THE FATEFUL DAY
AT ten o'clock in the morning of the day after the events I have just described, our district court convened and the trial of Dmitry Karamazov began.
Let me say at the outset, and without any prevarication, that I by no means consider myself competent to describe all that occurred in the courtroom, either in full detail or even with any certainty as to the order of events. I am still of the opinion that were one to recount everything and explain everything properly, one would need a whole book, and an enormous one at that. Let it not be held against me, therefore, if I record only that which made an impression upon me personally and which has particularly stuck in my memory. I may well have confused the essential with the irrelevant and even totally omitted the most important aspects... Still, I realize it is better not to make any excuses. I shall do my level best, and the readers themselves will understand that that was all I could do.
But first, before we enter the courtroom, I shall mention what particularly astonished me that day. To be sure it astonished not just me but, as it subsequently transpired, everyone. The fact of the matter is this: for the past two months, much had been said, surmised, marvelled at, and anticipated in local society, everyone knew that the case had captured the public imagination, and everyone was eagerly awaiting the start of the trial. Everyone also knew that the case had attracted nationwide publicity, yet it was not until the very day of the trial that they realized to what a feverish, burning pitch of excitement people had been aroused, not only in our town but throughout the country. On that day visitors arrived not only from our regional town, but from other