Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881)
Crime and Punishment
translated by Constance Garnett
ZOSSIMOV WAS a
tall, fat man with a puffy, colourless,
and straight flaxen hair. He wore spectacles, and
a big gold ring
on his fat finger. He was twenty-seven. He had on a
light grey fashionable
loose coat, light summer trousers, and
him loose, fashionable and spick and able, his
linen was irreproachable,
his watch-chain was massive. In manner he
was slow and, as
it were, nonchalant, and at the same time
and easy; he made efforts to conceal his
but it was apparent at every instant. All his
him tedious, but said he was clever at his work.
to you twice to-day, brother. You see, he's come to
"I see, I
see; and how do we feel now, eh?" said Zossimov to
him carefully and, sitting down at the foot of
the sofa, he settled
himself as comfortably as he could.
"He is still
depressed," Razumihin went on. "We've just changed
his linen and he
natural; you might have put it off if he did not wish
it.... His pulse
is first-rate. Is your head still aching, eh?"
"I am well,
I am perfectly well!" Raskolnikov declared positively
He raised himself on the sofa and looked at them with
but sank back on to the pillow at once and turned
to the wall. Zossimov
watched him intently.
Going on all right," he said lazily. "Has he eaten
They told him,
and asked what he might have.
"He may have
anything... soup, tea... mushrooms and cucumbers, of
course, you must
not give him; he'd better not have meat either,
and... but no need
to tell you that!" Razumihin and he looked at
each other. "No
more medicine or anything. I'll look at him again
to-day even... but never mind..."
evening I shall take him for a walk," said Razumihin. "We
are going to the
Yusupov garden and then to the Palais de Crystal."
not disturb him to-morrow at all, but I don't know... a
but we'll see."
a nuisance! I've got a house-warming party tonight;
it's only a step
from here. Couldn't he come? He could lie on the
sofa. You are coming?"
Razumihin said to Zossimov. "Don't forget,
only rather later. What are you going to do?"
tea, vodka, herrings. There will be a pie... just
here, almost all new friends, except my old uncle,
and he is new too-
he only arrived in Petersburg yesterday to see to
some business of
his. We meet once in five years."
stagnating all his life as a district postmaster; gets
a little pension.
He is sixty-five- not worth talking about.... But
I am fond of him.
Porfiry Petrovitch, the head of the Investigation
But you know him."
"Is he a
relation of yours, too?"
"A very distant
one. But why are you scowling? Because you
won't you come then?"
care a damn for him."
the better. Well, there will be some students, a teacher, a
a musician, an officer and Zametov."
me, please, what you or he"- Zossimov nodded at
have in common with this Zametov?"
particular gentleman! Principles! You are worked by
it were by springs; you won't venture to turn round
on your own account.
If a man is a nice fellow, that's the only
principle I go
upon, Zametov is a delightful person."
does take bribes."
does! and what of it? I don't care if he does take
cried with unnatural irritability. "I don't
praise him for
taking bribes. I only say he is a nice man in his own
way! But if one
looks at men in all ways- are there many good ones
left? Why, I am
sure I shouldn't be worth a baked onion myself...
perhaps with you
little; I'd give two for you."
"And I wouldn't
give more than one for you. No more of your jokes!
Zametov is no more
than a boy. I can pull his hair and one must draw
him not repel him.
You'll never improve a man by repelling him,
especially a boy.
One has to be twice as careful with a boy. Oh, you
You don't understand. You harm yourselves
man down.... But if you want to know, we really have
something in common."
like to know what."
all about a house-painter.... We are getting him out of a
mess! Though indeed
there's nothing to fear now. The matter is
We only put on steam."
I told you about it? I only told you the beginning
then about the
murder of the old pawnbroker-woman. Well, the painter
is mixed up in
"Oh, I heard
about that murder before and was rather interested in
for one reason.... I read about it in the papers,
was murdered, too," Nastasya blurted out, suddenly
She remained in the room all the time,
standing by the
murmured Raskolnikov hardly audibly.
who sold old clothes. Didn't you know her? She used to
come here. She
mended a shirt for you, too."
to the wall where in the dirty, yellow paper he
picked out one
clumsy, white flower with brown lines on it and began
examining how many
petals there were in it, how many scallops in the
petals and how
many lines on them. He felt his arms and legs as
lifeless as though
they had been cut off. He did not attempt to
move, but stared
obstinately at the flower.
about the painter?" Zossimov interrupted Nastasya's
chatter with marked
displeasure. She sighed and was silent.
was accused of the murder," Razumihin went on hotly.
evidence against him then?"
indeed! Evidence that was no evidence, and that's what we
have to prove.
