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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Part 10 out of 12

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even helping to carry Katerina Ivanovna. She was carried to Sonia's
room, almost unconscious, and laid on the bed. The blood was still
flowing, but she seemed to be coming to herself. Raskolnikov,
Lebeziatnikov, and the official accompanied Sonia into the room and
were followed by the policeman, who first drove back the crowd which
followed to the very door. Polenka came in holding Kolya and Lida, who
were trembling and weeping. Several persons came in too from the
Kapernaumovs' room; the landlord, a lame one-eyed man of strange
appearance with whiskers and hair that stood up like a brush, his
wife, a woman with an everlastingly scared expression, and several
open-mouthed children with wonder-struck faces. Among these,
Svidriga´lov suddenly made his appearance. Raskolnikov looked at him
with surprise, not understanding where he had come from and not having
noticed him in the crowd. A doctor and priest wore spoken of. The
official whispered to Raskolnikov that he thought it was too late now
for the doctor, but he ordered him to be sent for. Kapernaumov ran

Meanwhile Katerina Ivanovna had regained her breath. The bleeding
ceased for a time. She looked with sick but intent and penetrating
eyes at Sonia, who stood pale and trembling, wiping the sweat from her
brow with a handkerchief. At last she asked to be raised. They sat her
up on the bed, supporting her on both sides.

"Where are the children?" she said in a faint voice. "You've brought
them, Polenka? Oh the sillies! Why did you run away. . . . Och!"

Once more her parched lips were covered with blood. She moved her
eyes, looking about her.

"So that's how you live, Sonia! Never once have I been in your room."

She looked at her with a face of suffering.

"We have been your ruin, Sonia. Polenka, Lida, Kolya, come here! Well,
here they are, Sonia, take them all! I hand them over to you, I've had
enough! The ball is over." (Cough!) "Lay me down, let me die in

They laid her back on the pillow.

"What, the priest? I don't want him. You haven't got a rouble to
spare. I have no sins. God must forgive me without that. He knows how
I have suffered. . . . And if He won't forgive me, I don't care!"

She sank more and more into uneasy delirium. At times she shuddered,
turned her eyes from side to side, recognised everyone for a minute,
but at once sank into delirium again. Her breathing was hoarse and
difficult, there was a sort of rattle in her throat.

"I said to him, your excellency," she ejaculated, gasping after each
word. "That Amalia Ludwigovna, ah! Lida, Kolya, hands on your hips,
make haste! /Glissez, glissez! pas de basque!/ Tap with your heels, be
a graceful child!

"/Du hast Diamanten und Perlen/

"What next? That's the thing to sing.

"/Du hast die schonsten Augen
Madchen, was willst du mehr?/

"What an idea! /Was willst du mehr?/ What things the fool invents! Ah,

"In the heat of midday in the vale of Dagestan.

"Ah, how I loved it! I loved that song to distraction, Polenka! Your
father, you know, used to sing it when we were engaged. . . . Oh those
days! Oh that's the thing for us to sing! How does it go? I've
forgotten. Remind me! How was it?"

She was violently excited and tried to sit up. At last, in a horribly
hoarse, broken voice, she began, shrieking and gasping at every word,
with a look of growing terror.

"In the heat of midday! . . . in the vale! . . . of Dagestan! . . .
With lead in my breast! . . ."

"Your excellency!" she wailed suddenly with a heart-rending scream and
a flood of tears, "protect the orphans! You have been their father's
guest . . . one may say aristocratic. . . ." She started, regaining
consciousness, and gazed at all with a sort of terror, but at once
recognised Sonia.

"Sonia, Sonia!" she articulated softly and caressingly, as though
surprised to find her there. "Sonia darling, are you here, too?"

They lifted her up again.

"Enough! It's over! Farewell, poor thing! I am done for! I am broken!"
she cried with vindictive despair, and her head fell heavily back on
the pillow.

She sank into unconsciousness again, but this time it did not last
long. Her pale, yellow, wasted face dropped back, her mouth fell open,
her leg moved convulsively, she gave a deep, deep sigh and died.

Sonia fell upon her, flung her arms about her, and remained motionless
with her head pressed to the dead woman's wasted bosom. Polenka threw
herself at her mother's feet, kissing them and weeping violently.
Though Kolya and Lida did not understand what had happened, they had a
feeling that it was something terrible; they put their hands on each
other's little shoulders, stared straight at one another and both at
once opened their mouths and began screaming. They were both still in
their fancy dress; one in a turban, the other in the cap with the
ostrich feather.

And how did "the certificate of merit" come to be on the bed beside
Katerina Ivanovna? It lay there by the pillow; Raskolnikov saw it.

He walked away to the window. Lebeziatnikov skipped up to him.

"She is dead," he said.

"Rodion Romanovitch, I must have two words with you," said
Svidriga´lov, coming up to them.

Lebeziatnikov at once made room for him and delicately withdrew.
Svidriga´lov drew Raskolnikov further away.

"I will undertake all the arrangements, the funeral and that. You know
it's a question of money and, as I told you, I have plenty to spare. I
will put those two little ones and Polenka into some good orphan
asylum, and I will settle fifteen hundred roubles to be paid to each
on coming of age, so that Sofya Semyonovna need have no anxiety about
them. And I will pull her out of the mud too, for she is a good girl,
isn't she? So tell Avdotya Romanovna that that is how I am spending
her ten thousand."

"What is your motive for such benevolence?" asked Raskolnikov.

"Ah! you sceptical person!" laughed Svidriga´lov. "I told you I had no
need of that money. Won't you admit that it's simply done from
humanity? She wasn't 'a louse,' you know" (he pointed to the corner
where the dead woman lay), "was she, like some old pawnbroker woman?
Come, you'll agree, is Luzhin to go on living, and doing wicked things
or is she to die? And if I didn't help them, Polenka would go the same

He said this with an air of a sort of gay winking slyness, keeping his
eyes fixed on Raskolnikov, who turned white and cold, hearing his own
phrases, spoken to Sonia. He quickly stepped back and looked wildly at

"How do you know?" he whispered, hardly able to breathe.

"Why, I lodge here at Madame Resslich's, the other side of the wall.
Here is Kapernaumov, and there lives Madame Resslich, an old and
devoted friend of mine. I am a neighbour."


"Yes," continued Svidriga´lov, shaking with laughter. "I assure you on
my honour, dear Rodion Romanovitch, that you have interested me
enormously. I told you we should become friends, I foretold it. Well,
here we have. And you will see what an accommodating person I am.
You'll see that you can get on with me!"



A strange period began for Raskolnikov: it was as though a fog had
fallen upon him and wrapped him in a dreary solitude from which there
was no escape. Recalling that period long after, he believed that his
mind had been clouded at times, and that it had continued so, with
intervals, till the final catastrophe. He was convinced that he had
been mistaken about many things at that time, for instance as to the
date of certain events. Anyway, when he tried later on to piece his
recollections together, he learnt a great deal about himself from what
other people told him. He had mixed up incidents and had explained
events as due to circumstances which existed only in his imagination.
At times he was a prey to agonies of morbid uneasiness, amounting
sometimes to panic. But he remembered, too, moments, hours, perhaps
whole days, of complete apathy, which came upon him as a reaction from
his previous terror and might be compared with the abnormal
insensibility, sometimes seen in the dying. He seemed to be trying in
that latter stage to escape from a full and clear understanding of his
position. Certain essential facts which required immediate
consideration were particularly irksome to him. How glad he would have
been to be free from some cares, the neglect of which would have
threatened him with complete, inevitable ruin.

He was particularly worried about Svidriga´lov, he might be said to be
permanently thinking of Svidriga´lov. From the time of Svidriga´lov's
too menacing and unmistakable words in Sonia's room at the moment of
Katerina Ivanovna's death, the normal working of his mind seemed to
break down. But although this new fact caused him extreme uneasiness,
Raskolnikov was in no hurry for an explanation of it. At times,
finding himself in a solitary and remote part of the town, in some
wretched eating-house, sitting alone lost in thought, hardly knowing
how he had come there, he suddenly thought of Svidriga´lov. He
recognised suddenly, clearly, and with dismay that he ought at once to
come to an understanding with that man and to make what terms he
could. Walking outside the city gates one day, he positively fancied
that they had fixed a meeting there, that he was waiting for
Svidriga´lov. Another time he woke up before daybreak lying on the
ground under some bushes and could not at first understand how he had
come there.

But during the two or three days after Katerina Ivanovna's death, he
had two or three times met Svidriga´lov at Sonia's lodging, where he
had gone aimlessly for a moment. They exchanged a few words and made
no reference to the vital subject, as though they were tacitly agreed
not to speak of it for a time.

Katerina Ivanovna's body was still lying in the coffin, Svidriga´lov
was busy making arrangements for the funeral. Sonia too was very busy.
At their last meeting Svidriga´lov informed Raskolnikov that he had
made an arrangement, and a very satisfactory one, for Katerina
Ivanovna's children; that he had, through certain connections,
succeeded in getting hold of certain personages by whose help the
three orphans could be at once placed in very suitable institutions;
that the money he had settled on them had been of great assistance, as
it is much easier to place orphans with some property than destitute
ones. He said something too about Sonia and promised to come himself
in a day or two to see Raskolnikov, mentioning that "he would like to
consult with him, that there were things they must talk over. . . ."

This conversation took place in the passage on the stairs.
Svidriga´lov looked intently at Raskolnikov and suddenly, after a
brief pause, dropping his voice, asked: "But how is it, Rodion
Romanovitch; you don't seem yourself? You look and you listen, but you
don't seem to understand. Cheer up! We'll talk things over; I am only
sorry, I've so much to do of my own business and other people's. Ah,
Rodion Romanovitch," he added suddenly, "what all men need is fresh
air, fresh air . . . more than anything!"

He moved to one side to make way for the priest and server, who were
coming up the stairs. They had come for the requiem service. By
Svidriga´lov's orders it was sung twice a day punctually. Svidriga´lov
went his way. Raskolnikov stood still a moment, thought, and followed
the priest into Sonia's room. He stood at the door. They began
quietly, slowly and mournfully singing the service. From his childhood
the thought of death and the presence of death had something
oppressive and mysteriously awful; and it was long since he had heard
the requiem service. And there was something else here as well, too
awful and disturbing. He looked at the children: they were all
kneeling by the coffin; Polenka was weeping. Behind them Sonia prayed,
softly and, as it were, timidly weeping.

"These last two days she hasn't said a word to me, she hasn't glanced
at me," Raskolnikov thought suddenly. The sunlight was bright in the
room; the incense rose in clouds; the priest read, "Give rest, oh
Lord. . . ." Raskolnikov stayed all through the service. As he blessed
them and took his leave, the priest looked round strangely. After the
service, Raskolnikov went up to Sonia. She took both his hands and let
her head sink on his shoulder. This slight friendly gesture bewildered
Raskolnikov. It seemed strange to him that there was no trace of
repugnance, no trace of disgust, no tremor in her hand. It was the
furthest limit of self-abnegation, at least so he interpreted it.

