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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Part 8 out of 12

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He found Porfiry Petrovitch alone in his study. His study was a room
neither large nor small, furnished with a large writing-table, that
stood before a sofa, upholstered in checked material, a bureau, a
bookcase in the corner and several chairs--all government furniture,
of polished yellow wood. In the further wall there was a closed door,
beyond it there were no doubt other rooms. On Raskolnikov's entrance
Porfiry Petrovitch had at once closed the door by which he had come in
and they remained alone. He met his visitor with an apparently genial
and good-tempered air, and it was only after a few minutes that
Raskolnikov saw signs of a certain awkwardness in him, as though he
had been thrown out of his reckoning or caught in something very

"Ah, my dear fellow! Here you are . . . in our domain" . . . began
Porfiry, holding out both hands to him. "Come, sit down, old man . . .
or perhaps you don't like to be called 'my dear fellow' and 'old
man!'--/tout court/? Please don't think it too familiar. . . . Here,
on the sofa."

Raskolnikov sat down, keeping his eyes fixed on him. "In our domain,"
the apologies for familiarity, the French phrase /tout court/, were
all characteristic signs.

"He held out both hands to me, but he did not give me one--he drew it
back in time," struck him suspiciously. Both were watching each other,
but when their eyes met, quick as lightning they looked away.

"I brought you this paper . . . about the watch. Here it is. Is it all
right or shall I copy it again?"

"What? A paper? Yes, yes, don't be uneasy, it's all right," Porfiry
Petrovitch said as though in haste, and after he had said it he took
the paper and looked at it. "Yes, it's all right. Nothing more is
needed," he declared with the same rapidity and he laid the paper on
the table.

A minute later when he was talking of something else he took it from
the table and put it on his bureau.

"I believe you said yesterday you would like to question me . . .
formally . . . about my acquaintance with the murdered woman?"
Raskolnikov was beginning again. "Why did I put in 'I believe'" passed
through his mind in a flash. "Why am I so uneasy at having put in that
'/I believe/'?" came in a second flash. And he suddenly felt that his
uneasiness at the mere contact with Porfiry, at the first words, at
the first looks, had grown in an instant to monstrous proportions, and
that this was fearfully dangerous. His nerves were quivering, his
emotion was increasing. "It's bad, it's bad! I shall say too much

"Yes, yes, yes! There's no hurry, there's no hurry," muttered Porfiry
Petrovitch, moving to and fro about the table without any apparent
aim, as it were making dashes towards the window, the bureau and the
table, at one moment avoiding Raskolnikov's suspicious glance, then
again standing still and looking him straight in the face.

His fat round little figure looked very strange, like a ball rolling
from one side to the other and rebounding back.

"We've plenty of time. Do you smoke? have you your own? Here, a
cigarette!" he went on, offering his visitor a cigarette. "You know I
am receiving you here, but my own quarters are through there, you
know, my government quarters. But I am living outside for the time, I
had to have some repairs done here. It's almost finished now. . . .
Government quarters, you know, are a capital thing. Eh, what do you

"Yes, a capital thing," answered Raskolnikov, looking at him almost

"A capital thing, a capital thing," repeated Porfiry Petrovitch, as
though he had just thought of something quite different. "Yes, a
capital thing," he almost shouted at last, suddenly staring at
Raskolnikov and stopping short two steps from him.

This stupid repetition was too incongruous in its ineptitude with the
serious, brooding and enigmatic glance he turned upon his visitor.

But this stirred Raskolnikov's spleen more than ever and he could not
resist an ironical and rather incautious challenge.

"Tell me, please," he asked suddenly, looking almost insolently at him
and taking a kind of pleasure in his own insolence. "I believe it's a
sort of legal rule, a sort of legal tradition--for all investigating
lawyers--to begin their attack from afar, with a trivial, or at least
an irrelevant subject, so as to encourage, or rather, to divert the
man they are cross-examining, to disarm his caution and then all at
once to give him an unexpected knock-down blow with some fatal
question. Isn't that so? It's a sacred tradition, mentioned, I fancy,
in all the manuals of the art?"

"Yes, yes. . . . Why, do you imagine that was why I spoke about
government quarters . . . eh?"

And as he said this Porfiry Petrovitch screwed up his eyes and winked;
a good-humoured, crafty look passed over his face. The wrinkles on his
forehead were smoothed out, his eyes contracted, his features
broadened and he suddenly went off into a nervous prolonged laugh,
shaking all over and looking Raskolnikov straight in the face. The
latter forced himself to laugh, too, but when Porfiry, seeing that he
was laughing, broke into such a guffaw that he turned almost crimson,
Raskolnikov's repulsion overcame all precaution; he left off laughing,
scowled and stared with hatred at Porfiry, keeping his eyes fixed on
him while his intentionally prolonged laughter lasted. There was lack
of precaution on both sides, however, for Porfiry Petrovitch seemed to
be laughing in his visitor's face and to be very little disturbed at
the annoyance with which the visitor received it. The latter fact was
very significant in Raskolnikov's eyes: he saw that Porfiry Petrovitch
had not been embarrassed just before either, but that he, Raskolnikov,
had perhaps fallen into a trap; that there must be something, some
motive here unknown to him; that, perhaps, everything was in readiness
and in another moment would break upon him . . .

He went straight to the point at once, rose from his seat and took his

"Porfiry Petrovitch," he began resolutely, though with considerable
irritation, "yesterday you expressed a desire that I should come to
you for some inquiries" (he laid special stress on the word
"inquiries"). "I have come and if you have anything to ask me, ask it,
and if not, allow me to withdraw. I have no time to spare. . . . I
have to be at the funeral of that man who was run over, of whom you
. . . know also," he added, feeling angry at once at having made this
addition and more irritated at his anger. "I am sick of it all, do you
hear? and have long been. It's partly what made me ill. In short," he
shouted, feeling that the phrase about his illness was still more out
of place, "in short, kindly examine me or let me go, at once. And if
you must examine me, do so in the proper form! I will not allow you to
do so otherwise, and so meanwhile, good-bye, as we have evidently
nothing to keep us now."

"Good heavens! What do you mean? What shall I question you about?"
cackled Porfiry Petrovitch with a change of tone, instantly leaving
off laughing. "Please don't disturb yourself," he began fidgeting from
place to place and fussily making Raskolnikov sit down. "There's no
hurry, there's no hurry, it's all nonsense. Oh, no, I'm very glad
you've come to see me at last . . . I look upon you simply as a
visitor. And as for my confounded laughter, please excuse it, Rodion
Romanovitch. Rodion Romanovitch? That is your name? . . . It's my
nerves, you tickled me so with your witty observation; I assure you,
sometimes I shake with laughter like an india-rubber ball for half an
hour at a time. . . . I'm often afraid of an attack of paralysis. Do
sit down. Please do, or I shall think you are angry . . ."

Raskolnikov did not speak; he listened, watching him, still frowning
angrily. He did sit down, but still held his cap.

"I must tell you one thing about myself, my dear Rodion Romanovitch,"
Porfiry Petrovitch continued, moving about the room and again avoiding
his visitor's eyes. "You see, I'm a bachelor, a man of no consequence
and not used to society; besides, I have nothing before me, I'm set,
I'm running to seed and . . . and have you noticed, Rodion
Romanovitch, that in our Petersburg circles, if two clever men meet
who are not intimate, but respect each other, like you and me, it
takes them half an hour before they can find a subject for
conversation--they are dumb, they sit opposite each other and feel
awkward. Everyone has subjects of conversation, ladies for instance
. . . people in high society always have their subjects of
conversation, /c'est de rigueur/, but people of the middle sort like
us, thinking people that is, are always tongue-tied and awkward. What
is the reason of it? Whether it is the lack of public interest, or
whether it is we are so honest we don't want to deceive one another, I
don't know. What do you think? Do put down your cap, it looks as if
you were just going, it makes me uncomfortable . . . I am so
delighted . . ."

Raskolnikov put down his cap and continued listening in silence with a
serious frowning face to the vague and empty chatter of Porfiry
Petrovitch. "Does he really want to distract my attention with his
silly babble?"

"I can't offer you coffee here; but why not spend five minutes with a
friend?" Porfiry pattered on, "and you know all these official duties
. . . please don't mind my running up and down, excuse it, my dear
fellow, I am very much afraid of offending you, but exercise is
absolutely indispensable for me. I'm always sitting and so glad to be
moving about for five minutes . . . I suffer from my sedentary life
. . . I always intend to join a gymnasium; they say that officials of
all ranks, even Privy Councillors, may be seen skipping gaily there;
there you have it, modern science . . . yes, yes. . . . But as for my
duties here, inquiries and all such formalities . . . you mentioned
inquiries yourself just now . . . I assure you these interrogations
are sometimes more embarrassing for the interrogator than for the
interrogated. . . . You made the observation yourself just now very
aptly and wittily." (Raskolnikov had made no observation of the kind.)
"One gets into a muddle! A regular muddle! One keeps harping on the
same note, like a drum! There is to be a reform and we shall be called
by a different name, at least, he-he-he! And as for our legal
tradition, as you so wittily called it, I thoroughly agree with you.
Every prisoner on trial, even the rudest peasant, knows that they
begin by disarming him with irrelevant questions (as you so happily
put it) and then deal him a knock-down blow, he-he-he!--your
felicitous comparison, he-he! So you really imagined that I meant by
'government quarters' . . . he-he! You are an ironical person. Come. I
won't go on! Ah, by the way, yes! One word leads to another. You spoke
of formality just now, apropos of the inquiry, you know. But what's
the use of formality? In many cases it's nonsense. Sometimes one has a
friendly chat and gets a good deal more out of it. One can always fall
back on formality, allow me to assure you. And after all, what does it
amount to? An examining lawyer cannot be bounded by formality at every
step. The work of investigation is, so to speak, a free art in its own
way, he-he-he!"

Porfiry Petrovitch took breath a moment. He had simply babbled on
uttering empty phrases, letting slip a few enigmatic words and again
reverting to incoherence. He was almost running about the room, moving
his fat little legs quicker and quicker, looking at the ground, with
his right hand behind his back, while with his left making
gesticulations that were extraordinarily incongruous with his words.
Raskolnikov suddenly noticed that as he ran about the room he seemed
twice to stop for a moment near the door, as though he were listening.

"Is he expecting anything?"

"You are certainly quite right about it," Porfiry began gaily, looking
with extraordinary simplicity at Raskolnikov (which startled him and
instantly put him on his guard); "certainly quite right in laughing so
wittily at our legal forms, he-he! Some of these elaborate
psychological methods are exceedingly ridiculous and perhaps useless,
if one adheres too closely to the forms. Yes . . . I am talking of
forms again. Well, if I recognise, or more strictly speaking, if I
suspect someone or other to be a criminal in any case entrusted to me
. . . you're reading for the law, of course, Rodion Romanovitch?"

"Yes, I was . . ."

"Well, then it is a precedent for you for the future--though don't
suppose I should venture to instruct you after the articles you
publish about crime! No, I simply make bold to state it by way of
fact, if I took this man or that for a criminal, why, I ask, should I
worry him prematurely, even though I had evidence against him? In one
case I may be bound, for instance, to arrest a man at once, but
another may be in quite a different position, you know, so why
shouldn't I let him walk about the town a bit? he-he-he! But I see you
don't quite understand, so I'll give you a clearer example. If I put
him in prison too soon, I may very likely give him, so to speak, moral
support, he-he! You're laughing?"

