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Existentialism
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881)
Crime and Punishment
translated by Constance Garnett


Fyodor Dostoevsky
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CHAPTER_SIX

Chapterundid

the parcel which Razumihin had brought in that evening and had tied up

again and began dressing. Strange to say, he seemed immediately to

have become perfectly calm; not a trace of his recent delirium nor

of the panic fear that had haunted him of late. It was the first

moment of a strange sudden calm. His movements were precise and

definite; a firm purpose was evident in them. "To-day, to-day," he

muttered to himself. He understood that he was still weak, but his

intense spiritual concentration gave him strength and self-confidence.

He hoped, moreover, that he would not fall down in the street. When he

had dressed in entirely new clothes, he looked at the money lying on

the table, and after a moment's thought put it in his pocket. It was

twenty-five roubles. He took also all the copper change from the ten

roubles spent by Razumihin on the clothes. Then he softly unlatched

the door, went out, slipped downstairs and glanced in at the open

kitchen door. Nastasya was standing with her back to him, blowing up

the landlady's samovar. She heard nothing. Who would have dreamed of

his going out, indeed? A minute later he was in the street.

It was nearly eight o'clock, the sun was setting. It was as stifling

as before, but he eagerly drank in the stinking, dusty town air. His

head felt rather dizzy; a sort of savage energy gleamed suddenly in

his feverish eyes and his wasted, pale and yellow face. He did not

know and did not think where he was going, he had one thought only

"that all this must be ended to-day, once for all, immediately; that

he would not return home without it, because he would not go on living

like that." How, with what to make an end? He had not an idea about

it, he did not even want to think of it. He drove away thought;

thought tortured him. All he knew, all he felt was that everything

must be changed "one way or another," he repeated with desperate and

immovable self-confidence and determination.

From old habit he took his usual walk in the direction of the Hay

Market. A dark-haired young man with a barrel organ was standing in

the road in front of a little general shop and was grinding out a very

sentimental song. He was accompanying a girl of fifteen, who stood

on the pavement in front of him. She was dressed up in a crinoline,

a mantle and a straw hat with a flame-coloured feather in it, all very

old and shabby. In a strong and rather agreeable voice, cracked and

coarsened by street singing, she sang in hope of getting a copper from

the shop. Raskolnikov joined two or three listeners, took out a five

copeck piece and put it in the girl's hand. She broke off abruptly

on a sentimental high note, shouted sharply to the organ grinder "Come

on," and both moved on to the next shop.

"Do you like street music?" said Raskolnikov, addressing a

middle-aged man standing idly by him. The man looked at him,

startled and wondering.

"I love to hear singing to a street organ," said Raskolnikov, and

his manner seemed strangely out of keeping with the subject- "I like

it on cold, dark, damp autumn evenings- they must be damp- when all

the passers-by have pale green, sickly faces, or better still when wet

snow is falling straight down, when there's no wind- you know what I

mean? and the street lamps shine through it..."

"I don't know.... Excuse me..." muttered the stranger, frightened by

the question and Raskolnikov's strange manner, and he crossed over

to the other side of the street.

Raskolnikov walked straight on and came out at the corner of the Hay

Market, where the huckster and his wife had talked with Lizaveta;

but they were not there now. Recognising the place, he stopped, looked

round and addressed a young fellow in a red shirt who stood gaping

before a corn chandler's shop.

"Isn't there a man who keeps a booth with his wife at this corner?"

"All sorts of people keep booths here," answered the young man,

glancing superciliously at Raskolnikov.

"What's his name?"

"What he was christened."

"Aren't you a Zaraisky man, too? Which province?"

The young man looked at Raskolnikov again.

"It's not a province, your excellency, but a district. Graciously

forgive me, your excellency!"

"Is that a tavern at the top there?"

"Yes, it's an eating-house and there's a billiard-room and you'll

find princesses there too.... La-la!"

Raskolnikov crossed the square. In that corner there was a dense

crowd of peasants. He pushed his way into the thickest part of it,

looking at the faces. He felt an unaccountable inclination to enter

into conversation with people. But the peasants took no notice of him;

they were all shouting in groups together. He stood and thought a

little and took a turning to the right in the direction of V.

He had often crossed that little street which turns at an angle,

leading from the market-place to Sadovy Street. Of late he had often

felt drawn to wander about this district, when he felt depressed, that

he might feel more so.

