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


Fyodor Dostoevsky
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Chapter Seven

-

AN ELEGANT carriage stood in the middle of the road with a pair of

spirited grey horses; there was no one in it, and the coachman had got

off his box and stood by; the horses were being held by the

bridle... A mass of people had gathered round, the police standing

in front. One of them held a lighted lantern which he was turning on

something lying close to the wheels. Every one was talking,

shouting, exclaiming; the coachman seemed at a loss and kept

repeating:

"What a misfortune! Good Lord, what a misfortune!"

Raskolnikov pushed his way in as far as he could, and succeeded at

last in seeing the object of the commotion and interest. On the ground

a man who had been run over lay apparently unconscious, and covered

with blood; he was very badly dressed, but not like a workman. Blood

was flowing from his head and face; his face was crushed, mutilated

and disfigured. He was evidently badly injured.

"Merciful heaven!" wailed the coachman, "what more could I do? If

I'd been driving fast or had not shouted to him, but I was going

quietly, not in a hurry. Every one could see I was going along just

like everybody else. A drunken man can't walk straight, we all

know.... I saw him crossing the street, staggering and almost falling.

I shouted again and a second and a third time, then I held the

horses in, but he fell straight under their feet! Either he did it

on purpose or he was very tipsy.... The horses are young and ready

to take fright... they started, he screamed... that made them worse.

That's how it happened!"

"That's just how it was," a voice in the crowd confirmed.

"He shouted, that's true, he shouted three times," another voice

declared.

"Three times it was, we all heard it," shouted a third.

But the coachman was not very much distressed and frightened. It was

evident that the carriage belonged to a rich and important person

who was awaiting it somewhere; the police, of course, were in no

little anxiety to avoid upsetting his arrangements. All they had to do

was to take the injured man to the police station and the hospital. No

one knew his name.

Meanwhile Raskolnikov had squeezed in and stooped closer over him.

The lantern suddenly lighted up the unfortunate man's face. He

recognised him.

"I know him! I know him!" he shouted, pushing to the front. "It's

a government clerk retired from the service, Marmeladov. He lives

close by in Kozel's house.... Make haste for a doctor! I will pay,

see." He pulled money out of his pocket and showed it to the

policeman. He was in violent agitation.

The police were glad that they had found out who the man was.

Raskolnikov gave his own name and address, and, as earnestly as if

it had been his father, he besought the police to carry the

unconscious Marmeladov to his lodging at once.

"Just here, three houses away," he said eagerly, "the house

belongs to Kozel, a rich German. He was going home, no doubt drunk.

I know him, he is a drunkard. He has a family there, a wife, children,

he has one daughter.... It will take time to take him to the hospital,

and there is sure to be a doctor in the house. I'll pay, I'll pay!

At least he will be looked after at home... they will help him at

once. But he'll die before you get him to the hospital." He managed to

slip something unseen into the policeman's hand. But the thing was

straightforward and legitimate, and in any case help was closer

here. They raised the injured man; people volunteered to help.

Kozel's house was thirty yards away. Raskolnikov walked behind,

carefully holding Marmeladov's head and showing the way.

"This way, this way! We must take him upstairs head foremost. Turn

round! I'll pay, I'll make it worth your while," he muttered.

Katerina Ivanovna had just begun, as she always did at every free

moment, walking to and fro in her little room from window to stove and

back again, with her arms folded across her chest, talking to

herself and coughing. Of late she had begun to talk more than ever

to her eldest girl, Polenka, a child of ten, who, though there was

much she did not understand, understood very well that her mother

needed her, and so always watched her with her big clever eyes and

strove her utmost to appear to understand. This time Polenka was

undressing her little brother, who had been unwell all day and was

going to bed. The boy was waiting for her to take off his shirt, which

had to be washed at night. He was sitting straight and motionless on a

chair, with a silent, serious face, with his legs stretched out

straight before him- heels together and toes turned out.

He was listening to what his mother was saying to his sister,

sitting perfectly still with pouting lips and wide-open eyes, just

as all good little boys have to sit when they are undressed to go to

bed. A little girl, still younger, dressed literally in rags, stood at

the screen, waiting for her turn. The door on to the stairs was open

to relieve them a little from the clouds of tobacco smoke which

floated in from the other rooms and brought on long terrible fits of

coughing in the poor, consumptive woman. Katerina Ivanovna seemed to

have grown even thinner during that week and the hectic flush on her

face was brighter than ever.

