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The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations

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senses!" He sunk on the couch again exhausted; another fit of
intolerable shivering seized him, and he mechanically pulled his
old student's cloak over him for warmth, as he fell into a
delirious sleep. He lost all consciousness of himself. Not more
than five minutes had elapsed before he woke up in intense
excitement, and bent over his clothes in the deepest anguish. "How
could I go to sleep again when nothing is done! For I have done
nothing, the loop is still where I sewed it. I forgot all about
that! What a convincing proof it would have been." He ripped it
off and tore it into shreds which he placed among his underlinen
under the pillow. "These rags cannot awaken any suspicions, I
fancy; at least, so it seems to me," repeated he, standing up in
the middle of the room, and, with an attempt rendered all the more
painful by the effort it cost him, he looked all round, trying to
make sure he had forgotten nothing. He suffered cruelly from this
conviction, that everything, even memory, even the most elementary
prudence, was abandoning him.

"Can this be the punishment already beginning? Indeed! indeed! it

And indeed the frayed edges he had cut from the bottom of his
trousers were lying on the floor, in the middle of the room,
exposed to the view of the first comer. "But what can I be
thinking of?" exclaimed he in utter bewilderment. Then a strange
idea came into his head; he thought that perhaps all his clothes
were saturated in blood, and that he could not see this because his
senses were gone and his perception of things lost. Then he
recollected that there would be traces on the purse, and his
pockets would be wet with blood. It was so. "I am bereft of my
reason, I know not what I am doing. Bah! not at all!--it is only
weakness, delirium. I shall soon be better." He tore at the
lining. At this moment the rays of the morning streamed in and
shone on his left boot. There were plain traces, and all the point
was covered. "I must have stepped in that pool. What shall I do
now? Boot, lining, rags, where shall they go?" He rolled them up
and stood thinking in the middle of the room. "Ah, the stove.
Yes, burn them. No, I cannot, I have no match. Better throw them
away. Yes, yes, that is the thing," said he, again sitting on the
couch. "At once, and without delay too, quick." But, instead, his
head fell back upon the pillow, and chilly shiverings again came
over him. He covered himself with his cloak and slept again. It
appeared hours to him, and many a time in his sleep he tried to
rise to hasten to throw away his bundle, but he could not, he
seemed chained to the bed. At last he awoke, as he heard a loud
knock at his door.

"Eh, open, will you?" cried Nastasia. "Don't lie there like a dog.
It's eleven o'clock."

"Perhaps he is not in," said a man's voice.

"The porter's voice. What does he want?" Raskolnikoff rose, and
sat on the couch listening. His heart throbbed violently.

"Who has bolted the door then?" exclaimed the servant. "Open, will

"All must be discovered?" He rose a little and undid the bolt, and
fell back again on his bed. There stood the porter and Nastasia.
The servant looked strangely at Raskolnikoff, while he fixed a
despairing glance upon the porter.

"Here is a notice for you from the office," said the latter.

"What office?"

"The police office."

"What for?"

"I don't know. You are summoned there, go." The porter looked
anxiously at the lodger, and turned to leave. Raskolnikoff made no
observation, and held the paper unopened in his hand.

"There, stay where you are," said Nastasia, seeing him fall back on
the couch. "If you are ill, do not go. What is that in your

He looked down; in his right hand were clutched the pieces of
frayed cloth, his boot, and the lining of his pocket. He had
evidently fallen asleep with them as they were; indeed he
recollected how, thinking deeply about them, he had dozed away.

"The idea of taking a lot of rags to bed and hugging them to you
like a treasure!" laughed the servant in her sickly manner.

In a second he hid all under his coat and looked at her
attentively. Although little was capable of passing in his mind,
he felt she would not talk thus to a man under arrest for a crime.
But then, the police?

"Is there anything you want? You stay here, I will bring it."

"No, I will go. I am going at once," murmured he, rising to his

"Very well."

She went out after the porter. As soon as she had disappeared, he
rushed to the light to look at his boot. Yes, there were spots,
but not very plain, all covered with mud. But who would
distinguish them? Nastasia could know nothing, thank heavens!
Then with trembling hand he tore open the notice, and began to
read. At last he understood; it was simply the usual notice to
report himself at the office of the district that day at half-past
nine o'clock.

"But why to-day?" cried he. "Lord, let it be over soon." He was
about to fall down on his knees to pray, when a fit of laughter
seized him. "I must trust to myself, not to prayers." He quickly
dressed himself. "Shall I put the boot on?" he thought, "better
throw it away, and hide all traces of it." Nevertheless he put it
on, only, however, to throw it off again with an expression of
horror. As, however, he recollected he had no other, a smile came
to his face, and he drew it on once more. Again his face changed
into deep despair, his limbs shook more and more. "This is not
from exertion," thought he, "it is fear." His head spun round and
round and his temples throbbed visibly.

On the stairs he recollected that all the things were in the hole
in the wall, and then where was his certificate of birth? He
stopped to think. But such despair, and, if it may be so called,
cynicism, took hold of him, that he simply shook his head and went
out. The sooner over, the better. Once again in the open air, he
encountered the same insufferable heat, the dust, and the people in
drink rolling about the streets. The sun caught him full in the
eyes and almost blinded him, while his head spun round and round,
as is usual in fever. On reaching the turning into the street he
had taken the day before, he glanced in great agitation in the
direction of the house, but immediately averted his eyes again.
"If they ask me, I should confess, perhaps," said he to himself, as
he turned away and made for the office. This was not far distant,
in a new house, on the fourth floor. As he entered the court, he
saw to the right of him a staircase, ascending which was a man
carrying some books. "It was evidently there." He did not think
of asking.

"I will go and fall on my knees and confess all," he murmured, and
began to ascend the narrow and very steep stairs. On every floor
the doors of the kitchens of the several apartments stood open to
the staircase, and emitted a suffocating, sickening odor. The
entrance to the office he was in search of was also wide open, and
he walked in. A number of persons were waiting in the anteroom.
The stench was simply intolerable, and was intensified by the smell
of fresh paint. Pausing a little, he decided to advance farther
into the small low room. He became impatient when he found no one
took any notice of him. In an inner room were seated a number of
clerks engaged in writing. He went up to one of these.

"What do you want?" Raskolnikoff showed him the notice.

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

"Yes;--that is, I used to be."

The clerk glanced at him--without, however, any particular
curiosity. He was a man with unkempt hair and an expressionless

"There is nothing to be learned from him, evidently," thought

"Step in there to the head clerk," said the man, pointing to a
farther room, which was quite full of people, among whom were two

The assistant district officer, a man adorned with red whiskers
standing out on either side of his face, and with extremely small
features, looked up impatiently at Raskolnikoff, whose filthy
attire was by no means prepossessing. The latter returned his
glance calmly and straight in the face, and in such a manner as to
give the officer offense.

"What do you want here?" he cried, apparently surprised that such a
ragged beggar was not knocked down by his thunder-bearing glance.

"I am here because I was summoned," stammered Raskolnikoff.

"It is for the recovery of money lent," said the head clerk.
"Here!" and he threw a paper to Raskolnikoff, "Read!"

"Money? What money? It cannot be that," thought the young man,
and he trembled with joy. Everything became clear, and the load
fell off his shoulders.

"At what hour did you receive this, sir?" cried the lieutenant;
"you were told to come at nine o'clock, and now it is nearly

"I received it a quarter of an hour ago," loudly replied
Raskolnikoff, over his shoulder, suddenly angered, "and it is
sufficient to say that I am ill with a fever."

"Please not to bawl!"

"I did not bawl, but spoke plainly; it is you that bawl. I am a
student, and am not going to have you speak to me in that fashion."

The officer became enraged, and fumed so that only splutters flew
out of his mouth. He jumped up from his place. "Please keep
silence. You are in court. Don't be insolent."

"And so are you in court; and, besides bawling, you are smoking, so
you are wanting in politeness to the whole company." As he said
this, Raskolnikoff felt an inexpressible delight at his
maliciousness. The clerk looked up with a smile. The choleric
officer was clearly nonplused.

"That is not your business, sir," he cried at last, unnaturally
loud. "Make the necessary declaration. Show him, Alexander
Gregorivitch. Complaints have been made about you! You don't pay
your debts! You know how to fly the kite evidently!"

Raskolnikoff did not listen, but greedily seized the paper. He
read it through more than once, and could make nothing of it.
"What is this?" he asked of the clerk.

"It is a writ for recovery on a note of hand of yours. Please
write," said the clerk.

"Write what?" asked he rudely.

"As I dictate."

The clerk stood near and dictated to him the usual form of
declaration: that he was unable to pay, that he would not quit the
capital, dispose of his goods in any way, etc., etc.

"You cannot write, your pen is falling from your fingers," said the
clerk, and he looked him in the face. "Are you ill?"

"Yes, my head swims. Go on."

"That is all. Now sign it."

Raskolnikoff let fall the pen, and seemed as if about to rise and
go; but, instead of doing so, he laid both elbows on the table and
supported his head with his hands. A new idea formed in his mind:
to rise immediately, go straight to Nicodemus Thomich the ward
officer and tell him all that had occurred; then to accompany him
to his room, and show him all the things hidden away in the wall
behind the paper. His desire to do all this was of such strength
that he got up from the table to carry his design into execution.
"Reflect, reflect a moment!" ran in his head. "No, better not
think, get it off my shoulders." Suddenly he stood still as if
shot. Nicodemus Thomich was at this moment hotly discussing
something with Elia Petrovitch, the inspector of police, and the
words caught Raskolnikoff's anxious attention. He listened.

"It cannot be, they will both be released. In the first place, all
is contradictory. Consider. Why did they call the porter if it
were their work? To denounce themselves? Or out of cunning? Not
at all, that would be too much! Besides, did not the porter see
the student Pestriakoff at the very gate just as he came in, and he
stood there some time with three friends who had accompanied him.
And Koch: was he not below in the silversmith's for half an hour
before he went up to the old woman's? Now, consider."

"But see what contradictions arise! They say they knocked and
found the door closed; yet three minutes after, when they went back
with the porter, it was open."

"That's true. The murderer was inside, and had bolted the door,
and certainly he would have been captured had not Koch foolishly
run off to the porter. In the interval HE, no doubt, had time to
escape downstairs. Koch explains that, if he had remained, the man
would have leaped out and killed him. He wanted to have a Te Deum
sung. Ha, ha!"

"Did nobody see the murderer?"

"How could they? The house is a perfect Noah's ark," put in the
clerk, who had been listening.

