pronouncement of Doctor Varvinsky gave the last touch of comedy to the difference of opinion between the experts. In his opinion the prisoner was now, and had been all along, in a perfectly normal condition, and, although he certainly must have been in a nervous and exceedingly excited state before his arrest, this might have been due to several perfectly obvious causes, jealousy, anger, continual drunkenness, and so on. But this nervous condition would not involve the mental aberration of which mention had just been made. As to the question whether the prisoner should have looked to the left or to the right on entering the court, “in his modest opinion,” the prisoner would naturally look straight before him on entering the court, as he had 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 he showed his perfectly normal state of mind at the present. The young doctor concluded 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 decisive influence 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 who had known the Karamazov family for years, he furnished some facts of great value for the prosecution, and suddenly, as though recalling something, he added:

“But the poor young man might have had a very different life, for he had a good heart both in childhood and after childhood, that I know. But the Russian proverb says, ‘If a man has one head, it’s good, but if another clever man comes to visit him, it would be better still, for then there will be two heads and not only one.’ ”

“One head is good, but two are better,” the prosecutor put in impatiently. He knew the old man’s habit of talking slowly and deliberately, regardless of the impression he was making and of the delay he was causing, and highly prizing his flat, dull and always gleefully complacent German wit. The old man was fond of making jokes.

“Oh, yes, that’s what I say,” he went on stubbornly. “One head is good, but two are much better, but he did not meet another head with wits, and his wits went. Where did they go? I’ve forgotten the word.” He went on, passing his hand before his eyes, “Oh, yes, spazieren.”


“Oh, yes, wandering, that’s what I say. Well, his wits went wandering and fell in such a deep hole that he lost himself. And yet he was a grateful and sensitive boy. Oh, I remember him very well, a little chap so high, left neglected by his father in the back yard, when he ran about without boots on his feet, and his little breeches hanging by one button.”

A note of feeling and tenderness suddenly came into the honest old man’s voice. Fetyukovitch positively started, as though scenting something, and caught at it instantly.

“Oh, yes, I was a young man then.⁠ ⁠… I was⁠ ⁠… well, I was forty-five then, and had only just come here. And I was so sorry for the boy then; I asked myself why shouldn’t I buy him a pound of⁠ ⁠… a pound of what? I’ve forgotten what it’s called. 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 gathered and given to everyone.⁠ ⁠…”


“Oh, no, no. You have a dozen of apples, not a pound.⁠ ⁠… No, there are a lot of them, and all little. You put them in the mouth and crack.”


“Quite so, nuts, I say so.” The doctor repeated in the calmest way as though he had been at no loss for a word. “And I bought him a pound of nuts, for no one had ever bought the boy a pound of nuts before. And I lifted my finger and said 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 der heilige Geist.’ Then he laughed and said as best he could, ‘Gott der heilige Geist.’ I went away, and two days after I happened to be passing, and he shouted to me of himself, ‘Uncle, Gott der Vater, Gott der Sohn,’ and he had only forgotten ‘Gott der heilige Geist.’ But I reminded him of it and I felt very 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 I should never have recognized, but he held up his finger and said, laughing, ‘Gott der Vater, Gott der Sohn, and Gott der heilige Geist. I have just arrived and have come to thank you for that pound of nuts, for no one else ever bought me a pound of nuts; you are the only one that ever did.’ And then I remembered my happy youth and the poor child in the yard, without boots on his feet, and my heart was touched and I said, ‘You are a grateful young man, for you have remembered all your life the pound of nuts I bought you in your childhood.’ 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 be weeping. But he did weep; I saw it. And now, alas!⁠ ⁠…”

“And I am weeping now, German, I am weeping now, too, you saintly man,” Mitya cried suddenly.

In any case the anecdote made a certain favorable impression on the public. But the chief sensation in Mitya’s favor was created by the evidence of Katerina Ivanovna, which I will describe directly. Indeed, when the witnesses à décharge, that is, called by the defense, began giving evidence, fortune seemed all at once markedly more favorable to Mitya, and what was particularly striking, this was a surprise even to the counsel for the defense. But before Katerina Ivanovna was called, Alyosha was examined, and he recalled a fact which seemed to furnish positive evidence against one important point made by the prosecution.


Fortune Smiles on Mitya
It came quite as a surprise even to Alyosha himself. He was not required to take the oath, and I remember that both sides addressed him very gently and sympathetically. It was evident that his reputation for goodness had preceded him. Alyosha gave his evidence modestly and with restraint, but his warm sympathy for his unhappy brother was unmistakable. In answer to one question, he sketched his brother’s character as that of a man, violent-tempered perhaps and carried away by his passions, but at the same time honorable, proud and generous, capable of self-sacrifice, if necessary. He admitted, however, that, through his passion for Grushenka and his rivalry with his father, his brother had been of late in an intolerable position. But he repelled with indignation the suggestion that his brother might have committed a murder for the sake of gain, though he recognized that the three thousand roubles had become almost an obsession with Mitya; that he looked upon them as part of the inheritance he had been cheated 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 the rivalry of the two “ladies,” as the prosecutor expressed it⁠—that is, of Grushenka and Katya⁠—he answered evasively and was even unwilling to answer one 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,” he added.

“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 an extreme 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 feeling would always save him at the fatal moment, as it has indeed saved him, for it was not he killed my father,” Alyosha said firmly, in a loud voice that was heard throughout the court.

The prosecutor started like a warhorse at the sound of a trumpet.

“Let me assure you that I fully believe in the complete sincerity of your conviction and do not explain it by or identify it with your affection for your unhappy brother. Your peculiar view of the whole tragic episode is known to us already from the preliminary investigation. I won’t attempt to conceal from you that it is highly individual and contradicts all the other evidence collected by the prosecution. And so I think it essential to press you to tell me what facts have led you to this conviction of your brother’s innocence and of the guilt of another person against whom you gave evidence at the preliminary inquiry?”

“I only answered the questions asked me at the preliminary inquiry,” replied Alyosha, slowly and calmly. “I made no accusation against Smerdyakov of myself.”

“Yet you gave evidence against him?”

“I was led to do so by my brother Dmitri’s words. I was told what took place at his arrest and how he had pointed to Smerdyakov before I was examined. I believe absolutely that my brother is innocent, and if he didn’t commit the murder, then⁠—”

“Then Smerdyakov? Why Smerdyakov? And why are you so completely persuaded of your brother’s innocence?”

“I cannot help believing my brother. I know he wouldn’t lie to me. I saw from his 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 word and the expression of his face?”

“No, I have no other proof.”

The prosecutor dropped the examination at this point. The impression left by Alyosha’s evidence on the public was most disappointing. There had been talk about Smerdyakov before the trial; someone had heard something, someone had pointed out something else, it was said that Alyosha had gathered together some extraordinary proofs of his brother’s innocence and Smerdyakov’s guilt, and after all there was nothing, no evidence except certain moral convictions so natural in a brother.

But Fetyukovitch began his cross-examination. On his asking Alyosha when it was that the prisoner had told him of his hatred for his father and that he might kill him, and whether he had heard it, for instance, at their last meeting before the catastrophe, Alyosha started as he answered, as though only just recollecting and understanding something.

“I remember one circumstance now which I’d quite forgotten myself. It wasn’t clear to me at the time, but now⁠—”

And, obviously only now for the first time struck by an idea, he recounted eagerly how, at his last interview with Mitya that evening under the tree, on the road to the monastery, Mitya had struck himself on the breast, “the upper part of the breast,” and had repeated several times that he had a means of regaining his honor, that that means was here, here on his breast. “I thought, when he struck himself on the breast, he meant that it was in his heart,” Alyosha continued, “that he might find in his heart strength to save himself from some awful disgrace which was awaiting him and which he did not dare confess even to me. I must confess I did think at the time that he was speaking of our father, and that the disgrace he was shuddering at was the thought of going to our father and doing some violence to him. Yet it was just then that he pointed to something on his breast, so that I remember the idea struck me at the time that the heart is not on that part of the breast, but below, and that he struck himself much too high, just below the neck, and kept pointing to that place. My idea seemed silly to me at the time, but he was perhaps pointing then to that little bag in which he had fifteen hundred roubles!”

“Just so,” Mitya cried from his place. “That’s right, Alyosha, it was the little bag I struck with my fist.”

Fetyukovitch flew to him in hot haste entreating him to keep quiet, and at the same instant pounced on Alyosha. Alyosha, carried away himself by his recollection, warmly expressed his theory that this disgrace was probably just that fifteen hundred roubles on him, which he might have returned to Katerina Ivanovna as half of what he owed her, but which he had yet determined not to repay her and to use for another purpose⁠—namely, to enable him to elope with Grushenka, if she consented.

“It is so, it must be so,” exclaimed Alyosha, in sudden excitement. “My brother cried several times that half of the disgrace, half of it (he said half several times) he could free himself from at once, but that he was so unhappy in his weakness of will that he wouldn’t do it⁠ ⁠… that he knew beforehand he was incapable of doing it!”

“And you clearly, confidently remember that he struck himself just on this part of the breast?” Fetyukovitch asked eagerly.

“Clearly and confidently, for I thought at the time, ‘Why does he strike himself up there when the heart is lower down?’ and the thought seemed stupid to 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 till now? It was that little bag he meant when he said he had the means but wouldn’t give back that fifteen hundred. And when he was arrested at Mokroe he cried out⁠—I know, I was told it⁠—that he considered it the most disgraceful act 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 the money 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 exclaimed in conclusion.

The prosecutor, of course, intervened. He asked Alyosha to describe once more how it had all happened, and several times insisted on the question, “Had the prisoner seemed to point to anything? Perhaps he had simply struck himself with his fist on the breast?”

“But it was not with his fist,” cried Alyosha; “he pointed with his fingers and pointed here, very high up.⁠ ⁠… How could I have so completely forgotten it till 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 hundred roubles which were on his breast, just below the neck, and that that was, of course, the disgrace, “A disgrace I cannot deny, the most shameful act of my whole life,” cried Mitya. “I might have repaid it and didn’t repay it. I preferred to remain a thief in her eyes rather than give it back. And the most shameful part of it was that I knew beforehand I shouldn’t give it back! You are right, Alyosha! Thanks, Alyosha!”

So Alyosha’s cross-examination ended. What was important and striking about it was that one fact at least had been found, and even though this were only one tiny bit of evidence, a mere hint at evidence, it did go some little way towards proving that the bag had existed and had contained fifteen hundred roubles and that the prisoner had not been lying at the preliminary inquiry when 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 to him. He kept repeating to himself: “How was it I forgot? How could I have forgotten it? And what made it come back to me now?”

Katerina Ivanovna was called to the witness-box. As she entered something extraordinary happened in the court. The ladies clutched their lorgnettes and opera-glasses. There was a stir among the men: some stood up to get a better view. Everybody alleged afterwards that Mitya had turned “white as a sheet” on her entrance. All in black, she advanced modestly, almost timidly. It was impossible to tell from her face that she was agitated; but there was a resolute gleam in her dark and gloomy eyes. I may remark that many people mentioned that she looked particularly handsome at that moment. She spoke softly but clearly, so that she was heard all over the court. She expressed herself with composure, or at least tried to appear composed. The President began his examination discreetly and very respectfully, as though afraid to touch on “certain chords,” and showing consideration for her great unhappiness. But in answer to one of the first questions Katerina Ivanovna replied firmly that she had been formerly betrothed to the prisoner, “until he left me of his own accord⁠ ⁠…” she added quietly. When they asked her about the three thousand she had entrusted to Mitya to post to her relations, she said firmly, “I didn’t give him the money simply to send it off. I felt at the time that he was in great need of money.⁠ ⁠… I gave him the three thousand on the understanding that he should post it within the month if he cared to. There was 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. I will only give the substance of her evidence.

“I was firmly convinced that he would send off that sum as soon as he got money from his father,” she went on. “I have never doubted his disinterestedness and his honesty⁠ ⁠… his scrupulous honesty⁠ ⁠… in money matters. He felt quite certain that he would receive the money from his father, and spoke to me several times about it. I knew he had a feud with his father and have always believed that he had been unfairly treated by his father. I don’t remember any threat uttered by him against his father. He certainly never uttered any such threat before me. If he had come to me at that time, I should have 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 as to that money,” she added suddenly, and there was a ring of resolution in her voice. “I was once indebted to him for assistance in money for more than three thousand, and I took it, although I could not at that time foresee that I should ever be in a position to repay my debt.”

There was a note of defiance in her voice. It was then Fetyukovitch began his cross-examination.

“Did that take place not here, but at the beginning of your acquaintance?” Fetyukovitch suggested cautiously, feeling his way, instantly scenting something favorable. I must mention in parenthesis that, though Fetyukovitch had been brought from Petersburg partly at the instance of Katerina Ivanovna herself, he knew nothing about the episode of the four thousand roubles given her by Mitya, and of her “bowing to the ground to him.” She concealed this from him and said nothing about it, and that was strange. It may be pretty certainly assumed that she herself did not know till the very last minute whether she would speak of that episode in the court, and waited for the inspiration of the moment.

No, I can never forget those moments. She began telling her story. She told everything, the whole episode that Mitya had told Alyosha, and her bowing to the 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 fetch the money. She generously concealed that and was not ashamed to make it appear as though she had of her own impulse run to the young officer, relying on something⁠ ⁠… to beg him for the money. It was something tremendous! I turned cold and trembled as I listened. The court was hushed, trying to catch each word. It was something unexampled. Even from such a self-willed and contemptuously proud girl as she was, such an extremely frank avowal, such sacrifice, such self-immolation, seemed incredible. And for what, for whom? To save the man who had deceived and insulted her and to help, in however small a degree, in saving him, by creating a strong impression in his favor. And, indeed, the figure of the young officer who, with a respectful bow to the innocent girl, handed her his last four thousand roubles⁠—all he had in the world⁠—was thrown into a very sympathetic and attractive light, but⁠ ⁠… I had a painful misgiving at heart! I felt that calumny might come of it later (and it did, in fact, it did). It was repeated all over the town afterwards with spiteful laughter that the story was perhaps not quite complete⁠—that is, in the statement that the officer had let the young lady depart “with nothing but a respectful bow.” It was hinted that something was here omitted.

“And even if nothing had been omitted, if this were the whole story,” the most highly respected of our ladies maintained, “even then it’s very doubtful whether it was creditable for a young girl to behave in that way, even for the sake 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 have understood it, yet she made up her mind to tell everything. Of course, all these nasty little suspicions as to the truth of her story only arose afterwards and at the first moment all were deeply impressed by it. As for the judges and the lawyers, they listened in reverent, almost shamefaced silence to Katerina Ivanovna. The prosecutor did not venture upon even one question on the 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 a generous impulse and then for the same man to murder his father for the sake of robbing him of three thousand⁠—the idea seemed too incongruous. Fetyukovitch felt that now the charge of theft, at least, was as good as disproved. “The case” was thrown into quite a different light. There was a wave of sympathy for Mitya. As for him.⁠ ⁠… I was told that once or twice, while Katerina Ivanovna was giving her evidence, he jumped up from his seat, sank back again, and hid his face in his hands. But when she had finished, he suddenly 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 across his 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 her declared 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 of Mitya’s ruin. For I am convinced, so is everyone⁠—all the lawyers said the same afterwards⁠—that if the episode had not occurred, the prisoner would at least have been recommended to mercy. But of that later. A few words first about Grushenka.

She, too, was dressed entirely in black, with her magnificent black shawl on her shoulders. She walked to the witness-box with her smooth, noiseless tread, with the slightly swaying gait common in women of full figure. She looked steadily at the President, turning her eyes neither to the right nor to the left. To my thinking she looked very handsome at that moment, and not at all pale, as the ladies alleged afterwards. They declared, too, that she had a concentrated and spiteful expression. I believe that she was simply irritated and painfully conscious of the contemptuous and inquisitive eyes of our scandal-loving public. She was proud and could not stand contempt. She was one of those people who flare up, angry and eager to retaliate, at the mere suggestion of contempt. There was an element of timidity, too, of course, and inward shame at her own timidity, so it was not strange that her tone kept changing. At one moment it was angry, contemptuous and rough, and at another there was a sincere note of self-condemnation. Sometimes she spoke as though she were taking a desperate plunge; as though she felt, “I don’t care what happens, 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 would pester me?” But a minute later she added, “It was all my fault. I was laughing at them both⁠—at the old man and at him, too⁠—and I brought both of them to this. It was all on account of me it happened.”

Samsonov’s name came up somehow. “That’s nobody’s business,” she snapped at once, with a sort of insolent defiance. “He was my benefactor; he took me when I hadn’t a shoe to my foot, when my family had turned me out.” The President reminded her, though very politely, that she must answer the questions directly, without going off into irrelevant details. Grushenka crimsoned and her 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 for three thousand in it. “But that was all foolishness. I was only laughing. I wouldn’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 last night.”

She was, of course, at once asked what ground she had for such a definite accusation; but it appeared that she, too, had no grounds for it.

“Dmitri Fyodorovitch told me so himself; you can believe him. The woman who came 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 a vindictive note in her voice.

She was again asked to whom she was referring.

“The young lady, Katerina Ivanovna there. She sent for me, offered me chocolate, tried to fascinate me. There’s not much true shame about her, I can tell you that.⁠ ⁠…”

At this point the President checked her sternly, begging her to moderate her language. But the jealous woman’s heart was burning, and she did not care what she did.

“When the prisoner was arrested at Mokroe,” the prosecutor asked, “everyone saw 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 murdered his father?”

“I don’t remember what I felt at the time,” answered Grushenka. “Everyone was crying 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’t guilty, I believed him at once, and I believe him now and always shall believe him. He is not the man to tell a lie.”

Fetyukovitch began his cross-examination. I remember that among other things he asked about Rakitin and the twenty-five roubles “you paid him for bringing Alexey 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 get thirty roubles a month at least out of me, chiefly for luxuries: he had enough to keep him without my help.”

“What led you to be so liberal to Mr. Rakitin?” Fetyukovitch asked, in spite of an uneasy movement on the part of the President.

“Why, he is my cousin. His mother was my mother’s sister. But he’s always besought 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 the monastery, not even Mitya, knew of it. I was told that Rakitin turned purple with shame where he sat. Grushenka had somehow heard before she came into the court that he had given evidence against Mitya, and so she was angry. The whole effect on the public, of Rakitin’s speech, of his noble sentiments, of his attacks upon serfdom and the political disorder of Russia, was this time finally ruined. Fetyukovitch was satisfied: it was another godsend. Grushenka’s cross-examination did not last long and, of course, there could be nothing particularly new in her evidence. She left a very disagreeable impression 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 good distance from Katerina Ivanovna. Mitya was silent throughout her evidence. He sat as though turned to stone, with his eyes fixed on the ground.

Ivan was called to give evidence.


A Sudden Catastrophe
I may note that he had been called before Alyosha. But the usher of the court announced to the President that, owing to an attack of illness or some sort of fit, the witness could not appear at the moment, but was ready to give his evidence as soon as he recovered. But no one seemed to have heard it and it only came out later.

His entrance was for the first moment almost unnoticed. The principal witnesses, especially the two rival ladies, had already been questioned. Curiosity was satisfied for the time; the public was feeling almost fatigued. Several more witnesses were still to be heard, who probably had little information to give after all that had been given. Time was passing. Ivan walked up with extraordinary slowness, looking at no one, and with his head bowed, as though plunged in gloomy thought. He was irreproachably dressed, but his face made a painful impression, on me at least: there was an earthy look in it, a look like a dying man’s. His eyes were lusterless; he raised them and looked slowly round the court. Alyosha jumped up from his seat and moaned “Ah!” I remember that, but it was hardly noticed.

The President began by informing him that he was a witness not on oath, that he might answer or refuse to answer, but that, of course, he must bear witness according to his conscience, and so on, and so on. Ivan listened and looked at him blankly, but his face gradually relaxed into a smile, and as soon as the President, looking at him in astonishment, finished, he laughed outright.

“Well, and what else?” he asked in a loud voice.

There was a hush in the court; there was a feeling of something strange. The President showed signs of uneasiness.

“You⁠ ⁠… are perhaps still unwell?” he began, looking everywhere for the usher.

“Don’t trouble yourself, your excellency, I am well enough and can tell you something interesting,” Ivan answered with sudden calmness and respectfulness.

“You have some special communication to make?” the President went on, still mistrustfully.

Ivan looked down, waited a few seconds and, raising his head, answered, almost stammering:

“No⁠ ⁠… I haven’t. I have nothing particular.”

They began asking him questions. He answered, as it were, reluctantly, with extreme brevity, with a sort of disgust which grew more and more marked, though he answered rationally. To many questions he answered that he did not know. He knew nothing of his father’s money relations with Dmitri. “I wasn’t interested in the subject,” he added. Threats to murder his father he had heard from the prisoner. Of the money in the envelope he had heard from Smerdyakov.

“The same thing over and over again,” he interrupted suddenly, with a look of weariness. “I have nothing particular to tell the court.”

“I see you are unwell and understand your feelings,” the President began.

He turned to the prosecutor and the counsel for the defense to invite them to examine the witness, if necessary, when Ivan suddenly asked in an exhausted voice:

“Let me go, your excellency, I feel very ill.”

And with these words, without waiting for permission, he turned to walk out of the court. But after taking four steps he stood still, as though he had reached a decision, smiled slowly, and went back.

“I am like the peasant girl, your excellency⁠ ⁠… you know. How does it go? ‘I’ll stand up if I like, and I won’t if I don’t.’ They were trying to put on her sarafan to take her to church to be married, and she said, ‘I’ll stand up if I like, and I won’t if I don’t.’⁠ ⁠… It’s in some book about the peasantry.”

“What do you mean by that?” the President asked severely.

“Why, this,” Ivan suddenly pulled out a roll of notes. “Here’s the money⁠ ⁠… the notes that lay in that envelope” (he nodded towards the table on which lay the material evidence), “for the sake of which our father was murdered. Where shall I put them? Mr. Superintendent, take them.”

The usher of the court took the whole roll and handed it to the President.

“How could this money have come into your possession if it is the same money?” the President asked wonderingly.

“I got them from Smerdyakov, from the murderer, yesterday.⁠ ⁠… I was with him just before he hanged himself. It was he, not my brother, killed our father. He murdered him and I incited him to do it⁠ ⁠… Who doesn’t desire his father’s death?”

“Are you in your right mind?” broke involuntarily from the President.

“I should think I am in my right mind⁠ ⁠… in the same nasty mind as all of you⁠ ⁠… as all these⁠ ⁠… ugly faces.” He turned suddenly to the audience. “My father has been murdered and they pretend they are horrified,” he snarled, with furious contempt. “They keep up the sham with one another. Liars! They all desire the death of their fathers. One reptile devours another.⁠ ⁠… If there hadn’t been a murder, they’d have been angry and gone home ill-humored. It’s a spectacle they want! Panem et circenses. Though I am one to talk! Have you any water? Give me a drink for Christ’s sake!” He suddenly clutched his head.

The usher at once approached him. Alyosha jumped up and cried, “He is ill. Don’t believe him: he has brain fever.” Katerina Ivanovna rose impulsively from her seat and, rigid with horror, gazed at Ivan. Mitya stood up and greedily looked at his brother and listened to him with a wild, strange smile.

“Don’t disturb yourselves. I am not mad, I am only a murderer,” Ivan began again. “You can’t expect eloquence from a murderer,” he added suddenly for some reason and laughed a queer laugh.

The prosecutor bent over to the President in obvious dismay. The two other judges communicated in agitated whispers. Fetyukovitch pricked up his ears as he listened: the hall was hushed in expectation. The President seemed suddenly to recollect himself.

“Witness, your words are incomprehensible and impossible here. Calm yourself, if you can, and tell your story⁠ ⁠… if you really have something to tell. How can you confirm your statement⁠ ⁠… if indeed you are not delirious?”

“That’s just it. I have no proof. That cur Smerdyakov won’t send you proofs from the other world⁠ ⁠… in an envelope. You think of nothing but envelopes⁠—one is enough. I’ve no witnesses⁠ ⁠… except one, perhaps,” he smiled thoughtfully.

“Who is your witness?”

“He has a tail, your excellency, and that would be irregular! Le diable n’existe point! Don’t pay attention: he is a paltry, pitiful devil,” he added suddenly. He ceased laughing and spoke as it were, confidentially. “He is here somewhere, no doubt⁠—under that table with the material evidence on it, perhaps. Where should he sit if not there? You see, listen to me. I told him I don’t want to keep quiet, and he talked about the geological cataclysm⁠ ⁠… idiocy! Come, release the monster⁠ ⁠… he’s been singing a hymn. That’s because his heart is light! It’s like a drunken man in the street bawling how ‘Vanka went to Petersburg,’ and I would give a quadrillion quadrillions for two seconds of joy. You don’t know me! Oh, how stupid all this business is! Come, take me instead of him! I didn’t come for nothing.⁠ ⁠… Why, why is everything so stupid?⁠ ⁠…”

And he began slowly, and as it were reflectively, looking round him again. But the court was all excitement by now. Alyosha rushed towards him, but the court usher had already seized Ivan by the arm.

“What are you about?” he cried, staring into the man’s face, and suddenly seizing him by the shoulders, he flung him violently to the floor. But the police were on the spot and he was seized. He screamed furiously. And all the time he was being removed, he yelled and screamed something incoherent.