Now he walked along, thinking of nothing. At that point there is a

great block of buildings, entirely let out in dram shops and

eating-houses; women were continually running in and out,

bare-headed and in their indoor clothes. Here and there they

gathered in groups, on the pavement, especially about the entrances to

various festive establishments in the lower storeys. From one of these

a loud din, sounds of singing, the tinkling of a guitar and shouts

of merriment, floated into the street. A crowd of women were thronging

round the door; some were sitting on the steps, others on the

pavement, others were standing talking. A drunken soldier, smoking a

cigarette, was walking near them in the road, swearing; he seemed to

be trying to find his way somewhere, but had forgotten where. One

beggar was quarrelling with another, and a man dead drunk was lying

right across the road. Raskolnikov joined the throng of women, who

were talking in husky voices. They were bare-headed and wore cotton

dresses and goatskin shoes. There were women of forty and some not

more than seventeen; almost all had blackened eyes.

He felt strangely attracted by the singing and all the noise and

uproar in the saloon below.... Some one could be heard within

dancing frantically, marking time with his heels to the sounds of

the guitar and of a thin falsetto voice singing a jaunty air. He

listened intently, gloomily and dreamily, bending down at the entrance

and peeping inquisitively in from the pavement.

-

"Oh, my handsome soldier

Don't beat me for nothing,"

-

trilled the thin voice of the singer. Raskolnikov felt a great

desire to make out what he was singing, as though everything

depended on that.

"Shall I go in?" he thought. "They are laughing. From drink. Shall I

get drunk?"

"Won't you come in?" one of the women asked him. Her voice was still

musical and less thick than the others, she was young and not

repulsive- the only one of the group.

"Why, she's pretty," he said, drawing himself up and looking at her.

She smiled, much pleased at the compliment.

"You're very nice looking yourself," she said.

"Isn't he thin though!" observed another woman in a deep bass. "Have

you just come out of a hospital?"

"They're all generals' daughters, it seems, but they have all snub

noses," interposed a tipsy peasant with a sly smile on his face,

wearing a loose coat. "See how jolly they are."

"Go along with you!"

"I'll go, sweetie!"

And he darted down into the saloon below. Raskolnikov moved on.

"I say, sir," the girl shouted after him.

"What is it?"

She hesitated.

"I'll always be pleased to spend an hour with you, kind gentleman,

but now I feel shy. Give me six copecks for a drink, there's a nice

young man!"

Raskolnikov gave her what came first- fifteen copecks.

"Ah, what a good-natured gentleman!"

"What's your name?"

"Ask for Duclida."

"Well, that's too much," one of the women observed, shaking her head

at Duclida. "I don't know how you can ask like that. I believe I

should drop with shame...."

Raskolnikov looked curiously at the speaker. She was a pock-marked

wench of thirty, covered with bruises, with her upper lip swollen. She

made her criticism quietly and earnestly. "Where is it," thought

Raskolnikov. "Where is it I've read that some one condemned to death

says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on

some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand,

and the ocean, everlasting darkness, everlasting solitude, everlasting

tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of

space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live

so than to die at once! Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever

it may be!... How true it is! Good God, how true! Man is a vile

creature!... And vile is he who calls him vile for that," he added a

moment later.

He went into another street. "Bah, the Palais de Crystal!

Razumihin was just talking of the Palais de Crystal. But what on earth

was it I wanted? Yes, the newspapers.... Zossimov said he'd read it in

the papers. Have you the papers?" he asked, going into a very spacious

and positively clean restaurant, consisting of several rooms, which

were however rather empty. Two or three people were drinking tea,

and in a room further away were sitting four men drinking champagne.

Raskolnikov fancied that Zametov was one of them, but he could not

be sure at that distance. "What if it is!" he thought.

"Will you have vodka?" asked the waiter.

"Give me some tea and bring me the papers, the old ones for the last

five days and I'll give you something."

"Yes, sir, here's to-day's. No vodka?"

The old newspapers and the tea were brought. Raskolnikov sat down

and began to look through them.

"Oh, damn... these are the items of intelligence. An accident on a

staircase, spontaneous combustion of a shopkeeper from alcohol, a fire

in Peski... a fire in the Petersburg quarter... another fire in the

Petersburg quarter... and another fire in the Petersburg quarter...

Ah, here it is!" He found at last what he was seeking and began to

read it. The lines danced before his eyes, but he read it all and

began eagerly seeking later additions in the following numbers. His

hands shook with nervous impatience as he turned the sheets.

Suddenly some one sat down beside him at his table. He looked up, it

was the head clerk Zametov, looking just the same, with the rings on

his fingers and the watch-chain, with the curly, black hair, parted

and pomaded, with the smart waistcoat, rather shabby coat and doubtful

linen. He was in a good humour, at least he was smiling very gaily and

good-humouredly. His dark face was rather flushed from the champagne

he had drunk.