"The thing is clear, very clear," said Nicodemus Thomich

"Not at all! Not at all!" cried Elia Petrovitch, in reply.
Raskolnikoff took up his hat and made for the door, but he never
reached it. When he came to himself he found he was sitting on a
chair, supported on the right by some unknown man, while to his
left stood another, holding some yellow water in a yellow glass.
Nicodemus Thomich, standing before him, was looking at him fixedly.
Raskolnikoff rose.

"What is it? Are you ill?" asked the officer sharply.

"He could hardly hold the pen to sign his name," the clerk
explained, at the same time going back to his books.

"Have you been ill very long?" cried Elia Petrovitch from his
table; he had run to see the swoon and returned to his place.

"Since yesterday," murmured Raskolnikoff in reply.

"You went out yesterday?"

"I did."



"At what time?"

"Eight o'clock in the evening."

"Where did you go, allow me to ask?"

"In the streets."

"Concise and clear."

Raskolnikoff had replied sharply, in a broken voice, his face as
pale as a handkerchief, and with his black swollen eyes averted
from Elia Petrovitch's scrutinizing glance.

"He can hardly stand on his legs. Do you want to ask anything
more?" said Nicodemus Thomich.

"Nothing," replied Elia Petrovitch.

Nicodemus Thomich evidently wished to say more, but, turning to the
clerk, who in turn glanced expressively at him, the latter became
silent, all suddenly stopped speaking. It was strange.

Raskolnikoff went out. As he descended the stairs he could hear an
animated discussion had broken out, and above all, the
interrogative voice of Nicodemus Thomich. In the street he came to

"Search, search! they are going to search!" he cried. "The
scoundrels, they suspect me!" The old dread seized him again, from
head to foot.

Here was the room. All was quiet, and no one had, apparently,
disturbed it--not even Nastasia. But, heavens! how could he have
left all those things where they were? He rushed to the corner,
pushed his hands behind the paper, took out the things, and thrust
them in his pockets. There were eight articles in all: two little
boxes with earrings or something of that description, then four
little morocco cases; a chain wrapped up in paper, and something
else done up in a common piece of newspaper--possibly a decoration.
Raskolnikoff distributed these, together with the purse, about his
person, in order to make them less noticeable, and quitted the room
again. All the time he had left the door wide open. He went away
hurriedly, fearing pursuit. Perhaps in a few minutes orders would
be issued to hunt him down, so he must hide all traces of his theft
at once; and he would do so while he had strength and reason left
him. But where should he go?

This had been long decided. Throw the lot in the canal and the
matter would be at an end! So he had resolved in that night of
delirium, when he cried out, "Quick, quick! throw all away!" But
this was not so easy. He wandered to the quays of the Catherine
Canal, and lingered there for half an hour. Here a washing raft
lay where he had thought of sinking his spoil, or there boats were
moored, and everywhere people swarmed. Then, again, would the
cases sink? Would they not rather float? No, this would not do.
He would go to the Neva; there would be fewer people there and more
room, and it would be more convenient. He recognized that he had
been wandering about for fully half an hour, and in dangerous
places. He must make haste. He made his way to the river, but
soon came to another standstill. Why in the Neva? Why in the
water at all? Better some solitary place in a wood, or under some
bushes. Dig a hole and bury them! He felt he was not in a
condition to deliberate clearly and soundly, but this idea appeared
the best.

This idea also, however, was not destined to be realized, and
another took its place. As he passed the V---- Prospect, he
suddenly noticed on the left an entrance into a court, which was
surrounded entirely by high walls. On the right, a long way up the
court, rose the side of a huge four-storied building. To the left,
parallel with the walls of the house, and commencing immediately at
the gate, there ran a wooden hoarding of about twenty paces down
the court. Then came a space where a lot of rubbish was deposited;
while farther down, at the bottom of the court, was a shed,
apparently part of some workshop, possibly that of a carpenter or
coach builder. Everything appeared as black as coal dust. Here
was the very place, he thought; and, after looking round, went up
the court. Behind the door he espied a large unworked stone,
weighing about fifty pounds, which lay close up against the
hoarding. No one could see him where he stood; he was entirely
free from observation. He bent down to the stone, managed to turn
it over after considerable effort, and found underneath a small
cavity. He threw in the cases, and then the purse on the top of
all. The stone was not perceptibly higher when he had replaced it,
and little traces of its having been moved could be noticed. So he
pressed some earth against the edges with his foot, and made off.

He laughed for joy when again in the street. All traces were gone,
and who would think of looking there? And if they were found who
would suspect him? All proofs were gone, and he laughed again.
Yes, he recollected afterwards how he laughed--a long, nervous,
lingering laugh, lasting all the time he was in that street.

He reached home toward evening, perhaps at about eight o'clock--
how, and by what particular way he never recollected--but, speedily
undressing, he lay down on the couch, trembling like a beaten
horse, and, drawing his overcoat over him, he fell immediately into
a deep sleep. He awoke in a high fever and delirious. Some days
later he came to himself, rose and went out. It was eight o'clock,
and the sun had disappeared. The heat was as intolerable as
before, but he inhaled the dusty, fetid, infected town air with
greediness. And now his head began to spin round, and a wild
expression of energy crept into his inflamed eyes and pale, meager,
wan face. He did not know, did not even think, what he was going
to do; he only knew that all was to be finished "to-day," at one
blow, immediately, or he would never return home, because he had no
desire to live thus. How to finish? By what means? No matter
how, and he did not want to think. He drove away any thoughts
which disturbed him, and only clung to the necessity of ending all,
"no matter how," said he, with desperate self-confidence and
decision. By force of habit he took his old walk, and set out in
the direction of the Haymarket. Farther on, he came on a young man
who was grinding some very feeling ballads upon a barrel organ.
Near the man, on the footpath, was a young girl of about fifteen
years of age, fashionably dressed, with crinoline, mantle, and
gloves, and a straw hat trimmed with gaudy feathers, but all old
and terribly worn out, who, in a loud and cracked though not
altogether unpleasing voice, was singing before a shop in
expectation of a couple of kopecks. Raskolnikoff stopped and
joined one or two listeners, took out a five-kopeck piece, and gave
it to the girl. The latter at once stopped on a very high note
which she had just reached, and cried to the man, "Come along," and
both immediately moved on to another place.

"Do you like street music?" said Raskolnikoff to a middle-aged man
standing near him. The latter looked at him in surprise, but
smiled. "I love it," continued Raskolnikoff, "especially when they
sing to the organ on a cold, dark, gray winter's evening, when all
the passers-by seem to have pale, green, sickly-looking faces--when
the snow is falling like a sleet, straight down and with no wind,
you know, and while the lamps shine on it all."

"I don't know. Excuse me," said the man, frightened at the
question and Raskolnikoff's strange appearance, and hastily
withdrawing to the other side of the street.

Raskolnikoff went on, and came to the place in the Hay-market where
he had met the trader and his wife and Elizabeth. No one was there
at the moment. He stopped, and turned to a young fellow, in a red
shirt, who was gaping at the entrance to a flour shop.

"A man trades here at this corner, with his wife, eh?"

"Everyone trades here," replied the lad, scanning his questioner
from head to foot.

"What is he called?"

"What he was christened."

"But you belong to Zaraisk, don't you? To what Government?"

The boy stared at Raskolnikoff. "We have no governor, your
highness, but districts. I stay at home, and know nothing about
it, but my brother does; so pardon me, your most mighty highness."

"Is that an eating house there?"

"That's a dram shop; they have a billiard table."

"There are newspapers here?" asked he, as he entered a room--one of
a suite--rather empty. Two or three persons sat with tea before
them, while in a farther room a group of men were seated, drinking
champagne. Raskolnikoff thought he recognized Zametoff among them,
but be could not be sure. "Never mind, if it is!" he muttered.

"Brandy, sir?" asked the waiter.

"No, tea; and bring me some newspapers--for about the last five
days. I'll give you a drink."

The papers and the tea appeared. Raskolnikoff sat and searched,
and, at last, found what he wanted. "Ah, here it is!" he cried, as
he began to read. The words danced before his eyes, but he read
greedily to the end, and turned to others for later intelligence.
His hands trembled with impatience, and the sheets shook again.
Suddenly some one sat down near him. He looked up, and there was
Zametoff--that same Zametoff, with his rings and chain, his oiled
locks and fancy waistcoat and unclean linen. He seemed pleased,
and his tanned face, a little inflamed by the champagne, wore a

"Ah! you here?" he commenced, in a tone as if he had known
Raskolnikoff for an age. "Why Razoumikhin told me yesterday that
you were lying unconscious. How strange! Then I was at your

Raskolnikoff laid down the paper and turned to Zametoff. On his
lips was a slight provoking smile. "I know you were," he replied,
"I heard so. You searched for my boot. To what agreeable places
you resort. Who gives you champagne to drink?"

"We were drinking together. What do you mean?"

"Nothing, dear boy, nothing," said Raskolnikoff, with a smile and
slapping Zametoff on the shoulders. "I am not in earnest, but
simply in fun, as your workman said, when he wrestled with Dmitri,
you know, in that murder case."

"Do you know about that?"

"Yes, and perhaps more than you do."

"You are very peculiar. It is a pity you came out. You are ill."

"Do I seem strange?"

"Yes; what are you reading?"

"The paper."

"There are a number of fires."

"I am not reading about them." He looked curiously at Zametoff,
and a malicious smile distorted his lips. "No, fires are not in my
line," he added, winking at Zametoff. "Now, I should like to know,
sweet youth, what it signifies to you what I read?"

"Nothing at all. I only asked. Perhaps I--"

"Listen. You are a cultivated man--a literary man, are you not?"

"I was in the sixth class at college," Zametoff answered, with a
certain amount of dignity.

"The sixth! Oh, my fine fellow! With rings and a chain--a rich
man! You are a dear boy," and Raskolnikoff gave a short, nervous
laugh, right in the face of Zametoff. The latter was very much
taken aback, and, if not offended, seemed a good deal surprised.

"How strange you are!" said Zametoff seriously. "You have the
fever still on you; you are raving!"

"Am I, my fine fellow--am I strange? Yes, but I am very
interesting to you, am I not?"


"Yes. You ask me what I am reading, what I am looking for; then I
am looking through a number of papers. Suspicious, isn't it?
Well, I will explain to you, or rather confess--no, not that
exactly. I will give testimony, and you shall take it down--that's
it. So then, I swear that I was reading, and came here on
purpose"--Raskolnikoff blinked his eyes and paused--"to read an
account of the murder of the old woman." He finished almost in a
whisper, eagerly watching Zametoff's face. The latter returned his
glances without flinching. And it appeared strange to Zametoff
that a full minute seemed to pass as they kept fixedly staring at
each other in this manner.

