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

Fyodor Dostoevsky
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"HE IS well, quite well!" Zossimov cried cheerfully as they entered.

He had come in ten minutes earlier and was sitting in the same place

as before, on the sofa. Raskolnikov was sitting in the opposite

corner, fully dressed and carefully washed and combed, as he had not

been for some time past. The room was immediately crowded, yet

Nastasya managed to follow the visitors in and stayed to listen.

Raskolnikov really was almost well, as compared with his condition

the day before, but he was still pale, listless, and sombre. He looked

like a wounded man or one who has undergone some terrible physical

suffering. His brows were knitted, his lips compressed, his eyes

feverish. He spoke little and reluctantly, as though performing a

duty, and there was a restlessness in his movements.

He only wanted a sling on his arm or a bandage on his finger to

complete the impression of a man with a painful abscess or a broken

arm. The pale, sombre face lighted up for a moment when his mother and

sister entered, but this only gave it a look of more intense

suffering, in place of its listless dejection. The light soon died

away, but the look of suffering remained, and Zossimov, watching and

studying his patient with all the zest of a young doctor beginning

to practise, noticed in him no joy at the arrival of his mother and

sister, but a sort of bitter, hidden determination to bear another

hour or two of inevitable torture. He saw later that almost every word

of the following conversation seemed to touch on some sore place and

irritate it. But at the same time he marvelled at the power of

controlling himself and hiding his feelings in a patient who the

previous day had, like a monomaniac, fallen into a frenzy at the

slightest word.

"Yes, I see myself now that I am almost well," said Raskolnikov,

giving his mother and sister a kiss of welcome which made Pulcheria

Alexandrovna radiant at once. "And I don't say this as I did

yesterday," he said addressing Razumihin, with a friendly pressure

of his hand.

"Yes, indeed, I am quite surprised at him to-day," began Zossimov,

much delighted at the ladies' entrance, for he had not succeeded in

keeping up a conversation with his patient for ten minutes. "In

another three or four days, if he goes on like this, he will be just

as before, that is, as he was a month ago, or two... or perhaps even

three. This has been coming on for a long while.... eh? Confess,

now, that it has been perhaps your own fault?" he added, with a

tentative smile, as though still afraid of irritating him.

"It is very possible," answered Raskolnikov coldly.

"I should say, too," continued Zossimov with zest, "that your

complete recovery depends solely on yourself. Now that one can talk to

you, I should like to impress upon you that it is essential to avoid

the elementary, so to speak, fundamental causes tending to produce

your morbid condition: in that case you will be cured, if not, it will

go from bad to worse. These fundamental causes I don't know, but

they must be known to you. You are an intelligent man, and must have

observed yourself, of course. I fancy the first stage of your

derangement coincides with your leaving the university. You must not

be left without occupation, and so, work and a definite aim set before

you might, I fancy, be very beneficial."

"Yes, yes; you are perfectly right.... I will make haste and

return to the university: and then everything will go smoothly...."

Zossimov, who had begun his sage advice partly to make an effect

before the ladies, was certainly somewhat mystified, when, glancing at

his patient, he observed unmistakable mockery on his face. This lasted

an instant, however. Pulcheria Alexandrovna began at once thanking

Zossimov, especially for his visit to their lodging the previous


"What! he saw you last night?" Raskolnikov asked, as though

startled. "Then you have not slept either after your journey."

"Ach, Rodya, that was only till two o'clock. Dounia and I never go

to bed before two at home."

"I don't know how to thank him either," Raskolnikov went on suddenly

frowning and looking down. "Setting aside the question of payment-

forgive me for referring to it (he turned to Zossimov)- I really don't

know what I have done to deserve such special attention from you! I

simply don't understand it... and... and... it weighs upon me, indeed,

because I don't understand it. I tell you so candidly."

"Don't be irritated." Zossimov forced himself to laugh. "Assume that

you are my first patient- well- we fellows just beginning to

practise love our first patients as if they were our children, and

some almost fall in love with them. And, of course, I am not rich in


"I say nothing about him," added Raskolnikov, pointing to Razumihin,

"though he has had nothing from me either but insult and trouble."

"What nonsense he is talking! Why, you are in a sentimental mood

to-day, are you?" shouted Razumihin.