"What, you here?" he began in surprise, speaking as though he'd

known him all his life. "Why, Razumihin told me only yesterday you

were unconscious. How strange! And do you know I've been to see you?"

Raskolnikov knew he would come up to him. He laid aside the papers

and turned to Zametov. There was a smile on his lips, and a new

shade of irritable impatience was apparent in that smile.

"I know you have," he answered. "I've heard it. You looked for my

sock.... And you know Razumihin has lost his heart to you? He says

you've been with him to Luise Ivanovna's, you know the woman you tried

to befriend, for whom you winked to the Explosive Lieutenant and he

would not understand. Do you remember? How could he fail to

understand- it was quite clear, wasn't it?"

"What a hot head he is!"

"The explosive one?"

"No, your friend Razumihin."

"You must have a jolly life, Mr. Zametov; entrance free to the

most agreeable places. Who's been pouring champagne into you just

now?"

"We've just been... having a drink together.... You talk about

pouring it into me!"

"By way of a fee! You profit by everything!" Raskolnikov laughed,

"it's all right, my dear boy," he added, slapping Zametov on the

shoulder. "I am not speaking from temper, but in a friendly way, for

sport, as that workman of yours said when he was scuffling with

Dmitri, in the case of the old woman...."

"How do you know about it?"

"Perhaps I know more about it than you do."

"How strange you are.... I am sure you are still very unwell. You

oughtn't to have come out."

"Oh, do I seem strange to you?"

"Yes. What are you doing, reading the papers?"

"Yes."

"There's a lot about the fires."

"No, I am not reading about the fires." Here he looked

mysteriously at Zametov; his lips were twisted again in a mocking

smile. "No, I am not reading about the fires," he went on, winking

at Zametov. "But confess now, my dear fellow, you're awfully anxious

to know what I am reading about?"

"I am not in the least. Mayn't I ask a question? Why do you keep

on... ?"

"Listen, you are a man of culture and education?"

"I was in the sixth class at the gymnasium," said Zametov with

some dignity.

"Sixth class! Ah, my cocksparrow! With your parting and your

rings- you are a gentleman of fortune. Foo, what a charming boy!" Here

Raskolnikov broke into a nervous laugh right in Zametov's face. The

latter drew back, more amazed than offended.

"Foo, how strange you are!" Zametov repeated very seriously. "I

can't help thinking you are still delirious."

"I am delirious? You are fibbing, my cocksparrow! So I am strange?

You find me curious, do you?"

"Yes, curious."

"Shall I tell you what I was reading about, what I was looking

for? See what a lot of papers I've made them bring me. Suspicious,

eh?"

"Well, what is it?"

"You prick up your ears?"

"How do you mean- prick up my ears?"

"I'll explain that afterwards, but now, my boy, I declare to

you... no, better 'I confess'... No, that's not right either; 'I

make a deposition and you take it.' I depose that I was reading,

that I was looking and searching...." he screwed up his eyes and

paused. "I was searching- and came here on purpose to do it- for

news of the murder of the old pawnbroker woman," he articulated at

last, almost in a whisper, bringing his face exceedingly close to

the face of Zametov. Zametov looked at him steadily, without moving or

drawing his face away. What struck Zametov afterwards as the strangest

part of it all was that silence followed for exactly a minute, and

that they gazed at one another all the while.

"What if you have been reading about it?" he cried at last,

perplexed and impatient. "That's no business of mine! What of it?"

"The same old woman," Raskolnikov went on in the same whisper, not

heeding Zametov's explanation, "about whom you were talking in the

police office, you remember, when I fainted. Well, do you understand

now?"

"What do you mean? Understand... what?" Zametov brought out,

almost alarmed.

Raskolnikov's set and earnest face was suddenly transformed, and

he suddenly went off into the same nervous laugh as before, as

though utterly unable to restrain himself. And in one flash he

recalled with extraordinary vividness of sensation a moment in the

recent past, that moment when he stood with the axe behind the door,

while the latch trembled and the men outside swore and shook it, and

he had a sudden desire to shout at them, to swear at them, to put

out his tongue at them, to mock them, to laugh, and laugh, and laugh!

"You are either mad, or..." began Zametov, and he broke off, as

though stunned by the idea that had suddenly flashed into his mind.

"Or? Or what? What? Come, tell me!"

"Nothing," said Zametov, getting angry, "it's all nonsense!"

Both were silent. After his sudden fit of laughter Raskolnikov

became suddenly thoughtful and melancholy. He put his elbow on the

table and leaned his head on his hand. He seemed to have completely

forgotten Zametov. The silence lasted for some time.