Raskolnikov had no idea of laughing. He was sitting with compressed
lips, his feverish eyes fixed on Porfiry Petrovitch's.

"Yet that is the case, with some types especially, for men are so
different. You say 'evidence'. Well, there may be evidence. But
evidence, you know, can generally be taken two ways. I am an examining
lawyer and a weak man, I confess it. I should like to make a proof, so
to say, mathematically clear. I should like to make a chain of
evidence such as twice two are four, it ought to be a direct,
irrefutable proof! And if I shut him up too soon--even though I might
be convinced /he/ was the man, I should very likely be depriving
myself of the means of getting further evidence against him. And how?
By giving him, so to speak, a definite position, I shall put him out
of suspense and set his mind at rest, so that he will retreat into his
shell. They say that at Sevastopol, soon after Alma, the clever people
were in a terrible fright that the enemy would attack openly and take
Sevastopol at once. But when they saw that the enemy preferred a
regular siege, they were delighted, I am told and reassured, for the
thing would drag on for two months at least. You're laughing, you
don't believe me again? Of course, you're right, too. You're right,
you're right. These are special cases, I admit. But you must observe
this, my dear Rodion Romanovitch, the general case, the case for which
all legal forms and rules are intended, for which they are calculated
and laid down in books, does not exist at all, for the reason that
every case, every crime, for instance, so soon as it actually occurs,
at once becomes a thoroughly special case and sometimes a case unlike
any that's gone before. Very comic cases of that sort sometimes occur.
If I leave one man quite alone, if I don't touch him and don't worry
him, but let him know or at least suspect every moment that I know all
about it and am watching him day and night, and if he is in continual
suspicion and terror, he'll be bound to lose his head. He'll come of
himself, or maybe do something which will make it as plain as twice
two are four--it's delightful. It may be so with a simple peasant, but
with one of our sort, an intelligent man cultivated on a certain side,
it's a dead certainty. For, my dear fellow, it's a very important
matter to know on what side a man is cultivated. And then there are
nerves, there are nerves, you have overlooked them! Why, they are all
sick, nervous and irritable! . . . And then how they all suffer from
spleen! That I assure you is a regular gold-mine for us. And it's no
anxiety to me, his running about the town free! Let him, let him walk
about for a bit! I know well enough that I've caught him and that he
won't escape me. Where could he escape to, he-he? Abroad, perhaps? A
Pole will escape abroad, but not here, especially as I am watching and
have taken measures. Will he escape into the depths of the country
perhaps? But you know, peasants live there, real rude Russian
peasants. A modern cultivated man would prefer prison to living with
such strangers as our peasants. He-he! But that's all nonsense, and on
the surface. It's not merely that he has nowhere to run to, he is
/psychologically/ unable to escape me, he-he! What an expression!
Through a law of nature he can't escape me if he had anywhere to go.
Have you seen a butterfly round a candle? That's how he will keep
circling and circling round me. Freedom will lose its attractions.
He'll begin to brood, he'll weave a tangle round himself, he'll worry
himself to death! What's more he will provide me with a mathematical
proof--if I only give him long enough interval. . . . And he'll keep
circling round me, getting nearer and nearer and then--flop! He'll fly
straight into my mouth and I'll swallow him, and that will be very
amusing, he-he-he! You don't believe me?"

Raskolnikov made no reply; he sat pale and motionless, still gazing
with the same intensity into Porfiry's face.

"It's a lesson," he thought, turning cold. "This is beyond the cat
playing with a mouse, like yesterday. He can't be showing off his
power with no motive . . . prompting me; he is far too clever for that
. . . he must have another object. What is it? It's all nonsense, my
friend, you are pretending, to scare me! You've no proofs and the man
I saw had no real existence. You simply want to make me lose my head,
to work me up beforehand and so to crush me. But you are wrong, you
won't do it! But why give me such a hint? Is he reckoning on my
shattered nerves? No, my friend, you are wrong, you won't do it even
though you have some trap for me . . . let us see what you have in
store for me."

And he braced himself to face a terrible and unknown ordeal. At times
he longed to fall on Porfiry and strangle him. This anger was what he
dreaded from the beginning. He felt that his parched lips were flecked
with foam, his heart was throbbing. But he was still determined not to
speak till the right moment. He realised that this was the best policy
in his position, because instead of saying too much he would be
irritating his enemy by his silence and provoking him into speaking
too freely. Anyhow, this was what he hoped for.

"No, I see you don't believe me, you think I am playing a harmless
joke on you," Porfiry began again, getting more and more lively,
chuckling at every instant and again pacing round the room. "And to be
sure you're right: God has given me a figure that can awaken none but
comic ideas in other people; a buffoon; but let me tell you, and I
repeat it, excuse an old man, my dear Rodion Romanovitch, you are a
man still young, so to say, in your first youth and so you put
intellect above everything, like all young people. Playful wit and
abstract arguments fascinate you and that's for all the world like the
old Austrian /Hof-kriegsrath/, as far as I can judge of military
matters, that is: on paper they'd beaten Napoleon and taken him
prisoner, and there in their study they worked it all out in the
cleverest fashion, but look you, General Mack surrendered with all his
army, he-he-he! I see, I see, Rodion Romanovitch, you are laughing at
a civilian like me, taking examples out of military history! But I
can't help it, it's my weakness. I am fond of military science. And
I'm ever so fond of reading all military histories. I've certainly
missed my proper career. I ought to have been in the army, upon my
word I ought. I shouldn't have been a Napoleon, but I might have been
a major, he-he! Well, I'll tell you the whole truth, my dear fellow,
about this /special case/, I mean: actual fact and a man's
temperament, my dear sir, are weighty matters and it's astonishing how
they sometimes deceive the sharpest calculation! I--listen to an old
man--am speaking seriously, Rodion Romanovitch" (as he said this
Porfiry Petrovitch, who was scarcely five-and-thirty, actually seemed
to have grown old; even his voice changed and he seemed to shrink
together) "Moreover, I'm a candid man . . . am I a candid man or not?
What do you say? I fancy I really am: I tell you these things for
nothing and don't even expect a reward for it, he-he! Well, to
proceed, wit in my opinion is a splendid thing, it is, so to say, an
adornment of nature and a consolation of life, and what tricks it can
play! So that it sometimes is hard for a poor examining lawyer to know
where he is, especially when he's liable to be carried away by his own
fancy, too, for you know he is a man after all! But the poor fellow is
saved by the criminal's temperament, worse luck for him! But young
people carried away by their own wit don't think of that 'when they
overstep all obstacles,' as you wittily and cleverly expressed it
yesterday. He will lie--that is, the man who is a /special case/, the
incognito, and he will lie well, in the cleverest fashion; you might
think he would triumph and enjoy the fruits of his wit, but at the
most interesting, the most flagrant moment he will faint. Of course
there may be illness and a stuffy room as well, but anyway! Anyway
he's given us the idea! He lied incomparably, but he didn't reckon on
his temperament. That's what betrays him! Another time he will be
carried away by his playful wit into making fun of the man who
suspects him, he will turn pale as it were on purpose to mislead, but
his paleness will be /too natural/, too much like the real thing,
again he has given us an idea! Though his questioner may be deceived
at first, he will think differently next day if he is not a fool, and,
of course, it is like that at every step! He puts himself forward
where he is not wanted, speaks continually when he ought to keep
silent, brings in all sorts of allegorical allusions, he-he! Comes and
asks why didn't you take me long ago? he-he-he! And that can happen,
you know, with the cleverest man, the psychologist, the literary man.
The temperament reflects everything like a mirror! Gaze into it and
admire what you see! But why are you so pale, Rodion Romanovitch? Is
the room stuffy? Shall I open the window?"

"Oh, don't trouble, please," cried Raskolnikov and he suddenly broke
into a laugh. "Please don't trouble."

Porfiry stood facing him, paused a moment and suddenly he too laughed.
Raskolnikov got up from the sofa, abruptly checking his hysterical

"Porfiry Petrovitch," he began, speaking loudly and distinctly, though
his legs trembled and he could scarcely stand. "I see clearly at last
that you actually suspect me of murdering that old woman and her
sister Lizaveta. Let me tell you for my part that I am sick of this.
If you find that you have a right to prosecute me legally, to arrest
me, then prosecute me, arrest me. But I will not let myself be jeered
at to my face and worried . . ."

His lips trembled, his eyes glowed with fury and he could not restrain
his voice.

"I won't allow it!" he shouted, bringing his fist down on the table.
"Do you hear that, Porfiry Petrovitch? I won't allow it."

"Good heavens! What does it mean?" cried Porfiry Petrovitch,
apparently quite frightened. "Rodion Romanovitch, my dear fellow, what
is the matter with you?"

"I won't allow it," Raskolnikov shouted again.

"Hush, my dear man! They'll hear and come in. Just think, what could
we say to them?" Porfiry Petrovitch whispered in horror, bringing his
face close to Raskolnikov's.

"I won't allow it, I won't allow it," Raskolnikov repeated
mechanically, but he too spoke in a sudden whisper.

Porfiry turned quickly and ran to open the window.

"Some fresh air! And you must have some water, my dear fellow. You're
ill!" and he was running to the door to call for some when he found a
decanter of water in the corner. "Come, drink a little," he whispered,
rushing up to him with the decanter. "It will be sure to do you good."

Porfiry Petrovitch's alarm and sympathy were so natural that
Raskolnikov was silent and began looking at him with wild curiosity.
He did not take the water, however.

"Rodion Romanovitch, my dear fellow, you'll drive yourself out of your
mind, I assure you, ach, ach! Have some water, do drink a little."

He forced him to take the glass. Raskolnikov raised it mechanically to
his lips, but set it on the table again with disgust.

"Yes, you've had a little attack! You'll bring back your illness
again, my dear fellow," Porfiry Petrovitch cackled with friendly
sympathy, though he still looked rather disconcerted. "Good heavens,
you must take more care of yourself! Dmitri Prokofitch was here, came
to see me yesterday--I know, I know, I've a nasty, ironical temper,
but what they made of it! . . . Good heavens, he came yesterday after
you'd been. We dined and he talked and talked away, and I could only
throw up my hands in despair! Did he come from you? But do sit down,
for mercy's sake, sit down!"

"No, not from me, but I knew he went to you and why he went,"
Raskolnikov answered sharply.

"You knew?"

"I knew. What of it?"

"Why this, Rodion Romanovitch, that I know more than that about you; I
know about everything. I know how you went /to take a flat/ at night
when it was dark and how you rang the bell and asked about the blood,
so that the workmen and the porter did not know what to make of it.
Yes, I understand your state of mind at that time . . . but you'll
drive yourself mad like that, upon my word! You'll lose your head!
You're full of generous indignation at the wrongs you've received,
first from destiny, and then from the police officers, and so you rush
from one thing to another to force them to speak out and make an end
of it all, because you are sick of all this suspicion and foolishness.
That's so, isn't it? I have guessed how you feel, haven't I? Only in
that way you'll lose your head and Razumihin's, too; he's too /good/ a
man for such a position, you must know that. You are ill and he is
good and your illness is infectious for him . . . I'll tell you about
it when you are more yourself. . . . But do sit down, for goodness'
sake. Please rest, you look shocking, do sit down."