"You wouldn't believe, you can't imagine, Polenka," she said,

walking about the room, "what a happy luxurious life we had in my

papa's house and how this drunkard has brought me, and will bring

you all, to ruin! Papa was a civil colonel and only a step from

being a governor; so that every one who came to see him said, 'We look

upon you, Ivan Mihailovitch, as our governor!' When I... when..."

she coughed violently, "oh, cursed life," she cried, clearing her

throat and pressing her hands to her breast, "when I... when at the

last ball... at the marshal's... Princess Bezzemelny saw me- who

gave me the blessing when your father and I were married, Polenka- she

asked at once 'Isn't that the pretty girl who donced the shawl dance

at the breaking up?' (You must mend that tear, you must take your

needle and darn it as I showed you, or to-morrow- cough, cough, cough-

he will make the hole bigger," she articulated with effort.) "Prince

Schegolskoy, a kammerjunker, had just come from Petersburg then...

he danced the mazurka with me and wanted to make me an offer next day;

but I thanked him in flattering expressions and told him that my heart

had long been another's. That other was your father, Polya; papa was

fearfully angry.... Is the water ready? Give me the shirt, and the

stockings! Lida," said she to the youngest one, "you must manage

without your chemise to-night... and lay your stockings out with it...

I'll wash them together.... How is it that drunken vagabond doesn't

come in? He has worn his shirt till it looks like a dishclout, he

has torn it to rags! I'd do it all together, so as not to have to work

two nights running! Oh, dear! (Cough, cough, cough, cough!) Again!

What's this?" she cried, noticing a crowd in the passage and the men

who were pushing into her room, carrying a burden. "What is it? What

are they bringing? Mercy on us!"

"Where are we to put him?" asked the policeman, looking round when

Marmeladov, unconscious and covered with blood, had been carried in.

"On the sofa! Put him straight on the sofa, with his head this way,"

Raskolnikov showed him.

"Run over in the road! Drunk!" some one shouted in the passage.

Katerina Ivanovna stood, turning white and gasping for breath. The

children were terrified. Little Lida screamed, rushed to Polenka and

clutched at her, trembling all over.

Having laid Marmeladov down, Raskolnikov flew to Katerina Ivanovna.

"For God's sake be calm, don't be frightened!" he said, speaking

quickly, "he was crossing the road and was run over by a carriage,

don't be frightened, he will come to, I told them bring him here...

I've been here already, you remember? He will come to; I'll pay!"

"He's done it this time!" Katerina Ivanovna cried despairingly and

she rushed to her husband.

Raskolnikov noticed at once that she was not one of those women

who swoon easily. She instantly placed under the luckless man's head a

pillow, which no one had thought of and began undressing and examining

him. She kept her head, forgetting herself, biting her trembling

lips and stifling the screams which were ready to break from her.

Raskolnikov meanwhile induced some one to run for a doctor. There

was a doctor, it appeared, next door but one.

"I've sent for a doctor," he kept assuring Katerina Ivanovna, "don't

be uneasy, I'll pay. Haven't you water?... and give me a napkin or a

towel, anything, as quick as you can.... He is injured, but not

killed, believe me.... We shall see what the doctor says!"

Katerina Ivanovna ran to the window; there, on a broken chair in the

corner, a large earthenware basin full of water had been stood, in

readiness for washing her children's and husband's linen that night.

This washing was done by Katerina Ivanovna at night at least twice a

week, if not oftener. For the family had come to such a pass that they

were practically without change of linen, and Katerina Ivanovna

could not endure uncleanliness and, rather than see dirt in the house,

she preferred to wear herself out at night, working beyond her

strength when the rest were asleep, so as to get the wet linen hung on

a line and dry by the morning. She took up the basin of water at

Raskolnikov's request, but almost fell down with her burden. But the

latter had already succeeded in finding a towel, wetted it and begun

washing the blood off Marmeladov's face.

Katerina Ivanovna stood by, breathing painfully and pressing her

hands to her breast. She was in need of attention herself. Raskolnikov

began to realise that he might have made a mistake in having the

injured man brought here. The policeman, too, stood in hesitation.

