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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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have seemed a strange figure to him: dressed in rags and handing him

"Did you meet her far from here?" he asked him.

"I tell you she was walking in front of me, staggering, just here, in
the boulevard. She only just reached the seat and sank down on it."

"Ah, the shameful things that are done in the world nowadays, God have
mercy on us! An innocent creature like that, drunk already! She has
been deceived, that's a sure thing. See how her dress has been torn
too. . . . Ah, the vice one sees nowadays! And as likely as not she
belongs to gentlefolk too, poor ones maybe. . . . There are many like
that nowadays. She looks refined, too, as though she were a lady," and
he bent over her once more.

Perhaps he had daughters growing up like that, "looking like ladies
and refined" with pretensions to gentility and smartness. . . .

"The chief thing is," Raskolnikov persisted, "to keep her out of this
scoundrel's hands! Why should he outrage her! It's as clear as day
what he is after; ah, the brute, he is not moving off!"

Raskolnikov spoke aloud and pointed to him. The gentleman heard him,
and seemed about to fly into a rage again, but thought better of it,
and confined himself to a contemptuous look. He then walked slowly
another ten paces away and again halted.

"Keep her out of his hands we can," said the constable thoughtfully,
"if only she'd tell us where to take her, but as it is. . . . Missy,
hey, missy!" he bent over her once more.

She opened her eyes fully all of a sudden, looked at him intently, as
though realising something, got up from the seat and walked away in
the direction from which she had come. "Oh shameful wretches, they
won't let me alone!" she said, waving her hand again. She walked
quickly, though staggering as before. The dandy followed her, but
along another avenue, keeping his eye on her.

"Don't be anxious, I won't let him have her," the policeman said
resolutely, and he set off after them.

"Ah, the vice one sees nowadays!" he repeated aloud, sighing.

At that moment something seemed to sting Raskolnikov; in an instant a
complete revulsion of feeling came over him.

"Hey, here!" he shouted after the policeman.

The latter turned round.

"Let them be! What is it to do with you? Let her go! Let him amuse
himself." He pointed at the dandy, "What is it to do with you?"

The policeman was bewildered, and stared at him open-eyed. Raskolnikov

"Well!" ejaculated the policeman, with a gesture of contempt, and he
walked after the dandy and the girl, probably taking Raskolnikov for a
madman or something even worse.

"He has carried off my twenty copecks," Raskolnikov murmured angrily
when he was left alone. "Well, let him take as much from the other
fellow to allow him to have the girl and so let it end. And why did I
want to interfere? Is it for me to help? Have I any right to help? Let
them devour each other alive--what is to me? How did I dare to give
him twenty copecks? Were they mine?"

In spite of those strange words he felt very wretched. He sat down on
the deserted seat. His thoughts strayed aimlessly. . . . He found it
hard to fix his mind on anything at that moment. He longed to forget
himself altogether, to forget everything, and then to wake up and
begin life anew. . . .

"Poor girl!" he said, looking at the empty corner where she had sat--
"She will come to herself and weep, and then her mother will find out.
. . . She will give her a beating, a horrible, shameful beating and
then maybe, turn her out of doors. . . . And even if she does not, the
Darya Frantsovnas will get wind of it, and the girl will soon be
slipping out on the sly here and there. Then there will be the
hospital directly (that's always the luck of those girls with
respectable mothers, who go wrong on the sly) and then . . . again the
hospital . . . drink . . . the taverns . . . and more hospital, in two
or three years--a wreck, and her life over at eighteen or nineteen.
. . . Have not I seen cases like that? And how have they been brought
to it? Why, they've all come to it like that. Ugh! But what does it
matter? That's as it should be, they tell us. A certain percentage,
they tell us, must every year go . . . that way . . . to the devil, I
suppose, so that the rest may remain chaste, and not be interfered
with. A percentage! What splendid words they have; they are so
scientific, so consolatory. . . . Once you've said 'percentage'
there's nothing more to worry about. If we had any other word . . .
maybe we might feel more uneasy. . . . But what if Dounia were one of
the percentage! Of another one if not that one?

"But where am I going?" he thought suddenly. "Strange, I came out for
something. As soon as I had read the letter I came out. . . . I was
going to Vassilyevsky Ostrov, to Razumihin. That's what it was . . .
now I remember. What for, though? And what put the idea of going to
Razumihin into my head just now? That's curious."

He wondered at himself. Razumihin was one of his old comrades at the
university. It was remarkable that Raskolnikov had hardly any friends
at the university; he kept aloof from everyone, went to see no one,
and did not welcome anyone who came to see him, and indeed everyone
soon gave him up. He took no part in the students' gatherings,
amusements or conversations. He worked with great intensity without
sparing himself, and he was respected for this, but no one liked him.
He was very poor, and there was a sort of haughty pride and reserve
about him, as though he were keeping something to himself. He seemed
to some of his comrades to look down upon them all as children, as
though he were superior in development, knowledge and convictions, as
though their beliefs and interests were beneath him.

With Razumihin he had got on, or, at least, he was more unreserved and
communicative with him. Indeed it was impossible to be on any other
terms with Razumihin. He was an exceptionally good-humoured and candid
youth, good-natured to the point of simplicity, though both depth and
dignity lay concealed under that simplicity. The better of his
comrades understood this, and all were fond of him. He was extremely
intelligent, though he was certainly rather a simpleton at times. He
was of striking appearance--tall, thin, blackhaired and always badly
shaved. He was sometimes uproarious and was reputed to be of great
physical strength. One night, when out in a festive company, he had
with one blow laid a gigantic policeman on his back. There was no
limit to his drinking powers, but he could abstain from drink
altogether; he sometimes went too far in his pranks; but he could do
without pranks altogether. Another thing striking about Razumihin, no
failure distressed him, and it seemed as though no unfavourable
circumstances could crush him. He could lodge anywhere, and bear the
extremes of cold and hunger. He was very poor, and kept himself
entirely on what he could earn by work of one sort or another. He knew
of no end of resources by which to earn money. He spent one whole
winter without lighting his stove, and used to declare that he liked
it better, because one slept more soundly in the cold. For the present
he, too, had been obliged to give up the university, but it was only
for a time, and he was working with all his might to save enough to
return to his studies again. Raskolnikov had not been to see him for
the last four months, and Razumihin did not even know his address.
About two months before, they had met in the street, but Raskolnikov
had turned away and even crossed to the other side that he might not
be observed. And though Razumihin noticed him, he passed him by, as he
did not want to annoy him.


"Of course, I've been meaning lately to go to Razumihin's to ask for
work, to ask him to get me lessons or something . . ." Raskolnikov
thought, "but what help can he be to me now? Suppose he gets me
lessons, suppose he shares his last farthing with me, if he has any
farthings, so that I could get some boots and make myself tidy enough
to give lessons . . . hm . . . Well and what then? What shall I do
with the few coppers I earn? That's not what I want now. It's really
absurd for me to go to Razumihin. . . ."

The question why he was now going to Razumihin agitated him even more
than he was himself aware; he kept uneasily seeking for some sinister
significance in this apparently ordinary action.

"Could I have expected to set it all straight and to find a way out by
means of Razumihin alone?" he asked himself in perplexity.

He pondered and rubbed his forehead, and, strange to say, after long
musing, suddenly, as if it were spontaneously and by chance, a
fantastic thought came into his head.

"Hm . . . to Razumihin's," he said all at once, calmly, as though he
had reached a final determination. "I shall go to Razumihin's of
course, but . . . not now. I shall go to him . . . on the next day
after It, when It will be over and everything will begin
afresh. . . ."

And suddenly he realised what he was thinking.

"After It," he shouted, jumping up from the seat, "but is It really
going to happen? Is it possible it really will happen?" He left the
seat, and went off almost at a run; he meant to turn back, homewards,
but the thought of going home suddenly filled him with intense
loathing; in that hole, in that awful little cupboard of his, all
/this/ had for a month past been growing up in him; and he walked on
at random.

His nervous shudder had passed into a fever that made him feel
shivering; in spite of the heat he felt cold. With a kind of effort he
began almost unconsciously, from some inner craving, to stare at all
the objects before him, as though looking for something to distract
his attention; but he did not succeed, and kept dropping every moment
into brooding. When with a start he lifted his head again and looked
round, he forgot at once what he had just been thinking about and even
where he was going. In this way he walked right across Vassilyevsky
Ostrov, came out on to the Lesser Neva, crossed the bridge and turned
towards the islands. The greenness and freshness were at first restful
to his weary eyes after the dust of the town and the huge houses that
hemmed him in and weighed upon him. Here there were no taverns, no
stifling closeness, no stench. But soon these new pleasant sensations
passed into morbid irritability. Sometimes he stood still before a
brightly painted summer villa standing among green foliage, he gazed
through the fence, he saw in the distance smartly dressed women on the
verandahs and balconies, and children running in the gardens. The
flowers especially caught his attention; he gazed at them longer than
at anything. He was met, too, by luxurious carriages and by men and
women on horseback; he watched them with curious eyes and forgot about
them before they had vanished from his sight. Once he stood still and
counted his money; he found he had thirty copecks. "Twenty to the
policeman, three to Nastasya for the letter, so I must have given
forty-seven or fifty to the Marmeladovs yesterday," he thought,
reckoning it up for some unknown reason, but he soon forgot with what
object he had taken the money out of his pocket. He recalled it on
passing an eating-house or tavern, and felt that he was hungry. . . .
Going into the tavern he drank a glass of vodka and ate a pie of some
sort. He finished eating it as he walked away. It was a long while
since he had taken vodka and it had an effect upon him at once, though
he only drank a wineglassful. His legs felt suddenly heavy and a great
drowsiness came upon him. He turned homewards, but reaching Petrovsky
Ostrov he stopped completely exhausted, turned off the road into the
bushes, sank down upon the grass and instantly fell asleep.

