The young man did not answer a word.
"Well," the orator began again stolidly and with even increased dignity,
after waiting for the laughter in the room to subside. "Well, so be
it, I am a pig, but she is a lady! I have the semblance of a beast, but
Katerina Ivanovna, my spouse, is a person of education and an officer's
daughter. Granted, granted, I am a scoundrel, but she is a woman of a
noble heart, full of sentiments, refined by education. And yet... oh,
if only she felt for me! Honoured sir, honoured sir, you know every man
ought to have at least one place where people feel for him! But Katerina
Ivanovna, though she is magnanimous, she is unjust.... And yet, although
I realise that when she pulls my hair she only does it out of pity--for
I repeat without being ashamed, she pulls my hair, young man," he
declared with redoubled dignity, hearing the sniggering again--"but, my
God, if she would but once.... But no, no! It's all in vain and it's no
use talking! No use talking! For more than once, my wish did come true
and more than once she has felt for me but... such is my fate and I am a
beast by nature!"
"Rather!" assented the innkeeper yawning. Marmeladov struck his fist
resolutely on the table.
"Such is my fate! Do you know, sir, do you know, I have sold her very
stockings for drink? Not her shoes--that would be more or less in the
order of things, but her stockings, her stockings I have sold for drink!
Her mohair shawl I sold for drink, a present to her long ago, her own
property, not mine; and we live in a cold room and she caught cold this
winter and has begun coughing and spitting blood too. We have three
little children and Katerina Ivanovna is at work from morning till
night; she is scrubbing and cleaning and washing the children, for she's
been used to cleanliness from a child. But her chest is weak and she has
a tendency to consumption and I feel it! Do you suppose I don't feel it?
And the more I drink the more I feel it. That's why I drink too. I try
to find sympathy and feeling in drink.... I drink so that I may suffer
twice as much!" And as though in despair he laid his head down on the
"Young man," he went on, raising his head again, "in your face I seem to
read some trouble of mind. When you came in I read it, and that was why
I addressed you at once. For in unfolding to you the story of my life, I
do not wish to make myself a laughing-stock before these idle listeners,
who indeed know all about it already, but I am looking for a man
of feeling and education. Know then that my wife was educated in a
high-class school for the daughters of noblemen, and on leaving she
danced the shawl dance before the governor and other personages for
which she was presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit.
The medal... well, the medal of course was sold--long ago, hm... but the
certificate of merit is in her trunk still and not long ago she showed
it to our landlady. And although she is most continually on bad terms
with the landlady, yet she wanted to tell someone or other of her past
honours and of the happy days that are gone. I don't condemn her for
it, I don't blame her, for the one thing left her is recollection of
the past, and all the rest is dust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady
of spirit, proud and determined. She scrubs the floors herself and has
nothing but black bread to eat, but won't allow herself to be treated
with disrespect. That's why she would not overlook Mr. Lebeziatnikov's
rudeness to her, and so when he gave her a beating for it, she took to
her bed more from the hurt to her feelings than from the blows. She was
a widow when I married her, with three children, one smaller than the
other. She married her first husband, an infantry officer, for love, and
ran away with him from her father's house. She was exceedingly fond of
her husband; but he gave way to cards, got into trouble and with that he
died. He used to beat her at the end: and although she paid him back, of
which I have authentic documentary evidence, to this day she speaks of
him with tears and she throws him up to me; and I am glad, I am glad
that, though only in imagination, she should think of herself as having
once been happy.... And she was left at his death with three children in
a wild and remote district where I happened to be at the time; and she
was left in such hopeless poverty that, although I have seen many ups
and downs of all sort, I don't feel equal to describing it even. Her
relations had all thrown her off. And she was proud, too, excessively
proud.... And then, honoured sir, and then, I, being at the time a
widower, with a daughter of fourteen left me by my first wife, offered
her my hand, for I could not bear the sight of such suffering. You can
judge the extremity of her calamities, that she, a woman of education
and culture and distinguished family, should have consented to be my
wife. But she did! Weeping and sobbing and wringing her hands, she
married me! For she had nowhere to turn! Do you understand, sir, do you
understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn? No,
that you don't understand yet.... And for a whole year, I performed
my duties conscientiously and faithfully, and did not touch this" (he
tapped the jug with his finger), "for I have feelings. But even so, I
could not please her; and then I lost my place too, and that through no
fault of mine but through changes in the office; and then I did touch
it!... It will be a year and a half ago soon since we found ourselves at
last after many wanderings and numerous calamities in this magnificent
capital, adorned with innumerable monuments. Here I obtained a
situation.... I obtained it and I lost it again. Do you understand? This
time it was through my own fault I lost it: for my weakness had come
out.... We have now part of a room at Amalia Fyodorovna Lippevechsel's;
and what we live upon and what we pay our rent with, I could not say.
There are a lot of people living there besides ourselves. Dirt and
disorder, a perfect Bedlam... hm... yes... And meanwhile my daughter by
my first wife has grown up; and what my daughter has had to put up with
from her step-mother whilst she was growing up, I won't speak of. For,
though Katerina Ivanovna is full of generous feelings, she is a spirited
lady, irritable and short--tempered.... Yes. But it's no use going over
that! Sonia, as you may well fancy, has had no education. I did make an
effort four years ago to give her a course of geography and universal
history, but as I was not very well up in those subjects myself and we
had no suitable books, and what books we had... hm, anyway we have not
even those now, so all our instruction came to an end. We stopped at
Cyrus of Persia. Since she has attained years of maturity, she has read
other books of romantic tendency and of late she had read with great
interest a book she got through Mr. Lebeziatnikov, Lewes' Physiology--do
you know it?--and even recounted extracts from it to us: and that's the
whole of her education. And now may I venture to address you, honoured
sir, on my own account with a private question. Do you suppose that
a respectable poor girl can earn much by honest work? Not fifteen
farthings a day can she earn, if she is respectable and has no special
talent and that without putting her work down for an instant! And what's
more, Ivan Ivanitch Klopstock the civil counsellor--have you heard of
him?--has not to this day paid her for the half-dozen linen shirts she
made him and drove her roughly away, stamping and reviling her, on the
pretext that the shirt collars were not made like the pattern and were
put in askew. And there are the little ones hungry.... And Katerina
Ivanovna walking up and down and wringing her hands, her cheeks flushed
red, as they always are in that disease: 'Here you live with us,' says
she, 'you eat and drink and are kept warm and you do nothing to help.'
