The Evidence of the Witnesses. The Babe

The examination of the witnesses began. But we will not continue our story in such detail as before. And so we will not dwell on how Nikolay Parfenovitch impressed on every witness called that he must give his evidence in accordance with truth and conscience, and that he would afterwards have to repeat his evidence on oath, how every witness was called upon to sign the protocol of his evidence, and so on. We will only note that the point principally insisted upon in the examination was the question of the three thousand roubles, that is, was the sum spent here, at Mokroe, by Mitya on the first occasion, a month before, three thousand or fifteen hundred? And again had he spent three thousand or fifteen hundred yesterday? Alas, all the evidence given by every one turned out to be against Mitya. There was not one in his favour, and some witnesses introduced new, almost crushing facts, in contradiction of his, Mitya’s story.

The first witness examined was Trifon Borissovitch. He was not in the least abashed as he stood before the lawyers. He had, on the contrary, an air of stern and severe indignation with the accused, which gave him an appearance of truthfulness and personal dignity. He spoke little, and with reserve, waited to be questioned, answered precisely and deliberately. Firmly and unhesitatingly he bore witness that the sum spent a month before could not have been less than three thousand, that all the peasants about here would testify that they had heard the sum of three thousand mentioned by Dmitri Fyodorovitch himself. “What a lot of money he flung away on the gipsy girls alone. He wasted a thousand, I daresay, on them alone.”

“I don’t believe I gave them five hundred,” was Mitya’s gloomy comment on this. “It’s a pity I didn’t count the money at the time, but I was drunk …”

Mitya was sitting sideways with his back to the curtains. He listened gloomily, with a melancholy and exhausted air, as though he would say:

“Oh, say what you like. It makes no difference now.”

“More than a thousand went on them, Dmitri Fyodorovitch,” retorted Trifon Borissovitch firmly. “You flung it about at random and they picked it up. They were a rascally, thievish lot, horse-stealers, they’ve been driven away from here, or maybe they’d bear witness themselves how much they got from you. I saw the sum in your hands, myself—count it I didn’t, you didn’t let me, that’s true enough—but by the look of it I should say it was far more than fifteen hundred—fifteen hundred, indeed! We’ve seen money too. We can judge of amount …”

As for the sum spent yesterday he asserted that Dmitri Fyodorovitch had told him, as soon as he arrived, that he had brought three thousand with him.

“Come now, is that so, Trifon Borissovitch?” replied Mitya. “Surely I didn’t declare so positively that I’d brought three thousand?”

“You did say so, Dmitri Fyodorovitch. You said it before Andrey. Andrey himself is still here. Send for him. And in the hall, when you were treating the chorus, you shouted straight out that you would leave your sixth thousand here—that is with what you spent before, we must understand. Stepan and Semyon heard it, and Pyotr Fomitch Kalganov, too, was standing beside you at the time. Maybe he’d remember it …”

The evidence as to the “sixth” thousand made an extraordinary impression on the two lawyers. They were delighted with this new mode of reckoning, three and three made six, three thousand then and three now made six, that was clear.

They questioned all the peasants suggested by Trifon Borissovitch, Stepan and Semyon, the driver Andrey, and Kalganov. The peasants and the driver unhesitatingly confirmed Trifon Borissovitch’s evidence. They noted down, with particular care, Andrey’s account of the conversation he had had with Mitya on

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