Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881)
Crime and Punishment
translated by Constance Garnett
IT WAS nearly
eight o'clock. The two young men hurried to
arrive before Luzhin.
was that?" asked Razumihin, as soon as they were in the
"It was Svidrigailov,
that landowner in whose house my sister was
insulted when she
was their governess. Through his persecuting her
with his attentions,
she was turned out by his wife, Marfa Petrovna.
This Marfa Petrovna
begged Dounia's forgiveness afterwards, and
she's just died
suddenly. It was of her we were talking this
morning. I don't
know why I'm afraid of that man. He came here at once
after his wife's
funeral. He is very strange, and is determined on
We must guard Dounia from him... that's what I
wanted to tell
you, do you hear?"
What can he do to harm Avdotya Romanovna? Thank you,
Rodya, for speaking
to me like that.... We will, we will guard her.
Where does he live?"
you ask? What a pity! I'll find out, though."
see him?" asked Raskolnikov after a pause.
"Yes, I noticed
him, I noticed him well."
really see him? You saw him clearly?" Raskolnikov insisted.
"Yes, I remember
him perfectly, I should know him in a thousand; I
have a good memory
They were silent
all right," muttered Raskolnikov. "Do you know, I
fancied... I keep
thinking that it may have been an hallucination."
you mean? I don't understand you."
all say," Raskolnikov went on, twisting his mouth into
a smile, "that
I am mad. I thought just now that perhaps I really am
mad, and have only
seen a phantom."
can tell? Perhaps I am really mad, and perhaps
happened all these days may be only imagination."
you have been upset again!... But what did he say, what
did he come for?"
not answer. Razumihin thought a minute.
me tell you my story," he began, "I came to you, you were
asleep. Then we
had dinner and then I went to Porfiry's, Zametov was
still with him.
I tried to begin, but it was no use. I couldn't
speak in the right
way. They don't seem to understand and can't
are not a bit ashamed. I drew Porfiry to the window,
and began talking
to him, but it was still no use. He looked away
and I looked away.
At last I shook my fist in his ugly face, and
told him as a cousin
I'd brain him. He merely looked at me, I cursed
and came away.
That was all. It was very stupid. To Zametov I didn't
say a word. But,
you see, I thought I'd made a mess of it, but as I
a brilliant idea struck me: why should we trouble?
Of course if you
were in any danger or anything, but why need you
care? You needn't
care a hang for them. We shall have a laugh at
and if I were in your place I'd mystify them more
than ever. How
ashamed they'll be afterwards! Hang them! We can thrash
but let's laugh at them now!"
"To be sure,"
answered Raskolnikov. "But what will you say
he thought to himself. Strange to say, till that moment it
had never occurred
to him to wonder what Razumihin would think when he
knew. As he thought
it, Raskolnikov looked at him. Razumihin's account
of his visit to
Porfiry had very little interest for him, so much
had come and gone
In the corridor
they came upon Luzhin; he had arrived punctually
at eight, and was
looking for the number, so that all three went in
greeting or looking at one another. The young men
walked in first,
while Pyotr Petrovitch, for good manners, lingered
a little in the
passage, taking off his coat. Pulcheria Alexandrovna
came forward at
once to greet him in the doorway, Dounia was welcoming
her brother. Pyotr
Petrovitch walked in and quite amiably, though with
bowed to the ladies. He looked, however, as
though he were
a little put out and could not yet recover himself.
who seemed also a little embarrassed, hastened
to make them all
sit down at the round table where a samovar was
and Luzhin were facing one another on opposite sides
of the table. Razumihin
and Raskolnikov were facing Pulcheria
was next to Luzhin and Raskolnikov was
beside his sister.
A moment's silence
followed. Pyotr Petrovitch deliberately drew
out a cambric handkerchief
reeking of scent and blew his nose with
an air of a benevolent
man who felt himself slighted, and was firmly
resolved to insist
on an explanation. In the passage the idea had
occurred to him
to keep on his overcoat and walk away, and so give the
two ladies a sharp
and emphatic lesson and make them feel the
gravity of the
position. But he could not bring himself to do this.