And much she gets to eat and drink when there is not a crust for the
little ones for three days! I was lying at the time... well, what of
it! I was lying drunk and I heard my Sonia speaking (she is a gentle
creature with a soft little voice... fair hair and such a pale, thin
little face). She said: 'Katerina Ivanovna, am I really to do a thing
like that?' And Darya Frantsovna, a woman of evil character and very
well known to the police, had two or three times tried to get at her
through the landlady. 'And why not?' said Katerina Ivanovna with a jeer,
'you are something mighty precious to be so careful of!' But don't blame
her, don't blame her, honoured sir, don't blame her! She was not herself
when she spoke, but driven to distraction by her illness and the crying
of the hungry children; and it was said more to wound her than anything
else.... For that's Katerina Ivanovna's character, and when children
cry, even from hunger, she falls to beating them at once. At six o'clock
I saw Sonia get up, put on her kerchief and her cape, and go out of the
room and about nine o'clock she came back. She walked straight up to
Katerina Ivanovna and she laid thirty roubles on the table before her
in silence. She did not utter a word, she did not even look at her, she
simply picked up our big green _drap de dames_ shawl (we have a shawl,
made of _drap de dames_), put it over her head and face and lay down
on the bed with her face to the wall; only her little shoulders and her
body kept shuddering.... And I went on lying there, just as before....
And then I saw, young man, I saw Katerina Ivanovna, in the same silence
go up to Sonia's little bed; she was on her knees all the evening
kissing Sonia's feet, and would not get up, and then they both fell
asleep in each other's arms... together, together... yes... and I... lay
Marmeladov stopped short, as though his voice had failed him. Then he
hurriedly filled his glass, drank, and cleared his throat.
"Since then, sir," he went on after a brief pause--"Since then, owing
to an unfortunate occurrence and through information given by
evil-intentioned persons--in all which Darya Frantsovna took a
leading part on the pretext that she had been treated with want of
respect--since then my daughter Sofya Semyonovna has been forced to take
a yellow ticket, and owing to that she is unable to go on living with
us. For our landlady, Amalia Fyodorovna would not hear of it (though
she had backed up Darya Frantsovna before) and Mr. Lebeziatnikov too...
hm.... All the trouble between him and Katerina Ivanovna was on Sonia's
account. At first he was for making up to Sonia himself and then all of
a sudden he stood on his dignity: 'how,' said he, 'can a highly educated
man like me live in the same rooms with a girl like that?' And Katerina
Ivanovna would not let it pass, she stood up for her... and so that's
how it happened. And Sonia comes to us now, mostly after dark; she
comforts Katerina Ivanovna and gives her all she can.... She has a room
at the Kapernaumovs' the tailors, she lodges with them; Kapernaumov is
a lame man with a cleft palate and all of his numerous family have cleft
palates too. And his wife, too, has a cleft palate. They all live in one
room, but Sonia has her own, partitioned off.... Hm... yes... very poor
people and all with cleft palates... yes. Then I got up in the morning,
and put on my rags, lifted up my hands to heaven and set off to his
excellency Ivan Afanasyvitch. His excellency Ivan Afanasyvitch, do you
know him? No? Well, then, it's a man of God you don't know. He is wax...
wax before the face of the Lord; even as wax melteth!... His eyes were
dim when he heard my story. 'Marmeladov, once already you have
deceived my expectations... I'll take you once more on my own
responsibility'--that's what he said, 'remember,' he said, 'and now you
can go.' I kissed the dust at his feet--in thought only, for in reality
he would not have allowed me to do it, being a statesman and a man of
modern political and enlightened ideas. I returned home, and when I
announced that I'd been taken back into the service and should receive a
salary, heavens, what a to-do there was!..."
Marmeladov stopped again in violent excitement. At that moment a whole
party of revellers already drunk came in from the street, and the sounds
of a hired concertina and the cracked piping voice of a child of seven
singing "The Hamlet" were heard in the entry. The room was filled with
noise. The tavern-keeper and the boys were busy with the new-comers.
Marmeladov paying no attention to the new arrivals continued his story.
He appeared by now to be extremely weak, but as he became more and more
drunk, he became more and more talkative. The recollection of his
recent success in getting the situation seemed to revive him, and was
positively reflected in a sort of radiance on his face. Raskolnikov
"That was five weeks ago, sir. Yes.... As soon as Katerina Ivanovna
and Sonia heard of it, mercy on us, it was as though I stepped into the
kingdom of Heaven. It used to be: you can lie like a beast, nothing but
abuse. Now they were walking on tiptoe, hushing the children. 'Semyon
Zaharovitch is tired with his work at the office, he is resting, shh!'
