(the cry) existentialism, art and humanities
a cry towards the absurd
search engine  °    site map  °    guestbook   °   @  
phenomenology  °   art   °   forums  °  chat  °  exquisite corpse  °  mail-list  

     (existentialism::Fyodor Dostoevsky

   the authors
  kierkegaard    dostoevsky    allen    sartre    jaspers    camus   nietzsche    kafka    heidegger    descartes    de beauvoir    rilke

   the philosophy

- Definition
- Roots
- History
- Beyond
- Social and historical practices
- Further reading

- existentialism discussion board
-general philosophy discussion board

   best web sites

- Existentialism:
A Primer

- Realm of Existentialism
- Kierkegaard, Soren - D. Anthony Storm

- The Nietzsche Page
- Glossary of Existential Terms

  buy at Amazon

- Existentialism and Human Emotions Jean-Paul Sartre
-Marjorie Grene
Introduction to Existentialism
- Walter Kaufmann
From Shakespeare to Existentialism

-Martin Heidegger,
Being and Time (Sein und Zeit, 1927)


(the cry)is the home to the existentialism web-ring
Random Site

List Sites



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

Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Life
- Pictures
- Work
- Links
- Bookstore
on-line works at (the cry)
- the brothers karamazov
- the dream of a ridiculous man
- crime and punishment
- A gentle spirit

Chapter One


RASKOLNIKOV got up, and sat down on the sofa. He waved his hand

weakly to Razumihin to cut short the flow of warm and incoherent

consolations he was addressing to his mother and sister, took them

both by the hand and for a minute or two gazed from one to the other

without speaking. His mother was alarmed by his expression. It

revealed an emotion agonisingly poignant, and at the same time

something immovable, almost insane. Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to


Avdotya Romanovna was pale; her hand trembled in her brother's.

"Go home... with him," he said in a broken voice, pointing to

Razumihin, "good-bye till to-morrow; to-morrow everything... Is it

long since you arrived?"

"This evening, Rodya," answered Pulcheria Alexandrovna, "the train

was awfully late. But, Rodya, nothing would induce me to leave you

now! I will spend the night here, near you..."

"Don't torture me!" he said with a gesture of irritation.

"I will stay with him," cried Razumihin, "I won't leave him for a

moment. Bother all my visitors! Let them rage to their hearts'

content! My uncle is presiding there."

"How, how can I thank you!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna was beginning,

once more pressing Razumihin's hands, but Raskolnikov interrupted

her again.

"I can't have it! I can't have it!" he repeated irritably, "don't

worry me! Enough, go away... I can't stand it!"

"Come, mamma, come out of the room at least for a minute," Dounia

whispered in dismay; "we are distressing him, that's evident."

"Mayn't I look at him after three years?" wept Pulcheria


"Stay," he stopped them again, "you keep interrupting me, and my

ideas get muddled.... Have you seen Luzhin?"

"No, Rodya, but he knows already of our arrival. We have heard,

Rodya, that Pyotr Petrovitch was so kind as to visit you today,"

Pulcheria Alexandrovna added somewhat timidly.

"Yes... he was so kind... Dounia, I promised Luzhin I'd throw him

downstairs and told him to go to hell...."

"Rodya, what are you saying! Surely, you don't mean to tell us..."

Pulcheria Alexandrovna began in alarm, but she stopped, looking at


Avdotya Romanovna was looking attentively at her brother, waiting

for what would come next. Both of them had heard of the quarrel from

Nastasya, so far as she had succeeded in understanding and reporting

it, and were in painful perplexity and suspense.

"Dounia," Raskolnikov continued with an effort, "I don't want that

marriage, so at the first opportunity to-morrow you must refuse

Luzhin, so that we may never hear his name again."

"Good Heavens!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.

"Brother, think what you are saying!" Avdotya Romanovna began

impetuously, but immediately checked herself. "You are not fit to talk

now, perhaps; you are tired," she added gently.