"Polenka," cried Katerina Ivanovna, "run to Sonia, make haste. If

you don't find her at home, leave word that her father has been run

over and that she is to come here at once... when she comes in. Run,

Polenka! there, put on the shawl."

"Run your fastest!" cried the little boy on the chair suddenly,

after which he relapsed into the same dumb rigidity, with round

eyes, his heels thrust forward and his toes spread out.

Meanwhile the room had become so full of people that you couldn't

have dropped a pin. The policemen left, all except one, who remained

for a time, trying to drive out the people who came in from the

stairs. Almost all Madame Lippevechsel's lodgers had streamed in

from the inner rooms of the flat; at first they were squeezed together

in the doorway, but afterwards they overflowed into the room. Katerina

Ivanovna flew into a fury.

"You might let him die in peace, at least," she shouted at the

crowd, "is it a spectacle for you to gape at? With cigarettes! (Cough,

cough, cough!) You might as well keep your hats on.... And there is

one in his hat!... Get away! You should respect the dead, at least!"

Her cough choked her- but her reproaches were not without result.

They evidently stood in some awe of Katerina Ivanovna. The lodgers,

one after another, squeezed back into the doorway with that strange

inner feeling of satisfaction which may be observed in the presence of

a sudden accident, even in those nearest and dearest to the victim,

from which no living man is exempt, even in spite of the sincerest

sympathy and compassion.

Voices outside were heard, however, speaking of the hospital and

saying that they'd no business to make a disturbance here.

"No business to die!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, and she was rushing

to the door to vent her wrath upon them, but in the doorway came

face to face with Madame Lippevechsel who had only just heard of the

accident and ran in to restore order. She was a particularly

quarrelsome and irresponsible German.

"Ah, my God!" she cried, clasping her hands, "your husband drunken

horses have trampled! To the hospital with him! I am the landlady!"

"Amalia Ludwigovna, I beg you to recollect what you are saying,"

Katerina Ivanovna began haughtily (she always took a haughty tone with

the landlady that she might "remember her place" and even now could

not deny herself this satisfaction). "Amalia Ludwigovna..."

"I have you once before told that you to call me Amalia Ludwigovna

may not dare; I am Amalia Ivanovna."

"You are not Amalia Ivanovna, but Amalia Ludwigovna, and as I am not

one of your despicable flatterers like Mr. Lebeziatnikov, who's

laughing behind the door at this moment (a laugh and a cry of 'they

are at it again' was in fact audible at the door) so I shall always

call you Amalia Ludwigovna, though I fail to understand why you

dislike that name. You can see for yourself what has happened to

Semyon Zaharovitch; he is dying. I beg you to close that door at

once and to admit no one. Let him at least die in peace! Or I warn you

the Governor-General, himself, shall be informed of your conduct

to-morrow. The prince knew me as a girl; he remembers Semyon

Zaharovitch well and has often been a benefactor to him. Every one

knows that Semyon Zaharovitch had many friends and protectors, whom he

abandoned himself from an honourable pride, knowing his unhappy

weakness, but now (she pointed to Raskolnikov) a generous young man

has come to our assistance, who has wealth and connections and whom

Semyon Zaharovitch has known from a child. You may rest assured,

Amalia Ludwigovna..."

All this was uttered with extreme rapidity, getting quicker and

quicker, but a cough suddenly cut short Katerina Ivanovna's eloquence.

At that instant the dying man recovered consciousness and uttered a

groan; she ran to him. The injured man opened his eyes and without

recognition or understanding gazed at Raskolnikov who was bending over

him. He drew deep, slow, painful breaths; blood oozed at the corners

of his mouth and drops of perspiration came out on his forehead. Not

recognising Raskolnikov, he began looking round uneasily. Katerina

Ivanovna looked at him with a sad but stern face, and tears trickled

from her eyes.

"My God! His whole chest is crushed! How he is bleeding," she said

in despair. "We must take off his clothes. Turn a little, Semyon

Zaharovitch, if you can," she cried to him.

Marmeladov recognised her.

"A priest," he articulated huskily.

Katerina Ivanovna walked to the window, laid her head against the

window frame and exclaimed in despair:

"Oh, cursed life!"

"A priest," the dying man said again after a moment's silence.

"They've gone for him," Katerina Ivanovna shouted to him, he

obeyed her shout and was silent. With sad and timid eyes he looked for

her; she returned and stood by his pillow. He seemed a little easier

but not for long.