They made me coffee before I went to work and boiled cream for me! They
began to get real cream for me, do you hear that? And how they managed
to get together the money for a decent outfit--eleven roubles, fifty
copecks, I can't guess. Boots, cotton shirt-fronts--most magnificent,
a uniform, they got up all in splendid style, for eleven roubles and
a half. The first morning I came back from the office I found Katerina
Ivanovna had cooked two courses for dinner--soup and salt meat with
horse radish--which we had never dreamed of till then. She had not any
dresses... none at all, but she got herself up as though she were going
on a visit; and not that she'd anything to do it with, she smartened
herself up with nothing at all, she'd done her hair nicely, put on a
clean collar of some sort, cuffs, and there she was, quite a different
person, she was younger and better looking. Sonia, my little darling,
had only helped with money 'for the time,' she said, 'it won't do for me
to come and see you too often. After dark maybe when no one can see.' Do
you hear, do you hear? I lay down for a nap after dinner and what do you
think: though Katerina Ivanovna had quarrelled to the last degree with
our landlady Amalia Fyodorovna only a week before, she could not
resist then asking her in to coffee. For two hours they were sitting,
whispering together. 'Semyon Zaharovitch is in the service again,
now, and receiving a salary,' says she, 'and he went himself to his
excellency and his excellency himself came out to him, made all the
others wait and led Semyon Zaharovitch by the hand before everybody into
his study.' Do you hear, do you hear? 'To be sure,' says he, 'Semyon
Zaharovitch, remembering your past services,' says he, 'and in spite
of your propensity to that foolish weakness, since you promise now and
since moreover we've got on badly without you,' (do you hear, do you
hear;) 'and so,' says he, 'I rely now on your word as a gentleman.' And
all that, let me tell you, she has simply made up for herself, and not
simply out of wantonness, for the sake of bragging; no, she believes it
all herself, she amuses herself with her own fancies, upon my word she
does! And I don't blame her for it, no, I don't blame her!... Six days
ago when I brought her my first earnings in full--twenty-three roubles
forty copecks altogether--she called me her poppet: 'poppet,' said she,
'my little poppet.' And when we were by ourselves, you understand?
You would not think me a beauty, you would not think much of me as a
husband, would you?... Well, she pinched my cheek, 'my little poppet,'
Marmeladov broke off, tried to smile, but suddenly his chin began
to twitch. He controlled himself however. The tavern, the degraded
appearance of the man, the five nights in the hay barge, and the pot of
spirits, and yet this poignant love for his wife and children bewildered
his listener. Raskolnikov listened intently but with a sick sensation.
He felt vexed that he had come here.
"Honoured sir, honoured sir," cried Marmeladov recovering himself--"Oh,
sir, perhaps all this seems a laughing matter to you, as it does to
others, and perhaps I am only worrying you with the stupidity of all the
trivial details of my home life, but it is not a laughing matter to me.
For I can feel it all.... And the whole of that heavenly day of my life
and the whole of that evening I passed in fleeting dreams of how I would
arrange it all, and how I would dress all the children, and how I should
give her rest, and how I should rescue my own daughter from dishonour
and restore her to the bosom of her family.... And a great deal more....
Quite excusable, sir. Well, then, sir" (Marmeladov suddenly gave a sort
of start, raised his head and gazed intently at his listener) "well, on
the very next day after all those dreams, that is to say, exactly five
days ago, in the evening, by a cunning trick, like a thief in the night,
I stole from Katerina Ivanovna the key of her box, took out what was
left of my earnings, how much it was I have forgotten, and now look
at me, all of you! It's the fifth day since I left home, and they are
looking for me there and it's the end of my employment, and my uniform
is lying in a tavern on the Egyptian bridge. I exchanged it for the
garments I have on... and it's the end of everything!"
Marmeladov struck his forehead with his fist, clenched his teeth, closed
his eyes and leaned heavily with his elbow on the table. But a minute
later his face suddenly changed and with a certain assumed slyness and
affectation of bravado, he glanced at Raskolnikov, laughed and said:
"This morning I went to see Sonia, I went to ask her for a pick-me-up!
"You don't say she gave it to you?" cried one of the new-comers; he
shouted the words and went off into a guffaw.
"This very quart was bought with her money," Marmeladov declared,
addressing himself exclusively to Raskolnikov. "Thirty copecks she gave
me with her own hands, her last, all she had, as I saw.... She said
nothing, she only looked at me without a word.... Not on earth, but up
yonder... they grieve over men, they weep, but they don't blame them,
they don't blame them! But it hurts more, it hurts more when they don't
blame! Thirty copecks yes! And maybe she needs them now, eh? What do
you think, my dear sir? For now she's got to keep up her appearance. It
costs money, that smartness, that special smartness, you know? Do you
understand? And there's pomatum, too, you see, she must have things;
petticoats, starched ones, shoes, too, real jaunty ones to show off her
foot when she has to step over a puddle. Do you understand, sir, do you
understand what all that smartness means? And here I, her own father,
here I took thirty copecks of that money for a drink! And I am drinking
it! And I have already drunk it! Come, who will have pity on a man like
me, eh? Are you sorry for me, sir, or not? Tell me, sir, are you sorry
or not? He-he-he!"
He would have filled his glass, but there was no drink left. The pot was
"What are you to be pitied for?" shouted the tavern-keeper who was again
Shouts of laughter and even oaths followed. The laughter and the oaths
came from those who were listening and also from those who had heard
nothing but were simply looking at the figure of the discharged
"To be pitied! Why am I to be pitied?" Marmeladov suddenly declaimed,
standing up with his arm outstretched, as though he had been only
waiting for that question.
"Why am I to be pitied, you say? Yes! there's nothing to pity me for! I
ought to be crucified, crucified on a cross, not pitied! Crucify me,
oh judge, crucify me but pity me! And then I will go of myself to be
crucified, for it's not merry-making I seek but tears and tribulation!...