"You think I am delirious? No... You are marrying Luzhin for my

sake. But I won't accept the sacrifice. And so write a letter before

to-morrow, to refuse him... Let me read it in the morning and that

will be the end of it!"

"That I can't do!" the girl cried, offended, "what right have


"Dounia, you are hasty, too, be quiet, to-morrow... Don't you

see..." the mother interposed in dismay. "Better come away!"

"He is raving," Razumihin cried tipsily, "or how would he dare!

To-morrow all this nonsense will be over... to-day he certainly did

drive him away. That was so. And Luzhin got angry, too... He made

speeches here, wanted to show off his learning and he went out


"Then it's true?" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.

"Good-bye till to-morrow, brother," said Dounia compassionately-

"let us go, mother... Good-bye, Rodya."

"Do you hear, sister," he repeated after them, making a last effort,

"I am not delirious; this marriage is- an infamy. Let me act like a

scoundrel, but you mustn't... one is enough... and though I am a

scoundrel, I wouldn't own such a sister. It's me or Luzhin! Go


"But you're out of your mind! Despot!" roared Razumihin; but

Raskolnikov did not and perhaps could not answer. He lay down on the

sofa, and turned to the wall, utterly exhausted. Avdotya Romanovna

looked with interest at Razumihin; her black eyes flashed; Razumihin

positively started at her glance.

Pulcheria Alexandrovna stood overwhelmed.

"Nothing would induce me to go," she whispered in despair to

Razumihin. "I will stay somewhere here... escort Dounia home."

"You'll spoil everything," Razumihin answered in the same whisper,

losing patience- "come out on to the stairs, anyway. Nastasya, show

a light! I assure you," he went on in a half whisper on the stairs-

"that he was almost beating the doctor and me this afternoon! Do you

understand? The doctor himself! Even he gave way and left him, so as

not to irritate him. I remained downstairs on guard, but he dressed at

once and slipped off. And he will slip off again if you irritate

him, at this time of night, and will do himself some mischief...."

"What are you saying?"

"And Avdotya Romanovna can't possibly be left in those lodgings

without you. Just think where you are staying! That blackguard Pyotr

Petrovitch couldn't find you better lodgings... But you know I've

had a little to drink, and that's what makes me... swear; don't mind


"But I'll go to the landlady here," Pulcheria Alexandrovna insisted,

"Ill beseech her to find some corner for Dounia and me for the

night. I can't leave him like that, I cannot!"

This conversation took place on the landing just before the

landlady's door. Nastasya lighted them from a step below. Razumihin

was in extraordinary excitement. Half an hour earlier, while he was

bringing Raskolnikov home, he had indeed talked too freely, but he was

aware of it himself, and his head was clear in spite of the vast

quantities he had imbibed. Now he was in a state bordering on ecstasy,

and all that he had drunk seemed to fly to his head with redoubled

effect. He stood with the two ladies, seizing both by their hands,

persuading them, and giving them reasons with astonishing plainness of

speech, and at almost every word he uttered, probably to emphasize his

arguments, he squeezed their hands painfully as in a vise. He stared

at Avdotya Romanovna without the least regard for good manners. They

sometimes pulled their hands out of his huge bony paws, but far from

noticing what was the matter, he drew them all the closer to him. If

they'd told him to jump head foremost from the staircase, he would

have done it without thought or hesitation in their service. Though

Pulcheria Alexandrovna felt that the young man was really too

eccentric and pinched her hand too much, in her anxiety over her Rodya

she looked on his presence as providential and was unwilling to notice

all his peculiarities. But though Avdotya Romanovna shared her

anxiety, and was not of timorous disposition, she could not see the

glowing light in his eyes without wonder and almost alarm. It was only

the unbounded confidence inspired by Nastasya's account of her

brother's queer friend, which prevented her from trying to run away

from him, and to persuade her mother to do the same. She realised,

too, that even running away was perhaps impossible now. Ten minutes

later, however, she was considerably reassured; it was

characteristic of Razumihin that he showed his true nature at once,

whatever mood he might be in, so that people quickly saw the sort of

man they had to deal with.