Besides, he could
not endure uncertainty and he wanted an explanation:
if his request
had been so openly disobeyed, there was something
behind it, and
in that case it was better to find it out beforehand;
it rested with
him to punish them and there would always be time for
you had a favourable journey," he inquired officially of
"I am gratified
to hear it. And Avdotya Romanovna is not over
"I am young
and strong, I don't get tired, but it was a great strain
our national railways are of terrible length.
as they say, is a vast country.... In spite of all my
desire to do so,
I was unable to meet you yesterday. But I trust all
passed off without
Pyotr Petrovitch, it was all terribly disheartening,"
hastened to declare with peculiar intonation,
"and if Dmitri
Prokofitch had not been sent us, I really believe by
God Himself, we
should have been utterly lost. Here, he is! Dmitri
she added, introducing him to Luzhin.
"I had the
pleasure... yesterday," muttered Pyotr Petrovitch with
a hostile glance
sidelong at Razumihin; then he scowled and was
belonged to that class of persons, on the surface
very polite in
society, who make a great point of punctiliousness, but
who, directly they
are crossed in anything, are completely
become more like sacks of flour than elegant and
lively men of society.
Again all was silent; Raskolnikov was
Avdotya Romanovna was unwilling to open the
soon. Razumihin had nothing to say, so Pulcheria
is dead, have you heard?" she began having
recourse to her
leading item of conversation.
"To be sure,
I heard so. I was immediately informed, and I have come
to make you acquainted
with the fact that Arkady Ivanovitch
off in haste for Petersburg immediately after his
So at least I have excellent authority for believing."
here?" Dounia asked in alarm and looked at her
and doubtless not without some design, having in
view the rapidity
of his departure, and all the circumstances
won't he leave Dounia in peace even here?" cried
that neither you nor Avdotya Romanovna have any grounds
unless, of course, you are yourselves desirous of
getting into communication
with him. For my part I am on my guard, and
am now discovering
where he is lodging."
Petrovitch, you would not believe what a fright you
have given me,"
Pulcheria Alexandrovna went on. "I've only seen him
twice, but I thought
him terrible, terrible! I am convinced that he
was the cause of
Marfa Petrovna's death."
to be certain about that. I have precise
do not dispute that he may have contributed to
course of events by the moral influence, so to say,
of the affront;
but as to the general conduct and moral
of that personage, I am in agreement with you. I do
not know whether
he is well off now, and precisely what Marfa Petrovna
left him; this
will be known to me within a very short period; but
no doubt here in
Petersburg, if he has any pecuniary resources, he
will relapse at
once into his old ways. He is the most depraved, and
specimen of that class of men. I have considerable
reason to believe
that Marfa Petrovna, who was so unfortunate as to
fall in love with
him and to pay his debts eight years ago, was of
service to him
also in another way. Solely by her exertions and
sacrifices, a criminal
charge, involving an element of fantastic and
for which he might well have been sentenced to
Siberia, was hushed
up. That's the sort of man he is, if you care to
cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna. Raskolnikov listened
speaking the truth when you say that you have good evidence
Dounia asked sternly and emphatically.
"I only repeat
what I was told in secret by Marfa Petrovna. I must
observe that from
the legal point of view the case was far from clear.
There was, and
I believe still is, living here a woman called
Resslich, a foreigner,
who lent small sums of money at interest, and
did other commissions,
and with this woman Svidrigailov had for a long
while close and
mysterious relations. She had a relation, a niece I
with her, a deaf and dumb girl of fifteen, or
perhaps not more
than fourteen. Resslich hated this girl, and
grudged her every
crust; she used to beat her mercilessly. One day the
girl was found
hanging in the garret. At the inquest the verdict was
the usual proceedings the matter ended, but, later
was given that the child had been... cruelly
outraged by Svidrigailov.