If he had had more penetration he would have seen that there was

no trace of sentimentality in him, but something indeed quite the

opposite. But Avdotya Romanovna noticed it. She was intently and

uneasily watching her brother.

"As for you, mother, I don't dare to speak," he went on, as though

repeating a lesson learned by heart. "It is only to-day that I have

been able to realise a little how distressed you must have been here

yesterday, waiting for me to come back."

When he had said this, he suddenly held out his hand to his

sister, smiling without a word. But in this smile there was a flash of

real unfeigned feeling. Dounia caught it at once, and warmly pressed

his hand, overjoyed and thankful. It was the first time he had

addressed her since their dispute the previous day. The mother's

face lighted up with ecstatic happiness at the sight of this

conclusive unspoken reconciliation. "Yes, that is what I love him

for," Razumihin, exaggerating it all, muttered to himself, with a

vigorous turn in his chair. "He has these movements."

"And how well he does it all," the mother was thinking to herself.

"What generous impulses he has, and how simply, how delicately he

put an end to all the misunderstanding with his sister- simply by

holding out his hand at the right minute and looking at her like

that.... And what fine eyes he has, and how fine his whole face is!...

He is even better looking than Dounia.... But, good heavens, what a

suit- how terribly he's dressed!... Vasya, the messenger boy in

Afanasy Ivanitch's shop, is better dressed! I could rush at him and

hug him... weep over him- but I am afraid.... Oh, dear, he's so

strange! He's talking kindly, but I'm afraid! Why, what am I afraid


"Oh, Rodya, you wouldn't believe," she began suddenly, in haste to

answer his words to her, "how unhappy Dounia and I were yesterday! Now

that it's all over and done with and we are quite happy again- I can

tell you. Fancy, we ran here almost straight from the train to embrace

you and that woman- ah, here she is! Good morning, Nastasya!... She

told us at once that you were lying in a high fever and had just run

away from the doctor in delirium, and they were looking for you in the

streets. You can't imagine how we felt! I couldn't help thinking of

the tragic end of Lieutenant Potanchikov, a friend of your father's-

you can't remember him, Rodya- who ran out in the same way in a high

fever and fell into the well in the courtyard and they couldn't pull

him out till next day. Of course, we exaggerated things. We were on

the point of rushing to find Pyotr Petrovitch to ask him to help....

Because we were alone, utterly alone," she said plaintively and

stopped short, suddenly, recollecting it was still somewhat

dangerous to speak of Pyotr Petrovitch, although "we are quite happy


"Yes, yes.... Of course it's very annoying...." Raskolnikov muttered

in reply, but with such a preoccupied and inattentive air that

Dounia gazed at him in perplexity.

"What else was it I wanted to say," he went on trying to

recollect. "Oh, yes; mother, and you too, Dounia, please don't think

that I didn't mean to come and see you to-day and was waiting for

you to come first."

"What are you saying, Rodya?" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna. She,

too, was surprised.

"Is he answering us as a duty?" Dounia wondered. "Is he being

reconciled and asking forgiveness as though he were performing a

rite or repeating a lesson?"

"I've only just waked up, and wanted to go to you, but was delayed

owing to my clothes; I forgot yesterday to ask her... Nastasya... to

wash out the blood... I've only just dressed."

"Blood! What blood?" Pulcheria Alexandrovna asked in alarm.

"Oh, nothing- don't be uneasy. It was when I was wandering about

yesterday, rather delirious, I chanced upon a man who had been run

over... a clerk..."

"Delirious? But you remember everything!" Razumihin interrupted.

"That's true," Raskolnikov answered with special carefulness. "I

remember everything even to the slightest detail, and yet- why I did

that and went there and said that, I can't clearly explain now."

"A familiar phenomenon," interposed Zossimov, "actions are sometimes

performed in a masterly and most cunning way, while the direction of

the actions is deranged and dependent on various morbid impressions-

it's like a dream."

"Perhaps it's a good thing really that he should think me almost a

madman," thought Raskolnikov.

"Why, people in perfect health act in the same way too," observed

Dounia, looking uneasily at Zossimov.

