Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostępny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacji Legimi na:
First digital edition 2017 by Anna Ruggieri
A few words about Dostoevsky himself may help the English readerto understand his work.
Dostoevsky was the son of a doctor. His parents were veryhard-working and deeply religious people, but so poor that theylived with their five children in only two rooms. The father andmother spent their evenings in reading aloud to their children,generally from books of a serious character.
Though always sickly and delicate Dostoevsky cameout third inthe final examination of the Petersburg school of Engineering.There he had already begun his first work, “PoorFolk.”
This story was published by the poet Nekrassov in his review andwas received with acclamations. The shy, unknown youth foundhimself instantly something of a celebrity. A brilliant andsuccessful career seemed to open before him, but those hopes weresoon dashed. In 1849 he was arrested.
Though neither by temperament nor conviction a revolutionist,Dostoevsky was one of a little group of young men who met togetherto read Fourier and Proudhon. He was accused of “taking partin conversations against the censorship, of reading a letter fromByelinsky to Gogol, and of knowing of the intention to set up aprinting press.” Under Nicholas I. (that “stern andjust man,” as Maurice Baring calls him) this was enough, andhe was condemned to death. After eight months’ imprisonmenthe was with twenty-one others taken out to the Semyonovsky Squareto be shot. Writing to his brother Mihail,Dostoevsky says:“They snapped words over our heads, and they made us put onthe white shirts worn by persons condemned to death. Thereupon wewere bound in threes to stakes, to suffer execution. Being thethird in the row, I concluded I had only a few minutes of lifebefore me. I thought of you and your dear ones and I contrived tokiss Plestcheiev and Dourov, who were next to me, and to bid themfarewell. Suddenly the troops beat a tattoo, we were unbound,brought back upon the scaffold, and informed that his Majesty hadspared us our lives.” The sentence was commuted to hardlabour.
One of the prisoners, Grigoryev, went mad as soon as he wasuntied, and never regained his sanity.
The intense suffering of this experience left a lasting stamp onDostoevsky’s mind. Though his religious temper led him in theend to accept every suffering with resignation and to regard it asa blessing in his own case, he constantly recurs to the subject inhis writings. He describes the awful agony of the condemned man andinsists on the cruelty of inflicting such torture. Then followedfour years of penal servitude, spent in the company of commoncriminals in Siberia, where he began the “Dead House,”and some years of service in a disciplinary battalion.
He had shown signs ofsome obscure nervous disease before hisarrest and this now developed into violent attacks of epilepsy,from which he suffered for the rest of his life. The fits occurredthree or four times a year and were more frequent in periods ofgreatstrain. In 1859 he was allowed to return to Russia. He starteda journal—“Vremya,” which was forbidden by theCensorship through a misunderstanding. In 1864 he lost his firstwife and his brother Mihail. He was in terrible poverty, yet hetook upon himself the payment of his brother’s debts. Hestarted another journal—“The Epoch,” which withina few months was also prohibited. He was weighed down by debt, hisbrother’s family was dependent on him, he was forced to writeat heart-breaking speed, and is said never to havecorrected hiswork. The later years of his life were much softened by thetenderness and devotion of his second wife.
In June 1880 he made his famous speech at the unveiling of themonument to Pushkin in Moscow and he was received withextraordinary demonstrations of love and honour.
A few months later Dostoevsky died. He was followed to the graveby a vast multitude of mourners, who “gave the hapless manthe funeral of a king.” He is still probably the most widelyread writer in Russia.
In the words of a Russian critic, who seeks to explain thefeeling inspired by Dostoevsky: “He was one of ourselves, aman of our blood and our bone, but one who has suffered and hasseen so much more deeply than we have his insight impresses us aswisdom... that wisdom of the heart which we seek that we may learnfrom it how to live. All his other gifts came to him from nature,this he won for himself and through it he became great.”
On an exceptionally hotevening early in July a young man cameout of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly,as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge.
He had successfully avoided meeting his landlady on thestaircase. His garret was under the roof of a high, five-storiedhouse and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady whoprovided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on thefloor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass herkitchen, the door of which invariably stoodopen. And each time hepassed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which madehim scowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to hislandlady, and was afraid of meeting her.
This was not because he was cowardly and abject, quite thecontrary; but for some time past he had been in an overstrainedirritable condition, verging on hypochondria. He had become socompletely absorbed in himself, and isolated from his fellows thathe dreaded meeting, not only his landlady, but anyone at all. Hewascrushed by poverty, but the anxieties of his position had oflate ceased to weigh upon him. He had given up attending to mattersof practical importance; he had lost all desire to do so. Nothingthat any landlady could do had a real terror for him. But tobestopped on the stairs, to be forced to listen to her trivial,irrelevant gossip, to pestering demands for payment, threats andcomplaints, and to rack his brains for excuses, to prevaricate, tolie—no, rather than that, he would creep down the stairs likea cat and slip out unseen.
This evening, however, on coming out into the street, he becameacutely aware of his fears.
“I want to attempt a thinglike thatand am frightened bythese trifles,” he thought, with an odd smile. “Hm...yes, all is in a man’shands and he lets it all slip fromcowardice, that’s an axiom. It would be interesting to knowwhat it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering anew word is what they fear most.... But I am talking too much.It’s because I chatter that I donothing. Or perhaps it isthat I chatter because I do nothing. I’ve learned to chatterthis last month, lying for days together in my den thinking... ofJack the Giant-killer. Why am I going there now? Am I capableofthat? Isthatserious? It is not serious at all. It’s simplya fantasy to amuse myself; a plaything! Yes, maybe it is aplaything.”
The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, thebustle and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all abouthim, and that special Petersburg stench, so familiar to all who areunable to get out of town in summer—all worked painfully uponthe young man’s already overwrought nerves. The insufferablestench from the pot-houses, which are particularly numerous in thatpart of the town, and the drunken men whom he met continually,although it was a working day, completed the revolting misery ofthe picture. An expression of the profoundest disgust gleamed for amoment in the young man’s refined face. He was, by the way,exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim,well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair. Soon hesank into deep thought, or more accurately speaking into a completeblankness of mind; he walked along not observing what was about himand not caring to observe it. From time to time, he wouldmuttersomething, from the habit of talking to himself, to which he hadjust confessed. At these moments he would become conscious that hisideas were sometimes in a tangle and that he was very weak; for twodays he had scarcely tasted food.
He was so badly dressed that even a man accustomed to shabbinesswould have been ashamed to be seen in the street in such rags. Inthat quarter of the town, however, scarcely any shortcoming indress would have created surprise. Owing to the proximity of theHay Market, the number of establishments of bad character, thepreponderance of the trading and working class population crowdedin these streets and alleys in the heart of Petersburg, types sovarious were to be seen in the streets that no figure, howeverqueer, would have caused surprise. But there was such accumulatedbitterness and contempt in the young man’s heart, that, inspite of all the fastidiousness of youth, he minded his rags leastof all in the street. It was a different matter when he met withacquaintances or with former fellow students, whom, indeed, hedisliked meeting at any time. And yet when a drunken man who, forsome unknown reason, was being taken somewhere in a huge waggondragged by a heavy dray horse, suddenly shouted at him as he drovepast: “Hey there, German hatter” bawling at the top ofhis voice and pointing at him—the young man stopped suddenlyand clutched tremulously at his hat. It was a tall round hat fromZimmerman’s, but completely worn out, rusty withage, all tornand bespattered, brimless and bent on one side in a most unseemlyfashion. Not shame, however, but quite another feeling akin toterror had overtaken him.