It is true, this was not clearly
information was given by another German woman of
whose word could not be trusted; no statement was
actually made to
the police, thanks to Marfa Petrovna's money and
exertions; it did
not get beyond gossip. And yet the story is a very
You heard, no doubt, Avdotya Romanovna, when you were
with them the story
of the servant Philip who died of ill treatment he
received six years
ago, before the abolition of serfdom."
on the contrary that this Philip hanged himself."
but what drove him, or rather perhaps disposed him, to
suicide, was the
systematic persecution and severity of Mr.
know that," answered Dounia, dryly. "I only heard a queer
story that Philip
was a sort of hypochondriac, a sort of domestic
servants used to say, 'he read himself silly,' and
that he hanged
himself partly on account of Mr. Svidrigailov's mockery
of him and not
his blows. When I was there he behaved well to the
servants, and they
were actually fond of him, though they certainly
did blame him for
Avdotya Romanovna, that you seem disposed to
undertake his defence
all of a sudden," Luzhin observed, twisting
his lips into an
ambiguous smile, "there's no doubt that he is an
astute man, and
insinuating where ladies are concerned, of which Marfa
Petrovna, who has
died so strangely, is a terrible instance. My only
desire has been
to be of service to you and your mother with my
advice, in view
of the renewed efforts which may certainly be
him. For my part it's my firm conviction, that he
will end in a debtor's
prison again. Marfa Petrovna had not the
of settling anything substantial on him, having
regard for his
children's interests, and, if she left him anything, it
would only be the
merest sufficiency, something insignificant and
would not last a year for a man of his habits."
I beg you," said Dounia, "say no more of Mr.
makes me miserable."
"He has just
been to see me," said Raskolnikov, breaking his silence
for the first time.
There were exclamations
from all, and they all turned to him. Even
and a half ago, he came in when I was asleep, waked me, and
Raskolnikov continued. "He was fairly cheerful
and at ease, and
quite hopes that we shall become friends. He is
by the way, Dounia, for an interview with you, at
which he asked
me to assist. He has a proposition to make to you,
and he told me
about it. He told me, too, that a week before her death
left you three thousand roubles in her will, Dounia,
and that you can
receive the money very shortly."
cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna, crossing herself. "Pray
for her soul, Dounia!"
"It's a fact!"
broke from Luzhin.
what more?" Dounia urged Raskolnikov.
said that he wasn't rich and all the estate was left to his
children who are
now with an aunt, then that he was staying
somewhere not far
from me, but where, I don't know, I didn't ask...."
what does he want to propose to Dounia?" cried
in a fright. "Did he tell you?"
speaking and turned his attention to his tea.
looked at his watch.
"I am compelled
to keep a business engagement, and so I shall not be
in your way,"
he added with an air of some pique and he began
Pyotr Petrovitch," said Dounia, "you intended to spend
the evening. Besides,
you wrote yourself that you wanted to have an
so, Avdotya Romanovna," Pyotr Petrovitch answered
down again, but still holding his hat. "I
an explanation with you and your honoured mother
upon a very important
point indeed. But as your brother cannot speak
openly in my presence
to some proposals of Mr. Svidrigailov, I, too,
do not desire and
am not able to speak openly... in the presence of
others... of certain
matters of the greatest gravity. Moreover, my
most weighty and
urgent request has been disregarded...."
Assuming an aggrieved
air, Luzhin relapsed into dignified silence.
that my brother should not be present at our meeting
solely at my instance," said Dounia. "You wrote that
you had been insulted
by my brother; I think that this must be
explained at once,
and you must be reconciled. And if Rodya really has
insulted you, then
he should and will apologise."
took a stronger line.
insults, Avdotya Romanovna, which no good-will can make
us forget. There
is a line in everything which it is dangerous to
overstep; and when
it has been overstepped, there is no return."
what I was speaking of exactly, Pyotr Petrovitch,"
with some impatience. "Please understand that our
whole future depends
now on whether all this is explained and set
right as soon as
possible. I tell you frankly at the start that I
cannot look at
it in any other light, and if you have the least regard
for me, all this
business must be ended to-day, however hard that
may be. I repeat
that if my brother is to blame he will ask your
"I am surprised
at your putting the question like that," said
more and more irritated. "Esteeming, and so to say,
adoring you, I
may at the same time, very well indeed, be able to
dislike some member
of your family. Though I lay claim to the
happiness of your
hand, I cannot accept duties incompatible with..."