"Why don't you drink your tea? It's getting cold," said Zametov.

"What! Tea? Oh, yes..." Raskolnikov sipped the glass, put a morsel

of bread in his mouth and, suddenly looking at Zametov, seemed to

remember everything and pulled himself together. At the same moment

his face resumed its original mocking expression. He went on

drinking tea.

"There have been a great many of these crimes lately," said Zametov.

"Only the other day I read in the Moscow News that a whole gang of

false coiners had been caught in Moscow. It was a regular society.

They used to forge tickets!"

"Oh, but it was a long time ago! I read about it a month ago,"

Raskolnikov answered calmly. "So you consider them criminals?" he

added smiling.

"Of course they are criminals."

"They? They are children, simpletons, not criminals! Why, half a

hundred people meeting for such an object- what an idea! Three would

be too many, and then they want to have more faith in one other than

in themselves! One has only to blab in his cups and it all

collapses. Simpletons! They engaged untrustworthy people to change the

notes- what a thing to trust to a casual stranger! Well, let us

suppose that these simpletons succeed and each makes a million, and

what follows for the rest of their lives? Each is dependent on the

others for the rest of his life! Better hang oneself at once! And they

did not know how to change the notes either; the man who changed the

notes took five thousand roubles, and his hands trembled. He counted

the first four thousand, but did not count the fifth thousand- he

was in such a hurry to get the money into his pocket and run away.

Of course he roused suspicion. And the whole thing came to a crash

through one fool! Is it possible?"

"That his hands trembled?" observed Zametov, "yes, that's quite

possible. That I feel quite sure is possible. Sometimes one can't

stand things."

"Can't stand that?"

"Why, could you stand it then? No, I couldn't. For the sake of a

hundred roubles to face such a terrible experience! To go with false

notes into a bank where it's their business to spot that sort of

thing! No, I should not have the face to do it. Would you?"

Raskolnikov had an intense desire again "to put his tongue out."

Shivers kept running down his spine.

"I should do it quite differently," Raskolnikov began. "This is

how I would change the notes: I'd count the first thousand three or

four times backwards and forwards, look at every note and then I'd set

to the second thousand; I'd count that half way through and then

hold some fifty rouble note to the light, then turn it, then hold it

to the light again- to see whether it was a good one? 'I am afraid,' I

would say. 'A relation of mine lost twenty-five roubles the other

day through a false note,' and then I'd tell them the whole story. And

after I began counting the third, 'no, excuse me,' I would say, 'I

fancy I made a mistake in the seventh hundred in that second thousand,

I am not sure.' And so I would give up the third thousand and go

back to the second and so on to the end. And when I had finished,

I'd pick out one from the fifth and one from the second thousand and

take them again to the light and ask again 'change them, please,'

and put the clerk into such a stew that he would not know how to get

rid of me. When I'd finished and had gone out, I'd come back, 'No,

excuse me,' and ask for some explanation. That's how I'd do it."

"Foo, what terrible things you say!" said Zametov, laughing. "But

all that is only talk. I dare say when it came to deeds you'd make a

slip. I believe that even a practised, desperate man cannot always

reckon on himself, much less you and I. To take an example near

home- that old woman murdered in our district. The murderer seems to

have been a desperate fellow, he risked everything in open daylight,

was saved by a miracle- but his hands shook, too. He did not succeed

in robbing the place, he' couldn't stand it. That was clear from

the..."

Raskolnikov seemed offended.

"Clear? Why don't you catch him then?" he cried, maliciously

gibing at Zametov.

"Well, they will catch him."

"Who? You? Do you suppose you could catch him? You've a tough job! A

great point for you is whether a man is spending money or not. If he

had no money and suddenly begins spending, he must be the man. So that

any child can mislead you."

"The fact is they always do that, though," answered Zametov. "A

man will commit a clever murder at the risk of his life and then at

once he goes drinking in a tavern. They are caught spending money,

they are not all as cunning as you are. You wouldn't go to a tavern,

of course?"

Raskolnikov frowned and looked steadily at Zametov.

"You seem to enjoy the subject and would like to know how I should

behave in that case, too?" he asked with displeasure.

"I should like to," Zametov answered firmly and seriously.

Somewhat too much earnestness began to appear in his words and looks.

"Very much?"

"Very much!"

"All right then. This is how I should behave," Raskolnikov began,

again bringing his face close to Zametov's, again staring at him and

speaking in a whisper, so that the latter positively shuddered.