In a morbid condition of the brain, dreams often have a singular
actuality, vividness, and extraordinary semblance of reality. At times
monstrous images are created, but the setting and the whole picture
are so truthlike and filled with details so delicate, so unexpectedly,
but so artistically consistent, that the dreamer, were he an artist
like Pushkin or Turgenev even, could never have invented them in the
waking state. Such sick dreams always remain long in the memory and
make a powerful impression on the overwrought and deranged nervous

Raskolnikov had a fearful dream. He dreamt he was back in his
childhood in the little town of his birth. He was a child about seven
years old, walking into the country with his father on the evening of
a holiday. It was a grey and heavy day, the country was exactly as he
remembered it; indeed he recalled it far more vividly in his dream
than he had done in memory. The little town stood on a level flat as
bare as the hand, not even a willow near it; only in the far distance,
a copse lay, a dark blur on the very edge of the horizon. A few paces
beyond the last market garden stood a tavern, a big tavern, which had
always aroused in him a feeling of aversion, even of fear, when he
walked by it with his father. There was always a crowd there, always
shouting, laughter and abuse, hideous hoarse singing and often
fighting. Drunken and horrible-looking figures were hanging about the
tavern. He used to cling close to his father, trembling all over when
he met them. Near the tavern the road became a dusty track, the dust
of which was always black. It was a winding road, and about a hundred
paces further on, it turned to the right to the graveyard. In the
middle of the graveyard stood a stone church with a green cupola where
he used to go to mass two or three times a year with his father and
mother, when a service was held in memory of his grandmother, who had
long been dead, and whom he had never seen. On these occasions they
used to take on a white dish tied up in a table napkin a special sort
of rice pudding with raisins stuck in it in the shape of a cross. He
loved that church, the old-fashioned, unadorned ikons and the old
priest with the shaking head. Near his grandmother's grave, which was
marked by a stone, was the little grave of his younger brother who had
died at six months old. He did not remember him at all, but he had
been told about his little brother, and whenever he visited the
graveyard he used religiously and reverently to cross himself and to
bow down and kiss the little grave. And now he dreamt that he was
walking with his father past the tavern on the way to the graveyard;
he was holding his father's hand and looking with dread at the tavern.
A peculiar circumstance attracted his attention: there seemed to be
some kind of festivity going on, there were crowds of gaily dressed
townspeople, peasant women, their husbands, and riff-raff of all
sorts, all singing and all more or less drunk. Near the entrance of
the tavern stood a cart, but a strange cart. It was one of those big
carts usually drawn by heavy cart-horses and laden with casks of wine
or other heavy goods. He always liked looking at those great cart-
horses, with their long manes, thick legs, and slow even pace, drawing
along a perfect mountain with no appearance of effort, as though it
were easier going with a load than without it. But now, strange to
say, in the shafts of such a cart he saw a thin little sorrel beast,
one of those peasants' nags which he had often seen straining their
utmost under a heavy load of wood or hay, especially when the wheels
were stuck in the mud or in a rut. And the peasants would beat them so
cruelly, sometimes even about the nose and eyes, and he felt so sorry,
so sorry for them that he almost cried, and his mother always used to
take him away from the window. All of a sudden there was a great
uproar of shouting, singing and the balalaka, and from the tavern a
number of big and very drunken peasants came out, wearing red and blue
shirts and coats thrown over their shoulders.

"Get in, get in!" shouted one of them, a young thick-necked peasant
with a fleshy face red as a carrot. "I'll take you all, get in!"

But at once there was an outbreak of laughter and exclamations in the

"Take us all with a beast like that!"

"Why, Mikolka, are you crazy to put a nag like that in such a cart?"

"And this mare is twenty if she is a day, mates!"

"Get in, I'll take you all," Mikolka shouted again, leaping first into
the cart, seizing the reins and standing straight up in front. "The
bay has gone with Matvey," he shouted from the cart--"and this brute,
mates, is just breaking my heart, I feel as if I could kill her. She's
just eating her head off. Get in, I tell you! I'll make her gallop!
She'll gallop!" and he picked up the whip, preparing himself with
relish to flog the little mare.

"Get in! Come along!" The crowd laughed. "D'you hear, she'll gallop!"

"Gallop indeed! She has not had a gallop in her for the last ten

"She'll jog along!"

"Don't you mind her, mates, bring a whip each of you, get ready!"

"All right! Give it to her!"

They all clambered into Mikolka's cart, laughing and making jokes. Six
men got in and there was still room for more. They hauled in a fat,
rosy-cheeked woman. She was dressed in red cotton, in a pointed,
beaded headdress and thick leather shoes; she was cracking nuts and
laughing. The crowd round them was laughing too and indeed, how could
they help laughing? That wretched nag was to drag all the cartload of
them at a gallop! Two young fellows in the cart were just getting
whips ready to help Mikolka. With the cry of "now," the mare tugged
with all her might, but far from galloping, could scarcely move
forward; she struggled with her legs, gasping and shrinking from the
blows of the three whips which were showered upon her like hail. The
laughter in the cart and in the crowd was redoubled, but Mikolka flew
into a rage and furiously thrashed the mare, as though he supposed she
really could gallop.

"Let me get in, too, mates," shouted a young man in the crowd whose
appetite was aroused.

"Get in, all get in," cried Mikolka, "she will draw you all. I'll beat
her to death!" And he thrashed and thrashed at the mare, beside
himself with fury.

"Father, father," he cried, "father, what are they doing? Father, they
are beating the poor horse!"

"Come along, come along!" said his father. "They are drunken and
foolish, they are in fun; come away, don't look!" and he tried to draw
him away, but he tore himself away from his hand, and, beside himself
with horror, ran to the horse. The poor beast was in a bad way. She
was gasping, standing still, then tugging again and almost falling.

"Beat her to death," cried Mikolka, "it's come to that. I'll do for

"What are you about, are you a Christian, you devil?" shouted an old
man in the crowd.

"Did anyone ever see the like? A wretched nag like that pulling such a
cartload," said another.

"You'll kill her," shouted the third.

"Don't meddle! It's my property, I'll do what I choose. Get in, more
of you! Get in, all of you! I will have her go at a gallop! . . ."

All at once laughter broke into a roar and covered everything: the
mare, roused by the shower of blows, began feebly kicking. Even the
old man could not help smiling. To think of a wretched little beast
like that trying to kick!

Two lads in the crowd snatched up whips and ran to the mare to beat
her about the ribs. One ran each side.

"Hit her in the face, in the eyes, in the eyes," cried Mikolka.

"Give us a song, mates," shouted someone in the cart and everyone in
the cart joined in a riotous song, jingling a tambourine and
whistling. The woman went on cracking nuts and laughing.

. . . He ran beside the mare, ran in front of her, saw her being
whipped across the eyes, right in the eyes! He was crying, he felt
choking, his tears were streaming. One of the men gave him a cut with
the whip across the face, he did not feel it. Wringing his hands and
screaming, he rushed up to the grey-headed old man with the grey
beard, who was shaking his head in disapproval. One woman seized him
by the hand and would have taken him away, but he tore himself from
her and ran back to the mare. She was almost at the last gasp, but
began kicking once more.

"I'll teach you to kick," Mikolka shouted ferociously. He threw down
the whip, bent forward and picked up from the bottom of the cart a
long, thick shaft, he took hold of one end with both hands and with an
effort brandished it over the mare.

"He'll crush her," was shouted round him. "He'll kill her!"

"It's my property," shouted Mikolka and brought the shaft down with a
swinging blow. There was a sound of a heavy thud.

"Thrash her, thrash her! Why have you stopped?" shouted voices in the

And Mikolka swung the shaft a second time and it fell a second time on
the spine of the luckless mare. She sank back on her haunches, but
lurched forward and tugged forward with all her force, tugged first on
one side and then on the other, trying to move the cart. But the six
whips were attacking her in all directions, and the shaft was raised
again and fell upon her a third time, then a fourth, with heavy
measured blows. Mikolka was in a fury that he could not kill her at
one blow.

"She's a tough one," was shouted in the crowd.

"She'll fall in a minute, mates, there will soon be an end of her,"
said an admiring spectator in the crowd.

"Fetch an axe to her! Finish her off," shouted a third.

"I'll show you! Stand off," Mikolka screamed frantically; he threw
down the shaft, stooped down in the cart and picked up an iron
crowbar. "Look out," he shouted, and with all his might he dealt a
stunning blow at the poor mare. The blow fell; the mare staggered,
sank back, tried to pull, but the bar fell again with a swinging blow
on her back and she fell on the ground like a log.

"Finish her off," shouted Mikolka and he leapt beside himself, out of
the cart. Several young men, also flushed with drink, seized anything
they could come across--whips, sticks, poles, and ran to the dying
mare. Mikolka stood on one side and began dealing random blows with
the crowbar. The mare stretched out her head, drew a long breath and

"You butchered her," someone shouted in the crowd.

"Why wouldn't she gallop then?"

"My property!" shouted Mikolka, with bloodshot eyes, brandishing the
bar in his hands. He stood as though regretting that he had nothing
more to beat.

"No mistake about it, you are not a Christian," many voices were
shouting in the crowd.

But the poor boy, beside himself, made his way, screaming, through the
crowd to the sorrel nag, put his arms round her bleeding dead head and
kissed it, kissed the eyes and kissed the lips. . . . Then he jumped
up and flew in a frenzy with his little fists out at Mikolka. At that
instant his father, who had been running after him, snatched him up
and carried him out of the crowd.

"Come along, come! Let us go home," he said to him.

"Father! Why did they . . . kill . . . the poor horse!" he sobbed, but
his voice broke and the words came in shrieks from his panting chest.

"They are drunk. . . . They are brutal . . . it's not our business!"
said his father. He put his arms round his father but he felt choked,
choked. He tried to draw a breath, to cry out--and woke up.

He waked up, gasping for breath, his hair soaked with perspiration,
and stood up in terror.

"Thank God, that was only a dream," he said, sitting down under a tree
and drawing deep breaths. "But what is it? Is it some fever coming on?
Such a hideous dream!"

He felt utterly broken: darkness and confusion were in his soul. He
rested his elbows on his knees and leaned his head on his hands.

"Good God!" he cried, "can it be, can it be, that I shall really take
an axe, that I shall strike her on the head, split her skull open
. . . that I shall tread in the sticky warm blood, break the lock,
steal and tremble; hide, all spattered in the blood . . . with the
axe. . . . Good God, can it be?"

He was shaking like a leaf as he said this.

"But why am I going on like this?" he continued, sitting up again, as
it were in profound amazement. "I knew that I could never bring myself
to it, so what have I been torturing myself for till now? Yesterday,
yesterday, when I went to make that . . . /experiment/, yesterday I
realised completely that I could never bear to do it. . . . Why am I
going over it again, then? Why am I hesitating? As I came down the
stairs yesterday, I said myself that it was base, loathsome, vile,
vile . . . the very thought of it made me feel sick and filled me with

"No, I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it! Granted, granted that there
is no flaw in all that reasoning, that all that I have concluded this
last month is clear as day, true as arithmetic. . . . My God! Anyway I
couldn't bring myself to it! I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it! Why,
why then am I still . . . ?"