be so ready to take offence, Pyotr Petrovitch," Dounia
feeling, "and be the sensible and generous man I have
and wish to consider, you to be. I've given you a
I am your betrothed. Trust me in this matter and,
believe me, I shall
be capable of judging impartially. My assuming the
part of judge is
as much a surprise for my brother as for you. When
I insisted on his
coming to our interview to-day after your letter,
I told him nothing
of what I meant to do. Understand that, if you
are not reconciled,
I must choose between you- it must be either you
or he. That is
how the question rests on your side and on his. I don't
want to be mistaken
in my choice, and I must not be. For your sake I
must break off
with my brother, for my brother's sake I must break off
with you. I can
find out for certain now whether he is a brother to
me, and I want
to know it; and of you, whether I am dear to you,
whether you esteem
me, whether you are the husband for me."
Romanovna," Luzhin declared huffily, "your words are of too
to me; I will say more, they are offensive in view of
the position I
have the honour to occupy in relation to you. To say
nothing of your
strange and offensive setting me on a level with an
you admit the possibility of breaking your promise to
me. You say 'you
or he,' showing thereby of how little consequence I
am in your eyes...
I cannot let this pass considering the relationship
and... the obligations
existing between us."
cried Dounia, flushing. "I set your interest beside all that
has hitherto been
most precious in my life, what has made up the whole
of my life, and
here you are offended at my making too little
account of you."
sarcastically, Razumihin fidgeted, but Pyotr
not accept the reproof; on the contrary, at every
word he became
more persistent and irritable, as though he relished
the future partner of your life, for your husband, ought
to outweigh your
love for your brother," he pronounced
"and in any case I cannot be put on the same
I said so emphatically that I would not speak
openly in your
brother's presence, nevertheless, I intend now to ask
your honoured mother
for a necessary explanation on a point of great
affecting my dignity. Your son," he turned to
"yesterday in the presence of Mr. Razsudkin
(or... I think
that's it? excuse me I have forgotten your surname," he
to Razumihin) "insulted me by misrepresenting the
idea I expressed
to you in a private conversation, drinking coffee,
that is, that marriage
with a poor girl who has had experience of
trouble is more
advantageous from the conjugal point of view than with
one who has lived
in luxury, since it is more profitable for the moral
son intentionally exaggerated the significance of my
words and made
them ridiculous, accusing me of malicious intentions,
and, as far as
I could see, relied upon your correspondence with
him. I shall consider
myself happy, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, if it is
possible for you
to convince me of an opposite conclusion, and thereby
me. Kindly let me know in what terms
precisely you repeated
my words in your letter to Rodion Romanovitch."
remember," faltered Pulcheria Alexandrovna. "I repeated
them as I understood
them. I don't know how Rodya repeated them to
you, perhaps he
not have exaggerated them, except at your instigation."
Pulcheria Alexandrovna declared with dignity,
that Dounia and I did not take your words in a very bad
sense is the fact
that we are here."
said Dounia approvingly.
is my fault again," said Luzhin, aggrieved.
Petrovitch, you keep blaming Rodion, but you yourself
have just written
what was false about him," Pulcheria Alexandrovna
remember writing anything false."
Raskolnikov said sharply, not turning to Luzhin,
"that I gave
money yesterday not to the widow of the man who was
killed, as was
the fact, but to his daughter (whom I had never seen
You wrote this to make dissension between me and my
family, and for
that object added coarse expressions about the conduct
of a girl whom
you don't know. All that is mean slander."
sir," said Luzhin, quivering with fury. "I enlarged upon
and conduct in my letter solely in response to your
sister's and mother's
inquiries how I found you and what impression
you made on me.
As for what you've alluded to in my letter, be so good
as to point out
one word of falsehood, show, that is, that you
didn't throw away
your money, and that there are not worthless persons
in that family,
"To my thinking,
you with all your virtues are not worth the
little finger of
that unfortunate girl at whom you throw stones."
go so far then as to let her associate with your mother
"I have done
so already, if you care to know. I made her sit down
to-day with mother
cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna. Dounia crimsoned, Razumihin
knitted his brows.