Raskolnikov sat down; he no longer shivered, he was hot all over. In
amazement he listened with strained attention to Porfiry Petrovitch
who still seemed frightened as he looked after him with friendly
solicitude. But he did not believe a word he said, though he felt a
strange inclination to believe. Porfiry's unexpected words about the
flat had utterly overwhelmed him. "How can it be, he knows about the
flat then," he thought suddenly, "and he tells it me himself!"

"Yes, in our legal practice there was a case almost exactly similar, a
case of morbid psychology," Porfiry went on quickly. "A man confessed
to murder and how he kept it up! It was a regular hallucination; he
brought forward facts, he imposed upon everyone and why? He had been
partly, but only partly, unintentionally the cause of a murder and
when he knew that he had given the murderers the opportunity, he sank
into dejection, it got on his mind and turned his brain, he began
imagining things and he persuaded himself that he was the murderer.
But at last the High Court of Appeal went into it and the poor fellow
was acquitted and put under proper care. Thanks to the Court of
Appeal! Tut-tut-tut! Why, my dear fellow, you may drive yourself into
delirium if you have the impulse to work upon your nerves, to go
ringing bells at night and asking about blood! I've studied all this
morbid psychology in my practice. A man is sometimes tempted to jump
out of a window or from a belfry. Just the same with bell-ringing.
. . . It's all illness, Rodion Romanovitch! You have begun to neglect
your illness. You should consult an experienced doctor, what's the
good of that fat fellow? You are lightheaded! You were delirious when
you did all this!"

For a moment Raskolnikov felt everything going round.

"Is it possible, is it possible," flashed through his mind, "that he
is still lying? He can't be, he can't be." He rejected that idea,
feeling to what a degree of fury it might drive him, feeling that that
fury might drive him mad.

"I was not delirious. I knew what I was doing," he cried, straining
every faculty to penetrate Porfiry's game, "I was quite myself, do you

"Yes, I hear and understand. You said yesterday you were not
delirious, you were particularly emphatic about it! I understand all
you can tell me! A-ach! . . . Listen, Rodion Romanovitch, my dear
fellow. If you were actually a criminal, or were somehow mixed up in
this damnable business, would you insist that you were not delirious
but in full possession of your faculties? And so emphatically and
persistently? Would it be possible? Quite impossible, to my thinking.
If you had anything on your conscience, you certainly ought to insist
that you were delirious. That's so, isn't it?"

There was a note of slyness in this inquiry. Raskolnikov drew back on
the sofa as Porfiry bent over him and stared in silent perplexity at

"Another thing about Razumihin--you certainly ought to have said that
he came of his own accord, to have concealed your part in it! But you
don't conceal it! You lay stress on his coming at your instigation."

Raskolnikov had not done so. A chill went down his back.

"You keep telling lies," he said slowly and weakly, twisting his lips
into a sickly smile, "you are trying again to show that you know all
my game, that you know all I shall say beforehand," he said, conscious
himself that he was not weighing his words as he ought. "You want to
frighten me . . . or you are simply laughing at me . . ."

He still stared at him as he said this and again there was a light of
intense hatred in his eyes.

"You keep lying," he said. "You know perfectly well that the best
policy for the criminal is to tell the truth as nearly as possible
. . . to conceal as little as possible. I don't believe you!"

"What a wily person you are!" Porfiry tittered, "there's no catching
you; you've a perfect monomania. So you don't believe me? But still
you do believe me, you believe a quarter; I'll soon make you believe
the whole, because I have a sincere liking for you and genuinely wish
you good."

Raskolnikov's lips trembled.

"Yes, I do," went on Porfiry, touching Raskolnikov's arm genially,
"you must take care of your illness. Besides, your mother and sister
are here now; you must think of them. You must soothe and comfort them
and you do nothing but frighten them . . ."

"What has that to do with you? How do you know it? What concern is it
of yours? You are keeping watch on me and want to let me know it?"

"Good heavens! Why, I learnt it all from you yourself! You don't
notice that in your excitement you tell me and others everything. From
Razumihin, too, I learnt a number of interesting details yesterday.
No, you interrupted me, but I must tell you that, for all your wit,
your suspiciousness makes you lose the common-sense view of things. To
return to bell-ringing, for instance. I, an examining lawyer, have
betrayed a precious thing like that, a real fact (for it is a fact
worth having), and you see nothing in it! Why, if I had the slightest
suspicion of you, should I have acted like that? No, I should first
have disarmed your suspicions and not let you see I knew of that fact,
should have diverted your attention and suddenly have dealt you a
knock-down blow (your expression) saying: 'And what were you doing,
sir, pray, at ten or nearly eleven at the murdered woman's flat and
why did you ring the bell and why did you ask about blood? And why did
you invite the porters to go with you to the police station, to the
lieutenant?' That's how I ought to have acted if I had a grain of
suspicion of you. I ought to have taken your evidence in due form,
searched your lodging and perhaps have arrested you, too . . . so I
have no suspicion of you, since I have not done that! But you can't
look at it normally and you see nothing, I say again."

Raskolnikov started so that Porfiry Petrovitch could not fail to
perceive it.

"You are lying all the while," he cried, "I don't know your object,
but you are lying. You did not speak like that just now and I cannot
be mistaken!"

"I am lying?" Porfiry repeated, apparently incensed, but preserving a
good-humoured and ironical face, as though he were not in the least
concerned at Raskolnikov's opinion of him. "I am lying . . . but how
did I treat you just now, I, the examining lawyer? Prompting you and
giving you every means for your defence; illness, I said, delirium,
injury, melancholy and the police officers and all the rest of it? Ah!
He-he-he! Though, indeed, all those psychological means of defence are
not very reliable and cut both ways: illness, delirium, I don't
remember--that's all right, but why, my good sir, in your illness and
in your delirium were you haunted by just those delusions and not by
any others? There may have been others, eh? He-he-he!"

Raskolnikov looked haughtily and contemptuously at him.

"Briefly," he said loudly and imperiously, rising to his feet and in
so doing pushing Porfiry back a little, "briefly, I want to know, do
you acknowledge me perfectly free from suspicion or not? Tell me,
Porfiry Petrovitch, tell me once for all and make haste!"

"What a business I'm having with you!" cried Porfiry with a perfectly
good-humoured, sly and composed face. "And why do you want to know,
why do you want to know so much, since they haven't begun to worry
you? Why, you are like a child asking for matches! And why are you so
uneasy? Why do you force yourself upon us, eh? He-he-he!"

"I repeat," Raskolnikov cried furiously, "that I can't put up with

"With what? Uncertainty?" interrupted Porfiry.

"Don't jeer at me! I won't have it! I tell you I won't have it. I
can't and I won't, do you hear, do you hear?" he shouted, bringing his
fist down on the table again.

"Hush! Hush! They'll overhear! I warn you seriously, take care of
yourself. I am not joking," Porfiry whispered, but this time there was
not the look of old womanish good nature and alarm in his face. Now he
was peremptory, stern, frowning and for once laying aside all

But this was only for an instant. Raskolnikov, bewildered, suddenly
fell into actual frenzy, but, strange to say, he again obeyed the
command to speak quietly, though he was in a perfect paroxysm of fury.

"I will not allow myself to be tortured," he whispered, instantly
recognising with hatred that he could not help obeying the command and
driven to even greater fury by the thought. "Arrest me, search me, but
kindly act in due form and don't play with me! Don't dare!"

"Don't worry about the form," Porfiry interrupted with the same sly
smile, as it were, gloating with enjoyment over Raskolnikov. "I
invited you to see me quite in a friendly way."

"I don't want your friendship and I spit on it! Do you hear? And,
here, I take my cap and go. What will you say now if you mean to
arrest me?"

He took up his cap and went to the door.

"And won't you see my little surprise?" chuckled Porfiry, again taking
him by the arm and stopping him at the door.

He seemed to become more playful and good-humoured which maddened

"What surprise?" he asked, standing still and looking at Porfiry in

"My little surprise, it's sitting there behind the door, he-he-he!"
(He pointed to the locked door.) "I locked him in that he should not

"What is it? Where? What? . . ."

Raskolnikov walked to the door and would have opened it, but it was

"It's locked, here is the key!"

And he brought a key out of his pocket.

"You are lying," roared Raskolnikov without restraint, "you lie, you
damned punchinello!" and he rushed at Porfiry who retreated to the
other door, not at all alarmed.

"I understand it all! You are lying and mocking so that I may betray
myself to you . . ."

"Why, you could not betray yourself any further, my dear Rodion
Romanovitch. You are in a passion. Don't shout, I shall call the

"You are lying! Call the clerks! You knew I was ill and tried to work
me into a frenzy to make me betray myself, that was your object!
Produce your facts! I understand it all. You've no evidence, you have
only wretched rubbishly suspicions like Zametov's! You knew my
character, you wanted to drive me to fury and then to knock me down
with priests and deputies. . . . Are you waiting for them? eh! What
are you waiting for? Where are they? Produce them?"

"Why deputies, my good man? What things people will imagine! And to do
so would not be acting in form as you say, you don't know the
business, my dear fellow. . . . And there's no escaping form, as you
see," Porfiry muttered, listening at the door through which a noise
could be heard.

"Ah, they're coming," cried Raskolnikov. "You've sent for them! You
expected them! Well, produce them all: your deputies, your witnesses,
what you like! . . . I am ready!"

But at this moment a strange incident occurred, something so
unexpected that neither Raskolnikov nor Porfiry Petrovitch could have
looked for such a conclusion to their interview.


When he remembered the scene afterwards, this is how Raskolnikov saw

The noise behind the door increased, and suddenly the door was opened
a little.

"What is it?" cried Porfiry Petrovitch, annoyed. "Why, I gave
orders . . ."

For an instant there was no answer, but it was evident that there were
several persons at the door, and that they were apparently pushing
somebody back.

"What is it?" Porfiry Petrovitch repeated, uneasily.

"The prisoner Nikolay has been brought," someone answered.

"He is not wanted! Take him away! Let him wait! What's he doing here?
How irregular!" cried Porfiry, rushing to the door.

"But he . . ." began the same voice, and suddenly ceased.

Two seconds, not more, were spent in actual struggle, then someone
gave a violent shove, and then a man, very pale, strode into the room.

This man's appearance was at first sight very strange. He stared
straight before him, as though seeing nothing. There was a determined
gleam in his eyes; at the same time there was a deathly pallor in his
face, as though he were being led to the scaffold. His white lips were
faintly twitching.

He was dressed like a workman and was of medium height, very young,
slim, his hair cut in round crop, with thin spare features. The man
whom he had thrust back followed him into the room and succeeded in
seizing him by the shoulder; he was a warder; but Nikolay pulled his
arm away.

Several persons crowded inquisitively into the doorway. Some of them
tried to get in. All this took place almost instantaneously.

"Go away, it's too soon! Wait till you are sent for! . . . Why have
you brought him so soon?" Porfiry Petrovitch muttered, extremely
annoyed, and as it were thrown out of his reckoning.

