Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881)
Crime and Punishment
translated by Constance Garnett
BELIEVE it, I can't believe it!" repeated Razumihin, trying
in perplexity to
refute Raskolnikov's arguments.
They were by now
approaching Bakaleyev's lodgings, where Pulcheria
Dounia had been expecting them a long while.
stopping on the way in the heat of discussion, confused
and excited by
the very fact that they were for the first time
it, then!" answered Raskolnikov, with a cold,
"You were noticing nothing as usual, but I was
suspicious. That is why you weighed their words... h'm...
certainly, I agree,
Porfiry's tone was rather strange, and still
more that wretch
Zametov!... You are right, there was something
about him- but
"He has changed
his mind since last night."
contrary! If they had that brainless idea, they would
do their utmost
to hide it, and conceal their cards, so as to catch
But it was all impudent and careless."
had had facts- I mean, real facts- or at least grounds
then they would certainly have tried to hide their
game, in the hope
of getting more (they would have made a search
long ago besides).
But they have no facts, not one. It is all
mirage- all ambiguous.
Simply a floating idea. So they try to throw me
out by impudence.
And perhaps, he was irritated at having no facts,
and blurted it
out in his vexation- or perhaps he has some plan...
he seems an intelligent
man. Perhaps he wanted to frighten me by
pretending to know.
They have a psychology of their own, brother.
But it is loathsome
explaining it all. Stop!"
insulting, insulting! I understand you. But... since we
have spoken openly
now (and it is an excellent thing that we have at
last- I am glad)
I will own now frankly that I noticed it in them long
ago, this idea.
Of course the merest hint only- an insinuation- but
why an insinuation
even? How dare they? What foundation have they?
If only you knew
how furious I have been. Think only! Simply because a
poor student, unhinged
by poverty and hypochondria, on the eve of a
illness (note that), suspicious, vain, proud, who has
not seen a soul
to speak to for six months, in rags and in boots
has to face some wretched policemen and put up with
and the unexpected debt thrust under his nose, the
by Tchebarov, the new paint, thirty degrees Reaumur
and a stifling
atmosphere, a crowd of people, the talk about the
murder of a person
where he had been just before, and all that on an
he might well have a fainting fit! And that, that is
what they found
it all on! Damn them! I understand how annoying it is,
but in your place,
Rodya, I would laugh at them, or better still, spit
in their ugly faces,
and spit a dozen times in all directions. I'd hit
out in all directions,
neatly too, and so I'd put an end to it. Damn
them! Don't be
downhearted. It's a shame!"
has put it well, though," Raskolnikov thought.
But the cross-examination again, to-morrow?" he said
"Must I really enter into explanations with them? I
feel vexed as it
is that I condescended to speak to Zametov
yesterday in the
I will go myself to Porfiry. I will squeeze it out of him,
as one of the family:
he must let me know the ins and outs of it
all! And as for
he sees through him!" thought Raskolnikov.
cried Razumihin, seizing him by the shoulder again. "Stay!
you were wrong.
I have thought it out. You are wrong! How was that a
trap? You say that
the question about the workmen was a trap. But if
you had done that,
could you have said you had seen them painting
the flat... and
the workmen? On the contrary, you would have seen
nothing, even if
you had seen it. Who would own it against himself?"
"If I had
done that thing, I should certainly have said that I had
seen the workmen
and the flat." Raskolnikov answered, with
speak against yourself?"
only peasants, or the most inexperienced novices deny
at examinations. If a man is ever so little
developed and experienced,
he will certainly try to admit all the
that can't be avoided, but will seek other explanations
of them, will introduce
some special, unexpected turn, that will
give them another
significance and put them in another light.
Porfiry might well
reckon that I should be sure to answer so, and
say I had seen
them to give an air of truth, and then make some
"But he would
have told you at once, that the workmen could not have
been there two
days before, and that therefore you must have been
there on the day
of the murder at eight o'clock. And so he would
have caught you
over a detail."
is what he was reckoning on, that I should not have
time to reflect,
and should be in a hurry to make the most likely
answer, and so
would forget that the workmen could not have been there
two days before."
could you forget it?"
easier. It is in just such stupid things clever people
are most easily
caught. The more cunning a man is, the less he
suspects that he
will be caught in a simple thing. The more cunning
a man is, the simpler
the trap he must be caught in. Porfiry is not
such a fool as
"He is a
knave then, if that is so!"
not help laughing. But at the very moment, he
was struck by the
strangeness of his own frankness, and the
which he had made this explanation, though he had
kept up all the
preceding conversation with gloomy repulsion,
a motive, from necessity.