The whole court was thrown into confusion. I don’t remember everything as it happened. I was excited myself and could not follow. I only know that afterwards, when everything was quiet again and everyone understood what had happened, the court usher came in for a reprimand, though he very reasonably explained that the witness had been quite well, that the doctor had seen him an hour ago, when he had a slight attack of giddiness, but that, until he had come into the court, he had talked quite consecutively, so that nothing could have been foreseen⁠—that he had, in fact, insisted on giving evidence. But before everyone had completely regained their composure and recovered from this scene, it was followed by another. Katerina Ivanovna had an attack of hysterics. She sobbed, shrieking loudly, but refused to leave the court, struggled, and besought them not to remove her. Suddenly she cried to the President:

“There is more evidence I must give at once⁠ ⁠… at once! Here is a document, a letter⁠ ⁠… take it, read it quickly, quickly! It’s a letter from that monster⁠ ⁠… that man there, there!” she pointed to Mitya. “It was he killed his father, you will see that directly. He wrote to me how he would kill his father! But the other one is ill, he is ill, he is delirious!” she kept crying out, beside herself.

The court usher took the document she held out to the President, and she, dropping into her chair, hiding her face in her hands, began convulsively and noiselessly sobbing, shaking all over, and stifling every sound for fear she should be ejected from the court. The document she had handed up was that letter Mitya had written at the “Metropolis” tavern, which Ivan had spoken of as a “mathematical proof.” Alas! its mathematical conclusiveness was recognized, and had it not been for that letter, Mitya might have escaped his doom or, at least, that doom would have been less terrible. It was, I repeat, difficult to notice every detail. What followed is still confused to my mind. The President must, I suppose, have at once passed on the document to the judges, the jury, and the lawyers on both sides. I only remember how they began examining the witness. On being gently asked by the President whether she had recovered sufficiently, Katerina Ivanovna exclaimed impetuously:

“I am ready, I am ready! I am quite equal to answering you,” she added, evidently still afraid that she would somehow be prevented from giving evidence. She was asked to explain in detail what this letter was and under what circumstances she received it.

“I received it the day before the crime was committed, but he wrote it the day before that, at the tavern⁠—that is, two days before he committed the crime. Look, it is written on some sort of bill!” she cried breathlessly. “He hated me at that time, because he had behaved contemptibly and was running after that creature⁠ ⁠… and because he owed me that three thousand.⁠ ⁠… Oh! he was humiliated by that three thousand on account of his own meanness! This is how it happened about that three thousand. I beg you, I beseech you, to hear me. Three weeks before he murdered his father, he came to me one morning. I knew he was in want of money, and what he wanted it for. Yes, yes⁠—to win that creature and carry her off. I knew then that he had been false to me and meant to abandon me, and it was I, I, who gave him that money, who offered it to him on the pretext of his sending it to my sister in Moscow. And as I gave it him, I looked him in the face and said that he could send it when he liked, ‘in a month’s time would do.’ How, how could he have failed to understand that I was practically telling him to his face, ‘You want money to be false to me with your creature, so here’s the money for you. I give it to you myself. Take it, if you have so little honor as to take it!’ I wanted to prove what he was, and what happened? He took it, he took it, and squandered it with that creature in one night.⁠ ⁠… But he knew, he knew that I knew all about it. I assure you he understood, too, that I gave him that money to test him, to see whether he was so lost to all sense of honor as to take it from me. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine, and he understood it all and he took it⁠—he carried off my money!”

“That’s true, Katya,” Mitya roared suddenly, “I looked into your eyes and I knew that you were dishonoring me, and yet I took your money. Despise me as a scoundrel, despise me, all of you! I’ve deserved it!”

“Prisoner,” cried the President, “another word and I will order you to be removed.”

“That money was a torment to him,” Katya went on with impulsive haste. “He wanted to repay it me. He wanted to, that’s true; but he needed money for that creature, too. So he murdered his father, but he didn’t repay me, and went off with her to that village where he was arrested. There, again, he squandered the money he had stolen after the murder of his father. And a day before the murder he wrote me this letter. He was drunk when he wrote it. I saw it at once, at the time. He wrote it from spite, and feeling certain, positively certain, that I should never show it to anyone, even if he did kill him, or else he wouldn’t have written it. For he knew I shouldn’t want to revenge myself and ruin him! But read it, read it attentively⁠—more attentively, please⁠—and you will see that he had described it all in his letter, all beforehand, how he would kill his father and where his money was kept. Look, please, don’t overlook that, there’s one phrase there, ‘I shall kill him as soon as Ivan has gone away.’ So he thought it all out beforehand how he would kill him,” Katerina Ivanovna pointed out to the court with venomous and malignant triumph. Oh! it was clear she had studied every line of that letter and detected every meaning underlining it. “If he hadn’t been drunk, he wouldn’t have written to me; but, look, everything is written there beforehand, just as he committed the murder after. A complete program of it!” she exclaimed frantically.

She was reckless now of all consequences to herself, though, no doubt, she had foreseen them even a month ago, for even then, perhaps, shaking with anger, she had pondered whether to show it at the trial or not. Now she had taken the fatal plunge. I remember that the letter was read aloud by the clerk, directly afterwards, I believe. It made an overwhelming impression. They asked Mitya whether he admitted having written the letter.

“It’s mine, mine!” cried Mitya. “I shouldn’t have written it, if I hadn’t been drunk!⁠ ⁠… We’ve hated each other for many things, Katya, but I swear, I swear I loved you even while I hated you, and you didn’t love me!”

He sank back on his seat, wringing his hands in despair. The prosecutor and counsel for the defense began cross-examining her, chiefly to ascertain what had induced her to conceal such a document and to give her evidence in quite a different tone and spirit just before.

“Yes, yes. I was telling lies just now. I was lying against my honor and my conscience, but I wanted to save him, for he has hated and despised me so!” Katya cried madly. “Oh, he has despised me horribly, he has always despised me, and do you know, he has despised me from the very moment that I bowed down to him for that money. I saw that.⁠ ⁠… I felt it at once at the time, but for a long time I wouldn’t believe it. How often I have read it in his eyes, ‘You came of yourself, though.’ Oh, he didn’t understand, he had no idea why I ran to him, he can suspect nothing but baseness, he judged me by himself, he thought everyone was like himself!” Katya hissed furiously, in a perfect frenzy. “And he only wanted to marry me, because I’d inherited a fortune, because of that, because of that! I always suspected it was because of that! Oh, he is a brute! He was always convinced that I should be trembling with shame all my life before him, because I went to him then, and that he had a right to despise me forever for it, and so to be superior to me⁠—that’s why he wanted to marry me! That’s so, that’s all so! I tried to conquer him by my love⁠—a love that knew no bounds. I even tried to forgive his faithlessness; but he understood nothing, nothing! How could he understand indeed? He is a monster! I only received that letter the next evening: it was brought me from the tavern⁠—and only that morning, only that morning I wanted to forgive him everything, everything⁠—even his treachery!”

The President and the prosecutor, of course, tried to calm her. I can’t help thinking that they felt ashamed of taking advantage of her hysteria and of listening to such avowals. I remember hearing them say to her, “We understand how hard it is for you; be sure we are able to feel for you,” and so on, and so on. And yet they dragged the evidence out of the raving, hysterical woman. She described at last with extraordinary clearness, which is so often seen, though only for a moment, in such overwrought states, how Ivan had been nearly driven out of his mind during the last two months trying to save “the monster and murderer,” his brother.

“He tortured himself,” she exclaimed, “he was always trying to minimize his brother’s guilt and confessing to me that he, too, had never loved his father, and perhaps desired his death himself. Oh, he has a tender, over-tender conscience! He tormented himself with his conscience! He told me everything, everything! He came every day and talked to me as his only friend. I have the honor to be his only friend!” she cried suddenly with a sort of defiance, and her eyes flashed. “He had been twice to see Smerdyakov. One day he came to me and said, ‘If it was not my brother, but Smerdyakov committed the murder’ (for the legend was circulating everywhere that Smerdyakov had done it), ‘perhaps I too am guilty, for Smerdyakov knew I didn’t like my father and perhaps believed that I desired my father’s death.’ Then I brought out that letter and showed it him. He was entirely convinced that his brother had done it, and he was overwhelmed by it. He couldn’t endure the thought that his own brother was a parricide! Only a week ago I saw that it was making him ill. During the last few days he has talked incoherently in my presence. I saw his mind was giving way. He walked about, raving; he was seen muttering in the streets. The doctor from Moscow, at my request, examined him the day before yesterday and told me that he was on the eve of brain fever⁠—and all on his account, on account of this monster! And last night he learnt that Smerdyakov was dead! It was such a shock that it drove him out of his mind⁠ ⁠… and all through this monster, all for the sake of saving the monster!”

Oh, of course, such an outpouring, such an avowal is only possible once in a lifetime⁠—at the hour of death, for instance, on the way to the scaffold! But it was in Katya’s character, and it was such a moment in her life. It was the same impetuous Katya who had thrown herself on the mercy of a young profligate to save her father; the same Katya who had just before, in her pride and chastity, sacrificed herself and her maidenly modesty before all these people, telling of Mitya’s generous conduct, in the hope of softening his fate a little. And now, again, she sacrificed herself; but this time it was for another, and perhaps only now⁠—perhaps only at this moment⁠—she felt and knew how dear that other was to her! She had sacrificed herself in terror for him, conceiving all of a sudden that he had ruined himself by his confession that it was he who had committed the murder, not his brother, she had sacrificed herself to save him, to save his good name, his reputation!

And yet one terrible doubt occurred to one⁠—was she lying in her description of her former relations with Mitya?⁠—that was the question. No, she had not intentionally slandered him when she cried that Mitya despised her for her bowing down to him! She believed it herself. She had been firmly convinced, perhaps ever since that bow, that the simple-hearted Mitya, who even then adored her, was laughing at her and despising her. She had loved him with an hysterical, “lacerated” love only from pride, from wounded pride, and that love was not like love, but more like revenge. Oh! perhaps that lacerated love would have grown into real love, perhaps Katya longed for nothing more than that, but Mitya’s faithlessness had wounded her to the bottom of her heart, and her heart could not forgive him. The moment of revenge had come upon her suddenly, and all that had been accumulating so long and so painfully in the offended woman’s breast burst out all at once and unexpectedly. She betrayed Mitya, but she betrayed herself, too. And no sooner had she given full expression to her feelings than the tension of course was over and she was overwhelmed with shame. Hysterics began again: she fell on the floor, sobbing and screaming. She was carried out. At that moment Grushenka, with a wail, rushed towards Mitya before they had time to prevent her.

“Mitya,” she wailed, “your serpent has destroyed you! There, she has shown you what she is!” she shouted to the judges, shaking with anger. At a signal from the President they seized her and tried to remove her from the court. She wouldn’t allow it. She fought and struggled to get back to Mitya. Mitya uttered a cry and struggled to get to her. He was overpowered.

Yes, I think the ladies who came to see the spectacle must have been satisfied⁠—the show had been a varied one. Then I remember the Moscow doctor appeared on the scene. I believe the President had previously sent the court usher to arrange for medical aid for Ivan. The doctor announced to the court that the sick man was suffering from a dangerous attack of brain fever, and that he must be at once removed. In answer to questions from the prosecutor and the counsel for the defense he said that the patient had come to him of his own accord the day before yesterday and that he had warned him that he had such an attack coming on, but he had not consented to be looked after. “He was certainly not in a normal state of mind: he told me himself that he saw visions when he was awake, that he met several persons in the street, who were dead, and that Satan visited him every evening,” said the doctor, in conclusion. Having given his evidence, the celebrated doctor withdrew. The letter produced by Katerina Ivanovna was added to the material proofs. After some deliberation, the judges decided to proceed with the trial and to enter both the unexpected pieces of evidence (given by Ivan and Katerina Ivanovna) on the protocol.

But I will not detail the evidence of the other witnesses, who only repeated and confirmed what had been said before, though all with their characteristic peculiarities. I repeat, all was brought together in the prosecutor’s speech, which I shall quote immediately. Everyone was excited, everyone was electrified by the late catastrophe, and all were awaiting the speeches for the prosecution and the defense with intense impatience. Fetyukovitch was obviously shaken by Katerina Ivanovna’s evidence. But the prosecutor was triumphant. When all the evidence had been taken, the court was adjourned for almost an hour. I believe it was just eight o’clock when the President returned to his seat and our prosecutor, Ippolit Kirillovitch, began his speech.


The Prosecutor’s Speech. Sketches of Character
Ippolit Kirillovitch began his speech, trembling with nervousness, with cold sweat on his forehead, feeling hot and cold all over by turns. He described this himself afterwards. He regarded this speech as his chef-d’œuvre, the chef-d’œuvre of his whole life, as his swan-song. He died, it is true, nine months later of rapid consumption, so that he had the right, as it turned out, to compare himself to a swan singing his last song. He had put his whole heart and all the brain he had into that speech. And poor Ippolit Kirillovitch unexpectedly revealed that at least some feeling for the public welfare and “the eternal question” lay concealed in him. Where his speech really excelled was in its sincerity. He genuinely believed in the prisoner’s guilt; he was accusing him not as an official duty only, and in calling for vengeance he quivered with a genuine passion “for the security of society.” Even the ladies in the audience, though they remained hostile to Ippolit Kirillovitch, admitted that he made an extraordinary impression on them. He began in a breaking voice, but it soon gained strength and filled the court to the end of his speech. But as soon as he had finished, he almost fainted.

“Gentlemen of the jury,” began the prosecutor, “this case has made a stir throughout Russia. But what is there to wonder at, what is there so peculiarly horrifying in it for us? We are so accustomed to such crimes! That’s what’s so horrible, that such dark deeds have ceased to horrify us. What ought to horrify us is that we are so accustomed to it, and not this or that isolated crime. What are the causes of our indifference, our lukewarm attitude to such deeds, to such signs of the times, ominous of an unenviable future? Is it our cynicism, is it the premature exhaustion of intellect and imagination in a society that is sinking into decay, in spite of its youth? Is it that our moral principles are shattered to their foundations, or is it, perhaps, a complete lack of such principles among us? I cannot answer such questions; nevertheless they are disturbing, and every citizen not only must, but ought to be harassed by them. Our newborn and still timid press has done good service to the public already, for without it we should never have heard of the horrors of unbridled violence and moral degradation which are continually made known by the press, not merely to those who attend the new jury courts established in the present reign, but to everyone. And what do we read almost daily? Of things beside which the present case grows pale, and seems almost commonplace. But what is most important is that the majority of our national crimes of violence bear witness to a widespread evil, now so general among us that it is difficult to contend against it.

“One day we see a brilliant young officer of high society, at the very outset of his career, in a cowardly underhand way, without a pang of conscience, murdering an official who had once been his benefactor, and the servant girl, to steal his own I.O.U. and what ready money he could find on him; ‘it will come in handy for my pleasures in the fashionable world and for my career in the future.’ After murdering them, he puts pillows under the head of each of his victims; he goes away. Next, a young hero ‘decorated for bravery’ kills the mother of his chief and benefactor, like a highwayman, and to urge his companions to join him he asserts that ‘she loves him like a son, and so will follow all his directions and take no precautions.’ Granted that he is a monster, yet I dare not say in these days that he is unique. Another man will not commit the murder, but will feel and think like him, and is as dishonorable in soul. In silence, alone with his conscience, he asks himself perhaps, ‘What is honor, and isn’t the condemnation of bloodshed a prejudice?’

“Perhaps people will cry out against me that I am morbid, hysterical, that it is a monstrous slander, that I am exaggerating. Let them say so⁠—and heavens! I should be the first to rejoice if it were so! Oh, don’t believe me, think of me as morbid, but remember my words; if only a tenth, if only a twentieth part of what I say is true⁠—even so it’s awful! Look how our young people commit suicide, without asking themselves Hamlet’s question what there is beyond, without a sign of such a question, as though all that relates to the soul and to what awaits us beyond the grave had long been erased in their minds and buried under the sands. Look at our vice, at our profligates. Fyodor Pavlovitch, the luckless victim in the present case, was almost an innocent babe compared with many of them. And yet we all knew him, ‘he lived among us!’⁠ ⁠…

“Yes, one day perhaps the leading intellects of Russia and of Europe will study the psychology of Russian crime, for the subject is worth it. But this study will come later, at leisure, when all the tragic topsy-turvydom of today is farther behind us, so that it’s possible to examine it with more insight and more impartiality than I can do. Now we are either horrified or pretend to be horrified, though we really gloat over the spectacle, and love strong and eccentric sensations which tickle our cynical, pampered idleness. Or, like little children, we brush the dreadful ghosts away and hide our heads in the pillow so as to return to our sports and merriment as soon as they have vanished. But we must one day begin life in sober earnest, we must look at ourselves as a society; it’s time we tried to grasp something of our social position, or at least to make a beginning in that direction.

“A great writer[9] of the last epoch, comparing Russia to a swift troika galloping to an unknown goal, exclaims, ‘Oh, troika, birdlike troika, who invented thee!’ and adds, in proud ecstasy, that all the peoples of the world stand aside respectfully to make way for the recklessly galloping troika to pass. That may be, they may stand aside, respectfully or no, but in my poor opinion the great writer ended his book in this way either in an access of childish and naive optimism, or simply in fear of the censorship of the day. For if the troika were drawn by his heroes, Sobakevitch, Nozdryov, Tchitchikov, it could reach no rational goal, whoever might be driving it. And those were the heroes of an older generation, ours are worse specimens still.⁠ ⁠…”

At this point Ippolit Kirillovitch’s speech was interrupted by applause. The liberal significance of this simile was appreciated. The applause was, it’s true, of brief duration, so that the President did not think it necessary to caution the public, and only looked severely in the direction of the offenders. But Ippolit Kirillovitch was encouraged; he had never been applauded before! He had been all his life unable to get a hearing, and now he suddenly had an opportunity of securing the ear of all Russia.

“What, after all, is this Karamazov family, which has gained such an unenviable notoriety throughout Russia?” he continued. “Perhaps I am exaggerating, but it seems to me that certain fundamental features of the educated class of today are reflected in this family picture⁠—only, of course, in miniature, ‘like the sun in a drop of water.’ Think of that unhappy, vicious, unbridled old man, who has met with such a melancholy end, the head of a family! Beginning life of noble birth, but in a poor dependent position, through an unexpected marriage he came into a small fortune. A petty knave, a toady and buffoon, of fairly good, though undeveloped, intelligence, he was, above all, a moneylender, who grew bolder with growing prosperity. His abject and servile characteristics disappeared, his malicious and sarcastic cynicism was all that remained. On the spiritual side he was undeveloped, while his vitality was excessive. He saw nothing in life but sensual pleasure, and he brought his children up to be the same. He had no feelings for his duties as a father. He ridiculed those duties. He left his little children to the servants, and was glad to be rid of them, forgot about them completely. The old man’s maxim was Après moi le déluge. He was an example of everything that is opposed to civic duty, of the most complete and malignant individualism. ‘The world may burn for aught I care, so long as I am all right,’ and he was all right; he was content, he was eager to go on living in the same way for another twenty or thirty years. He swindled his own son and spent his money, his maternal inheritance, on trying to get his mistress from him. No, I don’t intend to leave the prisoner’s defense altogether to my talented colleague from Petersburg. I will speak the truth myself, I can well understand what resentment he had heaped up in his son’s heart against him.

“But enough, enough of that unhappy old man; he has paid the penalty. Let us remember, however, that he was a father, and one of the typical fathers of today. Am I unjust, indeed, in saying that he is typical of many modern fathers? Alas! many of them only differ in not openly professing such cynicism, for they are better educated, more cultured, but their philosophy is essentially the same as his. Perhaps I am a pessimist, but you have agreed to forgive me. Let us agree beforehand, you need not believe me, but let me speak. Let me say what I have to say, and remember something of my words.

“Now for the children of this father, this head of a family. One of them is the prisoner before us, all the rest of my speech will deal with him. Of the other two I will speak only cursorily.

“The elder is one of those modern young men of brilliant education and vigorous intellect, who has lost all faith in everything. He has denied and rejected much already, like his father. We have all heard him, he was a welcome guest in local society. He never concealed his opinions, quite the contrary in fact, which justifies me in speaking rather openly of him now, of course, not as an individual, but as a member of the Karamazov family. Another personage closely connected with the case died here by his own hand last night. I mean an afflicted idiot, formerly the servant, and possibly the illegitimate son, of Fyodor Pavlovitch, Smerdyakov. At the preliminary inquiry, he told me with hysterical tears how the young Ivan Karamazov had horrified him by his spiritual audacity. ‘Everything in the world is lawful according to him, and nothing must be forbidden in the future⁠—that is what he always taught me.’ I believe that idiot was driven out of his mind by this theory, though, of course, the epileptic attacks from which he suffered, and this terrible catastrophe, have helped to unhinge his faculties. But he dropped one very interesting observation, which would have done credit to a more intelligent observer, and that is, indeed, why I’ve mentioned it: ‘If there is one of the sons that is like Fyodor Pavlovitch in character, it is Ivan Fyodorovitch.’

“With that remark I conclude my sketch of his character, feeling it indelicate to continue further. Oh, I don’t want to draw any further conclusions and croak like a raven over the young man’s future. We’ve seen today in this court that there are still good impulses in his young heart, that family feeling has not been destroyed in him by lack of faith and cynicism, which have come to him rather by inheritance than by the exercise of independent thought.

“Then the third son. Oh, he is a devout and modest youth, who does not share his elder brother’s gloomy and destructive theory of life. He has sought to cling to the ‘ideas of the people,’ or to what goes by that name in some circles of our intellectual classes. He clung to the monastery, and was within an ace of becoming a monk. He seems to me to have betrayed unconsciously, and so early, that timid despair which leads so many in our unhappy society, who dread cynicism and its corrupting influences, and mistakenly attribute all the mischief to European enlightenment, to return to their ‘native soil,’ as they say, to the bosom, so to speak, of their mother earth, like frightened children, yearning to fall asleep on the withered bosom of their decrepit mother, and to sleep there forever, only to escape the horrors that terrify them.

“For my part I wish the excellent and gifted young man every success; I trust that his youthful idealism and impulse towards the ideas of the people may never degenerate, as often happens, on the moral side into gloomy mysticism, and on the political into blind chauvinism⁠—two elements which are even a greater menace to Russia than the premature decay, due to misunderstanding and gratuitous adoption of European ideas, from which his elder brother is suffering.”

Two or three people clapped their hands at the mention of chauvinism and mysticism. Ippolit Kirillovitch had been, indeed, carried away by his own eloquence. All this had little to do with the case in hand, to say nothing of the fact of its being somewhat vague, but the sickly and consumptive man was overcome by the desire to express himself once in his life. People said afterwards that he was actuated by unworthy motives in his criticism of Ivan, because the latter had on one or two occasions got the better of him in argument, and Ippolit Kirillovitch, remembering it, tried now to take his revenge. But I don’t know whether it was true. All this was only introductory, however, and the speech passed to more direct consideration of the case.

“But to return to the eldest son,” Ippolit Kirillovitch went on. “He is the prisoner before us. We have his life and his actions, too, before us; the fatal day has come and all has been brought to the surface. While his brothers seem to stand for ‘Europeanism’ and ‘the principles of the people,’ he seems to represent Russia as she is. Oh, not all Russia, not all! God preserve us, if it were! Yet, here we have her, our mother Russia, the very scent and sound of her. Oh, he is spontaneous, he is a marvelous mingling of good and evil, he is a lover of culture and Schiller, yet he brawls in taverns and plucks out the beards of his boon companions. Oh, he, too, can be good and noble, but only when all goes well with him. What is more, he can be carried off his feet, positively carried off his feet by noble ideals, but only if they come of themselves, if they fall from heaven for him, if they need not be paid for. He dislikes paying for anything, but is very fond of receiving, and that’s so with him in everything. Oh, give him every possible good in life (he couldn’t be content with less), and put no obstacle in his way, and he will show that he, too, can be noble. He is not greedy, no, but he must have money, a great deal of money, and you will see how generously, with what scorn of filthy lucre, he will fling it all away in the reckless dissipation of one night. But if he has not money, he will show what he is ready to do to get it when he is in great need of it. But all this later, let us take events in their chronological order.

“First, we have before us a poor abandoned child, running about the backyard ‘without boots on his feet,’ as our worthy and esteemed fellow citizen, of foreign origin, alas! expressed it just now. I repeat it again, I yield to no one the defense of the criminal. I am here to accuse him, but to defend him also. Yes, I, too, am human; I, too, can weigh the influence of home and childhood on the character. But the boy grows up and becomes an officer; for a duel and other reckless conduct he is exiled to one of the remote frontier towns of Russia. There he led a wild life as an officer. And, of course, he needed money, money before all things, and so after prolonged disputes he came to a settlement with his father, and the last six thousand was sent him. A letter is in existence in which he practically gives up his claim to the rest and settles his conflict with his father over the inheritance on the payment of this six thousand.

