The Prosecutor Catches Mitya

Something utterly unexpected and amazing to Mitya followed. He could never, even a minute before, have conceived that any one could behave like that to him, Mitya Karamazov. What was worst of all, there was something humiliating in it, and on their side something “supercilious and scornful.” It was nothing to take off his coat, but he was asked to undress further, or rather not asked but “commanded,” he quite understood that. From pride and contempt he submitted without a word. Several peasants accompanied the lawyers and remained on the same side of the curtain. “To be ready if force is required,” thought Mitya, “and perhaps for some other reason, too.”

“Well, must I take off my shirt, too?” he asked sharply, but Nikolay Parfenovitch did not answer. He was busily engaged with the prosecutor in examining the coat, the trousers, the waistcoat and the cap; and it was evident that they were both much interested in the scrutiny. “They make no bones about it,” thought Mitya, “they don’t keep up the most elementary politeness.”

“I ask you for the second time—need I take off my shirt or not?” he said, still more sharply and irritably.

“Don’t trouble yourself. We will tell you what to do,” Nikolay Parfenovitch said, and his voice was positively peremptory, or so it seemed to Mitya.

Meantime a consultation was going on in undertones between the lawyers. There turned out to be on the coat, especially on the left side at the back, a huge patch of blood, dry, and still stiff. There were blood-stains on the trousers, too. Nikolay Parfenovitch, moreover, in the presence of the peasant witnesses, passed his fingers along the collar, the cuffs, and all the seams of the coat and trousers, obviously looking for something—money, of course. He didn’t even hide from Mitya his suspicion that he was capable of sewing money up in his clothes.

“He treats me not as an officer but as a thief,” Mitya muttered to himself. They communicated their ideas to one another with amazing frankness. The secretary, for instance, who was also behind the curtain, fussing about and listening, called Nikolay Parfenovitch’s attention to the cap, which they were also fingering.

“You remember Gridyenko, the copying-clerk,” observed the secretary. “Last summer he received the wages of the whole office, and pretended to have lost the money when he was drunk. And where was it found? Why, in just such pipings in his cap. The hundred-rouble notes were screwed up in little rolls and sewed in the piping.”

Both the lawyers remembered Gridyenko’s case perfectly, and so laid aside Mitya’s cap, and decided that all his clothes must be more thoroughly examined later.

“Excuse me,” cried Nikolay Parfenovitch, suddenly, noticing that the right cuff of Mitya’s shirt was turned in, and covered with blood, “excuse me, what’s that, blood?”

“Yes,” Mitya jerked out.

“That is, what blood … and why is the cuff turned in?”

Mitya told him how he had got the sleeve stained with blood looking after Grigory, and had turned it inside when he was washing his hands at Perhotin’s.

“You must take off your shirt, too. That’s very important as material evidence.”

Mitya flushed red and flew into a rage.

“What, am I to stay naked?” he shouted.

“Don’t disturb yourself. We will arrange something. And meanwhile take off your socks.”

“You’re not joking? Is that really necessary?” Mitya’s eyes flashed.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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