"Oh, so that's what you have been reading?" Zametoff at last cried
impatiently. "What is there in that?"

"She is the same woman," continued Raskolnikoff, still in a
whisper, and taking no notice of Zametoff's remark, "the very same
woman you were talking about when I swooned in your office. You
recollect--you surely recollect?"

"Recollect what?" said Zametoff, almost alarmed.

The serious expression on Raskolnikoff's face altered in an
instant, and he again commenced his nervous laugh, and laughed as
if he were quite unable to contain himself. There had recurred to
his mind, with fearful clearness, the moment when he stood at the
door with the hatchet in his hand. There he was, holding the bolt,
and they were tugging and thumping away at the door. Oh, how he
itched to shriek at them, open the door, thrust out his tongue at
them, and frighten them away, and then laugh, "Ah, ah, ah, ah!"

"You are insane, or else--" said Zametoff, and then paused as if a
new thought had suddenly struck him.

"Or what, or what? Now what? Tell me!"

"Nonsense!" said Zametoff to himself, "it can't be." Both became
silent. After this unexpected and fitful outburst of laughter,
Raskolnikoff had become lost in thought and looked very sad. He
leaned on the table with his elbows, buried his head in his hands,
and seemed to have quite forgotten Zametoff. The silence continued
a long time. "You do not drink your tea; it is getting cold," said
the latter, at last.

"What? Tea? Yes!" Raskolnikoff snatched at his glass, put a
piece of bread in his mouth, and then, after looking at Zametoff,
seemingly recollected and roused himself. His face at once resumed
its previous smile, and he continued to sip his tea.

"What a number of rogues there are about," Zametoff said. "I read
not long ago, in the Moscow papers, that they had captured a whole
gang of forgers in that city. Quite a colony."

"That's old news. I read it a month ago," replied Raskolnikoff in
a careless manner. "And you call such as these rogues?" he added,

"Why not?"

"Rogues indeed! Why, they are only children and babies. Fifty
banded together for such purposes! Is it possible? Three would be
quite sufficient, and then they should be sure of one another--not
babble over their cups. The babies! Then to hire unreliable
people to change the notes at the money changers', persons whose
hands tremble as they receive the rubles. On such their lives
depend! Far better to strangle yourself! The man goes in,
receives the change, counts some over, the last portion he takes on
faith, stuffs all in his pocket, rushes away and the murder is out.
All is lost by one foolish man. Is it not ridiculous?"

"That his hands should shake?" replied Zametoff. "No; that is
quite likely. Yours would not, I suppose? I could not endure it,
though. For a paltry reward of a hundred rubles to go on such a
mission! And where? Into a banker's office with forged notes! I
should certainly lose my head. Would not you?"

Raskolnikoff felt again a strong impulse to make a face at him. A
shiver ran down his back. "You would not catch me acting so
foolishly," he commenced. "This is how I should do. I should
count over the first thousand very carefully, perhaps four times,
right to the end, carefully examine each note, and then only pass
to the second thousand, count these as far as the middle of the
bundle, take out a note, hold it to the light, turn it over, then
hold it to the light again, and say, 'I fear this is a bad note,'
and then begin to relate some story about a lost note. Then there
would be a third thousand to count. Not yet, please, there is a
mistake in the second thousand. No, it is correct. And so I
should proceed until I had received all. At last I should turn to
go, open the door, but, no, pardon me! I should return, ask some
question, receive some explanation, and there it is all done."

"What funny things you do say!" said Zametoff with a smile. "You
are all very well theoretically, but try it and see. Look, for
example, at the murder of the money lender, a case in point. There
was a desperate villain who in broad daylight stopped at nothing,
and yet his hand shook, did it not?--and he could not finish, and
left all the spoil behind him. The deed evidently robbed him of
his presence of mind."

This language nettled Raskolnikoff. "You think so? Then lay your
hand upon him," said he, maliciously delighted to tease him.

"Never fear but we shall!"

"You? Go to, you know nothing about it. All you think of
inquiring is whether a man is flinging money about; he is--then,
ergo he is guilty."

"That is exactly what they do," replied Zametoff, "they murder,
risk their lives, and then rush to the public house and are caught.
Their lavishness betrays them. You see they are not all so crafty
as you are. You would not run there, I suppose?"

Raskolnikoff frowned and looked steadily at Zametoff. "You seem
anxious to know how I should act," he said with some displeasure.

"I should very much like to know," replied Zametoff in a serious
tone. He seemed, indeed, very anxious.

"Very much?"

"Very much."

"Good. This would be my plan," Raskolnikoff said, as he again bent
near to the face of his listener, and speaking in such a tragic
whisper as almost to make the latter shudder. "I should take the
money and all I could find, and make off, going, however, in no
particular direction, but on and on until I came to some obscure
and inclosed place, where no one was about--a market garden, or any
such-like spot. I should then look about me for a stone, perhaps a
pound and a half in weight, lying, it may be, in a corner against a
partition, say a stone used for building purposes; this I should
lift up and under it there would be a hole. In that hole I should
deposit all the things I had got, roll back the stone, stamp it
down with my feet, and be off. For a year I should let them lie--
for two years, three years. Now then, search for them! Where are

"You are indeed mad," said Zametoff, also in a low tone, but
turning away from Raskolnikoff. The latter's eyes glistened, he
became paler than ever, while his upper lip trembled violently. He
placed his face closer, if possible, to that of Zametoff, his lips
moving as if he wished to speak, but no words escaped them--several
moments elapsed--Raskolnikoff knew what he was doing, but felt
utterly unable to control himself, that strange impulse was upon
him as when he stood at the bolted door, to come forth and let all
be known.

"What if I killed the old woman and Elizabeth?" he asked suddenly,
and then--came to himself.

Zametoff turned quite pale; then his face changed to a smile. "Can
it be so?" he muttered to himself.

Raskolnikoff eyed him savagely. "Speak out. What do you think?
Yes? Is it so?"

"Of course not. I believe it now less than ever," replied Zametoff

"Caught at last! caught, my fine fellow! What people believe less
than ever, they must have believed once, eh?"

"Not at all. You frightened me into the supposition," said
Zametoff, visibly confused.

"So you do not think this? Then why those questions in the office?
Why did the lieutenant question me after my swoon? Waiter," he
cried, seizing his cap, "here, how much?"

"Thirty kopecks, sir," replied the man.

"There you are, and twenty for yourself. Look, what a lot of
money!" turning to Zametoff and thrusting forth his shaking hand
filled with the twenty-five rubles, red and blue notes. "Whence
comes all this? Where did I obtain these new clothes from? You
know I had none. You have asked the landlady, I suppose? Well, no
matter!--Enough! Adieu, most affectionately."

He went out, shaking from some savage hysterical emotion, a mixture
of delight, gloom, and weariness. His face was drawn as if he had
just recovered from a fit; and, as his agitation of mind increased,
so did his weakness.

Meanwhile, Zametoff remained in the restaurant where Raskolnikoff
had left him, deeply buried in thought, considering the different
points Raskolnikoff had placed before him.

His heart was empty and depressed, and he strove again to drive off
thought. No feeling of anguish came, neither was there any trace
of that fierce energy which moved him when he left the house to
"put an end to it all."

"What will be the end of it? The result lies in my own will. What
kind of end? Ah, we are all alike, and accept the bit of ground
for our feet and live. Must this be the end? Shall I say the word
or not? Oh, how weary I feel! Oh, to lie down or sit anywhere!
How foolish it is to strive against my illness! Bah! What
thoughts run through my brain!" Thus he meditated as he went
drowsily along the banks of the canal, until, turning to the right
and then to the left, he reached the office building. He stopped
short, however, and, turning down a lane, went on past two other
streets, with no fixed purpose, simply, no doubt, to give himself a
few moments longer for reflection. He went on, his eyes fixed on
the ground, until all of a sudden he started, as if some one had
whispered in his ear. Raising his eyes he saw that he stood before
THE HOUSE, at its very gates.

Quick as lightning, an idea rushed into his head, and he marched
through the yard and made his way up the well-known staircase to
the fourth story. It was, as usual, very dark, and as he reached
each landing he peered almost with caution. There was the room
newly painted, where Dmitri and Mikola had worked. He reached the
fourth landing and he paused before the murdered woman's room in
doubt. The door was wide open and he could hear voices within;
this he had not anticipated. However, after wavering a little, he
went straight in. The room was being done up, and in it were some
workmen. This astonished him--indeed, it would seem he had
expected to find everything as he had left it, even to the dead
bodies lying on the floor. But to see the place with bare walls
and bereft of furniture was very strange! He walked up to the
windows and sat on the sill. One of the workmen now saw him and

"What do you want here?"

Instead of replying, Raskolnikoff walked to the outer door and,
standing outside, began to pull at the bell. Yes, that was the
bell, with its harsh sound. He pulled again and again three times,
and remained there listening and thinking.

"What is it you want?" again cried the workman as he went out to

"I wish to hire some rooms. I came to look at these."

"People don't take lodgings in the night. Why don't you apply to
the porter?"

"The floor has been washed. Are you going to paint it?" remarked
Raskolnikoff. "Where is the blood?"

"What blood?"

"The old woman's and her sister's. There was quite a pool."

"Who are you?" cried the workman uneasily.

"I am Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikoff, ex-student. I live at the
house Schilla, in a lane not far from here, No. 14. Ask the porter
there--he knows me," Raskolnikoff replied indifferently, without
turning to his questioner.

"What were you doing in those rooms?"

"Looking at them."

"What for? Come, out you go then, if you won't explain yourself,"
suddenly shouted the porter, a huge fellow in a smock frock, with a
large bunch of keys round his waist; and he caught Raskolnikoff by
the shoulder and pitched him into the street. The latter lurched
forward, but recovered himself, and, giving one look at the
spectators, went quietly away.

"What shall I do now?" thought Raskolnikoff. He was standing on
the bridge, near a crossing, and was looking around him as if
expecting some one to speak. But no one spoke, and all was dark
and dull, and dead--at least to him, and him alone.

A few days later, Raskolnikoff heard from his friend Razoumikhin
that those who had borrowed money from Alena Ivanovna were going to
the police office to redeem their pledges. He went with
Razoumikhin to the office where they were received by Porphyrius
Petrovitch, the examining magistrate, who seemed to have expected

"You have been expecting this visit? But how did you know that he
had pledged anything with Alena Ivanovna?" cried Razoumikhin.

Porphyrius Petrovitch, without any further reply, said to
Raskolnikoff: "Your things, a ring and a watch, were at her place,
wrapped up in a piece of paper, and on this paper your name was
legibly written in pencil, with the date of the day she had
received these things from you."