But Nikolay suddenly knelt down.

"What's the matter?" cried Porfiry, surprised.

"I am guilty! Mine is the sin! I am the murderer," Nikolay articulated
suddenly, rather breathless, but speaking fairly loudly.

For ten seconds there was silence as though all had been struck dumb;
even the warder stepped back, mechanically retreated to the door, and
stood immovable.

"What is it?" cried Porfiry Petrovitch, recovering from his momentary

"I . . . am the murderer," repeated Nikolay, after a brief pause.

"What . . . you . . . what . . . whom did you kill?" Porfiry
Petrovitch was obviously bewildered.

Nikolay again was silent for a moment.

"Alyona Ivanovna and her sister Lizaveta Ivanovna, I . . . killed
. . . with an axe. Darkness came over me," he added suddenly, and was
again silent.

He still remained on his knees. Porfiry Petrovitch stood for some
moments as though meditating, but suddenly roused himself and waved
back the uninvited spectators. They instantly vanished and closed the
door. Then he looked towards Raskolnikov, who was standing in the
corner, staring wildly at Nikolay and moved towards him, but stopped
short, looked from Nikolay to Raskolnikov and then again at Nikolay,
and seeming unable to restrain himself darted at the latter.

"You're in too great a hurry," he shouted at him, almost angrily. "I
didn't ask you what came over you. . . . Speak, did you kill them?"

"I am the murderer. . . . I want to give evidence," Nikolay

"Ach! What did you kill them with?"

"An axe. I had it ready."

"Ach, he is in a hurry! Alone?"

Nikolay did not understand the question.

"Did you do it alone?"

"Yes, alone. And Mitka is not guilty and had no share in it."

"Don't be in a hurry about Mitka! A-ach! How was it you ran downstairs
like that at the time? The porters met you both!"

"It was to put them off the scent . . . I ran after Mitka," Nikolay
replied hurriedly, as though he had prepared the answer.

"I knew it!" cried Porfiry, with vexation. "It's not his own tale he
is telling," he muttered as though to himself, and suddenly his eyes
rested on Raskolnikov again.

He was apparently so taken up with Nikolay that for a moment he had
forgotten Raskolnikov. He was a little taken aback.

"My dear Rodion Romanovitch, excuse me!" he flew up to him, "this
won't do; I'm afraid you must go . . . it's no good your staying . . .
I will . . . you see, what a surprise! . . . Good-bye!"

And taking him by the arm, he showed him to the door.

"I suppose you didn't expect it?" said Raskolnikov who, though he had
not yet fully grasped the situation, had regained his courage.

"You did not expect it either, my friend. See how your hand is
trembling! He-he!"

"You're trembling, too, Porfiry Petrovitch!"

"Yes, I am; I didn't expect it."

They were already at the door; Porfiry was impatient for Raskolnikov
to be gone.

"And your little surprise, aren't you going to show it to me?"
Raskolnikov said, sarcastically.

"Why, his teeth are chattering as he asks, he-he! You are an ironical
person! Come, till we meet!"

"I believe we can say /good-bye/!"

"That's in God's hands," muttered Porfiry, with an unnatural smile.

As he walked through the office, Raskolnikov noticed that many people
were looking at him. Among them he saw the two porters from /the/
house, whom he had invited that night to the police station. They
stood there waiting. But he was no sooner on the stairs than he heard
the voice of Porfiry Petrovitch behind him. Turning round, he saw the
latter running after him, out of breath.

"One word, Rodion Romanovitch; as to all the rest, it's in God's
hands, but as a matter of form there are some questions I shall have
to ask you . . . so we shall meet again, shan't we?"

And Porfiry stood still, facing him with a smile.

"Shan't we?" he added again.

He seemed to want to say something more, but could not speak out.

"You must forgive me, Porfiry Petrovitch, for what has just passed
. . . I lost my temper," began Raskolnikov, who had so far regained
his courage that he felt irresistibly inclined to display his

"Don't mention it, don't mention it," Porfiry replied, almost
gleefully. "I myself, too . . . I have a wicked temper, I admit it!
But we shall meet again. If it's God's will, we may see a great deal
of one another."

"And will get to know each other through and through?" added

"Yes; know each other through and through," assented Porfiry
Petrovitch, and he screwed up his eyes, looking earnestly at
Raskolnikov. "Now you're going to a birthday party?"

"To a funeral."

"Of course, the funeral! Take care of yourself, and get well."

"I don't know what to wish you," said Raskolnikov, who had begun to
descend the stairs, but looked back again. "I should like to wish you
success, but your office is such a comical one."

"Why comical?" Porfiry Petrovitch had turned to go, but he seemed to
prick up his ears at this.

"Why, how you must have been torturing and harassing that poor Nikolay
psychologically, after your fashion, till he confessed! You must have
been at him day and night, proving to him that he was the murderer,
and now that he has confessed, you'll begin vivisecting him again.
'You are lying,' you'll say. 'You are not the murderer! You can't be!
It's not your own tale you are telling!' You must admit it's a comical

"He-he-he! You noticed then that I said to Nikolay just now that it
was not his own tale he was telling?"

"How could I help noticing it!"

"He-he! You are quick-witted. You notice everything! You've really a
playful mind! And you always fasten on the comic side . . . he-he!
They say that was the marked characteristic of Gogol, among the

"Yes, of Gogol."

"Yes, of Gogol. . . . I shall look forward to meeting you."

"So shall I."

Raskolnikov walked straight home. He was so muddled and bewildered
that on getting home he sat for a quarter of an hour on the sofa,
trying to collect his thoughts. He did not attempt to think about
Nikolay; he was stupefied; he felt that his confession was something
inexplicable, amazing--something beyond his understanding. But
Nikolay's confession was an actual fact. The consequences of this fact
were clear to him at once, its falsehood could not fail to be
discovered, and then they would be after him again. Till then, at
least, he was free and must do something for himself, for the danger
was imminent.

But how imminent? His position gradually became clear to him.
Remembering, sketchily, the main outlines of his recent scene with
Porfiry, he could not help shuddering again with horror. Of course, he
did not yet know all Porfiry's aims, he could not see into all his
calculations. But he had already partly shown his hand, and no one
knew better than Raskolnikov how terrible Porfiry's "lead" had been
for him. A little more and he /might/ have given himself away
completely, circumstantially. Knowing his nervous temperament and from
the first glance seeing through him, Porfiry, though playing a bold
game, was bound to win. There's no denying that Raskolnikov had
compromised himself seriously, but no /facts/ had come to light as
yet; there was nothing positive. But was he taking a true view of the
position? Wasn't he mistaken? What had Porfiry been trying to get at?
Had he really some surprise prepared for him? And what was it? Had he
really been expecting something or not? How would they have parted if
it had not been for the unexpected appearance of Nikolay?

Porfiry had shown almost all his cards--of course, he had risked
something in showing them--and if he had really had anything up his
sleeve (Raskolnikov reflected), he would have shown that, too. What
was that "surprise"? Was it a joke? Had it meant anything? Could it
have concealed anything like a fact, a piece of positive evidence? His
yesterday's visitor? What had become of him? Where was he to-day? If
Porfiry really had any evidence, it must be connected with him. . . .

He sat on the sofa with his elbows on his knees and his face hidden in
his hands. He was still shivering nervously. At last he got up, took
his cap, thought a minute, and went to the door.

He had a sort of presentiment that for to-day, at least, he might
consider himself out of danger. He had a sudden sense almost of joy;
he wanted to make haste to Katerina Ivanovna's. He would be too late
for the funeral, of course, but he would be in time for the memorial
dinner, and there at once he would see Sonia.

He stood still, thought a moment, and a suffering smile came for a
moment on to his lips.

"To-day! To-day," he repeated to himself. "Yes, to-day! So it must
be. . . ."

But as he was about to open the door, it began opening of itself. He
started and moved back. The door opened gently and slowly, and there
suddenly appeared a figure--yesterday's visitor /from underground/.

The man stood in the doorway, looked at Raskolnikov without speaking,
and took a step forward into the room. He was exactly the same as
yesterday; the same figure, the same dress, but there was a great
change in his face; he looked dejected and sighed deeply. If he had
only put his hand up to his cheek and leaned his head on one side he
would have looked exactly like a peasant woman.

"What do you want?" asked Raskolnikov, numb with terror. The man was
still silent, but suddenly he bowed down almost to the ground,
touching it with his finger.

"What is it?" cried Raskolnikov.

"I have sinned," the man articulated softly.


"By evil thoughts."

They looked at one another.

"I was vexed. When you came, perhaps in drink, and bade the porters go
to the police station and asked about the blood, I was vexed that they
let you go and took you for drunken. I was so vexed that I lost my
sleep. And remembering the address we came here yesterday and asked
for you. . . ."

"Who came?" Raskolnikov interrupted, instantly beginning to recollect.

"I did, I've wronged you."

"Then you come from that house?"

"I was standing at the gate with them . . . don't you remember? We
have carried on our trade in that house for years past. We cure and
prepare hides, we take work home . . . most of all I was vexed. . . ."

And the whole scene of the day before yesterday in the gateway came
clearly before Raskolnikov's mind; he recollected that there had been
several people there besides the porters, women among them. He
remembered one voice had suggested taking him straight to the police-
station. He could not recall the face of the speaker, and even now he
did not recognise it, but he remembered that he had turned round and
made him some answer. . . .

So this was the solution of yesterday's horror. The most awful thought
was that he had been actually almost lost, had almost done for himself
on account of such a /trivial/ circumstance. So this man could tell
nothing except his asking about the flat and the blood stains. So
Porfiry, too, had nothing but that /delirium/, no facts but this
/psychology/ which /cuts both ways/, nothing positive. So if no more
facts come to light (and they must not, they must not!) then . . .
then what can they do to him? How can they convict him, even if they
arrest him? And Porfiry then had only just heard about the flat and
had not known about it before.

"Was it you who told Porfiry . . . that I'd been there?" he cried,
struck by a sudden idea.

"What Porfiry?"

"The head of the detective department?"

"Yes. The porters did not go there, but I went."


"I got there two minutes before you. And I heard, I heard it all, how
he worried you."

"Where? What? When?"

"Why, in the next room. I was sitting there all the time."

"What? Why, then you were the surprise? But how could it happen? Upon
my word!"

"I saw that the porters did not want to do what I said," began the
man; "for it's too late, said they, and maybe he'll be angry that we
did not come at the time. I was vexed and I lost my sleep, and I began
making inquiries. And finding out yesterday where to go, I went
to-day. The first time I went he wasn't there, when I came an hour
later he couldn't see me. I went the third time, and they showed me
in. I informed him of everything, just as it happened, and he began
skipping about the room and punching himself on the chest. 'What do
you scoundrels mean by it? If I'd known about it I should have
arrested him!' Then he ran out, called somebody and began talking to
him in the corner, then he turned to me, scolding and questioning me.
He scolded me a great deal; and I told him everything, and I told him
that you didn't dare to say a word in answer to me yesterday and that
you didn't recognise me. And he fell to running about again and kept
hitting himself on the chest, and getting angry and running about, and
when you were announced he told me to go into the next room. 'Sit
there a bit,' he said. 'Don't move, whatever you may hear.' And he set
a chair there for me and locked me in. 'Perhaps,' he said, 'I may call
you.' And when Nikolay'd been brought he let me out as soon as you
were gone. 'I shall send for you again and question you,' he said."