“I knew it,” he muttered in confusion, “Ithought so! That’s the worst of all! Why, astupid thing likethis, the most trivial detail might spoil the whole plan. Yes, myhat is too noticeable.... It looks absurd and that makes itnoticeable.... With my rags I ought to wear a cap, any sort of oldpancake, but not this grotesque thing. Nobodywears such a hat, itwould be noticed a mile off, it would be remembered.... Whatmatters is that people would remember it, and that would give thema clue. For this business one should be as little conspicuous aspossible.... Trifles, trifles are what matter! Why, it’s justsuch trifles that always ruin everything....”
He had not far to go; he knew indeed how many steps it was fromthe gate of his lodging house: exactly seven hundred and thirty. Hehad counted them once when he had been lost in dreams. Atthe timehe had put no faith in those dreams and was only tantalisinghimself by their hideous but daring recklessness. Now, a monthlater, he had begun to look upon them differently, and, in spite ofthe monologues in which he jeered at his own impotenceandindecision, he had involuntarily come to regard this“hideous” dream as an exploit to be attempted, althoughhe still did not realise this himself. He was positively going nowfor a “rehearsal” of his project, and at every step hisexcitement grew more and more violent.
With a sinking heart and a nervous tremor, he went up to a hugehouse which on one side looked on to the canal, and on the otherinto the street. This house was let out in tiny tenements and wasinhabited by working people of all kinds—tailors, locksmiths,cooks, Germans of sorts, girls picking up a living as best theycould, petty clerks, etc. There was a continual coming and goingthrough the two gates and in the two courtyards of the house. Threeor four door-keepers were employed onthe building. The young manwas very glad to meet none of them, and at once slipped unnoticedthrough the door on the right, and up the staircase. It was a backstaircase, dark and narrow, but he was familiar with it already,andknew his way, and he likedall these surroundings: in such darknesseven the most inquisitive eyes were not to be dreaded.
“If I am so scared now, what would it be if it somehowcame to pass that I were really going to do it?” he could nothelp asking himself as he reached the fourth storey. There hisprogress was barred by some porters who were engaged in movingfurniture out of a flat. He knew that the flat had been occupied bya German clerk in the civil service, and his family. This Germanwas moving out then, and so the fourthfloor on this staircase wouldbe untenanted except by the old woman. “That’s a goodthing anyway,” he thought to himself, as he rang the bell ofthe old woman’s flat. The bell gave a faint tinkle as thoughit were made of tin and not of copper. The littleflats in suchhouses always have bells that ring like that. He had forgotten thenote of that bell, and now its peculiar tinkle seemed to remind himof something and to bring it clearly before him.... He started, hisnerves were terribly overstrained by now. In a little while, thedoor was opened a tiny crack: the old woman eyed her visitor withevident distrust through the crack, and nothing could be seen buther little eyes, glittering in the darkness. But, seeing a numberof people on the landing, she grew bolder, and opened the doorwide. The young man stepped into the dark entry, which waspartitioned off from the tiny kitchen. The old woman stood facinghim in silence and looking inquiringly at him. She was adiminutive, withered up old woman of sixty,with sharp malignanteyes and a sharp little nose. Her colourless, somewhat grizzledhair was thickly smeared with oil, and she wore no kerchief overit. Round her thin long neck, which looked like a hen’s leg,was knotted some sort of flannel rag, and, in spite of the heat,there hung flapping on her shoulders, a mangy fur cape, yellow withage. The old woman coughed and groaned at every instant. The youngman must have looked at her with a rather peculiar expression, fora gleam of mistrust came into hereyes again.
“Raskolnikov, a student, I came here a month ago,”the young man made haste to mutter, with a half bow, rememberingthat he ought to be more polite.
“I remember, my good sir, I remember quite well yourcoming here,” the old woman said distinctly, still keepingher inquiring eyes on his face.
“And here... I am again on the same errand,”Raskolnikov continued, a little disconcerted and surprised at theold woman’s mistrust. “Perhaps she is always like thatthough, only I did not notice it the other time,” he thoughtwith an uneasy feeling.
The old woman paused, as though hesitating; then stepped on oneside, and pointing to the door of the room, she said, letting hervisitor pass in front of her:
“Step in, my good sir.”
The little room into whichthe young man walked, with yellowpaper on the walls, geraniums and muslin curtains in the windows,was brightly lighted up at that moment by the setting sun.
“So the sun will shine like thisthentoo!” flashed asit were by chance through Raskolnikov’s mind, and with arapid glance he scanned everything in the room, trying as far aspossible to notice and remember its arrangement. But there wasnothing special in the room. The furniture, all very old and ofyellow wood, consisted of a sofa with a huge bentwooden back, anoval table in front of the sofa, a dressing-table with alooking-glass fixed on it between the windows, chairs along thewalls and two or three half-penny printsin yellow frames,representing German damsels with birds in their hands—thatwasall. In the corner a light was burning before a small ikon.Everything was very clean; the floor and the furniture werebrightly polished; everything shone.
“Lizaveta’s work,” thought the young man.There was not a speck of dust to be seen in the wholeflat.
“It’s in the houses of spiteful old widows that onefinds such cleanliness,” Raskolnikov thought again, and hestole a curious glance at the cotton curtain over the door leadinginto another tiny room, in which stood the old woman’s bedand chest ofdrawers and into which he had never looked before.These two rooms made up the whole flat.
“What do you want?” the old woman said severely,coming into the room and, as before, standing in front of him so asto look him straight in the face.
“I’ve broughtsomething to pawn here,” and hedrew out of his pocket an old-fashioned flat silver watch, on theback of which was engraved a globe; the chain was of steel.
“But the time is up for your last pledge. The month was upthe day before yesterday.”
“I willbring you the interest for another month; wait alittle.”
“But that’s for me to do as I please, my good sir,to wait or to sell your pledge at once.”
“How much will you give me for the watch, AlyonaIvanovna?”
“You come with such trifles, my good sir,it’sscarcely worth anything. I gave you two roubles last timefor your ring and one could buy it quite new at a jeweler’sfor a rouble and a half.”
“Give me four roubles for it, I shall redeem it, it was myfather’s. I shall be getting some money soon.”
“A rouble and a half, and interest in advance, if youlike!”
“A rouble and a half!” cried the young man.
“Please yourself”—and the old woman handed himback the watch. The young man took it, and was so angry that he wason the point of going away; but checked himself at once,remembering that there was nowhere else he could go, and that hehad had another object also in coming.
“Hand it over,” he said roughly.