"I am getting
a relish for certain aspects!" he thought to
himself. But almost
at the same instant, he became suddenly uneasy, as
though an unexpected
and alarming idea had occurred to him. His
on increasing. They had just reached the entrance to
"Go in alone!"
said Raskolnikov suddenly. "I will be back directly."
you going? Why, we are just here."
help it.... I will come in half an hour. Tell them."
you like, I will come with you."
want to torture me!" he screamed, with such bitter
despair in his eyes that Razumihin's hands dropped.
He stood for some
time on the steps, looking gloomily at Raskolnikov
away in the direction of his lodging. At last,
gritting his teeth
and clenching his fist, he swore he would squeeze
Porfiry like a
lemon that very day, and went up the stairs to reassure
who was by now alarmed at their long absence.
got home, his hair was soaked with sweat and he was
He went rapidly up the stairs, walked into his
unlocked room and
at once fastened the latch. Then in senseless terror
he rushed to the
corner, to that hole under the paper where he had put
the thing; put
his hand in, and for some minutes felt carefully in the
hole, in every
crack and fold of the paper. Finding nothing, he got up
and drew a deep
breath. As he was reaching the steps of Bakaleyev's,
he suddenly fancied
that something, a chain, a stud or even a bit of
paper in which
they had been wrapped with the old woman's
it, might somehow have slipped out and been lost in
some crack, and
then might suddenly turn up as unexpected,
He stood as though
lost in thought, and a strange, humiliated,
smile strayed on his lips. He took his cap at last
and went quietly
out of the room. His ideas were all tangled. He
went dreamily through
is himself," shouted a loud voice.
He raised his
The porter was
standing at the door of his little room and was
pointing him out
to a short man who looked like an artisan, wearing
a long coat and
a waistcoat, and looking at a distance remarkably like
a woman. He stooped,
and his head in a greasy cap hung forward. From
his wrinkled flabby
face he looked over fifty; his little eyes were
lost in fat and
they looked out grimly, sternly and discontentedly.
it?" Raskolnikov asked, going up to the porter.
The man stole
a look at him from under his brows and he looked at
deliberately; then he turned slowly and went out of
the gate into the
street without saying a word.
it?" cried Raskolnikov.
there was asking whether a student lived here, mentioned
your name and whom
you lodged with. I saw you coming and pointed you
out and he went
away. It's funny."
The porter too
seemed rather puzzled, but not much so, and after
wondering for a
moment he turned and went back to his room.
after the stranger, and at once caught sight of
him walking along
the other side of the street with the same even,
with his eyes fixed on the ground, as though in
soon overtook him, but for some time walked behind him.
At last, moving
on to a level with him, he looked at his face. The man
noticed him at
once, looked at him quickly, but dropped his eyes
again; and so they
walked for a minute side by side without uttering a
inquiring for me... of the porter?" Raskolnikov said at
last, but in a
curiously quiet voice.
The man made no
answer; he didn't even look at him. Again they
were both silent.
"Why do you...
come and ask for me... and say nothing.... What's the
meaning of it?"
voice broke and he seemed unable to articulate the
The man raised
his eyes this time and turned a gloomy sinister
look at Raskolnikov.
he said suddenly in a quiet but clear and distinct
on walking beside him. His legs felt suddenly weak,
a cold shiver ran
down his spine, and his heart seemed to stand
still for a moment,
then suddenly began throbbing as though it were
set free. So they
walked for about a hundred paces, side by side in
The man did not
look at him.
you mean... what is.... Who is a murderer?" muttered
a murderer," the man answered still more articulately and
a smile of triumphant hatred, and again he looked
straight into Raskolnikov's
pale face and stricken eyes.
They had just
reached the crossroads. The man turned to the left
behind him. Raskolnikov remained standing, gazing
after him. He saw
him turn round fifty paces away and look back at him
there. Raskolnikov could not see clearly, but he
fancied that he
was again smiling the same smile of cold hatred and
With slow faltering
steps, with shaking knees, Raskolnikov made
his way back to
his little garret, feeling chilled all over. He took
off his cap and
put it on the table, and for ten minutes he stood
Then he sank exhausted on the sofa and with a weak
moan of pain he
stretched himself on it. So he lay for half an hour.
He thought of
nothing. Some thoughts or fragments of thoughts,
some images without
order or coherence floated before his mind-
faces of people
he had seen in his childhood or met somewhere once,
whom he would never
have recalled, the belfry of the church at V., the
in a restaurant and some officers playing billiards,
the smell of cigars
in some underground tobacco shop, a tavern room, a
quite dark, all sloppy with dirty water and strewn with
egg shells, and
the Sunday bells floating in from somewhere.... The
one another, whirling like a hurricane. Some of them
he liked and tried
to clutch at, but they faded and all the while
there was an oppression
within him, but it was not overwhelming,
sometimes it was
even pleasant.... The slight shivering still
that too was an almost pleasant sensation.
