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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

table.

 

"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

drunk."

 

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

listened attentively.

 

"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,'

said she."

 

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!

He-he-he!"

 

"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

empty.

 

"What are you to be pitied for?" shouted the tavern-keeper who was again

near them.

 

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

government clerk.

 

"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

again.

 

"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

doorway.

 

"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

money! Speak!"

 

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."

 

CHAPTER III

 

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

starving?"

 

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

pork-butcher's."

 

"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

said.

 

He scowled.

 

"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?"

 

"Work..."

 

"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


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