Do you suppose, you that sell, that this pint of yours has been
sweet to me? It was tribulation I sought at the bottom of it, tears and
tribulation, and have found it, and I have tasted it; but He will pity
us Who has had pity on all men, Who has understood all men and all
things, He is the One, He too is the judge. He will come in that day
and He will ask: 'Where is the daughter who gave herself for her cross,
consumptive step-mother and for the little children of another? Where is
the daughter who had pity upon the filthy drunkard, her earthly father,
undismayed by his beastliness?' And He will say, 'Come to me! I have
already forgiven thee once.... I have forgiven thee once.... Thy sins
which are many are forgiven thee for thou hast loved much....' And he
will forgive my Sonia, He will forgive, I know it... I felt it in my
heart when I was with her just now! And He will judge and will forgive
all, the good and the evil, the wise and the meek.... And when He has
done with all of them, then He will summon us. 'You too come forth,'
He will say, 'Come forth ye drunkards, come forth, ye weak ones, come
forth, ye children of shame!' And we shall all come forth, without shame
and shall stand before him. And He will say unto us, 'Ye are swine, made
in the Image of the Beast and with his mark; but come ye also!' And the
wise ones and those of understanding will say, 'Oh Lord, why dost Thou
receive these men?' And He will say, 'This is why I receive them, oh ye
wise, this is why I receive them, oh ye of understanding, that not one
of them believed himself to be worthy of this.' And He will hold out His
hands to us and we shall fall down before him... and we shall weep...
and we shall understand all things! Then we shall understand all!... and
all will understand, Katerina Ivanovna even... she will understand....
Lord, Thy kingdom come!" And he sank down on the bench exhausted, and
helpless, looking at no one, apparently oblivious of his surroundings
and plunged in deep thought. His words had created a certain impression;
there was a moment of silence; but soon laughter and oaths were heard
"That's his notion!"
"Talked himself silly!"
"A fine clerk he is!"
And so on, and so on.
"Let us go, sir," said Marmeladov all at once, raising his head and
addressing Raskolnikov--"come along with me... Kozel's house, looking
into the yard. I'm going to Katerina Ivanovna--time I did."
Raskolnikov had for some time been wanting to go and he had meant to
help him. Marmeladov was much unsteadier on his legs than in his speech
and leaned heavily on the young man. They had two or three hundred
paces to go. The drunken man was more and more overcome by dismay and
confusion as they drew nearer the house.
"It's not Katerina Ivanovna I am afraid of now," he muttered in
agitation--"and that she will begin pulling my hair. What does my hair
matter! Bother my hair! That's what I say! Indeed it will be better if
she does begin pulling it, that's not what I am afraid of... it's her
eyes I am afraid of... yes, her eyes... the red on her cheeks, too,
frightens me... and her breathing too.... Have you noticed how people
in that disease breathe... when they are excited? I am frightened of
the children's crying, too.... For if Sonia has not taken them food...
I don't know what's happened! I don't know! But blows I am not afraid
of.... Know, sir, that such blows are not a pain to me, but even an
enjoyment. In fact I can't get on without it.... It's better so. Let
her strike me, it relieves her heart... it's better so... There is the
house. The house of Kozel, the cabinet-maker... a German, well-to-do.
Lead the way!"
They went in from the yard and up to the fourth storey. The staircase
got darker and darker as they went up. It was nearly eleven o'clock
and although in summer in Petersburg there is no real night, yet it was
quite dark at the top of the stairs.
A grimy little door at the very top of the stairs stood ajar. A very
poor-looking room about ten paces long was lighted up by a candle-end;
the whole of it was visible from the entrance. It was all in disorder,
littered up with rags of all sorts, especially children's garments.
Across the furthest corner was stretched a ragged sheet. Behind it
probably was the bed. There was nothing in the room except two chairs
and a sofa covered with American leather, full of holes, before which
stood an old deal kitchen-table, unpainted and uncovered. At the edge
of the table stood a smoldering tallow-candle in an iron candlestick. It
appeared that the family had a room to themselves, not part of a room,
but their room was practically a passage. The door leading to the other
rooms, or rather cupboards, into which Amalia Lippevechsel's flat was
divided stood half open, and there was shouting, uproar and laughter
within. People seemed to be playing cards and drinking tea there. Words
of the most unceremonious kind flew out from time to time.
Raskolnikov recognised Katerina Ivanovna at once. She was a rather tall,
slim and graceful woman, terribly emaciated, with magnificent dark brown
hair and with a hectic flush in her cheeks. She was pacing up and down
in her little room, pressing her hands against her chest; her lips
were parched and her breathing came in nervous broken gasps. Her eyes
glittered as in fever and looked about with a harsh immovable stare. And
that consumptive and excited face with the last flickering light of the
candle-end playing upon it made a sickening impression. She seemed to
Raskolnikov about thirty years old and was certainly a strange wife for
Marmeladov.... She had not heard them and did not notice them coming in.
She seemed to be lost in thought, hearing and seeing nothing. The room
was close, but she had not opened the window; a stench rose from the
staircase, but the door on to the stairs was not closed. From the inner
rooms clouds of tobacco smoke floated in, she kept coughing, but did not
close the door. The youngest child, a girl of six, was asleep, sitting
curled up on the floor with her head on the sofa. A boy a year older
stood crying and shaking in the corner, probably he had just had a
beating. Beside him stood a girl of nine years old, tall and thin,
wearing a thin and ragged chemise with an ancient cashmere pelisse flung
over her bare shoulders, long outgrown and barely reaching her knees.
Her arm, as thin as a stick, was round her brother's neck. She was
trying to comfort him, whispering something to him, and doing all she
could to keep him from whimpering again. At the same time her large
dark eyes, which looked larger still from the thinness of her frightened
face, were watching her mother with alarm. Marmeladov did not enter the
door, but dropped on his knees in the very doorway, pushing Raskolnikov
in front of him. The woman seeing a stranger stopped indifferently
facing him, coming to herself for a moment and apparently wondering what
he had come for. But evidently she decided that he was going into
the next room, as he had to pass through hers to get there. Taking no
further notice of him, she walked towards the outer door to close it
and uttered a sudden scream on seeing her husband on his knees in the
"Ah!" she cried out in a frenzy, "he has come back! The criminal! the
monster!... And where is the money? What's in your pocket, show me! And
your clothes are all different! Where are your clothes? Where is the
And she fell to searching him. Marmeladov submissively and obediently
held up both arms to facilitate the search. Not a farthing was there.