"There is some truth in your observation," the latter replied. "In

that sense we are certainly all not infrequently like madmen, but with

the slight difference that the deranged are somewhat madder, for we

must draw a line. A normal man, it is true, hardly exists. Among

dozens- perhaps hundreds of thousands- hardly one is to be met with."

At the word "madman," carelessly dropped by Zossimov in his

chatter on his favourite subject, every one frowned.

Raskolnikov sat seeming not to pay attention, plunged in thought

with a strange smile on his pale lips. He was still meditating on


"Well, what about the man who was run over? I interrupted you!"

Razumihin cried hastily.

"What?" Raskolnikov seemed to wake up. "Oh... I got spattered with

blood helping to carry him to his lodging. By the way, mamma, I did an

unpardonable thing yesterday. I was literally out of my mind. I gave

away all the money you sent me... to his wife for the funeral. She's a

widow now, in consumption, a poor creature... three little children,

starving... nothing in the house... there's a daughter, too... perhaps

you'd have given it yourself if you'd seen them. But I had no right to

do it I admit, especially as I knew how you needed the money yourself.

To help others one must have the right to do it, or else Crevez,

chiens, si vous n'etes pas contents." He laughed, "That's right, isn't

it, Dounia?"

"No, it's not," answered Dounia firmly.

"Bah! you, too, have ideals," he muttered, looking at her almost

with hatred, and smiling sarcastically. "I ought to have considered

that.... Well, that's praiseworthy, and it's better for you... and

if you reach a line you won't overstep, you will be unhappy... and

if you overstep it, maybe you will be still unhappier.... But all

that's nonsense," he added irritably, vexed at being carried away.

"I only meant to say that I beg your forgiveness, mother," he

concluded, shortly and abruptly.

"That's enough, Rodya, I am sure that everything you do is very

good," said his mother, delighted.

"Don't be too sure," he answered, twisting his mouth into a smile.

A silence followed. There was a certain constraint in all this

conversation, and in the silence, and in the reconciliation, and in

the forgiveness, and all were feeling it.

"It is as though they were afraid of me," Raskolnikov was thinking

to himself, looking askance at his mother and sister. Pulcheria

Alexandrovna was indeed growing more timid the longer she kept silent.

"Yet in their absence I seemed to love them so much," flashed

through his mind.

"Do you know, Rodya, Marfa Petrovna is dead," Pulcheria Alexandrovna

suddenly blurted out.

"What Marfa Petrovna?"

"Oh, mercy on us- Marfa Petrovna Svidrigailov. I wrote you so much

about her."

"A-a-h! Yes, I remember.... So she's dead! Oh, really?" he roused

himself suddenly, as if waking up. "What did she die of?"

"Only imagine, quite suddenly," Pulcheria Alexandrovna answered

hurriedly, encouraged by his curiosity. "On the very day I was sending

you that letter! Would you believe it, that awful man seems to have

been the cause of her death. They say he beat her dreadfully."

"Why, were they on such bad terms?" he asked, addressing his sister.

"Not at all. Quite the contrary indeed. With her, he was always very

patient, considerate even. In fact, all those seven years of their

married life he gave way to her, too much so indeed, in many cases.

All of a sudden he seems to have lost patience."

"Then he could not have been so awful if he controlled himself for

seven years? You seem to be defending him, Dounia?"

"No, no, he's an awful man! I can imagine nothing more awful!"

Dounia answered, almost with a shudder, knitting her brows, and

sinking into thought.

"That had happened in the morning," Pulcheria Alexandrovna went on

hurriedly. "And directly afterwards she ordered the horses to be

harnessed to drive to the town immediately after dinner. She always

used to drive to the town in such cases. She ate a very good dinner, I

am told...."

"After the beating?"

"That was always her... habit; and immediately after dinner, so as

not to be late in starting, she went to the bathhouse.... You see, she

was undergoing some treatment with baths. They have a cold spring

there, and she used to bathe in it regularly every day, and no

sooner had she got into the water when she suddenly had a stroke!"

"I should think so," said Zossimov.

"And did he beat her badly?"

"What does that matter!" put in Dounia.

"H'm! But I don't know why you want to tell us such gossip, mother,"

said Raskolnikov irritably, as it were in spite of himself.

"Ah, my dear, I don't know what to talk about," broke from Pulcheria


"Why, are you all afraid of me?" he asked, with a constrained smile.