The old woman fumbled in her pocket for her keys, anddisappeared behind the curtain into the other room. The young man,left standing alone in the middle of the room, listenedinquisitively, thinking. He could hear her unlocking the chest ofdrawers.
“It must be the top drawer,” he reflected. “Soshe carries the keys in a pocket on the right. All in one bunch ona steel ring.... And there’s one key there, three times asbig as all the others, with deep notches; that can’t be thekey of the chest of drawers... then there must be some other chestor strong-box... that’s worth knowing. Strong-boxes alwayshavekeys like that... but how degrading it all is.”
The old woman came back.
“Here, sir: as we say ten copecks the rouble a month, so Imust take fifteen copecks from a rouble and a half for the month inadvance. But for the two roubles I lent you before, youowe me nowtwenty copecks on the same reckoning in advance. That makesthirty-fivecopecks altogether. So I must give you a rouble andfifteen copecks for the watch. Here it is.”
“What! only a rouble and fifteen copecks now!”
The young man didnot dispute it and took the money. He looked atthe old woman, and was in no hurry to get away, as though there wasstill something he wanted to say or to do, but he did not himselfquite know what.
“I may be bringing you something else in a day or two,Alyona Ivanovna—a valuable thing—silver—acigarette-box, as soon as I get it back from a friend...” hebroke off in confusion.
“Well, we will talk about it then, sir.”
“Good-bye—are you always at home alone, your sisteris not here with you?” He asked her ascasually as possible ashe went out into the passage.
“What business is she of yours, my good sir?”
“Oh, nothing particular, I simply asked. You are tooquick.... Good-day, Alyona Ivanovna.”
Raskolnikov went out in complete confusion. This confusionbecame more and more intense. As he went down the stairs, he evenstopped short, two or three times, as though suddenly struck bysome thought. When he was in the street he cried out, “Oh,God, how loathsome it all is! and can I, can I possibly.... No,it’s nonsense, it’s rubbish!” he addedresolutely. “And how could such an atrocious thing come intomy head? What filthy things my heart is capable of. Yes, filthyabove all, disgusting, loathsome, loathsome!—and for a wholemonth I’ve been....” But no words, no exclamations,could express his agitation. The feeling of intense repulsion,which had begun to oppress and torture his heart while he was onhis way to the old woman, had by now reached such a pitch and hadtaken such a definite form that he did not know what to do withhimself to escape from his wretchedness. He walked along thepavement like a drunken man, regardless of the passers-by, andjostling against them, and only came to his senses when he was inthe next street. Looking round, he noticed that hewas standingclose to a tavern which was entered by steps leading from thepavement to the basement. At that instant two drunken men came outat the door, and abusing and supporting one another, they mountedthe steps. Without stopping to think, Raskolnikov went down thesteps at once. Till that moment he had never been into a tavern,but now he felt giddy and was tormented by a burning thirst. Helonged for a drink of cold beer, and attributed his sudden weaknessto the want of food. He sat down at a sticky little table in a darkand dirty corner; ordered some beer, and eagerly drank off thefirst glassful. At once he felt easier; and his thoughts becameclear.
“All that’s nonsense,” he said hopefully,“and there is nothing in it all to worry about! It’ssimply physical derangement. Just a glass of beer, a piece of drybread—and in one moment the brain is stronger, the mind isclearer and the will is firm! Phew, how utterly petty it allis!”
But in spite of this scornful reflection, he was by now lookingcheerful as though he were suddenly set free from a terribleburden: and he gazed round in a friendly way at thepeople in theroom. But even at that moment he had a dim foreboding that thishappier frame of mind was also not normal.
There were few people atthe time in the tavern. Besides the twodrunken men he had met on the steps, a group consisting of aboutfive men and a girl with a concertina had gone out at the sametime. Their departure left the room quiet and rather empty. Thepersons still in the tavern were a man who appeared to be anartisan, drunk, but not extremely so, sitting before a pot of beer,and his companion, a huge, stout man with a grey beard, in a shortfull-skirted coat. He was very drunk: and had dropped asleep on thebench; every nowand then, he began as though in his sleep, crackinghis fingers, with his arms wide apart and the upper part of hisbody bounding about on the bench, while he hummed some meaninglessrefrain, trying to recall some such lines as these:
“His wife a year hefondly lovedHis wife a—a yearhe—fondly loved.”
Or suddenly waking up again:
“Walking along the crowded rowHe met the one he used toknow.”
But no one shared his enjoyment: his silent companion lookedwith positive hostility and mistrust at all thesemanifestations.There was another man in the room who looked somewhat like aretired government clerk. He was sitting apart, now and thensipping from his pot and looking round at the company. He, too,appeared to be in some agitation.
Raskolnikov was not used to crowds, and, as we said before, heavoided society of every sort, more especially of late. But now allat once he felt a desire to be with other people. Something newseemed to be taking place within him, and with it he felt a sort ofthirst for company. He was so weary after a whole month ofconcentrated wretchedness and gloomy excitement that he longed torest, if only for a moment, in some other world, whatever it mightbe; and, in spite of the filthiness of the surroundings,he was gladnow to stay in the tavern.
The master of the establishment was in another room, but hefrequently came down some steps into the main room, his jaunty,tarred boots with red turn-over tops coming into view each timebefore the rest of his person. He wore a full coat and a horriblygreasy black satin waistcoat, with no cravat, and his whole faceseemed smeared with oil like an iron lock. At the counter stood aboy of about fourteen, and there was another boy somewhat youngerwho handed whatever was wanted. On the counter lay some slicedcucumber, some pieces of dried black bread, and some fish, choppedup small, all smelling very bad. It was insufferably close, and soheavy with the fumes of spirits that five minutes in such anatmosphere might well make a man drunk.
There are chance meetings with strangers that interest us fromthe first moment, before a word is spoken. Such was the impressionmade on Raskolnikov by the person sitting a little distance fromhim, who looked like a retired clerk. Theyoung man often recalledthis impression afterwards, and even ascribed it to presentiment.He looked repeatedly at the clerk, partly no doubt because thelatter was staring persistently at him, obviously anxious to enterinto conversation. At the other persons in the room, including thetavern-keeper, the clerk looked as though he were used to theircompany, and weary of it, showing a shade of condescending contemptfor them as persons of station and culture inferior to his own,with whom it would be useless for him to converse. He was a manover fifty, bald and grizzled, of medium height, and stoutly built.His face, bloated from continual drinking, was of a yellow, evengreenish, tinge, with swollen eyelids out of which keen reddisheyes gleamed like little chinks. But there was something verystrange in him; there was a light in his eyes as though of intensefeeling—perhaps there were even thought and intelligence, butat the same time there was a gleam of something like madness. Hewas wearing an old andhopelessly ragged black dress coat, with allits buttons missing except one, and that one he had buttoned,evidently clinging to this last trace of respectability. A crumpledshirt front, covered with spots and stains, protruded from hiscanvas waistcoat.Like a clerk, he wore no beard, nor moustache, buthad been so long unshaven that his chin looked like a stiff greyishbrush. And there was something respectable and like an officialabout his manner too. But he was restless; he ruffled up his hairand from time to time let his head drop into his hands dejectedlyresting his ragged elbows on the stained and sticky table. At lasthe looked straight at Raskolnikov, and said loudly andresolutely:
“May I venture, honoured sir, to engage you in politeconversation? Forasmuch as, though your exterior would not commandrespect, my experience admonishes me that youare a man of educationand not accustomed to drinking. I have always respected educationwhen in conjunction with genuine sentiments, and I am besidesatitular counsellor in rank. Marmeladov—such is my name;titular counsellor. I make bold to inquire—have you been inthe service?”