“Then came his meeting with a young girl of lofty character and brilliant education. Oh, I do not venture to repeat the details; you have only just heard them. Honor, self-sacrifice were shown there, and I will be silent. The figure of the young officer, frivolous and profligate, doing homage to true nobility and a lofty ideal, was shown in a very sympathetic light before us. But the other side of the medal was unexpectedly turned to us immediately after in this very court. Again I will not venture to conjecture why it happened so, but there were causes. The same lady, bathed in tears of long-concealed indignation, alleged that he, he of all men, had despised her for her action, which, though incautious, reckless perhaps, was still dictated by lofty and generous motives. He, he, the girl’s betrothed, looked at her with that smile of mockery, which was more insufferable from him than from anyone. And knowing that he had already deceived her (he had deceived her, believing that she was bound to endure everything from him, even treachery), she intentionally offered him three thousand roubles, and clearly, too clearly, let him understand that she was offering him money to deceive her. ‘Well, will you take it or not, are you so lost to shame?’ was the dumb question in her scrutinizing eyes. He looked at her, saw clearly what was in her mind (he’s admitted here before you that he understood it all), appropriated that three thousand unconditionally, and squandered it in two days with the new object of his affections.

“What are we to believe then? The first legend of the young officer sacrificing his last farthing in a noble impulse of generosity and doing reverence to virtue, or this other revolting picture? As a rule, between two extremes one has to find the mean, but in the present case this is not true. The probability is that in the first case he was genuinely noble, and in the second as genuinely base. And why? Because he was of the broad Karamazov character⁠—that’s just what I am leading up to⁠—capable of combining the most incongruous contradictions, and capable of the greatest heights and of the greatest depths. Remember the brilliant remark made by a young observer who has seen the Karamazov family at close quarters⁠—Mr. Rakitin: ‘The sense of their own degradation is as essential to those reckless, unbridled natures as the sense of their lofty generosity.’ And that’s true, they need continually this unnatural mixture. Two extremes at the same moment, or they are miserable and dissatisfied and their existence is incomplete. They are wide, wide as mother Russia; they include everything and put up with everything.

“By the way, gentlemen of the jury, we’ve just touched upon that three thousand roubles, and I will venture to anticipate things a little. Can you conceive that a man like that, on receiving that sum and in such a way, at the price of such shame, such disgrace, such utter degradation, could have been capable that very day of setting apart half that sum, that very day, and sewing it up in a little bag, and would have had the firmness of character to carry it about with him for a whole month afterwards, in spite of every temptation and his extreme need of it! Neither in drunken debauchery in taverns, nor when he was flying into the country, trying to get from God knows whom, the money so essential to him to remove the object of his affections from being tempted by his father, did he bring himself to touch that little bag! Why, if only to avoid abandoning his mistress to the rival of whom he was so jealous, he would have been certain to have opened that bag and to have stayed at home to keep watch over her, and to await the moment when she would say to him at last ‘I am yours,’ and to fly with her far from their fatal surroundings.

“But no, he did not touch his talisman, and what is the reason he gives for it? The chief reason, as I have just said, was that when she would say, ‘I am yours, take me where you will,’ he might have the wherewithal to take her. But that first reason, in the prisoner’s own words, was of little weight beside the second. While I have that money on me, he said, I am a scoundrel, not a thief, for I can always go to my insulted betrothed, and, laying down half the sum I have fraudulently appropriated, I can always say to her, ‘You see, I’ve squandered half your money, and shown I am a weak and immoral man, and, if you like, a scoundrel’ (I use the prisoner’s own expressions), ‘but though I am a scoundrel, I am not a thief, for if I had been a thief, I shouldn’t have brought you back this half of the money, but should have taken it as I did the other half!’ A marvelous explanation! This frantic, but weak man, who could not resist the temptation of accepting the three thousand roubles at the price of such disgrace, this very man suddenly develops the most stoical firmness, and carries about a thousand roubles without daring to touch it. Does that fit in at all with the character we have analyzed? No, and I venture to tell you how the real Dmitri Karamazov would have behaved in such circumstances, if he really had brought himself to put away the money.

“At the first temptation⁠—for instance, to entertain the woman with whom he had already squandered half the money⁠—he would have unpicked his little bag and have taken out some hundred roubles, for why should he have taken back precisely half the money, that is, fifteen hundred roubles? why not fourteen hundred? He could just as well have said then that he was not a thief, because he brought back fourteen hundred roubles. Then another time he would have unpicked it again and taken out another hundred, and then a third, and then a fourth, and before the end of the month he would have taken the last note but one, feeling that if he took back only a hundred it would answer the purpose, for a thief would have stolen it all. And then he would have looked at this last note, and have said to himself, ‘It’s really not worth while to give back one hundred; let’s spend that, too!’ That’s how the real Dmitri Karamazov, as we know him, would have behaved. One cannot imagine anything more incongruous with the actual fact than this legend of the little bag. Nothing could be more inconceivable. But we shall return to that later.”

After touching upon what had come out in the proceedings concerning the financial relations of father and son, and arguing again and again that it was utterly impossible, from the facts known, to determine which was in the wrong, Ippolit Kirillovitch passed to the evidence of the medical experts in reference to Mitya’s fixed idea about the three thousand owing him.


An Historical Survey
“The medical experts have striven to convince us that the prisoner is out of his mind and, in fact, a maniac. I maintain that he is in his right mind, and that if he had not been, he would have behaved more cleverly. As for his being a maniac, that I would agree with, but only in one point, that is, his fixed idea about the three thousand. Yet I think one might find a much simpler cause than his tendency to insanity. For my part I agree thoroughly with the young doctor who maintained that the prisoner’s mental faculties have always been normal, and that he has only been irritable and exasperated. The object of the prisoner’s continual and violent anger was not the sum itself; there was a special motive at the bottom of it. That motive is jealousy!”

Here Ippolit Kirillovitch described at length the prisoner’s fatal passion for Grushenka. He began from the moment when the prisoner went to the “young person’s” lodgings “to beat her”⁠—“I use his own expression,” the prosecutor explained⁠—“but instead of beating her, he remained there, at her feet. That was the beginning of the passion. At the same time the prisoner’s father was captivated by the same young person⁠—a strange and fatal coincidence, for they both lost their hearts to her simultaneously, though both had known her before. And she inspired in both of them the most violent, characteristically Karamazov passion. We have her own confession: ‘I was laughing at both of them.’ Yes, the sudden desire to make a jest of them came over her, and she conquered both of them at once. The old man, who worshiped money, at once set aside three thousand roubles as a reward for one visit from her, but soon after that, he would have been happy to lay his property and his name at her feet, if only she would become his lawful wife. We have good evidence of this. As for the prisoner, the tragedy of his fate is evident; it is before us. But such was the young person’s ‘game.’ The enchantress gave the unhappy young man no hope until the last moment, when he knelt before her, stretching out hands that were already stained with the blood of his father and rival. It was in that position that he was arrested. ‘Send me to Siberia with him, I have brought him to this, I am most to blame,’ the woman herself cried, in genuine remorse at the moment of his arrest.

“The talented young man, to whom I have referred already, Mr. Rakitin, characterized this heroine in brief and impressive terms: ‘She was disillusioned early in life, deceived and ruined by a betrothed, who seduced and abandoned her. She was left in poverty, cursed by her respectable family, and taken under the protection of a wealthy old man, whom she still, however, considers as her benefactor. There was perhaps much that was good in her young heart, but it was embittered too early. She became prudent and saved money. She grew sarcastic and resentful against society.’ After this sketch of her character it may well be understood that she might laugh at both of them simply from mischief, from malice.

“After a month of hopeless love and moral degradation, during which he betrayed his betrothed and appropriated money entrusted to his honor, the prisoner was driven almost to frenzy, almost to madness by continual jealousy⁠—and of whom? His father! And the worst of it was that the crazy old man was alluring and enticing the object of his affection by means of that very three thousand roubles, which the son looked upon as his own property, part of his inheritance from his mother, of which his father was cheating him. Yes, I admit it was hard to bear! It might well drive a man to madness. It was not the money, but the fact that this money was used with such revolting cynicism to ruin his happiness!”

Then the prosecutor went on to describe how the idea of murdering his father had entered the prisoner’s head, and illustrated his theory with facts.

“At first he only talked about it in taverns⁠—he was talking about it all that month. Ah, he likes being always surrounded with company, and he likes to tell his companions everything, even his most diabolical and dangerous ideas; he likes to share every thought with others, and expects, for some reason, that those he confides in will meet him with perfect sympathy, enter into all his troubles and anxieties, take his part and not oppose him in anything. If not, he flies into a rage and smashes up everything in the tavern. [Then followed the anecdote about Captain Snegiryov.] Those who heard the prisoner began to think at last that he might mean more than threats, and that such a frenzy might turn threats into actions.”

Here the prosecutor described the meeting of the family at the monastery, the conversations with Alyosha, and the horrible scene of violence when the prisoner had rushed into his father’s house just after dinner.

“I cannot positively assert,” the prosecutor continued, “that the prisoner fully intended to murder his father before that incident. Yet the idea had several times presented itself to him, and he had deliberated on it⁠—for that we have facts, witnesses, and his own words. I confess, gentlemen of the jury,” he added, “that till today I have been uncertain whether to attribute to the prisoner conscious premeditation. I was firmly convinced that he had pictured the fatal moment beforehand, but had only pictured it, contemplating it as a possibility. He had not definitely considered when and how he might commit the crime.

“But I was only uncertain till today, till that fatal document was presented to the court just now. You yourselves heard that young lady’s exclamation, ‘It is the plan, the program of the murder!’ That is how she defined that miserable, drunken letter of the unhappy prisoner. And, in fact, from that letter we see that the whole fact of the murder was premeditated. It was written two days before, and so we know now for a fact that, forty-eight hours before the perpetration of his terrible design, the prisoner swore that, if he could not get money next day, he would murder his father in order to take the envelope with the notes from under his pillow, as soon as Ivan had left. ‘As soon as Ivan had gone away’⁠—you hear that; so he had thought everything out, weighing every circumstance, and he carried it all out just as he had written it. The proof of premeditation is conclusive; the crime must have been committed for the sake of the money, that is stated clearly, that is written and signed. The prisoner does not deny his signature.

“I shall be told he was drunk when he wrote it. But that does not diminish the value of the letter, quite the contrary; he wrote when drunk what he had planned when sober. Had he not planned it when sober, he would not have written it when drunk. I shall be asked: Then why did he talk about it in taverns? A man who premeditates such a crime is silent and keeps it to himself. Yes, but he talked about it before he had formed a plan, when he had only the desire, only the impulse to it. Afterwards he talked less about it. On the evening he wrote that letter at the ‘Metropolis’ tavern, contrary to his custom he was silent, though he had been drinking. He did not play billiards, he sat in a corner, talked to no one. He did indeed turn a shopman out of his seat, but that was done almost unconsciously, because he could never enter a tavern without making a disturbance. It is true that after he had taken the final decision, he must have felt apprehensive that he had talked too much about his design beforehand, and that this might lead to his arrest and prosecution afterwards. But there was nothing for it; he could not take his words back, but his luck had served him before, it would serve him again. He believed in his star, you know! I must confess, too, that he did a great deal to avoid the fatal catastrophe. ‘Tomorrow I shall try and borrow the money from everyone,’ as he writes in his peculiar language, ‘and if they won’t give it to me, there will be bloodshed.’ ”

Here Ippolit Kirillovitch passed to a detailed description of all Mitya’s efforts to borrow the money. He described his visit to Samsonov, his journey to Lyagavy. “Harassed, jeered at, hungry, after selling his watch to pay for the journey (though he tells us he had fifteen hundred roubles on him⁠—a likely story), tortured by jealousy at having left the object of his affections in the town, suspecting that she would go to Fyodor Pavlovitch in his absence, he returned at last to the town, to find, to his joy, that she had not been near his father. He accompanied her himself to her protector. (Strange to say, he doesn’t seem to have been jealous of Samsonov, which is psychologically interesting.) Then he hastens back to his ambush in the back gardens, and there learns that Smerdyakov is in a fit, that the other servant is ill⁠—the coast is clear and he knows the ‘signals’⁠—what a temptation! Still he resists it; he goes off to a lady who has for some time been residing in the town, and who is highly esteemed among us, Madame Hohlakov. That lady, who had long watched his career with compassion, gave him the most judicious advice, to give up his dissipated life, his unseemly love-affair, the waste of his youth and vigor in pothouse debauchery, and to set off to Siberia to the goldmines: ‘that would be an outlet for your turbulent energies, your romantic character, your thirst for adventure.’ ”

After describing the result of this conversation and the moment when the prisoner learnt that Grushenka had not remained at Samsonov’s, the sudden frenzy of the luckless man worn out with jealousy and nervous exhaustion, at the thought that she had deceived him and was now with his father, Ippolit Kirillovitch concluded by dwelling upon the fatal influence of chance. “Had the maid told him that her mistress was at Mokroe with her former lover, nothing would have happened. But she lost her head, she could only swear and protest her ignorance, and if the prisoner did not kill her on the spot, it was only because he flew in pursuit of his false mistress.

“But note, frantic as he was, he took with him a brass pestle. Why that? Why not some other weapon? But since he had been contemplating his plan and preparing himself for it for a whole month, he would snatch up anything like a weapon that caught his eye. He had realized for a month past that any object of the kind would serve as a weapon, so he instantly, without hesitation, recognized that it would serve his purpose. So it was by no means unconsciously, by no means involuntarily, that he snatched up that fatal pestle. And then we find him in his father’s garden⁠—the coast is clear, there are no witnesses, darkness and jealousy. The suspicion that she was there, with him, with his rival, in his arms, and perhaps laughing at him at that moment⁠—took his breath away. And it was not mere suspicion, the deception was open, obvious. She must be there, in that lighted room, she must be behind the screen; and the unhappy man would have us believe that he stole up to the window, peeped respectfully in, and discreetly withdrew, for fear something terrible and immoral should happen. And he tries to persuade us of that, us, who understand his character, who know his state of mind at the moment, and that he knew the signals by which he could at once enter the house.” At this point Ippolit Kirillovitch broke off to discuss exhaustively the suspected connection of Smerdyakov with the murder. He did this very circumstantially, and everyone realized that, although he professed to despise that suspicion, he thought the subject of great importance.


A Treatise on Smerdyakov
“To begin with, what was the source of this suspicion?” (Ippolit Kirillovitch began.) “The first person who cried out that Smerdyakov had committed the murder was the prisoner himself at the moment of his arrest, yet from that time to this he had not brought forward a single fact to confirm the charge, nor the faintest suggestion of a fact. The charge is confirmed by three persons only⁠—the two brothers of the prisoner and Madame Svyetlov. The elder of these brothers expressed his suspicions only today, when he was undoubtedly suffering from brain fever. But we know that for the last two months he has completely shared our conviction of his brother’s guilt and did not attempt to combat that idea. But of that later. The younger brother has admitted that he has not the slightest fact to support his notion of Smerdyakov’s guilt, and has only been led to that conclusion from the prisoner’s own words and the expression of his face. Yes, that astounding piece of evidence has been brought forward twice today by him. Madame Svyetlov was even more astounding. ‘What the prisoner tells you, you must believe; he is not a man to tell a lie.’ That is all the evidence against Smerdyakov produced by these three persons, who are all deeply concerned in the prisoner’s fate. And yet the theory of Smerdyakov’s guilt has been noised about, has been and is still maintained. Is it credible? Is it conceivable?”

Here Ippolit Kirillovitch thought it necessary to describe the personality of Smerdyakov, “who had cut short his life in a fit of insanity.” He depicted him as a man of weak intellect, with a smattering of education, who had been thrown off his balance by philosophical ideas above his level and certain modern theories of duty, which he learnt in practice from the reckless life of his master, who was also perhaps his father⁠—Fyodor Pavlovitch; and, theoretically, from various strange philosophical conversations with his master’s elder son, Ivan Fyodorovitch, who readily indulged in this diversion, probably feeling dull or wishing to amuse himself at the valet’s expense. “He spoke to me himself of his spiritual condition during the last few days at his father’s house,” Ippolit Kirillovitch explained; “but others too have borne witness to it⁠—the prisoner himself, his brother, and the servant Grigory⁠—that is, all who knew him well.

“Moreover, Smerdyakov, whose health was shaken by his attacks of epilepsy, had not the courage of a chicken. ‘He fell at my feet and kissed them,’ the prisoner himself has told us, before he realized how damaging such a statement was to himself. ‘He is an epileptic chicken,’ he declared about him in his characteristic language. And the prisoner chose him for his confidant (we have his own word for it) and he frightened him into consenting at last to act as a spy for him. In that capacity he deceived his master, revealing to the prisoner the existence of the envelope with the notes in it and the signals by means of which he could get into the house. How could he help telling him, indeed? ‘He would have killed me, I could see that he would have killed me,’ he said at the inquiry, trembling and shaking even before us, though his tormentor was by that time arrested and could do him no harm. ‘He suspected me at every instant. In fear and trembling I hastened to tell him every secret to pacify him, that he might see that I had not deceived him and let me off alive.’ Those are his own words. I wrote them down and I remember them. ‘When he began shouting at me, I would fall on my knees.’

“He was naturally very honest and enjoyed the complete confidence of his master, ever since he had restored him some money he had lost. So it may be supposed that the poor fellow suffered pangs of remorse at having deceived his master, whom he loved as his benefactor. Persons severely afflicted with epilepsy are, so the most skillful doctors tell us, always prone to continual and morbid self-reproach. They worry over their ‘wickedness,’ they are tormented by pangs of conscience, often entirely without cause; they exaggerate and often invent all sorts of faults and crimes. And here we have a man of that type who had really been driven to wrongdoing by terror and intimidation.

“He had, besides, a strong presentiment that something terrible would be the outcome of the situation that was developing before his eyes. When Ivan Fyodorovitch was leaving for Moscow, just before the catastrophe, Smerdyakov besought him to remain, though he was too timid to tell him plainly what he feared. He confined himself to hints, but his hints were not understood.

“It must be observed that he looked on Ivan Fyodorovitch as a protector, whose presence in the house was a guarantee that no harm would come to pass. Remember the phrase in Dmitri Karamazov’s drunken letter, ‘I shall kill the old man, if only Ivan goes away.’ So Ivan Fyodorovitch’s presence seemed to everyone a guarantee of peace and order in the house.

“But he went away, and within an hour of his young master’s departure Smerdyakov was taken with an epileptic fit. But that’s perfectly intelligible. Here I must mention that Smerdyakov, oppressed by terror and despair of a sort, had felt during those last few days that one of the fits from which he had suffered before at moments of strain, might be coming upon him again. The day and hour of such an attack cannot, of course, be foreseen, but every epileptic can feel beforehand that he is likely to have one. So the doctors tell us. And so, as soon as Ivan Fyodorovitch had driven out of the yard, Smerdyakov, depressed by his lonely and unprotected position, went to the cellar. He went down the stairs wondering if he would have a fit or not, and what if it were to come upon him at once. And that very apprehension, that very wonder, brought on the spasm in his throat that always precedes such attacks, and he fell unconscious into the cellar. And in this perfectly natural occurrence people try to detect a suspicion, a hint that he was shamming an attack on purpose. But, if it were on purpose, the question arises at once, what was his motive? What was he reckoning on? What was he aiming at? I say nothing about medicine: science, I am told, may go astray: the doctors were not able to discriminate between the counterfeit and the real. That may be so, but answer me one question: what motive had he for such a counterfeit? Could he, had he been plotting the murder, have desired to attract the attention of the household by having a fit just before?

“You see, gentlemen of the jury, on the night of the murder, there were five persons in Fyodor Pavlovitch’s⁠—Fyodor Pavlovitch himself (but he did not kill himself, that’s evident); then his servant, Grigory, but he was almost killed himself; the third person was Grigory’s wife, Marfa Ignatyevna, but it would be simply shameful to imagine her murdering her master. Two persons are left⁠—the prisoner and Smerdyakov. But, if we are to believe the prisoner’s statement that he is not the murderer, then Smerdyakov must have been, for there is no other alternative, no one else can be found. That is what accounts for the artful, astounding accusation against the unhappy idiot who committed suicide yesterday. Had a shadow of suspicion rested on anyone else, had there been any sixth person, I am persuaded that even the prisoner would have been ashamed to accuse Smerdyakov, and would have accused that sixth person, for to charge Smerdyakov with that murder is perfectly absurd.

“Gentlemen, let us lay aside psychology, let us lay aside medicine, let us even lay aside logic, let us turn only to the facts and see what the facts tell us. If Smerdyakov killed him, how did he do it? Alone or with the assistance of the prisoner? Let us consider the first alternative⁠—that he did it alone. If he had killed him it must have been with some object, for some advantage to himself. But not having a shadow of the motive that the prisoner had for the murder⁠—hatred, jealousy, and so on⁠—Smerdyakov could only have murdered him for the sake of gain, in order to appropriate the three thousand roubles he had seen his master put in the envelope. And yet he tells another person⁠—and a person most closely interested, that is, the prisoner⁠—everything about the money and the signals, where the envelope lay, what was written on it, what it was tied up with, and, above all, told him of those signals by which he could enter the house. Did he do this simply to betray himself, or to invite to the same enterprise one who would be anxious to get that envelope for himself? ‘Yes,’ I shall be told, ‘but he betrayed it from fear.’ But how do you explain this? A man who could conceive such an audacious, savage act, and carry it out, tells facts which are known to no one else in the world, and which, if he held his tongue, no one would ever have guessed!

“No, however cowardly he might be, if he had plotted such a crime, nothing would have induced him to tell anyone about the envelope and the signals, for that was as good as betraying himself beforehand. He would have invented something, he would have told some lie if he had been forced to give information, but he would have been silent about that. For, on the other hand, if he had said nothing about the money, but had committed the murder and stolen the money, no one in the world could have charged him with murder for the sake of robbery, since no one but he had seen the money, no one but he knew of its existence in the house. Even if he had been accused of the murder, it could only have been thought that he had committed it from some other motive. But since no one had observed any such motive in him beforehand, and everyone saw, on the contrary, that his master was fond of him and honored him with his confidence, he would, of course, have been the last to be suspected. People would have suspected first the man who had a motive, a man who had himself declared he had such motives, who had made no secret of it; they would, in fact, have suspected the son of the murdered man, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. Had Smerdyakov killed and robbed him, and the son been accused of it, that would, of course, have suited Smerdyakov. Yet are we to believe that, though plotting the murder, he told that son, Dmitri, about the money, the envelope, and the signals? Is that logical? Is that clear?

“When the day of the murder planned by Smerdyakov came, we have him falling downstairs in a feigned fit⁠—with what object? In the first place that Grigory, who had been intending to take his medicine, might put it off and remain on guard, seeing there was no one to look after the house, and, in the second place, I suppose, that his master seeing that there was no one to guard him, and in terror of a visit from his son, might redouble his vigilance and precaution. And, most of all, I suppose that he, Smerdyakov, disabled by the fit, might be carried from the kitchen, where he always slept, apart from all the rest, and where he could go in and out as he liked, to Grigory’s room at the other end of the lodge, where he was always put, shut off by a screen three paces from their own bed. This was the immemorial custom established by his master and the kindhearted Marfa Ignatyevna, whenever he had a fit. There, lying behind the screen, he would most likely, to keep up the sham, have begun groaning, and so keeping them awake all night (as Grigory and his wife testified). And all this, we are to believe, that he might more conveniently get up and murder his master!

“But I shall be told that he shammed illness on purpose that he might not be suspected and that he told the prisoner of the money and the signals to tempt him to commit the murder, and when he had murdered him and had gone away with the money, making a noise, most likely, and waking people, Smerdyakov got up, am I to believe, and went in⁠—what for? To murder his master a second time and carry off the money that had already been stolen? Gentlemen, are you laughing? I am ashamed to put forward such suggestions, but, incredible as it seems, that’s just what the prisoner alleges. When he had left the house, had knocked Grigory down and raised an alarm, he tells us Smerdyakov got up, went in and murdered his master and stole the money! I won’t press the point that Smerdyakov could hardly have reckoned on this beforehand, and have foreseen that the furious and exasperated son would simply come to peep in respectfully, though he knew the signals, and beat a retreat, leaving Smerdyakov his booty. Gentlemen of the jury, I put this question to you in earnest; when was the moment when Smerdyakov could have committed his crime? Name that moment, or you can’t accuse him.

“But, perhaps, the fit was a real one, the sick man suddenly recovered, heard a shout, and went out. Well⁠—what then? He looked about him and said, ‘Why not go and kill the master?’ And how did he know what had happened, since he had been lying unconscious till that moment? But there’s a limit to these flights of fancy.

“ ‘Quite so,’ some astute people will tell me, ‘but what if they were in agreement? What if they murdered him together and shared the money⁠—what then?’ A weighty question, truly! And the facts to confirm it are astounding. One commits the murder and takes all the trouble while his accomplice lies on one side shamming a fit, apparently to arouse suspicion in everyone, alarm in his master and alarm in Grigory. It would be interesting to know what motives could have induced the two accomplices to form such an insane plan.