"You can't go to the landlady, that's perfect nonsense!" he cried.

"If you stay, though you are his mother, you'll drive him to a frenzy,

and then goodness knows what will happen! Listen, I'll tell you what

I'll do: Nastasya will stay with him now, and I'll conduct you both

home, you can't be in the streets alone; Petersburg is an awful

place in that way... But no matter! Then I'll run straight back here

and a quarter of an hour later, on my word of honour, I'll bring you

news how he is, whether he is asleep, and all that. Then, listen! Then

I'll run home in a twinkling- I've a lot of friends there, all

drunk- I'll fetch Zossimov- that's the doctor who is looking after

him, he is there, too, but he is not drunk; he is not drunk, he is

never drunk! I'll drag him to Rodya, and then to you, so that you'll

get two reports in the hour- from the doctor, you understand, from the

doctor himself, that's a very different thing from my account of

him! If there's anything wrong, I swear I'll bring you here myself,

but, if it's all right, you go to bed. And I'll spend the night

here, in the passage, he won't hear me, and I'll tell Zossimov to

sleep at the landlady's, to be at hand. Which is better for him: you

or the doctor? So come home then! But the landlady is out of the

question; it's all right for me, but it's out of the question for you:

she wouldn't take you, for she's... for she's a fool... She'd be

jealous on my account of Avdotya Romanovna and of you, too, if you

want to know... of Avdotya Romanovna certainly. She is an

absolutely, absolutely unaccountable character! But I am a fool,

too!... No matter! Come along! Do you trust me? Come, do you trust

me or not?"

"Let us go, mother," said Avdotya Romanovna, "he will certainly do

what he has promised. He has saved Rodya already, and if the doctor

really will consent to spend the night here, what could be better?"

"You see, you... you... understand me, because you are an angel!"

Razumihin cried in ecstasy, "let us go! Nastasya! Fly upstairs and sit

with him with a light; I'll come in a quarter of an hour."

Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna was not perfectly convinced, she

made no further resistance. Razumihin gave an arm to each and drew

them down the stairs. He still made her uneasy, as though he was

competent and good-natured, was he capable of carrying out his

promise? He seemed in such a condition....

"Ah, I see you think I am in such a condition!" Razumihin broke in

upon her thoughts, guessing them, as he strolled along the pavement

with huge steps, so that the two ladies could hardly keep up with him,

a fact he did not observe, however. "Nonsense! That is... I am drunk

like a fool, but that's not it; I am not drunk from wine. It's

seeing you has turned my head... But don't mind me! Don't take any

notice: I am talking nonsense, I am not worthy of you... I am

utterly unworthy of you! The minute I've taken you home, I'll pour a

couple of pailfuls of water over my head in the gutter here, and

then I shall be all right... If only you knew how I love you both!

Don't laugh, and don't be angry! You may be angry with any one, but

not with me! I am his friend, and therefore I am your friend, too, I

want to be... I had a presentiment... Last year there was a

moment... though it wasn't a presentiment really, for you seem to have

fallen from heaven. And I expect I shan't sleep all night...

Zossimov was afraid a little time ago that he would go mad... that's

why he mustn't be irritated."

"What do you say?" cried the mother.

"Did the doctor really say that?" asked Avdotya Romanovna, alarmed.

"Yes, but it's not so, not a bit of it. He gave him some medicine, a

powder, I saw it, and then your coming here.... Ah! It would have been

better if you had come to-morrow. It's a good thing we went away.

And in an hour Zossimov himself will report to you about everything.