“No, I am studying,” answered the young man,somewhat surprised at the grandiloquent style of the speaker andalso at beingso directly addressed. In spite of the momentarydesire he had just been feeling for company of any sort, on beingactually spoken to he felt immediately his habitual irritable anduneasy aversion for any stranger who approached or attempted toapproach him.
“A student then, or formerly a student,” cried theclerk. “Just what I thought! I’m a man of experience,immense experience, sir,” and he tapped his forehead with hisfingers in self-approval. “You’ve been a student orhave attended some learned institution!... But allow me....”He got up, staggered, took up his jug and glass, and sat downbeside the young man, facing him a little sideways. He was drunk,but spoke fluently and boldly, only occasionally losing the threadof his sentences and drawling hiswords. He pounced upon Raskolnikovas greedily as though he too had not spoken to a soul for amonth.
“Honoured sir,” he began almost with solemnity,“poverty is not a vice, that’s a true saying. Yet Iknow too that drunkenness is not a virtue, and that that’seven truer. But beggary, honoured sir, beggary is a vice. Inpoverty you may still retain your innate nobility of soul, but inbeggary—never—no one. For beggary a man is not chasedout of human society with a stick, he is swept out with a broom, soasto make it as humiliating as possible; and quite right, too,forasmuch as in beggary I am ready to be the first to humiliatemyself. Hence the pot-house! Honoured sir, a month ago Mr.Lebeziatnikov gave my wife a beating, and my wife is a verydifferent matter from me! Do you understand? Allow me to ask youanother question out of simple curiosity: have you ever spent anight on a hay barge, on the Neva?”
“No, I have not happened to,” answered Raskolnikov.“What do you mean?”
“Well, I’ve just come from oneand it’s thefifth night I’ve slept so....” He filled his glass,emptied it and paused. Bits of hay were in fact clinging to hisclothes and sticking to his hair. It seemed quite probable that hehad not undressed or washed for the last five days. His hands,particularly, were filthy. They were fat and red, with blacknails.
His conversation seemed to excite a general though languidinterest. The boys at the counter fell to sniggering. The innkeepercame down from the upper room, apparently on purpose to listen tothe “funny fellow” and sat down at a little distance,yawning lazily, but with dignity. Evidently Marmeladov was afamiliar figure here, and he had most likely acquired his weaknessfor high-flown speeches from the habit of frequently entering intoconversation with strangers of all sorts in the tavern. This habitdevelops into a necessity in some drunkards, and especially inthose who are looked after sharply and kept in order at home. Hencein the company of other drinkers they try to justify themselves andeven if possible obtain consideration.
“Funny fellow!” pronounced the innkeeper. “Andwhy don’t you work, why aren’t you at your duty, if youare in the service?”
“Why am I not at my duty, honoured sir,” Marmeladovwent on, addressing himself exclusively to Raskolnikov, as thoughit had been he who put that question to him. “Why am I not atmy duty? Does not my heart ache to think what a useless worm I am?A month ago when Mr. Lebeziatnikov beat my wife with his own hands,and I lay drunk, didn’t I suffer? Excuse me, young man, hasit ever happened to you... hm... well, to petition hopelessly for aloan?”
“Yes, it has. But what do you mean byhopelessly?”
“Hopelessly in the fullest sense, when you know beforehandthat you will get nothing by it.You know, for instance, beforehandwith positive certainty that this man, this most reputable andexemplary citizen, will on no consideration give you money; andindeed I ask you why should he? For he knows of course that Ishan’t pay it back. From compassion? But Mr. Lebeziatnikovwho keeps up with modern ideas explained the other day thatcompassion is forbidden nowadays by science itself, and thatthat’s what is done now in England, where there is politicaleconomy. Why, I ask you, should he give it to me? And yet though Iknow beforehand that he won’t, I set off to himand...”
“Why do you go?” put in Raskolnikov.
“Well, when one has no one, nowhere else one can go! Forevery man must have somewhere to go. Since there are times when oneabsolutely must gosomewhere! When my own daughter first went outwith a yellow ticket, then I had to go... (for my daughter has ayellow passport),” he added in parenthesis, looking with acertain uneasiness at the young man. “No matter, sir, nomatter!” he went on hurriedly and with apparent composurewhen both the boys at the counter guffawed and even the innkeepersmiled—“No matter, I am not confounded by the waggingof their heads; for everyone knows everything about it already, andall that is secret is made open. AndI accept it all, not withcontempt, but with humility. So be it! So be it! ‘Behold theman!’ Excuse me, young man, can you.... No, to put it morestrongly and more distinctly; notcanyou butdareyou, looking uponme, assert that I am not a pig?”
The young man did not answer a word.
“Well,” the orator began again stolidly and witheven increased dignity, after waiting for the laughter in the roomto subside. “Well, so be it, I am a pig, but she is a lady! Ihave the semblance of a beast, but Katerina Ivanovna, my spouse, isa person of education and an officer’s daughter. Granted,granted, I am a scoundrel, but she is a woman of a noble heart,full of sentiments, refined by education. And yet... oh, if onlyshe felt for me! Honoured sir, honoured sir, you know every manought to have at least one place where people feel for him! ButKaterina Ivanovna, though she is magnanimous, she is unjust.... Andyet, although I realise that when she pulls my hair she only doesit out of pity—for I repeat without being ashamed, she pullsmy hair, young man,” he declared with redoubled dignity,hearing the sniggering again—“but, my God, if she wouldbut once.... But no, no! It’s all in vain and it’s nouse talking! No use talking! For more than once, my wish did cometrue and more than once she has felt for me but... such is my fateand I am a beast by nature!”
“Rather!” assented the innkeeper yawning. Marmeladovstruck his fist resolutely on the table.
“Such is my fate! Do you know, sir, do you know, I havesold her very stockings for drink? Not her shoes—that wouldbe more or less in the order of things, but her stockings, herstockings I have sold for drink! Her mohair shawl I sold for drink,a present to her long ago, her own property, not mine; and we livein a cold roomand she caught cold this winter and has beguncoughing and spitting blood too. We have three little children andKaterina Ivanovna is at work from morning till night; she isscrubbing and cleaning and washing the children, for she’sbeen used to cleanliness from a child. But her chest is weak andshe has a tendency to consumption and I feel it! Do you suppose Idon’t feel it? And the more I drink the more I feel it.That’s why I drink too. I try to find sympathy and feeling indrink.... I drink so that I may suffer twice as much!” And asthough in despair he laid his head down on the table.