It was just as they pitched on those fellows, Koch
at first. Foo! how stupidly it's all done, it makes
one sick, though
it's not one's business! Pestryakov may be coming
the way, Rodya, you've heard about the business
already; it happened
before you were ill, the day before you fainted
at the police office
while they were talking about it."
curiously at Raskolnikov. He did not stir.
"But I say,
Razumihin, I wonder at you. What a busybody you are!"
am, but we will get him off anyway," shouted Razumihin,
bringing his fist
down on the table. "What's the most offensive is not
their lying- one
can always forgive lying- lying is a delightful
thing, for it leads
to truth- what is offensive is that they lie and
worship their own
lying.... I respect Porfiry, but... What threw
them out at first?
The door was locked, and when they came back with
the porter it was
open. So it followed that Koch and Pestryakov were
that was their logic!"
excite yourself; they simply detained them, they could
not help that....
And, by the way, I've met that man Koch. He used
to buy unredeemed
pledges from the old woman? Eh?"
is a swindler. He buys up bad debts, too. He makes a
profession of it.
But enough of him! Do you know what makes me
angry? It's their
sickening rotten, petrified routine.... And this
case might be the
means of introducing a new method. One can show from
data alone how to get on the track of the real
man. 'We have facts,'
they say. But facts are not everything- at least
half the business
lies in how you interpret them!"
interpret them, then?"
one can't hold one's tongue when one has a feeling, a
that one might be a help if only.... Eh! Do you know
the details of
"I am waiting
to hear about the painter."
Well, here's the story. Early on the third day after the
murder, when they
were still dandling Koch and Pestryakov- though they
accounted for every
step they took and it was as plain as a pikestaff-
an unexpected fact
turned up. A peasant called Dushkin, who keeps a
the house, brought to the police office a
containing some gold ear-rings, and told a long
day before yesterday, just after eight o'clock'- mark
the day and the
hour!- 'a journeyman house-painter, Nikolay, who had
been in to see
me already that day, brought me this box of gold
ear-rings and stones,
and asked me to give him two roubles for them.
When I asked him
where he got them, he said that he picked them up
in the street.
I did not ask him anything more.' I am telling you
'I gave him a note'- a rouble that is- 'for I thought
if he did not pawn
it with me he would with another. It would all come
to the same thing-
he'd spend it on drink, so the thing had better
be with me. The
further you hide it the quicker you will find it,
and if anything
turns up, if I hear any rumours, I'll take it to the
police.' Of course,
that's all taradiddle; he lies like a horse, for I
know this Dushkin,
he is a pawnbroker and a receiver of stolen
goods, and he did
not cheat Nikolay out of a thirty-rouble trinket
in order to give
it to the police. He was simply afraid. But no
matter, to return
to Dushkin's story. 'I've known this peasant,
from a child; he comes from the same province and
district of Zaraisk,
we are both Ryazan men. And though Nikolay is not
a drunkard, he
drinks, and I knew he had a job in that house, painting
work with Dmitri,
who comes from the same village, too. As soon as
he got the rouble
he changed it, had a couple of glasses, took his
change and went
out. But I did not see Dmitri with him then. And the
next day I heard
that some one had murdered Alyona Ivanovna and her
Ivanovna, with an axe. I knew them, and I felt
the ear-rings at once, for I knew the murdered
woman lent money
on pledges. I went to the house, and began to make
without saying a word to any one. First of all I
Nikolay here?" Dmitri told me that Nikolay had gone off
on the spree; he
had come home at daybreak drunk, stayed in the
house about ten
minutes, and went out again. Dmitri didn't see him
again and is finishing
the job alone. And their job is on the same
staircase as the
murder, on the second floor. When I heard all that
I did not say a
word to any one'- that's Dushkin's tale- 'but I
found out what
I could about the murder, and went home feeling as
suspicious as ever.
And at eight o'clock this morning'- that was the
third day, you
understand- 'I saw Nikolay coming in, not sober, though
not so very drunk-
he could understand what was said to him. He sat
down on the bench
and did not speak. There was only one stranger in
the bar and a man
I knew asleep on a bench and our two boys. "Have you
said I. "No, I haven't," said he. "And you've not been
"Not since the day before yesterday," said he. "And
where did you sleep
last night?" "In Peski, with the Kolomensky
where did you get those ear-rings?" I asked. "I found
them in the street,"
and the way he said it was a bit queer; he did
not look at me.
