Part Two. II

“And what if there has already been a search? What if I find them there now?”

But here was his room. Nothing and nobody; no one had been there. Even Nastasya had not touched anything. But, Lord! How could he have left all those things in that hole?

He rushed to the corner, thrust his hand under the wallpaper, and began pulling the things out and loading them into his pockets. There turned out to be eight articles altogether: two small boxes with earrings or something of the sort—he did not look closely; then four small morocco cases. One chain was simply wrapped in newspaper. There was something else in newspaper, apparently a medal.

He stowed them all in different pockets of his coat and in the remaining right pocket of his trousers, trying to make them less conspicuous. He took the purse as well, together with the things. Then he went out of the room, this time leaving the door wide open.

He walked quickly and firmly, and though he felt broken all over, his consciousness remained with him. He was afraid of being followed, afraid that within half an hour, within a quarter of an hour, instructions would be issued to keep a watch on him; so meanwhile he had at all costs to cover his traces. He had to manage it while he still had at least some strength and some judgment…But where to go?

He had long since decided: “Throw everything into the canal, and the water will wash away all traces, and that will be the end of it.” He had decided so during the night, in delirium, in those moments when, as he remembered, he had made several attempts to rise up and go “quickly, quickly, and throw it all away.” But throwing it away turned out to be very difficult.

He wandered along the embankment of the Ekaterininsky Canal for half an hour, perhaps longer, and several times cast an eye at the landing steps as he passed by them. But he could not even think of carrying out his intention: either rafts were standing there and washerwomen were doing laundry on them, or boats were moored there, and people were simply swarming all over the place; besides, he could be seen, he could be noticed from anywhere along the embankments, from all sides: a man coming down on purpose, stopping and throwing something into the water, would look suspicious. And what if the cases floated instead of sinking? Yes, of course they would float. Everyone would see them. Indeed, they all kept staring at him as it was, looking him over, as if he were their only concern. “Why is that? Or does it just seem so to me?” he thought.

Finally it occurred to him that it might be better to go somewhere along the Neva. There were fewer people, it would not be so conspicuous, in any case it was more convenient, and, above all—it was farther away from those parts. And suddenly he was amazed: how could he have wandered for a whole half hour in anguish and anxiety, and in dangerous places, and not thought of it before! And he had killed a whole half hour over such a foolhardy matter simply because he had decided on it in his sleep, in delirium! He was becoming extremely distracted and forgetful, and he knew it. He decidedly had to hurry!

He walked along the V——y Prospect in the direction of the Neva;

but on the way another thought suddenly came to him: “Why the Neva? Why in the water? Wouldn’t it be better to go somewhere very far away, even to the Islands again, and there somewhere, in some solitary place, in the woods, under a bush, to bury it all, and maybe also make note of the tree?” And though he felt he could not consider it all clearly and soberly at that moment, it seemed a flawless idea.

But he was not destined to get to the Islands either; something else happened: coming out from the V——y Prospect to the square, he saw on his left the entrance to a courtyard, surrounded by completely blank walls. To the right, immediately inside the gateway, the blank, un-whitewashed wall of the four-storied house next door stretched back deep into the yard. To the left, parallel to the blind wall, and also just beyond the gate, a wooden fence extended about twenty paces into the yard and only then broke to the left. This was a fenced-off, out-of-the-way spot where some materials were lying about. Deeper into the yard, from behind the fence, the angle of a low, sooty stone shed peeked out—evidently part of some workshop. It was probably a carriage-maker’s or a metalworker’s shop, or something of the sort; everything, starting almost from the gate, was covered with black coal dust. “Why not abandon it here and go away!” suddenly crossed his mind. Not noticing anyone in the yard, he stepped through the gate and saw, just inside, a trough set up next to the fence (such as one often finds in places where there are many factory workers, teamsters, coachmen, and so on), and written in chalk on the fence above the trough was the inevitable witticism in such circumstances: “no loidering hear.”[1]That was already a good thing; it meant there would be nothing suspicious about his going in and loitering. “Just dump it all in a heap somewhere, and get out!”

Having looked around one more time, he had already put his hand into his pocket when he suddenly noticed, up next to the outside wall, between the gate and the trough, where the whole space was a little more than two feet wide, a big, unhewn stone weighing perhaps fifty pounds, leaning right against the stone street-wall. The street, the sidewalk, were just beyond this wall; one could hear passers-by, always numerous there, shuttling back and forth; yet he could not be seen from outside the gate, but only if someone were to come in from the street, which, however, might very well happen, and therefore he had to hurry.