"And did he question Nikolay while you were there?"

"He got rid of me as he did of you, before he spoke to Nikolay."

The man stood still, and again suddenly bowed down, touching the
ground with his finger.

"Forgive me for my evil thoughts, and my slander."

"May God forgive you," answered Raskolnikov.

And as he said this, the man bowed down again, but not to the ground,
turned slowly and went out of the room.

"It all cuts both ways, now it all cuts both ways," repeated
Raskolnikov, and he went out more confident than ever.

"Now we'll make a fight for it," he said, with a malicious smile, as
he went down the stairs. His malice was aimed at himself; with shame
and contempt he recollected his "cowardice."



The morning that followed the fateful interview with Dounia and her
mother brought sobering influences to bear on Pyotr Petrovitch.
Intensely unpleasant as it was, he was forced little by little to
accept as a fact beyond recall what had seemed to him only the day
before fantastic and incredible. The black snake of wounded vanity had
been gnawing at his heart all night. When he got out of bed, Pyotr
Petrovitch immediately looked in the looking-glass. He was afraid that
he had jaundice. However his health seemed unimpaired so far, and
looking at his noble, clear-skinned countenance which had grown
fattish of late, Pyotr Petrovitch for an instant was positively
comforted in the conviction that he would find another bride and,
perhaps, even a better one. But coming back to the sense of his
present position, he turned aside and spat vigorously, which excited a
sarcastic smile in Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov, the young friend
with whom he was staying. That smile Pyotr Petrovitch noticed, and at
once set it down against his young friend's account. He had set down a
good many points against him of late. His anger was redoubled when he
reflected that he ought not to have told Andrey Semyonovitch about the
result of yesterday's interview. That was the second mistake he had
made in temper, through impulsiveness and irritability. . . .
Moreover, all that morning one unpleasantness followed another. He
even found a hitch awaiting him in his legal case in the senate. He
was particularly irritated by the owner of the flat which had been
taken in view of his approaching marriage and was being redecorated at
his own expense; the owner, a rich German tradesman, would not
entertain the idea of breaking the contract which had just been signed
and insisted on the full forfeit money, though Pyotr Petrovitch would
be giving him back the flat practically redecorated. In the same way
the upholsterers refused to return a single rouble of the instalment
paid for the furniture purchased but not yet removed to the flat.

"Am I to get married simply for the sake of the furniture?" Pyotr
Petrovitch ground his teeth and at the same time once more he had a
gleam of desperate hope. "Can all that be really so irrevocably over?
Is it no use to make another effort?" The thought of Dounia sent a
voluptuous pang through his heart. He endured anguish at that moment,
and if it had been possible to slay Raskolnikov instantly by wishing
it, Pyotr Petrovitch would promptly have uttered the wish.

"It was my mistake, too, not to have given them money," he thought, as
he returned dejectedly to Lebeziatnikov's room, "and why on earth was
I such a Jew? It was false economy! I meant to keep them without a
penny so that they should turn to me as their providence, and look at
them! foo! If I'd spent some fifteen hundred roubles on them for the
trousseau and presents, on knick-knacks, dressing-cases, jewellery,
materials, and all that sort of trash from Knopp's and the English
shop, my position would have been better and . . . stronger! They
could not have refused me so easily! They are the sort of people that
would feel bound to return money and presents if they broke it off;
and they would find it hard to do it! And their conscience would prick
them: how can we dismiss a man who has hitherto been so generous and
delicate?. . . . H'm! I've made a blunder."

And grinding his teeth again, Pyotr Petrovitch called himself a fool--
but not aloud, of course.

He returned home, twice as irritated and angry as before. The
preparations for the funeral dinner at Katerina Ivanovna's excited his
curiosity as he passed. He had heard about it the day before; he
fancied, indeed, that he had been invited, but absorbed in his own
cares he had paid no attention. Inquiring of Madame Lippevechsel who
was busy laying the table while Katerina Ivanovna was away at the
cemetery, he heard that the entertainment was to be a great affair,
that all the lodgers had been invited, among them some who had not
known the dead man, that even Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov was
invited in spite of his previous quarrel with Katerina Ivanovna, that
he, Pyotr Petrovitch, was not only invited, but was eagerly expected
as he was the most important of the lodgers. Amalia Ivanovna herself
had been invited with great ceremony in spite of the recent
unpleasantness, and so she was very busy with preparations and was
taking a positive pleasure in them; she was moreover dressed up to the
nines, all in new black silk, and she was proud of it. All this
suggested an idea to Pyotr Petrovitch and he went into his room, or
rather Lebeziatnikov's, somewhat thoughtful. He had learnt that
Raskolnikov was to be one of the guests.

Andrey Semyonovitch had been at home all the morning. The attitude of
Pyotr Petrovitch to this gentleman was strange, though perhaps
natural. Pyotr Petrovitch had despised and hated him from the day he
came to stay with him and at the same time he seemed somewhat afraid
of him. He had not come to stay with him on his arrival in Petersburg
simply from parsimony, though that had been perhaps his chief object.
He had heard of Andrey Semyonovitch, who had once been his ward, as a
leading young progressive who was taking an important part in certain
interesting circles, the doings of which were a legend in the
provinces. It had impressed Pyotr Petrovitch. These powerful
omniscient circles who despised everyone and showed everyone up had
long inspired in him a peculiar but quite vague alarm. He had not, of
course, been able to form even an approximate notion of what they
meant. He, like everyone, had heard that there were, especially in
Petersburg, progressives of some sort, nihilists and so on, and, like
many people, he exaggerated and distorted the significance of those
words to an absurd degree. What for many years past he had feared more
than anything was /being shown up/ and this was the chief ground for
his continual uneasiness at the thought of transferring his business
to Petersburg. He was afraid of this as little children are sometimes
panic-stricken. Some years before, when he was just entering on his
own career, he had come upon two cases in which rather important
personages in the province, patrons of his, had been cruelly shown up.
One instance had ended in great scandal for the person attacked and
the other had very nearly ended in serious trouble. For this reason
Pyotr Petrovitch intended to go into the subject as soon as he reached
Petersburg and, if necessary, to anticipate contingencies by seeking
the favour of "our younger generation." He relied on Andrey
Semyonovitch for this and before his visit to Raskolnikov he had
succeeded in picking up some current phrases. He soon discovered that
Andrey Semyonovitch was a commonplace simpleton, but that by no means
reassured Pyotr Petrovitch. Even if he had been certain that all the
progressives were fools like him, it would not have allayed his
uneasiness. All the doctrines, the ideas, the systems, with which
Andrey Semyonovitch pestered him had no interest for him. He had his
own object--he simply wanted to find out at once what was happening
/here/. Had these people any power or not? Had he anything to fear
from them? Would they expose any enterprise of his? And what precisely
was now the object of their attacks? Could he somehow make up to them
and get round them if they really were powerful? Was this the thing to
do or not? Couldn't he gain something through them? In fact hundreds
of questions presented themselves.

Andrey Semyonovitch was an anæmic, scrofulous little man, with
strangely flaxen mutton-chop whiskers of which he was very proud. He
was a clerk and had almost always something wrong with his eyes. He
was rather soft-hearted, but self-confident and sometimes extremely
conceited in speech, which had an absurd effect, incongruous with his
little figure. He was one of the lodgers most respected by Amalia
Ivanovna, for he did not get drunk and paid regularly for his
lodgings. Andrey Semyonovitch really was rather stupid; he attached
himself to the cause of progress and "our younger generation" from
enthusiasm. He was one of the numerous and varied legion of dullards,
of half-animate abortions, conceited, half-educated coxcombs, who
attach themselves to the idea most in fashion only to vulgarise it and
who caricature every cause they serve, however sincerely.

Though Lebeziatnikov was so good-natured, he, too, was beginning to
dislike Pyotr Petrovitch. This happened on both sides unconsciously.
However simple Andrey Semyonovitch might be, he began to see that
Pyotr Petrovitch was duping him and secretly despising him, and that
"he was not the right sort of man." He had tried expounding to him the
system of Fourier and the Darwinian theory, but of late Pyotr
Petrovitch began to listen too sarcastically and even to be rude. The
fact was he had begun instinctively to guess that Lebeziatnikov was
not merely a commonplace simpleton, but, perhaps, a liar, too, and
that he had no connections of any consequence even in his own circle,
but had simply picked things up third-hand; and that very likely he
did not even know much about his own work of propaganda, for he was in
too great a muddle. A fine person he would be to show anyone up! It
must be noted, by the way, that Pyotr Petrovitch had during those ten
days eagerly accepted the strangest praise from Andrey Semyonovitch;
he had not protested, for instance, when Andrey Semyonovitch belauded
him for being ready to contribute to the establishment of the new
"commune," or to abstain from christening his future children, or to
acquiesce if Dounia were to take a lover a month after marriage, and
so on. Pyotr Petrovitch so enjoyed hearing his own praises that he did
not disdain even such virtues when they were attributed to him.

Pyotr Petrovitch had had occasion that morning to realise some five-
per-cent bonds and now he sat down to the table and counted over
bundles of notes. Andrey Semyonovitch who hardly ever had any money
walked about the room pretending to himself to look at all those bank
notes with indifference and even contempt. Nothing would have
convinced Pyotr Petrovitch that Andrey Semyonovitch could really look
on the money unmoved, and the latter, on his side, kept thinking
bitterly that Pyotr Petrovitch was capable of entertaining such an
idea about him and was, perhaps, glad of the opportunity of teasing
his young friend by reminding him of his inferiority and the great
difference between them.

He found him incredibly inattentive and irritable, though he, Andrey
Semyonovitch, began enlarging on his favourite subject, the foundation
of a new special "commune." The brief remarks that dropped from Pyotr
Petrovitch between the clicking of the beads on the reckoning frame
betrayed unmistakable and discourteous irony. But the "humane" Andrey
Semyonovitch ascribed Pyotr Petrovitch's ill-humour to his recent
breach with Dounia and he was burning with impatience to discourse on
that theme. He had something progressive to say on the subject which
might console his worthy friend and "could not fail" to promote his

"There is some sort of festivity being prepared at that . . . at the
widow's, isn't there?" Pyotr Petrovitch asked suddenly, interrupting
Andrey Semyonovitch at the most interesting passage.

"Why, don't you know? Why, I was telling you last night what I think
about all such ceremonies. And she invited you too, I heard. You were
talking to her yesterday . . ."

"I should never have expected that beggarly fool would have spent on
this feast all the money she got from that other fool, Raskolnikov. I
was surprised just now as I came through at the preparations there,
the wines! Several people are invited. It's beyond everything!"
continued Pyotr Petrovitch, who seemed to have some object in pursuing
the conversation. "What? You say I am asked too? When was that? I
don't remember. But I shan't go. Why should I? I only said a word to
her in passing yesterday of the possibility of her obtaining a year's
salary as a destitute widow of a government clerk. I suppose she has
invited me on that account, hasn't she? He-he-he!"

"I don't intend to go either," said Lebeziatnikov.

"I should think not, after giving her a thrashing! You might well
hesitate, he-he!"

