Part Two. VI

But as soon as she went out, he got up, hooked the door, untied the bundle of clothing that Razumikhin had brought earlier and had tied up again himself, and began to dress. Strangely, he seemed suddenly to become perfectly calm; there was none of the earlier half-crazed delirium, nor the panicky fear of that whole recent time. This was the first moment of some strange, sudden calm. His movements were precise and definite; a firm intention shone through them. “Today, today! … ” he muttered to himself. He realized, however, that he was still weak, but emotional tension, so strong in him that it had reached the point of calm, of a fixed idea, gave him strength and self-confidence; he hoped, all the same, that he would not collapse in the street. Having fully dressed, in all new things, he looked at the money lying on the table, reflected, and put it in his pocket. There were twenty-five roubles. He also took all the five-kopeck pieces left as change from the ten roubles Razumikhin had spent on the clothes. Then he quietly unfastened the hook, stepped out of the room, went down the stairs, and peeked through the wide open door into the kitchen: Nastasya was standing with her back to him, bending over the landlady’s samovar and blowing on the coals. She did not hear anything. Besides, who could imagine he would leave? In another moment he was in the street.

It was about eight o’clock; the sun was going down. It was as stifling as before, yet he greedily inhaled the stinking, dusty, city-infected air. He began to feel slightly giddy; a sort of wild energy suddenly shone in his inflamed eyes and in his pale and yellow, emaciated face. He did not know and did not think about where he was going; he knew only one thing—that “all this must be ended today, at once, right now; otherwise he would not go back home, because he did not want to live like that. “ Ended how? Ended by what? Of that he had no idea, nor did he want to think about it. He kept driving the thought away; the thought tormented him. He simply felt and knew that everything had to change, one way or another, “no matter how,” he repeated with desperate, fixed self-confidence and resolution.

By old habit, following the usual course of his former walks, he headed straight for the Haymarket. Just before the Haymarket, on the sidewalk in front of a grocery shop, stood a dark-haired young organ-grinder, turning out some quite heartfelt love song. He was accompanying a girl of about fifteen, who stood in front of him on the sidewalk, dressed like a young lady in a crinoline, a little cape, gloves, and a straw hat with a flame-colored feather—all of it old and shabby. She was singing a love song in a cracked but rather pleasant and strong street singer’s voice, hoping to get two kopecks from the shop. Raskolnikov stopped alongside two or three listeners, listened for a while, took out a five-kopeck piece, and put it in the girl’s hand. She suddenly cut off her song on the highest and most heartfelt note, as with a knife, shouted a curt “Enough!” to the organ-grinder, and they both trudged on to the next shop.

“Do you like street singing?” Raskolnikov suddenly addressed one not too young passer-by, who had been standing with him near the barrel-organ and looked like an idler. The man stared at him wildly and with amazement. “I do,” Raskolnikov went on, looking as if he were not talking about street singing at all, “I like hearing songs to the barrel-organ on a cold, dark, and wet autumn evening—it must be a wet evening—when all the passers-by have pale green, sickly faces; or, even better, when wet snow is falling, straight down, with no wind— you know?—and the gaslights are shining through it . . .”

“I don’t know, sir…Excuse me . . .” the gentleman muttered, frightened both by the question and by Raskolnikov’s strange look, and he crossed to the other side of the street.

Raskolnikov went straight on and came to the corner of the Haymarket where the tradesman and the woman, the ones who had been talking with Lizaveta that day, had their stand; but they were not there now. Having recognized the spot, he stopped, looked around, and addressed a young fellow in a red shirt who was yawning in the doorway of a miller’s shop.

“That tradesman and the woman, his wife, keep a stand here at the corner, eh?”

“All kinds of people keep stands here,” the fellow replied, looking Raskolnikov up and down superciliously.

“What’s his name?”

“Whatever he was baptized.”

“Are you from Zaraisk, too? What’s your province?”

The fellow gave Raskolnikov another look.

“Ours isn’t a province, Your Excellency, it’s a district, but the strict one is my brother, not me, so I couldn’t say, sir…Therefore I hope you’ll be so magnanimous as to forgive me, Your Excellency.”