Sonia said nothing. Raskolnikov pressed her hand and went out. He felt
very miserable. If it had been possible to escape to some solitude, he
would have thought himself lucky, even if he had to spend his whole
life there. But although he had almost always been by himself of late,
he had never been able to feel alone. Sometimes he walked out of the
town on to the high road, once he had even reached a little wood, but
the lonelier the place was, the more he seemed to be aware of an
uneasy presence near him. It did not frighten him, but greatly annoyed
him, so that he made haste to return to the town, to mingle with the
crowd, to enter restaurants and taverns, to walk in busy
thoroughfares. There he felt easier and even more solitary. One day at
dusk he sat for an hour listening to songs in a tavern and he
remembered that he positively enjoyed it. But at last he had suddenly
felt the same uneasiness again, as though his conscience smote him.
"Here I sit listening to singing, is that what I ought to be doing?"
he thought. Yet he felt at once that that was not the only cause of
his uneasiness; there was something requiring immediate decision, but
it was something he could not clearly understand or put into words. It
was a hopeless tangle. "No, better the struggle again! Better Porfiry
again . . . or Svidriga´lov. . . . Better some challenge again . . .
some attack. Yes, yes!" he thought. He went out of the tavern and
rushed away almost at a run. The thought of Dounia and his mother
suddenly reduced him almost to a panic. That night he woke up before
morning among some bushes in Krestovsky Island, trembling all over
with fever; he walked home, and it was early morning when he arrived.
After some hours' sleep the fever left him, but he woke up late, two
o'clock in the afternoon.

He remembered that Katerina Ivanovna's funeral had been fixed for that
day, and was glad that he was not present at it. Nastasya brought him
some food; he ate and drank with appetite, almost with greediness. His
head was fresher and he was calmer than he had been for the last three
days. He even felt a passing wonder at his previous attacks of panic.

The door opened and Razumihin came in.

"Ah, he's eating, then he's not ill," said Razumihin. He took a chair
and sat down at the table opposite Raskolnikov.

He was troubled and did not attempt to conceal it. He spoke with
evident annoyance, but without hurry or raising his voice. He looked
as though he had some special fixed determination.

"Listen," he began resolutely. "As far as I am concerned, you may all
go to hell, but from what I see, it's clear to me that I can't make
head or tail of it; please don't think I've come to ask you questions.
I don't want to know, hang it! If you begin telling me your secrets, I
dare say I shouldn't stay to listen, I should go away cursing. I have
only come to find out once for all whether it's a fact that you are
mad? There is a conviction in the air that you are mad or very nearly
so. I admit I've been disposed to that opinion myself, judging from
your stupid, repulsive and quite inexplicable actions, and from your
recent behavior to your mother and sister. Only a monster or a madman
could treat them as you have; so you must be mad."

"When did you see them last?"

"Just now. Haven't you seen them since then? What have you been doing
with yourself? Tell me, please. I've been to you three times already.
Your mother has been seriously ill since yesterday. She had made up
her mind to come to you; Avdotya Romanovna tried to prevent her; she
wouldn't hear a word. 'If he is ill, if his mind is giving way, who
can look after him like his mother?' she said. We all came here
together, we couldn't let her come alone all the way. We kept begging
her to be calm. We came in, you weren't here; she sat down, and stayed
ten minutes, while we stood waiting in silence. She got up and said:
'If he's gone out, that is, if he is well, and has forgotten his
mother, it's humiliating and unseemly for his mother to stand at his
door begging for kindness.' She returned home and took to her bed; now
she is in a fever. 'I see,' she said, 'that he has time for /his
girl/.' She means by /your girl/ Sofya Semyonovna, your betrothed or
your mistress, I don't know. I went at once to Sofya Semyonovna's, for
I wanted to know what was going on. I looked round, I saw the coffin,
the children crying, and Sofya Semyonovna trying them on mourning
dresses. No sign of you. I apologised, came away, and reported to
Avdotya Romanovna. So that's all nonsense and you haven't got a girl;
the most likely thing is that you are mad. But here you sit, guzzling
boiled beef as though you'd not had a bite for three days. Though as
far as that goes, madmen eat too, but though you have not said a word
to me yet . . . you are not mad! That I'd swear! Above all, you are
not mad! So you may go to hell, all of you, for there's some mystery,
some secret about it, and I don't intend to worry my brains over your
secrets. So I've simply come to swear at you," he finished, getting
up, "to relieve my mind. And I know what to do now."

"What do you mean to do now?"

"What business is it of yours what I mean to do?"

"You are going in for a drinking bout."

"How . . . how did you know?"

"Why, it's pretty plain."

Razumihin paused for a minute.

"You always have been a very rational person and you've never been
mad, never," he observed suddenly with warmth. "You're right: I shall
drink. Good-bye!"

And he moved to go out.

"I was talking with my sister--the day before yesterday, I think it
was--about you, Razumihin."

"About me! But . . . where can you have seen her the day before
yesterday?" Razumihin stopped short and even turned a little pale.

One could see that his heart was throbbing slowly and violently.

"She came here by herself, sat there and talked to me."

"She did!"


"What did you say to her . . . I mean, about me?"

"I told her you were a very good, honest, and industrious man. I
didn't tell her you love her, because she knows that herself."

"She knows that herself?"

"Well, it's pretty plain. Wherever I might go, whatever happened to
me, you would remain to look after them. I, so to speak, give them
into your keeping, Razumihin. I say this because I know quite well how
you love her, and am convinced of the purity of your heart. I know
that she too may love you and perhaps does love you already. Now
decide for yourself, as you know best, whether you need go in for a
drinking bout or not."

"Rodya! You see . . . well. . . . Ach, damn it! But where do you mean
to go? Of course, if it's all a secret, never mind. . . . But I . . .
I shall find out the secret . . . and I am sure that it must be some
ridiculous nonsense and that you've made it all up. Anyway you are a
capital fellow, a capital fellow! . . ."

"That was just what I wanted to add, only you interrupted, that that
was a very good decision of yours not to find out these secrets. Leave
it to time, don't worry about it. You'll know it all in time when it
must be. Yesterday a man said to me that what a man needs is fresh
air, fresh air, fresh air. I mean to go to him directly to find out
what he meant by that."

Razumihin stood lost in thought and excitement, making a silent

"He's a political conspirator! He must be. And he's on the eve of some
desperate step, that's certain. It can only be that! And . . . and
Dounia knows," he thought suddenly.

"So Avdotya Romanovna comes to see you," he said, weighing each
syllable, "and you're going to see a man who says we need more air,
and so of course that letter . . . that too must have something to do
with it," he concluded to himself.

"What letter?"

"She got a letter to-day. It upset her very much--very much indeed.
Too much so. I began speaking of you, she begged me not to. Then . . .
then she said that perhaps we should very soon have to part . . . then
she began warmly thanking me for something; then she went to her room
and locked herself in."

"She got a letter?" Raskolnikov asked thoughtfully.

"Yes, and you didn't know? hm . . ."

They were both silent.

"Good-bye, Rodion. There was a time, brother, when I. . . . Never
mind, good-bye. You see, there was a time. . . . Well, good-bye! I
must be off too. I am not going to drink. There's no need now. . . .
That's all stuff!"

He hurried out; but when he had almost closed the door behind him, he
suddenly opened it again, and said, looking away:

"Oh, by the way, do you remember that murder, you know Porfiry's, that
old woman? Do you know the murderer has been found, he has confessed
and given the proofs. It's one of those very workmen, the painter,
only fancy! Do you remember I defended them here? Would you believe
it, all that scene of fighting and laughing with his companions on the
stairs while the porter and the two witnesses were going up, he got up
on purpose to disarm suspicion. The cunning, the presence of mind of
the young dog! One can hardly credit it; but it's his own explanation,
he has confessed it all. And what a fool I was about it! Well, he's
simply a genius of hypocrisy and resourcefulness in disarming the
suspicions of the lawyers--so there's nothing much to wonder at, I
suppose! Of course people like that are always possible. And the fact
that he couldn't keep up the character, but confessed, makes him
easier to believe in. But what a fool I was! I was frantic on their

"Tell me, please, from whom did you hear that, and why does it
interest you so?" Raskolnikov asked with unmistakable agitation.

"What next? You ask me why it interests me! . . . Well, I heard it
from Porfiry, among others . . . It was from him I heard almost all
about it."

"From Porfiry?"

"From Porfiry."

"What . . . what did he say?" Raskolnikov asked in dismay.

"He gave me a capital explanation of it. Psychologically, after his

"He explained it? Explained it himself?"

"Yes, yes; good-bye. I'll tell you all about it another time, but now
I'm busy. There was a time when I fancied . . . But no matter, another
time! . . . What need is there for me to drink now? You have made me
drunk without wine. I am drunk, Rodya! Good-bye, I'm going. I'll come
again very soon."

He went out.

"He's a political conspirator, there's not a doubt about it,"
Razumihin decided, as he slowly descended the stairs. "And he's drawn
his sister in; that's quite, quite in keeping with Avdotya Romanovna's
character. There are interviews between them! . . . She hinted at it
too . . . So many of her words. . . . and hints . . . bear that
meaning! And how else can all this tangle be explained? Hm! And I was
almost thinking . . . Good heavens, what I thought! Yes, I took leave
of my senses and I wronged him! It was his doing, under the lamp in
the corridor that day. Pfoo! What a crude, nasty, vile idea on my
part! Nikolay is a brick, for confessing. . . . And how clear it all
is now! His illness then, all his strange actions . . . before this,
in the university, how morose he used to be, how gloomy. . . . But
what's the meaning now of that letter? There's something in that, too,
perhaps. Whom was it from? I suspect . . .! No, I must find out!"

He thought of Dounia, realising all he had heard and his heart
throbbed, and he suddenly broke into a run.

As soon as Razumihin went out, Raskolnikov got up, turned to the
window, walked into one corner and then into another, as though
forgetting the smallness of his room, and sat down again on the sofa.
He felt, so to speak, renewed; again the struggle, so a means of
escape had come.

"Yes, a means of escape had come! It had been too stifling, too
cramping, the burden had been too agonising. A lethargy had come upon
him at times. From the moment of the scene with Nikolay at Porfiry's
he had been suffocating, penned in without hope of escape. After
Nikolay's confession, on that very day had come the scene with Sonia;
his behaviour and his last words had been utterly unlike anything he
could have imagined beforehand; he had grown feebler, instantly and
fundamentally! And he had agreed at the time with Sonia, he had agreed
in his heart he could not go on living alone with such a thing on his

"And Svidriga´lov was a riddle . . . He worried him, that was true,
but somehow not on the same point. He might still have a struggle to
come with Svidriga´lov. Svidriga´lov, too, might be a means of escape;
but Porfiry was a different matter.

"And so Porfiry himself had explained it to Razumihin, had explained
it /psychologically/. He had begun bringing in his damned psychology
again! Porfiry? But to think that Porfiry should for one moment
believe that Nikolay was guilty, after what had passed between them
before Nikolay's appearance, after that tŕte-Ó-tŕte interview, which
could have only /one/ explanation? (During those days Raskolnikov had
often recalled passages in that scene with Porfiry; he could not bear
to let his mind rest on it.) Such words, such gestures had passed
between them, they had exchanged such glances, things had been said in
such a tone and had reached such a pass, that Nikolay, whom Porfiry
had seen through at the first word, at the first gesture, could not
have shaken his conviction.