"Who thrashed? Whom?" cried Lebeziatnikov, flustered and blushing.

"Why, you thrashed Katerina Ivanovna a month ago. I heard so yesterday
. . . so that's what your convictions amount to . . . and the woman
question, too, wasn't quite sound, he-he-he!" and Pyotr Petrovitch, as
though comforted, went back to clicking his beads.

"It's all slander and nonsense!" cried Lebeziatnikov, who was always
afraid of allusions to the subject. "It was not like that at all, it
was quite different. You've heard it wrong; it's a libel. I was simply
defending myself. She rushed at me first with her nails, she pulled
out all my whiskers. . . . It's permissable for anyone, I should hope,
to defend himself and I never allow anyone to use violence to me on
principle, for it's an act of despotism. What was I to do? I simply
pushed her back."

"He-he-he!" Luzhin went on laughing maliciously.

"You keep on like that because you are out of humour yourself. . . .
But that's nonsense and it has nothing, nothing whatever to do with
the woman question! You don't understand; I used to think, indeed,
that if women are equal to men in all respects, even in strength (as
is maintained now) there ought to be equality in that, too. Of course,
I reflected afterwards that such a question ought not really to arise,
for there ought not to be fighting and in the future society fighting
is unthinkable . . . and that it would be a queer thing to seek for
equality in fighting. I am not so stupid . . . though, of course,
there is fighting . . . there won't be later, but at present there is
. . . confound it! How muddled one gets with you! It's not on that
account that I am not going. I am not going on principle, not to take
part in the revolting convention of memorial dinners, that's why!
Though, of course, one might go to laugh at it. . . . I am sorry there
won't be any priests at it. I should certainly go if there were."

"Then you would sit down at another man's table and insult it and
those who invited you. Eh?"

"Certainly not insult, but protest. I should do it with a good object.
I might indirectly assist the cause of enlightenment and propaganda.
It's a duty of every man to work for enlightenment and propaganda and
the more harshly, perhaps, the better. I might drop a seed, an idea.
. . . And something might grow up from that seed. How should I be
insulting them? They might be offended at first, but afterwards they'd
see I'd done them a service. You know, Terebyeva (who is in the
community now) was blamed because when she left her family and . . .
devoted . . . herself, she wrote to her father and mother that she
wouldn't go on living conventionally and was entering on a free
marriage and it was said that that was too harsh, that she might have
spared them and have written more kindly. I think that's all nonsense
and there's no need of softness; on the contrary, what's wanted is
protest. Varents had been married seven years, she abandoned her two
children, she told her husband straight out in a letter: 'I have
realised that I cannot be happy with you. I can never forgive you that
you have deceived me by concealing from me that there is another
organisation of society by means of the communities. I have only
lately learned it from a great-hearted man to whom I have given myself
and with whom I am establishing a community. I speak plainly because I
consider it dishonest to deceive you. Do as you think best. Do not
hope to get me back, you are too late. I hope you will be happy.'
That's how letters like that ought to be written!"

"Is that Terebyeva the one you said had made a third free marriage?"

"No, it's only the second, really! But what if it were the fourth,
what if it were the fifteenth, that's all nonsense! And if ever I
regretted the death of my father and mother, it is now, and I
sometimes think if my parents were living what a protest I would have
aimed at them! I would have done something on purpose . . . I would
have shown them! I would have astonished them! I am really sorry there
is no one!"

"To surprise! He-he! Well, be that as you will," Pyotr Petrovitch
interrupted, "but tell me this; do you know the dead man's daughter,
the delicate-looking little thing? It's true what they say about her,
isn't it?"

"What of it? I think, that is, it is my own personal conviction that
this is the normal condition of women. Why not? I mean, /distinguons/.
In our present society it is not altogether normal, because it is
compulsory, but in the future society it will be perfectly normal,
because it will be voluntary. Even as it is, she was quite right: she
was suffering and that was her asset, so to speak, her capital which
she had a perfect right to dispose of. Of course, in the future
society there will be no need of assets, but her part will have
another significance, rational and in harmony with her environment. As
to Sofya Semyonovna personally, I regard her action as a vigorous
protest against the organisation of society, and I respect her deeply
for it; I rejoice indeed when I look at her!"

"I was told that you got her turned out of these lodgings."

Lebeziatnikov was enraged.

"That's another slander," he yelled. "It was not so at all! That was
all Katerina Ivanovna's invention, for she did not understand! And I
never made love to Sofya Semyonovna! I was simply developing her,
entirely disinterestedly, trying to rouse her to protest. . . . All I
wanted was her protest and Sofya Semyonovna could not have remained
here anyway!"

"Have you asked her to join your community?"

"You keep on laughing and very inappropriately, allow me to tell you.
You don't understand! There is no such rôle in a community. The
community is established that there should be no such rôles. In a
community, such a rôle is essentially transformed and what is stupid
here is sensible there, what, under present conditions, is unnatural
becomes perfectly natural in the community. It all depends on the
environment. It's all the environment and man himself is nothing. And
I am on good terms with Sofya Semyonovna to this day, which is a proof
that she never regarded me as having wronged her. I am trying now to
attract her to the community, but on quite, quite a different footing.
What are you laughing at? We are trying to establish a community of
our own, a special one, on a broader basis. We have gone further in
our convictions. We reject more! And meanwhile I'm still developing
Sofya Semyonovna. She has a beautiful, beautiful character!"

"And you take advantage of her fine character, eh? He-he!"

"No, no! Oh, no! On the contrary."

"Oh, on the contrary! He-he-he! A queer thing to say!"

"Believe me! Why should I disguise it? In fact, I feel it strange
myself how timid, chaste and modern she is with me!"

"And you, of course, are developing her . . . he-he! trying to prove
to her that all that modesty is nonsense?"

"Not at all, not at all! How coarsely, how stupidly--excuse me saying
so--you misunderstand the word development! Good heavens, how . . .
crude you still are! We are striving for the freedom of women and you
have only one idea in your head. . . . Setting aside the general
question of chastity and feminine modesty as useless in themselves and
indeed prejudices, I fully accept her chastity with me, because that's
for her to decide. Of course if she were to tell me herself that she
wanted me, I should think myself very lucky, because I like the girl
very much; but as it is, no one has ever treated her more courteously
than I, with more respect for her dignity . . . I wait in hopes,
that's all!"

"You had much better make her a present of something. I bet you never
thought of that."

"You don't understand, as I've told you already! Of course, she is in
such a position, but it's another question. Quite another question!
You simply despise her. Seeing a fact which you mistakenly consider
deserving of contempt, you refuse to take a humane view of a fellow
creature. You don't know what a character she is! I am only sorry that
of late she has quite given up reading and borrowing books. I used to
lend them to her. I am sorry, too, that with all the energy and
resolution in protesting--which she has already shown once--she has
little self-reliance, little, so to say, independence, so as to break
free from certain prejudices and certain foolish ideas. Yet she
thoroughly understands some questions, for instance about kissing of
hands, that is, that it's an insult to a woman for a man to kiss her
hand, because it's a sign of inequality. We had a debate about it and
I described it to her. She listened attentively to an account of the
workmen's associations in France, too. Now I am explaining the
question of coming into the room in the future society."

"And what's that, pray?"

"We had a debate lately on the question: Has a member of the community
the right to enter another member's room, whether man or woman, at any
time . . . and we decided that he has!"

"It might be at an inconvenient moment, he-he!"

Lebeziatnikov was really angry.

"You are always thinking of something unpleasant," he cried with
aversion. "Tfoo! How vexed I am that when I was expounding our system,
I referred prematurely to the question of personal privacy! It's
always a stumbling-block to people like you, they turn it into
ridicule before they understand it. And how proud they are of it, too!
Tfoo! I've often maintained that that question should not be
approached by a novice till he has a firm faith in the system. And
tell me, please, what do you find so shameful even in cesspools? I
should be the first to be ready to clean out any cesspool you like.
And it's not a question of self-sacrifice, it's simply work,
honourable, useful work which is as good as any other and much better
than the work of a Raphael and a Pushkin, because it is more useful."

"And more honourable, more honourable, he-he-he!"

"What do you mean by 'more honourable'? I don't understand such
expressions to describe human activity. 'More honourable,' 'nobler'--
all those are old-fashioned prejudices which I reject. Everything
which is /of use/ to mankind is honourable. I only understand one
word: /useful/! You can snigger as much as you like, but that's so!"

Pyotr Petrovitch laughed heartily. He had finished counting the money
and was putting it away. But some of the notes he left on the table.
The "cesspool question" had already been a subject of dispute between
them. What was absurd was that it made Lebeziatnikov really angry,
while it amused Luzhin and at that moment he particularly wanted to
anger his young friend.

"It's your ill-luck yesterday that makes you so ill-humoured and
annoying," blurted out Lebeziatnikov, who in spite of his
"independence" and his "protests" did not venture to oppose Pyotr
Petrovitch and still behaved to him with some of the respect habitual
in earlier years.

"You'd better tell me this," Pyotr Petrovitch interrupted with haughty
displeasure, "can you . . . or rather are you really friendly enough
with that young person to ask her to step in here for a minute? I
think they've all come back from the cemetery . . . I heard the sound
of steps . . . I want to see her, that young person."

"What for?" Lebeziatnikov asked with surprise.

"Oh, I want to. I am leaving here to-day or to-morrow and therefore I
wanted to speak to her about . . . However, you may be present during
the interview. It's better you should be, indeed. For there's no
knowing what you might imagine."

"I shan't imagine anything. I only asked and, if you've anything to
say to her, nothing is easier than to call her in. I'll go directly
and you may be sure I won't be in your way."

Five minutes later Lebeziatnikov came in with Sonia. She came in very
much surprised and overcome with shyness as usual. She was always shy
in such circumstances and was always afraid of new people, she had
been as a child and was even more so now. . . . Pyotr Petrovitch met
her "politely and affably," but with a certain shade of bantering
familiarity which in his opinion was suitable for a man of his
respectability and weight in dealing with a creature so young and so
/interesting/ as she. He hastened to "reassure" her and made her sit
down facing him at the table. Sonia sat down, looked about her--at
Lebeziatnikov, at the notes lying on the table and then again at Pyotr
Petrovitch and her eyes remained riveted on him. Lebeziatnikov was
moving to the door. Pyotr Petrovitch signed to Sonia to remain seated
and stopped Lebeziatnikov.

"Is Raskolnikov in there? Has he come?" he asked him in a whisper.

"Raskolnikov? Yes. Why? Yes, he is there. I saw him just come in.
. . . Why?"

"Well, I particularly beg you to remain here with us and not to leave
me alone with this . . . young woman. I only want a few words with
her, but God knows what they may make of it. I shouldn't like
Raskolnikov to repeat anything. . . . You understand what I mean?"

"I understand!" Lebeziatnikov saw the point. "Yes, you are right.
. . . Of course, I am convinced personally that you have no reason to
be uneasy, but . . . still, you are right. Certainly I'll stay. I'll
stand here at the window and not be in your way . . . I think you are
right . . ."

Pyotr Petrovitch returned to the sofa, sat down opposite Sonia, looked
attentively at her and assumed an extremely dignified, even severe
expression, as much as to say, "don't you make any mistake, madam."
Sonia was overwhelmed with embarrassment.