"Did you hear what happened that very evening, at that
very hour, on that
same staircase?" said I. "No," said he, "I had
and all the while he was listening, his eyes were
staring out of
his head and he turned as white as chalk. I told him
all about it and
he took his hat and began getting up. I wanted to
keep him. "Wait
a bit, Nikolay," said I, "won't you have a drink?" And
I signed to the
boy to hold the door, and I came out from behind the
bar; but he darted
out and down the street to the turning at a run.
I have not seen
him since. Then my doubts were at an end- it was his
doing, as clear
as could be...."
think so," said Zossimov.
the end. Of course they sought high and low for Nikolay;
they detained Dushkin
and searched his house; Dmitri, too, was
arrested; the Kolomensky
men also were turned inside out. And the
day before yesterday
they arrested Nikolay in a tavern at the end of
the town. He had
gone there, taken the silver cross off his neck and
asked for a dram
for it. They gave it to him. A few minutes afterwards
the woman went
to the cowshed, and through a crack in the wall she saw
in the stable adjoining
he had made a noose of his sash from the beam,
stood on a block
of wood, and was trying to put his neck in the noose.
The woman screeched
her hardest; people ran in. 'So that's what you
are up to!' 'Take
me,' he says, 'to such-and-such a police officer;
I'll confess everything.'
Well, they took him to that police
station- that is
here- with a suitable escort. So they asked him
this and that,
how old he is, 'twenty-two,' and so on. At the
you were working with Dmitri, didn't you see any one
on the staircase
at such-and-such a time?'- answer: 'To be sure
folks may have
gone up and down, but I did not notice them.' 'And
didn't you hear
anything, any noise, and so on?' 'We heard nothing
did you hear, Nikolay, that on the same day Widow
So-and-so and her
sister were murdered and robbed?' 'I never knew a
thing about it.
The first I heard of it was from Afanasy Pavlovitch
the day before
yesterday.' 'And where did you find the ear-rings?'
'I found them on
the pavement. "Why didn't you go to work with
Dmitri the other
day?' 'Because I was drinking.' 'And where were you
in such-and-such a place.' 'Why did you run away
'Because I was awfully frightened.' 'What were you
'That I should be accused.' 'How could you be
you felt free from guilt?' Now, Zossimov, you may not
believe me, that
question was put literally in those words. I know
it for a fact,
it was repeated to me exactly! What do you say to
there's the evidence."
"I am not
talking of the evidence now, I am talking about that
question, of their
own idea of themselves. Well, so they squeezed
and squeezed him
and he confessed: 'I did not find it in the street,
but in the flat
where I was painting with Dmitri.' 'And how was that?'
'Why, Dmitri and
I were painting there all day, and we were just
getting ready to
go, and Dmitri took a brush and painted my face,
and he ran off
and I after him. I ran after him, shouting my
hardest, and at
the bottom of the stairs I ran right against the
porter and some
gentlemen- and how many gentlemen were there I don't
remember. And the
porter swore at me, and the other porter swore, too,
and the porter's
wife came out, and swore at us, too; and a
into the entry with a lady, and he swore at us, too,
for Dmitri and
I lay right across the way. I got hold of Dmitri's hair
and knocked him
down and began beating him. And Dmitri, too, caught me
by the hair and
began beating me. But we did it all not for temper,
but in a friendly
way, for sport. And then Dmitri escaped and ran into
the street, and
I ran after him; but I did not catch him, and went
back to the flat
alone; I had to clear up my things. I began putting
expecting Dmitri to come, and there in the passage,
in the corner by
the door, I stepped on the box. I saw it lying
there wrapped up
in paper. I took off the paper, saw some little
hooks, undid them,
and in the box were the ear-rings....'"
door? Lying behind the door? Behind the door?"
suddenly, staring with a blank look of terror at
he slowly sat up on the sofa, leaning on his hand.
What's the matter? What's wrong?" Razumihin, too, got
up from his seat.
Raskolnikov answered faintly, turning to the wall. All
were silent for
have waked from a dream," Razumihin said at last, looking
Zossimov. The latter slightly shook his head.
on," said Zossimov. "What next?"
As soon as he saw the ear-rings, forgetting Dmitri and
took up his cap and ran to Dushkin and, as we know, got
a rouble from him.
He told a lie saying he found them in the street,
and went off drinking.
He keeps repeating his old story about the
murder: 'I knew
nothing of it, never heard of it till the day before
why didn't you come to the police till now?' 'I was
why did you try to hang yourself?' 'From anxiety.'
'That I should be accused of it.' Well, that's the
whole story. And
now what do you suppose they deduced from that?"
no supposing. There's a clue, such as it is, a fact.