He rose to his feet, looked round in wonder as though surprised at
finding himself in this place, and went towards the bridge. He was
pale, his eyes glowed, he was exhausted in every limb, but he seemed
suddenly to breathe more easily. He felt he had cast off that fearful
burden that had so long been weighing upon him, and all at once there
was a sense of relief and peace in his soul. "Lord," he prayed, "show
me my path--I renounce that accursed . . . dream of mine."

Crossing the bridge, he gazed quietly and calmly at the Neva, at the
glowing red sun setting in the glowing sky. In spite of his weakness
he was not conscious of fatigue. It was as though an abscess that had
been forming for a month past in his heart had suddenly broken.
Freedom, freedom! He was free from that spell, that sorcery, that

Later on, when he recalled that time and all that happened to him
during those days, minute by minute, point by point, he was
superstitiously impressed by one circumstance, which, though in
itself not very exceptional, always seemed to him afterwards the
predestined turning-point of his fate. He could never understand and
explain to himself why, when he was tired and worn out, when it
would have been more convenient for him to go home by the shortest and
most direct way, he had returned by the Hay Market where he had no
need to go. It was obviously and quite unnecessarily out of his way,
though not much so. It is true that it happened to him dozens of times
to return home without noticing what streets he passed through. But
why, he was always asking himself, why had such an important, such a
decisive and at the same time such an absolutely chance meeting
happened in the Hay Market (where he had moreover no reason to go)
at the very hour, the very minute of his life when he was just in
the very mood and in the very circumstances in which that meeting
was able to exert the gravest and most decisive influence on his whole
destiny? As though it had been lying in wait for him on purpose!

It was about nine o'clock when he crossed the Hay Market. At the
tables and the barrows, at the booths and the shops, all the market
people were closing their establishments or clearing away and packing
up their wares and, like their customers, were going home. Rag pickers
and costermongers of all kinds were crowding round the taverns in the
dirty and stinking courtyards of the Hay Market. Raskolnikov
particularly liked this place and the neighbouring alleys, when he
wandered aimlessly in the streets. Here his rags did not attract
contemptuous attention, and one could walk about in any attire without
scandalising people. At the corner of an alley a huckster and his wife
had two tables set out with tapes, thread, cotton handkerchiefs, etc.
They, too, had got up to go home, but were lingering in conversation
with a friend, who had just come up to them. This friend was Lizaveta
Ivanovna, or, as everyone called her, Lizaveta, the younger sister of
the old pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, whom Raskolnikov had visited the
previous day to pawn his watch and make his /experiment/. . . . He
already knew all about Lizaveta and she knew him a little too. She was
a single woman of about thirty-five, tall, clumsy, timid, submissive
and almost idiotic. She was a complete slave and went in fear and
trembling of her sister, who made her work day and night, and even
beat her. She was standing with a bundle before the huckster and his
wife, listening earnestly and doubtfully. They were talking of
something with special warmth. The moment Raskolnikov caught sight of
her, he was overcome by a strange sensation as it were of intense
astonishment, though there was nothing astonishing about this meeting.

"You could make up your mind for yourself, Lizaveta Ivanovna," the
huckster was saying aloud. "Come round to-morrow about seven. They
will be here too."

"To-morrow?" said Lizaveta slowly and thoughtfully, as though unable
to make up her mind.

"Upon my word, what a fright you are in of Alyona Ivanovna," gabbled
the huckster's wife, a lively little woman. "I look at you, you are
like some little babe. And she is not your own sister either-nothing
but a step-sister and what a hand she keeps over you!"

"But this time don't say a word to Alyona Ivanovna," her husband
interrupted; "that's my advice, but come round to us without asking.
It will be worth your while. Later on your sister herself may have a

"Am I to come?"

"About seven o'clock to-morrow. And they will be here. You will be
able to decide for yourself."

"And we'll have a cup of tea," added his wife.

"All right, I'll come," said Lizaveta, still pondering, and she began
slowly moving away.

Raskolnikov had just passed and heard no more. He passed softly,
unnoticed, trying not to miss a word. His first amazement was followed
by a thrill of horror, like a shiver running down his spine. He had
learnt, he had suddenly quite unexpectedly learnt, that the next day
at seven o'clock Lizaveta, the old woman's sister and only companion,
would be away from home and that therefore at seven o'clock precisely
the old woman /would be left alone/.

He was only a few steps from his lodging. He went in like a man
condemned to death. He thought of nothing and was incapable of
thinking; but he felt suddenly in his whole being that he had no more
freedom of thought, no will, and that everything was suddenly and
irrevocably decided.

Certainly, if he had to wait whole years for a suitable opportunity,
he could not reckon on a more certain step towards the success of the
plan than that which had just presented itself. In any case, it would
have been difficult to find out beforehand and with certainty, with
greater exactness and less risk, and without dangerous inquiries and
investigations, that next day at a certain time an old woman, on whose
life an attempt was contemplated, would be at home and entirely alone.


Later on Raskolnikov happened to find out why the huckster and his
wife had invited Lizaveta. It was a very ordinary matter and there was
nothing exceptional about it. A family who had come to the town and
been reduced to poverty were selling their household goods and
clothes, all women's things. As the things would have fetched little
in the market, they were looking for a dealer. This was Lizaveta's
business. She undertook such jobs and was frequently employed, as she
was very honest and always fixed a fair price and stuck to it. She
spoke as a rule little and, as we have said already, she was very
submissive and timid.

But Raskolnikov had become superstitious of late. The traces of
superstition remained in him long after, and were almost ineradicable.
And in all this he was always afterwards disposed to see something
strange and mysterious, as it were, the presence of some peculiar
influences and coincidences. In the previous winter a student he knew
called Pokorev, who had left for Harkov, had chanced in conversation
to give him the address of Alyona Ivanovna, the old pawnbroker, in
case he might want to pawn anything. For a long while he did not go to
her, for he had lessons and managed to get along somehow. Six weeks
ago he had remembered the address; he had two articles that could be
pawned: his father's old silver watch and a little gold ring with
three red stones, a present from his sister at parting. He decided to
take the ring. When he found the old woman he had felt an
insurmountable repulsion for her at the first glance, though he knew
nothing special about her. He got two roubles from her and went into a
miserable little tavern on his way home. He asked for tea, sat down
and sank into deep thought. A strange idea was pecking at his brain
like a chicken in the egg, and very, very much absorbed him.

Almost beside him at the next table there was sitting a student, whom
he did not know and had never seen, and with him a young officer. They
had played a game of billiards and began drinking tea. All at once he
heard the student mention to the officer the pawnbroker Alyona
Ivanovna and give him her address. This of itself seemed strange to
Raskolnikov; he had just come from her and here at once he heard her
name. Of course it was a chance, but he could not shake off a very
extraordinary impression, and here someone seemed to be speaking
expressly for him; the student began telling his friend various
details about Alyona Ivanovna.

"She is first-rate," he said. "You can always get money from her. She
is as rich as a Jew, she can give you five thousand roubles at a time
and she is not above taking a pledge for a rouble. Lots of our fellows
have had dealings with her. But she is an awful old harpy. . . ."

And he began describing how spiteful and uncertain she was, how if you
were only a day late with your interest the pledge was lost; how she
gave a quarter of the value of an article and took five and even seven
percent a month on it and so on. The student chattered on, saying that
she had a sister Lizaveta, whom the wretched little creature was
continually beating, and kept in complete bondage like a small child,
though Lizaveta was at least six feet high.

"There's a phenomenon for you," cried the student and he laughed.

They began talking about Lizaveta. The student spoke about her with a
peculiar relish and was continually laughing and the officer listened
with great interest and asked him to send Lizaveta to do some mending
for him. Raskolnikov did not miss a word and learned everything about
her. Lizaveta was younger than the old woman and was her half-sister,
being the child of a different mother. She was thirty-five. She worked
day and night for her sister, and besides doing the cooking and the
washing, she did sewing and worked as a charwoman and gave her sister
all she earned. She did not dare to accept an order or job of any kind
without her sister's permission. The old woman had already made her
will, and Lizaveta knew of it, and by this will she would not get a
farthing; nothing but the movables, chairs and so on; all the money
was left to a monastery in the province of N----, that prayers might
be said for her in perpetuity. Lizaveta was of lower rank than her
sister, unmarried and awfully uncouth in appearance, remarkably tall
with long feet that looked as if they were bent outwards. She always
wore battered goatskin shoes, and was clean in her person. What the
student expressed most surprise and amusement about was the fact that
Lizaveta was continually with child.

"But you say she is hideous?" observed the officer.

"Yes, she is so dark-skinned and looks like a soldier dressed up, but
you know she is not at all hideous. She has such a good-natured face
and eyes. Strikingly so. And the proof of it is that lots of people
are attracted by her. She is such a soft, gentle creature, ready to
put up with anything, always willing, willing to do anything. And her
smile is really very sweet."

"You seem to find her attractive yourself," laughed the officer.

"From her queerness. No, I'll tell you what. I could kill that damned
old woman and make off with her money, I assure you, without the
faintest conscience-prick," the student added with warmth. The officer
laughed again while Raskolnikov shuddered. How strange it was!

"Listen, I want to ask you a serious question," the student said
hotly. "I was joking of course, but look here; on one side we have a
stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid old woman, not
simply useless but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she
is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case.
You understand? You understand?"

"Yes, yes, I understand," answered the officer, watching his excited
companion attentively.

"Well, listen then. On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away
for want of help and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand
good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman's money which
will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be
set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from
ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals--and all with her money. Kill
her, take her money and with the help of it devote oneself to the
service of humanity and the good of all. What do you think, would
not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one
life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death,
and a hundred lives in exchange--it's simple arithmetic! Besides, what
value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in
the balance of existence! No more than the life of a louse, of a
black-beetle, less in fact because the old woman is doing harm. She is
wearing out the lives of others; the other day she bit Lizaveta's
finger out of spite; it almost had to be amputated."

"Of course she does not deserve to live," remarked the officer, "but
there it is, it's nature."

"Oh, well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature, and, but
for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that,
there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty,
conscience--I don't want to say anything against duty and conscience;
--but the point is, what do we mean by them. Stay, I have another
question to ask you. Listen!"

"No, you stay, I'll ask you a question. Listen!"


"You are talking and speechifying away, but tell me, would you kill
the old woman /yourself/?"

"Of course not! I was only arguing the justice of it. . . . It's
nothing to do with me. . . ."

"But I think, if you would not do it yourself, there's no justice
about it. . . . Let us have another game."