"That's certainly true," said Dounia, looking directly and sternly

at her brother. "Mother was crossing herself with terror as she came

up the stairs."

His face worked, as though in convulsion.

"Ach, what are you saying, Dounia! Don't be angry, please, Rodya....

Why did you say that, Dounia?" Pulcheria Alexandrovna began,

overwhelmed- "You see, coming here, I was dreaming all the way, in the

train, how we should meet, how we should talk over everything

together.... And I was so happy, I did not notice the journey! But

what am I saying? I am happy now.... You should not, Dounia.... I am

happy now- simply in seeing you, Rodya...."

"Hush, mother," he muttered in confusion, not looking at her, but

pressing her hand. "We shall have time to speak freely of everything!"

As he said this, he was suddenly overwhelmed with confusion and

turned pale. Again that awful sensation he had known of late passed

with deadly chill over his soul. Again it became suddenly plain and

perceptible to him that he had just told a fearful lie- that he

would never now be able to speak freely of everything- that he would

never again be able to speak of anything to any one. The anguish of

this thought was such that for a moment he almost forgot himself. He

got up from his seat, and not looking at any one walked towards the


"What are you about?" cried Razumihin, clutching him by the arm.

He sat down again, and began looking about him, in silence. They

were all looking at him in perplexity.

"But what are you all so dull for?" he shouted, suddenly and quite

unexpectedly. "Do say something! What's the use of sitting like

this? Come, do speak. Let us talk.... We meet together and sit in

silence.... Come, anything!"

"Thank God; I was afraid the same thing as yesterday was beginning

again," said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, crossing herself.

"What is the matter, Rodya?" asked Avdotya Romanovna, distrustfully.

"Oh, nothing! I remembered something," he answered, and suddenly


"Well, if you remembered something; that's all right!... I was

beginning to think..." muttered Zossimov, getting up from the sofa.

"It is time for me to be off. I will look in again perhaps... if I

can..." He made his bows, and went out.

"What an excellent man!" observed Pulcheria Alexandrovna.

"Yes, excellent, splendid, well-educated, intelligent,"

Raskolnikov began, suddenly speaking with surprising rapidity, and a

liveliness he had not shown till then. "I can't remember where I met

him before my illness.... I believe I have met him somewhere-... And

this is a good man, too," he nodded at Razumihin. "Do you like him,

Dounia?" he asked her; and suddenly, for some unknown reason, laughed.

"Very much," answered Dounia.

"Foo- what a pig you are," Razumihin protested, blushing in terrible

confusion, and he got up from his chair. Pulcheria Alexandrovna smiled

faintly, but Raskolnikov laughed aloud.

"Where are you off to?"

"I must go."

"You need not at all. Stay. Zossimov has gone, so you must. Don't

go. What's the time? Is it twelve o'clock? What a pretty watch you

have got, Dounia. But why are you all silent again? I do all the


"It was a present from Marfa Petrovna," answered Dounia.

"And a very expensive one!" added Pulcheria Alexandrovna.

"A-ah! What a big one! Hardly like a lady's."

"I like that sort," said Dounia.

"So it is not a present from her fiance," thought Razumihin, and was

unreasonably delighted.

"I thought it was Luzhin's present," observed Raskolnikov.

"No, he has not made Dounia any presents yet."

"A-ah! And do you remember, mother, I was in love and wanted to

get married?" he said suddenly, looking at his mother, who was

disconcerted by the sudden change of subject and the way he spoke of


"Oh, yes, my dear."

Pulcheria Alexandrovna exchanged glances with Dounia and Razumihin.

"H'm, yes. What shall I tell you? I don't remember much indeed.

She was such a sickly girl," he went on, growing dreamy and looking

down again. "Quite an invalid. She was fond of giving alms to the

poor, and was always dreaming of a nunnery, and once she burst into

tears when she began talking to me about it. Yes, yes, I remember. I

remember very well. She was an ugly little thing. I really don't

know what drew me to her then- I think it was because she was always

ill. If she had been lame or hunchback, I believe I should have

liked her better still," he smiled dreamily. "Yes, it was a sort of

spring delirium."