He is not drunk! And I shan't be drunk... And what made me get so

tight? Because they got me into an argument, damn them! I've sworn

never to argue! They talk such trash! I almost came to blows! I've

left my uncle to preside. Would you believe, they insist on complete

absence of individualism and that's just what they relish! Not to be

themselves, to be as unlike themselves as they can. That's what they

regard as the highest point of progress. If only their nonsense were

their own, but as it is..."

"Listen!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna interrupted timidly, but it only

added fuel to the flames.

"What do you think?" shouted Razumihin, louder than ever, "you think

I am attacking them for talking nonsense? Not a bit! I like them to

talk nonsense. That's man's one privilege over all creation. Through

error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach

any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred

and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in its way; but we can't even

make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own

nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is

better than to go right in some one else's. In the first case you

are a man, in the second you're no better than a bird. Truth won't

escape you, but life can be cramped. There have been examples. And

what are we doing now? In science, development, thought, invention,

ideals, aims, liberalism, judgment, experience and everything,

everything, everything, we are still in the preparatory class at

school. We prefer to live on other people's ideas, it's what we are

used to! Am I right, am I right?" cried Razumihin, pressing and

shaking the two ladies' hands.

"Oh, mercy, I do not know," cried poor Pulcheria Alexandrovna.

"Yes, yes... though I don't agree with you in everything," added

Avdotya Romanovna earnestly and at once uttered a cry, for he squeezed

her hand so painfully.

"Yes, you say yes... well after that you... you..." he cried in a

transport, "you are a fount of goodness, purity, sense... and

perfection. Give me your hand... you give me yours, too! I want to

kiss your hands here at once, on my knees..." and he fell on his knees

on the pavement, fortunately at that time deserted.

"Leave off, I entreat you, what are you doing?" Pulcheria

Alexandrovna cried, greatly distressed.

"Get up, get up!" said Dounia laughing, though she, too, was upset.

"Not for anything till you let me kiss your hands! That's it!

Enough! I get up and we'll go on! I am a luckless fool, I am

unworthy of you and drunk... and I am ashamed.... I am not worthy to

love you, but to do homage to you is the duty of every man who is

not a perfect beast! And I've done homage.... Here are your

lodgings, and for that alone Rodya was right in driving your Pyotr

Petrovitch away.... How dare he! how dare he put you in such lodgings!

It's a scandal! Do you know the sort of people they take in here?

And you his betrothed! You are his betrothed? Yes, well, then, I'll

tell you, your fiance is a scoundrel."

"Excuse me, Mr. Razumihin, you are forgetting..." Pulcheria

Alexandrovna was beginning.

"Yes, yes, you are right, I did forget myself, I am ashamed of

it," Razumihin made haste to apologise. "But... but you can't be angry

with me for speaking so! For I speak sincerely and not because...

hm, hm! That would be disgraceful; in fact not because I'm in... hm!

Well, anyway I won't say why, I daren't.... But we all saw to-day when

he came in that that man is not of our sort. Not because he had his

hair curled at the barber's, not because he was in such a hurry to

show his wit, but because he is a spy, a speculator, because he is a

skin-flint and a buffoon. That's evident. Do you think him clever? No,

he is a fool, a fool. And is he a match for you? Good heavens! Do

you see, ladies?" he stopped suddenly on the way upstairs to their

rooms, "though all my friends there are drunk, yet they are all

honest, and though we do talk a lot of trash, and I do, too, yet we

shall talk our way to the truth at last, for we are on the right path,

while Pyotr Petrovitch... is not on the right path. Though I've been

calling them all sorts of names just now, I do respect them all...

though I don't respect Zametov, I like him, for he is a puppy, and

that bullock Zossimov, because he is an honest man and knows his work.

But enough, it's all said and forgiven. Is it forgiven? Well, then,

let's go on. I know this corridor, I've been here, there was a scandal

here at Number 3.... Where are you here? Which number? eight? Well,

lock yourselves in for the night, then. Don't let anybody in. In a

quarter of an hour I'll come back with news, and half an hour later

I'll bring Zossimov, you'll see! Good-bye, I'll run."