"This is what I should have done. I should have taken the money and

jewels, I should have walked out of there and have gone straight to

some deserted place with fences round it and scarcely any one to be

seen, some kitchen garden or place of that sort. I should have

looked out beforehand some stone weighing a hundredweight or more

which had been lying in the corner from the time the house was

built. I would lift that stone- there would be sure to be a hollow

under it, and I would put the jewels and money in that hole. Then

I'd roll the stone back so that it would look as before, would press

it down with my foot and walk away. And for a year or two, three

maybe, I would not touch it. And, well, they could search! There'd

be no trace."

"You are a madman," said Zametov, and for some reason he too spoke

in a whisper, and moved away from Raskolnikov, whose eyes were

glittering. He had turned fearfully pale and his upper lip was

twitching and quivering. He bent down as close as possible to Zametov,

and his lips began to move without uttering a word. This lasted for

half a minute; he knew what he was doing, but could not restrain

himself. The terrible word trembled on his lips, like the latch on

that door; in another moment it will break out, in another moment he

will let it go, he will speak out.

"And what if it was I who murdered the old woman and Lizaveta?" he

said suddenly and- realised what he had done.

Zametov looked wildly at him and turned white as the tablecloth. His

face wore a contorted smile.

"But is it possible?" he brought out faintly. Raskolnikov looked

wrathfully at him.

"Own up that you believed it, yes, you did?"

"Not a bit of it, I believe it less than ever now," Zametov cried

hastily.

"I've caught my cocksparrow! So you did believe it before, if now

you believe less than ever?"

"Not at all," cried Zametov, obviously embarrassed. "Have you been

frightening me so as to lead up to this?"

"You don't believe it then? What were you talking about behind my

back when I went out of the police office? And why did the Explosive

Lieutenant question me after I fainted? Hey, there," he shouted to the

waiter, getting up and taking his cap, "how much?"

"Thirty copecks," the latter replied, running up.

"And there is twenty copecks for vodka. See what a lot of money!" he

held out his shaking hand to Zametov with notes in it. "Red notes

and blue, twenty-five roubles. Where did I get them? And where did

my new clothes come from? You know I had not a copeck. You've

cross-examined my landlady, I'll be bound.... Well, that's enough!

Assez cause! Till we meet again!"

He went out, trembling all over from a sort of wild hysterical

sensation, in which there was an element of insufferable rapture.

Yet he was gloomy and terribly tired. His face was twisted as after

a fit. His fatigue increased rapidly. Any shock, any irritating

sensation stimulated and revived his energies at once, but his

strength failed as quickly when the stimulus was removed.

Zametov, left alone, sat for a long time in the same place,

plunged in thought. Raskolnikov had unwittingly worked a revolution in

his brain on a certain point and had made up his mind for him

conclusively.

"Ilya Petrovitch is a blockhead," he decided.

Raskolnikov had hardly opened the door of the restaurant when he

stumbled against Razumihin on the steps. They did not see each other

till they almost knocked against each other. For a moment they stood

looking each other up and down. Razumihin was greatly astounded,

then anger, real anger gleamed fiercely in his eyes.

"So here you are!" he shouted at the top of his voice- "you ran away

from your bed! And here I've been looking for you under the sofa! We

went up to the garret. I almost beat Nastasya on your account. And

here he is after all. Rodya! What is the meaning of it? Tell me the

whole truth! Confess! Do you hear?"

"It means that I'm sick to death of you all and I want to be alone,"

Raskolnikov answered calmly.

"Alone? When you are not able to walk, when your face is as white as

a sheet and you are gasping for breath! Idiot!... What have you been

doing in the Palais de Crystal? Own up at once!"

"Let me go!" said Raskolnikov and tried to pass him. This was too

much for Razumihin; he gripped him firmly by the shoulder.

"Let you go? You dare tell me to let you go? Do you know what I'll

do with you directly? I'll pick you up, tie you up in a bundle,

carry you home under my arm and lock you up!"

"Listen, Razumihin," Raskolnikov began quietly, apparently calm-

"can't you see that I don't want your benevolence? A strange desire

you have to shower benefits on a man who... curses them, who feels

them a burden in fact! Why did you seek me out at the beginning of

my illness? Maybe I was very glad to die. Didn't I tell you plainly

enough to-day that you were torturing me, that I was... sick of you!

You seem to want to torture people! I assure you that all that is

seriously hindering my recovery, because it's continually irritating

me. You saw Zossimov went away just now to avoid irritating me. You

leave me alone too, for goodness' sake! What right have you, indeed,

to keep me by force? Don't you see that I am in possession of all my

faculties now? How, can I persuade you not to persecute me with your

kindness? I may be ungrateful, I may be mean, only let me be, for

God's sake, let me be! Let me be, let me be!"