“But perhaps it was not a case of active complicity on Smerdyakov’s part, but only of passive acquiescence; perhaps Smerdyakov was intimidated and agreed not to prevent the murder, and foreseeing that he would be blamed for letting his master be murdered, without screaming for help or resisting, he may have obtained permission from Dmitri Karamazov to get out of the way by shamming a fit⁠—‘you may murder him as you like; it’s nothing to me.’ But as this attack of Smerdyakov’s was bound to throw the household into confusion, Dmitri Karamazov could never have agreed to such a plan. I will waive that point however. Supposing that he did agree, it would still follow that Dmitri Karamazov is the murderer and the instigator, and Smerdyakov is only a passive accomplice, and not even an accomplice, but merely acquiesced against his will through terror.

“But what do we see? As soon as he is arrested the prisoner instantly throws all the blame on Smerdyakov, not accusing him of being his accomplice, but of being himself the murderer. ‘He did it alone,’ he says. ‘He murdered and robbed him. It was the work of his hands.’ Strange sort of accomplices who begin to accuse one another at once! And think of the risk for Karamazov. After committing the murder while his accomplice lay in bed, he throws the blame on the invalid, who might well have resented it and in self-preservation might well have confessed the truth. For he might well have seen that the court would at once judge how far he was responsible, and so he might well have reckoned that if he were punished, it would be far less severely than the real murderer. But in that case he would have been certain to make a confession, yet he has not done so. Smerdyakov never hinted at their complicity, though the actual murderer persisted in accusing him and declaring that he had committed the crime alone.

“What’s more, Smerdyakov at the inquiry volunteered the statement that it was he who had told the prisoner of the envelope of notes and of the signals, and that, but for him, he would have known nothing about them. If he had really been a guilty accomplice, would he so readily have made this statement at the inquiry? On the contrary, he would have tried to conceal it, to distort the facts or minimize them. But he was far from distorting or minimizing them. No one but an innocent man, who had no fear of being charged with complicity, could have acted as he did. And in a fit of melancholy arising from his disease and this catastrophe he hanged himself yesterday. He left a note written in his peculiar language, ‘I destroy myself of my own will and inclination so as to throw no blame on anyone.’ What would it have cost him to add: ‘I am the murderer, not Karamazov’? But that he did not add. Did his conscience lead him to suicide and not to avowing his guilt?

“And what followed? Notes for three thousand roubles were brought into the court just now, and we were told that they were the same that lay in the envelope now on the table before us, and that the witness had received them from Smerdyakov the day before. But I need not recall the painful scene, though I will make one or two comments, selecting such trivial ones as might not be obvious at first sight to everyone, and so may be overlooked. In the first place, Smerdyakov must have given back the money and hanged himself yesterday from remorse. And only yesterday he confessed his guilt to Ivan Karamazov, as the latter informs us. If it were not so, indeed, why should Ivan Fyodorovitch have kept silence till now? And so, if he has confessed, then why, I ask again, did he not avow the whole truth in the last letter he left behind, knowing that the innocent prisoner had to face this terrible ordeal the next day?

“The money alone is no proof. A week ago, quite by chance, the fact came to the knowledge of myself and two other persons in this court that Ivan Fyodorovitch had sent two five percent coupons of five thousand each⁠—that is, ten thousand in all⁠—to the chief town of the province to be changed. I only mention this to point out that anyone may have money, and that it can’t be proved that these notes are the same as were in Fyodor Pavlovitch’s envelope.

“Ivan Karamazov, after receiving yesterday a communication of such importance from the real murderer, did not stir. Why didn’t he report it at once? Why did he put it all off till morning? I think I have a right to conjecture why. His health had been giving way for a week past: he had admitted to a doctor and to his most intimate friends that he was suffering from hallucinations and seeing phantoms of the dead: he was on the eve of the attack of brain fever by which he has been stricken down today. In this condition he suddenly heard of Smerdyakov’s death, and at once reflected, ‘The man is dead, I can throw the blame on him and save my brother. I have money. I will take a roll of notes and say that Smerdyakov gave them me before his death.’ You will say that was dishonorable: it’s dishonorable to slander even the dead, and even to save a brother. True, but what if he slandered him unconsciously? What if, finally unhinged by the sudden news of the valet’s death, he imagined it really was so? You saw the recent scene: you have seen the witness’s condition. He was standing up and was speaking, but where was his mind?

“Then followed the document, the prisoner’s letter written two days before the crime, and containing a complete program of the murder. Why, then, are we looking for any other program? The crime was committed precisely according to this program, and by no other than the writer of it. Yes, gentlemen of the jury, it went off without a hitch! He did not run respectfully and timidly away from his father’s window, though he was firmly convinced that the object of his affections was with him. No, that is absurd and unlikely! He went in and murdered him. Most likely he killed him in anger, burning with resentment, as soon as he looked on his hated rival. But having killed him, probably with one blow of the brass pestle, and having convinced himself, after careful search, that she was not there, he did not, however, forget to put his hand under the pillow and take out the envelope, the torn cover of which lies now on the table before us.

“I mention this fact that you may note one, to my thinking, very characteristic circumstance. Had he been an experienced murderer and had he committed the murder for the sake of gain only, would he have left the torn envelope on the floor as it was found, beside the corpse? Had it been Smerdyakov, for instance, murdering his master to rob him, he would have simply carried away the envelope with him, without troubling himself to open it over his victim’s corpse, for he would have known for certain that the notes were in the envelope⁠—they had been put in and sealed up in his presence⁠—and had he taken the envelope with him, no one would ever have known of the robbery. I ask you, gentlemen, would Smerdyakov have behaved in that way? Would he have left the envelope on the floor?

“No, this was the action of a frantic murderer, a murderer who was not a thief and had never stolen before that day, who snatched the notes from under the pillow, not like a thief stealing them, but as though seizing his own property from the thief who had stolen it. For that was the idea which had become almost an insane obsession in Dmitri Karamazov in regard to that money. And pouncing upon the envelope, which he had never seen before, he tore it open to make sure whether the money was in it, and ran away with the money in his pocket, even forgetting to consider that he had left an astounding piece of evidence against himself in that torn envelope on the floor. All because it was Karamazov, not Smerdyakov, he didn’t think, he didn’t reflect, and how should he? He ran away; he heard behind him the servant cry out; the old man caught him, stopped him and was felled to the ground by the brass pestle.

“The prisoner, moved by pity, leapt down to look at him. Would you believe it, he tells us that he leapt down out of pity, out of compassion, to see whether he could do anything for him. Was that a moment to show compassion? No; he jumped down simply to make certain whether the only witness of his crime were dead or alive. Any other feeling, any other motive would be unnatural. Note that he took trouble over Grigory, wiped his head with his handkerchief and, convincing himself he was dead, he ran to the house of his mistress, dazed and covered with blood. How was it he never thought that he was covered with blood and would be at once detected? But the prisoner himself assures us that he did not even notice that he was covered with blood. That may be believed, that is very possible, that always happens at such moments with criminals. On one point they will show diabolical cunning, while another will escape them altogether. But he was thinking at that moment of one thing only⁠—where was she? He wanted to find out at once where she was, so he ran to her lodging and learnt an unexpected and astounding piece of news⁠—she had gone off to Mokroe to meet her first lover.”


The Galloping Troika. The End of the Prosecutor’s Speech
Ippolit Kirillovitch had chosen the historical method of exposition, beloved by all nervous orators, who find in its limitation a check on their own eager rhetoric. At this moment in his speech he went off into a dissertation on Grushenka’s “first lover,” and brought forward several interesting thoughts on this theme.

“Karamazov, who had been frantically jealous of everyone, collapsed, so to speak, and effaced himself at once before this first lover. What makes it all the more strange is that he seems to have hardly thought of this formidable rival. But he had looked upon him as a remote danger, and Karamazov always lives in the present. Possibly he regarded him as a fiction. But his wounded heart grasped instantly that the woman had been concealing this new rival and deceiving him, because he was anything but a fiction to her, because he was the one hope of her life. Grasping this instantly, he resigned himself.

“Gentlemen of the jury, I cannot help dwelling on this unexpected trait in the prisoner’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 at the very moment when he had stained his hands with his father’s blood for her sake! It is true that the blood he had shed was already crying out for vengeance, for, after having ruined his soul and his life in this world, he was forced to ask himself at that same instant what he was and what he could be now to her, to that being, dearer to him than his own soul, in comparison with that former lover who had returned penitent, with new love, to the woman he had once betrayed, with honorable offers, with the promise of a reformed and happy life. And he, luckless man, what could he give her now, what could he offer her?

“Karamazov felt all this, knew that all ways were barred to him by his crime and 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 way out of his terrible position. That way out was suicide. He ran for the pistols he had left in pledge with his friend Perhotin and on the way, as he ran, he pulled out of his pocket the money, for the sake of which he had stained his hands with his father’s gore. Oh, now he needed money more than ever. Karamazov would die, Karamazov would shoot himself and it should be remembered! To be sure, he was a poet and had burnt the candle at both ends all his life. ‘To her, to her! and there, oh, there I will give a feast to the whole world, such as never was before, that will be remembered and talked of long after! In the midst of shouts of wild merriment, reckless gypsy songs and dances I shall raise the glass and drink to the woman I adore and her newfound happiness! And then, on the spot, at her feet, I shall dash out my brains before her and punish myself! She will remember Mitya Karamazov sometimes, she will see how Mitya loved her, she will feel for Mitya!’

“Here we see in excess a love of effect, a romantic despair and sentimentality, and the wild recklessness of the Karamazovs. Yes, but there is something else, gentlemen of the jury, something that cries out in the soul, throbs incessantly in the mind, and poisons the heart unto death⁠—that something is conscience, gentlemen of the jury, its judgment, its terrible torments! 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 lies beyond,’ and whether Karamazov could, like Hamlet, wonder ‘What lies beyond.’ No, gentlemen of the jury, they have their Hamlets, but we still have our Karamazovs!”

Here Ippolit Kirillovitch drew a minute picture of Mitya’s preparations, the scene at Perhotin’s, at the shop, with the drivers. He quoted numerous words and actions, confirmed by witnesses, and the picture made a terrible impression on the audience. The guilt of this harassed and desperate man stood out 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 by witnesses.) “He even cried out to the peasant who drove him, ‘Do you know, you are driving a murderer!’ But it was impossible for him to speak out, he had to get to Mokroe and there to finish his romance. But what was awaiting the luckless man? Almost from the first minute at Mokroe he saw that his invincible rival was perhaps by no means so invincible, that the toast to their newfound happiness was not desired and would not be acceptable. But you know the facts, gentlemen of the jury, from the preliminary inquiry. Karamazov’s triumph over his rival was complete and his soul passed into quite a new phase, perhaps the most terrible phase through which his soul has passed or 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 more completely than any earthly justice. What’s more, justice and punishment on earth positively alleviate the punishment of nature and are, indeed, essential to 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 he learnt 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 him happiness⁠—and when? When everything was over for him and nothing was possible!

“By the way, I will note in parenthesis a point of importance for the light it throws 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 being unattainable, passionately desired by him but unattainable. Yet why did he not shoot himself then, why did he relinquish his design and even forget where his pistol was? It was just that passionate desire for love and the hope of satisfying it that restrained him. Throughout their revels he kept close to his adored mistress, who was at the banquet with him and was more charming and fascinating to him than ever⁠—he did not leave her side, abasing himself in his homage before her.

“His passion might well, for a moment, stifle not only the fear of arrest, but even the torments of conscience. For a moment, oh, only for a moment! I can picture the state of mind of the criminal hopelessly enslaved by these influences⁠—first, the influence of drink, of noise and excitement, of the thud 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 background that the fatal end might still be far off, that not till next morning, at least, 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 felt something 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, past thousands of people. Then there will be a turning into another street and only at the end of that street the dread place of execution! I fancy that at the beginning of the journey the condemned man, sitting on his shameful cart, must feel that he has infinite life still before him. The houses recede, the cart moves on⁠—oh, that’s nothing, it’s still far to the turning into the second street and he still looks boldly to right and to left at those thousands of callously curious people with their eyes fixed on him, and he still fancies that he is just such a man as they. But now the turning comes to the next street. 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 many left. 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 time to make some plan of defense, and now, now⁠—she is so fascinating!’

“His soul was full of confusion and dread, but he managed, however, to put aside half his money and hide it somewhere⁠—I cannot otherwise explain the disappearance of quite half of the three thousand he had just taken from his father’s pillow. He had been in Mokroe more than once before, he had caroused there for two days together already, he knew the old big house with all its passages and outbuildings. I imagine that part of the money was hidden in that house, not long before the arrest, in some crevice, under some floor, in some corner, under the roof. With what object? I shall be asked. Why, the catastrophe may take place at once, of course; he hadn’t yet considered how to meet it, he hadn’t the time, his head was throbbing and his heart was with her, but money⁠—money was indispensable in any case! With money a man is always a man. Perhaps such foresight at such a moment may strike you as unnatural? But he assures us himself that a month before, at a critical and exciting moment, he had halved his money and sewn it up in a little bag. And though that was not true, as we shall prove directly, it shows the idea was a familiar one to Karamazov, he had contemplated it. What’s more, when he declared 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 inspiration of the moment, because he had two hours before divided his money and hidden half of it at Mokroe till morning, in case of emergency, simply not to have it on himself. Two extremes, gentlemen of the jury, remember that Karamazov can contemplate two extremes and both at once.

“We have looked in the house, but we haven’t found the money. It may still be there 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 the bed, he had his hands stretched out to her and he had so entirely forgotten everything that he did not even hear the men coming to arrest him. He hadn’t time to prepare any line of defense in his mind. He was caught unawares and confronted with his judges, the arbiters of his destiny.

“Gentlemen of the jury, there are moments in the execution of our duties when it is terrible for us to face a man, terrible on his account, too! The moments of contemplating that animal fear, when the criminal sees that all is lost, but still struggles, still means to struggle, the moments when every instinct of self-preservation rises up in him at once and he looks at you with questioning and suffering eyes, studies you, your face, your thoughts, uncertain on which side you will strike, and his distracted mind frames thousands of plans in an instant, but he is still afraid to speak, afraid of giving himself away! This purgatory of the spirit, this animal thirst for self-preservation, these humiliating moments of the human soul, are awful, and sometimes 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 very compromising phrases. ‘Blood! I’ve deserved it!’ But he quickly restrained himself. 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’s death.’ That was his fence for the moment and behind it he hoped to throw up a barricade of some sort. His first compromising exclamations he hastened to explain by declaring that he was responsible for the death of the servant Grigory 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 you hear, he asked us that, us, who had come to ask him that question! Do you hear that phrase uttered with such premature haste⁠—‘if not I’⁠—the animal cunning, the naivete, the Karamazov impatience of it? ‘I didn’t kill him and you mustn’t think I did! I wanted to kill him, gentlemen, I wanted to kill him,’ he hastens to admit (he was in a hurry, in a terrible hurry), ‘but still I am not guilty, it is not I murdered him.’ He concedes to us that he wanted to murder him, as though to say, you can see for yourselves how truthful I am, so you’ll believe all the sooner that I didn’t murder him. Oh, in such cases the criminal is often amazingly shallow and credulous.

“At that point one of the lawyers asked him, as it were incidentally, the most simple question, ‘Wasn’t it Smerdyakov killed him?’ Then, as we expected, he was 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 it would be most natural to bring in Smerdyakov’s name. He rushed at once to the other extreme, as he always does, and began to assure us that Smerdyakov could not have killed him, was not capable of it. But don’t believe him, that was only his cunning; he didn’t really give up the idea of Smerdyakov; on the contrary, he meant to bring him forward again; for, indeed, he had no one else to bring forward, but he would do that later, because for the moment that line was spoiled for him. He would bring him forward perhaps next day, or even a few days later, choosing an opportunity to cry out to us, ‘You know I was more skeptical about Smerdyakov than you, you remember that yourselves, but now I am convinced. He killed him, he must have done!’ And for the present he falls back upon a gloomy and irritable denial. Impatience and anger prompted him, however, to the most inept and incredible explanation of how he looked into his father’s window and how he respectfully withdrew. The worst of it was that he 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 whole three thousand had not been found on him, only half of it. And no doubt only at that moment of angry silence, the fiction of the little bag first occurred to him. No doubt he was conscious himself of the improbability of the story and strove painfully to make it sound more likely, to weave it into a romance that would sound plausible. In such cases the first duty, the chief task of the investigating lawyers, is to prevent the criminal being prepared, to pounce upon him unexpectedly so that he may blurt out his cherished ideas in all their simplicity, improbability and inconsistency. The criminal can only be made to speak by the sudden and apparently incidental communication of some new fact, of some circumstance of great importance in the case, of which he had no previous idea and could not have foreseen. We had such a fact in readiness⁠—that was Grigory’s evidence about the open door through which the prisoner had run out. He had completely forgotten about that door and had not even suspected that Grigory could have seen it.

“The effect of it was amazing. He leapt up and shouted to us, ‘Then Smerdyakov murdered him, it was Smerdyakov!’ and so betrayed the basis of the defense he was keeping back, and betrayed it in its most improbable shape, for Smerdyakov could only have committed the murder after he had knocked Grigory down and run away. 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, Nikolay Parfenovitch, told me afterwards that he was almost moved to tears at the sight of him. And to improve matters, the prisoner hastened to tell us about the 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 romance not only an absurdity, but the most improbable invention that could have been brought forward in the circumstances. If one tried for a bet to invent the most unlikely story, one could hardly find anything more incredible. The worst of such stories is that the triumphant romancers can always be put to confusion and crushed by the very details in which real life is so rich and which these unhappy and involuntary storytellers neglect as insignificant trifles. Oh, they have no thought to spare for such details, their minds are concentrated on their grand invention as a whole, and fancy anyone daring to pull them up for a trifle! But that’s how they are caught. The prisoner was asked the question, ‘Where did you get the stuff for your little bag and who made it for you?’ ‘I made it myself.’ ‘And where did you get the linen?’ The prisoner was positively offended, he thought it almost insulting to ask him such 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 that shirt among your linen tomorrow, with a piece torn off.’ And only fancy, gentlemen of the jury, if we really had found that torn shirt (and how could we have failed to find it in his chest of drawers or trunk?) that would have been a fact, a material fact in support of his statement! But he was incapable of that reflection. ‘I don’t remember, it may not have been off my shirt, I sewed it up in one of my landlady’s caps.’ ‘What sort of a cap?’ ‘It was an old 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! At the most terrible moments of man’s life, for instance when he is being led to execution, he remembers just such trifles. He will forget anything but some green 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 his household, he must have remembered his humiliating fear that someone might come in and find him needle in hand, how at the slightest sound he slipped behind 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 prisoner still persists in these absurdities to this moment. He has not explained anything since that fatal night two months ago, he has not added one actual illuminating fact to his former fantastic statements; all those are trivialities. ‘You must believe it on my honor.’ Oh, we are glad to believe it, we are eager to believe it, even if only on his word of honor! Are we jackals thirsting for human blood? Show us a single fact in the prisoner’s favor and we shall rejoice; but let it be a substantial, real fact, and not a conclusion drawn from the prisoner’s expression by his own brother, or that when he beat himself on the breast he must have meant to point to the little bag, in the darkness, too. We shall rejoice at the new fact, we shall be the first to repudiate our charge, we shall hasten to repudiate it. But now justice cries out and we persist, we cannot repudiate anything.”

Ippolit Kirillovitch passed to his final peroration. He looked as though he was in a fever, he spoke of the blood that cried for vengeance, the blood of the father murdered by his son, with the base motive of robbery! He pointed to the tragic and glaring consistency of the facts.

“And whatever you may hear from the talented and celebrated counsel for the defense,” Ippolit Kirillovitch could not resist adding, “whatever eloquent and touching appeals may be made to your sensibilities, remember that at this moment you are in a temple of justice. Remember that you are the champions of our justice, the champions of our holy Russia, of her principles, her family, everything that she holds sacred! Yes, you represent Russia here at this moment, and your verdict will be heard not in this hall only but will reecho throughout the whole of Russia, and all Russia will hear you, as her champions and her judges, and she will be encouraged or disheartened by your verdict. Do not disappoint Russia and her expectations. Our fatal troika dashes on in her headlong flight perhaps to destruction and in all Russia for long past men have stretched out imploring hands and called a halt to its furious reckless course. And if other nations stand aside from that troika that may be, not from respect, as the poet would fain believe, but simply from horror. From horror, perhaps from disgust. And well it is that they stand aside, but maybe they will cease one day to do so and will form a firm wall confronting the hurrying apparition and will check the frenzied rush of our lawlessness, for the sake of their own safety, enlightenment and civilization. Already we have heard voices of alarm from Europe, they already begin to sound. Do not tempt them! Do not heap up their growing hatred by a sentence justifying the murder of a father by his son!”

Though Ippolit Kirillovitch was genuinely moved, he wound up his speech with this rhetorical appeal⁠—and the effect produced by him was extraordinary. When he had finished his speech, he went out hurriedly and, as I have mentioned before, almost fainted in the adjoining room. There was no applause in the court, but serious persons were pleased. The ladies were not so well satisfied, though even they were pleased with his eloquence, especially as they had no apprehensions as to the upshot of the trial and had full trust in Fetyukovitch. “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’s speech, clenching his teeth, with his hands clasped, and his head bowed. Only from time to time he raised his head and listened, especially when Grushenka was spoken of. When the prosecutor mentioned Rakitin’s opinion of her, a smile of contempt and anger passed over his face and he murmured rather audibly, “The Bernards!” When Ippolit Kirillovitch described how he had questioned and tortured him at Mokroe, Mitya raised his head and listened with intense curiosity. At one point he seemed about to jump up and cry out, but controlled himself and only shrugged his shoulders disdainfully. People talked afterwards of the end of the speech, of the prosecutor’s feat in examining the prisoner at Mokroe, and jeered at Ippolit Kirillovitch. “The man could not resist boasting of his cleverness,” they said.

The court was adjourned, but only for a short interval, a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes at most. There was a hum of conversation and exclamations in the 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 the beginning 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 defense 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 the story 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 offense. And there was too much rhetoric, such long sentences.”

“Yes, he tries to alarm us, he kept trying to alarm us. Do you remember about the troika? Something about ‘They have Hamlets, but we have, so far, only Karamazovs!’ 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 Parliament a Member got up last week and speaking about the Nihilists asked the Ministry whether it was not high time to intervene, to educate this barbarous people. Ippolit was thinking of him, I know he was. He was 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 they get it?”

“In America. They get it from America now.”


But the bell rang, all rushed to their places. Fetyukovitch mounted the tribune.


The Speech for the Defense. An Argument That Cuts Both Ways
All was hushed as the first words of the famous orator rang out. The eyes of the audience were fastened upon him. He began very simply and directly, with an air of conviction, but not the slightest trace of conceit. He made no attempt at eloquence, at pathos, or emotional phrases. He was like a man speaking in a circle of intimate and sympathetic friends. His voice was a fine one, sonorous and sympathetic, and there was something genuine and simple in the very sound of it. But everyone realized at once that the speaker might suddenly rise to genuine pathos and “pierce the heart with untold power.” His language was perhaps more irregular than Ippolit Kirillovitch’s, but he spoke without long phrases, and indeed, with more precision. One thing did not please the ladies: he kept bending forward, especially at the beginning of his speech, not exactly bowing, but as though he were about to dart at his listeners, bending his long spine in half, as though there were a spring in the middle that enabled him to bend almost at right angles.

At the beginning of his speech he spoke rather disconnectedly, without system, one may say, dealing with facts separately, though, at the end, these facts formed a whole. His speech might be divided into two parts, the first consisting of criticism in refutation of the charge, sometimes malicious and sarcastic. But in the second half he suddenly changed his tone, and even his manner, and at once rose to pathos. The audience seemed on the lookout for it, and quivered with enthusiasm.

He went straight to the point, and began by saying that although he practiced in Petersburg, he had more than once visited provincial towns to defend prisoners, of whose innocence he had a conviction or at least a preconceived idea. “That is what has happened to me in the present case,” he explained. “From the very first accounts in the newspapers I was struck by something which strongly prepossessed me in the prisoner’s favor. What interested me most was a fact which often occurs in legal practice, but rarely, I think, in such an extreme and peculiar form as in the present case. I ought to formulate that peculiarity only at the end of my speech, but I will do so at the very beginning, for it is my weakness to go to work directly, not keeping my effects in reserve and economizing my material. That may be imprudent on my part, but at least it’s sincere. What I have in my mind is this: there is an overwhelming chain of evidence against the prisoner, and at the same time not one fact that will stand criticism, if it is examined separately. As I followed the case more closely in the papers my idea was more and more confirmed, and I suddenly received from the prisoner’s relatives a request to undertake his defense. I at once hurried here, and here I became completely convinced. It was to break down this terrible chain of facts, and to show that each piece of evidence taken separately was unproved and fantastic, that I undertook the case.”

So Fetyukovitch began.

“Gentlemen of the jury,” he suddenly protested, “I am new to this district. I have no preconceived ideas. The prisoner, a man of turbulent and unbridled temper, has not insulted me. But he has insulted perhaps hundreds of persons in this town, and so prejudiced many people against him beforehand. Of course I recognize that the moral sentiment of local society is justly excited against him. The prisoner is of turbulent and violent temper. Yet he was received in society here; he was even welcome in the family of my talented friend, the prosecutor.”

(N.B. At these words there were two or three laughs in the audience, quickly suppressed, but noticed by all. All of us knew that the prosecutor received Mitya against his will, solely because he had somehow interested his wife⁠—a lady of the highest virtue and moral worth, but fanciful, capricious, and fond of opposing her husband, especially in trifles. Mitya’s visits, however, had not been frequent.)