Soon his eyes rested on little Lida, his favourite, who was

shaking in the corner, as though she were in a fit, and staring at him

with her wondering childish eyes.

"A-ah," he signed towards her uneasily. He wanted to say something.

"What now?" cried Katerina Ivanovna.

"Barefoot, barefoot!" he muttered, indicating with frenzied eyes the

child's bare feet.

"Be silent," Katerina Ivanovna cried irritably, "you know why she is

barefooted."

"Thank God, the doctor," exclaimed Raskolnikov, relieved.

The doctor came in, a precise little old man, a German, looking

about him mistrustfully; he went up to the sick man, took his pulse,

carefully felt his head and with the help of Katerina Ivanovna he

unbuttoned the blood-stained shirt, and bared the injured man's chest.

It was gashed, crushed and fractured, several ribs on the right side

were broken. On the left side, just over the heart, was a large,

sinister-looking yellowish-black bruise- a cruel kick from the horse's

hoof. The doctor frowned. The policeman told him that he was caught in

the wheel and turned round with it for thirty yards on the road.

"It's wonderful that he has recovered consciousness," the doctor

whispered softly to Raskolnikov.

"What do you think of him?" he asked.

"He will die immediately."

"Is there really no hope?"

"Not the faintest! He is at the last gasp.... His head is badly

injured, too... Him... I could bleed him if you like, but... it

would be useless. He is bound to die within the next five or ten

minutes."

"Better bleed him then."

"If you like.... But I warn you it will be perfectly useless."

At that moment other steps were heard; the crowd in the passage

parted, and the priest, a little, grey old man, appeared in the

doorway bearing the sacrament. A policeman had gone for him at the

time of the accident. The doctor changed places with him, exchanging

glances with him. Raskolnikov begged the doctor to remain a little

while. He shrugged his shoulders and remained.

All stepped back. The confession was soon over. The dying man

probably understood little; he could only utter indistinct broken

sounds. Katerina Ivanovna took little Lida, lifted the boy from the

chair, knelt down in the corner by the stove and made the children

kneel in front of her. The little girl was still trembling; but the

boy, kneeling on his little bare knees, lifted his hand

rhythmically, crossing himself with precision and bowed down, touching

the floor with his forehead, which seemed to afford him especial

satisfaction. Katerina Ivanovna bit her lips and held back her

tears; she prayed, too, now and then pulling straight the boy's shirt,

and managed to cover the girl's bare shoulders with a kerchief,

which she took from the chest without rising from her knees or ceasing

to pray. Meanwhile the door from the inner rooms was opened

inquisitively again. In the passage the crowd of spectators from all

the flats on the staircase grew denser and denser, but they did not

venture beyond the threshold. A single candle-end lighted up the

scene.

At that moment Polenka forced her way through the crowd at the door.

She came in panting from running so fast, took off her kerchief,

looked for her mother, went up to her and said, "She's coming, I met

her in the street." Her mother made her kneel beside her.

Timidly and noiselessly a young girl made her way through the crowd,

and strange was her appearance in that room, in the midst of want,

rags, death and despair. She, too, was in rags, her attire was all

of the cheapest, but decked out in gutter finery of a special stamp,

unmistakably betraying its shameful purpose. Sonia stopped short in

the doorway and looked about her bewildered, unconscious of

everything. She forgot her fourth-hand, gaudy silk dress, so

unseemly here with its ridiculous long train, and her immense

crinoline that filled up the whole doorway, and her light-coloured

shoes, and the parasol she brought with her, though it was no use at

night, and the absurd round straw hat with its flaring

flame-coloured feather. Under this rakishly-tilted hat was a pale,

frightened little face with lips parted and eyes staring in terror.

Sonia was a small thin girl of eighteen with fair hair, rather pretty,

with wonderful blue eyes. She looked intently at the bed and the

priest; she too was out of breath with running. At last whispers, some

words in the crowd probably, reached her. She looked down and took a

step forward into the room, still keeping close to the door.

The service was over. Katerina Ivanovna went up to her husband

again. The priest stepped back and turned to say a few words of

admonition and consolation to Katerina Ivanovna on leaving.

"What am I to do with these?" she interrupted sharply and irritably,

pointing to the little ones.

"God is merciful; look to the Most High for succour," the priest

began.