"No, it was not only spring delirium," said Dounia, with warm


He fixed a strained intent look on his sister, but did not hear or

did not understand her words. Then, completely lost in thought, he got

up, went up to his mother, kissed her, went back to his place and

sat down.

"You love her even now?" said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, touched.

"Her? Now? Oh, yes.... You ask about her? No... that's all now as it

were, in another world... and so long ago. And indeed everything

happening here seems somehow far away." He looked attentively at them.

"You now... I seem to be looking at you from a thousand miles

away... but, goodness knows why we are talking of that! And what's the

use of asking about it," he added with annoyance, and biting his

nails, he fell into dreamy silence again.

"What a wretched lodging you have, Rodya! It's like a tomb," said

Pulcheria Alexandrovna, suddenly breaking the oppressive silence. "I

am sure it's quite half through your lodging you have become so


"My lodging," he answered, listlessly. "Yes, the lodging had a great

deal to do with it.... I thought that, too.... If only you knew,

though, what a strange thing you said just now, mother," he said,

laughing strangely.

A little more, and their companionship, this mother and this sister,

with him after three years' absence, this intimate tone of

conversation, in face of the utter impossibility of really speaking

about anything, would have been beyond his power of endurance. But

there was one urgent matter which must be settled one way or the other

that day- so he had decided when he woke. Now he was glad to

remember it, as a means of escape.

"Listen, Dounia," he began, gravely and drily, "of course I beg your

pardon for yesterday, but I consider it my duty to tell you again that

I do not withdraw from my chief point. It is me or Luzhin. If I am a

scoundrel, you must not be. One is enough. If you marry Luzhin, I

cease at once to look on you as a sister."

"Rodya, Rodya! It is the same as yesterday again," Pulcheria

Alexandrovna cried, mournfully. "And why do you call yourself a

scoundrel? I can't bear it. You said the same yesterday."

"Brother," Dounia answered firmly and with the same dryness. "In all

this there is a mistake on your part. I thought it over at night,

and found out the mistake. It is all because you seem to fancy I am

sacrificing myself to some one and for some one. That is not the

case at all. I am simply marrying for my own sake, because things

are hard for me. Though, of course, I shall be glad if I succeed in

being useful to my family. But that is not the chief motive for my


"She is lying," he thought to himself, biting his nails

vindictively. "Proud creature! She won't admit she wants to do it

out of charity! Too haughty! Oh, base characters! They even love as

though they hate.... Oh, how I... hate them all!"

"In fact," continued Dounia, "I am marrying Pyotr Petrovitch because

of two evils I choose the less. I intend to do honestly all he expects

of me, so I am not deceiving him.... Why did you smile just now?" She,

too, flushed, and there was a gleam of anger in her eyes.

"All?" he asked, with a malignant grin.

"Within certain limits. Both the manner and form of Pyotr

Petrovitch's courtship showed me at once what he wanted. He may, of

course, think too well of himself, but I hope he esteems me, too....

Why are you laughing again?"

"And why are you blushing again? You are lying, sister. You are

intentionally lying, simply from feminine obstinacy, simply to hold

your own against me.... You cannot respect Luzhin. I have seen him and

talked with him. So you are selling yourself for money, and so in

any case you are acting basely, and I am glad at least that you can

blush for it."

"It is not true. I am not lying," cried Dounia, losing her

composure. "I would not marry him if I were not convinced that he

esteems me and thinks highly of me. I would not marry him if I were

not firmly convinced that I can respect him. Fortunately, I can have

convincing proof of it this very day... and such a marriage is not a

vileness, as you say! And even if you were right, if I really had

determined on a vile action, is it not merciless on your part to speak

to me like that? Why do you demand of me a heroism that perhaps you

have not either? It is despotism; it is tyranny. If I ruin any one, it

is only myself.... I am not committing a murder. Why do you look at me

like that? Why are you so pale? Rodya, darling, what's the matter?"

"Good heavens! You have made him faint," cried Pulcheria


"No, no, nonsense! It's nothing. A little giddiness- not fainting.

You have fainting on the brain. H'm, yes, what was I saying? Oh,

yes. In what way will you get convincing proof to-day that you can

respect him, and that he... esteems you, as you said. I think you said


"Mother, show Rodya Pyotr Petrovitch's letter," said Dounia.