He bent down, gripped the top of the stone firmly with both hands, gathered all his strength, and rolled it over. The stone had made a shallow depression; he at once began throwing all the contents of his pockets into it. The purse ended up on top, and there was still some room in the depression. Then he took hold of the stone again, and with one heave rolled it back onto its former side, so that it ended up exactly in its former place, only it seemed perhaps a little, just a tiny bit, higher. But he raked up some dirt and tamped it around the edges with his foot. Nothing could be noticed.

He went out and headed for the square. Again, as that morning in the office, a strong, almost unbearable joy possessed him for a moment. “The traces are covered! And who, who would think of looking under that stone? It may have been lying there since the house was built, and may go on lying there as long again. And even if they find it, who will think of me? It’s finished! No evidence!” And he laughed. Yes, he remembered afterwards that he laughed a rapid, nervous, inaudible, drawn-out laugh, and went on laughing all the while he was crossing the square. But when he turned down —— Boulevard, where he had met that girl two days before, his laughter suddenly went away. Other thoughts started creeping into his head. He also suddenly fancied that it was terribly loathsome now for him to pass that bench where he had sat and pondered then, after the girl left, and that it would also be terribly difficult for him to meet that moustached officer again, the one to whom he had given the twenty kopecks: “Devil take him!”

He walked on, looking distractedly and spitefully about him. All his thoughts were now circling around some one main point, and he himself felt that it was indeed the main point, and that now, precisely now, he was left face-to-face with this main point—even for the first time after those two months.

“Ah, devil take it all!” he thought suddenly, in a fit of inexhaustible spite. “So, if it’s begun, it’s begun—to hell with her, and with the new life! Lord, how stupid it is! … And all the lying and groveling I produced today! How repulsively I fawned and flirted today with that nasty Ilya Petrovich! All, but that’s nonsense, too! I spit on them, and on everyone, and on my own fawning and flirting! That’s not it! Not it at all! . . .”

Suddenly he stopped. A new, totally unexpected, and extremely simple question all at once bewildered and bitterly astonished him:

“If indeed this whole thing was done consciously and not foolheadedly, if you indeed had a definite and firm objective, then how is it that so far you have not even looked into the purse and do not know what you’ve actually gained, or for what you accepted all these torments and started out on such a mean, nasty, vile business? Weren’t you going to throw it into the water just now, this purse, along with all the other things which you also haven’t seen yet?…How is that?”

Yes, it was true; it was all true. However, he had even known it before, and it was by no means a new question for him; and when the decision had been made that night to throw it all into the water, it had been made without any hesitation or objection, but in such a way as if it had to be so, as if it even could not be otherwise…Yes, he knew all that, and he remembered it all; it had been just about decided yesterday, at the very moment when he was sitting over the trunk, pulling the cases out of it…Yes, it was true!

“It’s because I’m very sick,” he finally decided glumly. “I’ve tormented and tortured myself, without knowing myself what I’m doing…And yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and all this time I’ve been torturing myself…I’ll get well and…stop torturing myself…And what if I never get well? Lord! I’m so tired of it all! . . .” He walked on without stopping. He longed terribly for some distraction, but he did not know what to do or what to undertake. One new, insurmountable sensation was gaining possession of him almost minute by minute: it was a certain boundless, almost physical loathing for everything he met or saw around him, an obstinate, spiteful, hate-filled loathing. All the people he met were repulsive to him—their faces, their walk, their movements were repulsive. If anyone had spoken to him, he would probably just have spat at him, bitten him . . .

When he walked out to the embankment of the Little Neva, on Vasilievsky Island, near the bridge, he suddenly stopped. “Here’s where he lives, in that house,” he thought. “Well, well, I seem to have brought myself to Razumikhin! The same story all over again…It’s very curious, however: did I mean to come, or did I simply walk and end up here? Makes no difference; I said…two days ago…that I’d go and see him the day after that; well, so I’ll go! As if I couldn’t go now . . .”

He went up to Razumikhin’s on the fifth floor.

He was at home, in his closet, busy writing at the moment, and opened the door himself. They had not seen each other for about four months. Razumikhin stood there in a dressing gown worn to tatters, with shoes on his bare feet, disheveled, unshaved, and unwashed. His face showed surprise.

“What’s with you?” he cried, looking his entering friend over from head to foot; then he paused and whistled.