He heard the hurried
footsteps of Razumihin; he closed his eyes
and pretended to
be asleep. Razumihin opened the door and stood for
some time in the
doorway as though hesitating, then he stepped
softly into the
room and went cautiously to the sofa. Raskolnikov
him! Let him sleep. He can have his dinner later."
answered Razumihin. Both withdrew carefully and closed
the door. Another
half-hour passed. Raskolnikov opened his eyes,
turned on his back
again, clasping his hands behind his head.
"Who is he?
Who is that man who sprang out of the earth? Where was
he, what did he
see? He has seen it all, that's clear. Where was he
then? And from
where did he see? Why has he only now sprung out of the
earth? And how
could he see? Is it possible? Hm..." continued
cold and shivering, "and the jewel case Nikolay
found behind the
door- was that possible? A clue? You miss an
and you can build it into a pyramid of evidence!
A fly flew by and
saw it! Is it possible?" He felt with sudden
loathing how weak,
how physically weak he had become. "I ought to have
he thought with a bitter smile. "And how dared I, knowing
how I should be, take up an axe and shed blood! I
ought to have known
beforehand.... Ah, but I did know!" he whispered
in despair. At
times he came to a standstill at some thought.
men are not made so. The real Master to whom all is
Toulon, makes a massacre in Paris, forgets an army in
Egypt, wastes half
a million men in the Moscow expedition and gets off
with a jest at
Vilna. And altars are set up to him after his death,
and so all is permitted.
No, such people it seems are not of flesh but
One sudden irrelevant
idea almost made him laugh. Napoleon, the
and a wretched skinny old woman, a pawnbroker with
a red trunk under
her bed- it's a nice hash for Porfiry Petrovitch
to digest! How
can they digest it! It's too inartistic. "A Napoleon
creep under an
old woman's bed! Ugh, how loathsome!"
At moments he
felt he was raving. He sank into a state of feverish
old woman is of no consequence," he thought, hotly
"The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not
what matters! The
old woman was only an illness.... I was in a hurry
I didn't kill a human being, but a principle! I killed
but I didn't overstep, I stopped on this side.... I was
only capable of
killing. And it seems I wasn't even capable of that...
was that fool Razumihin abusing the socialists? They
commercial people; 'the happiness of all' is their
case. No, life
is only given to me once and I shall never have it
again; I don't
want to wait for 'the happiness of all.' I want to live
myself, or else
better not live at all. I simply couldn't pass by my
keeping my trouble in my pocket while I waited for
of all.' I am putting my little brick into the
happiness of all
and so my heart is at peace. Ha-ha! Why have you
let me slip? I
only live once, I too want.... Ech, I am an aesthetic
louse and nothing
more," he added suddenly, laughing like a madman.
"Yes, I am
certainly a louse," he went on, clutching at the idea,
gloating over it
and playing with it with vindictive pleasure. "In the
first place, because
I can reason that I am one, and secondly, because
for a month past
I have been troubling benevolent Providence,
calling it to witness
that not for my own fleshly lusts did I
undertake it, but
with a grand and noble object- ha-ha! Thirdly,
because I aimed
at carrying it out as justly as possible, weighing,
measuring and calculating.
Of all the lice I picked out the most
useless one and
proposed to take from her only as much as I needed for
the first step,
no more nor less (so the rest would have gone to a
to her will, ha-ha!). And what shows that I am
utterly a louse,"
he added, grinding his teeth, "is that I am
perhaps viler and
more loathsome than the louse I killed, and I felt
I should tell myself so after killing her. Can
anything be compared
with the horror of that! The vulgarity! The
abjectness! I understand
the 'prophet' with his sabre, on his steed:
and 'trembling' creation must obey! The 'prophet' is
right, he is right
when he sets a battery across the street and
blows up the innocent
and the guilty without deigning to explain! It's
for you to obey,
trembling creation, and not to have desires, for
that's not for
you!... I shall never, never forgive the old woman!"
His hair was soaked
with sweat, his quivering lips were parched, his
eyes were fixed
on the ceiling.
sister- how I loved them! Why do I hate them now? Yes, I
hate them, I feel
a physical hatred for them, I can't bear them near
me.... I went up
to my mother and kissed her, I remember.... To
embrace her and
think if she only knew... shall I tell her then?
That's just what
I might do.... She must be the same as I am," he
himself to think, as it were struggling with
how I hate the old woman now! I feel I should kill
her again if she
came to life! Poor Lizaveta! Why did she come
in?... It's strange
though, why is it I scarcely ever think of her, as
though I hadn't
killed her! Lizaveta! Sonia! Poor gentle things,
with gentle eyes....
Dear women! Why don't they weep? Why don't they
moan? They give
up everything... their eyes are soft and gentle....