“Young man,” he went on, raising his head again,“in your face I seem to read some trouble of mind. When youcame in I read it, and that was why I addressed you at once.For inunfolding to you the story of my life, I do not wish to make myselfa laughing-stock before these idle listeners, who indeed know allabout it already, but I am looking for a man of feeling andeducation. Know then that my wife was educated in a high-classschool for the daughters of noblemen, and on leaving she danced theshawl dance before the governor and other personages for which shewas presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit. Themedal... well, the medal of course was sold—longago, hm...but the certificate of merit is in her trunk still and not long agoshe showed it to our landlady. And although she is most continuallyon bad terms with the landlady, yet she wanted to tell someone orother of her past honours and of the happydays that are gone. Idon’t condemn her for it, I don’t blame her, for theone thing left her is recollection of the past, and all the rest isdust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady of spirit, proud anddetermined. She scrubs the floors herself and has nothing but blackbread to eat, but won’t allow herself to be treated withdisrespect. That’s why she would not overlook Mr.Lebeziatnikov’s rudeness to her, and so when he gave her abeating for it, she took to her bed more from the hurt to herfeelings than from the blows. She was a widow when I married her,with three children, one smaller than the other. She married herfirst husband, an infantry officer, for love, and ran away with himfrom her father’s house. She was exceedingly fond of herhusband; but he gave way to cards, got into trouble and with thathe died. He used to beat her at the end: and although she paid himback, of which I have authentic documentary evidence, to this dayshe speaks of him with tears and she throws him up to me; and I amglad, I am glad that, though only in imagination, she should thinkof herself as having once been happy.... And she was left at hisdeath with three children in a wild and remote district where Ihappened to be at the time; and she was left in suchhopelesspoverty that, although I have seen many ups and downs ofall sort, I don’t feel equal to describing it even. Herrelations had all thrown her off. And she was proud, too,excessively proud.... And then, honoured sir, and then, I, being atthe time a widower, with a daughter of fourteen left me by my firstwife, offered her my hand, for I could not bear the sight of suchsuffering. You can judge the extremity of her calamities, that she,a woman of education and culture and distinguished family, shouldhaveconsented to be my wife. But she did! Weeping and sobbing andwringing her hands, she married me! For she had nowhere to turn! Doyou understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you haveabsolutely nowhere to turn? No, that youdon’tunderstandyet.... And for a whole year, I performed my dutiesconscientiously and faithfully, and did not touch this” (hetapped the jug with his finger), “for I have feelings. Buteven so, I could not please her; and then I lost my place too, andthat through no fault of mine but through changes in the office;and then I did touch it!... It will be a year and a half ago soonsince we found ourselves at last after many wanderings and numerouscalamities in this magnificent capital, adorned with innumerablemonuments.Here I obtained a situation.... I obtained it and I lostit again. Do you understand? This time it was through my own faultI lost it: for my weakness had come out.... We have now part of aroom at Amalia Fyodorovna Lippevechsel’s; and what we liveupon and what we pay our rent with, I could not say. There are alot of people living there besides ourselves. Dirt and disorder, aperfect Bedlam... hm... yes... And meanwhile my daughter by myfirst wife has grown up; and what my daughter has had to put upwith from her step-mother whilst she was growing up, I won’tspeak of. For, though Katerina Ivanovna is full of generousfeelings, she is a spirited lady, irritable and short-tempered....Yes. But it’s no use going over that! Sonia, as you may wellfancy, hashad no education. I did make an effort four years ago togive her a course of geography and universal history, but as I wasnot very well up in those subjects myself and we had no suitablebooks, and what books we had... hm, anyway we have not eventhosenow, so all our instruction came to an end. We stopped atCyrus of Persia. Since she has attained years of maturity, she hasread other books of romantic tendency and of late she had read withgreat interest a book she got through Mr. Lebeziatnikov,Lewes’Physiology—do you know it?—and evenrecounted extracts from it to us: and that’s the whole of hereducation. And now may I venture to address you, honoured sir, onmy own account with a private question. Do you suppose that arespectable poor girl can earn much by honest work? Not fifteenfarthings a day can she earn, if she is respectable and has nospecial talent and that without putting her work down for aninstant! And what’s more, Ivan Ivanitch Klopstock the civilcounsellor—have you heard of him?—hasnot to this daypaid her for the half-dozen linen shirts she made him and drove herroughly away, stamping and reviling her, on the pretext that theshirt collars were not made like the pattern and were put in askew.And there are the little ones hungry.... And Katerina Ivanovnawalking up and down and wringing her hands, her cheeks flushed red,as they always are in that disease: ‘Here you live withus,’ says she, ‘you eat and drink and are kept warm andyou do nothing to help.’ And much she gets to eat and drinkwhen there is not a crust for the little ones for three days! I waslying at the time... well, what of it! I was lying drunk and Iheard my Sonia speaking (she is a gentle creature with a softlittle voice... fair hair and such a pale, thin littleface). Shesaid: ‘Katerina Ivanovna, am I really to do a thing likethat?’ And Darya Frantsovna, a woman of evil character andvery well known to the police, had two or three times tried to getat her through the landlady. ‘And why not?’ saidKaterina Ivanovna with a jeer, ‘you are something mightyprecious to be so careful of!’ But don’t blame her,don’t blame her, honoured sir, don’t blame her! She wasnot herself when she spoke, but driven to distraction by herillness and the crying of the hungry children; and it was said moreto wound her than anything else.... For that’s KaterinaIvanovna’s character, and when children cry, even fromhunger, she falls to beating them at once. At six o’clock Isaw Sonia get up, put on her kerchief and her cape, and goout ofthe room and about nine o’clock she came back. She walkedstraight up to Katerina Ivanovna and she laid thirty roubles on thetable before her in silence. She did not utter a word, she did notevenlook at her, she simply picked up our big greendrap dedamesshawl (we have a shawl, made ofdrap de dames), put it over herhead and face and lay down on the bed with her face to the wall;only her little shoulders and her body kept shuddering.... And Iwent on lying there, just as before.... And then Isaw, young man, Isaw Katerina Ivanovna, in the same silence go up to Sonia’slittle bed; she was on her knees all the evening kissingSonia’s feet, and would not get up, and then they both fellasleep in each other’s arms... together, together... yes...and I... lay drunk.”
Marmeladov stopped short, as though his voice had failed him.Then he hurriedly filled his glass, drank, and cleared histhroat.