You wouldn't have
your painter set free?"
simply taken him for the murderer. They haven't a
shadow of doubt."
You are excited. But what about the ear-rings? You
must admit that,
if on the very same day and hour ear-rings from the
old woman's box
have come into Nikolay's hands, they must have come
That's a good deal in such a case."
they get there? How did they get there?" cried Razumihin.
"How can you,
a doctor, whose duty it is to study man and who has more
any one else for studying human nature- how can you
fail to see the
character of the man in the whole story? Don't you see
at once that the
answers he has given in the examination are the
holy truth? They
came into his hand precisely as he has told us- he
stepped on the
box and picked it up."
truth! But didn't he own himself that he told a lie at
me, listen attentively. The porter and Koch and
the other porter and the wife of the first porter and
the woman who was
sitting in the porter's lodge and the man Kryukov,
who had just got
out of a cab at that minute and went in at the
entry with a lady
on his arm, that is eight or ten witnesses, agree
that Nikolay had
Dmitri on the ground, was lying on him beating him,
while Dmitri hung
on to his hair, beating him, too. They lay right
across the way,
blocking the thoroughfare. They were sworn at on all
sides while they
'like children' (the very words of the witnesses)
were falling over
one another, squealing, fighting and laughing with
the funniest faces,
and, chasing one another like children, they ran
into the street.
Now take careful note. The bodies upstairs were warm,
warm when they found them! If they, or Nikolay
alone, had murdered
them and broken open the boxes, or simply taken
part in the robbery,
allow me to ask you one question: do their
state of mind,
their squeals and giggles and childish scuffling at the
gate fit in with
axes, bloodshed, fiendish cunning, robbery? They'd
just killed them,
not five or ten minutes before, for the bodies
were still warm,
and at once, leaving the flat open, knowing that
people would go
there at once, flinging away their booty, they
rolled about like
children, laughing and attracting general attention.
And there are a
dozen witnesses to swear to that!"
it is strange! It's impossible, indeed, but..."
no buts. And if the ear-rings' being found in
at the very day and hour of the murder constitutes
an important piece
of circumstantial evidence against him- although
given by him accounts for it, and therefore it does
not tell seriously
against him- one must take into consideration the
facts which prove
him innocent, especially as they are facts that
cannot be denied.
And do you suppose, from the character of our
legal system, that
they will accept, or that they are in a position to
accept, this fact-
resting simply on a psychological impossibility- as
conclusively breaking down the circumstantial evidence
for the prosecution?
No, they won't accept it, they certainly won't,
because they found
the jewel-case and the man tried to hang himself,
'which he could
not have done if he hadn't felt guilty.' That's the
point, that's what
excites me, you must understand!"
"Oh, I see
you are excited! Wait a bit. I forgot to ask you; what
proof is there
that the box came from the old woman?"
proved," said Razumihin with apparent reluctance,
recognised the jewel-case and gave the name of the
owner, who proved
conclusively that it was his."
Now another point. Did any one see Nikolay at the
time that Koch
and Pestryakov were going upstairs at first, and is
there no evidence
see him," Razumihin answered with vexation. "That's
the worst of it.
Even Koch and Pestryakov did not notice them on their
way upstairs, though,
indeed, their evidence could not have been worth
much. They said
they saw the flat was open, and that there must be
work going on in
it, but they took no special notice and could not
there actually were men at work in it."
the only evidence for the defence is that they were
beating one another
and laughing. That constitutes a strong
How do you explain the facts yourself?"
"How do I
explain them? What is there to explain? It's clear. At any
rate, the direction
in which explanation is to be sought is clear, and
points to it. The real murderer dropped those
murderer was upstairs, locked in, when Koch and
at the door. Koch, like an ass, did not stay at the
door; so the murderer
popped out and ran down, too, for he had no
other way of escape.
He hid from Koch, Pestryakov and the porter in
the flat when Nikolay
and Dmitri had just run out of it. He stopped
there while the
porter and others were going upstairs, waited till
they were out of
hearing, and then went calmly downstairs at the
very minute when
Dmitri and Nikolay ran out into the street and
there was no one
in the entry; possibly he was seen, but not
are lots of people going in and out. He must have
dropped the ear-rings
out of his pocket when he stood behind the door,
and did not notice
he dropped them, because he had other things to
think of. The jewel-case
is a conclusive proof that he did stand
how I explain it."
No, my boy, you're too clever. That beats everything."
everything fits too well... it's too melodramatic."
Razumihin was exclaiming, but at that moment the door
opened and a personage
came in who was a stranger to all present.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science