"And to think that even Razumihin had begun to suspect! The scene in
the corridor under the lamp had produced its effect then. He had
rushed to Porfiry. . . . But what had induced the latter to receive
him like that? What had been his object in putting Razumihin off with
Nikolay? He must have some plan; there was some design, but what was
it? It was true that a long time had passed since that morning--too
long a time--and no sight nor sound of Porfiry. Well, that was a bad
sign. . . ."

Raskolnikov took his cap and went out of the room, still pondering. It
was the first time for a long while that he had felt clear in his
mind, at least. "I must settle Svidriga´lov," he thought, "and as soon
as possible; he, too, seems to be waiting for me to come to him of my
own accord." And at that moment there was such a rush of hate in his
weary heart that he might have killed either of those two--Porfiry or
Svidriga´lov. At least he felt that he would be capable of doing it
later, if not now.

"We shall see, we shall see," he repeated to himself.

But no sooner had he opened the door than he stumbled upon Porfiry
himself in the passage. He was coming in to see him. Raskolnikov was
dumbfounded for a minute, but only for one minute. Strange to say, he
was not very much astonished at seeing Porfiry and scarcely afraid of
him. He was simply startled, but was quickly, instantly, on his guard.
"Perhaps this will mean the end? But how could Porfiry have approached
so quietly, like a cat, so that he had heard nothing? Could he have
been listening at the door?"

"You didn't expect a visitor, Rodion Romanovitch," Porfiry explained,
laughing. "I've been meaning to look in a long time; I was passing by
and thought why not go in for five minutes. Are you going out? I won't
keep you long. Just let me have one cigarette."

"Sit down, Porfiry Petrovitch, sit down." Raskolnikov gave his visitor
a seat with so pleased and friendly an expression that he would have
marvelled at himself, if he could have seen it.

The last moment had come, the last drops had to be drained! So a man
will sometimes go through half an hour of mortal terror with a
brigand, yet when the knife is at his throat at last, he feels no

Raskolnikov seated himself directly facing Porfiry, and looked at him
without flinching. Porfiry screwed up his eyes and began lighting a

"Speak, speak," seemed as though it would burst from Raskolnikov's
heart. "Come, why don't you speak?"


"Ah these cigarettes!" Porfiry Petrovitch ejaculated at last, having
lighted one. "They are pernicious, positively pernicious, and yet I
can't give them up! I cough, I begin to have tickling in my throat and
a difficulty in breathing. You know I am a coward, I went lately to
Dr. B----n; he always gives at least half an hour to each patient. He
positively laughed looking at me; he sounded me: 'Tobacco's bad for
you,' he said, 'your lungs are affected.' But how am I to give it up?
What is there to take its place? I don't drink, that's the mischief,
he-he-he, that I don't. Everything is relative, Rodion Romanovitch,
everything is relative!"

"Why, he's playing his professional tricks again," Raskolnikov thought
with disgust. All the circumstances of their last interview suddenly
came back to him, and he felt a rush of the feeling that had come upon
him then.

"I came to see you the day before yesterday, in the evening; you
didn't know?" Porfiry Petrovitch went on, looking round the room. "I
came into this very room. I was passing by, just as I did to-day, and
I thought I'd return your call. I walked in as your door was wide
open, I looked round, waited and went out without leaving my name with
your servant. Don't you lock your door?"

Raskolnikov's face grew more and more gloomy. Porfiry seemed to guess
his state of mind.

"I've come to have it out with you, Rodion Romanovitch, my dear
fellow! I owe you an explanation and must give it to you," he
continued with a slight smile, just patting Raskolnikov's knee.

But almost at the same instant a serious and careworn look came into
his face; to his surprise Raskolnikov saw a touch of sadness in it. He
had never seen and never suspected such an expression in his face.

"A strange scene passed between us last time we met, Rodion
Romanovitch. Our first interview, too, was a strange one; but then
. . . and one thing after another! This is the point: I have perhaps
acted unfairly to you; I feel it. Do you remember how we parted? Your
nerves were unhinged and your knees were shaking and so were mine.
And, you know, our behaviour was unseemly, even ungentlemanly. And yet
we are gentlemen, above all, in any case, gentlemen; that must be
understood. Do you remember what we came to? . . . and it was quite

"What is he up to, what does he take me for?" Raskolnikov asked
himself in amazement, raising his head and looking with open eyes on

"I've decided openness is better between us," Porfiry Petrovitch went
on, turning his head away and dropping his eyes, as though unwilling
to disconcert his former victim and as though disdaining his former
wiles. "Yes, such suspicions and such scenes cannot continue for long.
Nikolay put a stop to it, or I don't know what we might not have come
to. That damned workman was sitting at the time in the next room--can
you realise that? You know that, of course; and I am aware that he
came to you afterwards. But what you supposed then was not true: I had
not sent for anyone, I had made no kind of arrangements. You ask why I
hadn't? What shall I say to you? it had all come upon me so suddenly.
I had scarcely sent for the porters (you noticed them as you went out,
I dare say). An idea flashed upon me; I was firmly convinced at the
time, you see, Rodion Romanovitch. Come, I thought--even if I let one
thing slip for a time, I shall get hold of something else--I shan't
lose what I want, anyway. You are nervously irritable, Rodion
Romanovitch, by temperament; it's out of proportion with other
qualities of your heart and character, which I flatter myself I have
to some extent divined. Of course I did reflect even then that it does
not always happen that a man gets up and blurts out his whole story.
It does happen sometimes, if you make a man lose all patience, though
even then it's rare. I was capable of realising that. If I only had a
fact, I thought, the least little fact to go upon, something I could
lay hold of, something tangible, not merely psychological. For if a
man is guilty, you must be able to get something substantial out of
him; one may reckon upon most surprising results indeed. I was
reckoning on your temperament, Rodion Romanovitch, on your temperament
above all things! I had great hopes of you at that time."

"But what are you driving at now?" Raskolnikov muttered at last,
asking the question without thinking.

"What is he talking about?" he wondered distractedly, "does he really
take me to be innocent?"

"What am I driving at? I've come to explain myself, I consider it my
duty, so to speak. I want to make clear to you how the whole business,
the whole misunderstanding arose. I've caused you a great deal of
suffering, Rodion Romanovitch. I am not a monster. I understand what
it must mean for a man who has been unfortunate, but who is proud,
imperious and above all, impatient, to have to bear such treatment! I
regard you in any case as a man of noble character and not without
elements of magnanimity, though I don't agree with all your
convictions. I wanted to tell you this first, frankly and quite
sincerely, for above all I don't want to deceive you. When I made your
acquaintance, I felt attracted by you. Perhaps you will laugh at my
saying so. You have a right to. I know you disliked me from the first
and indeed you've no reason to like me. You may think what you like,
but I desire now to do all I can to efface that impression and to show
that I am a man of heart and conscience. I speak sincerely."

Porfiry Petrovitch made a dignified pause. Raskolnikov felt a rush of
renewed alarm. The thought that Porfiry believed him to be innocent
began to make him uneasy.

"It's scarcely necessary to go over everything in detail," Porfiry
Petrovitch went on. "Indeed, I could scarcely attempt it. To begin
with there were rumours. Through whom, how, and when those rumours
came to me . . . and how they affected you, I need not go into. My
suspicions were aroused by a complete accident, which might just as
easily not have happened. What was it? Hm! I believe there is no need
to go into that either. Those rumours and that accident led to one
idea in my mind. I admit it openly--for one may as well make a clean
breast of it--I was the first to pitch on you. The old woman's notes
on the pledges and the rest of it--that all came to nothing. Yours was
one of a hundred. I happened, too, to hear of the scene at the office,
from a man who described it capitally, unconsciously reproducing the
scene with great vividness. It was just one thing after another,
Rodion Romanovitch, my dear fellow! How could I avoid being brought to
certain ideas? From a hundred rabbits you can't make a horse, a
hundred suspicions don't make a proof, as the English proverb says,
but that's only from the rational point of view--you can't help being
partial, for after all a lawyer is only human. I thought, too, of your
article in that journal, do you remember, on your first visit we
talked of it? I jeered at you at the time, but that was only to lead
you on. I repeat, Rodion Romanovitch, you are ill and impatient. That
you were bold, headstrong, in earnest and . . . had felt a great deal
I recognised long before. I, too, have felt the same, so that your
article seemed familiar to me. It was conceived on sleepless nights,
with a throbbing heart, in ecstasy and suppressed enthusiasm. And that
proud suppressed enthusiasm in young people is dangerous! I jeered at
you then, but let me tell you that, as a literary amateur, I am
awfully fond of such first essays, full of the heat of youth. There is
a mistiness and a chord vibrating in the mist. Your article is absurd
and fantastic, but there's a transparent sincerity, a youthful
incorruptible pride and the daring of despair in it. It's a gloomy
article, but that's what's fine in it. I read your article and put it
aside, thinking as I did so 'that man won't go the common way.' Well,
I ask you, after that as a preliminary, how could I help being carried
away by what followed? Oh, dear, I am not saying anything, I am not
making any statement now. I simply noted it at the time. What is there
in it? I reflected. There's nothing in it, that is really nothing and
perhaps absolutely nothing. And it's not at all the thing for the
prosecutor to let himself be carried away by notions: here I have
Nikolay on my hands with actual evidence against him--you may think
what you like of it, but it's evidence. He brings in his psychology,
too; one has to consider him, too, for it's a matter of life and
death. Why am I explaining this to you? That you may understand, and
not blame my malicious behaviour on that occasion. It was not
malicious, I assure you, he-he! Do you suppose I didn't come to search
your room at the time? I did, I did, he-he! I was here when you were
lying ill in bed, not officially, not in my own person, but I was
here. Your room was searched to the last thread at the first
suspicion; but /umsonst/! I thought to myself, now that man will come,
will come of himself and quickly, too; if he's guilty, he's sure to
come. Another man wouldn't, but he will. And you remember how Mr.
Razumihin began discussing the subject with you? We arranged that to
excite you, so we purposely spread rumours, that he might discuss the
case with you, and Razumihin is not a man to restrain his indignation.
Mr. Zametov was tremendously struck by your anger and your open
daring. Think of blurting out in a restaurant 'I killed her.' It was
too daring, too reckless. I thought so myself, if he is guilty he will
be a formidable opponent. That was what I thought at the time. I was
expecting you. But you simply bowled Zametov over and . . . well, you
see, it all lies in this--that this damnable psychology can be taken
two ways! Well, I kept expecting you, and so it was, you came! My
heart was fairly throbbing. Ach!

"Now, why need you have come? Your laughter, too, as you came in, do
you remember? I saw it all plain as daylight, but if I hadn't expected
you so specially, I should not have noticed anything in your laughter.
You see what influence a mood has! Mr. Razumihin then--ah, that stone,
that stone under which the things were hidden! I seem to see it
somewhere in a kitchen garden. It was in a kitchen garden, you told
Zametov and afterwards you repeated that in my office? And when we
began picking your article to pieces, how you explained it! One could
take every word of yours in two senses, as though there were another
meaning hidden.