“Since then, sir,” he went on after a briefpause—“Since then, owing to an unfortunate occurrenceand through information given by evil-intentioned persons—inall which Darya Frantsovna took a leading part on the pretext thatshe had been treated with want of respect—since then mydaughter Sofya Semyonovna has been forced to take a yellow ticket,and owing to that she is unable to go on living with us. For ourlandlady, Amalia Fyodorovna would not hear of it (though she hadbacked up Darya Frantsovna before) and Mr. Lebeziatnikov too...hm.... All the trouble between him and Katerina Ivanovna was onSonia’s account. At first he was for making up to Soniahimself and then all of a sudden he stood on his dignity:‘how,’ said he, ‘can a highly educated man likeme live in the same rooms with a girl like that?’ AndKaterina Ivanovna would not let it pass, she stood up for her...and so that’s how it happened. And Sonia comes to us now,mostly after dark; she comforts Katerina Ivanovna and gives her allshe can.... She has a room at the Kapernaumovs’ the tailors,she lodges with them; Kapernaumov is a lame man with a cleft palateand all of his numerous family have cleft palates too. And hiswife, too, has a cleft palate. They all live in one room, but Soniahas her own, partitioned off.... Hm... yes... very poor people andall with cleft palates... yes. Then I got up in the morning, andput on my rags, lifted up my hands to heaven and set off to hisexcellency Ivan Afanasyvitch. His excellency Ivan Afanasyvitch, doyou know him? No? Well, then, it’s a man of God youdon’t know. He is wax... wax before the face of the Lord;even as wax melteth!... His eyes were dim when he heard my story.‘Marmeladov, once already you have deceived myexpectations... I’ll take you once more on my ownresponsibility’—that’s what he said,‘remember,’ he said, ‘and now you can go.’I kissedthe dust at his feet—in thought only, for in realityhe would not have allowed me to do it, being a statesman and a manof modern political and enlightened ideas. I returned home, andwhen I announced that I’d been taken back into the serviceand should receive a salary, heavens, what a to-do therewas!...”
Marmeladov stopped again in violent excitement. At that moment awhole party of revellers already drunk came in from the street, andthe sounds of a hired concertina and the cracked piping voice ofachild of seven singing “The Hamlet” were heard in theentry. The room was filled with noise. The tavern-keeper and theboys were busy with the new-comers. Marmeladov paying no attentionto the new arrivals continued his story. He appeared by now to beextremely weak, but as he became more and more drunk, he becamemore and more talkative. The recollection of his recent success ingetting the situation seemed to revive him, and was positivelyreflected in a sort of radiance on his face. Raskolnikovlistenedattentively.
“That was five weeks ago, sir. Yes.... As soon as KaterinaIvanovna and Sonia heard of it, mercy on us, it was as though Istepped into the kingdom of Heaven. It used to be: you can lie likea beast, nothing but abuse. Now they were walking ontiptoe, hushingthe children. ‘Semyon Zaharovitch is tired with his work atthe office, he is resting, shh!’ They made me coffee before Iwent to work and boiled cream for me! They began to get real creamfor me, do you hear that? And how they managed toget together themoney for a decent outfit—eleven roubles, fifty copecks, Ican’t guess. Boots, cotton shirt-fronts—mostmagnificent, a uniform, they got up all in splendid style, foreleven roubles and a half. The first morning I came back from theofficeI found Katerina Ivanovna had cooked two courses fordinner—soup and salt meat with horse radish—which wehad never dreamed of till then. She had not any dresses... none atall, but she got herself up as though she were going on a visit;and not that she’d anything to do it with, she smartenedherself up with nothing at all, she’d done her hair nicely,put on a clean collar of some sort, cuffs, and there she was, quitea different person, she was younger and better looking. Sonia, mylittle darling, had only helped with money ‘for thetime,’ she said, ‘it won’t do for me to come andsee you too often. After dark maybe when no one can see.’ Doyou hear, do you hear? I lay down for a nap after dinner and whatdo you think: though Katerina Ivanovna had quarrelled to the lastdegree with our landlady Amalia Fyodorovna only a week before, shecould not resist then asking her in to coffee. For two hours theywere sitting, whispering together. ‘Semyon Zaharovitch is inthe service again, now, and receiving a salary,’ says she,‘and he went himself to his excellency and his excellencyhimself came out to him, made all the others wait and led SemyonZaharovitch by the hand before everybody into his study.’ Doyou hear, do you hear? ‘To be sure,’ says he,‘Semyon Zaharovitch, remembering your past services,’says he, ‘and in spite of your propensity to that foolishweakness, since you promise now and since moreover we’ve goton badly without you,’ (do you hear, do you hear;) ‘andso,’ says he, ‘I rely now on your word as agentleman.’ And all that, let me tell you, she has simplymade up for herself, and not simply out of wantonness, for the sakeof bragging; no, she believes it all herself, she amuses herselfwith her own fancies, upon my word she does! And I don’tblame her for it, no, I don’t blame her!... Six days ago whenI brought her my first earnings in full—twenty-three roublesforty copecks altogether—she called me her poppet:‘poppet,’ said she, ‘my little poppet.’ Andwhen we were by ourselves, you understand?You would not think me abeauty, you would not think much of me as a husband, would you?...Well, she pinched my cheek, ‘my little poppet,’ saidshe.”
Marmeladov broke off, tried to smile, but suddenly his chinbegan to twitch. He controlled himself however. The tavern, thedegraded appearance of the man, the five nights in the hay barge,and the pot of spirits, and yet this poignant love for his wife andchildren bewildered his listener. Raskolnikov listened intently butwith a sick sensation. He felt vexed that he had come here.
“Honoured sir, honoured sir,” cried Marmeladovrecovering himself—“Oh, sir, perhaps all this seems alaughing matter to you, as it does to others, and perhaps I am onlyworrying you with the stupidity of all the trivial details ofmyhome life, but it is not a laughing matter to me. For I can feel itall.... And the whole of that heavenly day of my life and the wholeof that evening I passed in fleeting dreams of how I would arrangeit all, and how I would dress all the children, and how I shouldgive her rest, and how I should rescue my owndaughter fromdishonour and restore her to the bosom of her family.... And agreat deal more.... Quite excusable, sir. Well, then, sir”(Marmeladov suddenly gave a sort of start, raised his headand gazedintently at his listener) “well, on the very next day afterall those dreams, that is to say, exactly five days ago, in theevening, by a cunning trick, like a thief in the night, I stolefrom Katerina Ivanovna the key of her box, took out whatwas left ofmy earnings, how much it was I have forgotten, and now look at me,all of you! It’s the fifth day since I left home, and theyare looking for me there and it’s the end of my employment,and my uniform is lying in a tavern on the Egyptian bridge. Iexchanged it for the garments I have on... and it’s the endof everything!”
Marmeladov struck his forehead with his fist, clenched histeeth, closed his eyes and leaned heavily with his elbow on thetable. But a minute later his face suddenly changed and with acertain assumed slyness and affectation of bravado, he glanced atRaskolnikov, laughed and said:
“This morning I went to see Sonia, I went to ask her for apick-me-up! He-he-he!”
“You don’t say she gave it to you?” cried oneof the new-comers; heshouted the words and went off into aguffaw.
“This very quart was bought with her money,”Marmeladov declared, addressing himself exclusively to Raskolnikov.“Thirty copecks she gave me with her own hands, her last, allshe had, as I saw.... She said nothing, she only looked at mewithout a word.... Not on earth, but up yonder... they grieve overmen, they weep, but they don’t blame them, they don’tblame them! But it hurts more, it hurts more when they don’tblame! Thirty copecks yes! And maybe she needsthem now, eh? What doyou think, my dear sir? For now she’s got to keep up herappearance. It costs money, that smartness, that special smartness,you know? Do you understand? And there’s pomatum, too, yousee, she must have things; petticoats, starched ones, shoes, too,real jaunty ones to show off her foot when she has to step over apuddle. Do you understand, sir, do you understand what all thatsmartness means? And here I, her own father, here I took thirtycopecks of that money for a drink! And I am drinking it! And I havealready drunk it! Come, who will have pity on a man like me, eh?Are you sorry for me, sir, or not? Tell me, sir, are you sorry ornot? He-he-he!”