"Good heavens, Dounia, what is going to happen?" said Pulcheria

Alexandrovna, addressing her daughter with anxiety and dismay.

"Don't worry yourself, mother," said Dounia, taking off her hat

and cape. "God has sent this gentleman to our aid, though he has

come from a drinking party. We can depend on him, I assure you. And

all that he has done for Rodya...."

"Ah. Dounia, goodness knows whether he will come! How could I

bring myself to leave Rodya?... And how different, how different I had

fancied our meeting! How sullen he was, as though not pleased to see


Tears came into her eyes.

"No, it's not that, mother. You didn't see, you were crying all

the time. He is quite unhinged by serious illness- that's the reason."

"Ah, that illness! What will happen, what will happen? And how he

talked to you, Dounia!" said the mother, looking timidly at her

daughter, trying to read her thoughts and, already half consoled by

Dounia's standing up for her brother, which meant that she had already

forgiven him. "I am sure he will think better of it to-morrow," she

added, probing her further.

"And I am sure that he will say the same to-morrow... about that,"

Avdotya Romanovna said finally. And, of course, there was no going

beyond that, for this was a point which Pulcheria Alexandrovna was

afraid to discuss. Dounia went up and kissed her mother. The latter

warmly embraced her without speaking. Then she sat down to wait

anxiously for Razumihin's return, timidly watching her daughter who

walked up and down the room with her arms folded, lost in thought.

This walking up and down when she was thinking was a habit of

Avdotya Romanovna's and the mother was always afraid to break in on

her daughter's mood at such moments.

Razumihin, of course, was ridiculous in his sudden drunken

infatuation for Avdotya Romanovna. Yet apart from his eccentric

condition, many people would have thought it justified if they had

seen Avdotya Romanovna, especially at that moment when she was walking

to and fro with folded arms, pensive and melancholy. Avdotya Romanovna

was remarkably good looking; she was tall, strikingly

well-proportioned, strong and self-reliant- the latter quality was

apparent in every gesture, though it did not in the least detract from

the grace and softness of her movements. In face she resembled her

brother, but she might be described as really beautiful. Her hair

was dark brown, a little lighter than her brother's; there was a proud

light in her almost black eyes and yet at times a look of

extraordinary kindness. She was pale, but it was a healthy pallor; her

face was radiant with freshness and vigour. Her mouth was rather

small; the full red lower lip projected a little as did her chin; it

was the only irregularity in her beautiful face, but it gave it a

peculiarly individual and almost haughty expression. Her face was

always more serious and thoughtful than gay; but how well smiles,

how well youthful, lighthearted, irresponsible, laughter suited her

face! It was natural enough that a warm, open, simple-hearted,

honest giant like Razumihin, who had never seen any one like her and

was not quite sober at the time, should lose his head immediately.

Besides, as chance would have it, he saw Dounia for the first time

transfigured by her love for her brother and her joy at meeting him.

Afterwards he saw her lower lip quiver with indignation at her

brother's insolent, cruel and ungrateful words- and his fate was


He had spoken the truth, moreover, when he blurted out in his

drunken talk on the stairs that Praskovya Pavlovna, Raskolnikov's

eccentric landlady, would be jealous of Pulcheria Alexandrovna as well

as of Avdotya Romanovna on his account. Although Pulcheria

Alexandrovna was forty-three, her face still retained traces of her

former beauty; she looked much younger than her age, indeed, which

is almost always the case with women who retain serenity of spirit,

sensitiveness and pure sincere warmth of heart to old age. We may

add in parenthesis that to preserve all this is the only means of

retaining beauty to old age. Her hair had begun to grow grey and thin,

there had long been little crow's foot wrinkles round her eyes, her

cheeks were hollow and sunken from anxiety and grief, and yet it was a

handsome face. She was Dounia over again, twenty years older, but

without the projecting underlip. Pulcheria Alexandrovna was emotional,

but not sentimental, timid and yielding, but only to a certain

point. She could give way and accept a great deal even of what was

contrary to her convictions, but there was a certain barrier fixed

by honesty, principle and the deepest convictions which nothing

would induce her to cross.