"So in this way, Rodion Romanovitch, I reached the furthest limit, and
knocking my head against a post, I pulled myself up, asking myself
what I was about. After all, I said, you can take it all in another
sense if you like, and it's more natural so, indeed. I couldn't help
admitting it was more natural. I was bothered! 'No, I'd better get
hold of some little fact' I said. So when I heard of the bell-ringing,
I held my breath and was all in a tremor. 'Here is my little fact,'
thought I, and I didn't think it over, I simply wouldn't. I would have
given a thousand roubles at that minute to have seen you with my own
eyes, when you walked a hundred paces beside that workman, after he
had called you murderer to your face, and you did not dare to ask him
a question all the way. And then what about your trembling, what about
your bell-ringing in your illness, in semi-delirium?

"And so, Rodion Romanovitch, can you wonder that I played such pranks
on you? And what made you come at that very minute? Someone seemed to
have sent you, by Jove! And if Nikolay had not parted us . . . and do
you remember Nikolay at the time? Do you remember him clearly? It was
a thunderbolt, a regular thunderbolt! And how I met him! I didn't
believe in the thunderbolt, not for a minute. You could see it for
yourself; and how could I? Even afterwards, when you had gone and he
began making very, very plausible answers on certain points, so that I
was surprised at him myself, even then I didn't believe his story! You
see what it is to be as firm as a rock! No, thought I, /MorgenfrŘh/.
What has Nikolay got to do with it!"

"Razumihin told me just now that you think Nikolay guilty and had
yourself assured him of it. . . ."

His voice failed him, and he broke off. He had been listening in
indescribable agitation, as this man who had seen through and through
him, went back upon himself. He was afraid of believing it and did not
believe it. In those still ambiguous words he kept eagerly looking for
something more definite and conclusive.

"Mr. Razumihin!" cried Porfiry Petrovitch, seeming glad of a question
from Raskolnikov, who had till then been silent. "He-he-he! But I had
to put Mr. Razumihin off; two is company, three is none. Mr. Razumihin
is not the right man, besides he is an outsider. He came running to me
with a pale face. . . . But never mind him, why bring him in? To
return to Nikolay, would you like to know what sort of a type he is,
how I understand him, that is? To begin with, he is still a child and
not exactly a coward, but something by way of an artist. Really, don't
laugh at my describing him so. He is innocent and responsive to
influence. He has a heart, and is a fantastic fellow. He sings and
dances, he tells stories, they say, so that people come from other
villages to hear him. He attends school too, and laughs till he cries
if you hold up a finger to him; he will drink himself senseless--not
as a regular vice, but at times, when people treat him, like a child.
And he stole, too, then, without knowing it himself, for 'How can it
be stealing, if one picks it up?' And do you know he is an Old
Believer, or rather a dissenter? There have been Wanderers[*] in his
family, and he was for two years in his village under the spiritual
guidance of a certain elder. I learnt all this from Nikolay and from
his fellow villagers. And what's more, he wanted to run into the
wilderness! He was full of fervour, prayed at night, read the old
books, 'the true' ones, and read himself crazy.

[*] A religious sect.--TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.

"Petersburg had a great effect upon him, especially the women and the
wine. He responds to everything and he forgot the elder and all that.
I learnt that an artist here took a fancy to him, and used to go and
see him, and now this business came upon him.

"Well, he was frightened, he tried to hang himself! He ran away! How
can one get over the idea the people have of Russian legal
proceedings? The very word 'trial' frightens some of them. Whose fault
is it? We shall see what the new juries will do. God grant they do
good! Well, in prison, it seems, he remembered the venerable elder;
the Bible, too, made its appearance again. Do you know, Rodion
Romanovitch, the force of the word 'suffering' among some of these
people! It's not a question of suffering for someone's benefit, but
simply, 'one must suffer.' If they suffer at the hands of the
authorities, so much the better. In my time there was a very meek and
mild prisoner who spent a whole year in prison always reading his
Bible on the stove at night and he read himself crazy, and so crazy,
do you know, that one day, apropos of nothing, he seized a brick and
flung it at the governor; though he had done him no harm. And the way
he threw it too: aimed it a yard on one side on purpose, for fear of
hurting him. Well, we know what happens to a prisoner who assaults an
officer with a weapon. So 'he took his suffering.'

"So I suspect now that Nikolay wants to take his suffering or
something of the sort. I know it for certain from facts, indeed. Only
he doesn't know that I know. What, you don't admit that there are such
fantastic people among the peasants? Lots of them. The elder now has
begun influencing him, especially since he tried to hang himself. But
he'll come and tell me all himself. You think he'll hold out? Wait a
bit, he'll take his words back. I am waiting from hour to hour for him
to come and abjure his evidence. I have come to like that Nikolay and
am studying him in detail. And what do you think? He-he! He answered
me very plausibly on some points, he obviously had collected some
evidence and prepared himself cleverly. But on other points he is
simply at sea, knows nothing and doesn't even suspect that he doesn't

"No, Rodion Romanovitch, Nikolay doesn't come in! This is a fantastic,
gloomy business, a modern case, an incident of to-day when the heart
of man is troubled, when the phrase is quoted that blood 'renews,'
when comfort is preached as the aim of life. Here we have bookish
dreams, a heart unhinged by theories. Here we see resolution in the
first stage, but resolution of a special kind: he resolved to do it
like jumping over a precipice or from a bell tower and his legs shook
as he went to the crime. He forgot to shut the door after him, and
murdered two people for a theory. He committed the murder and couldn't
take the money, and what he did manage to snatch up he hid under a
stone. It wasn't enough for him to suffer agony behind the door while
they battered at the door and rung the bell, no, he had to go to the
empty lodging, half delirious, to recall the bell-ringing, he wanted
to feel the cold shiver over again. . . . Well, that we grant, was
through illness, but consider this: he is a murderer, but looks upon
himself as an honest man, despises others, poses as injured innocence.
No, that's not the work of a Nikolay, my dear Rodion Romanovitch!"

All that had been said before had sounded so like a recantation that
these words were too great a shock. Raskolnikov shuddered as though he
had been stabbed.

"Then . . . who then . . . is the murderer?" he asked in a breathless
voice, unable to restrain himself.

Porfiry Petrovitch sank back in his chair, as though he were amazed at
the question.

"Who is the murderer?" he repeated, as though unable to believe his
ears. "Why, /you/, Rodion Romanovitch! You are the murderer," he
added, almost in a whisper, in a voice of genuine conviction.

Raskolnikov leapt from the sofa, stood up for a few seconds and sat
down again without uttering a word. His face twitched convulsively.

"Your lip is twitching just as it did before," Porfiry Petrovitch
observed almost sympathetically. "You've been misunderstanding me, I
think, Rodion Romanovitch," he added after a brief pause, "that's why
you are so surprised. I came on purpose to tell you everything and
deal openly with you."

"It was not I murdered her," Raskolnikov whispered like a frightened
child caught in the act.

"No, it was you, you Rodion Romanovitch, and no one else," Porfiry
whispered sternly, with conviction.

They were both silent and the silence lasted strangely long, about ten
minutes. Raskolnikov put his elbow on the table and passed his fingers
through his hair. Porfiry Petrovitch sat quietly waiting. Suddenly
Raskolnikov looked scornfully at Porfiry.

"You are at your old tricks again, Porfiry Petrovitch! Your old method
again. I wonder you don't get sick of it!"

"Oh, stop that, what does that matter now? It would be a different
matter if there were witnesses present, but we are whispering alone.
You see yourself that I have not come to chase and capture you like a
hare. Whether you confess it or not is nothing to me now; for myself,
I am convinced without it."

"If so, what did you come for?" Raskolnikov asked irritably. "I ask
you the same question again: if you consider me guilty, why don't you
take me to prison?"

"Oh, that's your question! I will answer you, point for point. In the
first place, to arrest you so directly is not to my interest."

"How so? If you are convinced you ought. . . ."

"Ach, what if I am convinced? That's only my dream for the time. Why
should I put you in safety? You know that's it, since you ask me to do
it. If I confront you with that workman for instance and you say to
him 'were you drunk or not? Who saw me with you? I simply took you to
be drunk, and you were drunk, too.' Well, what could I answer,
especially as your story is a more likely one than his? for there's
nothing but psychology to support his evidence--that's almost unseemly
with his ugly mug, while you hit the mark exactly, for the rascal is
an inveterate drunkard and notoriously so. And I have myself admitted
candidly several times already that that psychology can be taken in
two ways and that the second way is stronger and looks far more
probable, and that apart from that I have as yet nothing against you.
And though I shall put you in prison and indeed have come--quite
contrary to etiquette--to inform you of it beforehand, yet I tell you
frankly, also contrary to etiquette, that it won't be to my advantage.
Well, secondly, I've come to you because . . ."

"Yes, yes, secondly?" Raskolnikov was listening breathless.

"Because, as I told you just now, I consider I owe you an explanation.
I don't want you to look upon me as a monster, as I have a genuine
liking for you, you may believe me or not. And in the third place I've
come to you with a direct and open proposition--that you should
surrender and confess. It will be infinitely more to your advantage
and to my advantage too, for my task will be done. Well, is this open
on my part or not?"

Raskolnikov thought a minute.

"Listen, Porfiry Petrovitch. You said just now you have nothing but
psychology to go on, yet now you've gone on mathematics. Well, what if
you are mistaken yourself, now?"

"No, Rodion Romanovitch, I am not mistaken. I have a little fact even
then, Providence sent it me."

"What little fact?"

"I won't tell you what, Rodion Romanovitch. And in any case, I haven't
the right to put it off any longer, I must arrest you. So think it
over: it makes no difference to me /now/ and so I speak only for your
sake. Believe me, it will be better, Rodion Romanovitch."

Raskolnikov smiled malignantly.

"That's not simply ridiculous, it's positively shameless. Why, even if
I were guilty, which I don't admit, what reason should I have to
confess, when you tell me yourself that I shall be in greater safety
in prison?"

"Ah, Rodion Romanovitch, don't put too much faith in words, perhaps
prison will not be altogether a restful place. That's only theory and
my theory, and what authority am I for you? Perhaps, too, even now I
am hiding something from you? I can't lay bare everything, he-he! And
how can you ask what advantage? Don't you know how it would lessen
your sentence? You would be confessing at a moment when another man
has taken the crime on himself and so has muddled the whole case.
Consider that! I swear before God that I will so arrange that your
confession shall come as a complete surprise. We will make a clean
sweep of all these psychological points, of a suspicion against you,
so that your crime will appear to have been something like an
aberration, for in truth it was an aberration. I am an honest man,
Rodion Romanovitch, and will keep my word."

Raskolnikov maintained a mournful silence and let his head sink
dejectedly. He pondered a long while and at last smiled again, but his
smile was sad and gentle.

"No!" he said, apparently abandoning all attempt to keep up
appearances with Porfiry, "it's not worth it, I don't care about
lessening the sentence!"

"That's just what I was afraid of!" Porfiry cried warmly and, as it
seemed, involuntarily. "That's just what I feared, that you wouldn't
care about the mitigation of sentence."

Raskolnikov looked sadly and expressively at him.