Raskolnikov was violently agitated. Of course, it was all ordinary
youthful talk and thought, such as he had often heard before in
different forms and on different themes. But why had he happened to
hear such a discussion and such ideas at the very moment when his own
brain was just conceiving . . . /the very same ideas/? And why, just
at the moment when he had brought away the embryo of his idea from the
old woman had he dropped at once upon a conversation about her? This
coincidence always seemed strange to him. This trivial talk in a
tavern had an immense influence on him in his later action; as though
there had really been in it something preordained, some guiding
hint. . . .


On returning from the Hay Market he flung himself on the sofa and sat
for a whole hour without stirring. Meanwhile it got dark; he had no
candle and, indeed, it did not occur to him to light up. He could
never recollect whether he had been thinking about anything at that
time. At last he was conscious of his former fever and shivering, and
he realised with relief that he could lie down on the sofa. Soon
heavy, leaden sleep came over him, as it were crushing him.

He slept an extraordinarily long time and without dreaming. Nastasya,
coming into his room at ten o'clock the next morning, had difficulty
in rousing him. She brought him in tea and bread. The tea was again
the second brew and again in her own tea-pot.

"My goodness, how he sleeps!" she cried indignantly. "And he is always

He got up with an effort. His head ached, he stood up, took a turn in
his garret and sank back on the sofa again.

"Going to sleep again," cried Nastasya. "Are you ill, eh?"

He made no reply.

"Do you want some tea?"

"Afterwards," he said with an effort, closing his eyes again and
turning to the wall.

Nastasya stood over him.

"Perhaps he really is ill," she said, turned and went out. She came in
again at two o'clock with soup. He was lying as before. The tea stood
untouched. Nastasya felt positively offended and began wrathfully
rousing him.

"Why are you lying like a log?" she shouted, looking at him with

He got up, and sat down again, but said nothing and stared at the

"Are you ill or not?" asked Nastasya and again received no answer.
"You'd better go out and get a breath of air," she said after a pause.
"Will you eat it or not?"

"Afterwards," he said weakly. "You can go."

And he motioned her out.

She remained a little longer, looked at him with compassion and went

A few minutes afterwards, he raised his eyes and looked for a long
while at the tea and the soup. Then he took the bread, took up a spoon
and began to eat.

He ate a little, three or four spoonfuls, without appetite, as it
were mechanically. His head ached less. After his meal he stretched
himself on the sofa again, but now he could not sleep; he lay
without stirring, with his face in the pillow. He was haunted by
day-dreams and such strange day-dreams; in one, that kept recurring,
he fancied that he was in Africa, in Egypt, in some sort of oasis. The
caravan was resting, the camels were peacefully lying down; the
palms stood all around in a complete circle; all the party were at
dinner. But he was drinking water from a spring which flowed
gurgling close by. And it was so cool, it was wonderful, wonderful,
blue, cold water running among the parti-coloured stones and over
the clean sand which glistened here and there like gold. . . .
Suddenly he heard a clock strike. He started, roused himself, raised
his head, looked out of the window, and seeing how late it was,
suddenly jumped up wide awake as though someone had pulled him off
the sofa. He crept on tiptoe to the door, stealthily opened it and
began listening on the staircase. His heart beat terribly. But all was
quiet on the stairs as if everyone was asleep. . . . It seemed to him
strange and monstrous that he could have slept in such forgetfulness
from the previous day and had done nothing, had prepared nothing
yet. . . . And meanwhile perhaps it had struck six. And his drowsiness
and stupefaction were followed by an extraordinary, feverish, as it
were distracted haste. But the preparations to be made were few. He
concentrated all his energies on thinking of everything and forgetting
nothing; and his heart kept beating and thumping so that he could
hardly breathe. First he had to make a noose and sew it into his
overcoat--a work of a moment. He rummaged under his pillow and picked
out amongst the linen stuffed away under it, a worn out, old unwashed
shirt. From its rags he tore a long strip, a couple of inches wide and
about sixteen inches long. He folded this strip in two, took off his
wide, strong summer overcoat of some stout cotton material (his only
outer garment) and began sewing the two ends of the rag on the inside,
under the left armhole. His hands shook as he sewed, but he did it
successfully so that nothing showed outside when he put the coat on
again. The needle and thread he had got ready long before and they lay
on his table in a piece of paper. As for the noose, it was a very
ingenious device of his own; the noose was intended for the axe. It
was impossible for him to carry the axe through the street in his
hands. And if hidden under his coat he would still have had to support
it with his hand, which would have been noticeable. Now he had only to
put the head of the axe in the noose, and it would hang quietly under
his arm on the inside. Putting his hand in his coat pocket, he could
hold the end of the handle all the way, so that it did not swing; and
as the coat was very full, a regular sack in fact, it could not be
seen from outside that he was holding something with the hand that was
in the pocket. This noose, too, he had designed a fortnight before.

When he had finished with this, he thrust his hand into a little
opening between his sofa and the floor, fumbled in the left corner and
drew out the /pledge/, which he had got ready long before and hidden
there. This pledge was, however, only a smoothly planed piece of wood
the size and thickness of a silver cigarette case. He picked up this
piece of wood in one of his wanderings in a courtyard where there was
some sort of a workshop. Afterwards he had added to the wood a thin
smooth piece of iron, which he had also picked up at the same time in
the street. Putting the iron which was a little the smaller on the
piece of wood, he fastened them very firmly, crossing and re-crossing
the thread round them; then wrapped them carefully and daintily in
clean white paper and tied up the parcel so that it would be very
difficult to untie it. This was in order to divert the attention of
the old woman for a time, while she was trying to undo the knot, and
so to gain a moment. The iron strip was added to give weight, so that
the woman might not guess the first minute that the "thing" was made
of wood. All this had been stored by him beforehand under the sofa. He
had only just got the pledge out when he heard someone suddenly about
in the yard.

"It struck six long ago."

"Long ago! My God!"

He rushed to the door, listened, caught up his hat and began to
descend his thirteen steps cautiously, noiselessly, like a cat. He had
still the most important thing to do--to steal the axe from the
kitchen. That the deed must be done with an axe he had decided long
ago. He had also a pocket pruning-knife, but he could not rely on the
knife and still less on his own strength, and so resolved finally on
the axe. We may note in passing, one peculiarity in regard to all the
final resolutions taken by him in the matter; they had one strange
characteristic: the more final they were, the more hideous and the
more absurd they at once became in his eyes. In spite of all his
agonising inward struggle, he never for a single instant all that time
could believe in the carrying out of his plans.

And, indeed, if it had ever happened that everything to the least
point could have been considered and finally settled, and no
uncertainty of any kind had remained, he would, it seems, have
renounced it all as something absurd, monstrous and impossible. But a
whole mass of unsettled points and uncertainties remained. As for
getting the axe, that trifling business cost him no anxiety, for
nothing could be easier. Nastasya was continually out of the house,
especially in the evenings; she would run in to the neighbours or to a
shop, and always left the door ajar. It was the one thing the landlady
was always scolding her about. And so, when the time came, he would
only have to go quietly into the kitchen and to take the axe, and an
hour later (when everything was over) go in and put it back again. But
these were doubtful points. Supposing he returned an hour later to put
it back, and Nastasya had come back and was on the spot. He would of
course have to go by and wait till she went out again. But supposing
she were in the meantime to miss the axe, look for it, make an outcry
--that would mean suspicion or at least grounds for suspicion.

But those were all trifles which he had not even begun to consider,
and indeed he had no time. He was thinking of the chief point, and put
off trifling details, until /he could believe in it all/. But that
seemed utterly unattainable. So it seemed to himself at least. He
could not imagine, for instance, that he would sometime leave off
thinking, get up and simply go there. . . . Even his late experiment
(i.e. his visit with the object of a final survey of the place) was
simply an attempt at an experiment, far from being the real thing, as
though one should say "come, let us go and try it--why dream about
it!"--and at once he had broken down and had run away cursing, in a
frenzy with himself. Meanwhile it would seem, as regards the moral
question, that his analysis was complete; his casuistry had become
keen as a razor, and he could not find rational objections in himself.
But in the last resort he simply ceased to believe in himself, and
doggedly, slavishly sought arguments in all directions, fumbling for
them, as though someone were forcing and drawing him to it.

At first--long before indeed--he had been much occupied with one
question; why almost all crimes are so badly concealed and so easily
detected, and why almost all criminals leave such obvious traces? He
had come gradually to many different and curious conclusions, and in
his opinion the chief reason lay not so much in the material
impossibility of concealing the crime, as in the criminal himself.
Almost every criminal is subject to a failure of will and reasoning
power by a childish and phenomenal heedlessness, at the very instant
when prudence and caution are most essential. It was his conviction
that this eclipse of reason and failure of will power attacked a man
like a disease, developed gradually and reached its highest point just
before the perpetration of the crime, continued with equal violence at
the moment of the crime and for longer or shorter time after,
according to the individual case, and then passed off like any other
disease. The question whether the disease gives rise to the crime, or
whether the crime from its own peculiar nature is always accompanied
by something of the nature of disease, he did not yet feel able to

When he reached these conclusions, he decided that in his own case
there could not be such a morbid reaction, that his reason and will
would remain unimpaired at the time of carrying out his design, for
the simple reason that his design was "not a crime. . . ." We will
omit all the process by means of which he arrived at this last
conclusion; we have run too far ahead already. . . . We may add only
that the practical, purely material difficulties of the affair
occupied a secondary position in his mind. "One has but to keep all
one's will-power and reason to deal with them, and they will all be
overcome at the time when once one has familiarised oneself with the
minutest details of the business. . . ." But this preparation had
never been begun. His final decisions were what he came to trust
least, and when the hour struck, it all came to pass quite
differently, as it were accidentally and unexpectedly.

One trifling circumstance upset his calculations, before he had even
left the staircase. When he reached the landlady's kitchen, the door
of which was open as usual, he glanced cautiously in to see whether,
in Nastasya's absence, the landlady herself was there, or if not,
whether the door to her own room was closed, so that she might not
peep out when he went in for the axe. But what was his amazement when
he suddenly saw that Nastasya was not only at home in the kitchen, but
was occupied there, taking linen out of a basket and hanging it on a
line. Seeing him, she left off hanging the clothes, turned to him and
stared at him all the time he was passing. He turned away his eyes,
and walked past as though he noticed nothing. But it was the end of
everything; he had not the axe! He was overwhelmed.