"Ach! He is merciful, but not to us."

"That's a sin, a sin, madam," observed the priest, shaking his head.

"And isn't that a sin?" cried Katerina Ivanovna, pointing to the

dying man.

"Perhaps those who have involuntarily caused the accident will agree

to compensate you, at least for the loss of his earnings."

"You don't understand!" cried Katerina Ivanovna angrily waving her

hand. "And why should they compensate me? Why, he was drunk and

threw himself under the horses! What earnings? He brought us in

nothing but misery. He drank everything away, the drunkard! He

robbed us to get drink, he wasted their lives and mine for drink!

And thank God he's dying! One less to keep!"

"You must forgive in the hour of death, that's a sin, madam, such

feelings are a great sin."

Katerina Ivanovna was busy with the dying man; she was giving him

water, wiping the blood and sweat from his head, setting his pillow

straight, and had only turned now and then for a moment to address the

priest. Now she flew at him almost in a frenzy.

"Ah, father! That's words and only words! Forgive! If he'd not

been run over, he'd have come home to-day drunk and his only shirt

dirty and in rags and he'd have fallen asleep like a log, and I should

have been sousing and rinsing till daybreak, washing his rags and

the children's and then drying them by the window and as soon as it

was daylight I should have been darning them. That's how I spend my

nights!... What's the use of talking of forgiveness! I have forgiven

as it is!"

A terrible hollow cough interrupted her words. She put her

handkerchief to her lips and showed it to the priest, pressing her

other hand to her aching chest. The handkerchief was covered with

blood. The priest bowed his head and said nothing.

Marmeladov was in the last agony; he did not take his eyes off the

face of Katerina Ivanovna, who was bending over him again. He kept

trying to say something to her; he began moving his tongue with

difficulty and articulating indistinctly, but Katerina Ivanovna,

understanding that he wanted to ask her forgiveness, called

peremptorily to him:

"Be silent! No need! I know what you want to say!" And the sick

man was silent, but at the same instant his wandering eyes strayed

to the doorway and he saw Sonia.

Till then he had not noticed her: she was standing in the shadow

in a corner.

"Who's that? Who's that?" he said suddenly in a thick gasping voice,

in agitation, turning his eyes in horror towards the door where his

daughter was standing, and trying to sit up.

"Lie down! Lie do-own!" cried Katerina Ivanovna.

With unnatural strength he had succeeded in propping himself on

his elbow. He looked wildly and fixedly for some time on his daughter,

as though not recognising her. He had never seen her before in such

attire. Suddenly he recognised her, crushed and ashamed in her

humiliation and gaudy finery, meekly awaiting her turn to say good-bye

to her dying father. His face showed intense suffering.

"Sonia! Daughter! Forgive!" he cried, and he tried to hold out his

hand to her, but losing his balance, he fell off the sofa, face

downwards on the floor. They rushed to pick him up, they put him on

the sofa; but he was dying. Sonia with a faint cry ran up, embraced

him and remained so without moving. He died in her arms.

"He's got what he wanted," Katerina Ivanovna cried, seeing her

husband's dead body. "Well, what's to be done now? How am I to bury

him! What can I give them to-morrow to eat?"

Raskolnikov went up to Katerina Ivanovna.

"Katerina Ivanovna," he began, "last week your husband told me all

his life and circumstances.... Believe me, he spoke of you with

passionate reverence. From that evening, when I learnt how devoted

he was to you all and how he loved and respected you especially,

Katerina Ivanovna, in spite of his unfortunate weakness, from that

evening we became friends.... Allow me now... to do something... to

repay my debt to my dead friend. Here are twenty roubles I think-

and if that can be of any assistance to you, then... I... in short,

I will come again, I will be sure to come again... I shall, perhaps,

come again to-morrow.... Good-bye!"

And he went quickly out of the room, squeezing his way through the

crowd to the stairs. But in the crowd he suddenly jostled against

Nikodim Fomitch, who had heard of the accident and had come to give

instructions in person. They had not met since the scene at the police

station, but Nikodim Fomitch knew him instantly.

"Ah, is that you?" he asked him.

"He's dead," answered Raskolnikov. "The doctor and the priest have

been, all as it should have been. Don't worry the poor woman too much,

she is in consumption as it is. Try and cheer her up, if possible...

you are a kind-hearted man, I know..." he added with a smile,

looking straight in his face.