"Where is the money?" she cried--"Mercy on us, can he have drunk it all?
There were twelve silver roubles left in the chest!" and in a fury
she seized him by the hair and dragged him into the room. Marmeladov
seconded her efforts by meekly crawling along on his knees.
"And this is a consolation to me! This does not hurt me, but is a
positive con-so-la-tion, ho-nou-red sir," he called out, shaken to and
fro by his hair and even once striking the ground with his forehead.
The child asleep on the floor woke up, and began to cry. The boy in the
corner losing all control began trembling and screaming and rushed
to his sister in violent terror, almost in a fit. The eldest girl was
shaking like a leaf.
"He's drunk it! he's drunk it all," the poor woman screamed in
despair--"and his clothes are gone! And they are hungry, hungry!"--and
wringing her hands she pointed to the children. "Oh, accursed life!
And you, are you not ashamed?"--she pounced all at once upon
Raskolnikov--"from the tavern! Have you been drinking with him? You have
been drinking with him, too! Go away!"
The young man was hastening away without uttering a word. The inner door
was thrown wide open and inquisitive faces were peering in at it. Coarse
laughing faces with pipes and cigarettes and heads wearing caps thrust
themselves in at the doorway. Further in could be seen figures in
dressing gowns flung open, in costumes of unseemly scantiness, some of
them with cards in their hands. They were particularly diverted, when
Marmeladov, dragged about by his hair, shouted that it was a consolation
to him. They even began to come into the room; at last a sinister shrill
outcry was heard: this came from Amalia Lippevechsel herself pushing her
way amongst them and trying to restore order after her own fashion and
for the hundredth time to frighten the poor woman by ordering her
with coarse abuse to clear out of the room next day. As he went out,
Raskolnikov had time to put his hand into his pocket, to snatch up the
coppers he had received in exchange for his rouble in the tavern and to
lay them unnoticed on the window. Afterwards on the stairs, he changed
his mind and would have gone back.
"What a stupid thing I've done," he thought to himself, "they have Sonia
and I want it myself." But reflecting that it would be impossible to
take it back now and that in any case he would not have taken it, he
dismissed it with a wave of his hand and went back to his lodging.
"Sonia wants pomatum too," he said as he walked along the street, and he
laughed malignantly--"such smartness costs money.... Hm! And maybe Sonia
herself will be bankrupt to-day, for there is always a risk, hunting
big game... digging for gold... then they would all be without a crust
to-morrow except for my money. Hurrah for Sonia! What a mine they've dug
there! And they're making the most of it! Yes, they are making the most
of it! They've wept over it and grown used to it. Man grows used to
everything, the scoundrel!"
He sank into thought.
"And what if I am wrong," he cried suddenly after a moment's thought.
"What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the
whole race of mankind--then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial
terrors and there are no barriers and it's all as it should be."
He waked up late next day after a broken sleep. But his sleep had not
refreshed him; he waked up bilious, irritable, ill-tempered, and looked
with hatred at his room. It was a tiny cupboard of a room about six
paces in length. It had a poverty-stricken appearance with its dusty
yellow paper peeling off the walls, and it was so low-pitched that a man
of more than average height was ill at ease in it and felt every moment
that he would knock his head against the ceiling. The furniture was in
keeping with the room: there were three old chairs, rather rickety; a
painted table in the corner on which lay a few manuscripts and books;
the dust that lay thick upon them showed that they had been long
untouched. A big clumsy sofa occupied almost the whole of one wall and
half the floor space of the room; it was once covered with chintz, but
was now in rags and served Raskolnikov as a bed. Often he went to sleep
on it, as he was, without undressing, without sheets, wrapped in his old
student's overcoat, with his head on one little pillow, under which he
heaped up all the linen he had, clean and dirty, by way of a bolster. A
little table stood in front of the sofa.
It would have been difficult to sink to a lower ebb of disorder, but to
Raskolnikov in his present state of mind this was positively agreeable.
He had got completely away from everyone, like a tortoise in its shell,
and even the sight of a servant girl who had to wait upon him and looked
sometimes into his room made him writhe with nervous irritation. He was
in the condition that overtakes some monomaniacs entirely concentrated
upon one thing. His landlady had for the last fortnight given up sending
him in meals, and he had not yet thought of expostulating with her,
though he went without his dinner. Nastasya, the cook and only servant,
was rather pleased at the lodger's mood and had entirely given up
sweeping and doing his room, only once a week or so she would stray into
his room with a broom. She waked him up that day.
"Get up, why are you asleep?" she called to him. "It's past nine, I have
brought you some tea; will you have a cup? I should think you're fairly
Raskolnikov opened his eyes, started and recognised Nastasya.
"From the landlady, eh?" he asked, slowly and with a sickly face sitting
up on the sofa.
"From the landlady, indeed!"
She set before him her own cracked teapot full of weak and stale tea and
laid two yellow lumps of sugar by the side of it.
"Here, Nastasya, take it please," he said, fumbling in his pocket (for
he had slept in his clothes) and taking out a handful of coppers--"run
and buy me a loaf. And get me a little sausage, the cheapest, at the
"The loaf I'll fetch you this very minute, but wouldn't you rather have
some cabbage soup instead of sausage? It's capital soup, yesterday's. I
saved it for you yesterday, but you came in late. It's fine soup."
When the soup had been brought, and he had begun upon it, Nastasya
sat down beside him on the sofa and began chatting. She was a country
peasant-woman and a very talkative one.
