If he only opened the door to you, how could Grigory have seen it open before? For Grigory saw it before you went.” It was remarkable that Ivan spoke quite amicably, in a different tone, not angry as before, so if any one had opened the door at that moment and peeped in at them, he would certainly have concluded that they were talking peaceably about some ordinary, though interesting, subject.
There are positions in which one has to keep a sharp look out. And that’s not easy without a trustworthy man, and Grigory was a most trustworthy man. Many times in the course of his life Fyodor Pavlovitch had only just escaped a sound thrashing through Grigory’s intervention, and on each occasion the old servant gave him a good lecture.
Varvara danced, but the old man only waved his handkerchief and kicked up his heels, but the people in the yard, propped against one another, peeping in at the windows, were in raptures, and for the moment forgave him everything his wealth and the wrongs he had done them. "Well done, Grigory Petrovitch!" was heard in the crowd. "That's right, do your best! You can still play your part! Ha-ha!"
Grigory saw how his wife danced, and, an hour later, at home in their cottage he gave her a lesson, pulling her hair a little. But there it ended: the beating was never repeated, and Marfa Ignatyevna gave up dancing. God had not blessed them with children. One child was born but it died. Grigory was fond of children, and was not ashamed of showing it.
The public and the jury, of course, were left with a grain of doubt in their minds as to the evidence of a man who might, while undergoing a certain cure, have seen “the gates of heaven,” and who did not even know what year he was living in. But before Grigory left the box another episode occurred.
“I understand what duty means, Grigory Vassilyevitch, but why it’s our duty to stay here I never shall understand,” Marfa answered firmly. “Well, don’t understand then. But so it shall be. And you hold your tongue.” And so it was. They did not go away, and Fyodor Pavlovitch promised them a small sum for wages, and paid it regularly.
But meanwhile, conscious of his strength, he seemed to be diverting himself. So, for instance, when Grigory, Fyodor Pavlovitch’s old servant, who had given the most damning piece of evidence about the open door, was examined, the counsel for the defense positively fastened upon him when his turn came to question him.
Grigory knew, too, that he had an indisputable influence over his master. It was true, and he was aware of it. Fyodor Pavlovitch was an obstinate and cunning buffoon, yet, though his will was strong enough “in some of the affairs of life,” as he expressed it, he found himself, to his surprise, extremely feeble in facing certain other emergencies. He knew his weaknesses and was afraid of them.
There was one circumstance which struck Grigory particularly, and confirmed a very unpleasant and revolting suspicion. This Lizaveta was a dwarfish creature, “not five foot within a wee bit,” as many of the pious old women said pathetically about her, after her death.
Meanwhile Grigory had got up from the floor, but still seemed stunned. Ivan and Alyosha ran after their father. In the third room something was heard to fall on the floor with a ringing crash: it was a large glass vase—not an expensive one—on a marble pedestal which Dmitri had upset as he ran past it. “At him!” shouted the old man. “Help!”