“Nevertheless I venture to suggest,” Fetyukovitch continued, “that in spite of his independent mind and just character, my opponent may have formed a mistaken prejudice against my unfortunate client. Oh, that is so natural; the unfortunate man has only too well deserved such prejudice. Outraged morality, and still more outraged taste, is often relentless. We have, in the talented prosecutor’s speech, heard a stern analysis of the prisoner’s character and conduct, and his severe critical attitude to the case was evident. And, what’s more, he went into psychological subtleties into which he could not have entered, if he had the least conscious and malicious prejudice against the prisoner. But there are things which are even worse, even more fatal in such cases, than the most malicious and consciously unfair attitude. It is worse if we are carried away by the artistic instinct, by the desire to create, so to speak, a romance, especially if God has endowed us with psychological insight. Before I started on my way here, I was warned in Petersburg, and was myself aware, that I should find here a talented opponent whose psychological insight and subtlety had gained him peculiar renown in legal circles of recent years. But profound as psychology is, it’s a knife that cuts both ways.” (Laughter among the public.) “You will, of course, forgive me my comparison; I can’t boast of eloquence. But I will take as an example any point in the prosecutor’s speech.

“The prisoner, running away in the garden in the dark, climbed over the fence, was seized by the servant, and knocked him down with a brass pestle. Then he jumped back into the garden and spent five minutes over the man, trying to discover whether he had killed him or not. And the prosecutor refuses to believe the prisoner’s statement that he ran to old Grigory out of pity. ‘No,’ he says, ‘such sensibility is impossible at such a moment, that’s unnatural; he ran to find out whether the only witness of his crime was dead or alive, and so showed that he had committed the murder, since he would not have run back for any other reason.’

“Here you have psychology; but let us take the same method and apply it to the case the other way round, and our result will be no less probable. The murderer, we are told, leapt down to find out, as a precaution, whether the witness was alive or not, yet he had left in his murdered father’s study, as the prosecutor himself argues, an amazing piece of evidence in the shape of a torn envelope, with an inscription that there had been three thousand roubles in it. ‘If he had carried that envelope away with him, no one in the world would have known of that envelope and of the notes in it, and that the money had been stolen by the prisoner.’ Those are the prosecutor’s own words. So on one side you see a complete absence of precaution, a man who has lost his head and run away in a fright, leaving that clue on the floor, and two minutes later, when he has killed another man, we are entitled to assume the most heartless and calculating foresight in him. But even admitting this was so, it is psychological subtlety, I suppose, that discerns that under certain circumstances I become as bloodthirsty and keen-sighted as a Caucasian eagle, while at the next I am as timid and blind as a mole. But if I am so bloodthirsty and cruelly calculating that when I kill a man I only run back to find out whether he is alive to witness against me, why should I spend five minutes looking after my victim at the risk of encountering other witnesses? Why soak my handkerchief, wiping the blood off his head so that it may be evidence against me later? If he were so cold-hearted and calculating, why not hit the servant on the head again and again with the same pestle so as to kill him outright and relieve himself of all anxiety about the witness?

“Again, though he ran to see whether the witness was alive, he left another witness on the path, that brass pestle which he had taken from the two women, and which they could always recognize afterwards as theirs, and prove that he had taken it from them. And it is not as though he had forgotten it on the path, dropped it through carelessness or haste, no, he had flung away his weapon, for it was found fifteen paces from where Grigory lay. Why did he do so? Just because he was grieved at having killed a man, an old servant; and he flung away the pestle with a curse, as a murderous weapon. That’s how it must have been, what other reason could he have had for throwing it so far? And if he was capable of feeling grief and pity at having killed a man, it shows that he was innocent of his father’s murder. Had he murdered him, he would never have run to another victim out of pity; then he would have felt differently; his thoughts would have been centered on self-preservation. He would have had none to spare for pity, that is beyond doubt. On the contrary, he would have broken his skull instead of spending five minutes looking after him. There was room for pity and good-feeling just because his conscience had been clear till then. Here we have a different psychology. I have purposely resorted to this method, gentlemen of the jury, to show that you can prove anything by it. It all depends on who makes use of it. Psychology lures even most serious people into romancing, and quite unconsciously. I am speaking of the abuse of psychology, gentlemen.”

Sounds of approval and laughter, at the expense of the prosecutor, were again audible in the court. I will not repeat the speech in detail; I will only quote some passages from it, some leading points.


There Was No Money. There Was No Robbery
There was one point that struck everyone in Fetyukovitch’s speech. He flatly denied the existence of the fatal three thousand roubles, and consequently, the possibility of their having been stolen.

“Gentlemen of the jury,” he began. “Every new and unprejudiced observer must be struck by a characteristic peculiarity in the present case, namely, the charge of robbery, and the complete impossibility of proving that there was anything to be stolen. We are told that money was stolen⁠—three thousand roubles⁠—but whether those roubles ever existed, nobody knows. Consider, how have we heard of that sum, and who has seen the notes? The only person who saw them, and stated that they had been put in the envelope, was the servant, Smerdyakov. He had spoken of it to the prisoner and his brother, Ivan Fyodorovitch, before the catastrophe. Madame Svyetlov, too, had been told of it. But not one of these three persons had actually seen the notes, no one but Smerdyakov had seen them.

“Here the question arises, if it’s true that they did exist, and that Smerdyakov had seen them, when did he see them for the last time? What if his master had taken the notes from under his bed and put them back in his cashbox without telling him? Note, that according to Smerdyakov’s story the notes were kept under the mattress; the prisoner must have pulled them out, and yet the bed was absolutely unrumpled; that is carefully recorded in the protocol. How could the prisoner have found the notes without disturbing the bed? How could he have helped soiling with his bloodstained hands the fine and spotless linen with which the bed had been purposely made?

“But I shall be asked: What about the envelope on the floor? Yes, it’s worth saying a word or two about that envelope. I was somewhat surprised just now to hear the highly talented prosecutor declare of himself⁠—of himself, observe⁠—that but for that envelope, but for its being left on the floor, no one in the world would have known of the existence of that envelope and the notes in it, and therefore of the prisoner’s having stolen it. And so that torn scrap of paper is, by the prosecutor’s own admission, the sole proof on which the charge of robbery rests, ‘otherwise no one would have known of the robbery, nor perhaps even of the money.’ But is the mere fact that that scrap of paper was lying on the floor a proof that there was money in it, and that that money had been stolen? Yet, it will be objected, Smerdyakov had seen the money in the envelope. But when, when had he seen it for the last time, I ask you that? I talked to Smerdyakov, and he told me that he had seen the notes two days before the catastrophe. Then why not imagine that old Fyodor Pavlovitch, locked up alone in impatient and hysterical expectation of the object of his adoration, may have whiled away the time by breaking open the envelope and taking out the notes. ‘What’s the use of the envelope?’ he may have asked himself. ‘She won’t believe the notes are there, but when I show her the thirty rainbow-colored notes in one roll, it will make more impression, you may be sure, it will make her mouth water.’ And so he tears open the envelope, takes out the money, and flings the envelope on the floor, conscious of being the owner and untroubled by any fears of leaving evidence.

“Listen, gentlemen, could anything be more likely than this theory and such an action? Why is it out of the question? But if anything of the sort could have taken place, the charge of robbery falls to the ground; if there was no money, there was no theft of it. If the envelope on the floor may be taken as evidence that there had been money in it, why may I not maintain the opposite, that the envelope was on the floor because the money had been taken from it by its owner?

“But I shall be asked what became of the money if Fyodor Pavlovitch took it out of the envelope since it was not found when the police searched the house? In the first place, part of the money was found in the cashbox, and secondly, he might have taken it out that morning or the evening before to make some other use of it, to give or send it away; he may have changed his idea, his plan of action completely, without thinking it necessary to announce the fact to Smerdyakov beforehand. And if there is the barest possibility of such an explanation, how can the prisoner be so positively accused of having committed murder for the sake of robbery, and of having actually carried out that robbery? This is encroaching on the domain of romance. If it is maintained that something has been stolen, the thing must be produced, or at least its existence must be proved beyond doubt. Yet no one had ever seen these notes.

“Not long ago in Petersburg a young man of eighteen, hardly more than a boy, who carried on a small business as a costermonger, went in broad daylight into a moneychanger’s shop with an ax, and with extraordinary, typical audacity killed the master of the shop and carried off fifteen hundred roubles. Five hours later he was arrested, and, except fifteen roubles he had already managed to spend, the whole sum was found on him. Moreover, the shopman, on his return to the shop after the murder, informed the police not only of the exact sum stolen, but even of the notes and gold coins of which that sum was made up, and those very notes and coins were found on the criminal. This was followed by a full and genuine confession on the part of the murderer. That’s what I call evidence, gentlemen of the jury! In that case I know, I see, I touch the money, and cannot deny its existence. Is it the same in the present case? And yet it is a question of life and death.

“Yes, I shall be told, but he was carousing that night, squandering money; he was shown to have had fifteen hundred roubles⁠—where did he get the money? But the very fact that only fifteen hundred could be found, and the other half of the sum could nowhere be discovered, shows that that money was not the same, and had never been in any envelope. By strict calculation of time it was proved at the preliminary inquiry that the prisoner ran straight from those women servants to Perhotin’s without going home, and that he had been nowhere. So he had been all the time in company and therefore could not have divided the three thousand in half and hidden half in the town. It’s just this consideration that has led the prosecutor to assume that the money is hidden in some crevice at Mokroe. Why not in the dungeons of the castle of Udolpho, gentlemen? Isn’t this supposition really too fantastic and too romantic? And observe, if that supposition breaks down, the whole charge of robbery is scattered to the winds, for in that case what could have become of the other fifteen hundred roubles? By what miracle could they have disappeared, since it’s proved the prisoner went nowhere else? And we are ready to ruin a man’s life with such tales!

“I shall be told that he could not explain where he got the fifteen hundred that he had, and everyone knew that he was without money before that night. Who knew it, pray? The prisoner has made a clear and unflinching statement of the source of that money, and if you will have it so, gentlemen of the jury, nothing can be more probable than that statement, and more consistent with the temper and spirit of the prisoner. The prosecutor is charmed with his own romance. A man of weak will, who had brought himself to take the three thousand so insultingly offered by his betrothed, could not, we are told, have set aside half and sewn it up, but would, even if he had done so, have unpicked it every two days and taken out a hundred, and so would have spent it all in a month. All this, you will remember, was put forward in a tone that brooked no contradiction. But what if the thing happened quite differently? What if you’ve been weaving a romance, and about quite a different kind of man? That’s just it, you have invented quite a different man!

“I shall be told, perhaps, there are witnesses that he spent on one day all that three thousand given him by his betrothed a month before the catastrophe, so he could not have divided the sum in half. But who are these witnesses? The value of their evidence has been shown in court already. Besides, in another man’s hand a crust always seems larger, and no one of these witnesses counted that money; they all judged simply at sight. And the witness Maximov has testified that the prisoner had twenty thousand in his hand. You see, gentlemen of the jury, psychology is a two-edged weapon. Let me turn the other edge now and see what comes of it.

“A month before the catastrophe the prisoner was entrusted by Katerina Ivanovna with three thousand roubles to send off by post. But the question is: is it true that they were entrusted to him in such an insulting and degrading way as was proclaimed just now? The first statement made by the young lady on the subject was different, perfectly different. In the second statement we heard only cries of resentment and revenge, cries of long-concealed hatred. And the very fact that the witness gave her first evidence incorrectly, gives us a right to conclude that her second piece of evidence may have been incorrect also. The prosecutor will not, dare not (his own words) touch on that story. So be it. I will not touch on it either, but will only venture to observe that if a lofty and high-principled person, such as that highly respected young lady unquestionably is, if such a person, I say, allows herself suddenly in court to contradict her first statement, with the obvious motive of ruining the prisoner, it is clear that this evidence has been given not impartially, not coolly. Have not we the right to assume that a revengeful woman might have exaggerated much? Yes, she may well have exaggerated, in particular, the insult and humiliation of her offering him the money. No, it was offered in such a way that it was possible to take it, especially for a man so easygoing as the prisoner, above all, as he expected to receive shortly from his father the three thousand roubles that he reckoned was owing to him. It was unreflecting of him, but it was just his irresponsible want of reflection that made him so confident that his father would give him the money, that he would get it, and so could always dispatch the money entrusted to him and repay the debt.

“But the prosecutor refuses to allow that he could the same day have set aside half the money and sewn it up in a little bag. That’s not his character, he tells us, he couldn’t have had such feelings. But yet he talked himself of the broad Karamazov nature; he cried out about the two extremes which a Karamazov can contemplate at once. Karamazov is just such a two-sided nature, fluctuating between two extremes, that even when moved by the most violent craving for riotous gayety, he can pull himself up, if something strikes him on the other side. And on the other side is love⁠—that new love which had flamed up in his heart, and for that love he needed money; oh, far more than for carousing with his mistress. If she were to say to him, ‘I am yours, I won’t have Fyodor Pavlovitch,’ then he must have money to take her away. That was more important than carousing. Could a Karamazov fail to understand it? That anxiety was just what he was suffering from⁠—what is there improbable in his laying aside that money and concealing it in case of emergency?

“But time passed, and Fyodor Pavlovitch did not give the prisoner the expected three thousand; on the contrary, the latter heard that he meant to use this sum to seduce the woman he, the prisoner, loved. ‘If Fyodor Pavlovitch doesn’t give the money,’ he thought, ‘I shall be put in the position of a thief before Katerina Ivanovna.’ And then the idea presented itself to him that he would go to Katerina Ivanovna, lay before her the fifteen hundred roubles he still carried round his neck, and say, ‘I am a scoundrel, but not a thief.’ So here we have already a twofold reason why he should guard that sum of money as the apple of his eye, why he shouldn’t unpick the little bag, and spend it a hundred at a time. Why should you deny the prisoner a sense of honor? Yes, he has a sense of honor, granted that it’s misplaced, granted it’s often mistaken, yet it exists and amounts to a passion, and he has proved that.

“But now the affair becomes even more complex; his jealous torments reach a climax, and those same two questions torture his fevered brain more and more: ‘If I repay Katerina Ivanovna, where can I find the means to go off with Grushenka?’ If he behaved wildly, drank, and made disturbances in the taverns in the course of that month, it was perhaps because he was wretched and strained beyond his powers of endurance. These two questions became so acute that they drove him at last to despair. He sent his younger brother to beg for the last time for the three thousand roubles, but without waiting for a reply, burst in himself and ended by beating the old man in the presence of witnesses. After that he had no prospect of getting it from anyone; his father would not give it him after that beating.

“The same evening he struck himself on the breast, just on the upper part of the breast where the little bag was, and swore to his brother that he had the means of not being a scoundrel, but that still he would remain a scoundrel, for he foresaw that he would not use that means, that he wouldn’t have the character, that he wouldn’t have the willpower to do it. Why, why does the prosecutor refuse to believe the evidence of Alexey Karamazov, given so genuinely and sincerely, so spontaneously and convincingly? And why, on the contrary, does he force me to believe in money hidden in a crevice, in the dungeons of the castle of Udolpho?

“The same evening, after his talk with his brother, the prisoner wrote that fatal letter, and that letter is the chief, the most stupendous proof of the prisoner having committed robbery! ‘I shall beg from everyone, and if I don’t get it I shall murder my father and shall take the envelope with the pink ribbon on it from under his mattress as soon as Ivan has gone.’ A full program of the murder, we are told, so it must have been he. ‘It has all been done as he wrote,’ cries the prosecutor.

“But in the first place, it’s the letter of a drunken man and written in great irritation; secondly, he writes of the envelope from what he has heard from Smerdyakov again, for he has not seen the envelope himself; and thirdly, he wrote it indeed, but how can you prove that he did it? Did the prisoner take the envelope from under the pillow, did he find the money, did that money exist indeed? And was it to get money that the prisoner ran off, if you remember? He ran off post-haste not to steal, but to find out where she was, the woman who had crushed him. He was not running to carry out a program, to carry out what he had written, that is, not for an act of premeditated robbery, but he ran suddenly, spontaneously, in a jealous fury. Yes! I shall be told, but when he got there and murdered him he seized the money, too. But did he murder him after all? The charge of robbery I repudiate with indignation. A man cannot be accused of robbery, if it’s impossible to state accurately what he has stolen; that’s an axiom. But did he murder him without robbery, did he murder him at all? Is that proved? Isn’t that, too, a romance?”


And There Was No Murder Either
“Allow me, gentlemen of the jury, to remind you that a man’s life is at stake and that you must be careful. We have heard the prosecutor himself admit that until today he hesitated to accuse the prisoner of a full and conscious premeditation of the crime; he hesitated till he saw that fatal drunken letter which was produced in court today. ‘All was done as written.’ But, I repeat again, he was running to her, to seek her, solely to find out where she was. That’s a fact that can’t be disputed. Had she been at home, he would not have run away, but would have remained at her side, and so would not have done what he promised in the letter. He ran unexpectedly and accidentally, and by that time very likely he did not even remember his drunken letter. ‘He snatched up the pestle,’ they say, and you will remember how a whole edifice of psychology was built on that pestle⁠—why he was bound to look at that pestle as a weapon, to snatch it up, and so on, and so on. A very commonplace idea occurs to me at this point: What if that pestle had not been in sight, had not been lying on the shelf from which it was snatched by the prisoner, but had been put away in a cupboard? It would not have caught the prisoner’s eye, and he would have run away without a weapon, with empty hands, and then he would certainly not have killed anyone. How then can I look upon the pestle as a proof of premeditation?

“Yes, but he talked in the taverns of murdering his father, and two days before, on the evening when he wrote his drunken letter, he was quiet and only quarreled with a shopman in the tavern, because a Karamazov could not help quarreling, forsooth! But my answer to that is, that, if he was planning such a murder in accordance with his letter, he certainly would not have quarreled even with a shopman, and probably would not have gone into the tavern at all, because a person plotting such a crime seeks quiet and retirement, seeks to efface himself, to avoid being seen and heard, and that not from calculation, but from instinct. Gentlemen of the jury, the psychological method is a two-edged weapon, and we, too, can use it. As for all this shouting in taverns throughout the month, don’t we often hear children, or drunkards coming out of taverns shout, ‘I’ll kill you’? but they don’t murder anyone. And that fatal letter⁠—isn’t that simply drunken irritability, too? Isn’t that simply the shout of the brawler outside the tavern, ‘I’ll kill you! I’ll kill the lot of you!’ Why not, why could it not be that? What reason have we to call that letter ‘fatal’ rather than absurd? Because his father has been found murdered, because a witness saw the prisoner running out of the garden with a weapon in his hand, and was knocked down by him: therefore, we are told, everything was done as he had planned in writing, and the letter was not ‘absurd,’ but ‘fatal.’

“Now, thank God! we’ve come to the real point: ‘since he was in the garden, he must have murdered him.’ In those few words: ‘since he was, then he must’ lies the whole case for the prosecution. He was there, so he must have. And what if there is no must about it, even if he was there? Oh, I admit that the chain of evidence⁠—the coincidences⁠—are really suggestive. But examine all these facts separately, regardless of their connection. Why, for instance, does the prosecution refuse to admit the truth of the prisoner’s statement that he ran away from his father’s window? Remember the sarcasms in which the prosecutor indulged at the expense of the respectful and ‘pious’ sentiments which suddenly came over the murderer. But what if there were something of the sort, a feeling of religious awe, if not of filial respect? ‘My mother must have been praying for me at that moment,’ were the prisoner’s words at the preliminary inquiry, and so he ran away as soon as he convinced himself that Madame Svyetlov was not in his father’s house. ‘But he could not convince himself by looking through the window,’ the prosecutor objects. But why couldn’t he? Why? The window opened at the signals given by the prisoner. Some word might have been uttered by Fyodor Pavlovitch, some exclamation which showed the prisoner that she was not there. Why should we assume everything as we imagine it, as we make up our minds to imagine it? A thousand things may happen in reality which elude the subtlest imagination.

“ ‘Yes, but Grigory saw the door open and so the prisoner certainly was in the house, therefore he killed him.’ Now about that door, gentlemen of the jury.⁠ ⁠… Observe that we have only the statement of one witness as to that door, and he was at the time in such a condition, that⁠—But supposing the door was open; supposing the prisoner has lied in denying it, from an instinct of self-defense, natural in his position; supposing he did go into the house⁠—well, what then? How does it follow that because he was there he committed the murder? He might have dashed in, run through the rooms; might have pushed his father away; might have struck him; but as soon as he had made sure Madame Svyetlov was not there, he may have run away rejoicing that she was not there and that he had not killed his father. And it was perhaps just because he had escaped from the temptation to kill his father, because he had a clear conscience and was rejoicing at not having killed him, that he was capable of a pure feeling, the feeling of pity and compassion, and leapt off the fence a minute later to the assistance of Grigory after he had, in his excitement, knocked him down.

“With terrible eloquence the prosecutor has described to us the dreadful state of the prisoner’s mind at Mokroe when love again lay before him calling him to new life, while love was impossible for him because he had his father’s bloodstained corpse behind him and beyond that corpse⁠—retribution. And yet the prosecutor allowed him love, which he explained, according to his method, talking about his drunken condition, about a criminal being taken to execution, about it being still far off, and so on and so on. But again I ask, Mr. Prosecutor, have you not invented a new personality? Is the prisoner so coarse and heartless as to be able to think at that moment of love and of dodges to escape punishment, if his hands were really stained with his father’s blood? No, no, no! As soon as it was made plain to him that she loved him and called him to her side, promising him new happiness, oh! then, I protest he must have felt the impulse to suicide doubled, trebled, and must have killed himself, if he had his father’s murder on his conscience. Oh, no! he would not have forgotten where his pistols lay! I know the prisoner: the savage, stony heartlessness ascribed to him by the prosecutor is inconsistent with his character. He would have killed himself, that’s certain. He did not kill himself just because ‘his mother’s prayers had saved him,’ and he was innocent of his father’s blood. He was troubled, he was grieving that night at Mokroe only about old Grigory and praying to God that the old man would recover, that his blow had not been fatal, and that he would not have to suffer for it. Why not accept such an interpretation of the facts? What trustworthy proof have we that the prisoner is lying?

“But we shall be told at once again, ‘There is his father’s corpse! If he ran away without murdering him, who did murder him?’ Here, I repeat, you have the whole logic of the prosecution. Who murdered him, if not he? There’s no one to put in his place.

“Gentlemen of the jury, is that really so? Is it positively, actually true that there is no one else at all? We’ve heard the prosecutor count on his fingers all the persons who were in that house that night. They were five in number; three of them, I agree, could not have been responsible⁠—the murdered man himself, old Grigory, and his wife. There are left then the prisoner and Smerdyakov, and the prosecutor dramatically exclaims that the prisoner pointed to Smerdyakov because he had no one else to fix on, that had there been a sixth person, even a phantom of a sixth person, he would have abandoned the charge against Smerdyakov at once in shame and have accused that other. But, gentlemen of the jury, why may I not draw the very opposite conclusion? There are two persons⁠—the prisoner and Smerdyakov. Why can I not say that you accuse my client, simply because you have no one else to accuse? And you have no one else only because you have determined to exclude Smerdyakov from all suspicion.

“It’s true, indeed, Smerdyakov is accused only by the prisoner, his two brothers, and Madame Svyetlov. But there are others who accuse him: there are vague rumors of a question, of a suspicion, an obscure report, a feeling of expectation. Finally, we have the evidence of a combination of facts very suggestive, though, I admit, inconclusive. In the first place we have precisely on the day of the catastrophe that fit, for the genuineness of which the prosecutor, for some reason, has felt obliged to make a careful defense. Then Smerdyakov’s sudden suicide on the eve of the trial. Then the equally startling evidence given in court today by the elder of the prisoner’s brothers, who had believed in his guilt, but has today produced a bundle of notes and proclaimed Smerdyakov as the murderer. Oh, I fully share the court’s and the prosecutor’s conviction that Ivan Karamazov is suffering from brain fever, that his statement may really be a desperate effort, planned in delirium, to save his brother by throwing the guilt on the dead man. But again Smerdyakov’s name is pronounced, again there is a suggestion of mystery. There is something unexplained, incomplete. And perhaps it may one day be explained. But we won’t go into that now. Of that later.

