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 marvellous 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 analysed? 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.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.