"In the first place, Sofya Semyonovna, will you make my excuses to
your respected mamma. . . . That's right, isn't it? Katerina Ivanovna
stands in the place of a mother to you?" Pyotr Petrovitch began with
great dignity, though affably.

It was evident that his intentions were friendly.

"Quite so, yes; the place of a mother," Sonia answered, timidly and

"Then will you make my apologies to her? Through inevitable
circumstances I am forced to be absent and shall not be at the dinner
in spite of your mamma's kind invitation."

"Yes . . . I'll tell her . . . at once."

And Sonia hastily jumped up from her seat.

"Wait, that's not all," Pyotr Petrovitch detained her, smiling at her
simplicity and ignorance of good manners, "and you know me little, my
dear Sofya Semyonovna, if you suppose I would have ventured to trouble
a person like you for a matter of so little consequence affecting
myself only. I have another object."

Sonia sat down hurriedly. Her eyes rested again for an instant on the
grey-and-rainbow-coloured notes that remained on the table, but she
quickly looked away and fixed her eyes on Pyotr Petrovitch. She felt
it horribly indecorous, especially for /her/, to look at another
person's money. She stared at the gold eye-glass which Pyotr
Petrovitch held in his left hand and at the massive and extremely
handsome ring with a yellow stone on his middle finger. But suddenly
she looked away and, not knowing where to turn, ended by staring Pyotr
Petrovitch again straight in the face. After a pause of still greater
dignity he continued.

"I chanced yesterday in passing to exchange a couple of words with
Katerina Ivanovna, poor woman. That was sufficient to enable me to
ascertain that she is in a position--preternatural, if one may so
express it."

"Yes . . . preternatural . . ." Sonia hurriedly assented.

"Or it would be simpler and more comprehensible to say, ill."

"Yes, simpler and more comprehen . . . yes, ill."

"Quite so. So then from a feeling of humanity and so to speak
compassion, I should be glad to be of service to her in any way,
foreseeing her unfortunate position. I believe the whole of this
poverty-stricken family depends now entirely on you?"

"Allow me to ask," Sonia rose to her feet, "did you say something to
her yesterday of the possibility of a pension? Because she told me you
had undertaken to get her one. Was that true?"

"Not in the slightest, and indeed it's an absurdity! I merely hinted
at her obtaining temporary assistance as the widow of an official who
had died in the service--if only she has patronage . . . but
apparently your late parent had not served his full term and had not
indeed been in the service at all of late. In fact, if there could be
any hope, it would be very ephemeral, because there would be no claim
for assistance in that case, far from it. . . . And she is dreaming of
a pension already, he-he-he! . . . A go-ahead lady!"

"Yes, she is. For she is credulous and good-hearted, and she believes
everything from the goodness of her heart and . . . and . . . and she
is like that . . . yes . . . You must excuse her," said Sonia, and
again she got up to go.

"But you haven't heard what I have to say."

"No, I haven't heard," muttered Sonia.

"Then sit down." She was terribly confused; she sat down again a third

"Seeing her position with her unfortunate little ones, I should be
glad, as I have said before, so far as lies in my power, to be of
service, that is, so far as is in my power, not more. One might for
instance get up a subscription for her, or a lottery, something of the
sort, such as is always arranged in such cases by friends or even
outsiders desirous of assisting people. It was of that I intended to
speak to you; it might be done."

"Yes, yes . . . God will repay you for it," faltered Sonia, gazing
intently at Pyotr Petrovitch.

"It might be, but we will talk of it later. We might begin it to-day,
we will talk it over this evening and lay the foundation so to speak.
Come to me at seven o'clock. Mr. Lebeziatnikov, I hope, will assist
us. But there is one circumstance of which I ought to warn you
beforehand and for which I venture to trouble you, Sofya Semyonovna,
to come here. In my opinion money cannot be, indeed it's unsafe to put
it into Katerina Ivanovna's own hands. The dinner to-day is a proof of
that. Though she has not, so to speak, a crust of bread for to-morrow
and . . . well, boots or shoes, or anything; she has bought to-day
Jamaica rum, and even, I believe, Madeira and . . . and coffee. I saw
it as I passed through. To-morrow it will all fall upon you again,
they won't have a crust of bread. It's absurd, really, and so, to my
thinking, a subscription ought to be raised so that the unhappy widow
should not know of the money, but only you, for instance. Am I right?"

"I don't know . . . this is only to-day, once in her life. . . . She
was so anxious to do honour, to celebrate the memory. . . . And she is
very sensible . . . but just as you think and I shall be very, very
. . . they will all be . . . and God will reward . . . and the
orphans . . ."

Sonia burst into tears.

"Very well, then, keep it in mind; and now will you accept for the
benefit of your relation the small sum that I am able to spare, from
me personally. I am very anxious that my name should not be mentioned
in connection with it. Here . . . having so to speak anxieties of my
own, I cannot do more . . ."

And Pyotr Petrovitch held out to Sonia a ten-rouble note carefully
unfolded. Sonia took it, flushed crimson, jumped up, muttered
something and began taking leave. Pyotr Petrovitch accompanied her
ceremoniously to the door. She got out of the room at last, agitated
and distressed, and returned to Katerina Ivanovna, overwhelmed with

All this time Lebeziatnikov had stood at the window or walked about
the room, anxious not to interrupt the conversation; when Sonia had
gone he walked up to Pyotr Petrovitch and solemnly held out his hand.

"I heard and /saw/ everything," he said, laying stress on the last
verb. "That is honourable, I mean to say, it's humane! You wanted to
avoid gratitude, I saw! And although I cannot, I confess, in principle
sympathise with private charity, for it not only fails to eradicate
the evil but even promotes it, yet I must admit that I saw your action
with pleasure--yes, yes, I like it."

"That's all nonsense," muttered Pyotr Petrovitch, somewhat
disconcerted, looking carefully at Lebeziatnikov.

"No, it's not nonsense! A man who has suffered distress and annoyance
as you did yesterday and who yet can sympathise with the misery of
others, such a man . . . even though he is making a social mistake--is
still deserving of respect! I did not expect it indeed of you, Pyotr
Petrovitch, especially as according to your ideas . . . oh, what a
drawback your ideas are to you! How distressed you are for instance by
your ill-luck yesterday," cried the simple-hearted Lebeziatnikov, who
felt a return of affection for Pyotr Petrovitch. "And, what do you
want with marriage, with /legal/ marriage, my dear, noble Pyotr
Petrovitch? Why do you cling to this /legality/ of marriage? Well, you
may beat me if you like, but I am glad, positively glad it hasn't come
off, that you are free, that you are not quite lost for humanity.
. . . you see, I've spoken my mind!"

"Because I don't want in your free marriage to be made a fool of and
to bring up another man's children, that's why I want legal marriage,"
Luzhin replied in order to make some answer.

He seemed preoccupied by something.

"Children? You referred to children," Lebeziatnikov started off like a
warhorse at the trumpet call. "Children are a social question and a
question of first importance, I agree; but the question of children
has another solution. Some refuse to have children altogether, because
they suggest the institution of the family. We'll speak of children
later, but now as to the question of honour, I confess that's my weak
point. That horrid, military, Pushkin expression is unthinkable in the
dictionary of the future. What does it mean indeed? It's nonsense,
there will be no deception in a free marriage! That is only the
natural consequence of a legal marriage, so to say, its corrective, a
protest. So that indeed it's not humiliating . . . and if I ever, to
suppose an absurdity, were to be legally married, I should be
positively glad of it. I should say to my wife: 'My dear, hitherto I
have loved you, now I respect you, for you've shown you can protest!'
You laugh! That's because you are of incapable of getting away from
prejudices. Confound it all! I understand now where the unpleasantness
is of being deceived in a legal marriage, but it's simply a despicable
consequence of a despicable position in which both are humiliated.
When the deception is open, as in a free marriage, then it does not
exist, it's unthinkable. Your wife will only prove how she respects
you by considering you incapable of opposing her happiness and
avenging yourself on her for her new husband. Damn it all! I sometimes
dream if I were to be married, pfoo! I mean if I were to marry,
legally or not, it's just the same, I should present my wife with a
lover if she had not found one for herself. 'My dear,' I should say,
'I love you, but even more than that I desire you to respect me. See!'
Am I not right?"

Pyotr Petrovitch sniggered as he listened, but without much merriment.
He hardly heard it indeed. He was preoccupied with something else and
even Lebeziatnikov at last noticed it. Pyotr Petrovitch seemed excited
and rubbed his hands. Lebeziatnikov remembered all this and reflected
upon it afterwards.


It would be difficult to explain exactly what could have originated
the idea of that senseless dinner in Katerina Ivanovna's disordered
brain. Nearly ten of the twenty roubles, given by Raskolnikov for
Marmeladov's funeral, were wasted upon it. Possibly Katerina Ivanovna
felt obliged to honour the memory of the deceased "suitably," that all
the lodgers, and still more Amalia Ivanovna, might know "that he was
in no way their inferior, and perhaps very much their superior," and
that no one had the right "to turn up his nose at him." Perhaps the
chief element was that peculiar "poor man's pride," which compels many
poor people to spend their last savings on some traditional social
ceremony, simply in order to do "like other people," and not to "be
looked down upon." It is very probable, too, that Katerina Ivanovna
longed on this occasion, at the moment when she seemed to be abandoned
by everyone, to show those "wretched contemptible lodgers" that she
knew "how to do things, how to entertain" and that she had been
brought up "in a genteel, she might almost say aristocratic colonel's
family" and had not been meant for sweeping floors and washing the
children's rags at night. Even the poorest and most broken-spirited
people are sometimes liable to these paroxysms of pride and vanity
which take the form of an irresistible nervous craving. And Katerina
Ivanovna was not broken-spirited; she might have been killed by
circumstance, but her spirit could not have been broken, that is, she
could not have been intimidated, her will could not be crushed.
Moreover Sonia had said with good reason that her mind was unhinged.
She could not be said to be insane, but for a year past she had been
so harassed that her mind might well be overstrained. The later stages
of consumption are apt, doctors tell us, to affect the intellect.

There was no great variety of wines, nor was there Madeira; but wine
there was. There was vodka, rum and Lisbon wine, all of the poorest
quality but in sufficient quantity. Besides the traditional rice and
honey, there were three or four dishes, one of which consisted of
pancakes, all prepared in Amalia Ivanovna's kitchen. Two samovars were
boiling, that tea and punch might be offered after dinner. Katerina
Ivanovna had herself seen to purchasing the provisions, with the help
of one of the lodgers, an unfortunate little Pole who had somehow been
stranded at Madame Lippevechsel's. He promptly put himself at Katerina
Ivanovna's disposal and had been all that morning and all the day
before running about as fast as his legs could carry him, and very
anxious that everyone should be aware of it. For every trifle he ran
to Katerina Ivanovna, even hunting her out at the bazaar, at every
instant called her "/Pani/." She was heartily sick of him before the
end, though she had declared at first that she could not have got on
without this "serviceable and magnanimous man." It was one of Katerina
Ivanovna's characteristics to paint everyone she met in the most
glowing colours. Her praises were so exaggerated as sometimes to be
embarrassing; she would invent various circumstances to the credit of
her new acquaintance and quite genuinely believe in their reality.
Then all of a sudden she would be disillusioned and would rudely and
contemptuously repulse the person she had only a few hours before been
literally adoring. She was naturally of a gay, lively and peace-loving
disposition, but from continual failures and misfortunes she had come
to desire so /keenly/ that all should live in peace and joy and should
not /dare/ to break the peace, that the slightest jar, the smallest
disaster reduced her almost to frenzy, and she would pass in an
instant from the brightest hopes and fancies to cursing her fate and
raving, and knocking her head against the wall.