“The court has resolved to go on with the trial, but, meantime, I might make a few remarks about the character-sketch of Smerdyakov drawn with subtlety and talent by the prosecutor. But while I admire his talent I cannot agree with him. I have visited Smerdyakov, I have seen him and talked to him, and he made a very different impression on me. He was weak in health, it is true; but in character, in spirit, he was by no means the weak man the prosecutor has made him out to be. I found in him no trace of the timidity on which the prosecutor so insisted. There was no simplicity about him, either. I found in him, on the contrary, an extreme mistrustfulness concealed under a mask of naivete, and an intelligence of considerable range. The prosecutor was too simple in taking him for weak-minded. He made a very definite impression on me: I left him with the conviction that he was a distinctly spiteful creature, excessively ambitious, vindictive, and intensely envious. I made some inquiries: he resented his parentage, was ashamed of it, and would clench his teeth when he remembered that he was the son of ‘stinking Lizaveta.’ He was disrespectful to the servant Grigory and his wife, who had cared for him in his childhood. He cursed and jeered at Russia. He dreamed of going to France and becoming a Frenchman. He used often to say that he hadn’t the means to do so. I fancy he loved no one but himself and had a strangely high opinion of himself. His conception of culture was limited to good clothes, clean shirtfronts and polished boots. Believing himself to be the illegitimate son of Fyodor Pavlovitch (there is evidence of this), he might well have resented his position, compared with that of his master’s legitimate sons. They had everything, he nothing. They had all the rights, they had the inheritance, while he was only the cook. He told me himself that he had helped Fyodor Pavlovitch to put the notes in the envelope. The destination of that sum⁠—a sum which would have made his career⁠—must have been hateful to him. Moreover, he saw three thousand roubles in new rainbow-colored notes. (I asked him about that on purpose.) Oh, beware of showing an ambitious and envious man a large sum of money at once! And it was the first time he had seen so much money in the hands of one man. The sight of the rainbow-colored notes may have made a morbid impression on his imagination, but with no immediate results.

“The talented prosecutor, with extraordinary subtlety, sketched for us all the arguments for and against the hypothesis of Smerdyakov’s guilt, and asked us in particular what motive he had in feigning a fit. But he may not have been feigning at all, the fit may have happened quite naturally, but it may have passed off quite naturally, and the sick man may have recovered, not completely perhaps, but still regaining consciousness, as happens with epileptics.

“The prosecutor asks at what moment could Smerdyakov have committed the murder. But it is very easy to point out that moment. He might have waked up from deep sleep (for he was only asleep⁠—an epileptic fit is always followed by a deep sleep) at that moment when the old Grigory shouted at the top of his voice ‘Parricide!’ That shout in the dark and stillness may have waked Smerdyakov whose sleep may have been less sound at the moment: he might naturally have waked up an hour before.

“Getting out of bed, he goes almost unconsciously and with no definite motive towards the sound to see what’s the matter. His head is still clouded with his attack, his faculties are half asleep; but, once in the garden, he walks to the lighted windows and he hears terrible news from his master, who would be, of course, glad to see him. His mind sets to work at once. He hears all the details from his frightened master, and gradually in his disordered brain there shapes itself an idea⁠—terrible, but seductive and irresistibly logical. To kill the old man, take the three thousand, and throw all the blame on to his young master. A terrible lust of money, of booty, might seize upon him as he realized his security from detection. Oh! these sudden and irresistible impulses come so often when there is a favorable opportunity, and especially with murderers who have had no idea of committing a murder beforehand. And Smerdyakov may have gone in and carried out his plan. With what weapon? Why, with any stone picked up in the garden. But what for, with what object? Why, the three thousand which means a career for him. Oh, I am not contradicting myself⁠—the money may have existed. And perhaps Smerdyakov alone knew where to find it, where his master kept it. And the covering of the money⁠—the torn envelope on the floor?

“Just now, when the prosecutor was explaining his subtle theory that only an inexperienced thief like Karamazov would have left the envelope on the floor, and not one like Smerdyakov, who would have avoided leaving a piece of evidence against himself, I thought as I listened that I was hearing something very familiar, and, would you believe it, I have heard that very argument, that very conjecture, of how Karamazov would have behaved, precisely two days before, from Smerdyakov himself. What’s more, it struck me at the time. I fancied that there was an artificial simplicity about him; that he was in a hurry to suggest this idea to me that I might fancy it was my own. He insinuated it, as it were. Did he not insinuate the same idea at the inquiry and suggest it to the talented prosecutor?

“I shall be asked, ‘What about the old woman, Grigory’s wife? She heard the sick man moaning close by, all night.’ Yes, she heard it, but that evidence is extremely unreliable. I knew a lady who complained bitterly that she had been kept awake all night by a dog in the yard. Yet the poor beast, it appeared, had only yelped once or twice in the night. And that’s natural. If anyone is asleep and hears a groan he wakes up, annoyed at being waked, but instantly falls asleep again. Two hours later, again a groan, he wakes up and falls asleep again; and the same thing again two hours later⁠—three times altogether in the night. Next morning the sleeper wakes up and complains that someone has been groaning all night and keeping him awake. And it is bound to seem so to him: the intervals of two hours of sleep he does not remember, he only remembers the moments of waking, so he feels he has been waked up all night.

“But why, why, asks the prosecutor, did not Smerdyakov confess in his last letter? Why did his conscience prompt him to one step and not to both? But, excuse me, conscience implies penitence, and the suicide may not have felt penitence, but only despair. Despair and penitence are two very different things. Despair may be vindictive and irreconcilable, and the suicide, laying his hands on himself, may well have felt redoubled hatred for those whom he had envied all his life.

“Gentlemen of the jury, beware of a miscarriage of justice! What is there unlikely in all I have put before you just now? Find the error in my reasoning; find the impossibility, the absurdity. And if there is but a shade of possibility, but a shade of probability in my propositions, do not condemn him. And is there only a shade? I swear by all that is sacred, I fully believe in the explanation of the murder I have just put forward. What troubles me and makes me indignant is that of all the mass of facts heaped up by the prosecution against the prisoner, there is not a single one certain and irrefutable. And yet the unhappy man is to be ruined by the accumulation of these facts. Yes, the accumulated effect is awful: the blood, the blood dripping from his fingers, the bloodstained shirt, the dark night resounding with the shout ‘Parricide!’ and the old man falling with a broken head. And then the mass of phrases, statements, gestures, shouts! Oh! this has so much influence, it can so bias the mind; but, gentlemen of the jury, can it bias your minds? Remember, you have been given absolute power to bind and to loose, but the greater the power, the more terrible its responsibility.

“I do not draw back one iota from what I have said just now, but suppose for one moment I agreed with the prosecution that my luckless client had stained his hands with his father’s blood. This is only hypothesis, I repeat; I never for one instant doubt of his innocence. But, so be it, I assume that my client is guilty of parricide. Even so, hear what I have to say. I have it in my heart to say something more to you, for I feel that there must be a great conflict in your hearts and minds.⁠ ⁠… Forgive my referring to your hearts and minds, gentlemen of the jury, but I want to be truthful and sincere to the end. Let us all be sincere!”

At this point the speech was interrupted by rather loud applause. The last words, indeed, were pronounced with a note of such sincerity that everyone felt that he really might have something to say, and that what he was about to say would be of the greatest consequence. But the President, hearing the applause, in a loud voice threatened to clear the court if such an incident were repeated. Every sound was hushed and Fetyukovitch began in a voice full of feeling quite unlike the tone he had used hitherto.


A Corrupter of Thought
“It’s not only the accumulation of facts that threatens my client with ruin, gentlemen of the jury,” he began, “what is really damning for my client is one fact⁠—the dead body of his father. Had it been an ordinary case of murder you would have rejected the charge in view of the triviality, the incompleteness, and the fantastic character of the evidence, if you examine each part of it separately; or, at least, you would have hesitated to ruin a man’s life simply from the prejudice against him which he has, alas! only too well deserved. But it’s not an ordinary case of murder, it’s a case of parricide. That impresses men’s minds, and to such a degree that the very triviality and incompleteness of the evidence becomes less trivial and less incomplete even to an unprejudiced mind. How can such a prisoner be acquitted? What if he committed the murder and gets off unpunished? That is what everyone, almost involuntarily, instinctively, feels at heart.

“Yes, it’s a fearful thing to shed a father’s blood⁠—the father who has begotten me, loved me, not spared his life for me, grieved over my illnesses from childhood up, troubled all his life for my happiness, and has lived in my joys, in my successes. To murder such a father⁠—that’s inconceivable. Gentlemen of the jury, what is a father⁠—a real father? What is the meaning of that great word? What is the great idea in that name? We have just indicated in part what a true father is and what he ought to be. In the case in which we are now so deeply occupied and over which our hearts are aching⁠—in the present case, the father, Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, did not correspond to that conception of a father to which we have just referred. That’s the misfortune. And indeed some fathers are a misfortune. Let us examine this misfortune rather more closely: we must shrink from nothing, gentlemen of the jury, considering the importance of the decision you have to make. It’s our particular duty not to shrink from any idea, like children or frightened women, as the talented prosecutor happily expresses it.

“But in the course of his heated speech my esteemed opponent (and he was my opponent before I opened my lips) exclaimed several times, ‘Oh, I will not yield the defense of the prisoner to the lawyer who has come down from Petersburg. I accuse, but I defend also!’ He exclaimed that several times, but forgot to mention that if this terrible prisoner was for twenty-three years so grateful for a mere pound of nuts given him by the only man who had been kind to him, as a child in his father’s house, might not such a man well have remembered for twenty-three years how he ran in his father’s backyard, ‘without boots on his feet and with his little trousers hanging by one button’⁠—to use the expression of the kindhearted doctor, Herzenstube?

“Oh, gentlemen of the jury, why need we look more closely at this misfortune, why repeat what we all know already? What did my client meet with when he arrived here, at his father’s house, and why depict my client as a heartless egoist and monster? He is uncontrolled, he is wild and unruly⁠—we are trying him now for that⁠—but who is responsible for his life? Who is responsible for his having received such an unseemly bringing up, in spite of his excellent disposition and his grateful and sensitive heart? Did anyone train him to be reasonable? Was he enlightened by study? Did anyone love him ever so little in his childhood? My client was left to the care of Providence like a beast of the field. He thirsted perhaps to see his father after long years of separation. A thousand times perhaps he may, recalling his childhood, have driven away the loathsome phantoms that haunted his childish dreams and with all his heart he may have longed to embrace and to forgive his father! And what awaited him? He was met by cynical taunts, suspicions and wrangling about money. He heard nothing but revolting talk and vicious precepts uttered daily over the brandy, and at last he saw his father seducing his mistress from him with his own money. Oh, gentlemen of the jury, that was cruel and revolting! And that old man was always complaining of the disrespect and cruelty of his son. He slandered him in society, injured him, calumniated him, bought up his unpaid debts to get him thrown into prison.

“Gentlemen of the jury, people like my client, who are fierce, unruly, and uncontrolled on the surface, are sometimes, most frequently indeed, exceedingly tenderhearted, only they don’t express it. Don’t laugh, don’t laugh at my idea! The talented prosecutor laughed mercilessly just now at my client for loving Schiller⁠—loving the sublime and beautiful! I should not have laughed at that in his place. Yes, such natures⁠—oh, let me speak in defense of such natures, so often and so cruelly misunderstood⁠—these natures often thirst for tenderness, goodness, and justice, as it were, in contrast to themselves, their unruliness, their ferocity⁠—they thirst for it unconsciously. Passionate and fierce on the surface, they are painfully capable of loving woman, for instance, and with a spiritual and elevated love. Again do not laugh at me, this is very often the case in such natures. But they cannot hide their passions⁠—sometimes very coarse⁠—and that is conspicuous and is noticed, but the inner man is unseen. Their passions are quickly exhausted; but, by the side of a noble and lofty creature that seemingly coarse and rough man seeks a new life, seeks to correct himself, to be better, to become noble and honorable, ‘sublime and beautiful,’ however much the expression has been ridiculed.

“I said just now that I would not venture to touch upon my client’s engagement. But I may say half a word. What we heard just now was not evidence, but only the scream of a frenzied and revengeful woman, and it was not for her⁠—oh, not for her!⁠—to reproach him with treachery, for she has betrayed him! If she had had but a little time for reflection she would not have given such evidence. Oh, do not believe her! No, my client is not a monster, as she called him!

“The Lover of Mankind on the eve of His Crucifixion said: ‘I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, so that not one of them might be lost.’ Let not a man’s soul be lost through us!

“I asked just now what does ‘father’ mean, and exclaimed that it was a great word, a precious name. But one must use words honestly, gentlemen, and I venture to call things by their right names: such a father as old Karamazov cannot be called a father and does not deserve to be. Filial love for an unworthy father is an absurdity, an impossibility. Love cannot be created from nothing: only God can create something from nothing.

“ ‘Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath,’ the apostle writes, from a heart glowing with love. It’s not for the sake of my client that I quote these sacred words, I mention them for all fathers. Who has authorized me to preach to fathers? No one. But as a man and a citizen I make my appeal⁠—vivos voco! We are not long on earth, we do many evil deeds and say many evil words. So let us all catch a favorable moment when we are all together to say a good word to each other. That’s what I am doing: while I am in this place I take advantage of my opportunity. Not for nothing is this tribune given us by the highest authority⁠—all Russia hears us! I am not speaking only for the fathers here present, I cry aloud to all fathers: ‘Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.’ Yes, let us first fulfill Christ’s injunction ourselves and only then venture to expect it of our children. Otherwise we are not fathers, but enemies of our children, and they are not our children, but our enemies, and we have made them our enemies ourselves. ‘What measure ye mete it shall be measured unto you again’⁠—it’s not I who say that, it’s the Gospel precept, measure to others according as they measure to you. How can we blame children if they measure us according to our measure?

“Not long ago a servant girl in Finland was suspected of having secretly given birth to a child. She was watched, and a box of which no one knew anything was found in the corner of the loft, behind some bricks. It was opened and inside was found the body of a newborn child which she had killed. In the same box were found the skeletons of two other babies which, according to her own confession, she had killed at the moment of their birth.

“Gentlemen of the jury, was she a mother to her children? She gave birth to them, indeed; but was she a mother to them? Would anyone venture to give her the sacred name of mother? Let us be bold, gentlemen, let us be audacious even: it’s our duty to be so at this moment and not to be afraid of certain words and ideas like the Moscow women in Ostrovsky’s play, who are scared at the sound of certain words. No, let us prove that the progress of the last few years has touched even us, and let us say plainly, the father is not merely he who begets the child, but he who begets it and does his duty by it.

“Oh, of course, there is the other meaning, there is the other interpretation of the word ‘father,’ which insists that any father, even though he be a monster, even though he be the enemy of his children, still remains my father simply because he begot me. But this is, so to say, the mystical meaning which I cannot comprehend with my intellect, but can only accept by faith, or, better to say, on faith, like many other things which I do not understand, but which religion bids me believe. But in that case let it be kept outside the sphere of actual life. In the sphere of actual life, which has, indeed, its own rights, but also lays upon us great duties and obligations, in that sphere, if we want to be humane⁠—Christian, in fact⁠—we must, or ought to, act only upon convictions justified by reason and experience, which have been passed through the crucible of analysis; in a word, we must act rationally, and not as though in dream and delirium, that we may not do harm, that we may not ill-treat and ruin a man. Then it will be real Christian work, not only mystic, but rational and philanthropic.⁠ ⁠…”

There was violent applause at this passage from many parts of the court, but Fetyukovitch waved his hands as though imploring them to let him finish without interruption. The court relapsed into silence at once. The orator went on.

“Do you suppose, gentlemen, that our children as they grow up and begin to reason can avoid such questions? No, they cannot, and we will not impose on them an impossible restriction. The sight of an unworthy father involuntarily suggests tormenting questions to a young creature, especially when he compares him with the excellent fathers of his companions. The conventional answer to this question is: ‘He begot you, and you are his flesh and blood, and therefore you are bound to love him.’ The youth involuntarily reflects: ‘But did he love me when he begot me?’ he asks, wondering more and more. ‘Was it for my sake he begot me? He did not know me, not even my sex, at that moment, at the moment of passion, perhaps, inflamed by wine, and he has only transmitted to me a propensity to drunkenness⁠—that’s all he’s done for me.⁠ ⁠… Why am I bound to love him simply for begetting me when he has cared nothing for me all my life after?’

“Oh, perhaps those questions strike you as coarse and cruel, but do not expect an impossible restraint from a young mind. ‘Drive nature out of the door and it will fly in at the window,’ and, above all, let us not be afraid of words, but decide the question according to the dictates of reason and humanity and not of mystic ideas. How shall it be decided? Why, like this. Let the son stand before his father and ask him, ‘Father, tell me, why must I love you? Father, show me that I must love you,’ and if that father is able to answer him and show him good reason, we have a real, normal, parental relation, not resting on mystical prejudice, but on a rational, responsible and strictly humanitarian basis. But if he does not, there’s an end to the family tie. He is not a father to him, and the son has a right to look upon him as a stranger, and even an enemy. Our tribune, gentlemen of the jury, ought to be a school of true and sound ideas.”

(Here the orator was interrupted by irrepressible and almost frantic applause. Of course, it was not the whole audience, but a good half of it applauded. The fathers and mothers present applauded. Shrieks and exclamations were heard from the gallery, where the ladies were sitting. Handkerchiefs were waved. The President began ringing his bell with all his might. He was obviously irritated by the behavior of the audience, but did not venture to clear the court as he had threatened. Even persons of high position, old men with stars on their breasts, sitting on specially reserved seats behind the judges, applauded the orator and waved their handkerchiefs. So that when the noise died down, the President confined himself to repeating his stern threat to clear the court, and Fetyukovitch, excited and triumphant, continued his speech.)

“Gentlemen of the jury, you remember that awful night of which so much has been said today, when the son got over the fence and stood face to face with the enemy and persecutor who had begotten him. I insist most emphatically it was not for money he ran to his father’s house: the charge of robbery is an absurdity, as I proved before. And it was not to murder him he broke into the house, oh, no! If he had had that design he would, at least, have taken the precaution of arming himself beforehand. The brass pestle he caught up instinctively without knowing why he did it. Granted that he deceived his father by tapping at the window, granted that he made his way in⁠—I’ve said already that I do not for a moment believe that legend, but let it be so, let us suppose it for a moment. Gentlemen, I swear to you by all that’s holy, if it had not been his father, but an ordinary enemy, he would, after running through the rooms and satisfying himself that the woman was not there, have made off, post-haste, without doing any harm to his rival. He would have struck him, pushed him away perhaps, nothing more, for he had no thought and no time to spare for that. What he wanted to know was where she was. But his father, his father! The mere sight of the father who had hated him from his childhood, had been his enemy, his persecutor, and now his unnatural rival, was enough! A feeling of hatred came over him involuntarily, irresistibly, clouding his reason. It all surged up in one moment! It was an impulse of madness and insanity, but also an impulse of nature, irresistibly and unconsciously (like everything in nature) avenging the violation of its eternal laws.

“But the prisoner even then did not murder him⁠—I maintain that, I cry that aloud!⁠—no, he only brandished the pestle in a burst of indignant disgust, not meaning to kill him, not knowing that he would kill him. Had he not had this fatal pestle in his hand, he would have only knocked his father down perhaps, but would not have killed him. As he ran away, he did not know whether he had killed the old man. Such a murder is not a murder. Such a murder is not a parricide. No, the murder of such a father cannot be called parricide. Such a murder can only be reckoned parricide by prejudice.

“But I appeal to you again and again from the depths of my soul; did this murder actually take place? Gentlemen of the jury, if we convict and punish him, he will say to himself: ‘These people have done nothing for my bringing up, for my education, nothing to improve my lot, nothing to make me better, nothing to make me a man. These people have not given me to eat and to drink, have not visited me in prison and nakedness, and here they have sent me to penal servitude. I am quits, I owe them nothing now, and owe no one anything forever. They are wicked and I will be wicked. They are cruel and I will be cruel.’ That is what he will say, gentlemen of the jury. And I swear, by finding him guilty you will only make it easier for him: you will ease his conscience, he will curse the blood he has shed and will not regret it. At the same time you will destroy in him the possibility of becoming a new man, for he will remain in his wickedness and blindness all his life.

“But do you want to punish him fearfully, terribly, with the most awful punishment that could be imagined, and at the same time to save him and regenerate his soul? If so, overwhelm him with your mercy! You will see, you will hear how he will tremble and be horror-struck. ‘How can I endure this mercy? How can I endure so much love? Am I worthy of it?’ That’s what he will exclaim.

“Oh, I know, I know that heart, that wild but grateful heart, gentlemen of the jury! It will bow before your mercy; it thirsts for a great and loving action, it will melt and mount upwards. There are souls which, in their limitation, blame the whole world. But subdue such a soul with mercy, show it love, and it will curse its past, for there are many good impulses in it. Such a heart will expand and see that God is merciful and that men are good and just. He will be horror-stricken; he will be crushed by remorse and the vast obligation laid upon him henceforth. And he will not say then, ‘I am quits,’ but will say, ‘I am guilty in the sight of all men and am more unworthy than all.’ With tears of penitence and poignant, tender anguish, he will exclaim: ‘Others are better than I, they wanted to save me, not to ruin me!’ Oh, this act of mercy is so easy for you, for in the absence of anything like real evidence it will be too awful for you to pronounce: ‘Yes, he is guilty.’

“Better acquit ten guilty men than punish one innocent man! Do you hear, do you hear that majestic voice from the past century of our glorious history? It is not for an insignificant person like me to remind you that the Russian court does not exist for the punishment only, but also for the salvation of the criminal! Let other nations think of retribution and the letter of the law, we will cling to the spirit and the meaning⁠—the salvation and the reformation of the lost. If this is true, if Russia and her justice are such, she may go forward with good cheer! Do not try to scare us with your frenzied troikas from which all the nations stand aside in disgust. Not a runaway troika, but the stately chariot of Russia will move calmly and majestically to its goal. In your hands is the fate of my client, in your hands is the fate of Russian justice. You will defend it, you will save it, you will prove that there are men to watch over it, that it is in good hands!”


The Peasants Stand Firm
This was how Fetyukovitch concluded his speech, and the enthusiasm of the audience burst like an irresistible storm. It was out of the question to stop it: the women wept, many of the men wept too, even two important personages shed tears. The President submitted, and even postponed ringing his bell. The suppression of such an enthusiasm would be the suppression of something sacred, as the ladies cried afterwards. The orator himself was genuinely touched.

And it was at this moment that Ippolit Kirillovitch got up to make certain objections. People looked at him with hatred. “What? What’s the meaning of it? He positively dares to make objections,” the ladies babbled. But if the whole world of ladies, including his wife, had protested he could not have been stopped at that moment. He was pale, he was shaking with emotion, his first phrases were even unintelligible, he gasped for breath, could hardly speak clearly, lost the thread. But he soon recovered himself. Of this new speech of his I will quote only a few sentences.

“… I am reproached with having woven a romance. But what is this defense if not one romance on the top of another? All that was lacking was poetry. Fyodor Pavlovitch, while waiting for his mistress, tears open the envelope and throws it on the floor. We are even told what he said while engaged in this strange act. Is not this a flight of fancy? And what proof have we that he had taken out the money? Who heard what he said? The weak-minded idiot, Smerdyakov, transformed into a Byronic hero, avenging society for his illegitimate birth⁠—isn’t this a romance in the Byronic style? And the son who breaks into his father’s house and murders him without murdering him is not even a romance⁠—this is a sphinx setting us a riddle which he cannot solve himself. If he murdered him, he murdered him, and what’s the meaning of his murdering him without having murdered him⁠—who can make head or tail of this?

“Then we are admonished that our tribune is a tribune of true and sound ideas and from this tribune of ‘sound ideas’ is heard a solemn declaration that to call the murder of a father ‘parricide’ is nothing but a prejudice! But if parricide is a prejudice, and if every child is to ask his father why he is to love him, what will become of us? What will become of the foundations of society? What will become of the family? Parricide, it appears, is only a bogy of Moscow merchants’ wives. The most precious, the most sacred guarantees for the destiny and future of Russian justice are presented to us in a perverted and frivolous form, simply to attain an object⁠—to obtain the justification of something which cannot be justified. ‘Oh, crush him by mercy,’ cries the counsel for the defense; but that’s all the criminal wants, and tomorrow it will be seen how much he is crushed. And is not the counsel for the defense too modest in asking only for the acquittal of the prisoner? Why not found a charity in the honor of the parricide to commemorate his exploit among future generations? Religion and the Gospel are corrected⁠—that’s all mysticism, we are told, and ours is the only true Christianity which has been subjected to the analysis of reason and common sense. And so they set up before us a false semblance of Christ! ‘What measure ye mete so it shall be meted unto you again,’ cried the counsel for the defense, and instantly deduces that Christ teaches us to measure as it is measured to us⁠—and this from the tribune of truth and sound sense! We peep into the Gospel only on the eve of making speeches, in order to dazzle the audience by our acquaintance with what is, anyway, a rather original composition, which may be of use to produce a certain effect⁠—all to serve the purpose! But what Christ commands us is something very different: He bids us beware of doing this, because the wicked world does this, but we ought to forgive and to turn the other cheek, and not to measure to our persecutors as they measure to us. This is what our God has taught us and not that to forbid children to murder their fathers is a prejudice. And we will not from the tribune of truth and good sense correct the Gospel of our Lord, Whom the counsel for the defense deigns to call only ‘the crucified lover of humanity,’ in opposition to all orthodox Russia, which calls to Him, ‘For Thou art our God!’ ”

At this the President intervened and checked the overzealous speaker, begging him not to exaggerate, not to overstep the bounds, and so on, as presidents always do in such cases. The audience, too, was uneasy. The public was restless: there were even exclamations of indignation. Fetyukovitch did not so much as reply; he only mounted the tribune to lay his hand on his heart and, with an offended voice, utter a few words full of dignity. He only touched again, lightly and ironically, on “romancing” and “psychology,” and in an appropriate place quoted, “Jupiter, you are angry, therefore you are wrong,” which provoked a burst of approving laughter in the audience, for Ippolit Kirillovitch was by no means like Jupiter. Then, apropos of the accusation that he was teaching the young generation to murder their fathers, Fetyukovitch observed, with great dignity, that he would not even answer. As for the prosecutor’s charge of uttering unorthodox opinions, Fetyukovitch hinted that it was a personal insinuation and that he had expected in this court to be secure from accusations “damaging to my reputation as a citizen and a loyal subject.” But at these words the President pulled him up, too, and Fetyukovitch concluded his speech with a bow, amid a hum of approbation in the court. And Ippolit Kirillovitch was, in the opinion of our ladies, “crushed for good.”