"Ah, don't disdain life!" Porfiry went on. "You have a great deal of
it still before you. How can you say you don't want a mitigation of
sentence? You are an impatient fellow!"

"A great deal of what lies before me?"

"Of life. What sort of prophet are you, do you know much about it?
Seek and ye shall find. This may be God's means for bringing you to
Him. And it's not for ever, the bondage. . . ."

"The time will be shortened," laughed Raskolnikov.

"Why, is it the bourgeois disgrace you are afraid of? It may be that
you are afraid of it without knowing it, because you are young! But
anyway /you/ shouldn't be afraid of giving yourself up and

"Ach, hang it!" Raskolnikov whispered with loathing and contempt, as
though he did not want to speak aloud.

He got up again as though he meant to go away, but sat down again in
evident despair.

"Hang it, if you like! You've lost faith and you think that I am
grossly flattering you; but how long has your life been? How much do
you understand? You made up a theory and then were ashamed that it
broke down and turned out to be not at all original! It turned out
something base, that's true, but you are not hopelessly base. By no
means so base! At least you didn't deceive yourself for long, you went
straight to the furthest point at one bound. How do I regard you? I
regard you as one of those men who would stand and smile at their
torturer while he cuts their entrails out, if only they have found
faith or God. Find it and you will live. You have long needed a change
of air. Suffering, too, is a good thing. Suffer! Maybe Nikolay is
right in wanting to suffer. I know you don't believe in it--but don't
be over-wise; fling yourself straight into life, without deliberation;
don't be afraid--the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe
on your feet again. What bank? How can I tell? I only believe that you
have long life before you. I know that you take all my words now for a
set speech prepared beforehand, but maybe you will remember them
after. They may be of use some time. That's why I speak. It's as well
that you only killed the old woman. If you'd invented another theory
you might perhaps have done something a thousand times more hideous.
You ought to thank God, perhaps. How do you know? Perhaps God is
saving you for something. But keep a good heart and have less fear!
Are you afraid of the great expiation before you? No, it would be
shameful to be afraid of it. Since you have taken such a step, you
must harden your heart. There is justice in it. You must fulfil the
demands of justice. I know that you don't believe it, but indeed, life
will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need
now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!"

Raskolnikov positively started.

"But who are you? what prophet are you? From the height of what
majestic calm do you proclaim these words of wisdom?"

"Who am I? I am a man with nothing to hope for, that's all. A man
perhaps of feeling and sympathy, maybe of some knowledge too, but my
day is over. But you are a different matter, there is life waiting for
you. Though, who knows? maybe your life, too, will pass off in smoke
and come to nothing. Come, what does it matter, that you will pass
into another class of men? It's not comfort you regret, with your
heart! What of it that perhaps no one will see you for so long? It's
not time, but yourself that will decide that. Be the sun and all will
see you. The sun has before all to be the sun. Why are you smiling
again? At my being such a Schiller? I bet you're imagining that I am
trying to get round you by flattery. Well, perhaps I am, he-he-he!
Perhaps you'd better not believe my word, perhaps you'd better never
believe it altogether--I'm made that way, I confess it. But let me
add, you can judge for yourself, I think, how far I am a base sort of
man and how far I am honest."

"When do you mean to arrest me?"

"Well, I can let you walk about another day or two. Think it over, my
dear fellow, and pray to God. It's more in your interest, believe me."

"And what if I run away?" asked Raskolnikov with a strange smile.

"No, you won't run away. A peasant would run away, a fashionable
dissenter would run away, the flunkey of another man's thought, for
you've only to show him the end of your little finger and he'll be
ready to believe in anything for the rest of his life. But you've
ceased to believe in your theory already, what will you run away with?
And what would you do in hiding? It would be hateful and difficult for
you, and what you need more than anything in life is a definite
position, an atmosphere to suit you. And what sort of atmosphere would
you have? If you ran away, you'd come back to yourself. /You can't get
on without us./ And if I put you in prison--say you've been there a
month, or two, or three--remember my word, you'll confess of yourself
and perhaps to your own surprise. You won't know an hour beforehand
that you are coming with a confession. I am convinced that you will
decide, 'to take your suffering.' You don't believe my words now, but
you'll come to it of yourself. For suffering, Rodion Romanovitch, is a
great thing. Never mind my having grown fat, I know all the same.
Don't laugh at it, there's an idea in suffering, Nokolay is right. No,
you won't run away, Rodion Romanovitch."

Raskolnikov got up and took his cap. Porfiry Petrovitch also rose.

"Are you going for a walk? The evening will be fine, if only we don't
have a storm. Though it would be a good thing to freshen the air."

He, too, took his cap.

"Porfiry Petrovitch, please don't take up the notion that I have
confessed to you to-day," Raskolnikov pronounced with sullen
insistence. "You're a strange man and I have listened to you from
simple curiosity. But I have admitted nothing, remember that!"

"Oh, I know that, I'll remember. Look at him, he's trembling! Don't be
uneasy, my dear fellow, have it your own way. Walk about a bit, you
won't be able to walk too far. If anything happens, I have one request
to make of you," he added, dropping his voice. "It's an awkward one,
but important. If anything were to happen (though indeed I don't
believe in it and think you quite incapable of it), yet in case you
were taken during these forty or fifty hours with the notion of
putting an end to the business in some other way, in some fantastic
fashion--laying hands on yourself--(it's an absurd proposition, but
you must forgive me for it) do leave a brief but precise note, only
two lines, and mention the stone. It will be more generous. Come, till
we meet! Good thoughts and sound decisions to you!"

Porfiry went out, stooping and avoiding looking at Raskolnikov. The
latter went to the window and waited with irritable impatience till he
calculated that Porfiry had reached the street and moved away. Then he
too went hurriedly out of the room.


He hurried to Svidriga´lov's. What he had to hope from that man he did
not know. But that man had some hidden power over him. Having once
recognised this, he could not rest, and now the time had come.

On the way, one question particularly worried him: had Svidriga´lov
been to Porfiry's?

As far as he could judge, he would swear to it, that he had not. He
pondered again and again, went over Porfiry's visit; no, he hadn't
been, of course he hadn't.

But if he had not been yet, would he go? Meanwhile, for the present he
fancied he couldn't. Why? He could not have explained, but if he
could, he would not have wasted much thought over it at the moment. It
all worried him and at the same time he could not attend to it.
Strange to say, none would have believed it perhaps, but he only felt
a faint vague anxiety about his immediate future. Another, much more
important anxiety tormented him--it concerned himself, but in a
different, more vital way. Moreover, he was conscious of immense moral
fatigue, though his mind was working better that morning than it had
done of late.

And was it worth while, after all that had happened, to contend with
these new trivial difficulties? Was it worth while, for instance, to
manťuvre that Svidriga´lov should not go to Porfiry's? Was it worth
while to investigate, to ascertain the facts, to waste time over
anyone like Svidriga´lov?

Oh, how sick he was of it all!

And yet he was hastening to Svidriga´lov; could he be expecting
something /new/ from him, information, or means of escape? Men will
catch at straws! Was it destiny or some instinct bringing them
together? Perhaps it was only fatigue, despair; perhaps it was not
Svidriga´lov but some other whom he needed, and Svidriga´lov had
simply presented himself by chance. Sonia? But what should he go to
Sonia for now? To beg her tears again? He was afraid of Sonia, too.
Sonia stood before him as an irrevocable sentence. He must go his own
way or hers. At that moment especially he did not feel equal to seeing
her. No, would it not be better to try Svidriga´lov? And he could not
help inwardly owning that he had long felt that he must see him for
some reason.

But what could they have in common? Their very evil-doing could not be
of the same kind. The man, moreover, was very unpleasant, evidently
depraved, undoubtedly cunning and deceitful, possibly malignant. Such
stories were told about him. It is true he was befriending Katerina
Ivanovna's children, but who could tell with what motive and what it
meant? The man always had some design, some project.

There was another thought which had been continually hovering of late
about Raskolnikov's mind, and causing him great uneasiness. It was so
painful that he made distinct efforts to get rid of it. He sometimes
thought that Svidriga´lov was dogging his footsteps. Svidriga´lov had
found out his secret and had had designs on Dounia. What if he had
them still? Wasn't it practically certain that he had? And what if,
having learnt his secret and so having gained power over him, he were
to use it as a weapon against Dounia?

This idea sometimes even tormented his dreams, but it had never
presented itself so vividly to him as on his way to Svidriga´lov. The
very thought moved him to gloomy rage. To begin with, this would
transform everything, even his own position; he would have at once to
confess his secret to Dounia. Would he have to give himself up perhaps
to prevent Dounia from taking some rash step? The letter? This morning
Dounia had received a letter. From whom could she get letters in
Petersburg? Luzhin, perhaps? It's true Razumihin was there to protect
her, but Razumihin knew nothing of the position. Perhaps it was his
duty to tell Razumihin? He thought of it with repugnance.

In any case he must see Svidriga´lov as soon as possible, he decided
finally. Thank God, the details of the interview were of little
consequence, if only he could get at the root of the matter; but if
Svidriga´lov were capable . . . if he were intriguing against Dounia--
then . . .

Raskolnikov was so exhausted by what he had passed through that month
that he could only decide such questions in one way; "then I shall
kill him," he thought in cold despair.

A sudden anguish oppressed his heart, he stood still in the middle of
the street and began looking about to see where he was and which way
he was going. He found himself in X. Prospect, thirty or forty paces
from the Hay Market, through which he had come. The whole second
storey of the house on the left was used as a tavern. All the windows
were wide open; judging from the figures moving at the windows, the
rooms were full to overflowing. There were sounds of singing, of
clarionet and violin, and the boom of a Turkish drum. He could hear
women shrieking. He was about to turn back wondering why he had come
to the X. Prospect, when suddenly at one of the end windows he saw
Svidriga´lov, sitting at a tea-table right in the open window with a
pipe in his mouth. Raskolnikov was dreadfully taken aback, almost
terrified. Svidriga´lov was silently watching and scrutinising him
and, what struck Raskolnikov at once, seemed to be meaning to get up
and slip away unobserved. Raskolnikov at once pretended not to have
seen him, but to be looking absent-mindedly away, while he watched him
out of the corner of his eye. His heart was beating violently. Yet, it
was evident that Svidriga´lov did not want to be seen. He took the
pipe out of his mouth and was on the point of concealing himself, but
as he got up and moved back his chair, he seemed to have become
suddenly aware that Raskolnikov had seen him, and was watching him.
What had passed between them was much the same as what happened at
their first meeting in Raskolnikov's room. A sly smile came into
Svidriga´lov's face and grew broader and broader. Each knew that he
was seen and watched by the other. At last Svidriga´lov broke into a
loud laugh.

"Well, well, come in if you want me; I am here!" he shouted from the

Raskolnikov went up into the tavern. He found Svidriga´lov in a tiny
back room, adjoining the saloon in which merchants, clerks and numbers
of people of all sorts were drinking tea at twenty little tables to
the desperate bawling of a chorus of singers. The click of billiard
balls could be heard in the distance. On the table before Svidriga´lov
stood an open bottle and a glass half full of champagne. In the room
he found also a boy with a little hand organ, a healthy-looking red-
cheeked girl of eighteen, wearing a tucked-up striped skirt, and a
Tyrolese hat with ribbons. In spite of the chorus in the other room,
she was singing some servants' hall song in a rather husky contralto,
to the accompaniment of the organ.