“Is this a cook-shop, the place upstairs?”

“It’s a tavern; they’ve got billiards, and princesses on hand…oh-la-la!”

Raskolnikov crossed the square. There, on the corner, stood a thick crowd of people, all of them peasants. He made his way into the very thick of them, peering into their faces. For some reason he felt drawn to talk with everyone. But the peasants paid no attention to him; they were all cackling to each other, bunching together in little groups. He stood, thought a moment, then went to the right along the sidewalk, in the direction of V——y. Once past the square, he found himself in an alley.

He often used to take this short alley, which made an elbow and led from the square to Sadovaya. Recently, he had even been drawn to loafing around all these places, when he was feeling sick at heart, so as to make it “all the more sickening.” But now he was not thinking anything as he entered it. A big building there was given over entirely to taverns and other eating and drinking establishments; women came running out of them every other minute, wearing whatever was worn “around the neighborhood”—bareheaded and only in dresses. They crowded in groups at two or three places along the sidewalk, mostly near the basement stairways, where a couple of steps led down to various rather pleasurable establishments. In one of these, at that moment, a clatter and racket were going on for the whole street to hear—the strumming of a guitar, singing, and great merrymaking. A large group of women crowded around the entrance; some were sitting on the steps, others on the sidewalk, the rest stood talking together. A drunken soldier with a cigarette was loafing in the street nearby, swearing loudly; he seemed to want to go in somewhere but had apparently forgotten where. A ragamuffin was swearing at another ragamuffin, and there was a man lying dead drunk in the middle of the street. Raskolnikov stopped near the large group of women. They were talking in husky voices; all of them were wearing cotton dresses, goatskin shoes, and nothing on their heads. Some were over forty, but there were some younger than seventeen; almost every one of them had a black eye.

For some reason he was interested in the singing and all the clatter and racket there, downstairs…Through the shrieks and guffaws, to the accompaniment of the guitar and the thin falsetto of a rollicking song, came the sound of someone desperately dancing, beating time with his heels. He listened intently, gloomily, pensively, bending down at the entrance and peering curiously from the sidewalk into the entryway.

“My soldier-boy so fine and free, What cause have you for beating me!” the singer’s thin voice poured out. Raskolnikov wanted terribly to catch the words, as if that were all that mattered to him.

“Why don’t I go in?” he thought. “They’re laughing loudly! Drunk. Well, suppose I get drunk?”

“Won’t you go in, dear master?” one of the women asked in a ringing, not yet quite husky voice. She was young and not even repulsive—she alone of the whole group.

“Well, well, here’s a pretty one!” he replied, straightening up and looking at her.

She smiled; the compliment pleased her very much.

“You’re a real pretty one yourself,” she said.

“But so skinny!” another observed in a bass voice. “Just checked out of the hospital, or what?”

“Look, they’re all generals’ daughters, and snub-nosed every nose of them!” a newly arrived peasant suddenly interrupted, tipsy, his coat unbuttoned, and with a slyly laughing mug. “Here’s some fun, eh?”

“Go in if you’re going!”

“That I will, my sweeties!”

And he tumbled down the steps.

Raskolnikov started to move on.

“Listen, dear master!” the girl called after him.

“What?”

She became embarrassed.

“I’d always be glad to spend some time with you, dear master, but right now I can’t seem to settle my conscience on you. Give me six kopecks for a drink, my nice young gentleman!”

Raskolnikov took out what happened into his hand: three five-kopeck pieces.

“Ah, such a kind master!”

“What’s your name?”

“Ask for Duklida.”

“Just look at that, will you,” one woman in the group suddenly remarked, shaking her head at Duklida. “I don’t know how anyone could ask like that! I think I’d just drop down from conscience alone . . .”

Raskolnikov looked curiously at the one who had spoken. She was a pockmarked wench of about thirty, all covered with bruises, and with a swollen upper lip. She pronounced her judgment calmly and seriously.

“Where was it,” Raskolnikov thought as he walked on, “where was it that I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death, that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet—and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal storm all around him—and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity—it would be better to live so than to die right now! Only to live, to live, to live! To live, no matter how—only to live![1]. . . How true! Lord, how true! Man is a scoundrel! And he’s a scoundrel who calls him a scoundrel for that,” he added in a moment.