"What made me think," he reflected, as he went under the gateway,
"what made me think that she would be sure not to be at home at that
moment! Why, why, why did I assume this so certainly?"

He was crushed and even humiliated. He could have laughed at himself
in his anger. . . . A dull animal rage boiled within him.

He stood hesitating in the gateway. To go into the street, to go a
walk for appearance' sake was revolting; to go back to his room, even
more revolting. "And what a chance I have lost for ever!" he muttered,
standing aimlessly in the gateway, just opposite the porter's little
dark room, which was also open. Suddenly he started. From the porter's
room, two paces away from him, something shining under the bench to
the right caught his eye. . . . He looked about him--nobody. He
approached the room on tiptoe, went down two steps into it and in a
faint voice called the porter. "Yes, not at home! Somewhere near
though, in the yard, for the door is wide open." He dashed to the axe
(it was an axe) and pulled it out from under the bench, where it lay
between two chunks of wood; at once, before going out, he made it fast
in the noose, he thrust both hands into his pockets and went out of
the room; no one had noticed him! "When reason fails, the devil
helps!" he thought with a strange grin. This chance raised his spirits

He walked along quietly and sedately, without hurry, to avoid
awakening suspicion. He scarcely looked at the passers-by, tried to
escape looking at their faces at all, and to be as little noticeable
as possible. Suddenly he thought of his hat. "Good heavens! I had the
money the day before yesterday and did not get a cap to wear instead!"
A curse rose from the bottom of his soul.

Glancing out of the corner of his eye into a shop, he saw by a clock
on the wall that it was ten minutes past seven. He had to make haste
and at the same time to go someway round, so as to approach the house
from the other side. . . .

When he had happened to imagine all this beforehand, he had sometimes
thought that he would be very much afraid. But he was not very much
afraid now, was not afraid at all, indeed. His mind was even occupied
by irrelevant matters, but by nothing for long. As he passed the
Yusupov garden, he was deeply absorbed in considering the building of
great fountains, and of their refreshing effect on the atmosphere in
all the squares. By degrees he passed to the conviction that if the
summer garden were extended to the field of Mars, and perhaps joined
to the garden of the Mihailovsky Palace, it would be a splendid thing
and a great benefit to the town. Then he was interested by the
question why in all great towns men are not simply driven by
necessity, but in some peculiar way inclined to live in those parts of
the town where there are no gardens nor fountains; where there is most
dirt and smell and all sorts of nastiness. Then his own walks through
the Hay Market came back to his mind, and for a moment he waked up to
reality. "What nonsense!" he thought, "better think of nothing at

"So probably men led to execution clutch mentally at every object that
meets them on the way," flashed through his mind, but simply flashed,
like lightning; he made haste to dismiss this thought. . . . And by
now he was near; here was the house, here was the gate. Suddenly a
clock somewhere struck once. "What! can it be half-past seven?
Impossible, it must be fast!"

Luckily for him, everything went well again at the gates. At that very
moment, as though expressly for his benefit, a huge waggon of hay had
just driven in at the gate, completely screening him as he passed
under the gateway, and the waggon had scarcely had time to drive
through into the yard, before he had slipped in a flash to the right.
On the other side of the waggon he could hear shouting and
quarrelling; but no one noticed him and no one met him. Many windows
looking into that huge quadrangular yard were open at that moment, but
he did not raise his head--he had not the strength to. The staircase
leading to the old woman's room was close by, just on the right of the
gateway. He was already on the stairs. . . .

Drawing a breath, pressing his hand against his throbbing heart, and
once more feeling for the axe and setting it straight, he began softly
and cautiously ascending the stairs, listening every minute. But the
stairs, too, were quite deserted; all the doors were shut; he met no
one. One flat indeed on the first floor was wide open and painters
were at work in it, but they did not glance at him. He stood still,
thought a minute and went on. "Of course it would be better if they
had not been here, but . . . it's two storeys above them."

And there was the fourth storey, here was the door, here was the flat
opposite, the empty one. The flat underneath the old woman's was
apparently empty also; the visiting card nailed on the door had been
torn off--they had gone away! . . . He was out of breath. For one
instant the thought floated through his mind "Shall I go back?" But he
made no answer and began listening at the old woman's door, a dead
silence. Then he listened again on the staircase, listened long and
intently . . . then looked about him for the last time, pulled himself
together, drew himself up, and once more tried the axe in the noose.
"Am I very pale?" he wondered. "Am I not evidently agitated? She is
mistrustful. . . . Had I better wait a little longer . . . till my
heart leaves off thumping?"

But his heart did not leave off. On the contrary, as though to spite
him, it throbbed more and more violently. He could stand it no longer,
he slowly put out his hand to the bell and rang. Half a minute later
he rang again, more loudly.

No answer. To go on ringing was useless and out of place. The old
woman was, of course, at home, but she was suspicious and alone. He
had some knowledge of her habits . . . and once more he put his ear to
the door. Either his senses were peculiarly keen (which it is
difficult to suppose), or the sound was really very distinct. Anyway,
he suddenly heard something like the cautious touch of a hand on the
lock and the rustle of a skirt at the very door. Someone was standing
stealthily close to the lock and just as he was doing on the outside
was secretly listening within, and seemed to have her ear to the door.
. . . He moved a little on purpose and muttered something aloud that
he might not have the appearance of hiding, then rang a third time,
but quietly, soberly, and without impatience, Recalling it afterwards,
that moment stood out in his mind vividly, distinctly, for ever; he
could not make out how he had had such cunning, for his mind was as it
were clouded at moments and he was almost unconscious of his body.
. . . An instant later he heard the latch unfastened.


The door was as before opened a tiny crack, and again two sharp and
suspicious eyes stared at him out of the darkness. Then Raskolnikov
lost his head and nearly made a great mistake.

Fearing the old woman would be frightened by their being alone, and
not hoping that the sight of him would disarm her suspicions, he took
hold of the door and drew it towards him to prevent the old woman from
attempting to shut it again. Seeing this she did not pull the door
back, but she did not let go the handle so that he almost dragged her
out with it on to the stairs. Seeing that she was standing in the
doorway not allowing him to pass, he advanced straight upon her. She
stepped back in alarm, tried to say something, but seemed unable to
speak and stared with open eyes at him.

"Good evening, Alyona Ivanovna," he began, trying to speak easily, but
his voice would not obey him, it broke and shook. "I have come . . . I
have brought something . . . but we'd better come in . . . to the
light. . . ."

And leaving her, he passed straight into the room uninvited. The old
woman ran after him; her tongue was unloosed.

"Good heavens! What it is? Who is it? What do you want?"

"Why, Alyona Ivanovna, you know me . . . Raskolnikov . . . here, I
brought you the pledge I promised the other day . . ." And he held out
the pledge.

The old woman glanced for a moment at the pledge, but at once stared
in the eyes of her uninvited visitor. She looked intently, maliciously
and mistrustfully. A minute passed; he even fancied something like a
sneer in her eyes, as though she had already guessed everything. He
felt that he was losing his head, that he was almost frightened, so
frightened that if she were to look like that and not say a word for
another half minute, he thought he would have run away from her.

"Why do you look at me as though you did not know me?" he said
suddenly, also with malice. "Take it if you like, if not I'll go
elsewhere, I am in a hurry."

He had not even thought of saying this, but it was suddenly said of
itself. The old woman recovered herself, and her visitor's resolute
tone evidently restored her confidence.

"But why, my good sir, all of a minute. . . . What is it?" she asked,
looking at the pledge.

"The silver cigarette case; I spoke of it last time, you know."

She held out her hand.

"But how pale you are, to be sure . . . and your hands are trembling
too? Have you been bathing, or what?"

"Fever," he answered abruptly. "You can't help getting pale . . . if
you've nothing to eat," he added, with difficulty articulating the

His strength was failing him again. But his answer sounded like the
truth; the old woman took the pledge.

"What is it?" she asked once more, scanning Raskolnikov intently, and
weighing the pledge in her hand.

"A thing . . . cigarette case. . . . Silver. . . . Look at it."

"It does not seem somehow like silver. . . . How he has wrapped it up!"

Trying to untie the string and turning to the window, to the light
(all her windows were shut, in spite of the stifling heat), she left
him altogether for some seconds and stood with her back to him. He
unbuttoned his coat and freed the axe from the noose, but did not yet
take it out altogether, simply holding it in his right hand under the
coat. His hands were fearfully weak, he felt them every moment growing
more numb and more wooden. He was afraid he would let the axe slip and
fall. . . . A sudden giddiness came over him.

"But what has he tied it up like this for?" the old woman cried with
vexation and moved towards him.

He had not a minute more to lose. He pulled the axe quite out, swung
it with both arms, scarcely conscious of himself, and almost without
effort, almost mechanically, brought the blunt side down on her head.
He seemed not to use his own strength in this. But as soon as he had
once brought the axe down, his strength returned to him.

The old woman was as always bareheaded. Her thin, light hair, streaked
with grey, thickly smeared with grease, was plaited in a rat's tail
and fastened by a broken horn comb which stood out on the nape of her
neck. As she was so short, the blow fell on the very top of her skull.
She cried out, but very faintly, and suddenly sank all of a heap on
the floor, raising her hands to her head. In one hand she still held
"the pledge." Then he dealt her another and another blow with the
blunt side and on the same spot. The blood gushed as from an
overturned glass, the body fell back. He stepped back, let it fall,
and at once bent over her face; she was dead. Her eyes seemed to be
starting out of their sockets, the brow and the whole face were drawn
and contorted convulsively.