"Come, that's enough," Svidriga´lov stopped her at Raskolnikov's
entrance. The girl at once broke off and stood waiting respectfully.
She had sung her guttural rhymes, too, with a serious and respectful
expression in her face.

"Hey, Philip, a glass!" shouted Svidriga´lov.

"I won't drink anything," said Raskolnikov.

"As you like, I didn't mean it for you. Drink, Katia! I don't want
anything more to-day, you can go." He poured her out a full glass, and
laid down a yellow note.

Katia drank off her glass of wine, as women do, without putting it
down, in twenty gulps, took the note and kissed Svidriga´lov's hand,
which he allowed quite seriously. She went out of the room and the boy
trailed after her with the organ. Both had been brought in from the
street. Svidriga´lov had not been a week in Petersburg, but everything
about him was already, so to speak, on a patriarchal footing; the
waiter, Philip, was by now an old friend and very obsequious.

The door leading to the saloon had a lock on it. Svidriga´lov was at
home in this room and perhaps spent whole days in it. The tavern was
dirty and wretched, not even second-rate.

"I was going to see you and looking for you," Raskolnikov began, "but
I don't know what made me turn from the Hay Market into the X.
Prospect just now. I never take this turning. I turn to the right from
the Hay Market. And this isn't the way to you. I simply turned and
here you are. It is strange!"

"Why don't you say at once 'it's a miracle'?"

"Because it may be only chance."

"Oh, that's the way with all you folk," laughed Svidriga´lov. "You
won't admit it, even if you do inwardly believe it a miracle! Here you
say that it may be only chance. And what cowards they all are here,
about having an opinion of their own, you can't fancy, Rodion
Romanovitch. I don't mean you, you have an opinion of your own and are
not afraid to have it. That's how it was you attracted my curiosity."

"Nothing else?"

"Well, that's enough, you know," Svidriga´lov was obviously
exhilarated, but only slightly so, he had not had more than half a
glass of wine.

"I fancy you came to see me before you knew that I was capable of
having what you call an opinion of my own," observed Raskolnikov.

"Oh, well, it was a different matter. Everyone has his own plans. And
apropos of the miracle let me tell you that I think you have been
asleep for the last two or three days. I told you of this tavern
myself, there is no miracle in your coming straight here. I explained
the way myself, told you where it was, and the hours you could find me
here. Do you remember?"

"I don't remember," answered Raskolnikov with surprise.

"I believe you. I told you twice. The address has been stamped
mechanically on your memory. You turned this way mechanically and yet
precisely according to the direction, though you are not aware of it.
When I told you then, I hardly hoped you understood me. You give
yourself away too much, Rodion Romanovitch. And another thing, I'm
convinced there are lots of people in Petersburg who talk to
themselves as they walk. This is a town of crazy people. If only we
had scientific men, doctors, lawyers and philosophers might make most
valuable investigations in Petersburg each in his own line. There are
few places where there are so many gloomy, strong and queer influences
on the soul of man as in Petersburg. The mere influences of climate
mean so much. And it's the administrative centre of all Russia and its
character must be reflected on the whole country. But that is neither
here nor there now. The point is that I have several times watched
you. You walk out of your house--holding your head high--twenty paces
from home you let it sink, and fold your hands behind your back. You
look and evidently see nothing before nor beside you. At last you
begin moving your lips and talking to yourself, and sometimes you wave
one hand and declaim, and at last stand still in the middle of the
road. That's not at all the thing. Someone may be watching you besides
me, and it won't do you any good. It's nothing really to do with me
and I can't cure you, but, of course, you understand me."

"Do you know that I am being followed?" asked Raskolnikov, looking
inquisitively at him.

"No, I know nothing about it," said Svidriga´lov, seeming surprised.

"Well, then, let us leave me alone," Raskolnikov muttered, frowning.

"Very good, let us leave you alone."

"You had better tell me, if you come here to drink, and directed me
twice to come here to you, why did you hide, and try to get away just
now when I looked at the window from the street? I saw it."

"He-he! And why was it you lay on your sofa with closed eyes and
pretended to be asleep, though you were wide awake while I stood in
your doorway? I saw it."

"I may have had . . . reasons. You know that yourself."

"And I may have had my reasons, though you don't know them."

Raskolnikov dropped his right elbow on the table, leaned his chin in
the fingers of his right hand, and stared intently at Svidriga´lov.
For a full minute he scrutinised his face, which had impressed him
before. It was a strange face, like a mask; white and red, with bright
red lips, with a flaxen beard, and still thick flaxen hair. His eyes
were somehow too blue and their expression somehow too heavy and
fixed. There was something awfully unpleasant in that handsome face,
which looked so wonderfully young for his age. Svidriga´lov was
smartly dressed in light summer clothes and was particularly dainty in
his linen. He wore a huge ring with a precious stone in it.

"Have I got to bother myself about you, too, now?" said Raskolnikov
suddenly, coming with nervous impatience straight to the point. "Even
though perhaps you are the most dangerous man if you care to injure
me, I don't want to put myself out any more. I will show you at once
that I don't prize myself as you probably think I do. I've come to
tell you at once that if you keep to your former intentions with
regard to my sister and if you think to derive any benefit in that
direction from what has been discovered of late, I will kill you
before you get me locked up. You can reckon on my word. You know that
I can keep it. And in the second place if you want to tell me anything
--for I keep fancying all this time that you have something to tell
me--make haste and tell it, for time is precious and very likely it
will soon be too late."

"Why in such haste?" asked Svidriga´lov, looking at him curiously.

"Everyone has his plans," Raskolnikov answered gloomily and

"You urged me yourself to frankness just now, and at the first
question you refuse to answer," Svidriga´lov observed with a smile.
"You keep fancying that I have aims of my own and so you look at me
with suspicion. Of course it's perfectly natural in your position. But
though I should like to be friends with you, I shan't trouble myself
to convince you of the contrary. The game isn't worth the candle and I
wasn't intending to talk to you about anything special."

"What did you want me, for, then? It was you who came hanging about

"Why, simply as an interesting subject for observation. I liked the
fantastic nature of your position--that's what it was! Besides you are
the brother of a person who greatly interested me, and from that
person I had in the past heard a very great deal about you, from which
I gathered that you had a great influence over her; isn't that enough?
Ha-ha-ha! Still I must admit that your question is rather complex, and
is difficult for me to answer. Here, you, for instance, have come to
me not only for a definite object, but for the sake of hearing
something new. Isn't that so? Isn't that so?" persisted Svidriga´lov
with a sly smile. "Well, can't you fancy then that I, too, on my way
here in the train was reckoning on you, on your telling me something
new, and on my making some profit out of you! You see what rich men we

"What profit could you make?"

"How can I tell you? How do I know? You see in what a tavern I spend
all my time and it's my enjoyment, that's to say it's no great
enjoyment, but one must sit somewhere; that poor Katia now--you saw
her? . . . If only I had been a glutton now, a club gourmand, but you
see I can eat this."

He pointed to a little table in the corner where the remnants of a
terrible-looking beef-steak and potatoes lay on a tin dish.

"Have you dined, by the way? I've had something and want nothing more.
I don't drink, for instance, at all. Except for champagne I never
touch anything, and not more than a glass of that all the evening, and
even that is enough to make my head ache. I ordered it just now to
wind myself up, for I am just going off somewhere and you see me in a
peculiar state of mind. That was why I hid myself just now like a
schoolboy, for I was afraid you would hinder me. But I believe," he
pulled out his watch, "I can spend an hour with you. It's half-past
four now. If only I'd been something, a landowner, a father, a cavalry
officer, a photographer, a journalist . . . I am nothing, no
specialty, and sometimes I am positively bored. I really thought you
would tell me something new."

"But what are you, and why have you come here?"

"What am I? You know, a gentleman, I served for two years in the
cavalry, then I knocked about here in Petersburg, then I married Marfa
Petrovna and lived in the country. There you have my biography!"

"You are a gambler, I believe?"

"No, a poor sort of gambler. A card-sharper--not a gambler."

"You have been a card-sharper then?"

"Yes, I've been a card-sharper too."

"Didn't you get thrashed sometimes?"

"It did happen. Why?"

"Why, you might have challenged them . . . altogether it must have
been lively."

"I won't contradict you, and besides I am no hand at philosophy. I
confess that I hastened here for the sake of the women."

"As soon as you buried Marfa Petrovna?"

"Quite so," Svidriga´lov smiled with engaging candour. "What of it?
You seem to find something wrong in my speaking like that about

"You ask whether I find anything wrong in vice?"

"Vice! Oh, that's what you are after! But I'll answer you in order,
first about women in general; you know I am fond of talking. Tell me,
what should I restrain myself for? Why should I give up women, since I
have a passion for them? It's an occupation, anyway."

"So you hope for nothing here but vice?"

"Oh, very well, for vice then. You insist on its being vice. But
anyway I like a direct question. In this vice at least there is
something permanent, founded indeed upon nature and not dependent on
fantasy, something present in the blood like an ever-burning ember,
for ever setting one on fire and, maybe, not to be quickly
extinguished, even with years. You'll agree it's an occupation of a

"That's nothing to rejoice at, it's a disease and a dangerous one."

"Oh, that's what you think, is it! I agree, that it is a disease like
everything that exceeds moderation. And, of course, in this one must
exceed moderation. But in the first place, everybody does so in one
way or another, and in the second place, of course, one ought to be
moderate and prudent, however mean it may be, but what am I to do? If
I hadn't this, I might have to shoot myself. I am ready to admit that
a decent man ought to put up with being bored, but yet . . ."

"And could you shoot yourself?"

"Oh, come!" Svidriga´lov parried with disgust. "Please don't speak of
it," he added hurriedly and with none of the bragging tone he had
shown in all the previous conversation. His face quite changed. "I
admit it's an unpardonable weakness, but I can't help it. I am afraid
of death and I dislike its being talked of. Do you know that I am to a
certain extent a mystic?"

"Ah, the apparitions of Marfa Petrovna! Do they still go on visiting

"Oh, don't talk of them; there have been no more in Petersburg,
confound them!" he cried with an air of irritation. "Let's rather talk
of that . . . though . . . H'm! I have not much time, and can't stay
long with you, it's a pity! I should have found plenty to tell you."

"What's your engagement, a woman?"

"Yes, a woman, a casual incident. . . . No, that's not what I want to
talk of."

"And the hideousness, the filthiness of all your surroundings, doesn't
that affect you? Have you lost the strength to stop yourself?"

"And do you pretend to strength, too? He-he-he! You surprised me just
now, Rodion Romanovitch, though I knew beforehand it would be so. You
preach to me about vice and Šsthetics! You--a Schiller, you--an
idealist! Of course that's all as it should be and it would be
surprising if it were not so, yet it is strange in reality. . . . Ah,
what a pity I have no time, for you're a most interesting type! And,
by-the-way, are you fond of Schiller? I am awfully fond of him."

"But what a braggart you are," Raskolnikov said with some disgust.