"Praskovya Pavlovna means to complain to the police about you," she
"To the police? What does she want?"
"You don't pay her money and you won't turn out of the room. That's what
she wants, to be sure."
"The devil, that's the last straw," he muttered, grinding his teeth,
"no, that would not suit me... just now. She is a fool," he added aloud.
"I'll go and talk to her to-day."
"Fool she is and no mistake, just as I am. But why, if you are so
clever, do you lie here like a sack and have nothing to show for it? One
time you used to go out, you say, to teach children. But why is it you
do nothing now?"
"I am doing..." Raskolnikov began sullenly and reluctantly.
"What are you doing?"
"What sort of work?"
"I am thinking," he answered seriously after a pause.
Nastasya was overcome with a fit of laughter. She was given to laughter
and when anything amused her, she laughed inaudibly, quivering and
shaking all over till she felt ill.
"And have you made much money by your thinking?" she managed to
articulate at last.
"One can't go out to give lessons without boots. And I'm sick of it."
"Don't quarrel with your bread and butter."
"They pay so little for lessons. What's the use of a few coppers?" he
answered, reluctantly, as though replying to his own thought.
"And you want to get a fortune all at once?"
He looked at her strangely.
"Yes, I want a fortune," he answered firmly, after a brief pause.
"Don't be in such a hurry, you quite frighten me! Shall I get you the
loaf or not?"
"As you please."
"Ah, I forgot! A letter came for you yesterday when you were out."
"A letter? for me! from whom?"
"I can't say. I gave three copecks of my own to the postman for it. Will
you pay me back?"
"Then bring it to me, for God's sake, bring it," cried Raskolnikov
greatly excited--"good God!"
A minute later the letter was brought him. That was it: from his mother,
from the province of R----. He turned pale when he took it. It was a
long while since he had received a letter, but another feeling also
suddenly stabbed his heart.
"Nastasya, leave me alone, for goodness' sake; here are your three
copecks, but for goodness' sake, make haste and go!"
The letter was quivering in his hand; he did not want to open it in her
presence; he wanted to be left _alone_ with this letter. When Nastasya
had gone out, he lifted it quickly to his lips and kissed it; then he
gazed intently at the address, the small, sloping handwriting, so dear
and familiar, of the mother who had once taught him to read and write.
He delayed; he seemed almost afraid of something. At last he opened it;
it was a thick heavy letter, weighing over two ounces, two large sheets
of note paper were covered with very small handwriting.
"My dear Rodya," wrote his mother--"it's two months since I last had a
talk with you by letter which has distressed me and even kept me
awake at night, thinking. But I am sure you will not blame me for my
inevitable silence. You know how I love you; you are all we have to look
to, Dounia and I, you are our all, our one hope, our one stay. What a
grief it was to me when I heard that you had given up the university
some months ago, for want of means to keep yourself and that you had
lost your lessons and your other work! How could I help you out of my
hundred and twenty roubles a year pension? The fifteen roubles I sent
you four months ago I borrowed, as you know, on security of my pension,
from Vassily Ivanovitch Vahrushin a merchant of this town. He is a
kind-hearted man and was a friend of your father's too. But having given
him the right to receive the pension, I had to wait till the debt was
paid off and that is only just done, so that I've been unable to send
you anything all this time. But now, thank God, I believe I shall
be able to send you something more and in fact we may congratulate
ourselves on our good fortune now, of which I hasten to inform you. In
the first place, would you have guessed, dear Rodya, that your sister
has been living with me for the last six weeks and we shall not be
separated in the future. Thank God, her sufferings are over, but I will
tell you everything in order, so that you may know just how everything
has happened and all that we have hitherto concealed from you. When you
wrote to me two months ago that you had heard that Dounia had a great
deal to put up with in the Svidrigrailovs' house, when you wrote that
and asked me to tell you all about it--what could I write in answer to
you? If I had written the whole truth to you, I dare say you would have
thrown up everything and have come to us, even if you had to walk all
the way, for I know your character and your feelings, and you would not
let your sister be insulted. I was in despair myself, but what could I
do? And, besides, I did not know the whole truth myself then. What
made it all so difficult was that Dounia received a hundred roubles
in advance when she took the place as governess in their family, on
condition of part of her salary being deducted every month, and so it
was impossible to throw up the situation without repaying the debt.
This sum (now I can explain it all to you, my precious Rodya) she took
chiefly in order to send you sixty roubles, which you needed so terribly
then and which you received from us last year. We deceived you then,
writing that this money came from Dounia's savings, but that was not
so, and now I tell you all about it, because, thank God, things have
suddenly changed for the better, and that you may know how Dounia loves
you and what a heart she has. At first indeed Mr. Svidrigailov treated
her very rudely and used to make disrespectful and jeering remarks at
table.... But I don't want to go into all those painful details, so as
not to worry you for nothing when it is now all over. In short, in spite
of the kind and generous behaviour of Marfa Petrovna, Mr. Svidrigailov's
wife, and all the rest of the household, Dounia had a very hard time,
especially when Mr. Svidrigailov, relapsing into his old regimental
habits, was under the influence of Bacchus. And how do you think it
was all explained later on? Would you believe that the crazy fellow had
conceived a passion for Dounia from the beginning, but had concealed
it under a show of rudeness and contempt. Possibly he was ashamed and
horrified himself at his own flighty hopes, considering his years and
his being the father of a family; and that made him angry with Dounia.