He laid the axe on the ground near the dead body and felt at once in
her pocket (trying to avoid the streaming body)--the same right-hand
pocket from which she had taken the key on his last visit. He was in
full possession of his faculties, free from confusion or giddiness,
but his hands were still trembling. He remembered afterwards that he
had been particularly collected and careful, trying all the time not
to get smeared with blood. . . . He pulled out the keys at once, they
were all, as before, in one bunch on a steel ring. He ran at once into
the bedroom with them. It was a very small room with a whole shrine of
holy images. Against the other wall stood a big bed, very clean and
covered with a silk patchwork wadded quilt. Against a third wall was a
chest of drawers. Strange to say, so soon as he began to fit the keys
into the chest, so soon as he heard their jingling, a convulsive
shudder passed over him. He suddenly felt tempted again to give it all
up and go away. But that was only for an instant; it was too late to
go back. He positively smiled at himself, when suddenly another
terrifying idea occurred to his mind. He suddenly fancied that the old
woman might be still alive and might recover her senses. Leaving the
keys in the chest, he ran back to the body, snatched up the axe and
lifted it once more over the old woman, but did not bring it down.
There was no doubt that she was dead. Bending down and examining her
again more closely, he saw clearly that the skull was broken and even
battered in on one side. He was about to feel it with his finger, but
drew back his hand and indeed it was evident without that. Meanwhile
there was a perfect pool of blood. All at once he noticed a string on
her neck; he tugged at it, but the string was strong and did not snap
and besides, it was soaked with blood. He tried to pull it out from
the front of the dress, but something held it and prevented its
coming. In his impatience he raised the axe again to cut the string
from above on the body, but did not dare, and with difficulty,
smearing his hand and the axe in the blood, after two minutes' hurried
effort, he cut the string and took it off without touching the body
with the axe; he was not mistaken--it was a purse. On the string were
two crosses, one of Cyprus wood and one of copper, and an image in
silver filigree, and with them a small greasy chamois leather purse
with a steel rim and ring. The purse was stuffed very full;
Raskolnikov thrust it in his pocket without looking at it, flung the
crosses on the old woman's body and rushed back into the bedroom, this
time taking the axe with him.

He was in terrible haste, he snatched the keys, and began trying them
again. But he was unsuccessful. They would not fit in the locks. It
was not so much that his hands were shaking, but that he kept making
mistakes; though he saw for instance that a key was not the right one
and would not fit, still he tried to put it in. Suddenly he remembered
and realised that the big key with the deep notches, which was hanging
there with the small keys could not possibly belong to the chest of
drawers (on his last visit this had struck him), but to some strong
box, and that everything perhaps was hidden in that box. He left the
chest of drawers, and at once felt under the bedstead, knowing that
old women usually keep boxes under their beds. And so it was; there
was a good-sized box under the bed, at least a yard in length, with an
arched lid covered with red leather and studded with steel nails. The
notched key fitted at once and unlocked it. At the top, under a white
sheet, was a coat of red brocade lined with hareskin; under it was a
silk dress, then a shawl and it seemed as though there was nothing
below but clothes. The first thing he did was to wipe his blood-
stained hands on the red brocade. "It's red, and on red blood will be
less noticeable," the thought passed through his mind; then he
suddenly came to himself. "Good God, am I going out of my senses?" he
thought with terror.

But no sooner did he touch the clothes than a gold watch slipped from
under the fur coat. He made haste to turn them all over. There turned
out to be various articles made of gold among the clothes--probably
all pledges, unredeemed or waiting to be redeemed--bracelets, chains,
ear-rings, pins and such things. Some were in cases, others simply
wrapped in newspaper, carefully and exactly folded, and tied round
with tape. Without any delay, he began filling up the pockets of his
trousers and overcoat without examining or undoing the parcels and
cases; but he had not time to take many. . . .

He suddenly heard steps in the room where the old woman lay. He
stopped short and was still as death. But all was quiet, so it must
have been his fancy. All at once he heard distinctly a faint cry, as
though someone had uttered a low broken moan. Then again dead silence
for a minute or two. He sat squatting on his heels by the box and
waited holding his breath. Suddenly he jumped up, seized the axe and
ran out of the bedroom.

In the middle of the room stood Lizaveta with a big bundle in her
arms. She was gazing in stupefaction at her murdered sister, white as
a sheet and seeming not to have the strength to cry out. Seeing him
run out of the bedroom, she began faintly quivering all over, like a
leaf, a shudder ran down her face; she lifted her hand, opened her
mouth, but still did not scream. She began slowly backing away from
him into the corner, staring intently, persistently at him, but still
uttered no sound, as though she could not get breath to scream. He
rushed at her with the axe; her mouth twitched piteously, as one sees
babies' mouths, when they begin to be frightened, stare intently at
what frightens them and are on the point of screaming. And this
hapless Lizaveta was so simple and had been so thoroughly crushed and
scared that she did not even raise a hand to guard her face, though
that was the most necessary and natural action at the moment, for the
axe was raised over her face. She only put up her empty left hand, but
not to her face, slowly holding it out before her as though motioning
him away. The axe fell with the sharp edge just on the skull and split
at one blow all the top of the head. She fell heavily at once.
Raskolnikov completely lost his head, snatching up her bundle, dropped
it again and ran into the entry.

Fear gained more and more mastery over him, especially after this
second, quite unexpected murder. He longed to run away from the place
as fast as possible. And if at that moment he had been capable of
seeing and reasoning more correctly, if he had been able to realise
all the difficulties of his position, the hopelessness, the
hideousness and the absurdity of it, if he could have understood how
many obstacles and, perhaps, crimes he had still to overcome or to
commit, to get out of that place and to make his way home, it is very
possible that he would have flung up everything, and would have gone
to give himself up, and not from fear, but from simple horror and
loathing of what he had done. The feeling of loathing especially
surged up within him and grew stronger every minute. He would not now
have gone to the box or even into the room for anything in the world.

But a sort of blankness, even dreaminess, had begun by degrees to take
possession of him; at moments he forgot himself, or rather, forgot
what was of importance, and caught at trifles. Glancing, however, into
the kitchen and seeing a bucket half full of water on a bench, he
bethought him of washing his hands and the axe. His hands were sticky
with blood. He dropped the axe with the blade in the water, snatched a
piece of soap that lay in a broken saucer on the window, and began
washing his hands in the bucket. When they were clean, he took out the
axe, washed the blade and spent a long time, about three minutes,
washing the wood where there were spots of blood rubbing them with
soap. Then he wiped it all with some linen that was hanging to dry on
a line in the kitchen and then he was a long while attentively
examining the axe at the window. There was no trace left on it, only
the wood was still damp. He carefully hung the axe in the noose under
his coat. Then as far as was possible, in the dim light in the
kitchen, he looked over his overcoat, his trousers and his boots. At
the first glance there seemed to be nothing but stains on the boots.
He wetted the rag and rubbed the boots. But he knew he was not looking
thoroughly, that there might be something quite noticeable that he was
overlooking. He stood in the middle of the room, lost in thought. Dark
agonising ideas rose in his mind--the idea that he was mad and that at
that moment he was incapable of reasoning, of protecting himself, that
he ought perhaps to be doing something utterly different from what he
was now doing. "Good God!" he muttered "I must fly, fly," and he
rushed into the entry. But here a shock of terror awaited him such as
he had never known before.

He stood and gazed and could not believe his eyes: the door, the outer
door from the stairs, at which he had not long before waited and rung,
was standing unfastened and at least six inches open. No lock, no
bolt, all the time, all that time! The old woman had not shut it after
him perhaps as a precaution. But, good God! Why, he had seen Lizaveta
afterwards! And how could he, how could he have failed to reflect that
she must have come in somehow! She could not have come through the

He dashed to the door and fastened the latch.

"But no, the wrong thing again! I must get away, get away. . . ."

He unfastened the latch, opened the door and began listening on the

He listened a long time. Somewhere far away, it might be in the
gateway, two voices were loudly and shrilly shouting, quarrelling
and scolding. "What are they about?" He waited patiently. At last
all was still, as though suddenly cut off; they had separated. He
was meaning to go out, but suddenly, on the floor below, a door was
noisily opened and someone began going downstairs humming a tune.
"How is it they all make such a noise?" flashed through his mind. Once
more he closed the door and waited. At last all was still, not a
soul stirring. He was just taking a step towards the stairs when he
heard fresh footsteps.

The steps sounded very far off, at the very bottom of the stairs, but
he remembered quite clearly and distinctly that from the first sound
he began for some reason to suspect that this was someone coming
/there/, to the fourth floor, to the old woman. Why? Were the sounds
somehow peculiar, significant? The steps were heavy, even and
unhurried. Now /he/ had passed the first floor, now he was mounting
higher, it was growing more and more distinct! He could hear his heavy
breathing. And now the third storey had been reached. Coming here! And
it seemed to him all at once that he was turned to stone, that it was
like a dream in which one is being pursued, nearly caught and will be
killed, and is rooted to the spot and cannot even move one's arms.

At last when the unknown was mounting to the fourth floor, he suddenly
started, and succeeded in slipping neatly and quickly back into the
flat and closing the door behind him. Then he took the hook and
softly, noiselessly, fixed it in the catch. Instinct helped him. When
he had done this, he crouched holding his breath, by the door. The
unknown visitor was by now also at the door. They were now standing
opposite one another, as he had just before been standing with the old
woman, when the door divided them and he was listening.

The visitor panted several times. "He must be a big, fat man," thought
Raskolnikov, squeezing the axe in his hand. It seemed like a dream
indeed. The visitor took hold of the bell and rang it loudly.

As soon as the tin bell tinkled, Raskolnikov seemed to be aware of
something moving in the room. For some seconds he listened quite
seriously. The unknown rang again, waited and suddenly tugged
violently and impatiently at the handle of the door. Raskolnikov gazed
in horror at the hook shaking in its fastening, and in blank terror
expected every minute that the fastening would be pulled out. It
certainly did seem possible, so violently was he shaking it. He was
tempted to hold the fastening, but /he/ might be aware of it. A
giddiness came over him again. "I shall fall down!" flashed through
his mind, but the unknown began to speak and he recovered himself at

"What's up? Are they asleep or murdered? D-damn them!" he bawled in a
thick voice, "Hey, Alyona Ivanovna, old witch! Lizaveta Ivanovna, hey,
my beauty! open the door! Oh, damn them! Are they asleep or what?"

And again, enraged, he tugged with all his might a dozen times at the
bell. He must certainly be a man of authority and an intimate

At this moment light hurried steps were heard not far off, on the
stairs. Someone else was approaching. Raskolnikov had not heard them
at first.

"You don't say there's no one at home," the new-comer cried in a
cheerful, ringing voice, addressing the first visitor, who still went
on pulling the bell. "Good evening, Koch."

"From his voice he must be quite young," thought Raskolnikov.

"Who the devil can tell? I've almost broken the lock," answered Koch.
"But how do you come to know me?

"Why! The day before yesterday I beat you three times running at
billiards at Gambrinus'."


"So they are not at home? That's queer. It's awfully stupid though.
Where could the old woman have gone? I've come on business."

"Yes; and I have business with her, too."

"Well, what can we do? Go back, I suppose, Aie--aie! And I was hoping
to get some money!" cried the young man.

"We must give it up, of course, but what did she fix this time for?
The old witch fixed the time for me to come herself. It's out of my
way. And where the devil she can have got to, I can't make out. She
sits here from year's end to year's end, the old hag; her legs are bad
and yet here all of a sudden she is out for a walk!"