“It’s that bad, is it? You’ve even outdone me, brother,” he added, looking at Raskolnikov’s rags. “Sit down, you must be tired!” And when he collapsed onto the oilcloth Turkish sofa, which was even worse than his own, Razumikhin suddenly noticed that his guest was ill.

“But you’re seriously ill, do you know that?” He began feeling his pulse; Raskolnikov pulled his hand back.

“Don’t,” he said. “I’ve come…the thing is, I have no lessons…I wanted…however, I don’t need any lessons…”

“You know what? You’re raving!” observed Razumikhin, who was watching him closely.

“No, I’m not raving.” Raskolnikov got up from the sofa. It had not occurred to him as he was going upstairs to Razumikhin’s that he would therefore have to come face-to-face with him. But now, in an instant, he realized from his earlier experience that he was least of all disposed at that moment to come face-to-face with anyone in the whole world, whoever it might be. All his bile rose up in him. He nearly choked with anger at himself as soon as he crossed Razumikhin’s threshold.

“Good-bye!” he said suddenly, and went to the door.

“But wait, wait, you crank!”

“Don’t! . . .” the latter repeated, pulling his hand back again.

“And why the devil did you come, then! Are you cracked or something? I’m…almost hurt. I won’t let you go like that.”

“Well, listen: I came to you because aside from you I don’t know anyone who would help…to start…because you’re kinder than the rest of them—smarter, that is—and you’re able to talk about things…But now I see that I need nothing, do you hear, absolutely nothing…no favors, no concern from anyone…I myself…alone…And enough! Let me be, all of you!”

“But wait a minute, you chimney sweep! This is completely crazy! You can do as you like for all I care. You see, I don’t have any lessons either, and to hell with it, but there’s a bookseller in the flea market named Cherubimov, and he’s a sort of lesson in himself. I wouldn’t exchange him now for five merchants’ lessons. He does a bit of publishing, brings out little books on natural science—and how they sell! The titles alone are priceless! Now, you’ve always maintained that I’m stupid: by God, brother, there are some that are stupider! And lately he’s also hooked on to the trend; he doesn’t know beans about it, but, well, naturally I encourage him. Now, here we have two sheets and a bit more of German text—the stupidest sort of charlatanism, in my opinion; in short, it examines whether woman is or is not a human being. Well, and naturally it solemnly establishes that she is a human being. Cherubimov is preparing it in line with the woman question; I’m doing the translating; he’ll stretch these two and a half sheets to six, we’ll concoct a nice, frilly title half a page long, and peddle it for fifty kopecks. It’ll do! I’ll get six roubles a sheet for the translation, making it fifteen roubles in all, and I took six roubles in advance. That done, we’ll start translating something about whales; then we’ve marked out some of the dullest gossip from the second part of the Confessions for translation—somebody told Cherubimov that Rousseau is supposedly a Radishchev in his own way.[2] Naturally, I don’t contradict—devil take him! So, do you want to translate the second sheet of Is Woman a Human Being? [3] If you do, take the text right now, take some pens and paper—it’s all supplied—and take three roubles, because I took the advance for the whole translation, first and second sheets, so three roubles would be exactly your share. When you finish the sheet, you’ll get another three roubles. And one more thing, please don’t regard this as some sort of favor on my part. On the contrary, the moment you walked in, I already saw how you were going to be of use to me. First of all, my spelling is poor, and second, my German just goes kaput sometimes, so that I have to make things up on my own instead, my only consolation being that it comes out even better. But who knows, maybe it comes out worse instead of better…Are you going to take it or not?”

Raskolnikov silently took the German pages of the article, took the three roubles, and walked out without saying a word. Razumikhin gazed after him in astonishment. But, having gone as far as the First Line,[4] Raskolnikov suddenly turned back, went up to Razumikhin’s again, placed both the German pages and the three roubles on the table, and again walked out without saying a word.

“Have you got brain fever or what?” Razumikhin bellowed, finally enraged. “What is this farce you’re playing? You’ve even got me all screwed up…Ah, the devil, what did you come for, then?”

“I don’t want…translations . . .” Raskolnikov muttered, already going down the stairs.

“What the devil do you want?” Razumikhin shouted from above. The other silently went on down.

“Hey! Where are you living?”

There was no answer.

“Ah, the devil! . . .”