"Upon my word, I am not," answered Svidriga´lov laughing. "However, I
won't dispute it, let me be a braggart, why not brag, if it hurts no
one? I spent seven years in the country with Marfa Petrovna, so now
when I come across an intelligent person like you--intelligent and
highly interesting--I am simply glad to talk and, besides, I've drunk
that half-glass of champagne and it's gone to my head a little. And
besides, there's a certain fact that has wound me up tremendously, but
about that I . . . will keep quiet. Where are you off to?" he asked in

Raskolnikov had begun getting up. He felt oppressed and stifled and,
as it were, ill at ease at having come here. He felt convinced that
Svidriga´lov was the most worthless scoundrel on the face of the

"A-ach! Sit down, stay a little!" Svidriga´lov begged. "Let them bring
you some tea, anyway. Stay a little, I won't talk nonsense, about
myself, I mean. I'll tell you something. If you like I'll tell you how
a woman tried 'to save' me, as you would call it? It will be an answer
to your first question indeed, for the woman was your sister. May I
tell you? It will help to spend the time."

"Tell me, but I trust that you . . ."

"Oh, don't be uneasy. Besides, even in a worthless low fellow like me,
Avdotya Romanovna can only excite the deepest respect."


"You know perhaps--yes, I told you myself," began Svidriga´lov, "that
I was in the debtors' prison here, for an immense sum, and had not any
expectation of being able to pay it. There's no need to go into
particulars how Marfa Petrovna bought me out; do you know to what a
point of insanity a woman can sometimes love? She was an honest woman,
and very sensible, although completely uneducated. Would you believe
that this honest and jealous woman, after many scenes of hysterics and
reproaches, condescended to enter into a kind of contract with me
which she kept throughout our married life? She was considerably older
than I, and besides, she always kept a clove or something in her
mouth. There was so much swinishness in my soul and honesty too, of a
sort, as to tell her straight out that I couldn't be absolutely
faithful to her. This confession drove her to frenzy, but yet she
seems in a way to have liked my brutal frankness. She thought it
showed I was unwilling to deceive her if I warned her like this
beforehand and for a jealous woman, you know, that's the first
consideration. After many tears an unwritten contract was drawn up
between us: first, that I would never leave Marfa Petrovna and would
always be her husband; secondly, that I would never absent myself
without her permission; thirdly, that I would never set up a permanent
mistress; fourthly, in return for this, Marfa Petrovna gave me a free
hand with the maidservants, but only with her secret knowledge;
fifthly, God forbid my falling in love with a woman of our class;
sixthly, in case I--which God forbid--should be visited by a great
serious passion I was bound to reveal it to Marfa Petrovna. On this
last score, however, Marfa Petrovna was fairly at ease. She was a
sensible woman and so she could not help looking upon me as a
dissolute profligate incapable of real love. But a sensible woman and
a jealous woman are two very different things, and that's where the
trouble came in. But to judge some people impartially we must renounce
certain preconceived opinions and our habitual attitude to the
ordinary people about us. I have reason to have faith in your judgment
rather than in anyone's. Perhaps you have already heard a great deal
that was ridiculous and absurd about Marfa Petrovna. She certainly had
some very ridiculous ways, but I tell you frankly that I feel really
sorry for the innumerable woes of which I was the cause. Well, and
that's enough, I think, by way of a decorous /oraison funŔbre/ for the
most tender wife of a most tender husband. When we quarrelled, I
usually held my tongue and did not irritate her and that gentlemanly
conduct rarely failed to attain its object, it influenced her, it
pleased her, indeed. These were times when she was positively proud of
me. But your sister she couldn't put up with, anyway. And however she
came to risk taking such a beautiful creature into her house as a
governess. My explanation is that Marfa Petrovna was an ardent and
impressionable woman and simply fell in love herself--literally fell
in love--with your sister. Well, little wonder--look at Avdotya
Romanovna! I saw the danger at the first glance and what do you think,
I resolved not to look at her even. But Avdotya Romanovna herself made
the first step, would you believe it? Would you believe it too that
Marfa Petrovna was positively angry with me at first for my persistent
silence about your sister, for my careless reception of her continual
adoring praises of Avdotya Romanovna. I don't know what it was she
wanted! Well, of course, Marfa Petrovna told Avdotya Romanovna every
detail about me. She had the unfortunate habit of telling literally
everyone all our family secrets and continually complaining of me; how
could she fail to confide in such a delightful new friend? I expect
they talked of nothing else but me and no doubt Avdotya Romanovna
heard all those dark mysterious rumours that were current about me.
. . . I don't mind betting that you too have heard something of the
sort already?"

"I have. Luzhin charged you with having caused the death of a child.
Is that true?"

"Don't refer to those vulgar tales, I beg," said Svidriga´lov with
disgust and annoyance. "If you insist on wanting to know about all
that idiocy, I will tell you one day, but now . . ."

"I was told too about some footman of yours in the country whom you
treated badly."

"I beg you to drop the subject," Svidriga´lov interrupted again with
obvious impatience.

"Was that the footman who came to you after death to fill your pipe?
. . . you told me about it yourself." Raskolnikov felt more and more

Svidriga´lov looked at him attentively and Raskolnikov fancied he
caught a flash of spiteful mockery in that look. But Svidriga´lov
restrained himself and answered very civilly:

"Yes, it was. I see that you, too, are extremely interested and shall
feel it my duty to satisfy your curiosity at the first opportunity.
Upon my soul! I see that I really might pass for a romantic figure
with some people. Judge how grateful I must be to Marfa Petrovna for
having repeated to Avdotya Romanovna such mysterious and interesting
gossip about me. I dare not guess what impression it made on her, but
in any case it worked in my interests. With all Avdotya Romanovna's
natural aversion and in spite of my invariably gloomy and repellent
aspect--she did at least feel pity for me, pity for a lost soul. And
if once a girl's heart is moved to /pity/, it's more dangerous than
anything. She is bound to want to 'save him,' to bring him to his
senses, and lift him up and draw him to nobler aims, and restore him
to new life and usefulness--well, we all know how far such dreams can
go. I saw at once that the bird was flying into the cage of herself.
And I too made ready. I think you are frowning, Rodion Romanovitch?
There's no need. As you know, it all ended in smoke. (Hang it all,
what a lot I am drinking!) Do you know, I always, from the very
beginning, regretted that it wasn't your sister's fate to be born in
the second or third century A.D., as the daughter of a reigning prince
or some governor or pro-consul in Asia Minor. She would undoubtedly
have been one of those who would endure martyrdom and would have
smiled when they branded her bosom with hot pincers. And she would
have gone to it of herself. And in the fourth or fifth century she
would have walked away into the Egyptian desert and would have stayed
there thirty years living on roots and ecstasies and visions. She is
simply thirsting to face some torture for someone, and if she can't
get her torture, she'll throw herself out of a window. I've heard
something of a Mr. Razumihin--he's said to be a sensible fellow; his
surname suggests it, indeed. He's probably a divinity student. Well,
he'd better look after your sister! I believe I understand her, and I
am proud of it. But at the beginning of an acquaintance, as you know,
one is apt to be more heedless and stupid. One doesn't see clearly.
Hang it all, why is she so handsome? It's not my fault. In fact, it
began on my side with a most irresistible physical desire. Avdotya
Romanovna is awfully chaste, incredibly and phenomenally so. Take
note, I tell you this about your sister as a fact. She is almost
morbidly chaste, in spite of her broad intelligence, and it will stand
in her way. There happened to be a girl in the house then, Parasha, a
black-eyed wench, whom I had never seen before--she had just come from
another village--very pretty, but incredibly stupid: she burst into
tears, wailed so that she could be heard all over the place and caused
scandal. One day after dinner Avdotya Romanovna followed me into an
avenue in the garden and with flashing eyes /insisted/ on my leaving
poor Parasha alone. It was almost our first conversation by ourselves.
I, of course, was only too pleased to obey her wishes, tried to appear
disconcerted, embarrassed, in fact played my part not badly. Then came
interviews, mysterious conversations, exhortations, entreaties,
supplications, even tears--would you believe it, even tears? Think
what the passion for propaganda will bring some girls to! I, of
course, threw it all on my destiny, posed as hungering and thirsting
for light, and finally resorted to the most powerful weapon in the
subjection of the female heart, a weapon which never fails one. It's
the well-known resource--flattery. Nothing in the world is harder than
speaking the truth and nothing easier than flattery. If there's the
hundredth part of a false note in speaking the truth, it leads to a
discord, and that leads to trouble. But if all, to the last note, is
false in flattery, it is just as agreeable, and is heard not without
satisfaction. It may be a coarse satisfaction, but still a
satisfaction. And however coarse the flattery, at least half will be
sure to seem true. That's so for all stages of development and classes
of society. A vestal virgin might be seduced by flattery. I can never
remember without laughter how I once seduced a lady who was devoted to
her husband, her children, and her principles. What fun it was and how
little trouble! And the lady really had principles--of her own,
anyway. All my tactics lay in simply being utterly annihilated and
prostrate before her purity. I flattered her shamelessly, and as soon
as I succeeded in getting a pressure of the hand, even a glance from
her, I would reproach myself for having snatched it by force, and
would declare that she had resisted, so that I could never have gained
anything but for my being so unprincipled. I maintained that she was
so innocent that she could not foresee my treachery, and yielded to me
unconsciously, unawares, and so on. In fact, I triumphed, while my
lady remained firmly convinced that she was innocent, chaste, and
faithful to all her duties and obligations and had succumbed quite by
accident. And how angry she was with me when I explained to her at
last that it was my sincere conviction that she was just as eager as
I. Poor Marfa Petrovna was awfully weak on the side of flattery, and
if I had only cared to, I might have had all her property settled on
me during her lifetime. (I am drinking an awful lot of wine now and
talking too much.) I hope you won't be angry if I mention now that I
was beginning to produce the same effect on Avdotya Romanovna. But I
was stupid and impatient and spoiled it all. Avdotya Romanovna had
several times--and one time in particular--been greatly displeased by
the expression of my eyes, would you believe it? There was sometimes a
light in them which frightened her and grew stronger and stronger and
more unguarded till it was hateful to her. No need to go into detail,
but we parted. There I acted stupidly again. I fell to jeering in the
coarsest way at all such propaganda and efforts to convert me; Parasha
came on to the scene again, and not she alone; in fact there was a
tremendous to-do. Ah, Rodion Romanovitch, if you could only see how
your sister's eyes can flash sometimes! Never mind my being drunk at
this moment and having had a whole glass of wine. I am speaking the
truth. I assure you that this glance has haunted my dreams; the very
rustle of her dress was more than I could stand at last. I really
began to think that I might become epileptic. I could never have
believed that I could be moved to such a frenzy. It was essential,
indeed, to be reconciled, but by then it was impossible. And imagine
what I did then! To what a pitch of stupidity a man can be brought by
frenzy! Never undertake anything in a frenzy, Rodion Romanovitch. I
reflected that Avdotya Romanovna was after all a beggar (ach, excuse
me, that's not the word . . . but does it matter if it expresses the
meaning?), that she lived by her work, that she had her mother and you
to keep (ach, hang it, you are frowning again), and I resolved to
offer her all my money--thirty thousand roubles I could have realised
then--if she would run away with me here, to Petersburg. Of course I
should have vowed eternal love, rapture, and so on. Do you know, I was
so wild about her at that time that if she had told me to poison Marfa
Petrovna or to cut her throat and to marry herself, it would have been
done at once! But it ended in the catastrophe of which you know
already. You can fancy how frantic I was when I heard that Marfa
Petrovna had got hold of that scoundrelly attorney, Luzhin, and had
almost made a match between them--which would really have been just
the same thing as I was proposing. Wouldn't it? Wouldn't it? I notice
that you've begun to be very attentive . . . you interesting young
man. . . ."