Then the prisoner was allowed to speak. Mitya stood up, but said very little. He was fearfully exhausted, physically and mentally. The look of strength and independence with which he had entered in the morning had almost disappeared. He seemed as though he had passed through an experience that day, which had taught him for the rest of his life something very important he had not understood till then. His voice was weak, he did not shout as before. In his words there was a new note of humility, defeat and submission.

“What am I to say, gentlemen of the jury? The hour of judgment has come for me, I feel the hand of God upon me! The end has come to an erring man! But, before God, I repeat to you, I am innocent of my father’s blood! For the last time I repeat, it wasn’t I killed him! I was erring, but I loved what is good. Every instant I strove to reform, but I lived like a wild beast. I thank the prosecutor, he told me many things about myself that I did not know; but it’s not true that I killed my father, the prosecutor is mistaken. I thank my counsel, too. I cried listening to him; but it’s not true that I killed my father, and he needn’t have supposed it. And don’t believe the doctors. I am perfectly sane, only my heart is heavy. If you spare me, if you let me go, I will pray for you. I will be a better man. I give you my word before God I will! And if you will condemn me, I’ll break my sword over my head myself and kiss the pieces. But spare me, do not rob me of my God! I know myself, I shall rebel! My heart is heavy, gentlemen⁠ ⁠… spare me!”

He almost fell back in his place: his voice broke: he could hardly articulate the last phrase. Then the judges proceeded to put the questions and began to ask both sides to formulate their conclusions.

But I will not describe the details. At last the jury rose to retire for consultation. The President was very tired, and so his last charge to the jury was rather feeble. “Be impartial, don’t be influenced by the eloquence of the defense, but yet weigh the arguments. Remember that there is a great responsibility laid upon you,” and so on and so on.

The jury withdrew and the court adjourned. People could get up, move about, exchange their accumulated impressions, refresh themselves at the buffet. It was very late, almost one o’clock in the night, but nobody went away: the strain was so great that no one could think of repose. All waited with sinking hearts; though that is, perhaps, too much to say, for the ladies were only in a state of hysterical impatience and their hearts were untroubled. An acquittal, they thought, was inevitable. They all prepared themselves for a dramatic moment of general enthusiasm. I must own there were many among the men, too, who were convinced that an acquittal was inevitable. Some were pleased, others frowned, while some were simply dejected, not wanting him to be acquitted. Fetyukovitch himself was confident of his success. He was surrounded by people congratulating him and fawning upon him.

“There are,” he said to one group, as I was told afterwards, “there are invisible threads binding the counsel for the defense with the jury. One feels during one’s speech if they are being formed. I was aware of them. They exist. Our cause is won. Set your mind at rest.”

“What will our peasants say now?” said one stout, cross-looking, pockmarked gentleman, a landowner of the neighborhood, approaching a group of gentlemen engaged in conversation.

“But they are not all peasants. There are four government clerks among them.”

“Yes, there are clerks,” said a member of the district council, joining the group.

“And do you know that Nazaryev, the merchant with the medal, a juryman?”

“What of him?”

“He is a man with brains.”

“But he never speaks.”

“He is no great talker, but so much the better. There’s no need for the Petersburg man to teach him: he could teach all Petersburg himself. He’s the father of twelve children. Think of that!”

“Upon my word, you don’t suppose they won’t acquit him?” one of our young officials exclaimed in another group.

“They’ll acquit him for certain,” said a resolute voice.

“It would be shameful, disgraceful, not to acquit him!” cried the official. “Suppose he did murder him⁠—there are fathers and fathers! And, besides, he was in such a frenzy.⁠ ⁠… He really may have done nothing but swing the pestle in the air, and so knocked the old man down. But it was a pity they dragged the valet in. That was simply an absurd theory! If I’d been in Fetyukovitch’s place, I should simply have said straight out: ‘He murdered him; but he is not guilty, hang it all!’ ”

“That’s what he did, only without saying, ‘Hang it all!’ ”

“No, Mihail Semyonovitch, he almost said that, too,” put in a third voice.

“Why, gentlemen, in Lent an actress was acquitted in our town who had cut the throat of her lover’s lawful wife.”

“Oh, but she did not finish cutting it.”

“That makes no difference. She began cutting it.”

“What did you think of what he said about children? Splendid, wasn’t it?”


“And about mysticism, too!”

“Oh, drop mysticism, do!” cried someone else; “think of Ippolit and his fate from this day forth. His wife will scratch his eyes out tomorrow for Mitya’s sake.”

“Is she here?”

“What an idea! If she’d been here she’d have scratched them out in court. She is at home with toothache. He he he!”

“He he he!”

In a third group:

“I dare say they will acquit Mitenka, after all.”

“I should not be surprised if he turns the ‘Metropolis’ upside down tomorrow. He will be drinking for ten days!”

“Oh, the devil!”

“The devil’s bound to have a hand in it. Where should he be if not here?”

“Well, gentlemen, I admit it was eloquent. But still it’s not the thing to break your father’s head with a pestle! Or what are we coming to?”

“The chariot! Do you remember the chariot?”

“Yes; he turned a cart into a chariot!”

“And tomorrow he will turn a chariot into a cart, just to suit his purpose.”

“What cunning chaps there are nowadays! Is there any justice to be had in Russia?”

But the bell rang. The jury deliberated for exactly an hour, neither more nor less. A profound silence reigned in the court as soon as the public had taken their seats. I remember how the jurymen walked into the court. At last! I won’t repeat the questions in order, and, indeed, I have forgotten them. I remember only the answer to the President’s first and chief question: “Did the prisoner commit the murder for the sake of robbery and with premeditation?” (I don’t remember the exact words.) There was a complete hush. The foreman of the jury, the youngest of the clerks, pronounced, in a clear, loud voice, amidst the deathlike stillness of the court:

“Yes, guilty!”

And the same answer was repeated to every question: “Yes, guilty!” and without the slightest extenuating comment. This no one had expected; almost everyone had reckoned upon a recommendation to mercy, at least. The deathlike silence in the court was not broken⁠—all seemed petrified: those who desired his conviction as well as those who had been eager for his acquittal. But that was only for the first instant, and it was followed by a fearful hubbub. Many of the men in the audience were pleased. Some were rubbing their hands with no attempt to conceal their joy. Those who disagreed with the verdict seemed crushed, shrugged their shoulders, whispered, but still seemed unable to realize this. But how shall I describe the state the ladies were in? I thought they would create a riot. At first they could scarcely believe their ears. Then suddenly the whole court rang with exclamations: “What’s the meaning of it? What next?” They leapt up from their places. They seemed to fancy that it might be at once reconsidered and reversed. At that instant Mitya suddenly stood up and cried in a heartrending voice, stretching his hands out before him:

“I swear by God and the dreadful Day of Judgment I am not guilty of my father’s blood! Katya, I forgive you! Brothers, friends, have pity on the other woman!”

He could not go on, and broke into a terrible sobbing wail that was heard all over the court in a strange, unnatural voice unlike his own. From the farthest corner at the back of the gallery came a piercing shriek⁠—it was Grushenka. She had succeeded in begging admittance to the court again before the beginning of the lawyers’ speeches. Mitya was taken away. The passing of the sentence was deferred till next day. The whole court was in a hubbub but I did not wait to hear. I only remember a few exclamations I heard on the steps as I went out.

“He’ll have a twenty years’ trip to the mines!”

“Not less.”

“Well, our peasants have stood firm.”

“And have done for our Mitya.”



Plans for Mitya’s Escape
Very early, at nine o’clock in the morning, five days after the trial, Alyosha went to Katerina Ivanovna’s to talk over a matter of great importance to both of them, and to give her a message. She sat and talked to him in the very room in which she had once received Grushenka. In the next room Ivan Fyodorovitch lay unconscious in a high fever. Katerina Ivanovna had immediately after the scene at the trial ordered the sick and unconscious man to be carried to her house, disregarding the inevitable gossip and general disapproval of the public. One of the two relations who lived with her had departed to Moscow immediately after the scene in court, the other remained. But if both had gone away, Katerina Ivanovna would have adhered to her resolution, and would have gone on nursing the sick man and sitting by him day and night. Varvinsky and Herzenstube were attending him. The famous doctor had gone back to Moscow, refusing to give an opinion as to the probable end of the illness. Though the doctors encouraged Katerina Ivanovna and Alyosha, it was evident that they could not yet give them positive hopes of recovery.

Alyosha came to see his sick brother twice a day. But this time he had specially urgent business, and he foresaw how difficult it would be to approach the subject, yet he was in great haste. He had another engagement that could not be put off for that same morning, and there was need of haste.

They had been talking for a quarter of an hour. Katerina Ivanovna was pale and terribly fatigued, yet at the same time in a state of hysterical excitement. She had a presentiment of the reason why Alyosha had come to her.

“Don’t worry about his decision,” she said, with confident emphasis to Alyosha. “One way or another he is bound to come to it. He must escape. That unhappy man, that hero of honor and principle⁠—not he, not Dmitri Fyodorovitch, but the man lying the other side of that door, who has sacrificed himself for his brother,” Katya added, with flashing eyes⁠—“told me the whole plan of escape long ago. You know he has already entered into negotiations.⁠ ⁠… I’ve told you something already.⁠ ⁠… You see, it will probably come off at the third étape from here, when the party of prisoners is being taken to Siberia. Oh, it’s a long way off yet. Ivan Fyodorovitch has already visited the superintendent of the third étape. But we don’t know yet who will be in charge of the party, and it’s impossible to find that out so long beforehand. Tomorrow perhaps I will show you in detail the whole plan which Ivan Fyodorovitch left me on the eve of the trial in case of need.⁠ ⁠… That was when⁠—do you remember?⁠—you found us quarreling. He had just gone downstairs, but seeing you I made him come back; do you remember? Do you know what we were quarreling about then?”

“No, I don’t,” said Alyosha.

“Of course he did not tell you. It was about that plan of escape. He had told me the main idea three days before, and we began quarreling about it at once and quarreled for three days. We quarreled because, when he told me that if Dmitri Fyodorovitch were convicted he would escape abroad with that creature, I felt furious at once⁠—I can’t tell you why, I don’t know myself why.⁠ ⁠… Oh, of course, I was furious then about that creature, and that she, too, should go abroad with Dmitri!” Katerina Ivanovna exclaimed suddenly, her lips quivering with anger. “As soon as Ivan Fyodorovitch saw that I was furious about that woman, he instantly imagined I was jealous of Dmitri and that I still loved Dmitri. That is how our first quarrel began. I would not give an explanation, I could not ask forgiveness. I could not bear to think that such a man could suspect me of still loving that⁠ ⁠… and when I myself had told him long before that I did not love Dmitri, that I loved no one but him! It was only resentment against that creature that made me angry with him. Three days later, on the evening you came, he brought me a sealed envelope, which I was to open at once, if anything happened to him. Oh, he foresaw his illness! He told me that the envelope contained the details of the escape, and that if he died or was taken dangerously ill, I was to save Mitya alone. Then he left me money, nearly ten thousand⁠—those notes to which the prosecutor referred in his speech, having learnt from someone that he had sent them to be changed. I was tremendously impressed to find that Ivan Fyodorovitch had not given up his idea of saving his brother, and was confiding this plan of escape to me, though he was still jealous of me and still convinced that I loved Mitya. Oh, that was a sacrifice! No, you cannot understand the greatness of such self-sacrifice, Alexey Fyodorovitch. I wanted to fall at his feet in reverence, but I thought at once that he would take it only for my joy at the thought of Mitya’s being saved (and he certainly would have imagined that!), and I was so exasperated at the mere possibility of such an unjust thought on his part that I lost my temper again, and instead of kissing his feet, flew into a fury again! Oh, I am unhappy! It’s my character, my awful, unhappy character! Oh, you will see, I shall end by driving him, too, to abandon me for another with whom he can get on better, like Dmitri. But⁠ ⁠… no, I could not bear it, I should kill myself. And when you came in then, and when I called to you and told him to come back, I was so enraged by the look of contempt and hatred he turned on me that⁠—do you remember?⁠—I cried out to you that it was he, he alone who had persuaded me that his brother Dmitri was a murderer! I said that malicious thing on purpose to wound him again. He had never, never persuaded me that his brother was a murderer. On the contrary, it was I who persuaded him! Oh, my vile temper was the cause of everything! I paved the way to that hideous scene at the trial. He wanted to show me that he was an honorable man, and that, even if I loved his brother, he would not ruin him for revenge or jealousy. So he came to the court⁠ ⁠… I am the cause of it all, I alone am to blame!”

Katya never had made such confessions to Alyosha before, and he felt that she was now at that stage of unbearable suffering when even the proudest heart painfully crushes its pride and falls vanquished by grief. Oh, Alyosha knew another terrible reason of her present misery, though she had carefully concealed it from him during those days since the trial; but it would have been for some reason too painful to him if she had been brought so low as to speak to him now about that. She was suffering for her “treachery” at the trial, and Alyosha felt that her conscience was impelling her to confess it to him, to him, Alyosha, with tears and cries and hysterical writhings on the floor. But he dreaded that moment and longed to spare her. It made the commission on which he had come even more difficult. He spoke of Mitya again.

“It’s all right, it’s all right, don’t be anxious about him!” she began again, sharply and stubbornly. “All that is only momentary, I know him, I know his heart only too well. You may be sure he will consent to escape. It’s not as though it would be immediately; he will have time to make up his mind to it. Ivan Fyodorovitch will be well by that time and will manage it all himself, so that I shall have nothing to do with it. Don’t be anxious; he will consent to run away. He has agreed already: do you suppose he would give up that creature? And they won’t let her go to him, so he is bound to escape. It’s you he’s most afraid of, he is afraid you won’t approve of his escape on moral grounds. But you must generously allow it, if your sanction is so necessary,” Katya added viciously. She paused and smiled.

“He talks about some hymn,” she went on again, “some cross he has to bear, some duty; I remember Ivan Fyodorovitch told me a great deal about it, and if you knew how he talked!” Katya cried suddenly, with feeling she could not repress, “if you knew how he loved that wretched man at the moment he told me, and how he hated him, perhaps, at the same moment. And I heard his story and his tears with sneering disdain. Brute! Yes, I am a brute. I am responsible for his fever. But that man in prison is incapable of suffering,” Katya concluded irritably. “Can such a man suffer? Men like him never suffer!”

There was a note of hatred and contemptuous repulsion in her words. And yet it was she who had betrayed him. “Perhaps because she feels how she’s wronged him she hates him at moments,” Alyosha thought to himself. He hoped that it was only “at moments.” In Katya’s last words he detected a challenging note, but he did not take it up.

“I sent for you this morning to make you promise to persuade him yourself. Or do you, too, consider that to escape would be dishonorable, cowardly, or something⁠ ⁠… unchristian, perhaps?” Katya added, even more defiantly.

“Oh, no. I’ll tell him everything,” muttered Alyosha. “He asks you to come and see him today,” he blurted out suddenly, looking her steadily in the face. She started, and drew back a little from him on the sofa.

“Me? Can that be?” she faltered, turning pale.

“It can and ought to be!” Alyosha began emphatically, growing more animated. “He needs you particularly just now. I would not have opened the subject and worried you, if it were not necessary. He is ill, he is beside himself, he keeps asking for you. It is not to be reconciled with you that he wants you, but only that you would go and show yourself at his door. So much has happened to him since that day. He realizes that he has injured you beyond all reckoning. He does not ask your forgiveness⁠—‘It’s impossible to forgive me,’ he says himself⁠—but only that you would show yourself in his doorway.”

“It’s so sudden.⁠ ⁠…” faltered Katya. “I’ve had a presentiment all these days that you would come with that message. I knew he would ask me to come. It’s impossible!”

“Let it be impossible, but do it. Only think, he realizes for the first time how he has wounded you, the first time in his life; he had never grasped it before so fully. He said, ‘If she refuses to come I shall be unhappy all my life.’ Do you hear? though he is condemned to penal servitude for twenty years, he is still planning to be happy⁠—is not that piteous? Think⁠—you must visit him; though he is ruined, he is innocent,” broke like a challenge from Alyosha. “His hands are clean, there is no blood on them! For the sake of his infinite sufferings in the future visit him now. Go, greet him on his way into the darkness⁠—stand at his door, that is all.⁠ ⁠… You ought to do it, you ought to!” Alyosha concluded, laying immense stress on the word “ought.”

“I ought to⁠ ⁠… but I cannot.⁠ ⁠…” Katya moaned. “He will look at me.⁠ ⁠… I can’t.”

“Your eyes ought to meet. How will you live all your life, if you don’t make up your mind to do it now?”

“Better suffer all my life.”

“You ought to go, you ought to go,” Alyosha repeated with merciless emphasis.

“But why today, why at once?⁠ ⁠… I can’t leave our patient⁠—”

“You can for a moment. It will only be a moment. If you don’t come, he will be in delirium by tonight. I would not tell you a lie; have pity on him!”

“Have pity on me!” Katya said, with bitter reproach, and she burst into tears.

“Then you will come,” said Alyosha firmly, seeing her tears. “I’ll go and tell him you will come directly.”

“No, don’t tell him so on any account,” cried Katya in alarm. “I will come, but don’t tell him beforehand, for perhaps I may go, but not go in.⁠ ⁠… I don’t know yet⁠—”

Her voice failed her. She gasped for breath. Alyosha got up to go.

“And what if I meet anyone?” she said suddenly, in a low voice, turning white again.

“That’s just why you must go now, to avoid meeting anyone. There will be no one there, I can tell you that for certain. We will expect you,” he concluded emphatically, and went out of the room.


For a Moment the Lie Becomes Truth
He hurried to the hospital where Mitya was lying now. The day after his fate was determined, Mitya had fallen ill with nervous fever, and was sent to the prison division of the town hospital. But at the request of several persons (Alyosha, Madame Hohlakov, Lise, etc.), Doctor Varvinsky had put Mitya not with other prisoners, but in a separate little room, the one where Smerdyakov had been. It is true that there was a sentinel at the other end of the corridor, and there was a grating over the window, so that Varvinsky could be at ease about the indulgence he had shown, which was not quite legal, indeed; but he was a kindhearted and compassionate young man. He knew how hard it would be for a man like Mitya to pass at once so suddenly into the society of robbers and murderers, and that he must get used to it by degrees. The visits of relations and friends were informally sanctioned by the doctor and overseer, and even by the police captain. But only Alyosha and Grushenka had visited Mitya. Rakitin had tried to force his way in twice, but Mitya persistently begged Varvinsky not to admit him.

Alyosha found him sitting on his bed in a hospital dressing-gown, rather feverish, with a towel, soaked in vinegar and water, on his head. He looked at Alyosha as he came in with an undefined expression, but there was a shade of something like dread discernible in it. He had become terribly preoccupied since the trial; sometimes he would be silent for half an hour together, and seemed to be pondering something heavily and painfully, oblivious of everything about him. If he roused himself from his brooding and began to talk, he always spoke with a kind of abruptness and never of what he really wanted to say. He looked sometimes with a face of suffering at his brother. He seemed to be more at ease with Grushenka than with Alyosha. It is true, he scarcely spoke to her at all, but as soon as she came in, his whole face lighted up with joy.

Alyosha sat down beside him on the bed in silence. This time Mitya was waiting for Alyosha in suspense, but he did not dare ask him a question. He felt it almost unthinkable that Katya would consent to come, and at the same time he felt that if she did not come, something inconceivable would happen. Alyosha understood his feelings.

“Trifon Borissovitch,” Mitya began nervously, “has pulled his whole inn to pieces, I am told. He’s taken up the flooring, pulled apart the planks, split up all the gallery, I am told. He is seeking treasure all the time⁠—the fifteen hundred roubles which the prosecutor said I’d hidden there. He began playing these tricks, they say, as soon as he got home. Serve him right, the swindler! The guard here told me yesterday; he comes from there.”

“Listen,” began Alyosha. “She will come, but I don’t know when. Perhaps today, perhaps in a few days, that I can’t tell. But she will come, she will, that’s certain.”

Mitya started, would have said something, but was silent. The news had a tremendous effect on him. It was evident that he would have liked terribly to know what had been said, but he was again afraid to ask. Something cruel and contemptuous from Katya would have cut him like a knife at that moment.

“This was what she said among other things; that I must be sure to set your conscience at rest about escaping. If Ivan is not well by then she will see to it all herself.”

“You’ve spoken of that already,” Mitya observed musingly.

“And you have repeated it to Grusha,” observed Alyosha.

“Yes,” Mitya admitted. “She won’t come this morning.” He looked timidly at his brother. “She won’t come till the evening. When I told her yesterday that Katya was taking measures, she was silent, but she set her mouth. She only whispered, ‘Let her!’ She understood that it was important. I did not dare to try her further. She understands now, I think, that Katya no longer cares for me, but loves Ivan.”

“Does she?” broke from Alyosha.

“Perhaps she does not. Only she is not coming this morning,” Mitya hastened to explain again; “I asked her to do something for me. You know, Ivan is superior to all of us. He ought to live, not us. He will recover.”

“Would you believe it, though Katya is alarmed about him, she scarcely doubts of his recovery,” said Alyosha.

“That means that she is convinced he will die. It’s because she is frightened she’s so sure he will get well.”

“Ivan has a strong constitution, and I, too, believe there’s every hope that he will get well,” Alyosha observed anxiously.

“Yes, he will get well. But she is convinced that he will die. She has a great deal of sorrow to bear⁠ ⁠…” A silence followed. A grave anxiety was fretting Mitya.

“Alyosha, I love Grusha terribly,” he said suddenly in a shaking voice, full of tears.

“They won’t let her go out there to you,” Alyosha put in at once.

“And there is something else I wanted to tell you,” Mitya went on, with a sudden ring in his voice. “If they beat me on the way or out there, I won’t submit to it. I shall kill someone, and shall be shot for it. And this will be going on for twenty years! They speak to me rudely as it is. I’ve been lying here all night, passing judgment on myself. I am not ready! I am not able to resign myself. I wanted to sing a ‘hymn’; but if a guard speaks rudely to me, I have not the strength to bear it. For Grusha I would bear anything⁠ ⁠… anything except blows.⁠ ⁠… But she won’t be allowed to come there.”

Alyosha smiled gently.

“Listen, brother, once for all,” he said. “This is what I think about it. And you know that I would not tell you a lie. Listen: you are not ready, and such a cross is not for you. What’s more, you don’t need such a martyr’s cross when you are not ready for it. If you had murdered our father, it would grieve me that you should reject your punishment. But you are innocent, and such a cross is too much for you. You wanted to make yourself another man by suffering. I say, only remember that other man always, all your life and wherever you go; and that will be enough for you. Your refusal of that great cross will only serve to make you feel all your life an even greater duty, and that constant feeling will do more to make you a new man, perhaps, than if you went there. For there you would not endure it and would repine, and perhaps at last would say: ‘I am quits.’ The lawyer was right about that. Such heavy burdens are not for all men. For some they are impossible. These are my thoughts about it, if you want them so much. If other men would have to answer for your escape, officers or soldiers, then I would not have ‘allowed’ you,” smiled Alyosha. “But they declare⁠—the superintendent of that étape told Ivan himself⁠—that if it’s well managed there will be no great inquiry, and that they can get off easily. Of course, bribing is dishonest even in such a case, but I can’t undertake to judge about it, because if Ivan and Katya commissioned me to act for you, I know I should go and give bribes. I must tell you the truth. And so I can’t judge of your own action. But let me assure you that I shall never condemn you. And it would be a strange thing if I could judge you in this. Now I think I’ve gone into everything.”

“But I do condemn myself!” cried Mitya. “I shall escape, that was settled apart from you; could Mitya Karamazov do anything but run away? But I shall condemn myself, and I will pray for my sin forever. That’s how the Jesuits talk, isn’t it? Just as we are doing?”

“Yes.” Alyosha smiled gently.