"But you are spattered with blood," observed Nikodim Fomitch,

noticing in the lamplight some fresh stains on Raskolnikov's

waistcoat.

"Yes... I'm covered with blood," Raskolnikov said with a peculiar

air; then he smiled, nodded and went downstairs.

He walked down slowly and deliberately, feverish but not conscious

of it, entirely absorbed in a new overwhelming sensation of life and

strength that surged up suddenly within him. This sensation might be

compared to that of a man condemned to death who has suddenly been

pardoned. Halfway down the staircase he was overtaken by the priest on

his way home; Raskolnikov let him pass, exchanging a silent greeting

with him. He was just descending the last steps when he heard rapid

footsteps behind him. Some one overtook him; it was Polenka. She was

running after him, calling "Wait! wait!"

He turned round. She was at the bottom of the staircase and

stopped short a step above him. A dim light came in from the yard.

Raskolnikov could distinguish the child's thin but pretty little face,

looking at him with a bright childish smile. She had run after him

with a message which she was evidently glad to give.

"Tell me, what is your name?... and where do you live?" she said

hurriedly in a breathless voice.

He laid both hands on her shoulders and looked at her with a sort of

rapture. It was such a joy to him to look at her, he could not have

said why.

"Who sent you?"

"Sister Sonia sent me," answered the girl, smiling still more

brightly.

"I knew it was sister Sonia sent you."

"Mamma sent me, too... when sister Sonia was sending me, mamma

came up, too, and said 'Run fast, Polenka.'"

"Do you love sister Sonia?"

"I love her more than any one," Polenka answered with a peculiar

earnestness, and her smile became graver.

"And will you love me?"

By way of answer he saw the little girl's face approaching him,

her full lips naively held out to kiss him. Suddenly her arms as

thin as sticks held him tightly, her head rested on his shoulder and

the little girl wept softly, pressing her face against him.

"I am sorry for father," she said a moment later, raising her

tear-stained face and brushing away the tears with her hands. "It's

nothing but misfortunes now," she added suddenly with that

peculiarly sedate air which children try hard to assume when they want

to speak like grown-up people.

"Did your father love you?"

"He loved Lida most," she went on very seriously without a smile,

exactly like grown-up people, "he loved her because she is little

and because she is ill, too. And he always used to bring her presents.

But he taught us to read and me grammar and scripture, too," she added

with dignity. "And mother never used to say anything, but we knew that

she liked it and father knew it, too. And mother wants to teach me

French, for it's time my education began."

"And do you know your prayers?"

"Of course, we do! We knew them long ago. I say my prayers to myself

as I am a big girl now, but Kolya and Lida say them aloud with mother.

First they repeat the 'Ave Maria' and then another prayer: 'Lord,

forgive and bless Sister Sonia,' and then another, 'Lord, forgive

and bless our second father.' For our elder father is dead and this is

another one, but we do pray for the other as well."

"Polenka, my name is Rodion. Pray sometimes for me, too. 'And Thy

servant Rodion,' nothing more."

"I'll pray for you all the rest of my life," the little girl

declared hotly, and suddenly smiling again she rushed at him and

hugged him warmly once more.

Raskolnikov told her his name and address and promised to be sure to

come next day. The child went away quite enchanted with him. It was

past ten when he came out into the street. In five minutes he was

standing on the bridge at the spot where the woman had jumped in.

"Enough," he pronounced resolutely and triumphantly. "I've done with

fancies, imaginary terrors and phantoms! Life is real! haven't I lived

just now? My life has not yet died with that old woman! The Kingdom of

Heaven to her- and now enough, madam, leave me in peace! Now for the

reign of reason and light... and of will, and of strength... and now

we will see! We will try our strength!" he added defiantly, as

though challenging some power of darkness. "And I was ready to consent

to live in a square of space!

"I am very weak at this moment, but... I believe my illness is all

over. I knew it would be over when I went out. By the way,

Potchinkov's house is only a few steps away. I certainly must go to

Razumihin even if it were not close by... let him win his bet! Let

us give him some satisfaction, too- no matter! Strength, strength is

what one wants, you can get nothing without it, and strength must be

won by strength- that's what they don't know," he added proudly and

self-confidently and he walked with flagging footsteps from the

bridge. Pride and self-confidence grew continually stronger in him; he

was becoming a different man every moment. What was it had happened to

work this revolution in him? He did not know himself; like a man

catching at a straw, he suddenly felt that he, too, 'could live,

that there was still life for him, that his life had not died with the

old woman.' Perhaps he was in too great a hurry with his conclusion,

but he did not think of that.