Exactly twenty minutes after Razumihin's departure, there came two

subdued but hurried knocks at the door: he had come back.

"I won't come in, I haven't time," he hastened to say when the

door was opened. "He sleeps like a top, soundly, quietly, and God

grant he may sleep ten hours. Nastasya's with him; I told her not to

leave till I came. Now I am fetching Zossimov, he will report to you

and then you'd better turn in; I can see you are too tired to do


And he ran off down the corridor.

"What a very competent and... devoted young man!" cried Pulcheria

Alexandrovna exceedingly delighted.

"He seems a splendid person!" Avdotya Romanovna replied with some

warmth, resuming her walk up and down the room.

It was nearly an hour later when they heard footsteps in the

corridor and another knock at the door. Both women waited this time

completely relying on Razumihin's promise; he actually had succeeded

in bringing Zossimov. Zossimov had agreed at once to desert the

drinking party to go to Raskolnikov's, but he came reluctantly and

with the greatest suspicion to see the ladies, mistrusting Razumihin

in his exhilarated condition. But his vanity was at once reassured and

flattered; he saw that they were really expecting him as an oracle. He

stayed just ten minutes and succeeded in completely convincing and

comforting Pulcheria Alexandrovna. He spoke with marked sympathy,

but with the reserve and extreme seriousness of a young doctor at an

important consultation. He did not utter a word on any other subject

and did not display the slightest desire to enter into more personal

relations with the two ladies. Remarking at his first entrance the

dazzling beauty of Avdotya Romanovna, he endeavoured not to notice her

at all during his visit and addressed himself solely to Pulcheria

Alexandrovna. All this gave him extraordinary inward satisfaction.

He declared that he thought the invalid at this moment going on very

satisfactorily. According to his observations the patient's illness

was due partly to his unfortunate material surroundings during the

last few months, but it had partly also a moral origin, "was so to

speak the product of several material and moral influences, anxieties,

apprehensions, troubles, certain ideas... and so on." Noticing

stealthily that Avdotya Romanovna was following his words with close

attention, Zossimov allowed himself to enlarge on this theme. On

Pulcheria Alexandrovna's anxiously and timidly inquiring as to "some

suspicion of insanity," he replied with a composed and candid smile

that his words had been exaggerated; that certainly the patient had

some fixed idea, something approaching a monomania- he, Zossimov,

was now particularly studying this interesting branch of medicine- but

that it must be recollected that until to-day the patient had been

in delirium and... and that no doubt the presence of his family

would have a favourable effect on his recovery and distract his

mind, "if only all fresh shocks can be avoided," he added

significantly. Then he got up, took leave with an impressive and

affable bow, while blessings, warm gratitude, and entreaties were

showered upon him, and Avdotya Romanovna spontaneously offered her

hand to him. He went out exceedingly pleased with his visit and

still more so with himself.

"We'll talk to-morrow; go to bed at once!" Razumihin said in

conclusion, following Zossimov out. "I'll be with you to-morrow

morning as early as possible with my report."

"That's a fetching little girl, Avdotya Romanovna," remarked

Zossimov, almost licking his lips as they both came out into the


"Fetching? You said fetching?" roared Razumihin and he flew at

Zossimov and seized him by the throat. "If you ever dare... Do you

understand? Do you understand?" he shouted, shaking him by the

collar and squeezing him against the wall. "Do you hear?"

"Let me go, you drunken devil," said Zossimov, struggling and when

he had let him go, he stared at him and went off into a sudden guffaw.

Razumihin stood facing him in gloomy and earnest reflection.

"Of course, I am an ass," he observed, sombre as a storm cloud, "but

still... you are another."