"What a memory you must have got!" said Raskolnikoff, with a forced
smile, doing his best to look the magistrate unflinchingly in the
face. However, he could not help adding: "I say so, because, as
the owners of the pledged articles are no doubt very numerous, you
must, I should fancy, have some difficulty in remembering them all;
but I see, on the contrary, that you do nothing of the kind. (Oh!
fool! why add that?)"

"But they have nearly all of them come here; you alone had not done
so," answered Porphyrius, with an almost imperceptible sneer.

"I happened to be rather unwell."

"So I heard. I have been told that you have been in great pain.
Even now you are pale."

"Not at all. I am not pale. On the contrary, I am very well!"
answered Raskolnikoff in a tone of voice which had all at once
become brutal and violent. He felt rising within him
uncontrollable anger. "Anger will make me say some foolish thing,"
he thought. "But why do they exasperate me?"

"He was rather unwell! A pretty expression, to be sure!" exclaimed
Razoumikhin. "The fact is that up to yesterday he has been almost
unconscious. Would you believe it, Porphyrius? Yesterday, when he
could hardly stand upright, he seized the moment when we had just
left him, to dress, to be off by stealth, and to go loafing about,
Heaven only knows where, till midnight, being, all the time, in a
completely raving condition. Can you imagine such a thing? It is
a most remarkable case!"

"Indeed! In a completely raving state?" remarked Porphyrius, with
the toss of the head peculiar to Russian rustics.

"Absurd! Don't you believe a word of it! Besides, I need not urge
you to that effect--of course you are convinced," observed
Raskolnikoff, beside himself with passion. But Porphyrius
Petrovitch did not seem to hear these singular words.

"How could you have gone out if you had not been delirious?" asked
Razoumikhin, getting angry in his turn. "Why have gone out at all?
What was the object of it? And, above all, to go in that secret
manner? Come, now, make a clean breast of it--you know you were
out of your mind, were you not? Now that danger is gone by, I tell
you so to your face."

"I had been very much annoyed yesterday," said Raskolnikoff,
addressing the magistrate, with more or less of insolence in his
smile, "and, wishing to get rid of them, I went out to hire
lodgings where I could be sure of privacy, to effect which I had
taken a certain amount of money. Mr. Zametoff saw what I had by
me, and perhaps he can say whether I was in my right senses
yesterday or whether I was delirious? Perhaps he will judge as to
our quarrel." Nothing would have pleased him better than there and
then to have strangled that gentleman, whose taciturnity and
equivocal facial expression irritated him.

"In my opinion, you were talking very sensibly and even with
considerable shrewdness; only I thought you too irritable,"
observed Zametoff off-handedly.

"Do let us have some tea! We are as dry as fishes!" exclaimed

"Good idea! But perhaps you would like something more substantial
before tea, would you?"

"Look alive, then!"

Porphyrius Petrovitch went out to order tea. All kinds of thoughts
were at work in Raskolnikoff's brain. He was excited. "They don't
even take pains to dissemble; they certainly don't mince matters as
far as I am concerned: that is something, at all events! Since
Porphyrius knew next to nothing about me, why on earth should he
have spoken with Nicodemus Thomich Zametoff at all? They even
scorn to deny that they are on my track, almost like a pack of
hounds! They certainly speak out plainly enough!" he said,
trembling with rage. "Well, do so, as bluntly as you like, but
don't play with me as the cat would with the mouse! That's not
quite civil, Porphyrius Petrovitch; I won't quite allow that yet!
I'll make a stand and tell you some plain truths to your faces, and
then you shall find out my real opinion about you!" He had some
difficulty in breathing. "But supposing that all this is pure
fancy?--a kind of mirage? Suppose I had misunderstood? Let me try
and keep up my nasty part, and not commit myself, like the fool, by
blind anger! Ought I to give them credit for intentions they have
not? Their words are, in themselves, not very extraordinary ones--
so much must be allowed; but a double meaning may lurk beneath
them. Why did Porphyrius, in speaking of the old woman, simply say
'At her place?' Why did Zametoff observe that I had spoken very
sensibly? Why their peculiar manner?--yes, it is this manner of
theirs. How is it possible that all this cannot have struck
Razoumikhin? The booby never notices anything! But I seem to be
feverish again! Did Porphyrius give me a kind of wink just now, or
was I deceived in some way? The idea is absurd! Why should he
wink at me? Perhaps they intend to upset my nervous organization,
and, by so doing, drive me to extremes! Either the whole thing is
a phantasmagoria, or--they know!"

These thoughts flashed through his mind with the rapidity of
lightning. Porphyrius Petrovitch came back a moment afterwards.
He seemed in a very good temper. "When I left your place
yesterday, old fellow, I was really not well," he commenced,
addressing Razoumikhin with a cheeriness which was only just
becoming apparent, "but that is all gone now."

"Did you find the evening a pleasant one? I left you in the thick
of the fun; who came off best?"

"Nobody, of course. They caviled to their heart's content over
their old arguments."

"Fancy, Rodia, the discussion last evening turned on the question:
'Does crime exist? Yes, or No.' And the nonsense they talked on
the subject!"

"What is there extraordinary in the query? It is the social
question without the charm of novelty," answered Raskolnikoff

"Talking of crime," said Porphyrius Petrovitch, speaking to
Raskolnikoff, "I remember a production of yours which greatly
interested me. I am speaking about your article ON CRIME. I don't
very well remember the title. I was delighted in reading it two
months ago in the Periodical Word."

"But how do you know the article was mine? I only signed it with
an initial."

"I discovered it lately, quite by chance. The chief editor is a
friend of mine; it was he who let out the secret of your
authorship. The article has greatly interested me."

"I was analyzing, if I remember rightly, the psychological
condition of a criminal at the moment of his deed."

"Yes, and you strove to prove that a criminal, at such a moment, is
always, mentally, more or less unhinged. That point of view is a
very original one, but it was not this part of your article which
most interested me. I was particularly struck by an idea at the
end of the article, and which, unfortunately, you have touched upon
too cursorily. In a word, if you remember, you maintained that
there are men in existence who can, or more accurately, who have an
absolute right to commit all kinds of wicked, and criminal acts--
men for whom, to a certain extent, laws do not exist."

"Is it not very likely that some coming Napoleon did for Alena
Ivanovna last week?" suddenly blustered Zametoff from his corner.

Without saying a word, Raskolnikoff fixed on Porphyrius a firm and
penetrating glance. Raskolnikoff was beginning to look sullen. He
seemed to have been suspecting something for some time past. He
looked round him with an irritable air. For a moment there was an
ominous silence. Raskolnikoff was getting ready to go.

"What, are you off already?" asked Porphyrius, kindly offering the
young man his hand with extreme affability. "I am delighted to
have made your acquaintance. And as for your application, don't be
uneasy about it. Write in the way I suggested. Or, perhaps, you
had better do this. Come and see me before long--to-morrow, if you
like. I shall be here without fail at eleven o'clock. We can make
everything right--we'll have a chat--and as you were one of the
last that went THERE, you might be able to give some further
particulars?" he added, with his friendly smile.

"Do you wish to examine me formally?" Raskolnikoff inquired, in an
uncomfortable tone.

"Why should I? Such a thing is out of the question. You have
misunderstood me. I ought to tell you that I manage to make the
most of every opportunity. I have already had a chat with every
single person that has been in the habit of pledging things with
the old woman--several have given me very useful information--and
as you happen to be the last one-- By the by," he exclaimed with
sudden pleasure, "how lucky I am thinking about it, I was really
going to forget it!" (Saying which he turned to Razoumikhin.)
"You were almost stunning my ears, the other day, talking about
Mikolka. Well, I am certain, quite certain, as to his innocence,"
he went on, once more addressing himself to Raskolnikoff. "But
what was to be done? It has been necessary to disturb Dmitri.
Now, what I wanted to ask was: On going upstairs--was it not
between seven and eight you entered the house?"

"Yes," replied Raskolnikoff and he immediately regretted an answer
he ought to have avoided.

"Well, in going upstairs, between seven and eight, did you not see
on the second floor, in one of the rooms, when the door was wide
open--you remember, I dare say?--did you not see two painters or,
at all events, one of the two? They were whitewashing the room, I
believe; you must have seen them! The matter is of the utmost
importance to them!"

"Painters, you say? I saw none," replied Raskolnikoff slowly,
trying to sound his memory: for a moment he violently strained it
to discover, as quickly as he could, the trap concealed by the
magistrate's question. "No, I did not see a single one; I did not
even see any room standing open," he went on, delighted at having
discovered the trap, "but on the fourth floor I remember noticing
that the man lodging on the same landing as Alena Ivanovna was in
the act of moving. I remember that very well, as I met a few
soldiers carrying a sofa, and I was obliged to back against the
wall; but, as for painters, I don't remember seeing a single one--I
don't even remember a room that had its door open. No, I saw

"But what are you talking about?" all at once exclaimed
Razoumikhin, who, till that moment, had attentively listened; "it
was on the very day of the murder that painters were busy in that
room, while he came there two days previously! Why are you asking
that question?"

"Right! I have confused the dates!" cried Porphyrius, tapping his
forehead. "Deuce take me! That job makes me lose my head!" he
added by way of excuse, and speaking to Raskolnikoff. "It is very
important that we should know if anybody saw them in that room
between seven and eight. I thought I might have got that
information from you without thinking any more about it. I had
positively confused the days!"

"You ought to be more attentive!" grumbled Razoumikhin.

These last words were uttered in the anteroom, as Porhyrius very
civilly led his visitors to the door. They were gloomy and morose
on leaving the house, and had gone some distance before speaking.
Raskolnikoff breathed like a man who had just been subjected to a
severe trial.

When, on the following day, precisely at eleven o'clock,
Raskolnikoff called on the examining magistrate, he was astonished
to have to dance attendance for a considerable time. According to
his idea, he ought to have been admitted immediately; ten minutes,
however, elapsed before he could see Porphyrius Petrovitch. In the
outer room where he had been waiting, people came and went without
heeding him in the least. In the next room, which was a kind of
office, a few clerks were at work, and it was evident that not one
of them had even an idea who Raskolnikoff might be. The young man
cast a mistrustful look about him. "Was there not," thought he,
"some spy, some mysterious myrmidon of the law, ordered to watch
him, and, if necessary, to prevent his escape?" But he noticed
nothing of the kind; the clerks were all hard at work, and the
other people paid him no kind of attention. The visitor began to
become reassured. "If," thought he, "this mysterious personage of
yesterday, this specter which had risen from the bowels of the
earth, knew all, and had seen all, would they, I should like to
know, let me stand about like this? Would they not rather have
arrested me, instead of waiting till I should come of my own
accord? Hence this man has either made no kind of revelation as
yet about me, or, more probably, he knows nothing, and has seen
nothing (besides how could he have seen anything?): consequently I
have misjudged, and all that happened yesterday was nothing but an
illusion of my diseased imagination." This explanation, which had
offered itself the day before to his mind, at the time he felt most
fearful, he considered a more likely one.