Luzhin smiled with lofty sarcasm.
see for yourself, Avdotya Romanovna," he said, "whether
it is possible
for us to agree. I hope now that this question is at an
end, once and for
all. I will withdraw, that I may not hinder the
pleasures of family
intimacy, and the discussion of secrets." He got
up from his chair
and took his hat. "But in withdrawing, I venture
to request that
for the future I may be spared similar meetings,
and, so to say,
compromises. I appeal particularly to you, honoured
on this subject, the more as my letter was
addressed to you
and to no one else."
was a little offended.
to think we are completely under your authority, Pyotr
has told you the reason your desire was
had the best intentions. And indeed you write as
though you were
laying commands upon me. Are we to consider every
desire of yours
as a command? Let me tell you on the contrary that you
ought to show particular
delicacy and consideration for us now,
because we have
thrown up everything, and have come here relying on
you, and so we
are in any case in a sense in your hands."
not quite true, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, especially at the
when the news has come of Marfa Petrovna's legacy,
which seems indeed
very apropos, judging from the new tone you take to
me," he added
from that remark, we may certainly presume that you were
reckoning on our
helplessness," Dounia observed irritably.
in any case I cannot reckon on it, and I particularly
desire not to hinder
your discussion of the secret proposals of Arkady
which he has entrusted to your brother and
which have, I perceive,
a great and possibly a very agreeable interest
cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
not sit still on his chair.
ashamed now, sister?" asked Raskolnikov.
"I am ashamed,
Rodya," said Dounia. "Pyotr Petrovitch, go away," she
turned to him,
white with anger.
had apparently not at all expected such a
had too much confidence in himself, in his power and in
of his victims. He could not believe it even now.
He turned pale,
and his lips quivered.
Romanovna, if I go out of this door now, after such a
you may reckon on it, I will never come back.
Consider what you
are doing. My word is not to be shaken."
cried Dounia, springing up from her seat. "I don't
want you to come
that's how it stands!" cried Luzhin, utterly unable to the
last moment to
believe in the rupture and so completely thrown out
of his reckoning
now. "So that's how it stands! But do you know,
that I might protest?"
have you to speak to her like that?" Pulcheria
hotly. "And what can you protest about? What
rights have you?
Am I to give my Dounia to a man like you? Go away,
leave us altogether!
We are to blame for having agreed to a wrong
action, and I above
have bound me, Pulcheria Alexandrovna," Luzhin stormed in a
your promise, and now you deny it and... besides... I have
been led on account
of that into expenses...."
This last complaint
was so characteristic of Pyotr Petrovitch,
pale with anger and with the effort of restraining
it, could not help
breaking into laughter. But Pulcheria
What expenses? Are you speaking of our trunk? But the
it for nothing for you. Mercy on us, we have bound
you! What are you
thinking about, Pyotr Petrovitch, it was you bound
us, hand and foot,
mother, no more please," Avdotya Romanovna implored. "Pyotr
be kind and go!"
"I am going,
but one last word," he said, quite unable to control
mamma seems to have entirely forgotten that I made up
my mind to take
you, so to speak, after the gossip of the town had
spread all over
the district in regard to your reputation.
opinion for your sake and reinstating your
reputation, I certainly
might very well reckon on a fitting return,
and might indeed
look for gratitude on your part. And my eyes have
only now been opened!
I see myself that I may have acted very, very
recklessly in disregarding
the universal verdict...."
fellow want his head smashed?" cried Razumihin, jumping
a mean and spiteful man!" cried Dounia.
"Not a word!
Not a movement!" cried Raskolnikov, holding Razumihin
back; then going
close up to Luzhin, "Kindly leave the room!" he
said quietly and
distinctly, "and not a word more or..."
gazed at him for some seconds with a pale face that
worked with anger,
then he turned, went out, and rarely has any man
carried away in
his heart such vindictive hatred as he felt against
and him alone, he blamed for everything. It is
as he went downstairs he still imagined that his
case was perhaps
not utterly lost, and that, so far as the ladies were
might "very well indeed" be set right again.
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science