He would have filled his glass, but there was no drink left. Thepot was empty.
“Whatare you to be pitied for?” shouted thetavern-keeper who was again near them.
Shouts of laughter and even oaths followed. The laughter and theoaths came from those who were listening and also from those whohad heard nothing but were simply looking at thefigure of thedischarged government clerk.
“To be pitied! Why am I to be pitied?” Marmeladovsuddenly declaimed, standing up with his arm outstretched, asthough he had been only waiting for that question.
“Why am I to be pitied, you say? Yes! there’snothing to pity me for! I ought to be crucified, crucified on across, not pitied! Crucify me, oh judge, crucify me but pity me!And then I will go of myself to be crucified, for it’s notmerry-making I seek but tears and tribulation!... Do you suppose,you that sell, that this pint of yours has been sweet to me? It wastribulation I sought at the bottom of it, tears and tribulation,and have found it, and I have tasted it; but He will pity us Whohas had pity on all men, Who has understood all men and all things,He is the One, He too is the judge. He will come in that day and Hewill ask:‘Where is the daughter who gave herself for hercross, consumptive step-mother and for the little children ofanother? Where is the daughter who had pity upon the filthydrunkard, her earthly father, undismayed by his beastliness?’And He will say, ‘Come to me! I have already forgiven theeonce.... I have forgiven thee once.... Thy sins which are many areforgiven thee for thou hast loved much....’ And he willforgive my Sonia, He will forgive, I know it... I felt it in myheart when I was with her just now! And He will judge and willforgive all, the good and the evil, the wise and the meek.... Andwhen He has done with all of them, then He will summon us.‘You too come forth,’ He will say, ‘Come forth yedrunkards, come forth, ye weak ones, come forth, ye children ofshame!’ And we shall all come forth, without shame and shallstand before him. And He will say unto us, ‘Ye are swine,made in the Image of the Beast and with his mark; but come yealso!’ And the wise ones and those of understanding will say,‘Oh Lord, why dost Thou receive these men?’ And He willsay, ‘This is why I receive them, oh ye wise, this is why Ireceive them, oh ye of understanding, that not one of thembelievedhimself to be worthy of this.’ And He will hold out His handsto us and we shall fall down before him... and we shall weep... andwe shall understand all things! Then we shall understand all!...and all will understand, Katerina Ivanovna even...she willunderstand.... Lord, Thy kingdom come!” And he sank down onthe bench exhausted, and helpless, looking at no one, apparentlyoblivious of his surroundings and plunged in deep thought. Hiswords had created a certain impression; there was a momentofsilence; but soon laughter and oaths were heard again.
“That’s his notion!”
“Talked himself silly!”
“A fine clerk he is!”
And so on, and so on.
“Let us go, sir,” said Marmeladov all at once,raising his head and addressing Raskolnikov—“come alongwith me... Kozel’s house, looking into the yard. I’mgoing to Katerina Ivanovna—time I did.”
Raskolnikov had for some time been wanting to go and he hadmeant to help him. Marmeladov was much unsteadier on his legs thanin his speech and leaned heavily on the young man. They had two orthree hundred paces to go. The drunken man was more and moreovercome by dismay and confusion as they drew nearer the house.
“It’s not Katerina Ivanovna I am afraid ofnow,” he muttered in agitation—“and that she willbegin pullingmy hair. What does my hair matter! Bother my hair!That’s what I say! Indeed it will be better if she does beginpulling it, that’s not what I am afraid of... it’s hereyes I am afraid of... yes, her eyes... the red on her cheeks, too,frightens me... andher breathing too.... Have you noticed howpeople in that disease breathe... when they are excited? I amfrightened of the children’s crying, too.... For if Sonia hasnot taken them food... I don’t know what’s happened! Idon’t know! But blows I am not afraid of.... Know, sir, thatsuch blows are not a pain to me, but even an enjoyment. In fact Ican’t get on without it.... It’s better so. Let herstrike me, it relieves her heart... it’s better so... Thereis the house. The house of Kozel, the cabinet-maker... a German,well-to-do. Lead the way!”
They went in from the yard and up to the fourth storey. Thestaircase got darker and darker as they went up. It was nearlyeleven o’clock and although in summer in Petersburg there isno real night, yet it was quite dark at the top of the stairs.
A grimy little door at the very top of the stairs stood ajar. Avery poor-looking room about ten paces long was lighted up by acandle-end; the whole of it was visible from the entrance. It wasall in disorder, littered upwith rags of all sorts, especiallychildren’s garments. Across the furthest corner was stretcheda ragged sheet. Behind it probably was the bed. There was nothingin the room except two chairs and a sofa covered with Americanleather, full of holes, beforewhich stood an old dealkitchen-table, unpainted and uncovered. At the edge of the tablestood a smoldering tallow-candle in an iron candlestick. Itappeared that the family had a room to themselves, not part of aroom, but their room was practically a passage. The door leading tothe other rooms, or rather cupboards, into which AmaliaLippevechsel’s flat was divided stood half open, and therewas shouting, uproar and laughter within. People seemed to beplaying cards and drinking tea there. Words of the mostunceremonious kind flew out from time to time.
Raskolnikov recognised Katerina Ivanovna at once. She was arather tall, slim and graceful woman, terribly emaciated, withmagnificent dark brown hair and with a hectic flush in her cheeks.She was pacingup and down in her little room, pressing her handsagainst her chest; her lips were parched and her breathing came innervous broken gasps. Her eyes glittered as in fever and lookedabout with a harsh immovable stare. And that consumptive andexcited facewith the last flickering light of the candle-endplaying upon it made a sickening impression. She seemed toRaskolnikov about thirty years old and was certainly a strange wifefor Marmeladov.... She had not heard them and did not notice themcoming in. Sheseemed to be lost in thought, hearing and seeingnothing. The room was close, but she had not opened the window; astench rose from the staircase, but the door on to the stairs wasnot closed. From the inner rooms clouds of tobacco smoke floatedin, she kept coughing, but did not close the door. The youngestchild, a girl of six, was asleep, sitting curled up on the floorwith her head on the sofa. A boy a year older stood crying andshaking in the corner, probably he had just had a beating. Besidehim stood a girl of nine years old, tall and thin, wearing a thinand ragged chemise with an ancient cashmere pelisse flung over herbare shoulders, long outgrown and barely reaching her knees. Herarm, as thin as a stick, was round her brother’s neck. Shewas trying to comfort him, whispering something to him, and doingall she could to keep him from whimpering again. At the same timeher large dark eyes, which looked larger still from the thinness ofher frightened face, were watching her mother with alarm.Marmeladov did not enter the door, but dropped on his knees in thevery doorway, pushing Raskolnikov in front of him. The woman seeinga stranger stopped indifferently facing him, coming to herself fora moment and apparently wondering what he had come for. Butevidently she decided that he was going into the next room, as hehad to pass through hers to get there. Taking no further notice ofhim, she walked towards the outer door to close it and uttered asudden scream on seeing her husband on his knees in thedoorway.