Whilst thinking about all this and getting ready for a new
struggle, Raskolnikoff suddenly perceived that he was trembling; he
became indignant at the very thought that it was fear of an
interview with the hateful Porphyrius Petrovitch which led him to
do so. The most terrible thing to him was to find himself once
again in presence of this man. He hated him beyond all expression,
and what he dreaded was lest he might show this hatred. His
indignation was so great that it suddenly stopped this trembling;
he therefore prepared himself to enter with a calm and self-
possessed air, promised himself to speak as little as possible, to
be very carefully on the watch in order to check, above all things,
his irascible disposition. In the midst of these reflections, he
was introduced to Porphyrius Petrovitch. The latter was alone in
his office, a room of medium dimensions, containing a large table,
facing a sofa covered with shiny leather, a bureau, a cupboard
standing in a corner, and a few chairs: all this furniture,
provided by the State, was of yellow wood. In the wall, or rather
in the wainscoting of the other end, there was a closed door, which
led one to think that there were other rooms behind it. As soon as
Porphyrius Petrovitch had seen Raskolnikoff enter his office, he
went to close the door which had given him admission, and both
stood facing one another. The magistrate received his visitor to
all appearances in a pleasant and affable manner, and it was only
at the expiration of a few moments that the latter observed the
magistrate's somewhat embarrassed manner--he seemed to have been
disturbed in a more or less clandestine occupation.

"Good! my respectable friend! Here you are then--in our
latitudes!" commenced Porphyrius, holding out both hands. "Pray,
be seated, batuchka! But, perhaps, you don't like being called
respectable? Therefore, batuchka, for short! Pray, don't think me
familiar. Sit down here on the sofa."

Raskolnikoff did so without taking his eyes off the judge. "These
words 'in our latitudes,' these excuses for his familiarity, this
expression 'for short,' what could be the meaning of all this? He
held out his hands to me without shaking mine, withdrawing them
before I could do so, thought Raskolnikoff mistrustfully. Both
watched each other, but no sooner did their eyes meet than they
both turned them aside with the rapidity of a flash of lightning.

"I have called with this paper--about the-- If you please. Is it
correct, or must another form be drawn up?"

"What, what paper? Oh, yes! Do not put yourself out. It is
perfectly correct," answered Porphyrius somewhat hurriedly, before
he had even examined it; then, after having cast a glance on it, he
said, speaking very rapidly: "Quite right, that is all that is
required," and placed the sheet on the table. A moment later he
locked it up in his bureau, chattering about other things.

"Yesterday," observed Raskolnikoff, "you had, I fancy, a wish to
examine me formally--with reference to my dealings with--the
victim? At least so it seemed to me!"

"Why did I say, 'So it seemed?'" reflected the young man all of a
sudden. "After all, what can be the harm of it? Why should I
distress myself about that!" he added, mentally, a moment
afterwards. The very fact of his proximity to Porphyrius, with
whom he had scarcely as yet interchanged a word, had immeasurably
increased his mistrust; he marked this in a moment, and concluded
that such a mood was an exceedingly dangerous one, inasmuch as his
agitation, his nervous irritation, would only increase. "That is
bad! very bad! I shall be saying something thoughtless!"

"Quite right. But do not put yourself out of the way, there is
time, plenty of time," murmured Petrovitch, who, without apparent
design, kept going to and fro, now approaching the window, now his
bureau, to return a moment afterwards to the table. At times he
would avoid Raskolnikoff's suspicious look, at times again he drew
up sharp whilst looking his visitor straight in the face. The
sight of this short chubby man, whose movements recalled those of a
ball rebounding from wall to wall, was an extremely odd one. "No
hurry, no hurry, I assure you! But you smoke, do you not! Have
you any tobacco? Here is a cigarette!" he went on, offering his
visitor a paquitos. "You notice that I am receiving you here, but
my quarters are there behind the wainscoting. The State provides
me with that. I am here as it were on the wing, because certain
alterations are being made in my rooms. Everything is almost
straight now. Do you know that quarters provided by the State are
by no means to be despised?"

"I believe you," answered Raskolnikoff, looking at him almost

"Not to be despised, by any means," repeated Porphyrius Petrovitch,
whose mind seemed to be preoccupied with something else--"not to be
despised!" he continued in a very loud tone of voice, and drawing
himself up close to Raskolnikoff, whom he stared out of
countenance. The incessant repetition of the statement that
quarters provided by the State were by no means to be despised
contrasted singularly, by its platitude, with the serious,
profound, enigmatical look he now cast on his visitor.

Raskolnikoff's anger grew in consequence; he could hardly help
returning the magistrate's look with an imprudently scornful
glance. "Is it true?" the latter commenced, with a complacently
insolent air, "is it true that it is a judicial maxim, a maxim
resorted to by all magistrates, to begin an interview about
trifling things, or even, occasionally, about more serious matter,
foreign to the main question however, with a view to embolden, to
distract, or even to lull the suspicion of a person under
examination, and then all of a sudden to crush him with the main
question, just as you strike a man a blow straight between the

"Such a custom, I believe, is religiously observed in your
profession, is it not?

"Then you are of opinion that when I spoke to you about quarters
provided by the State, I did so--" Saying which, Porphyrius
Petrovitch blinked, his face assumed for a moment an expression of
roguish gayety, the wrinkles on his brow became smoothed, his small
eyes grew smaller still, his features expanded, and, looking
Raskolnikoff straight in the face, he burst out into a prolonged
fit of nervous laughter, which shook him from head to foot. The
young man, on his part, laughed likewise, with more or less of an
effort, however, at sight of which Porphyrius's hilarity increased
to such an extent that his face grew nearly crimson. At this
Raskolnikoff experienced more or less aversion, which led him to
forget all caution; he ceased laughing, knitting his brows, and,
whilst Porphyrius gave way to his hilarity, which seemed a somewhat
feigned one, he fixed on him a look of hatred. In truth, they were
both off their guard. Porphyrius had, in fact, laughed at his
visitor, who had taken this in bad part; whereas the former seemed
to care but little about Raskolnikoff's displeasure. This
circumstance gave the young man much matter for thought. He
fancied that his visit had in no kind of way discomposed the
magistrate; on the contrary, it was Raskolnikoff who had been
caught in a trap, a snare, an ambush of some kind or other. The
mine was, perhaps, already charged, and might burst at any moment.

Anxious to get straight to the point, Raskolnikoff rose and took up
his cap. "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he cried, in a resolute tone of
voice, betraying more or less irritation, "yesterday you expressed
the desire to subject me to a judicial examination." (He laid
special stress on this last word.) "I have called at your bidding;
if you have questions to put, do so: if not, allow me to withdraw.
I can't afford to waste my time here, as I have other things to
attend to. In a word, I must go to the funeral of the official who
has been run over, and of whom you have heard speak," he added,
regretting, however, the last part of his sentence. Then, with
increasing anger, he went on: "Let me tell you that all this
worries me! The thing is hanging over much too long. It is that
mainly that has made me ill. In one word,"--he continued, his
voice seeming more and more irritable, for he felt that the remark
about his illness was yet more out of place than the previous one--
"in one word, either be good enough to cross-examine me, or let me
go this very moment. If you do question me, do so in the usual
formal way; otherwise, I shall object. In the meanwhile, adieu,
since we have nothing more to do with one another."

"Good gracious! What can you be talking about? Question you about
what?" replied the magistrate, immediately ceasing his laugh.
"Don't, I beg, disturb yourself." He requested Raskolnikoff to sit
down once more, continuing, nevertheless, his tramp about the room.
"There is time, plenty of time. The matter is not of such
importance after all. On the contrary, I am delighted at your
visit--for as such do I take your call. As for my horrid way of
laughing, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I must apologize. I am a
nervous man, and the shrewdness of your observations has tickled
me. There are times when I go up and down like an elastic ball,
and that for half an hour at a time. I am fond of laughter. My
temperament leads me to dread apoplexy. But, pray, do sit down--
why remain standing? Do, I must request you, batuchka; otherwise I
shall fancy that you are cross."

His brows still knit, Raskolnikoff held his tongue, listened, and
watched. In the meanwhile he sat down.

"As far as I am concerned, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I will
tell you something which shall reveal to you my disposition,"
answered Porphyrius Petrovitch, continuing to fidget about the
room, and, as before, avoiding his visitor's gaze. "I live alone,
you must know, never go into society, and am, therefore, unknown;
add to which, that I am a man on the shady side of forty, somewhat
played out. You may have noticed, Rodion Romanovitch, that here--I
mean in Russia, of course, and especially in St. Petersburg
circles--that when two intelligent men happen to meet who, as yet,
are not familiar, but who, however, have mutual esteem--as, for
instance, you and I have at this moment--don't know what to talk
about for half an hour at a time. They seem, both of them, as if
petrified. Everyone else has a subject for conversation--ladies,
for instance, people in society, the upper ten--all these sets have
some topic or other. It is the thing, but somehow people of the
middle-class, like you and I, seem constrained and taciturn. How
does that come about, batuchka? Have we no social interests? Or
is it, rather, owing to our being too straightforward to mislead
one another? I don't know. What is your opinion, pray? But do, I
beg, remove your cap; one would really fancy that you wanted to be
off, and that pains me. I, you must know, am so contented."

Raskolnikoff laid his cap down. He did not, however, become more
loquacious; and, with knit brows, listened to Porphyrius's idle
chatter. "I suppose," thought he, "he only doles out his small
talk to distract my attention."