And possibly, too, he hoped by his rude and sneering behaviour to hide
the truth from others. But at last he lost all control and had the face
to make Dounia an open and shameful proposal, promising her all sorts of
inducements and offering, besides, to throw up everything and take her
to another estate of his, or even abroad. You can imagine all she went
through! To leave her situation at once was impossible not only on
account of the money debt, but also to spare the feelings of Marfa
Petrovna, whose suspicions would have been aroused: and then Dounia
would have been the cause of a rupture in the family. And it would
have meant a terrible scandal for Dounia too; that would have been
inevitable. There were various other reasons owing to which Dounia could
not hope to escape from that awful house for another six weeks. You know
Dounia, of course; you know how clever she is and what a strong will she
has. Dounia can endure a great deal and even in the most difficult cases
she has the fortitude to maintain her firmness. She did not even write
to me about everything for fear of upsetting me, although we were
constantly in communication. It all ended very unexpectedly. Marfa
Petrovna accidentally overheard her husband imploring Dounia in the
garden, and, putting quite a wrong interpretation on the position, threw
the blame upon her, believing her to be the cause of it all. An awful
scene took place between them on the spot in the garden; Marfa Petrovna
went so far as to strike Dounia, refused to hear anything and was
shouting at her for a whole hour and then gave orders that Dounia should
be packed off at once to me in a plain peasant's cart, into which they
flung all her things, her linen and her clothes, all pell-mell, without
folding it up and packing it. And a heavy shower of rain came on, too,
and Dounia, insulted and put to shame, had to drive with a peasant in an
open cart all the seventeen versts into town. Only think now what answer
could I have sent to the letter I received from you two months ago and
what could I have written? I was in despair; I dared not write to
you the truth because you would have been very unhappy, mortified
and indignant, and yet what could you do? You could only perhaps ruin
yourself, and, besides, Dounia would not allow it; and fill up my letter
with trifles when my heart was so full of sorrow, I could not. For a
whole month the town was full of gossip about this scandal, and it came
to such a pass that Dounia and I dared not even go to church on account
of the contemptuous looks, whispers, and even remarks made aloud about
us. All our acquaintances avoided us, nobody even bowed to us in the
street, and I learnt that some shopmen and clerks were intending to
insult us in a shameful way, smearing the gates of our house with pitch,
so that the landlord began to tell us we must leave. All this was set
going by Marfa Petrovna who managed to slander Dounia and throw dirt at
her in every family. She knows everyone in the neighbourhood, and that
month she was continually coming into the town, and as she is
rather talkative and fond of gossiping about her family affairs and
particularly of complaining to all and each of her husband--which is not
at all right--so in a short time she had spread her story not only in
the town, but over the whole surrounding district. It made me ill, but
Dounia bore it better than I did, and if only you could have seen how
she endured it all and tried to comfort me and cheer me up! She is
an angel! But by God's mercy, our sufferings were cut short: Mr.
Svidrigailov returned to his senses and repented and, probably
feeling sorry for Dounia, he laid before Marfa Petrovna a complete and
unmistakable proof of Dounia's innocence, in the form of a letter Dounia
had been forced to write and give to him, before Marfa Petrovna
came upon them in the garden. This letter, which remained in Mr.
Svidrigailov's hands after her departure, she had written to refuse
personal explanations and secret interviews, for which he was entreating
her. In that letter she reproached him with great heat and indignation
for the baseness of his behaviour in regard to Marfa Petrovna, reminding
him that he was the father and head of a family and telling him how
infamous it was of him to torment and make unhappy a defenceless girl,
unhappy enough already. Indeed, dear Rodya, the letter was so nobly and
touchingly written that I sobbed when I read it and to this day I cannot
read it without tears. Moreover, the evidence of the servants, too,
cleared Dounia's reputation; they had seen and known a great deal more
than Mr. Svidrigailov had himself supposed--as indeed is always the case
with servants. Marfa Petrovna was completely taken aback, and 'again
crushed' as she said herself to us, but she was completely convinced of
Dounia's innocence. The very next day, being Sunday, she went straight
to the Cathedral, knelt down and prayed with tears to Our Lady to give
her strength to bear this new trial and to do her duty. Then she
came straight from the Cathedral to us, told us the whole story, wept
bitterly and, fully penitent, she embraced Dounia and besought her to
forgive her. The same morning without any delay, she went round to all
the houses in the town and everywhere, shedding tears, she asserted in
the most flattering terms Dounia's innocence and the nobility of
her feelings and her behavior. What was more, she showed and read to
everyone the letter in Dounia's own handwriting to Mr. Svidrigailov and
even allowed them to take copies of it--which I must say I think was
superfluous. In this way she was busy for several days in driving about
the whole town, because some people had taken offence through precedence
having been given to others. And therefore they had to take turns, so
that in every house she was expected before she arrived, and everyone
knew that on such and such a day Marfa Petrovna would be reading the
letter in such and such a place and people assembled for every reading
of it, even many who had heard it several times already both in their
own houses and in other people's. In my opinion a great deal, a very
great deal of all this was unnecessary; but that's Marfa Petrovna's
character. Anyway she succeeded in completely re-establishing Dounia's
reputation and the whole ignominy of this affair rested as an indelible
disgrace upon her husband, as the only person to blame, so that I really
began to feel sorry for him; it was really treating the crazy fellow too
harshly. Dounia was at once asked to give lessons in several families,
but she refused. All of a sudden everyone began to treat her with marked
respect and all this did much to bring about the event by which, one may
say, our whole fortunes are now transformed. You must know, dear Rodya,
that Dounia has a suitor and that she has already consented to marry
him. I hasten to tell you all about the matter, and though it has been
arranged without asking your consent, I think you will not be aggrieved
with me or with your sister on that account, for you will see that we
could not wait and put off our decision till we heard from you. And you
could not have judged all the facts without being on the spot. This
was how it happened. He is already of the rank of a counsellor, Pyotr
Petrovitch Luzhin, and is distantly related to Marfa Petrovna, who
has been very active in bringing the match about. It began with his
expressing through her his desire to make our acquaintance. He was
properly received, drank coffee with us and the very next day he sent
us a letter in which he very courteously made an offer and begged for a
speedy and decided answer. He is a very busy man and is in a great hurry
to get to Petersburg, so that every moment is precious to him. At first,
of course, we were greatly surprised, as it had all happened so quickly
and unexpectedly. We thought and talked it over the whole day. He is a
well-to-do man, to be depended upon, he has two posts in the government
and has already made his fortune. It is true that he is forty-five years
old, but he is of a fairly prepossessing appearance and might still be
thought attractive by women, and he is altogether a very respectable and
presentable man, only he seems a little morose and somewhat conceited.