But Raskolnikov was already outside. On the Nikolaevsky Bridge he was once more brought fully back to his senses, owing to an incident that was most unpleasant for him. He was stoutly lashed on the back with a whip by the driver of a carriage, for almost falling under the horses’ hoofs even after the driver had shouted to him three or four times. The stroke of the whip made him so angry that, as he jumped to the railing (for some unknown reason he had been walking in the very middle of the bridge, which is for driving, not for walking), he snarled and bared his teeth spitefully. Of course, there was laughter around him.

“He had it coming!”

“Some kind of scofflaw!”

“You know, they pretend they’re drunk and get under the wheels on purpose, and then you have to answer for it.”

“They live from it, my good sir, they live from it . . .”

But at that moment, as he stood by the railing rubbing his back and still senselessly and spitefully watching the carriage drive away, he suddenly felt someone put money in his hand. He looked; it was an elderly merchant’s wife in a kerchief and goatskin shoes, with a girl beside her in a little hat and holding a green parasol, probably her daughter. “Take it, my dear, in Christ’s name.” He took it, and they went on. It was a twenty-kopeck piece. From his clothes and appearance, they could well have taken him for a beggar, for a real collector of half kopecks in the street, and the offering of so much as twenty kopecks he doubtless owed to the stroke of the whip’s having moved them to pity.

He clutched the twenty kopecks in his hand, walked about ten steps, and turned his face to the Neva, in the direction of the palace.[5] There was not the least cloud in the sky, and the water was almost blue, which rarely happens with the Neva. The dome of the cathedral, which is not outlined so well from any other spot as when looked at from here, on the bridge, about twenty paces from the chapel, was simply shining, and through the clear air one could even make out each of its ornaments distinctly.[6] The pain from the whip subsided, and Raskolnikov forgot about the blow; one troublesome and not entirely clear thought now occupied him exclusively. He stood and looked long and intently into the distance; this place was especially familiar to him. While he was attending the university, he often used to stop, mostly on his way home, at precisely this spot (he had done it perhaps a hundred times), and gaze intently at the indeed splendid panorama, and to be surprised almost every time by a certain unclear and unresolved impression. An inexplicable chill always breathed on him from this splendid panorama; for him the magnificent picture was filled with a mute and deaf spirit…He marveled each time at this gloomy and mysterious impression, and, mistrusting himself, put off the unriddling of it to some future time. Now suddenly he abruptly recalled these former questions and perplexities, and it seemed no accident to him that he should recall them now. The fact alone that he had stopped at the same spot as before already seemed wild and strange to him, as if indeed he could imagine thinking now about the same things as before, and being interested in the same themes and pictures he had been interested in…still so recently. He even felt almost like laughing, yet at the same time his chest was painfully constricted. It was as if he now saw all his former past, and former thoughts, and former tasks, and former themes, and former impressions, and this whole panorama, and himself, and everything, everything, somewhere far down below, barely visible under his feet…It seemed as if he were flying upwards somewhere, and everything was vanishing from his sight. . . Inadvertently moving his hand, he suddenly felt the twenty-kopeck piece clutched in his fist. He opened his hand, stared at the coin, swung, and threw it into the water; then he turned and went home. It seemed to him that at that moment he had cut himself off, as with scissors, from everyone and everything.

He reached home only towards evening, which meant he had been walking for about six hours. Of where and how he came back, he remembered nothing. He undressed and, shivering all over like a spent horse, lay down on the sofa, pulled the greatcoat over him, and immediately sank into oblivion . . .