He began calmly, gloating beforehand over the venomous phrases he

was about to utter, but finished, panting for breath, in a frenzy,

as he had been with Luzhin.

Razumihin stood a moment, thought and let his hand drop.

"Well, go to hell then," he said gently and thoughtfully. "Stay," he

roared, as Raskolnikov was about to move. "Listen to me. Let me tell

you, that you are all a set of babbling, posing idiots! If you've

any little trouble you brood over it like a hen over an egg. And you

are plagiarists even in that! There isn't a sign of independent life

in you! You are made of spermaceti ointment and you've lymph in your

veins instead of blood. I don't believe in any one of you! In any

circumstances the first thing for all of you is to be unlike a human

being! Stop!" he cried with redoubled fury, noticing that

Raskolnikov was again making a movement- "hear me out! You know I'm

having a house-warming this evening, I dare say they've arrived by

now, but I left my uncle there- I just ran in- to receive the

guests. And if you weren't a fool, a common fool, a perfect fool, if

you were an original instead of a translation... you see, Rodya, I

recognise you're a clever fellow, but you're a fool!- and if you

weren't a fool you'd come round to me this evening instead of

wearing out your boots in the street! Since you have gone out, there's

no help for it! I'd give you a snug easy chair, my landlady has one...

a cup of tea, company.... Or you could lie on the sofa- any way you

would be with us.... Zossimov will be there too. Will you come?"

"No."

"R-rubbish!" Razumihin shouted, out of patience. "How do you know?

You can't answer for yourself! You don't know anything about it....

Thousands of times I've fought tooth and nail with people and run back

to them afterwards.... One feels ashamed and goes back to a man! So

remember, Potchinkov's house on the third storey...."

"Why, Mr. Razumihin, I do believe you'd let anybody beat you from

sheer benevolence."

"Beat? Whom? Me? I'd twist his nose off at the mere idea!

Potchinkov's house, 47, Babushkin's flat...."

"I shall not come, Razumihin." Raskolnikov turned and walked away.

"I bet you will," Razumihin shouted after him. "I refuse to know you

if you don't! Stay, hey, is Zametov in there?"

"Yes."

"Did you see him?"

"Yes."

"Talked to him?"

"Yes."

"What about? Confound you, don't tell me then. Potchinkov's house,

47, Babushkin's flat, remember!"

Raskolnikov walked on and turned the corner into Sadovy Street.

Razumihin looked after him thoughtfully. Then with a wave of his

hand he went into the house but stopped short of the stairs.

"Confound it," he went on almost aloud. "He talked sensibly but

yet... I am a fool! As if madmen didn't talk sensibly! And this was

just what Zossimov seemed afraid of." He struck his finger on his

forehead. "What if... how could I let him go off alone? He may drown

himself.... Ach, what a blunder! I can't." And he ran back to overtake

Raskolnikov, but there was no trace of him. With a curse he returned

with rapid steps to the Palais de Crystal to question Zametov.

Raskolnikov walked straight to X__ Bridge, stood in the middle,

and leaning both elbows on the rail stared into the distance. On

parting with Razumihin, he felt so much weaker that he could

scarcely reach this place. He longed to sit or lie down somewhere in

the street. Bending over the water, he gazed mechanically at the

last pink flush of the sunset, at the row of houses growing dark in

the gathering twilight, at one distant attic window on the left

bank, flashing as though on fire in the last rays of the setting

sun, at the darkening water of the canal, and the water seemed to

catch his attention. At last red circles flashed before his eyes,

the houses seemed moving, the passers-by, the canal banks, the

carriages, all danced before his eyes. Suddenly he started, saved

again perhaps from swooning by an uncanny and hideous sight. He became

aware of some one standing on the right side of him; he looked and saw

a tall woman with a kerchief on her head, with a long, yellow,

wasted face and red sunken eyes. She was looking straight at him,

but obviously she saw nothing and recognized no one. Suddenly she

leaned her right hand on the parapet, lifted her right leg over the

railing, then her left and threw herself into the canal. The filthy

water parted and swallowed up its victim for a moment, but an

instant later the drowning woman floated to the surface, moving slowly

with the current, her head and legs in the water, her skirt inflated

like a balloon over her back.

"A woman drowning! A woman drowning!" shouted dozens of voices;

people ran up, both banks were thronged with spectators, on the bridge

people crowded about Raskolnikov, pressing up behind him.

"Mercy on it! it's our Afrosinya!" a woman cried tearfully close by.

"Mercy! save her! kind people, pull her out!"