With trembling hands, Pulcheria Alexandrovna gave him the letter. He

took it with great interest, but, before opening it, he suddenly

looked with a sort of wonder at Dounia.

"It is strange," he said, slowly, as though struck by a new idea.

"What am I making such a fuss for? What is it all about? Marry whom

you like!"

He said this as though to himself, but said it aloud, and looked for

some time at his sister, as though puzzled. He opened the letter at

last, still with the same look of strange wonder on his face. Then,

slowly and attentively, he began reading, and read it through twice.

Pulcheria Alexandrovna showed marked anxiety, and all indeed

expected something particular.

"What surprises me," he began, after a short pause, handing the

letter to his mother, but not addressing any one in particular, "is

that he is a business man, a lawyer, and his conversation is

pretentious indeed, and yet he writes such an uneducated letter."

They all started. They had expected something quite different.

"But they all write like that, you know," Razumihin observed,


"Have you read it?"


"We showed him, Rodya. We... consulted him just now," Pulcheria

Alexandrovna began, embarrassed.

"That's just the jargon of the courts," Razumihin put in. "Legal

documents are written like that to this day."

"Legal? Yes, it's just legal- business language- not so very

uneducated, and not quite educated- business language!"

"Pyotr Petrovitch makes no secret of the fact that he had a cheap

education, he is proud indeed of having made his own way," Avdotya

Romanovna observed, somewhat offended by her brother's tone.

"Well, if he's proud of it, he has reason, I don't deny it. You seem

to be offended, sister, at my making only such a frivolous criticism

on the letter, and to think that I speak of such trifling matters on

purpose to annoy you. It is quite the contrary, an observation apropos

of the style occurred to me that is by no means irrelevant as things

stand. There is one expression, 'blame yourselves' put in very

significantly and plainly, and there is besides a threat that he

will go away at once if I am present. That threat to go away is

equivalent to a threat to abandon you both if you are disobedient, and

to abandon you now after summoning you to Petersburg. Well, what do

you think? Can one resent such an expression from Luzhin, as we should

if he (he pointed to Razumihin) had written it, or Zossimov, or one of


"N-no," answered Dounia, with more animation. "I saw clearly that it

was too naively expressed, and that perhaps he simply has no skill

in writing... that is a true criticism, brother. I did not expect,


"It is expressed in legal style, and sounds coarser than perhaps

he intended. But I must disillusion you a little. There is one

expression in the letter, one slander about me, and rather a

contemptible one. I gave the money last night to the widow, a woman in

consumption, crushed with trouble, and not 'on the pretext of the

funeral,' but simply to pay for the funeral, and not to the

daughter- a young woman, as he writes, of notorious behaviour (whom

I saw last night for the first time in my life)- but to the widow.

In all this I see a too hasty desire to slander me and to raise

dissension between us. It is expressed again in legal jargon, that

is to say, with a too obvious display of the aim, and with a very

naive eagerness. He is a man of intelligence, but to act sensibly,

intelligence is not enough. It all shows the man and... I don't

think he has a great esteem for you. I tell you this simply to warn

you, because I sincerely wish for your good..."

Dounia did not reply. Her resolution had been taken. She was only

awaiting the evening.

"Then what is your decision, Rodya?" asked Pulcheria Alexandrovna,

who was more uneasy than ever at the sudden, new businesslike tone

of his talk.

"What decision?"

"You see Pyotr Petrovitch writes that you are not to be with us this

evening, and that he will go away if you come. So will you... come?"

"That, of course, is not for me to decide, but for you first, if you

are not offended by such a request; and secondly, by Dounia, if she,

too, is not offended. I will do what you think best," he added drily.

"Dounia has already decided, and I fully agree with her,"

Pulcheria Alexandrovna hastened to declare.

"I decided to ask you, Rodya, to urge you not to fail to be with

us at this interview," said Dounia. "Will you come?"


"I will ask you, too, to be with us at eight o'clock," she said,

addressing Razumihin. "Mother, I am inviting him, too."

"Quite right, Dounia. Well, since you have decided," added Pulcheria

Alexandrovna, "so be it. I shall feel easier myself. I do not like

concealment and deception. Better let us have the whole truth....

Pyotr Petrovitch may be angry or not, now!"

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

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