But possibly that may only be the impression he makes at first sight.
And beware, dear Rodya, when he comes to Petersburg, as he shortly will
do, beware of judging him too hastily and severely, as your way is, if
there is anything you do not like in him at first sight. I give you this
warning, although I feel sure that he will make a favourable impression
upon you. Moreover, in order to understand any man one must be
deliberate and careful to avoid forming prejudices and mistaken ideas,
which are very difficult to correct and get over afterwards. And Pyotr
Petrovitch, judging by many indications, is a thoroughly estimable man.
At his first visit, indeed, he told us that he was a practical man, but
still he shares, as he expressed it, many of the convictions 'of our
most rising generation' and he is an opponent of all prejudices. He
said a good deal more, for he seems a little conceited and likes to be
listened to, but this is scarcely a vice. I, of course, understood very
little of it, but Dounia explained to me that, though he is not a man
of great education, he is clever and seems to be good-natured. You know
your sister's character, Rodya. She is a resolute, sensible, patient and
generous girl, but she has a passionate heart, as I know very well.
Of course, there is no great love either on his side, or on hers, but
Dounia is a clever girl and has the heart of an angel, and will make
it her duty to make her husband happy who on his side will make her
happiness his care. Of that we have no good reason to doubt, though it
must be admitted the matter has been arranged in great haste. Besides he
is a man of great prudence and he will see, to be sure, of himself, that
his own happiness will be the more secure, the happier Dounia is with
him. And as for some defects of character, for some habits and even
certain differences of opinion--which indeed are inevitable even in
the happiest marriages--Dounia has said that, as regards all that, she
relies on herself, that there is nothing to be uneasy about, and
that she is ready to put up with a great deal, if only their future
relationship can be an honourable and straightforward one. He struck me,
for instance, at first, as rather abrupt, but that may well come
from his being an outspoken man, and that is no doubt how it is. For
instance, at his second visit, after he had received Dounia's consent,
in the course of conversation, he declared that before making
Dounia's acquaintance, he had made up his mind to marry a girl of
good reputation, without dowry and, above all, one who had experienced
poverty, because, as he explained, a man ought not to be indebted to his
wife, but that it is better for a wife to look upon her husband as her
benefactor. I must add that he expressed it more nicely and politely
than I have done, for I have forgotten his actual phrases and only
remember the meaning. And, besides, it was obviously not said of design,
but slipped out in the heat of conversation, so that he tried afterwards
to correct himself and smooth it over, but all the same it did strike
me as somewhat rude, and I said so afterwards to Dounia. But Dounia was
vexed, and answered that 'words are not deeds,' and that, of course, is
perfectly true. Dounia did not sleep all night before she made up
her mind, and, thinking that I was asleep, she got out of bed and was
walking up and down the room all night; at last she knelt down before
the ikon and prayed long and fervently and in the morning she told me
that she had decided.
"I have mentioned already that Pyotr Petrovitch is just setting off for
Petersburg, where he has a great deal of business, and he wants to open
a legal bureau. He has been occupied for many years in conducting civil
and commercial litigation, and only the other day he won an important
case. He has to be in Petersburg because he has an important case before
the Senate. So, Rodya dear, he may be of the greatest use to you, in
every way indeed, and Dounia and I have agreed that from this very day
you could definitely enter upon your career and might consider that
your future is marked out and assured for you. Oh, if only this comes to
pass! This would be such a benefit that we could only look upon it as a
providential blessing. Dounia is dreaming of nothing else. We have even
ventured already to drop a few words on the subject to Pyotr Petrovitch.
He was cautious in his answer, and said that, of course, as he could not
get on without a secretary, it would be better to be paying a salary to
a relation than to a stranger, if only the former were fitted for the
duties (as though there could be doubt of your being fitted!) but then
he expressed doubts whether your studies at the university would leave
you time for work at his office. The matter dropped for the time, but
Dounia is thinking of nothing else now. She has been in a sort of fever
for the last few days, and has already made a regular plan for
your becoming in the end an associate and even a partner in Pyotr
Petrovitch's business, which might well be, seeing that you are a
student of law. I am in complete agreement with her, Rodya, and share
all her plans and hopes, and think there is every probability of
realising them. And in spite of Pyotr Petrovitch's evasiveness, very
natural at present (since he does not know you), Dounia is firmly
persuaded that she will gain everything by her good influence over her
future husband; this she is reckoning upon. Of course we are careful
not to talk of any of these more remote plans to Pyotr Petrovitch,
especially of your becoming his partner. He is a practical man and might
take this very coldly, it might all seem to him simply a day-dream. Nor
has either Dounia or I breathed a word to him of the great hopes we have
of his helping us to pay for your university studies; we have not spoken
of it in the first place, because it will come to pass of itself,
later on, and he will no doubt without wasting words offer to do it of
himself, (as though he could refuse Dounia that) the more readily since
you may by your own efforts become his right hand in the office, and
receive this assistance not as a charity, but as a salary earned by your
own work. Dounia wants to arrange it all like this and I quite agree
with her. And we have not spoken of our plans for another reason, that
is, because I particularly wanted you to feel on an equal footing when
you first meet him. When Dounia spoke to him with enthusiasm about
you, he answered that one could never judge of a man without seeing
Date: 2014-12-29; view: 297