"Hadn't we better ask the porter?"


"Where she's gone and when she'll be back."

"Hm. . . . Damn it all! . . . We might ask. . . . But you know she
never does go anywhere."

And he once more tugged at the door-handle.

"Damn it all. There's nothing to be done, we must go!"

"Stay!" cried the young man suddenly. "Do you see how the door shakes
if you pull it?"


"That shows it's not locked, but fastened with the hook! Do you hear
how the hook clanks?"


"Why, don't you see? That proves that one of them is at home. If they
were all out, they would have locked the door from the outside with
the key and not with the hook from inside. There, do you hear how the
hook is clanking? To fasten the hook on the inside they must be at
home, don't you see. So there they are sitting inside and don't open
the door!"

"Well! And so they must be!" cried Koch, astonished. "What are they
about in there?" And he began furiously shaking the door.

"Stay!" cried the young man again. "Don't pull at it! There must be
something wrong. . . . Here, you've been ringing and pulling at the
door and still they don't open! So either they've both fainted
or . . ."


"I tell you what. Let's go fetch the porter, let him wake them up."

"All right."

Both were going down.

"Stay. You stop here while I run down for the porter."

"What for?"

"Well, you'd better."

"All right."

"I'm studying the law you see! It's evident, e-vi-dent there's
something wrong here!" the young man cried hotly, and he ran

Koch remained. Once more he softly touched the bell which gave one
tinkle, then gently, as though reflecting and looking about him, began
touching the door-handle pulling it and letting it go to make sure
once more that it was only fastened by the hook. Then puffing and
panting he bent down and began looking at the keyhole: but the key was
in the lock on the inside and so nothing could be seen.

Raskolnikov stood keeping tight hold of the axe. He was in a sort of
delirium. He was even making ready to fight when they should come in.
While they were knocking and talking together, the idea several times
occurred to him to end it all at once and shout to them through the
door. Now and then he was tempted to swear at them, to jeer at them,
while they could not open the door! "Only make haste!" was the thought
that flashed through his mind.

"But what the devil is he about? . . ." Time was passing, one minute,
and another--no one came. Koch began to be restless.

"What the devil?" he cried suddenly and in impatience deserting his
sentry duty, he, too, went down, hurrying and thumping with his heavy
boots on the stairs. The steps died away.

"Good heavens! What am I to do?"

Raskolnikov unfastened the hook, opened the door--there was no sound.
Abruptly, without any thought at all, he went out, closing the door as
thoroughly as he could, and went downstairs.

He had gone down three flights when he suddenly heard a loud voice
below--where could he go! There was nowhere to hide. He was just going
back to the flat.

"Hey there! Catch the brute!"

Somebody dashed out of a flat below, shouting, and rather fell than
ran down the stairs, bawling at the top of his voice.

"Mitka! Mitka! Mitka! Mitka! Mitka! Blast him!"

The shout ended in a shriek; the last sounds came from the yard; all
was still. But at the same instant several men talking loud and fast
began noisily mounting the stairs. There were three or four of them.
He distinguished the ringing voice of the young man. "They!"

Filled with despair he went straight to meet them, feeling "come what
must!" If they stopped him--all was lost; if they let him pass--all
was lost too; they would remember him. They were approaching; they
were only a flight from him--and suddenly deliverance! A few steps
from him on the right, there was an empty flat with the door wide
open, the flat on the second floor where the painters had been at
work, and which, as though for his benefit, they had just left. It was
they, no doubt, who had just run down, shouting. The floor had only
just been painted, in the middle of the room stood a pail and a broken
pot with paint and brushes. In one instant he had whisked in at the
open door and hidden behind the wall and only in the nick of time;
they had already reached the landing. Then they turned and went on up
to the fourth floor, talking loudly. He waited, went out on tiptoe and
ran down the stairs.

No one was on the stairs, nor in the gateway. He passed quickly
through the gateway and turned to the left in the street.

He knew, he knew perfectly well that at that moment they were at the
flat, that they were greatly astonished at finding it unlocked, as the
door had just been fastened, that by now they were looking at the
bodies, that before another minute had passed they would guess and
completely realise that the murderer had just been there, and had
succeeded in hiding somewhere, slipping by them and escaping. They
would guess most likely that he had been in the empty flat, while they
were going upstairs. And meanwhile he dared not quicken his pace much,
though the next turning was still nearly a hundred yards away. "Should
he slip through some gateway and wait somewhere in an unknown street?
No, hopeless! Should he fling away the axe? Should he take a cab?
Hopeless, hopeless!"

At last he reached the turning. He turned down it more dead than
alive. Here he was half way to safety, and he understood it; it was
less risky because there was a great crowd of people, and he was lost
in it like a grain of sand. But all he had suffered had so weakened
him that he could scarcely move. Perspiration ran down him in drops,
his neck was all wet. "My word, he has been going it!" someone
shouted at him when he came out on the canal bank.

He was only dimly conscious of himself now, and the farther he went
the worse it was. He remembered however, that on coming out on to the
canal bank, he was alarmed at finding few people there and so being
more conspicuous, and he had thought of turning back. Though he was
almost falling from fatigue, he went a long way round so as to get
home from quite a different direction.

He was not fully conscious when he passed through the gateway of his
house! he was already on the staircase before he recollected the axe.
And yet he had a very grave problem before him, to put it back and to
escape observation as far as possible in doing so. He was of course
incapable of reflecting that it might perhaps be far better not to
restore the axe at all, but to drop it later on in somebody's yard.
But it all happened fortunately, the door of the porter's room was
closed but not locked, so that it seemed most likely that the porter
was at home. But he had so completely lost all power of reflection
that he walked straight to the door and opened it. If the porter had
asked him, "What do you want?" he would perhaps have simply handed him
the axe. But again the porter was not at home, and he succeeded in
putting the axe back under the bench, and even covering it with the
chunk of wood as before. He met no one, not a soul, afterwards on the
way to his room; the landlady's door was shut. When he was in his
room, he flung himself on the sofa just as he was--he did not sleep,
but sank into blank forgetfulness. If anyone had come into his room
then, he would have jumped up at once and screamed. Scraps and shreds
of thoughts were simply swarming in his brain, but he could not catch
at one, he could not rest on one, in spite of all his efforts. . . .



So he lay a very long while. Now and then he seemed to wake up, and at
such moments he noticed that it was far into the night, but it did not
occur to him to get up. At last he noticed that it was beginning to
get light. He was lying on his back, still dazed from his recent
oblivion. Fearful, despairing cries rose shrilly from the street,
sounds which he heard every night, indeed, under his window after two
o'clock. They woke him up now.

"Ah! the drunken men are coming out of the taverns," he thought, "it's
past two o'clock," and at once he leaped up, as though someone had
pulled him from the sofa.

"What! Past two o'clock!"

He sat down on the sofa--and instantly recollected everything! All at
once, in one flash, he recollected everything.

For the first moment he thought he was going mad. A dreadful chill
came over him; but the chill was from the fever that had begun long
before in his sleep. Now he was suddenly taken with violent shivering,
so that his teeth chattered and all his limbs were shaking. He opened
the door and began listening--everything in the house was asleep. With
amazement he gazed at himself and everything in the room around him,
wondering how he could have come in the night before without fastening
the door, and have flung himself on the sofa without undressing,
without even taking his hat off. It had fallen off and was lying on
the floor near his pillow.

"If anyone had come in, what would he have thought? That I'm drunk
but . . ."

He rushed to the window. There was light enough, and he began
hurriedly looking himself all over from head to foot, all his clothes;
were there no traces? But there was no doing it like that; shivering
with cold, he began taking off everything and looking over again. He
turned everything over to the last threads and rags, and mistrusting
himself, went through his search three times.

But there seemed to be nothing, no trace, except in one place, where
some thick drops of congealed blood were clinging to the frayed edge
of his trousers. He picked up a big claspknife and cut off the frayed
threads. There seemed to be nothing more.

Suddenly he remembered that the purse and the things he had taken out
of the old woman's box were still in his pockets! He had not thought
till then of taking them out and hiding them! He had not even thought
of them while he was examining his clothes! What next? Instantly he
rushed to take them out and fling them on the table. When he had
pulled out everything, and turned the pocket inside out to be sure
there was nothing left, he carried the whole heap to the corner. The
paper had come off the bottom of the wall and hung there in tatters.
He began stuffing all the things into the hole under the paper:
"They're in! All out of sight, and the purse too!" he thought
gleefully, getting up and gazing blankly at the hole which bulged out
more than ever. Suddenly he shuddered all over with horror; "My God!"
he whispered in despair: "what's the matter with me? Is that hidden?
Is that the way to hide things?"

He had not reckoned on having trinkets to hide. He had only thought of
money, and so had not prepared a hiding-place.

"But now, now, what am I glad of?" he thought, "Is that hiding things?
My reason's deserting me--simply!"

He sat down on the sofa in exhaustion and was at once shaken by
another unbearable fit of shivering. Mechanically he drew from a chair
beside him his old student's winter coat, which was still warm though
almost in rags, covered himself up with it and once more sank into
drowsiness and delirium. He lost consciousness.

Not more than five minutes had passed when he jumped up a second time,
and at once pounced in a frenzy on his clothes again.

"How could I go to sleep again with nothing done? Yes, yes; I have not
taken the loop off the armhole! I forgot it, forgot a thing like that!
Such a piece of evidence!"

He pulled off the noose, hurriedly cut it to pieces and threw the bits
among his linen under the pillow.

"Pieces of torn linen couldn't rouse suspicion, whatever happened; I
think not, I think not, any way!" he repeated, standing in the middle
of the room, and with painful concentration he fell to gazing about
him again, at the floor and everywhere, trying to make sure he had not
forgotten anything. The conviction that all his faculties, even
memory, and the simplest power of reflection were failing him, began
to be an insufferable torture.

"Surely it isn't beginning already! Surely it isn't my punishment
coming upon me? It is!"

The frayed rags he had cut off his trousers were actually lying on the
floor in the middle of the room, where anyone coming in would see

"What is the matter with me!" he cried again, like one distraught.

Then a strange idea entered his head; that, perhaps, all his clothes
were covered with blood, that, perhaps, there were a great many
stains, but that he did not see them, did not notice them because his
perceptions were failing, were going to pieces . . . his reason was
clouded. . . . Suddenly he remembered that there had been blood on the
purse too. "Ah! Then there must be blood on the pocket too, for I put
the wet purse in my pocket!"