"A boat, a boat" was shouted in the crowd. But there was no need

of a boat; a policeman ran down the steps to the canal, threw off

his great coat and his boots and rushed into the water. It was easy to

reach her; she floated within a couple of yards from the steps, he

caught hold of her clothes with his right hand and with his left

seized a pole which a comrade held out to him; the drowning woman

was pulled out at once. They laid her on the granite pavement of the

embankment. She soon recovered consciousness, raised her head, sat

up and began sneezing and coughing, stupidly wiping her wet dress with

her hands. She said nothing.

"She's drunk herself out of her senses," the same woman's voice

wailed at her side. "Out of her senses. The other day she tried to

hang herself, we cut her down. I ran out to the shop just now, left my

little girl to look after her- and here she's in trouble again! A

neighbour, gentleman neighbour, we live close by, the second house

from the end, see yonder...."

The crowd broke up. The police still remained round the woman,

some one mentioned the police station.... Raskolnikov looked on with a

strange sensation of indifference and apathy. He felt disgusted.

"No, that's loathsome... water... it's not good enough," he muttered

to himself. "Nothing will come of it," he added, "no use to wait. What

about the police office...? And why isn't Zametov at the police

office? The police office is open till ten o'clock...." He turned

his back to the railing and looked about him.

"Very well then!" he said resolutely; he moved from the bridge and

walked in the direction of the police office. His heart felt hollow

and empty. He did not want to think. Even his depression had passed,

there was not a trace now of the energy with which he had set out

"to make an end of it all." Complete apathy had succeeded to it.

"Well, it's a way out of it," he thought, walking slowly and

listlessly along the canal bank. "Anyway I'll make an end, for I

want to.... But is it a way out? What does it matter! There'll be

the square yard of space- ha! But what an end! Is it really the end?

Shall I tell them or not? Ah... damn! How tired I am! If I could

find somewhere to sit or lie down soon! What I am most ashamed of is

its being so stupid. But I don't care about that either! What

idiotic ideas come into one's head."

To reach the police office he had to go straight forward and take

the second turning to the left. It was only a few paces away. But at

the first turning he stopped and, after a minute's thought, turned

into a side street and went two streets out of his way, possibly

without any object, or possibly to delay a minute and gain time. He

walked, looking at the ground; suddenly some one seemed to whisper

in his ear; he lifted his head and saw that he was standing at the

very gate of the house. He had not passed it, he had not been near

it since that evening. An overwhelming unaccountable prompting drew

him on. He went into the house, passed through the gateway, then

into the first entrance on the right, and began mounting the

familiar staircase to the fourth storey. The narrow, steep staircase

was very dark. He stopped at each landing and looked round him with

curiosity; on the first landing the framework of the window had been

taken out. "That wasn't so then," he thought. Here was the flat on the

second storey where Nikolay and Dmitri had been working. "It's shut up

and the door newly painted. So it's to let." Then the third storey and

the fourth. "Here!" He was perplexed to find the door of the flat wide

open. There were men there, he could hear voices; he had not

expected that. After brief hesitation he mounted the last stairs and

went into the flat. It, too, was being done up; there were workmen

in it. This seemed to amaze him; he somehow fancied that he would find

everything as he left it, even perhaps the corpses in the same

places on the floor. And now, bare walls, no furniture; it seemed

strange. He walked to the window and sat down on the window sill.

There were two workmen, both young fellows, but one much younger

than the other. They were papering the walls with a new white paper

covered with lilac flowers, instead of the old, dirty, yellow one.

Raskolnikov for some reason felt horribly annoyed by this. He looked

at the new paper with dislike, as though he felt sorry to have it

all so changed. The workmen had obviously stayed beyond their time and

now they were hurriedly rolling up their paper and getting ready to go

home. They took no notice of Raskolnikov's coming in; they were

talking. Raskolnikov folded his arms and listened.

"She comes to me in the morning," said the elder to the younger,

"very early, all dressed up. 'Why are you preening and prinking?' says

I. 'I am ready to do anything to please you, Tit Vassilitch!' That's a

way of going on! And she dressed up like a regular fashion book!"

"And what is a fashion book?" the younger one asked. He obviously

regarded the other as an authority.

"A fashion book is a lot of pictures, coloured, and they come to the

tailors here every Saturday, by post from abroad, to show folks how to

dress, the male sex as well as the female. They're pictures. The

gentlemen are generally wearing fur coats and for the ladies'

fluffles, they're beyond anything you can fancy."

"There's nothing you can't find in Petersburg," the younger cried

enthusiastically, "except father and mother, there's everything!"

"Except them, there's everything to be found, my boy," the elder

declared sententiously.