"No, brother, not at all such another. I am not dreaming of any


They walked along in silence and only when they were close to

Raskolnikov's lodgings, Razumihin broke the silence in considerable


"Listen," he said, "you're a first-rate fellow, but among your other

failings, you're a loose fish, that, I know, and a dirty one, too. You

are a feeble, nervous wretch, and a mass of whims, you're getting

fat and lazy and can't deny yourself anything- and I call that dirty

because it leads on straight into the dirt. You've let yourself get so

slack that I don't know how it is you are still a good, even a devoted

doctor. You- a doctor- sleep on a feather bed and get up at night to

your patients! In another three or four years you won't get up for

your patients... But hang it all, that's not the point!... You are

going to spend to-night in the landlady's flat here. (Hard work I've

had to persuade her!) And I'll be in the kitchen. So here's a chance

for you to get to know her better.... It's not as you think! There's

not a trace of anything of the sort, brother...!"

"But I don't think!"

"Here you have modesty, brother, silence, bashfulness, a savage

virtue... and yet she's sighing and melting like wax, simply

melting! Save me from her, by all that's unholy! She's most

prepossessing... I'll repay you, I'll do anything...."

Zossimov laughed more violently than ever.

"Well, you are smitten! But what am I to do with her?"

"It won't be much trouble, I assure you. Talk any rot you like to

her, as long as you sit by her and talk. You're a doctor, too; try

curing her of something. I swear you won't regret it. She has a piano,

and you know, I strum a little. I have a song there, a genuine Russian

one: 'I shed hot tears.' She likes the genuine article- and well, it

all began with that song; Now you're a regular performer, a maitre,

a Rubinstein.... I assure you, you won't regret it!"

"But have you made her some promise? Something signed? A promise

of marriage, perhaps?"

"Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of the kind! Besides she is

not that sort at all.... Tchebarov tried that...."

"Well, then, drop her!"

"But I can't drop her like that!"

"Why can't you?"

"Well, I can't, that's all about it! There's an element of

attraction here, brother."

"Then why have you fascinated her?"

"I haven't fascinated her; perhaps, I was fascinated myself in my

folly. But she won't care a straw whether it's you or I, so long as

somebody sits beside her, sighing.... I can't explain the position,

brother... look here, you are good at mathematics, and working at it

now... begin teaching her the integral calculus; upon my soul, I'm not

joking. I'm in earnest, it'll be just the same to her. She will gaze

at you and sigh for a whole year together. I talked to her once for

two days at a time about the Prussian House of Lords (for one must

talk of something)- she just sighed and perspired! And you mustn't

talk of love- she's bashful to hysterics- but just let her see you

can't tear yourself away- that's enough. It's fearfully comfortable;

you're quite at home, you can read, sit, lie about, write. You may

even venture on a kiss, if you're careful."

"But what do I want with her?"

"Ach, I can't make you understand! You see, you are made for each

other! I have often been reminded of you!... You'll come to it in

the end! So does it matter whether it's sooner or later? There's the

featherbed element here, brother,- ach! and not only that! There's

an attraction here- here you have the end of the world, an

anchorage, a quiet haven, the navel of the earth, the three fishes

that are the foundation of the world, the essence of pancakes, of

savoury fish-pies, of the evening samovar, of soft sighs and warm

shawls, and hot stoves to sleep on- as snug as though you were dead,

and yet you're alive- the advantages of both at once! Well, hang it,

brother, what stuff I'm talking, it's bedtime! Listen. I sometimes

wake up at night; so I'll go in and look at him. But there's no

need, it's all right. Don't you worry yourself, yet if you like, you

might just look in once, too. But if you notice anything, delirium

or fever- wake me at once. But there can't be...."

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

(the cry)  °  phenomenology ° art  °  forums  °  chat °  exquisite corpse  °  mail-list   °   search engine  °   site map  °   guestbook   °   @