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 honourable, 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 recognised 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.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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