"I don't offer you any coffee," went on the inexhaustible
Porphyrius, "because this is not the place for it, but can you not
spend a few minutes with a friend, by way of causing him some
little distraction? You must know that all these professional
obligations--don't be vexed, batuchka, if you see me walking about
like this, I am sure you will excuse me, if I tell you how anxious
I am not to do so, but movement is so indispensable to me! I am
always seated--and, to me, it is quite a luxury to be able to move
about for a minute or two. I purpose, in fact, to go through a
course of calisthenics. The trapeze is said to stand in high favor
amongst State counselors--counselors in office, even amongst privy
counselors. Nowadays, in fact, gymnastics have become a positive
science. As for these duties of our office, these examinations,
all this formality--you yourself, you will remember, touched upon
the topic just now, batuchka--these examinations, and so forth,
sometimes perplex the magistrate much more than the man under
suspicion. You said as much just now with as much sense as
accuracy." (Raskolnikoff had made no statement of the kind.) "One
gets confused, one loses the thread of the investigation. Yet, as
far as our judicial customs go, I agree with you fully. Where, for
instance, is there a man under suspicion of some kind or other,
were it even the most thick-headed moujik, who does not know that
the magistrate will commence by putting all sorts of out-of-the-way
questions to take him off the scent (if I may be allowed to use
your happy simile), and that then he suddenly gives him one between
the eyes? A blow of the ax on his sinciput (if again I may be
permitted to use your ingenious metaphor)? Hah, hah! And do you
mean to say that when I spoke to you about quarters provided by the
State, that--hah, hah! You are very caustic. But I won't revert
to that again. By-and-by!--one remark produces another, one
thought attracts another--but you were talking just now of the
practice or form in vogue with the examining magistrate. But what
is this form? You know as I do that in many cases the form means
nothing at all. Occasionally a simple conversation, a friendly
interview, brings about a more certain result. The practice or
form will never die out--I can vouch for that; but what, after all,
is the form, I ask once more? You can't compel an examining
magistrate to be hampered or bound by it everlastingly. His duty
or method is in its way, one of the liberal professions or
something very much like it."

Porphyrius Petrovitch stopped a moment to take breath. He kept on
talking, now uttering pure nonsense, now again introducing, in
spite of this trash, an occasional enigmatical remark, after which
he went on with his insipidities. His tramp about the room was
more like a race--he moved his stout legs more and more quickly,
without looking up; his right hand was thrust deep in the pocket of
his coat, whilst with the left he unceasingly gesticulated in a way
unconnected with his observations. Raskolnikoff noticed, or
fancied he noticed, that, whilst running round and round the room,
he had twice stopped near the door, seeming to listen. "Does he
expect something?" he asked himself.

"You're perfectly right," resumed Porphyrius cheerily, whilst
looking at the young man with a kindliness which immediately awoke
the latter's distrust. "Our judicial customs deserve your satire.
Our proceedings, which are supposed to be inspired by a profound
knowledge of psychology, are very ridiculous ones, and very often
useless. Now, to return to our method or form: Suppose for a
moment that I am deputed to investigate something or other, and
that I know the guilty person to be a certain gentleman. Are you
not yourself reading for the law, Rodion Romanovitch?"

"I was some time ago."

"Well, here is a kind of example which may be of use to you later
on. Don't run away with the idea that I am setting up as your
instructor--God forbid that I should presume to teach anything to a
man who treats criminal questions in the public press! Oh, no!--
all I am doing is to quote to you, by way of example, a trifling
fact. Suppose that I fancy I am convinced of the guilt of a
certain man, why, I ask you, should I frighten him prematurely,
assuming me to have every evidence against him? Of course, in the
case of another man of a different disposition, him I would have
arrested forthwith; but, as to the former, why should I not permit
him to hang about a little longer? I see you do not quite take me.
I will, therefore, endeavor to explain myself more clearly! If,
for instance, I should be too quick in issuing a writ, I provide
him in doing so with a species of moral support or mainstay--I see
you are laughing?" (Raskolnikoff, on the contrary, had no such
desire; his lips were set, and his glaring look was not removed
from Porphyrius's eyes.) "I assure you that in actual practice
such is really the case; men vary much, although, unfortunately,
our methods are the same for all. But you will ask me: Supposing
you are certain of your proofs? Goodness me, batuchka! you know,
perhaps as well as I do, what proofs are--half one's time, proofs
may be taken either way; and I, a magistrate, am, after all, only a
man liable to error.

"Now, what I want is to give to my investigation the precision of a
mathematical demonstration--I want my conclusions to be as plain,
as indisputable, as that twice two are four. Now, supposing I have
this gentleman arrested prematurely, though I may be positively
certain that he is THE MAN, yet I deprive myself of all future
means of proving his guilt. How is that? Because, so to say, I
give him, to a certain extent, a definite status; for, by putting
him in prison, I pacify him. I give him the chance of
investigating his actual state of mind--he will escape me, for he
will reflect. In a word, he knows that he is a prisoner, and
nothing more. If, on the contrary, I take no kind of notice of the
man I fancy guilty, if I do not have him arrested, if I in no way
set him on his guard--but if the unfortunate creature is hourly,
momentarily, possessed by the suspicion that I know all, that I do
not lose sight of him either by night or by day, that he is the
object of my indefatigable vigilance--what do you ask will take
place under these circumstances? He will lose his self-possession,
he will come of his own accord to me, he will provide me with ample
evidence against himself, and will enable me to give to the
conclusion of my inquiry the accuracy of mathematical proofs, which
is not without its charm.

"If such a course succeeds with an uncultured moujik, it is equally
efficacious when it concerns an enlightened, intelligent, or even
distinguished man. For the main thing, my dear friend, is to
determine in what sense a man is developed. The man, I mean, is
intelligent, but he has nerves which are OVER-strung. And as for
bile--the bile you are forgetting, that plays no small part with
similar folk! Believe me, here we have a very mine of information!
And what is it to me whether such a man walk about the place in
perfect liberty? Let him be at ease--I know him to be my prey, and
that he won't escape me! Where, I ask you, could he go to? You
may say abroad. A Pole may do so--but my man, never! especially as
I watch him, and have taken steps in consquence. Is he likely to
escape into the very heart of our country? Not he! for there dwell
coarse moujiks, and primitive Russians, without any kind of
civilization. My educated friend would prefer going to prison,
rather than be in the midst of such surroundings. Besides, what I
have been saying up to the present is not the main point--it is the
exterior and accessory aspect of the question. He won't escape--
not only because he won't know where to go to, but especially, and
above all, because he is mine from the PSYCHOLOGICAL point of view.
What do you think of this explanation? In virtue of a natural law,
he will not escape, even if he could do so! Have you ever seen a
butterfly close to the candle? My man will hover incessantly round
me in the same way as the butterfly gyrates round the candle-light.
Liberty will have no longer charms for him; he will grow more and
more restless, more and more amazed--let me but give him plenty of
time, and he will demean himself in a way to prove his guilt as
plainly as that twice two our four! Yes, he will keep hovering
about me, describing circles, smaller and smaller, till at last--
bang! He has flown into my clutches, and I have got him. That is
very nice. You don't think so, perhaps?"

Raskolnikoff kept silent. Pale and immovable, he continued to
watch Porphyrius's face with a labored effort of attention. "The
lesson is a good one!" he reflected. "But it is not, as yesterday,
a case of the cat playing with the mouse. Of course, he does not
talk to me in this way for the mere pleasure of showing me his
hand; he is much too intelligent for that. He must have something
else in view--what can it be? Come, friend, what you do say is
only to frighten me. You have no kind of evidence, and the man of
yesterday does not exist! All you wish is to perplex me--to enrage
me, so as to enable you to make your last move, should you catch me
in such a mood, but you will not; all your pains will be in vain!
But why should he speak in such covert terms? I presume he must be
speculating on the excitability of my nervous system. But, dear
friend, that won't go down, in spite of your machinations. We will
try and find out what you really have been driving at."

And he prepared to brave boldly the terrible catastrophe he
anticipated. Occasionally the desire came upon him to rush on
Porphyrius, and to strangle him there and then. From the first
moment of having entered the magistrate's office what he had
dreaded most was, lest he might lose his temper. He felt his heart
beating violently, his lips become parched, his spittle congealed.
He resolved, however, to hold his tongue, knowing that, under the
circumstances, such would be the best tactics. By similar means,
he felt sure that he would not only not become compromised, but
that he might succeed in exasperating his enemy, in order to let
him drop some imprudent observation. This, at all events, was
Raskolnikoff's hope.

"I see you don't believe, you think I am jesting," continued
Porphyrius, more and more at his ease, without ceasing to indulge
in his little laugh, whilst continuing his perambulation about the
room. "You may be right. God has given me a face which only
arouses comical thoughts in others. I'm a buffoon. But excuse an
old man's cackle. You, Rodion Romanovitch, you are in your prime,
and, like all young people, you appreciate, above all things, human
intelligence. Intellectual smartness and abstract rational
deductions entice you. But, to return to the SPECIAL CASE we were
talking about just now. I must tell you that we have to deal with
reality, with nature. This is a very important thing, and how
admirably does she often foil the highest skill! Listen to an old
man; I am speaking quite seriously. Rodion"--(on saying which
Porphyrius Petrovitch, who was hardly thirty-five years of age,
seemed all of a sudden to have aged, a sudden metamorphosis had
taken place in the whole of his person, nay, in his very voice)--
"to an old man who, however, is not wanting in candor. Am I or am
I not candid? What do you think? It seems to me that a man could
hardly be more so--for do I not reveal confidence, and that without
the prospect of reward? But, to continue, acuteness of mind is, in
my opinion, a very fine thing; it is to all intents and purposes an
ornament of nature, one of the consolations of life by means of
which it would appear a poor magistrate can be easily gulled, who,
after all, is often misled by his own imagination, for he is only
human. But nature comes to the aid of this human magistrate!
There's the rub! And youth, so confident in its own intelligence,
youth which tramples under foot every obstacle, forgets this!

"Now, in the SPECIAL CASE under consideration, the guilty man, I
will assume, lies hard and fast, but, when he fancies that all that
is left him will be to reap the reward of his mendacity, behold, he
will succumb in the very place where such an accident is likely to
be most closely analyzed. Assuming even that he may be in a
position to account for his syncope by illness or the stifling
atmosphere of the locality, he has none the less given rise to
suspicion! He has lied incomparably, but he has counted without
nature. Here is the pitfall! Again, a man off his guard, from an
unwary disposition, may delight in mystifying another who suspects
him, and may wantonly pretend to be the very criminal wanted by the
authorities; in such a case, he will represent the person in
question a little too closely, he will place his foot a little too
naturally. Here we have another token. For the nonce his
interlocutor may be duped; but, being no fool, he will on the
morrow have seen through the subterfuge. Then will our friend
become compromised more and more! He will come of his own accord
when he is not even called, he will use all kinds of impudent
words, remarks, allegories, the meaning of which will be clear to
everybody; he will even go so far as to come and ask why he has not
been arrested as yet--hah! hah! And such a line of conduct may
occur to a person of keen intellect, yes, even to a man of
psychologic mind! Nature, my friend, is the most transparent of
mirrors. To contemplate her is sufficient. But why do you grow
pale, Rodion Romanovitch? Perhaps you are too hot; shall I open
the window?"