“Ah!” she cried out in a frenzy, “he has comeback! The criminal! the monster!... And where is the money?What’s in your pocket, show me! And your clothes are alldifferent! Where are your clothes? Where is the money!Speak!”
And she fell to searching him. Marmeladov submissively andobediently held up both arms to facilitate the search. Not afarthing was there.
“Where is the money?” she cried—“Mercyon us, can he have drunk it all? There were twelve silver roublesleft in the chest!” and in a fury she seized him by the hairand dragged him into the room. Marmeladov seconded her efforts bymeekly crawling along on his knees.
“And this is a consolation to me! This does not hurt me,but is a positive con-so-la-tion, ho-nou-red sir,” he calledout, shaken to and fro by his hair and even once striking theground with his forehead. The child asleep on the floor woke up,and began to cry. The boy in the corner losing all control begantrembling and screaming and rushed to his sister in violent terror,almost in a fit. The eldest girl was shaking like a leaf.
“He’s drunk it! he’s drunk it all,” thepoor woman screamed in despair—“and his clothes aregone! And they are hungry, hungry!”—and wringing herhands she pointed to the children. “Oh, accursed life! Andyou, are you not ashamed?”—she pounced all at once uponRaskolnikov—“from the tavern! Have you been drinkingwith him? You have been drinking with him, too! Go away!”
The young man was hastening away without uttering a word. Theinner door was thrown wide open and inquisitive faces were peeringin at it. Coarse laughing faces with pipes and cigarettes and headswearing caps thrust themselves in at the doorway. Further in couldbe seen figures in dressing gowns flung open, in costumes ofunseemly scantiness, some of them with cards in their hands. Theywere particularly diverted, when Marmeladov, dragged about by hishair, shouted that it was a consolation to him. They even began tocome into the room; at last a sinister shrill outcry was heard:this camefrom Amalia Lippevechsel herself pushing her way amongstthem and trying to restore order after her own fashion and for thehundredth time to frighten the poor woman by ordering her withcoarse abuse to clear out of the room next day. As he went out,Raskolnikov had time to put his hand into his pocket, to snatch upthe coppers he had received in exchange for his rouble in thetavern and to lay them unnoticed on the window. Afterwards on thestairs, he changed his mind and would have gone back.
“What astupid thing I’ve done,” he thought tohimself, “they have Sonia and I want it myself.” Butreflecting that it would be impossible to take it back now and thatin any case he would not have taken it, he dismissed it with a waveof his hand and went back tohis lodging. “Sonia wants pomatumtoo,” he said as he walked along the street, and he laughedmalignantly—“such smartness costs money.... Hm! Andmaybe Sonia herself will be bankrupt to-day, for there is always arisk, hunting big game... digging for gold... then they would allbe without a crust to-morrow except for my money. Hurrah for Sonia!What a mine they’ve dug there! And they’re making themost of it! Yes, they are making the most of it! They’ve weptover it and grown used to it. Man grows used toeverything, thescoundrel!”
He sank into thought.
“And what if I am wrong,” he cried suddenly after amoment’s thought. “What if man is not really ascoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race ofmankind—then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificialterrors and there are no barriers and it’s all as it shouldbe.”
He waked up late next day after a broken sleep. But his sleephad not refreshed him; he waked up bilious, irritable,ill-tempered, and looked with hatred at his room.It was a tinycupboard of a room about six paces in length. It had apoverty-stricken appearance with its dusty yellow paper peeling offthe walls, and it was so low-pitched that a man of more thanaverage height was ill at ease in it and felt every moment that hewould knock his head against the ceiling. The furniture was inkeeping with the room: there were three old chairs, rather rickety;a painted table in the corner on which lay a few manuscripts andbooks; the dust that lay thick upon them showed that they had beenlong untouched. A big clumsy sofa occupied almost the whole of onewall and half the floor space of the room; it was once covered withchintz, but was now in rags and served Raskolnikov as a bed. Oftenhe went to sleep on it, as he was, without undressing, withoutsheets, wrapped in his old student’s overcoat, with his headon one little pillow, under which he heaped up all the linen hehad, clean and dirty, by way of a bolster. A little table stood infront of the sofa.
It would have beendifficult to sink to a lower ebb of disorder,but to Raskolnikov in his present state of mind this was positivelyagreeable. He had got completely away from everyone, like atortoise in its shell, and even the sight of a servant girl who hadto wait upon him and looked sometimes into his room made him writhewith nervous irritation. He was in the condition that overtakessome monomaniacs entirely concentrated upon one thing. His landladyhad for the last fortnight given up sending him in meals, and hehad not yet thought of expostulating with her, though he wentwithout his dinner. Nastasya, the cook and only servant, was ratherpleased at the lodger’s mood and had entirely given upsweeping and doing his room, only once a week or so she would strayinto hisroom with a broom. She waked him up that day.
“Get up, why are you asleep?” she called to him.“It’s past nine, I have brought you some tea; will youhave a cup? I should think you’re fairly starving?”
Raskolnikov opened his eyes, started and recognisedNastasya.
“From the landlady, eh?” he asked, slowly and with asickly face sitting up on the sofa.
“From the landlady, indeed!”
She set before him her own cracked teapot full of weak and staletea and laid two yellow lumps of sugar by the side of it.
“Here,Nastasya, take it please,” he said, fumblingin his pocket (for he had slept in his clothes) and taking out ahandful of coppers—“run and buy me a loaf. And get me alittle sausage, the cheapest, at thepork-butcher’s.”
“The loaf I’ll fetch you this veryminute, butwouldn’t you rather have some cabbage soup instead ofsausage? It’s capital soup, yesterday’s. I saved it foryou yesterday, but you came in late. It’s finesoup.”
When the soup had been brought, and he had begun upon it,Nastasya sat down beside him on the sofa and began chatting. Shewas a country peasant-woman and a very talkative one.
“Praskovya Pavlovna means to complain to the police aboutyou,” she said.
“To the police? What does she want?”
“You don’t pay her money and you won’t turnout of the room. That’s what she wants, to besure.”
“The devil, that’s the last straw,” hemuttered, grinding his teeth, “no, that would not suit me...just now. She is a fool,” he added aloud. “I’llgo and talk to her to-day.”
“Fool she is and nomistake, just as I am. But why, if youare so clever, do you lie here like a sack and have nothing to showfor it? One time you used to go out, you say, to teach children.But why is it you do nothing now?”
“I am doing...” Raskolnikov began sullenly andreluctantly.
“What are you doing?”
“What sort of work?”
“I am thinking,” he answered seriously after apause.
Nastasya was overcome with a fit of laughter. She was given tolaughter and when anything amused her, she laughed inaudibly,quiveringand shaking all over till she felt ill.