In a flash he had turned the pocket inside out and, yes!--there were
traces, stains on the lining of the pocket!

"So my reason has not quite deserted me, so I still have some sense
and memory, since I guessed it of myself," he thought triumphantly,
with a deep sigh of relief; "it's simply the weakness of fever, a
moment's delirium," and he tore the whole lining out of the left
pocket of his trousers. At that instant the sunlight fell on his left
boot; on the sock which poked out from the boot, he fancied there were
traces! He flung off his boots; "traces indeed! The tip of the sock
was soaked with blood;" he must have unwarily stepped into that pool.
. . . "But what am I to do with this now? Where am I to put the sock
and rags and pocket?"

He gathered them all up in his hands and stood in the middle of the

"In the stove? But they would ransack the stove first of all. Burn
them? But what can I burn them with? There are no matches even. No,
better go out and throw it all away somewhere. Yes, better throw it
away," he repeated, sitting down on the sofa again, "and at once, this
minute, without lingering . . ."

But his head sank on the pillow instead. Again the unbearable icy
shivering came over him; again he drew his coat over him.

And for a long while, for some hours, he was haunted by the impulse to
"go off somewhere at once, this moment, and fling it all away, so that
it may be out of sight and done with, at once, at once!" Several times
he tried to rise from the sofa, but could not.

He was thoroughly waked up at last by a violent knocking at his door.

"Open, do, are you dead or alive? He keeps sleeping here!" shouted
Nastasya, banging with her fist on the door. "For whole days
together he's snoring here like a dog! A dog he is too. Open I tell
you. It's past ten."

"Maybe he's not at home," said a man's voice.

"Ha! that's the porter's voice. . . . What does he want?"

He jumped up and sat on the sofa. The beating of his heart was a
positive pain.

"Then who can have latched the door?" retorted Nastasya. "He's taken
to bolting himself in! As if he were worth stealing! Open, you stupid,
wake up!"

"What do they want? Why the porter? All's discovered. Resist or open?
Come what may! . . ."

He half rose, stooped forward and unlatched the door.

His room was so small that he could undo the latch without leaving the
bed. Yes; the porter and Nastasya were standing there.

Nastasya stared at him in a strange way. He glanced with a defiant and
desperate air at the porter, who without a word held out a grey folded
paper sealed with bottle-wax.

"A notice from the office," he announced, as he gave him the paper.

"From what office?"

"A summons to the police office, of course. You know which office."

"To the police? . . . What for? . . ."

"How can I tell? You're sent for, so you go."

The man looked at him attentively, looked round the room and turned to
go away.

"He's downright ill!" observed Nastasya, not taking her eyes off him.
The porter turned his head for a moment. "He's been in a fever since
yesterday," she added.

Raskolnikov made no response and held the paper in his hands, without
opening it. "Don't you get up then," Nastasya went on compassionately,
seeing that he was letting his feet down from the sofa. "You're ill,
and so don't go; there's no such hurry. What have you got there?"

He looked; in his right hand he held the shreds he had cut from his
trousers, the sock, and the rags of the pocket. So he had been asleep
with them in his hand. Afterwards reflecting upon it, he remembered
that half waking up in his fever, he had grasped all this tightly in
his hand and so fallen asleep again.

"Look at the rags he's collected and sleeps with them, as though he
has got hold of a treasure . . ."

And Nastasya went off into her hysterical giggle.

Instantly he thrust them all under his great coat and fixed his eyes
intently upon her. Far as he was from being capable of rational
reflection at that moment, he felt that no one would behave like that
with a person who was going to be arrested. "But . . . the police?"

"You'd better have some tea! Yes? I'll bring it, there's some left."

"No . . . I'm going; I'll go at once," he muttered, getting on to his

"Why, you'll never get downstairs!"

"Yes, I'll go."

"As you please."

She followed the porter out.

At once he rushed to the light to examine the sock and the rags.

"There are stains, but not very noticeable; all covered with dirt, and
rubbed and already discoloured. No one who had no suspicion could
distinguish anything. Nastasya from a distance could not have noticed,
thank God!" Then with a tremor he broke the seal of the notice and
began reading; he was a long while reading, before he understood. It
was an ordinary summons from the district police-station to appear
that day at half-past nine at the office of the district

"But when has such a thing happened? I never have anything to do with
the police! And why just to-day?" he thought in agonising
bewilderment. "Good God, only get it over soon!"

He was flinging himself on his knees to pray, but broke into laughter
--not at the idea of prayer, but at himself.

He began, hurriedly dressing. "If I'm lost, I am lost, I don't care!
Shall I put the sock on?" he suddenly wondered, "it will get dustier
still and the traces will be gone."

But no sooner had he put it on than he pulled it off again in loathing
and horror. He pulled it off, but reflecting that he had no other
socks, he picked it up and put it on again--and again he laughed.

"That's all conventional, that's all relative, merely a way of looking
at it," he thought in a flash, but only on the top surface of his
mind, while he was shuddering all over, "there, I've got it on! I have
finished by getting it on!"

But his laughter was quickly followed by despair.

"No, it's too much for me . . ." he thought. His legs shook. "From
fear," he muttered. His head swam and ached with fever. "It's a trick!
They want to decoy me there and confound me over everything," he
mused, as he went out on to the stairs--"the worst of it is I'm almost
light-headed . . . I may blurt out something stupid . . ."

On the stairs he remembered that he was leaving all the things just as
they were in the hole in the wall, "and very likely, it's on purpose
to search when I'm out," he thought, and stopped short. But he was
possessed by such despair, such cynicism of misery, if one may so call
it, that with a wave of his hand he went on. "Only to get it over!"

In the street the heat was insufferable again; not a drop of rain had
fallen all those days. Again dust, bricks and mortar, again the stench
from the shops and pot-houses, again the drunken men, the Finnish
pedlars and half-broken-down cabs. The sun shone straight in his eyes,
so that it hurt him to look out of them, and he felt his head going
round--as a man in a fever is apt to feel when he comes out into the
street on a bright sunny day.

When he reached the turning into /the/ street, in an agony of
trepidation he looked down it . . . at /the/ house . . . and at once
averted his eyes.

"If they question me, perhaps I'll simply tell," he thought, as he
drew near the police-station.

The police-station was about a quarter of a mile off. It had lately
been moved to new rooms on the fourth floor of a new house. He had
been once for a moment in the old office but long ago. Turning in at
the gateway, he saw on the right a flight of stairs which a peasant
was mounting with a book in his hand. "A house-porter, no doubt; so
then, the office is here," and he began ascending the stairs on the
chance. He did not want to ask questions of anyone.

"I'll go in, fall on my knees, and confess everything . . ." he
thought, as he reached the fourth floor.

The staircase was steep, narrow and all sloppy with dirty water. The
kitchens of the flats opened on to the stairs and stood open almost
the whole day. So there was a fearful smell and heat. The staircase
was crowded with porters going up and down with their books under
their arms, policemen, and persons of all sorts and both sexes. The
door of the office, too, stood wide open. Peasants stood waiting
within. There, too, the heat was stifling and there was a sickening
smell of fresh paint and stale oil from the newly decorated rooms.

After waiting a little, he decided to move forward into the next room.
All the rooms were small and low-pitched. A fearful impatience drew
him on and on. No one paid attention to him. In the second room some
clerks sat writing, dressed hardly better than he was, and rather a
queer-looking set. He went up to one of them.

"What is it?"

He showed the notice he had received.

"You are a student?" the man asked, glancing at the notice.

"Yes, formerly a student."

The clerk looked at him, but without the slightest interest. He was a
particularly unkempt person with the look of a fixed idea in his eye.

"There would be no getting anything out of him, because he has no
interest in anything," thought Raskolnikov.

"Go in there to the head clerk," said the clerk, pointing towards the
furthest room.

He went into that room--the fourth in order; it was a small room and
packed full of people, rather better dressed than in the outer rooms.
Among them were two ladies. One, poorly dressed in mourning, sat at
the table opposite the chief clerk, writing something at his
dictation. The other, a very stout, buxom woman with a purplish-red,
blotchy face, excessively smartly dressed with a brooch on her bosom
as big as a saucer, was standing on one side, apparently waiting for
something. Raskolnikov thrust his notice upon the head clerk. The
latter glanced at it, said: "Wait a minute," and went on attending to
the lady in mourning.

He breathed more freely. "It can't be that!"

By degrees he began to regain confidence, he kept urging himself to
have courage and be calm.

"Some foolishness, some trifling carelessness, and I may betray
myself! Hm . . . it's a pity there's no air here," he added, "it's
stifling. . . . It makes one's head dizzier than ever . . . and one's
mind too . . ."

He was conscious of a terrible inner turmoil. He was afraid of losing
his self-control; he tried to catch at something and fix his mind on
it, something quite irrelevant, but he could not succeed in this at
all. Yet the head clerk greatly interested him, he kept hoping to see
through him and guess something from his face.

He was a very young man, about two and twenty, with a dark mobile face
that looked older than his years. He was fashionably dressed and
foppish, with his hair parted in the middle, well combed and pomaded,
and wore a number of rings on his well-scrubbed fingers and a gold
chain on his waistcoat. He said a couple of words in French to a
foreigner who was in the room, and said them fairly correctly.

"Luise Ivanovna, you can sit down," he said casually to the gaily-
dressed, purple-faced lady, who was still standing as though not
venturing to sit down, though there was a chair beside her.

"Ich danke," said the latter, and softly, with a rustle of silk she
sank into the chair. Her light blue dress trimmed with white lace
floated about the table like an air-balloon and filled almost half the
room. She smelt of scent. But she was obviously embarrassed at filling
half the room and smelling so strongly of scent; and though her smile
was impudent as well as cringing, it betrayed evident uneasiness.

The lady in mourning had done at last, and got up. All at once, with
some noise, an officer walked in very jauntily, with a peculiar swing
of his shoulders at each step. He tossed his cockaded cap on the table
and sat down in an easy-chair. The small lady positively skipped from
her seat on seeing him, and fell to curtsying in a sort of ecstasy;
but the officer took not the smallest notice of her, and she did not
venture to sit down again in his presence. He was the assistant
superintendent. He had a reddish moustache that stood out horizontally
on each side of his face, and extremely small features, expressive of
nothing much except a certain insolence. He looked askance and rather
indignantly at Raskolnikov; he was so very badly dressed, and in spite
of his humiliating position, his bearing was by no means in keeping
with his clothes. Raskolnikov had unwarily fixed a very long and
direct look on him, so that he felt positively affronted.

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