"By no means, I beg!" cried Raskolnikoff, bursting out laughing.
"Don't heed me, pray!" Porphyrius stopped short, waited a moment,
and burst out laughing himself. Raskolnikoff, whose hilarity had
suddenly died out, rose. "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he shouted in a
clear and loud voice, although he could scarcely stand on his
trembling legs, "I can no longer doubt that you suspect me of
having assassinated this old woman as well as her sister,
Elizabeth. Let me tell you that for some time I have had enough of
this. If you think you have the right to hunt me down, to have me
arrested, hunt me down, have me arrested. But you shall not trifle
with me, you shall not torture me." Suddenly his lips quivered,
his eyes gleamed, and his voice, which up to that moment had been
self-possessed, reached its highest diapason. "I will not permit
it," he yelled hoarsely, whilst striking a violent blow on the
table. "Do you hear me, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I shall not permit

"But, goodness gracious! what on earth is wrong with you?" asked
the magistrate, disturbed to all appearances. "Batuchka! Rodion
Romanovitch! My good friend! What on earth is the matter with

"I will not permit it!" repeated Raskolnikoff once again.

"Batuchka! not so loud, I must request! Someone will hear you,
someone may come; and then, what shall we say? Just reflect one
moment!" murmured Porphyrius Petrovitch, whose face had approached
that of his visitor.

"I will not permit it, I will not permit it!" mechanically pursued
Raskolnikoff, but in a minor key, so as to be heard by Porphyrius

The latter moved away to open the window. "Let us air the room!
Supposing you were to drink some water, dear friend? You have had
a slight fit!" He was on the point of going to the door to give
his orders to a servant, when he saw a water bottle in a corner.
"Drink, batuchka!" he murmured, whilst approaching the young man
with the bottle, "that may do you some good."

Porphyrius's fright seemed so natural that Raskolnikoff remained
silent whilst examining him with curiosity. He refused, however,
the proffered water.

"Rodion Romanovitch! My dear friend! If you go on in this way,
you will go mad, I am positive! Drink, pray, if only a few drops!"
He almost forced the glass of water into his hand. Raskolnikoff
raised it mechanically to his lips, when suddenly he thought better
of it, and replaced it on the table with disgust. "Yes, yes, you
have had a slight fit. One or two more, my friend, and you will
have another attack of your malady," observed the magistrate in the
kindest tone of voice, appearing greatly agitated. "Is it possible
that people can take so little care of themselves? It was the same
with Dmitri Prokofitch, who called here yesterday. I admit mine to
be a caustic temperament, that mine is a horrid disposition, but
that such a meaning could possibly be attributed to harmless
remarks. He called here yesterday, when you had gone, and in the
course of dinner he talked, talked. You had sent him, had you not?
But do sit down, batuchka! do sit down, for heaven's sake!"

"I did not indeed!--although I knew that he had called, and his
object in doing so!" replied Raskolnikoff dryly.

"Did you really know why?"

"I did. And what did you gather from it?"

"I gathered from it, batuchka! Rodion Romanovitch, the knowledge of
a good many of your doings--in fact, I know all! I know that you
went, towards nightfall, TO HIRE THE LODGINGS. I know that you
pulled the bell, and that a question of yours in connection with
bloodstains, as well as your manner, frightened both journeymen and
dvorniks. I know what was your mood at the time. Excitement of
such a kind will drive you out of your mind, be assured. A
praiseworthy indignation is at work within you, complaining now as
to destiny, now on the subject of police agents. You keep going
here and there to induce people as far as possible to formulate
their accusations. This stupid kind of tittle-tattle is hateful to
you, and you are anxious to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Am I right? Have I laid finger on the sentiments which actuate
you? But you are not satisfied by turning your own brain, you want
to do, or rather do, the same thing to my good Razoumikhin.
Really, it is a pity to upset so good a fellow! His kindness
exposes him more than anyone else to suffer contagion from your own
malady. But you shall know all as soon as you shall be calmer.
Pray, therefore, once again sit down, batuchka! Try and recover
your spirits--you seem quite unhinged."

Raskolnikoff rose while looking at him with an air full of
contempt. "Tell me once for all," asked the latter, "tell me one
way or other, whether I am in your opinion an object for suspicion?
Speak up, Porphyrius Petrovitch, and explain yourself without any
more beating about the bush, and that forthwith!"

"Just one word, Rodion Romanovitch. This affair will end as God
knows best; but still, by way of form, I may have to ask you a few
more questions. Hence we are certain to meet again!" And with a
smile Porphyrius stopped before the young man. "Certain!" he
repeated. One might have fancied that he wished to say something
more. But he did not do so.

"Forgive my strange manner just now, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I was
hasty," began Raskolnikoff, who had regained all his self-
possession, and who even experienced an irresistible wish to chaff
the magistrate.

"Don't say any more, it was nothing," replied Porphyrius in almost
joyful tone. "Till we meet again!"

"Till we meet again!"

The young man forthwith went home. Having got there, he threw
himself on his couch, and for a quarter of an hour he tried to
arrange his ideas somewhat, inasmuch as they were very confused.

Within a few days Raskolnikoff convinced himself that Porphyrius
Petrovitch had no real proofs. Deciding to go out, in search of
fresh air, he took up his cap and made for the door, deep in
thought. For the first time he felt in the best of health, really
well. He opened the door, and encountered Porphyrius face to face.
The latter entered. Raskolnikoff staggered for a moment, but
quickly recovered. The visit did not dismay him. "Perhaps this is
the finale, but why does he come upon me like a cat, with muffled
tread? Can he have been listening?"

"I have been thinking for a long time of calling on you, and, as I
was passing, I thought I might drop in for a few minutes. Where
are you off to? I won't detain you long, only the time to smoke a
cigarette, if you will allow me?"

"Be seated, Porphyrius Petrovitch, be seated," said Raskolnikoff to
his guest, assuming such an air of friendship that he himself could
have been astonished at his own affability. Thus the victim, in
fear and trembling for his life, at last does not feel the knife at
his throat. He seated himself in front of Porphyrius, and gazed
upon him without flinching. Porphyrius blinked a little, and
commenced rolling his cigarette.

"Speak! speak!" Raskolnikoff mutely cried in his heart. "What are
you going to say?"

"Oh, these cigarettes!" Porphyrius Petrovitch commenced at last,
"they'll be the death of me, and yet I can't give them up! I am
always coughing--a tickling in the throat is setting in, and I am
asthmatical. I have been to consult Botkine of late; he examines
every one of his patients at least half an hour at a time. After
having thumped and bumped me about for ever so long, he told me,
amongst other things: 'Tobacco is a bad thing for you--your lungs
are affected.' That's all very well, but how am I to go without my
tobacco? What am I to use as a substitute? Unfortunately, I can't
drink, hah! hah! Everything is relative, I suppose, Rodion

"There, he is beginning with some more of his silly palaver!"
Raskolnikoff growled to himself. His late interview with the
magistrate suddenly occurred to him, at which anger affected his

"Did you know, by-the-by, that I called on you the night before
last?" continued Porphyrius, looking about. "I was in this very
room. I happened to be coming this way, just as I am going to-day,
and the idea struck me to drop in. Your door was open--I entered,
hoping to see you in a few minutes, but went away again without
leaving my name with your servant. Do you never shut your place?"

Raskolnikoff's face grew gloomier and gloomier. Porphyrius
Petrovitch evidently guessed what the latter was thinking about.

"You did not expect visitors, Rodion Romanovitch?" said Porphyrius,
smiling graciously.

"I have called just to clear things up a bit. I owe you an
explanation," he went on, smiling and gently slapping the young man
on the knee; but almost at the self-same moment his face assumed a
serious and even sad expression, to Raskolnikoff's great
astonishment, to whom the magistrate appeared in quite a different
light. "At our last interview, an unusual scene took place between
us, Rodion. I somehow feel that I did not behave very well to you.
You remember, I dare say, how we parted; we were both more or less
excited. I fear we were wanting in the most common courtesy, and
yet we are both of us gentlemen."

"What can he be driving at now?" Raskolnikoff asked himself,
looking inquiringly at Porphyrius.

"I have come to the conclusion that it would be much better for us
to be more candid to one another," continued the magistrate,
turning his head gently aside and looking on the ground, as if he
feared to annoy his former victim by his survey. "We must not have
scenes of that kind again. If Mikolka had not turned up on that
occasion, I really do not know how things would have ended. You
are naturally, my dear Rodion, very irritable, and I must own that
I had taken that into consideration, for, when driven in a corner,
many a man lets out his secrets. 'If,' I said to myself, 'I could
only squeeze some kind of evidence out of him, however trivial,
provided it were real, tangible, and palpable, different from all
my psychological inferences!' That was my idea. Sometimes we
succeed by some such proceeding, but unfortunately that does not
happen every day, as I conclusively discovered on the occasion in
question. I had relied too much on your character."

"But why tell me all this now?" stammered Raskolnikoff, without in
any way understanding the object of his interlocutor's question.
"Does he, perhaps, think me really innocent?"

"You wish to know why I tell you this? Because I look upon it as a
sacred duty to explain my line of action. Because I subjected you,
as I now fully acknowledge, to cruel torture. I do not wish, my
dear Rodion, that you should take me for an ogre. Hence, by way of
justification, I purpose explaining to you what led up to it. I
think it needless to account for the nature and origin of the
reports which circulated originally, as also why you were connected
with them. There was, however, one circumstance, a purely
fortuitous one, and which need not now be mentioned, which aroused
my suspicions. From these reports and accidental circumstances,
the same conclusion became evolved for me. I make this statement
in all sincerity, for it was I who first implicated you with the
matter. I do not in any way notice, the particulars notified on
the articles found at the old woman's. That, and several others of
a similar nature, are of no kind of importance. At the same time,
I was aware of the incident which had happened at the police
office. What occurred there has been told me with the utmost
accuracy by some one who had been closely connected with it, and
who, most unwittingly, had brought things to a head. Very well,
then, how, under such circumstances, could a man help becoming
biased? 'One swallow does not make a summer,' as the English
proverb says: a hundred suppositions do not constitute one single
proof. Reason speaks in that way, I admit, but let a man try to
subject prejudice to reason. An examining magistrate, after all,
is only a man--hence given to prejudice.