Sonia, Sonia! Gentle
He lost consciousness;
it seemed strange to him that he didn't
remember how he
got into the street. It was late evening. The twilight
had fallen and
the full moon was shining more and more brightly; but
there was a peculiar
breathlessness in the air. There were crowds of
people in the street;
workmen and business people were making their
way home; other
people had come out for a walk; there was a smell of
mortar, dust and
stagnant water. Raskolnikov walked along, mournful
and anxious; he
was distinctly aware of having come out with a
purpose, of having
to do something in a hurry, but what it was he
Suddenly he stood still and saw a man standing on the
other side of the
street, beckoning to him. He crossed over to him,
but at once the
man turned and walked away with his head hanging, as
though he had made
no sign to him. "Stay, did he really beckon?"
but he tried to overtake him. When he was within
ten paces he recognised
him and was frightened; it was the same man
with stooping shoulders
in the long coat. Raskolnikov followed him
at a distance;
his heart was beating; they went down a turning; the
man still did not
look round. "Does he know I am following him?"
The man went into the gateway of a big house.
to the gate and looked in to see whether he would
look round and
sign to him. In the courtyard the man did turn round
and again seemed
to beckon him. Raskolnikov at once followed him
into the yard,
but the man was gone. He must have gone up the first
rushed after him. He heard slow measured
steps two flights
above. The staircase seemed strangely familiar. He
reached the window
on the first floor; the moon shone through the
panes with a melancholy
and mysterious light; then he reached the
second floor. Bah!
this is the flat where the painters were at work...
but how was it
he did not recognise it at once? The steps of the man
above had died
away. "So he must have stopped or hidden somewhere." He
reached the third
storey, should he go on? There was a stillness
that was dreadful....
But he went on. The sound of his own footsteps
scared and frightened
him. How dark it was! The man must be hiding
in some corner
here. Ah! the flat was standing wide open, he hesitated
and went in. It
was very dark and empty in the passage, as though
been removed; he crept on tiptoe into the parlour which
was flooded with
moonlight. Everything there was as before, the
chairs, the looking-glass,
the yellow sofa and the pictures in the
frames. A huge,
round, copper-red moon looked in at the windows. "It's
the moon that makes
it so still, weaving some mystery," thought
stood and waited, waited a long while, and the more
silent the moonlight,
the more violently his heart beat, till it was
painful. And still
the same hush. Suddenly he heard a momentary
sharp crack like
the snapping of a splinter and all was still again. A
fly flew up suddenly
and struck the window pane with a plaintive buzz.
At that moment
he noticed in the corner between the window and the
something like a cloak hanging on the wall. "Why is
that cloak here?"
he thought, "it wasn't there before...." He went
up to it quietly
and felt that there was some one hiding behind it. He
the cloak and saw, sitting on a chair in the
corner, the old
woman bent double so that he couldn't see her face;
but it was she.
He stood over her. "She is afraid," he thought. He
the axe from the noose and struck her one blow, then
another on the
skull. But strange to say she did not stir, as though
she were made of
wood. He was frightened, bent down nearer and tried
to look at her;
but she, too, bent her head lower. He bent right
down to the ground
and peeped up into her face from below, he peeped
and turned cold
with horror: the old woman was sitting and laughing,
shaking with noiseless
laughter, doing her utmost that he should not
hear it. Suddenly
he fancied that the door from the bedroom was opened
a little and that
there was laughter and whispering within. He was
overcome with frenzy
and he began hitting the old woman on the head
with all his force,
but at every blow of the axe the laughter and
the bedroom grew louder and the old woman was simply
shaking with mirth.
He was rushing away, but the passage was full of
people, the doors
of the flats stood open and on the landing, on the
stairs and everywhere
below there were people, rows of heads, all
looking, but huddled
together in silence and expectation. Something
gripped his heart,
his legs were rooted to the spot, they would not
move.... He tried
to scream and woke up.
He drew a deep
breath- but his dream seemed strangely to persist:
his door was flung
open and a man whom he had never seen stood in
the doorway watching
hardly opened his eyes and he instantly closed
them again. He
lay on his back without stirring.
"Is it still
a dream?" he wondered and again raised his eyelids
the stranger was standing in the same place, still
He stepped cautiously
into the room, carefully closing the door
after him, went
up to the table, paused a moment, still keeping his
eyes on Raskolnikov
and noiselessly seated himself on the chair by the
sofa; he put his
hat on the floor beside him and leaned his hands on
his cane and his
chin on his hands. It was evident that he was
prepared to wait
indefinitely. As far as Raskolnikov could make out
from his stolen
glances, he was a man no longer young, stout, with a
full, fair, almost
Ten minutes passed.
It was still light, but beginning to get dusk.
There was complete
stillness in the room. Not a sound came from the
stairs. Only a
big fly buzzed and fluttered against the window pane.
It was unbearable
at last. Raskolnikov suddenly got up and sat on
me what you want."
"I knew you
were not asleep, but only pretending," the stranger
laughing calmly. "Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigailov,
allow me to introduce
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science