“I love you for always telling the whole truth and never hiding anything,” cried Mitya, with a joyful laugh. “So I’ve caught my Alyosha being Jesuitical. I must kiss you for that. Now listen to the rest; I’ll open the other side of my heart to you. This is what I planned and decided. If I run away, even with money and a passport, and even to America, I should be cheered up by the thought that I am not running away for pleasure, not for happiness, but to another exile as bad, perhaps, as Siberia. It is as bad, Alyosha, it is! I hate that America, damn it, already. Even though Grusha will be with me. Just look at her; is she an American? She is Russian, Russian to the marrow of her bones; she will be homesick for the mother country, and I shall see every hour that she is suffering for my sake, that she has taken up that cross for me. And what harm has she done? And how shall I, too, put up with the rabble out there, though they may be better than I, every one of them? I hate that America already! And though they may be wonderful at machinery, every one of them, damn them, they are not of my soul. I love Russia, Alyosha, I love the Russian God, though I am a scoundrel myself. I shall choke there!” he exclaimed, his eyes suddenly flashing. His voice was trembling with tears. “So this is what I’ve decided, Alyosha, listen,” he began again, mastering his emotion. “As soon as I arrive there with Grusha, we will set to work at once on the land, in solitude, somewhere very remote, with wild bears. There must be some remote parts even there. I am told there are still Redskins there, somewhere, on the edge of the horizon. So to the country of the Last of the Mohicans, and there we’ll tackle the grammar at once, Grusha and I. Work and grammar⁠—that’s how we’ll spend three years. And by that time we shall speak English like any Englishman. And as soon as we’ve learnt it⁠—goodbye to America! We’ll run here to Russia as American citizens. Don’t be uneasy⁠—we would not come to this little town. We’d hide somewhere, a long way off, in the north or in the south. I shall be changed by that time, and she will, too, in America. The doctors shall make me some sort of wart on my face⁠—what’s the use of their being so mechanical!⁠—or else I’ll put out one eye, let my beard grow a yard, and I shall turn gray, fretting for Russia. I dare say they won’t recognize us. And if they do, let them send us to Siberia. I don’t care. It will show it’s our fate. We’ll work on the land here, too, somewhere in the wilds, and I’ll make up as an American all my life. But we shall die on our own soil. That’s my plan, and it shan’t be altered. Do you approve?”

“Yes,” said Alyosha, not wanting to contradict him. Mitya paused for a minute and said suddenly:

“And how they worked it up at the trial! Didn’t they work it up!”

“If they had not, you would have been convicted just the same,” said Alyosha, with a sigh.

“Yes, people are sick of me here! God bless them, but it’s hard,” Mitya moaned miserably. Again there was silence for a minute.

“Alyosha, put me out of my misery at once!” he exclaimed suddenly. “Tell me, is she coming now, or not? Tell me? What did she say? How did she say it?”

“She said she would come, but I don’t know whether she will come today. It’s hard for her, you know,” Alyosha looked timidly at his brother.

“I should think it is hard for her! Alyosha, it will drive me out of my mind. Grusha keeps looking at me. She understands. My God, calm my heart: what is it I want? I want Katya! Do I understand what I want? It’s the headstrong, evil Karamazov spirit! No, I am not fit for suffering. I am a scoundrel, that’s all one can say.”

“Here she is!” cried Alyosha.

At that instant Katya appeared in the doorway. For a moment she stood still, gazing at Mitya with a dazed expression. He leapt impulsively to his feet, and a scared look came into his face. He turned pale, but a timid, pleading smile appeared on his lips at once, and with an irresistible impulse he held out both hands to Katya. Seeing it, she flew impetuously to him. She seized him by the hands, and almost by force made him sit down on the bed. She sat down beside him, and still keeping his hands pressed them violently. Several times they both strove to speak, but stopped short and again gazed speechless with a strange smile, their eyes fastened on one another. So passed two minutes.

“Have you forgiven me?” Mitya faltered at last, and at the same moment turning to Alyosha, his face working with joy, he cried, “Do you hear what I am asking, do you hear?”

“That’s what I loved you for, that you are generous at heart!” broke from Katya. “My forgiveness is no good to you, nor yours to me; whether you forgive me or not, you will always be a sore place in my heart, and I in yours⁠—so it must be.⁠ ⁠…” She stopped to take breath. “What have I come for?” she began again with nervous haste: “to embrace your feet, to press your hands like this, till it hurts⁠—you remember how in Moscow I used to squeeze them⁠—to tell you again that you are my god, my joy, to tell you that I love you madly,” she moaned in anguish, and suddenly pressed his hand greedily to her lips. Tears streamed from her eyes. Alyosha stood speechless and confounded; he had never expected what he was seeing.

“Love is over, Mitya!” Katya began again, “but the past is painfully dear to me. Know that you will always be so. But now let what might have been come true for one minute,” she faltered, with a drawn smile, looking into his face joyfully again. “You love another woman, and I love another man, and yet I shall love you forever, and you will love me; do you know that? Do you hear? Love me, love me all your life!” she cried, with a quiver almost of menace in her voice.

“I shall love you, and⁠ ⁠… do you know, Katya,” Mitya began, drawing a deep breath at each word, “do you know, five days ago, that same evening, I loved you.⁠ ⁠… When you fell down and were carried out⁠ ⁠… All my life! So it will be, so it will always be⁠—”

So they murmured to one another frantic words, almost meaningless, perhaps not even true, but at that moment it was all true, and they both believed what they said implicitly.

“Katya,” cried Mitya suddenly, “do you believe I murdered him? I know you don’t believe it now, but then⁠ ⁠… when you gave evidence.⁠ ⁠… Surely, surely you did not believe it!”

“I did not believe it even then. I’ve never believed it. I hated you, and for a moment I persuaded myself. While I was giving evidence I persuaded myself and believed it, but when I’d finished speaking I left off believing it at once. Don’t doubt that! I have forgotten that I came here to punish myself,” she said, with a new expression in her voice, quite unlike the loving tones of a moment before.

“Woman, yours is a heavy burden,” broke, as it were, involuntarily from Mitya.

“Let me go,” she whispered. “I’ll come again. It’s more than I can bear now.”

She was getting up from her place, but suddenly uttered a loud scream and staggered back. Grushenka walked suddenly and noiselessly into the room. No one had expected her. Katya moved swiftly to the door, but when she reached Grushenka, she stopped suddenly, turned as white as chalk and moaned softly, almost in a whisper:

“Forgive me!”

Grushenka stared at her and, pausing for an instant, in a vindictive, venomous voice, answered:

“We are full of hatred, my girl, you and I! We are both full of hatred! As though we could forgive one another! Save him, and I’ll worship you all my life.”

“You won’t forgive her!” cried Mitya, with frantic reproach.

“Don’t be anxious, I’ll save him for you!” Katya whispered rapidly, and she ran out of the room.

“And you could refuse to forgive her when she begged your forgiveness herself?” Mitya exclaimed bitterly again.

“Mitya, don’t dare to blame her; you have no right to!” Alyosha cried hotly.

“Her proud lips spoke, not her heart,” Grushenka brought out in a tone of disgust. “If she saves you I’ll forgive her everything⁠—”

She stopped speaking, as though suppressing something. She could not yet recover herself. She had come in, as appeared afterwards, accidentally, with no suspicion of what she would meet.

“Alyosha, run after her!” Mitya cried to his brother; “tell her⁠ ⁠… I don’t know⁠ ⁠… don’t let her go away like this!”

“I’ll come to you again at nightfall,” said Alyosha, and he ran after Katya. He overtook her outside the hospital grounds. She was walking fast, but as soon as Alyosha caught her up she said quickly:

“No, before that woman I can’t punish myself! I asked her forgiveness because I wanted to punish myself to the bitter end. She would not forgive me.⁠ ⁠… I like her for that!” she added, in an unnatural voice, and her eyes flashed with fierce resentment.

“My brother did not expect this in the least,” muttered Alyosha. “He was sure she would not come⁠—”

“No doubt. Let us leave that,” she snapped. “Listen: I can’t go with you to the funeral now. I’ve sent them flowers. I think they still have money. If necessary, tell them I’ll never abandon them.⁠ ⁠… Now leave me, leave me, please. You are late as it is⁠—the bells are ringing for the service.⁠ ⁠… Leave me, please!”


Ilusha’s Funeral. The Speech at the Stone
He really was late. They had waited for him and had already decided to bear the pretty flower-decked little coffin to the church without him. It was the coffin of poor little Ilusha. He had died two days after Mitya was sentenced. At the gate of the house Alyosha was met by the shouts of the boys, Ilusha’s schoolfellows. They had all been impatiently expecting him and were glad that he had come at last. There were about twelve of them, they all had their schoolbags or satchels on their shoulders. “Father will cry, be with father,” Ilusha had told them as he lay dying, and the boys remembered it. Kolya Krassotkin was the foremost of them.

“How glad I am you’ve come, Karamazov!” he cried, holding out his hand to Alyosha. “It’s awful here. It’s really horrible to see it. Snegiryov is not drunk, we know for a fact he’s had nothing to drink today, but he seems as if he were drunk⁠ ⁠… I am always manly, but this is awful. Karamazov, if I am not keeping you, one question before you go in?”

“What is it, Kolya?” said Alyosha.

“Is your brother innocent or guilty? Was it he killed your father or was it the valet? As you say, so it will be. I haven’t slept for the last four nights for thinking of it.”

“The valet killed him, my brother is innocent,” answered Alyosha.

“That’s what I said,” cried Smurov.

“So he will perish an innocent victim!” exclaimed Kolya; “though he is ruined he is happy! I could envy him!”

“What do you mean? How can you? Why?” cried Alyosha surprised.

“Oh, if I, too, could sacrifice myself some day for truth!” said Kolya with enthusiasm.

“But not in such a cause, not with such disgrace and such horror!” said Alyosha.

“Of course⁠ ⁠… I should like to die for all humanity, and as for disgrace, I don’t care about that⁠—our names may perish. I respect your brother!”

“And so do I!” the boy, who had once declared that he knew who had founded Troy, cried suddenly and unexpectedly, and he blushed up to his ears like a peony as he had done on that occasion.

Alyosha went into the room. Ilusha lay with his hands folded and his eyes closed in a blue coffin with a white frill round it. His thin face was hardly changed at all, and strange to say there was no smell of decay from the corpse. The expression of his face was serious and, as it were, thoughtful. His hands, crossed over his breast, looked particularly beautiful, as though chiseled in marble. There were flowers in his hands and the coffin, inside and out, was decked with flowers, which had been sent early in the morning by Lise Hohlakov. But there were flowers too from Katerina Ivanovna, and when Alyosha opened the door, the captain had a bunch in his trembling hands and was strewing them again over his dear boy. He scarcely glanced at Alyosha when he came in, and he would not look at anyone, even at his crazy weeping wife, “mamma,” who kept trying to stand on her crippled legs to get a nearer look at her dead boy. Nina had been pushed in her chair by the boys close up to the coffin. She sat with her head pressed to it and she too was no doubt quietly weeping. Snegiryov’s face looked eager, yet bewildered and exasperated. There was something crazy about his gestures and the words that broke from him. “Old man, dear old man!” he exclaimed every minute, gazing at Ilusha. It was his habit to call Ilusha “old man,” as a term of affection when he was alive.

“Father, give me a flower, too; take that white one out of his hand and give it me,” the crazy mother begged, whimpering. Either because the little white rose in Ilusha’s hand had caught her fancy or that she wanted one from his hand to keep in memory of him, she moved restlessly, stretching out her hands for the flower.

“I won’t give it to anyone, I won’t give you anything,” Snegiryov cried callously. “They are his flowers, not yours! Everything is his, nothing is yours!”

“Father, give mother a flower!” said Nina, lifting her face wet with tears.

“I won’t give away anything and to her less than anyone! She didn’t love Ilusha. She took away his little cannon and he gave it to her,” the captain broke into loud sobs at the thought of how Ilusha had given up his cannon to his mother. The poor, crazy creature was bathed in noiseless tears, hiding her face in her hands.

The boys, seeing that the father would not leave the coffin and that it was time to carry it out, stood round it in a close circle and began to lift it up.

“I don’t want him to be buried in the churchyard,” Snegiryov wailed suddenly; “I’ll bury him by the stone, by our stone! Ilusha told me to. I won’t let him be carried out!”

He had been saying for the last three days that he would bury him by the stone, but Alyosha, Krassotkin, the landlady, her sister and all the boys interfered.

“What an idea, bury him by an unholy stone, as though he had hanged himself!” the old landlady said sternly. “There in the churchyard the ground has been crossed. He’ll be prayed for there. One can hear the singing in church and the deacon reads so plainly and verbally that it will reach him every time just as though it were read over his grave.”

At last the captain made a gesture of despair as though to say, “Take him where you will.” The boys raised the coffin, but as they passed the mother, they stopped for a moment and lowered it that she might say goodbye to Ilusha. But on seeing that precious little face, which for the last three days she had only looked at from a distance, she trembled all over and her gray head began twitching spasmodically over the coffin.

“Mother, make the sign of the cross over him, give him your blessing, kiss him,” Nina cried to her. But her head still twitched like an automaton and with a face contorted with bitter grief she began, without a word, beating her breast with her fist. They carried the coffin past her. Nina pressed her lips to her brother’s for the last time as they bore the coffin by her. As Alyosha went out of the house he begged the landlady to look after those who were left behind, but she interrupted him before he had finished.

“To be sure, I’ll stay with them, we are Christians, too.” The old woman wept as she said it.

They had not far to carry the coffin to the church, not more than three hundred paces. It was a still, clear day, with a slight frost. The church bells were still ringing. Snegiryov ran fussing and distracted after the coffin, in his short old summer overcoat, with his head bare and his soft, old, wide-brimmed hat in his hand. He seemed in a state of bewildered anxiety. At one minute he stretched out his hand to support the head of the coffin and only hindered the bearers, at another he ran alongside and tried to find a place for himself there. A flower fell on the snow and he rushed to pick it up as though everything in the world depended on the loss of that flower.

“And the crust of bread, we’ve forgotten the crust!” he cried suddenly in dismay. But the boys reminded him at once that he had taken the crust of bread already and that it was in his pocket. He instantly pulled it out and was reassured.

“Ilusha told me to, Ilusha,” he explained at once to Alyosha. “I was sitting by him one night and he suddenly told me: ‘Father, when my grave is filled up crumble a piece of bread on it so that the sparrows may fly down, I shall hear and it will cheer me up not to be lying alone.’ ”

“That’s a good thing,” said Alyosha, “we must often take some.”

“Every day, every day!” said the captain quickly, seeming cheered at the thought.

They reached the church at last and set the coffin in the middle of it. The boys surrounded it and remained reverently standing so, all through the service. It was an old and rather poor church; many of the icons were without settings; but such churches are the best for praying in. During the mass Snegiryov became somewhat calmer, though at times he had outbursts of the same unconscious and, as it were, incoherent anxiety. At one moment he went up to the coffin to set straight the cover or the wreath, when a candle fell out of the candlestick he rushed to replace it and was a fearful time fumbling over it, then he subsided and stood quietly by the coffin with a look of blank uneasiness and perplexity. After the Epistle he suddenly whispered to Alyosha, who was standing beside him, that the Epistle had not been read properly but did not explain what he meant. During the prayer, “Like the Cherubim,” he joined in the singing but did not go on to the end. Falling on his knees, he pressed his forehead to the stone floor and lay so for a long while.

At last came the funeral service itself and candles were distributed. The distracted father began fussing about again, but the touching and impressive funeral prayers moved and roused his soul. He seemed suddenly to shrink together and broke into rapid, short sobs, which he tried at first to smother, but at last he sobbed aloud. When they began taking leave of the dead and closing the coffin, he flung his arms about, as though he would not allow them to cover Ilusha, and began greedily and persistently kissing his dead boy on the lips. At last they succeeded in persuading him to come away from the step, but suddenly he impulsively stretched out his hand and snatched a few flowers from the coffin. He looked at them and a new idea seemed to dawn upon him, so that he apparently forgot his grief for a minute. Gradually he seemed to sink into brooding and did not resist when the coffin was lifted up and carried to the grave. It was an expensive one in the churchyard close to the church, Katerina Ivanovna had paid for it. After the customary rites the gravediggers lowered the coffin. Snegiryov with his flowers in his hands bent down so low over the open grave that the boys caught hold of his coat in alarm and pulled him back. He did not seem to understand fully what was happening. When they began filling up the grave, he suddenly pointed anxiously at the falling earth and began trying to say something, but no one could make out what he meant, and he stopped suddenly. Then he was reminded that he must crumble the bread and he was awfully excited, snatched up the bread and began pulling it to pieces and flinging the morsels on the grave.

“Come, fly down, birds, fly down, sparrows!” he muttered anxiously.

One of the boys observed that it was awkward for him to crumble the bread with the flowers in his hands and suggested he should give them to someone to hold for a time. But he would not do this and seemed indeed suddenly alarmed for his flowers, as though they wanted to take them from him altogether. And after looking at the grave, and as it were, satisfying himself that everything had been done and the bread had been crumbled, he suddenly, to the surprise of everyone, turned, quite composedly even, and made his way homewards. But his steps became more and more hurried, he almost ran. The boys and Alyosha kept up with him.

“The flowers are for mamma, the flowers are for mamma! I was unkind to mamma,” he began exclaiming suddenly.

Someone called to him to put on his hat as it was cold. But he flung the hat in the snow as though he were angry and kept repeating, “I won’t have the hat, I won’t have the hat.” Smurov picked it up and carried it after him. All the boys were crying, and Kolya and the boy who discovered about Troy most of all. Though Smurov, with the captain’s hat in his hand, was crying bitterly too, he managed, as he ran, to snatch up a piece of red brick that lay on the snow of the path, to fling it at the flock of sparrows that was flying by. He missed them, of course, and went on crying as he ran. Halfway, Snegiryov suddenly stopped, stood still for half a minute, as though struck by something, and suddenly turning back to the church, ran towards the deserted grave. But the boys instantly overtook him and caught hold of him on all sides. Then he fell helpless on the snow as though he had been knocked down, and struggling, sobbing, and wailing, he began crying out, “Ilusha, old man, dear old man!” Alyosha and Kolya tried to make him get up, soothing and persuading him.

“Captain, give over, a brave man must show fortitude,” muttered Kolya.

“You’ll spoil the flowers,” said Alyosha, “and mamma is expecting them, she is sitting crying because you would not give her any before. Ilusha’s little bed is still there⁠—”

“Yes, yes, mamma!” Snegiryov suddenly recollected, “they’ll take away the bed, they’ll take it away,” he added as though alarmed that they really would. He jumped up and ran homewards again. But it was not far off and they all arrived together. Snegiryov opened the door hurriedly and called to his wife with whom he had so cruelly quarreled just before:

“Mamma, poor crippled darling, Ilusha has sent you these flowers,” he cried, holding out to her a little bunch of flowers that had been frozen and broken while he was struggling in the snow. But at that instant he saw in the corner, by the little bed, Ilusha’s little boots, which the landlady had put tidily side by side. Seeing the old, patched, rusty-looking, stiff boots he flung up his hands and rushed to them, fell on his knees, snatched up one boot and, pressing his lips to it, began kissing it greedily, crying, “Ilusha, old man, dear old man, where are your little feet?”

“Where have you taken him away? Where have you taken him?” the lunatic cried in a heartrending voice. Nina, too, broke into sobs. Kolya ran out of the room, the boys followed him. At last Alyosha too went out.

“Let them weep,” he said to Kolya, “it’s no use trying to comfort them just now. Let us wait a minute and then go back.”

“No, it’s no use, it’s awful,” Kolya assented. “Do you know, Karamazov,” he dropped his voice so that no one could hear them, “I feel dreadfully sad, and if it were only possible to bring him back, I’d give anything in the world to do it.”

“Ah, so would I,” said Alyosha.

“What do you think, Karamazov? Had we better come back here tonight? He’ll be drunk, you know.”

“Perhaps he will. Let us come together, you and I, that will be enough, to spend an hour with them, with the mother and Nina. If we all come together we shall remind them of everything again,” Alyosha suggested.

“The landlady is laying the table for them now⁠—there’ll be a funeral dinner or something, the priest is coming; shall we go back to it, Karamazov?”

“Of course,” said Alyosha.

“It’s all so strange, Karamazov, such sorrow and then pancakes after it, it all seems so unnatural in our religion.”

“They are going to have salmon, too,” the boy who had discovered about Troy observed in a loud voice.

“I beg you most earnestly, Kartashov, not to interrupt again with your idiotic remarks, especially when one is not talking to you and doesn’t care to know whether you exist or not!” Kolya snapped out irritably. The boy flushed crimson but did not dare to reply.

Meantime they were strolling slowly along the path and suddenly Smurov exclaimed:

“There’s Ilusha’s stone, under which they wanted to bury him.”

They all stood still by the big stone. Alyosha looked and the whole picture of what Snegiryov had described to him that day, how Ilusha, weeping and hugging his father, had cried, “Father, father, how he insulted you,” rose at once before his imagination.

A sudden impulse seemed to come into his soul. With a serious and earnest expression he looked from one to another of the bright, pleasant faces of Ilusha’s schoolfellows, and suddenly said to them:

“Boys, I should like to say one word to you, here at this place.”

The boys stood round him and at once bent attentive and expectant eyes upon him.

“Boys, we shall soon part. I shall be for some time with my two brothers, of whom one is going to Siberia and the other is lying at death’s door. But soon I shall leave this town, perhaps for a long time, so we shall part. Let us make a compact here, at Ilusha’s stone, that we will never forget Ilusha and one another. And whatever happens to us later in life, if we don’t meet for twenty years afterwards, let us always remember how we buried the poor boy at whom we once threw stones, do you remember, by the bridge? and afterwards we all grew so fond of him. He was a fine boy, a kindhearted, brave boy, he felt for his father’s honor and resented the cruel insult to him and stood up for him. And so in the first place, we will remember him, boys, all our lives. And even if we are occupied with most important things, if we attain to honor or fall into great misfortune⁠—still let us remember how good it was once here, when we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us, for the time we were loving that poor boy, better perhaps than we are. My little doves⁠—let me call you so, for you are very like them, those pretty blue birds, at this minute as I look at your good dear faces. My dear children, perhaps you won’t understand what I am saying to you, because I often speak very unintelligibly, but you’ll remember it all the same and will agree with my words some time. You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us. Perhaps we may even grow wicked later on, may be unable to refrain from a bad action, may laugh at men’s tears and at those people who say as Kolya did just now, ‘I want to suffer for all men,’ and may even jeer spitefully at such people. But however bad we may become⁠—which God forbid⁠—yet, when we recall how we buried Ilusha, how we loved him in his last days, and how we have been talking like friends all together, at this stone, the cruelest and most mocking of us⁠—if we do become so⁠—will not dare to laugh inwardly at having been kind and good at this moment! What’s more, perhaps, that one memory may keep him from great evil and he will reflect and say, ‘Yes, I was good and brave and honest then!’ Let him laugh to himself, that’s no matter, a man often laughs at what’s good and kind. That’s only from thoughtlessness. But I assure you, boys, that as he laughs he will say at once in his heart, ‘No, I do wrong to laugh, for that’s not a thing to laugh at.’ ”

“That will be so, I understand you, Karamazov!” cried Kolya, with flashing eyes.

The boys were excited and they, too, wanted to say something, but they restrained themselves, looking with intentness and emotion at the speaker.

“I say this in case we become bad,” Alyosha went on, “but there’s no reason why we should become bad, is there, boys? Let us be, first and above all, kind, then honest and then let us never forget each other! I say that again. I give you my word for my part that I’ll never forget one of you. Every face looking at me now I shall remember even for thirty years. Just now Kolya said to Kartashov that we did not care to know whether he exists or not. But I cannot forget that Kartashov exists and that he is not blushing now as he did when he discovered the founders of Troy, but is looking at me with his jolly, kind, dear little eyes. Boys, my dear boys, let us all be generous and brave like Ilusha, clever, brave and generous like Kolya (though he will be ever so much cleverer when he is grown up), and let us all be as modest, as clever and sweet as Kartashov. But why am I talking about those two? You are all dear to me, boys, from this day forth, I have a place in my heart for you all, and I beg you to keep a place in your hearts for me! Well, and who has united us in this kind, good feeling which we shall remember and intend to remember all our lives? Who, if not Ilusha, the good boy, the dear boy, precious to us forever! Let us never forget him. May his memory live forever in our hearts from this time forth!”

“Yes, yes, forever, forever!” the boys cried in their ringing voices, with softened faces.

“Let us remember his face and his clothes and his poor little boots, his coffin and his unhappy, sinful father, and how boldly he stood up for him alone against the whole school.”

“We will remember, we will remember,” cried the boys. “He was brave, he was good!”

“Ah, how I loved him!” exclaimed Kolya.

“Ah, children, ah, dear friends, don’t be afraid of life! How good life is when one does something good and just!”

“Yes, yes,” the boys repeated enthusiastically.

“Karamazov, we love you!” a voice, probably Kartashov’s, cried impulsively.

“We love you, we love you!” they all caught it up. There were tears in the eyes of many of them.

“Hurrah for Karamazov!” Kolya shouted ecstatically.

“And may the dead boy’s memory live forever!” Alyosha added again with feeling.

“For ever!” the boys chimed in again.

“Karamazov,” cried Kolya, “can it be true what’s taught us in religion, that we shall all rise again from the dead and shall live and see each other again, all, Ilusha too?”

“Certainly we shall all rise again, certainly we shall see each other and shall tell each other with joy and gladness all that has happened!” Alyosha answered, half laughing, half enthusiastic.

“Ah, how splendid it will be!” broke from Kolya.

“Well, now we will finish talking and go to his funeral dinner. Don’t be put out at our eating pancakes⁠—it’s a very old custom and there’s something nice in that!” laughed Alyosha. “Well, let us go! And now we go hand in hand.”

“And always so, all our lives hand in hand! Hurrah for Karamazov!” Kolya cried once more rapturously, and once more the boys took up his exclamation: “Hurrah for Karamazov!”