"But I did ask her to remember 'Thy servant Rodion' in her prayers,"

the idea struck him. "Well, that was... in case of emergency," he

added and laughed himself at his boyish sally. He was in the best of

spirits.

He easily found Razumihin; the new lodger was already known at

Potchinkov's and the porter at once showed him the way. Half-way

upstairs he could hear the noise and animated conversation of a big

gathering of people. The door was wide open on the stairs; he could

hear exclamations and discussion. Razumihin's room was fairly large;

the company consisted of fifteen people. Raskolnikov stopped in the

entry, where two of the landlady's servants were busy behind a

screen with two samovars, bottles, plates and dishes of pie and

savouries, brought up from the landlady's kitchen. Raskolnikov sent in

for Razumihin. He ran out delighted. At the first glance it was

apparent that he had had a great deal to drink and, though no amount

of liquor made Razumihin quite drunk, this time he was perceptibly

affected by it.

"Listen," Raskolnikov hastened to say, "I've only just come to

tell you you've won your bet and that no one really knows what may not

happen to him. I can't come in; I am so weak that I shall fall down

directly. And so good evening and good-bye! Come and see me

to-morrow."

"Do you know what? I'll see you home. If you say you're weak

yourself, you must..."

"And your visitors? Who is the curly-headed one who has just

peeped out?"

"He? Goodness only knows! Some friend of uncle's I expect, or

perhaps he has come without being invited... I'll leave uncle with

them, he is an invaluable person, pity I can't introduce you to him

now. But confound them all now! They won't notice me, and I need a

little fresh air, for you've come just in the nick of time- another

two minutes and I should have come to blows! They are talking such a

lot of wild stuff... you simply can't imagine what men will say!

Though why shouldn't you imagine? Don't we talk nonsense ourselves?

And let them... that's the way to learn not to!... Wait a minute, I'll

fetch Zossimov."

Zossimov pounced upon Raskolnikov almost greedily; he showed a

special interest in him; soon his face brightened.

"You must go to bed at once," he pronounced, examining the patient

as far as he could, "and take something for the night. Will you take

it? I got it ready some time ago... a powder."

"Two, if you like," answered Raskolnikov. The powder was taken at

once.

"It's a good thing you are taking him home," observed Zossimov to

Razumihin- "we shall see how he is to-morrow, to-day he's not at all

amiss- a considerable change since the afternoon. Live and learn..."

"Do you know what Zossimov whispered to me when we were coming out?"

Razumihin blurted out, as soon as they were in the street. "I won't

tell you everything, brother, because they are such fools. Zossimov

told me to talk freely to you on the way and get you to talk freely to

me, and afterwards I am to tell him about it, for he's got a notion in

his head that you are... mad or close on it. Only fancy! In the

first place, you've three times the brains he has; in the second, if

you are not mad, you needn't care a hang that he has got such a wild

idea; and thirdly, that piece of beef whose specialty is surgery has

gone mad on mental diseases, and what's brought him to this conclusion

about you was your conversation to-day with Zametov."

"Zametov told you all about it?"

"Yes, and he did well. Now I understand what it all means and so

does Zametov.... Well, the fact is, Rodya... the point is... I am a

little drunk now.... But that's... no matter... the point is that this

idea... you understand? was just being hatched in their brains...

you understand? That is, no one ventured to say it aloud, because

the idea is too absurd and especially since the arrest of that

painter, that bubble's burst and gone for ever. But why are they

such fools? I gave Zametov a bit of a thrashing at the time- that's

between ourselves, brother; please don't let out a hint that you

know of it; I've noticed he is a ticklish subject; it was at Luise

Ivanovna's. But to-day, to-day it's all cleared up. That Ilya

Petrovitch is at the bottom of it! He took advantage of your

fainting at the police station, but he is ashamed of it himself now; I

know that..."

Raskolnikov listened greedily. Razumihin was drunk enough to talk

too freely.

"I fainted then because it was so close and the smell of paint,"

said Raskolnikov.