Amalia Ivanovna, too, suddenly acquired extraordinary importance in
Katerina Ivanovna's eyes and was treated by her with extraordinary
respect, probably only because Amalia Ivanovna had thrown herself
heart and soul into the preparations. She had undertaken to lay the
table, to provide the linen, crockery, etc., and to cook the dishes in
her kitchen, and Katerina Ivanovna had left it all in her hands and
gone herself to the cemetery. Everything had been well done. Even the
table-cloth was nearly clean; the crockery, knives, forks and glasses
were, of course, of all shapes and patterns, lent by different
lodgers, but the table was properly laid at the time fixed, and Amalia
Ivanovna, feeling she had done her work well, had put on a black silk
dress and a cap with new mourning ribbons and met the returning party
with some pride. This pride, though justifiable, displeased Katerina
Ivanovna for some reason: "as though the table could not have been
laid except by Amalia Ivanovna!" She disliked the cap with new
ribbons, too. "Could she be stuck up, the stupid German, because she
was mistress of the house, and had consented as a favour to help her
poor lodgers! As a favour! Fancy that! Katerina Ivanovna's father who
had been a colonel and almost a governor had sometimes had the table
set for forty persons, and then anyone like Amalia Ivanovna, or rather
Ludwigovna, would not have been allowed into the kitchen."

Katerina Ivanovna, however, put off expressing her feelings for the
time and contented herself with treating her coldly, though she
decided inwardly that she would certainly have to put Amalia Ivanovna
down and set her in her proper place, for goodness only knew what she
was fancying herself. Katerina Ivanovna was irritated too by the fact
that hardly any of the lodgers invited had come to the funeral, except
the Pole who had just managed to run into the cemetery, while to the
memorial dinner the poorest and most insignificant of them had turned
up, the wretched creatures, many of them not quite sober. The older
and more respectable of them all, as if by common consent, stayed
away. Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin, for instance, who might be said to be
the most respectable of all the lodgers, did not appear, though
Katerina Ivanovna had the evening before told all the world, that is
Amalia Ivanovna, Polenka, Sonia and the Pole, that he was the most
generous, noble-hearted man with a large property and vast
connections, who had been a friend of her first husband's, and a guest
in her father's house, and that he had promised to use all his
influence to secure her a considerable pension. It must be noted that
when Katerina Ivanovna exalted anyone's connections and fortune, it
was without any ulterior motive, quite disinterestedly, for the mere
pleasure of adding to the consequence of the person praised. Probably
"taking his cue" from Luzhin, "that contemptible wretch Lebeziatnikov
had not turned up either. What did he fancy himself? He was only asked
out of kindness and because he was sharing the same room with Pyotr
Petrovitch and was a friend of his, so that it would have been awkward
not to invite him."

Among those who failed to appear were "the genteel lady and her old-
maidish daughter," who had only been lodgers in the house for the last
fortnight, but had several times complained of the noise and uproar in
Katerina Ivanovna's room, especially when Marmeladov had come back
drunk. Katerina Ivanovna heard this from Amalia Ivanovna who,
quarrelling with Katerina Ivanovna, and threatening to turn the whole
family out of doors, had shouted at her that they "were not worth the
foot" of the honourable lodgers whom they were disturbing. Katerina
Ivanovna determined now to invite this lady and her daughter, "whose
foot she was not worth," and who had turned away haughtily when she
casually met them, so that they might know that "she was more noble in
her thoughts and feelings and did not harbour malice," and might see
that she was not accustomed to her way of living. She had proposed to
make this clear to them at dinner with allusions to her late father's
governorship, and also at the same time to hint that it was
exceedingly stupid of them to turn away on meeting her. The fat
colonel-major (he was really a discharged officer of low rank) was
also absent, but it appeared that he had been "not himself" for the
last two days. The party consisted of the Pole, a wretched looking
clerk with a spotty face and a greasy coat, who had not a word to say
for himself, and smelt abominably, a deaf and almost blind old man who
had once been in the post office and who had been from immemorial ages
maintained by someone at Amalia Ivanovna's.

A retired clerk of the commissariat department came, too; he was
drunk, had a loud and most unseemly laugh and only fancy--was without
a waistcoat! One of the visitors sat straight down to the table
without even greeting Katerina Ivanovna. Finally one person having no
suit appeared in his dressing-gown, but this was too much, and the
efforts of Amalia Ivanovna and the Pole succeeded in removing him. The
Pole brought with him, however, two other Poles who did not live at
Amalia Ivanovna's and whom no one had seen here before. All this
irritated Katerina Ivanovna intensely. "For whom had they made all
these preparations then?" To make room for the visitors the children
had not even been laid for at the table; but the two little ones were
sitting on a bench in the furthest corner with their dinner laid on a
box, while Polenka as a big girl had to look after them, feed them,
and keep their noses wiped like well-bred children's.

Katerina Ivanovna, in fact, could hardly help meeting her guests with
increased dignity, and even haughtiness. She stared at some of them
with special severity, and loftily invited them to take their seats.
Rushing to the conclusion that Amalia Ivanovna must be responsible for
those who were absent, she began treating her with extreme
nonchalance, which the latter promptly observed and resented. Such a
beginning was no good omen for the end. All were seated at last.

Raskolnikov came in almost at the moment of their return from the
cemetery. Katerina Ivanovna was greatly delighted to see him, in the
first place, because he was the one "educated visitor, and, as
everyone knew, was in two years to take a professorship in the
university," and secondly because he immediately and respectfully
apologised for having been unable to be at the funeral. She positively
pounced upon him, and made him sit on her left hand (Amalia Ivanovna
was on her right). In spite of her continual anxiety that the dishes
should be passed round correctly and that everyone should taste them,
in spite of the agonising cough which interrupted her every minute and
seemed to have grown worse during the last few days, she hastened to
pour out in a half whisper to Raskolnikov all her suppressed feelings
and her just indignation at the failure of the dinner, interspersing
her remarks with lively and uncontrollable laughter at the expense of
her visitors and especially of her landlady.

"It's all that cuckoo's fault! You know whom I mean? Her, her!"
Katerina Ivanovna nodded towards the landlady. "Look at her, she's
making round eyes, she feels that we are talking about her and can't
understand. Pfoo, the owl! Ha-ha! (Cough-cough-cough.) And what does
she put on that cap for? (Cough-cough-cough.) Have you noticed that
she wants everyone to consider that she is patronising me and doing me
an honour by being here? I asked her like a sensible woman to invite
people, especially those who knew my late husband, and look at the set
of fools she has brought! The sweeps! Look at that one with the spotty
face. And those wretched Poles, ha-ha-ha! (Cough-cough-cough.) Not one
of them has ever poked his nose in here, I've never set eyes on them.
What have they come here for, I ask you? There they sit in a row. Hey,
/pan/!" she cried suddenly to one of them, "have you tasted the
pancakes? Take some more! Have some beer! Won't you have some vodka?
Look, he's jumped up and is making his bows, they must be quite
starved, poor things. Never mind, let them eat! They don't make a
noise, anyway, though I'm really afraid for our landlady's silver
spoons . . . Amalia Ivanovna!" she addressed her suddenly, almost
aloud, "if your spoons should happen to be stolen, I won't be
responsible, I warn you! Ha-ha-ha!" She laughed turning to
Raskolnikov, and again nodding towards the landlady, in high glee at
her sally. "She didn't understand, she didn't understand again! Look
how she sits with her mouth open! An owl, a real owl! An owl in new
ribbons, ha-ha-ha!"

Here her laugh turned again to an insufferable fit of coughing that
lasted five minutes. Drops of perspiration stood out on her forehead
and her handkerchief was stained with blood. She showed Raskolnikov
the blood in silence, and as soon as she could get her breath began
whispering to him again with extreme animation and a hectic flush on
her cheeks.

"Do you know, I gave her the most delicate instructions, so to speak,
for inviting that lady and her daughter, you understand of whom I am
speaking? It needed the utmost delicacy, the greatest nicety, but she
has managed things so that that fool, that conceited baggage, that
provincial nonentity, simply because she is the widow of a major, and
has come to try and get a pension and to fray out her skirts in the
government offices, because at fifty she paints her face (everybody
knows it) . . . a creature like that did not think fit to come, and
has not even answered the invitation, which the most ordinary good
manners required! I can't understand why Pyotr Petrovitch has not
come? But where's Sonia? Where has she gone? Ah, there she is at last!
what is it, Sonia, where have you been? It's odd that even at your
father's funeral you should be so unpunctual. Rodion Romanovitch, make
room for her beside you. That's your place, Sonia . . . take what you
like. Have some of the cold entrée with jelly, that's the best.
They'll bring the pancakes directly. Have they given the children
some? Polenka, have you got everything? (Cough-cough-cough.) That's
all right. Be a good girl, Lida, and, Kolya, don't fidget with your
feet; sit like a little gentleman. What are you saying, Sonia?"

Sonia hastened to give her Pyotr Petrovitch's apologies, trying to
speak loud enough for everyone to hear and carefully choosing the most
respectful phrases which she attributed to Pyotr Petrovitch. She added
that Pyotr Petrovitch had particularly told her to say that, as soon
as he possibly could, he would come immediately to discuss /business/
alone with her and to consider what could be done for her, etc., etc.

Sonia knew that this would comfort Katerina Ivanovna, would flatter
her and gratify her pride. She sat down beside Raskolnikov; she made
him a hurried bow, glancing curiously at him. But for the rest of the
time she seemed to avoid looking at him or speaking to him. She seemed
absent-minded, though she kept looking at Katerina Ivanovna, trying to
please her. Neither she nor Katerina Ivanovna had been able to get
mourning; Sonia was wearing dark brown, and Katerina Ivanovna had on
her only dress, a dark striped cotton one.

The message from Pyotr Petrovitch was very successful. Listening to
Sonia with dignity, Katerina Ivanovna inquired with equal dignity how
Pyotr Petrovitch was, then at once whispered almost aloud to
Raskolnikov that it certainly would have been strange for a man of
Pyotr Petrovitch's position and standing to find himself in such
"extraordinary company," in spite of his devotion to her family and
his old friendship with her father.

"That's why I am so grateful to you, Rodion Romanovitch, that you have
not disdained my hospitality, even in such surroundings," she added
almost aloud. "But I am sure that it was only your special affection
for my poor husband that has made you keep your promise."

Then once more with pride and dignity she scanned her visitors, and
suddenly inquired aloud across the table of the deaf man: "Wouldn't he
have some more meat, and had he been given some wine?" The old man
made no answer and for a long while could not understand what he was
asked, though his neighbours amused themselves by poking and shaking
him. He simply gazed about him with his mouth open, which only

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