Svidriga´lov struck the table with his fist impatiently. He was
flushed. Raskolnikov saw clearly that the glass or glass and a half of
champagne that he had sipped almost unconsciously was affecting him--
and he resolved to take advantage of the opportunity. He felt very
suspicious of Svidriga´lov.

"Well, after what you have said, I am fully convinced that you have
come to Petersburg with designs on my sister," he said directly to
Svidriga´lov, in order to irritate him further.

"Oh, nonsense," said Svidriga´lov, seeming to rouse himself. "Why, I
told you . . . besides your sister can't endure me."

"Yes, I am certain that she can't, but that's not the point."

"Are you so sure that she can't?" Svidriga´lov screwed up his eyes and
smiled mockingly. "You are right, she doesn't love me, but you can
never be sure of what has passed between husband and wife or lover and
mistress. There's always a little corner which remains a secret to the
world and is only known to those two. Will you answer for it that
Avdotya Romanovna regarded me with aversion?"

"From some words you've dropped, I notice that you still have designs
--and of course evil ones--on Dounia and mean to carry them out

"What, have I dropped words like that?" Svidriga´lov asked in na´ve
dismay, taking not the slightest notice of the epithet bestowed on his

"Why, you are dropping them even now. Why are you so frightened? What
are you so afraid of now?"

"Me--afraid? Afraid of you? You have rather to be afraid of me, /cher
ami/. But what nonsense. . . . I've drunk too much though, I see that.
I was almost saying too much again. Damn the wine! Hi! there, water!"

He snatched up the champagne bottle and flung it without ceremony out
of the window. Philip brought the water.

"That's all nonsense!" said Svidriga´lov, wetting a towel and putting
it to his head. "But I can answer you in one word and annihilate all
your suspicions. Do you know that I am going to get married?"

"You told me so before."

"Did I? I've forgotten. But I couldn't have told you so for certain
for I had not even seen my betrothed; I only meant to. But now I
really have a betrothed and it's a settled thing, and if it weren't
that I have business that can't be put off, I would have taken you to
see them at once, for I should like to ask your advice. Ach, hang it,
only ten minutes left! See, look at the watch. But I must tell you,
for it's an interesting story, my marriage, in its own way. Where are
you off to? Going again?"

"No, I'm not going away now."

"Not at all? We shall see. I'll take you there, I'll show you my
betrothed, only not now. For you'll soon have to be off. You have to
go to the right and I to the left. Do you know that Madame Resslich,
the woman I am lodging with now, eh? I know what you're thinking, that
she's the woman whose girl they say drowned herself in the winter.
Come, are you listening? She arranged it all for me. You're bored, she
said, you want something to fill up your time. For, you know, I am a
gloomy, depressed person. Do you think I'm light-hearted? No, I'm
gloomy. I do no harm, but sit in a corner without speaking a word for
three days at a time. And that Resslich is a sly hussy, I tell you. I
know what she has got in her mind; she thinks I shall get sick of it,
abandon my wife and depart, and she'll get hold of her and make a
profit out of her--in our class, of course, or higher. She told me the
father was a broken-down retired official, who has been sitting in a
chair for the last three years with his legs paralysed. The mamma, she
said, was a sensible woman. There is a son serving in the provinces,
but he doesn't help; there is a daughter, who is married, but she
doesn't visit them. And they've two little nephews on their hands, as
though their own children were not enough, and they've taken from
school their youngest daughter, a girl who'll be sixteen in another
month, so that then she can be married. She was for me. We went there.
How funny it was! I present myself--a landowner, a widower, of a well-
known name, with connections, with a fortune. What if I am fifty and
she is not sixteen? Who thinks of that? But it's fascinating, isn't
it? It is fascinating, ha-ha! You should have seen how I talked to the
papa and mamma. It was worth paying to have seen me at that moment.
She comes in, curtseys, you can fancy, still in a short frock--an
unopened bud! Flushing like a sunset--she had been told, no doubt. I
don't know how you feel about female faces, but to my mind these
sixteen years, these childish eyes, shyness and tears of bashfulness
are better than beauty; and she is a perfect little picture, too. Fair
hair in little curls, like a lamb's, full little rosy lips, tiny feet,
a charmer! . . . Well, we made friends. I told them I was in a hurry
owing to domestic circumstances, and the next day, that is the day
before yesterday, we were betrothed. When I go now I take her on my
knee at once and keep her there. . . . Well, she flushes like a sunset
and I kiss her every minute. Her mamma of course impresses on her that
this is her husband and that this must be so. It's simply delicious!
The present betrothed condition is perhaps better than marriage. Here
you have what is called /la nature et la vÚritÚ/, ha-ha! I've talked
to her twice, she is far from a fool. Sometimes she steals a look at
me that positively scorches me. Her face is like Raphael's Madonna.
You know, the Sistine Madonna's face has something fantastic in it,
the face of mournful religious ecstasy. Haven't you noticed it? Well,
she's something in that line. The day after we'd been betrothed, I
bought her presents to the value of fifteen hundred roubles--a set of
diamonds and another of pearls and a silver dressing-case as large as
this, with all sorts of things in it, so that even my Madonna's face
glowed. I sat her on my knee, yesterday, and I suppose rather too
unceremoniously--she flushed crimson and the tears started, but she
didn't want to show it. We were left alone, she suddenly flung herself
on my neck (for the first time of her own accord), put her little arms
round me, kissed me, and vowed that she would be an obedient,
faithful, and good wife, would make me happy, would devote all her
life, every minute of her life, would sacrifice everything,
everything, and that all she asks in return is my /respect/, and that
she wants 'nothing, nothing more from me, no presents.' You'll admit
that to hear such a confession, alone, from an angel of sixteen in a
muslin frock, with little curls, with a flush of maiden shyness in her
cheeks and tears of enthusiasm in her eyes is rather fascinating!
Isn't it fascinating? It's worth paying for, isn't it? Well . . .
listen, we'll go to see my betrothed, only not just now!"

"The fact is this monstrous difference in age and development excites
your sensuality! Will you really make such a marriage?"

"Why, of course. Everyone thinks of himself, and he lives most gaily
who knows best how to deceive himself. Ha-ha! But why are you so keen
about virtue? Have mercy on me, my good friend. I am a sinful man. Ha-

"But you have provided for the children of Katerina Ivanovna. Though
. . . though you had your own reasons. . . . I understand it all now."

"I am always fond of children, very fond of them," laughed
Svidriga´lov. "I can tell you one curious instance of it. The first
day I came here I visited various haunts, after seven years I simply
rushed at them. You probably notice that I am not in a hurry to renew
acquaintance with my old friends. I shall do without them as long as I
can. Do you know, when I was with Marfa Petrovna in the country, I was
haunted by the thought of these places where anyone who knows his way
about can find a great deal. Yes, upon my soul! The peasants have
vodka, the educated young people, shut out from activity, waste
themselves in impossible dreams and visions and are crippled by
theories; Jews have sprung up and are amassing money, and all the rest
give themselves up to debauchery. From the first hour the town reeked
of its familiar odours. I chanced to be in a frightful den--I like my
dens dirty--it was a dance, so called, and there was a /cancan/ such
as I never saw in my day. Yes, there you have progress. All of a
sudden I saw a little girl of thirteen, nicely dressed, dancing with a
specialist in that line, with another one /vis-Ó-vis/. Her mother was
sitting on a chair by the wall. You can't fancy what a /cancan/ that
was! The girl was ashamed, blushed, at last felt insulted, and began
to cry. Her partner seized her and began whirling her round and
performing before her; everyone laughed and--I like your public, even
the /cancan/ public--they laughed and shouted, 'Serves her right--
serves her right! Shouldn't bring children!' Well, it's not my
business whether that consoling reflection was logical or not. I at
once fixed on my plan, sat down by the mother, and began by saying
that I too was a stranger and that people here were ill-bred and that
they couldn't distinguish decent folks and treat them with respect,
gave her to understand that I had plenty of money, offered to take
them home in my carriage. I took them home and got to know them. They
were lodging in a miserable little hole and had only just arrived from
the country. She told me that she and her daughter could only regard
my acquaintance as an honour. I found out that they had nothing of
their own and had come to town upon some legal business. I proffered
my services and money. I learnt that they had gone to the dancing
saloon by mistake, believing that it was a genuine dancing class. I
offered to assist in the young girl's education in French and dancing.
My offer was accepted with enthusiasm as an honour--and we are still
friendly. . . . If you like, we'll go and see them, only not just

"Stop! Enough of your vile, nasty anecdotes, depraved vile, sensual

"Schiller, you are a regular Schiller! /O la vertu va-t-elle se
nicher?/ But you know I shall tell you these things on purpose, for
the pleasure of hearing your outcries!"

"I dare say. I can see I am ridiculous myself," muttered Raskolnikov

Svidriga´lov laughed heartily; finally he called Philip, paid his
bill, and began getting up.

"I say, but I am drunk, /assez causÚ/," he said. "It's been a

"I should rather think it must be a pleasure!" cried Raskolnikov,
getting up. "No doubt it is a pleasure for a worn-out profligate to
describe such adventures with a monstrous project of the same sort in
his mind--especially under such circumstances and to such a man as me.
. . . It's stimulating!"

"Well, if you come to that," Svidriga´lov answered, scrutinising
Raskolnikov with some surprise, "if you come to that, you are a
thorough cynic yourself. You've plenty to make you so, anyway. You can
understand a great deal . . . and you can do a great deal too. But
enough. I sincerely regret not having had more talk with you, but I
shan't lose sight of you. . . . Only wait a bit."

Svidriga´lov walked out of the restaurant. Raskolnikov walked out
after him. Svidriga´lov was not however very drunk, the wine had
affected him for a moment, but it was passing off every minute. He was
preoccupied with something of importance and was frowning. He was
apparently excited and uneasy in anticipation of something. His manner
to Raskolnikov had changed during the last few minutes, and he was
ruder and more sneering every moment. Raskolnikov noticed all this,
and he too was uneasy. He became very suspicious of Svidriga´lov and
resolved to follow him.

They came out on to the pavement.

"You go to the right, and I to the left, or if you like, the other
way. Only /adieu, mon plaisir/, may we meet again."

And he walked to the right towards the Hay Market.


Raskolnikov walked after him.

"What's this?" cried Svidriga´lov turning round, "I thought I
said . . ."

"It means that I am not going to lose sight of you now."


Both stood still and gazed at one another, as though measuring their

"From all your half tipsy stories," Raskolnikov observed harshly, "I

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