In the dark of evening he was jolted back to consciousness by terrible shouting. God, what shouting it was! Never before had he seen or heard such unnatural noises, such howling, screaming, snarling, tears, blows, and curses. He could never even have imagined such beastliness, such frenzy. In horror, he raised himself and sat up on his bed, tormented, and with his heart sinking every moment. But the fighting, screaming, and swearing grew worse and worse. And then, to his great amazement, he suddenly made out his landlady’s voice. She was howling, shrieking, and wailing, hurrying, rushing, skipping over words, so that it was even impossible to make anything out, pleading for something—not to be beaten anymore, of course, because she was being mercilessly beaten on the stairs. The voice of her assailant became so terrible in its spite and rage that it was no more than a rasp, yet her assailant was also saying something, also rapidly, indistinctly, hurrying and spluttering. Suddenly Raskolnikov began shaking like a leaf: he recognized the voice; it was the voice of Ilya Petrovich. Ilya Petrovich was here, beating the landlady! He was kicking her, pounding her head against the steps—that was clear, one could tell from the sounds, the screaming, the thuds! What was happening? Had the world turned upside down, or what? A crowd could be heard gathering on all the floors, all down the stairs; voices, exclamations could be heard, people coming up, knocking, slamming doors, running. “But what for, what for, and how can it be?” he kept repeating, seriously thinking he had gone completely mad. But no, he could hear it too plainly! … But in that case it meant they would also come to him, “because…it must he on account of that same…on account of yesterday…Lord!” He would have liked to fasten the hook on his door, but he was unable to raise his arm…besides, it was useless! Fear, like ice, encased his soul, tormented him, numbed him…Then at last all this uproar, which had gone on for a good ten minutes, gradually began to subside. The landlady moaned and groaned; Ilya Petrovich still threatened and swore…Then at last he, too, seemed to grow subdued; then no more was heard from him. “Has he really gone? Lord!” Yes, now the landlady was going, too, still moaning and weeping…that was her door slamming shut…Now the crowd on the stairs was breaking up, going back to their apartments—exclaiming, arguing, calling to each other, raising their voices to a shout, then lowering them to a whisper. There must have been many of them; almost the whole house had gathered. “But, God, how can it all be! And why, why did he come here!”

Exhausted, Raskolnikov fell back on the sofa, but could no longer close his eyes; he lay for about half an hour in such suffering, such an unbearable feeling of boundless horror, as he had never experienced before. Suddenly a bright light shone in his room: Nastasya came in with a candle and a plate of soup. Looking at him closely and seeing that he was not asleep, she put the candle on the table and began setting out what she had brought: bread, salt, plate, spoon.

“I bet you haven’t eaten since yesterday. You spent the whole day loafing about, and you shaking all over with fever.”

“Nastasya…why were they beating the landlady?”

She looked at him intently.

“Who was beating the landlady?”

“Just now…half an hour ago, Ilya Petrovich, the police chief’s assistant, on the stairs…Why was he beating her so? And…why was he here?”

Nastasya studied him silently, frowning, and went on looking at him like that for a long time. He began feeling very unpleasant, even frightened, under this scrutiny.

“Nastasya, why are you silent?” he finally said timidly, in a weak voice.

“It’s the blood,” she finally answered softly, as if speaking to herself.

“Blood! … What blood? . . .” he murmured, turning pale and drawing back towards the wall. Nastasya went on looking at him silently.

“No one was beating the landlady,” she said, again in a stern and resolute voice. He looked at her, scarcely breathing.

“I heard it myself… I wasn’t asleep, I was sitting up,” he said even more timidly. “I listened for a long time…The police chief’s assistant was here…Everyone came running out to the stairs, from all the apartments…”

“No one was here. It’s the blood clamoring in you. When it can’t get out and starts clotting up into these little clots, that’s when you start imagining things…Are you going to eat, or what?”

He did not reply. Nastasya went on standing over him, looking at him steadily, and would not go away.

“Give me water…Nastasyushka.”

She went downstairs and came back about two minutes later with water in a white earthenware mug; but he no longer remembered what happened next. He only remembered taking one sip of cold water and spilling some from the mug onto his chest. Then came unconsciousness.


[1] In her memoirs, Dostoevsky’s wife, Anna Grigorievna, mentions that in the first weeks of their married life Dostoevsky took her to a certain yard during a walk and showed her the stone under which his Raskolnikov hid the stolen objects. When she asked what he himself had been doing in that deserted yard, Dostoevsky replied, “The same thing as other passers-by.”

[2] The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was translated into Russian in the 1860s. His younger Russian contemporary, Alexander Radishchev (1749-1802), author of A Journey from Petersburg to Moscow, was exiled to Siberia by the empress Catherine the Great because of his outspoken attacks on social abuses.

[3] This title is an ironic reference to the controversy surrounding the “woman question” that began in the 1860s.

[4] The streets on Vasilievsky Island, called “Lines,” were laid out in a grid like the streets of Manhattan, and have numbers in place of names.

[5] The Winter Palace, residence of the tsars.

[6] The cathedral is St. Isaac’s. Designed in a mixed style suggesting a neoclassical interpretation of St. Peter’s in Rome, it is heavily ornamented with sculptures, including (as Soviet guides say) “four life-size angels.” There was a small chapel of St. Nicholas built on to the Nikolaevsky Bridge; both were made of wood and burned down in 1916.


Обращение к пользователям