"No need to explain that! And it wasn't the paint only: the fever

had been coming on for a month; Zossimov testifies to that! But how

crushed that boy is now, you wouldn't believe! 'I am not worth his

little finger,' he says. Yours, he means. He has good feelings at

times, brother. But the lesson, the lesson you gave him to-day in

the Palais de Crystal, that was too good for anything! You

frightened him at first, you know, he nearly went into convulsions!

You almost convinced him again of the truth of all that hideous

nonsense, and then you suddenly- put out your tongue at him: 'There

now, what do you make of it?' It was perfect! He is crushed,

annihilated now! It was masterly, by Jove, it's what they deserve! Ah,

that I wasn't there! He was hoping to see you awfully. Porfiry, too,

wants to make your acquaintance..."

"Ah!... he too... but why did they put me down as mad?"

"Oh, not mad. I must have said too much, brother.... What struck

him, you see, was that only that subject seemed to interest you; now

it's clear why it did interest you; knowing all the

circumstances.... and how that irritated you and worked in with your

illness... I am a little drunk, brother, only, confound him, he has

some idea of his own... I tell you, he's mad on mental diseases. But

don't you mind him..."

For half a minute both were silent.

"Listen, Razumihin," began Raskolnikov, "I want to tell you plainly:

I've just been at a death-bed, a clerk who died... I gave them all

my money... and besides I've just been kissed by some one who, if I

had killed any one, would just the same... in fact I saw some one else

there... with a flame-coloured feather... but I am talking nonsense; I

am very weak, support me... we shall be at the stairs directly..."

"What's the matter? What's the matter with you?" Razumihin asked

anxiously.

"I am a little giddy, but that's not the point, I am so sad, so

sad... like a woman. Look, what's that? Look, look!"

"What is it?"

"Don't you see? A light in my room, you see? Through the crack..."

They were already at the foot of the last flight of stairs, at the

level of the landlady's door, and they could, as a fact, see from

below that there was a light in Raskolnikov's garret.

"Queer! Nastasya, perhaps," observed Razumihin.

"She is never in my room at this time and she must be in bed long

ago, but... I don't care! Good-bye!"

"What do you mean? I am coming with you, we'll come in together!"

"I know we are going in together, but I want to shake hands here and

say good-bye to you here. So give me your hand, good-bye!"

"What's the matter with you, Rodya?"

"Nothing... come along... you shall be witness."

They began mounting the stairs, and the idea struck Razumihin that

perhaps Zossimov might be right after all. "Ah, I've upset him with my

chatter!" he muttered to himself.

When they reached the door they heard voices in the room.

"What is it?" cried Razumihin. Raskolnikov was the first to open the

door; he flung it wide and stood still in the doorway, dumbfounded.

His mother and sister were sitting on his sofa and had been

waiting an hour and a half for him. Why had he never expected, never

thought of them, though the news that they had started, were on

their way and would arrive immediately, had been repeated to him

only that day? They had spent that hour and a half plying Nastasya

with questions. She was standing before them and had told them

everything by now. They were beside themselves with alarm when they

heard of his "running away" to-day, ill and, as they understood from

her story, delirious! "Good Heavens, what had become of him?" Both had

been weeping, both had been in anguish for that hour and a half.

A cry of joy, of ecstasy, greeted Raskolnikov's entrance. Both

rushed to him. But he stood like one dead; a sudden intolerable

sensation struck him like a thunderbolt. He did not lift his arms to

embrace them, he could not. His mother and sister clasped him in their

arms, kissed him, laughed and cried. He took a step, tottered and fell

to the ground, fainting.

Anxiety, cries of horror, moans... Razumihin who was standing in the

doorway flew into the room, seized the sick man in his strong arms and

in a moment had him on the sofa.

"It's nothing, nothing!" he cried to the mother and sister- "it's

only a faint, a mere trifle! Only just now the doctor said he was much

better, that he is perfectly well! Water! See, he is coming to

himself, he is all right again!"

And seizing Dounia by the arm so that he almost dislocated it, he

made her bend down to see that "he is all right again." The mother and

sister looked on him with emotion and gratitude, as their

Providence. They had heard already from Nastasya all that had been

done for their Rodya during his illness, by this "very competent young

man," as Pulcheria Alexandrovna Raskolnikov called him that evening in

conversation with Dounia.


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

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