Raskolnikov got up and walked into the other room where the strong

box, the bed, and the chest of drawers had been; the room seemed to

him very tiny without furniture in it. The paper was the same; the

paper in the corner showed where the case of ikons had stood. He

looked at it and went to the window. The elder workman looked at him

askance.

"What do you want?" he asked suddenly.

Instead of answering Raskolnikov went into the passage and pulled

the bell. The same bell, the same cracked note. He rang it a second

and a third time; he listened and remembered. The hideous and

agonisingly fearful sensation he had felt then began to come back more

and more vividly. He shuddered at every ring and it gave him more

and more satisfaction.

"Well, what do you want? Who are you?" the workman shouted, going

out to him. Raskolnikov went inside again.

"I want to take a flat," he said. "I am looking round."

"It's not the time to look at rooms at night! and you ought to

come up with the porter."

"The floors have been washed, will they be painted?" Raskolnikov

went on. "Is there no blood?"

"What blood?"

"Why, the old woman and her sister were murdered here. There was a

perfect pool there."

"But who are you?" the workman cried, uneasy.

"Who am I?"

"Yes."

"You want to know? Come to the police station, I'll tell you."

The workmen looked at him in amazement.

"It's time for us to go, we are late. Come along, Alyoshka. We

must lock up," said the elder workman.

"Very well, come along," said Raskolnikov indifferently, and going

out first, he went slowly downstairs. "Hey, porter," he cried in the

gateway.

At the entrance several people were standing, staring at the

passers-by; the two porters, a peasant woman, a man in a long coat and

a few others. Raskolnikov went straight up to them.

"What do you want?" asked one of the porters.

"Have you been to the police office?"

"I've just been there. What do you want?"

"Is it open?"

"Of course."

"Is the assistant there?"

"He was there for a time. What do you want?"

Raskolnikov made no reply, but stood beside them lost in thought.

"He's been to look at the flat," said the elder workman, coming

forward.

"Which flat?"

"Where we are at work. 'Why have you washed away the blood?' says

he. 'There has been a murder here,' says he, 'and I've come to take

it.' And he began ringing at the bell, all but broke it. 'Come to

the police station,' says he. 'I'll tell you everything there.' He

wouldn't leave us."

The porter looked at Raskolnikov, frowning and perplexed.

"Who are you?" he shouted as impressively as he could.

"I am Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, formerly a student, I live

in Shil's house, not far from here, flat Number 14, ask the porter, he

knows me." Raskolnikov said all this in a lazy, dreamy voice, not

turning round, but looking intently into the darkening street.

"Why have you been to the flat?"

"To look at it."

"What is there to look at?"

"Take him straight to the police station," the man in the long

coat jerked in abruptly.

Raskolnikov looked intently at him over his shoulder and said in the

same slow, lazy tone:

"Come along."

"Yes, take him," the man went on more confidently. "Why was he going

into that, what's in his mind, eh?"

"He's not drunk, but God knows what's the matter with him," muttered

the workman.

"But what do you want?" the porter shouted again, beginning to get

angry in earnest- "Why are you hanging about?"

"You funk the police station then?" said Raskolnikov jeeringly.

"How funk it? Why are you hanging about?"

"He's a rogue!" shouted the peasant woman.

"Why waste time talking to him?" cried the other porter, a huge

peasant in a full open coat and with keys on his belt. "Get along!

He is a rogue and no mistake. Get along!"

And seizing Raskolnikov by the shoulder he flung him into the

street. He lurched forward, but recovered his footing, looked at the

spectators in silence and walked away.

"Strange man!" observed the workman.

"There are strange folks about nowadays," said the woman.

"You should have taken him to the police station all the same," said

the man in the long coat.

"Better have nothing to do with him," decided the big porter. "A

regular rogue! Just what he wants, you may be sure, but once take

him up, you won't get rid of him.... We know the sort!"

"Shall I go there or not?" thought Raskolnikov, standing in the

middle of the thoroughfare at the cross roads, and he looked about

him, as though expecting from some one a decisive word. But no sound

came, all was dead and silent like the stones on which he walked, dead

to him, to him alone.... All at once at the end of the street, two

hundred yards away, in the gathering dusk he saw a crowd and heard

talk and shouts. In the middle of the crowd stood a carriage.... A

light gleamed in the middle of the street. "What is it?" Raskolnikov

turned to the right and went up to the crowd. He seemed to clutch at

everything and smiled coldly when he recognised it, for he had fully

made up his mind to go to the police station and knew that it would

all soon be over.


Ce qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé. Nietzsche, Gay Science

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