"I also remembered, on the occasion in question, the article you
had published in some review. That virgin effort of yours, I
assure you, I greatly enjoyed--as an amateur, however, be it
understood. It was redolent of sincere conviction, of genuine
enthusiasm. The article was evidently written some sleepless night
under feverish conditions. That author, I said to myself, while
reading it, will do better things than that. How now, I ask you,
could I avoid connecting that with what followed upon it? Such a
tendency was but a natural one. Am I saying anything I should not?
Am I at this moment committing myself to any definite statement? I
do no more than give utterance to a thought which struck me at the
time. What may I be thinking about now? Nothing--or, at all
events, what is tantamount to it. For the time being, I have to
deal with Mikolka; there are facts which implicate him--what are
facts, after all? If I tell you all this now, as I am doing, I do
so, I assure you, most emphatically, so that your mind and
conscience may absolve me from my behavior on the day of our
interview. 'Why,' you will ask, 'did you not come on that occasion
and have my place searched?' I did so, hah! hah! I went when you
were ill in bed--but, let me tell you, not officially, not in my
magisterial capacity; but go I did. We had your rooms turned
topsy-turvy at our very first suspicions, but umsonst! Then I said
to myself: 'That man will make me a call, he will come of his own
accord, and that before very long! If he is guilty, he will be
bound to come. Other kinds of men would not do so, but this one

"And you remember, of course, Mr. Razoumikhin's chattering? We had
purposely informed him of some of our suspicions, hoping that he
might make you uneasy, for we knew perfectly well that Razoumikhin
would not be able to contain his indignation. Zametoff, in
particular, had been struck by your boldness, and it certainly was
a bold thing for a person to exclaim all of a sudden in an open
traktir: 'I am an assassin!' That was really too much of a good
thing. Well, I waited for you with trusting patience, and, lo and
behold, Providence sends you! How my heart did beat when I saw you
coming! Now, I ask you, where was the need of your coming at that
time at all? If you remember, you came in laughing immoderately.
That laughter gave me food for thought, but, had I not been very
prejudiced at the time, I should have taken no notice of it. And
as for Mr. Razoumikhin on that occasion--ah! the stone, the stone,
you will remember, under which the stolen things are hidden? I
fancy I can see it from here; it is somewhere in a kitchen garden--
it was a kitchen garden you mentioned to Zametoff, was it not? And
then, when your article was broached, we fancied we discovered a
latent thought beneath every word you uttered. That was the way,
Rodion Romanovitch, that my conviction grew little by little. 'And
yet,' said I to myself, 'all that may be explained in quite a
different way, and perhaps more rationally. After all, a real
proof, however slight, would be far more valuable.' But, when I
heard all about the bell-ringing, my doubts vanished; I fancied I
had the indispensable proof, and did not seem to care for further

"We are face to face with a weird and gloomy case--a case of a
contemporary character, if I may say so--a case possessing, in the
fullest sense of the word, the hallmark of time, and circumstances
pointing to a person and life of different surroundings. The real
culprit is a theorist, a bookworm, who, in a tentative kind of way,
has done a more than bold thing; but this boldness of his is of
quite a peculiar and one-sided stamp; it is, after a fashion, like
that of a man who hurls himself from the top of a mountain or
church steeple. The man in question has forgotten to cut off
evidence, and, in order to work out a theory, has killed two
persons. He has committed a murder, and yet has not known how to
take possession of the pelf; what he has taken he has hidden under
a stone. The anguish he experienced while hearing knocking at the
door and the continued ringing of the bell, was not enough for him:
no, yielding to an irresistible desire of experiencing the same
horror, he has positively revisited the empty place and once more
pulled the bell. Let us, if you like, attribute the whole of this
to disease--to a semidelirious condition--by all means; but there
is another point to be considered: he has committed a murder, and
yet continues to look upon himself as a righteous man!"

Raskolnikoff trembled in every limb. "Then, who--who is it--that
has committed the murder?" he stammered forth, in jerky accents.

The examining magistrate sank back in his chair as though
astonished at such a question. "Who committed the murder?" he
retorted, as if he could not believe his own ears. "Why, you--you
did, Rodion Romanovitch! You!--" he added, almost in a whisper,
and in a tone of profound conviction.

Raskolnikoff suddenly rose, waited for a few moments, and sat down
again, without uttering a single word. All the muscles of his face
were slightly convulsed.

"Why, I see your lips tremble just as they did the other day,"
observed Porphyrius Petrovitch, with an air of interest. "You have
not, I think, thoroughly realized the object of my visit, Rodion
Romanovitch," he pursued, after a moment's silence, "hence your
great astonishment. I have called with the express intention of
plain speaking, and to reveal the truth."

"It was not I who committed the murder," stammered the young man,
defending himself very much like a child caught in the act of doing

"Yes, yes, it was you, Rodion Romanovitch, it was you, and you
alone," replied the magistrate with severity. "Confess or not, as
you think best; for the time being, that is nothing to me. In
either case, my conviction is arrived at."

"If that is so, why have you called?" asked Raskolnikoff angrily.
"I once more repeat the question I have put you: If you think me
guilty, why not issue a warrant against me?"

"What a question! But I will answer you categorically. To begin
with, your arrest would not benefit me!"

"It would not benefit you? How can that be? From the moment of
being convinced, you ought to--"

"What is the use of my conviction, after all? For the time being,
it is only built on sand. And why should I have you placed AT
REST? Of course, I purpose having you arrested--I have called to
give you a hint to that effect--and yet I do not hesitate to tell
you that I shall gain nothing by it. Considering, therefore, the
interest I feel for you, I earnestly urge you to go and acknowledge
your crime. I called before to give the same advice. It is by far
the wisest thing you can do--for you as well as for myself, who
will then wash my hands of the affair. Now, am I candid enough?"

Raskolnikoff considered a moment. "Listen to me, Porphyrius
Petrovitch! To use your own statement, you have against me nothing
but psychological sentiments, and yet you aspire to mathematical
evidence. Who has told you that you are absolutely right?"

"Yes, Rodion Romanovitch, I am absolutely right. I hold a proof!
And this proof I came in possession of the other day: God has sent
it me!"

"What is it?"

"I shall not tell you, Rodion Romanovitch. But I have no right to
procrastinate. I am going to have you arrested! Judge, therefore:
whatever you purpose doing is not of much importance to me just
now; all I say and have said has been solely done for your
interest. The best alternative is the one I suggest, you may
depend on it, Rodion Romanovitch! When I shall have had you
arrested--at the expiration of a month or two, or even three, if
you like--you will remember my words, and you will confess. You
will be led to do so insensibly, almost without being conscious of
it. I am even of opinion that, after careful consideration, you
will make up your mind to make atonement. You do not believe me at
this moment, but wait and see. In truth, Rodion Romanovitch,
suffering is a grand thing. In the mouth of a coarse man, who
deprives himself of nothing, such a statement might afford food for
laughter. Never mind, however, but there lies a theory in
suffering. Mikolka is right. You won't escape, Rodion

Raskolnikoff rose and took his cap. Porphyrius Petrovitch did the
same. "Are you going for a walk? The night will be a fine one, as
long as we get no storm. That would be all the better though, as
it would clear the air."

"Porphyrius Petrovitch," said the young man, in curt and hurried
accents, "do not run away with the idea that I have been making a
confession to-day. You are a strange man, and I have listened to
you from pure curiosity. But remember, I have confessed to
nothing. Pray do not forget that."

"I shall not forget it, you may depend-- How he is trembling!
Don't be uneasy, my friend--I shall not forget your advice. Take a
little stroll, only do not go beyond certain limits. I must,
however, at all costs," he added with lowered voice, "ask a small
favor of you; it is a delicate one, but has an importance of its
own; assuming, although I would view such a contingency as an
improbable one--assuming, during the next forty-eight hours, the
fancy were to come upon you to put an end to your life (excuse me
my foolish supposition), would you mind leaving behind you
something in the shape of a note--a line or so--pointing to the
spot where the stone is?--that would be very considerate. Well, au
revoir! May God send you good thoughts!"

Porphyrius withdrew, avoiding Raskolnikoff's eye. The latter
approached the window, and impatiently waited till, according to
his calculation, the magistrate should be some distance from the
house. He then passed out himself in great haste.

A few days later, the prophecy of Porphyrius Petrovitch was
fulfilled. Driven by the torment of uncertainty and doubt,
Raskolnikoff made up his mind to confess his crime. Hastening
through the streets, and stumbling up the narrow stairway, he
presented himself at the police office.

With pale lips and fixed gaze, Raskolnikoff slowly advanced toward
Elia Petrovitch. Resting his head upon the table behind which the
lieutenant was seated, he wished to speak, but could only give vent
to a few unintelligible sounds.

"You are in pain, a chair! Pray sit down! Some water"

Raskolnikoff allowed himself to sink on the chair that was offered
him, but he could not take his eyes off Elia Petrovitch, whose face
expressed a very unpleasant surprise. For a moment both men looked
at one another in silence. Water was brought!

"It was I--" commenced Raskolnikoff.


With a movement of his hand the young man pushed aside the glass
which was offered him; then, in a low-toned but distinct voice he
made, with several interruptions, the following statement:--

"It was I who killed, with a hatchet, the old moneylender and her
sister, Elizabeth, and robbery was my motive."

Elia Petrovitch called for assistance. People rushed in from
various directions. Raskolnikoff repeated his confession.

Anton Chekhoff

The Safety Match

On the morning of October 6, 1885, in the office of the Inspector
of Police of the second division of S---- District, there appeared
a respectably dressed young man, who announced that his master,
Marcus Ivanovitch Klausoff, a retired officer of the Horse Guards,
separated from his wife, had been murdered. While making this
announcement the young man was white and terribly agitated. His
hands trembled and his eyes were full of terror.

"Whom have I the honor of addressing?" asked the inspector.

"Psyekoff, Lieutenant Klausoff's agent; agriculturist and

The inspector and his deputy, on visiting the scene of the
occurrence in company with Psyekoff, found the following: Near the
wing in which Klausoff had lived was gathered a dense crowd. The
news of the murder had sped swift as lightning through the
neighborhood, and the peasantry, thanks to the fact that the day
was a holiday, had hurried together from all the neighboring
villages. There was much commotion and talk. Here and there,
pale, tear-stained faces were seen. The door of Klausoff's bedroom
was found locked. The key was inside.

"It is quite clear that the scoundrels got in by the window!" said
Psyekoff as they examined the door.

They went to the garden, into which the bedroom window opened. The
window looked dark and ominous. It was covered by a faded green
curtain. One corner of the curtain was slightly turned up, which
made it possible to look into the bedroom.

"Did any of you look into the window?" asked the inspector.

"Certainly not, your worship!" answered Ephraim, the gardener, a
little gray-haired old man, who looked like a retired sergeant.
"Who's going to look in, if all their bones are shaking?"

"Ah, Marcus Ivanovitch, Marcus Ivanovitch!" sighed the inspector,
looking at the window, "I told you you would come to a bad end! I
told the dear man, but he wouldn't listen! Dissipation doesn't
bring any good!"

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