He came out on another street. “Hah! The ‘Crystal Palace’! Razumikhin was talking earlier about the ‘Crystal Palace.’ Only what was it I wanted to do? Ah, yes, to read! … Zossimov said he read about it in the newspapers…”

“Do you have the newspapers?” he asked, going into a quite spacious and even orderly tavern with several rooms, all of them rather empty, however. Two or three customers were having tea, and in a farther room a group of some four men sat drinking champagne. Raskolnikov fancied that one of them was Zamyotov, but it was hard to tell from a distance.

“So what if it is!” he thought.

“Will you be having vodka, sir?” the waiter asked.

“Bring me tea. And some newspapers, old ones—say, from the last five days—and I’ll leave you a good tip.”

“Right, sir. Here are today’s, sir. And some vodka, sir?”

The old newspapers and the tea appeared. Raskolnikov sat down and began searching: “Izler…Izler…Aztecs…Aztecs…Izler…Bartola…Massimo…Aztecs…Izler…pah, the devil! Ah, the short notices: woman falls down stairs . .. tradesman burns up with drink…fire in Peski…fire on the Petersburg side…another fire on the Petersburg side…another fire on the Petersburg side…Izler…Izler…Izler…Izler…Massimo…Ah, here . . .”[2]

He finally found what he wanted and started reading; the lines danced in front of his eyes, but he nevertheless finished the whole “news item” and greedily began looking in other issues for later additions. His hands trembled with convulsive impatience as he leafed through the pages. Suddenly someone sat down next to him at his table. He looked up—it was Zamyotov, the same Zamyotov, with the same look, with the signet rings, the watch-chains, the part in his black, curly, and pomaded hair, wearing a foppish waistcoat, a somewhat worn jacket, and not very fresh linen. He was cheerful; at least he was smiling cheerfully and good-naturedly. His dark-skinned face was a little flushed from the champagne he had been drinking.

“What! You here?” he began in perplexity, and in a tone suggesting they had known each other for ages. “Razumikhin told me just yesterday that you were still unconscious. How strange! And I was there at your place . . .”

Raskolnikov had known he would come over. He laid the newspapers aside and turned to Zamyotov. There was a smirk on his lips, and in that smirk the trace of some new, irritable impatience.

“I know you were,” he replied, “I heard about it, sir. You looked for my sock…And, you know, Razumikhin’s lost his head over you; he says you went with him to Laviza Ivanovna, the one you took such trouble over that time, winking to Lieutenant Gunpowder, and he couldn’t understand, remember? Yet one wonders how he could possibly not understand—it was clear enough…eh?”

“And what a rowdy he is!”

“Who, Gunpowder?”

“No, your friend Razumikhin . . .”

“Nice life you’ve got for yourself, Mr. Zamyotov; a toll-free entry into the most pleasant places! Who was that pouring champagne into you just now?”

“Yes, we were…having a drink…Pouring, really!”

“An honorarium! You profit in all ways!” Raskolnikov laughed. “Never mind, sweet boy, never mind!” he added, slapping Zamyotov on the shoulder. “I’m not saying it out of malice; it’s all ‘real friendly, for the fun of it,’ as your workman said when he was punching Mitka, the one in the old woman’s case.”

“How do you know about that?”

“Maybe I know more than you do.”

“You’re a strange one, you are…You must still be very sick. You shouldn’t have gone out . . .”

“So I seem strange to you?”

“Yes. What’s this, you’re reading newspapers?”

“Newspapers.”

“There’s a lot about fires . . .”

“I’m not reading about fires.” Here he gave Zamyotov a mysterious look; a mocking smile again twisted his lips. “No, not about fires,” he went on, winking at Zamyotov. “And confess it, my dear young man, aren’t you terribly anxious to know what I was reading about?”

“Not at all; I just asked. Can’t I ask? Why do you keep . . .”

“Listen, you’re an educated man, a literary man, eh?”

“I finished the sixth class in gymnasium,” Zamyotov answered with some dignity.

“The sixth class! All, my little sparrow! With a part in his hair and rings on his fingers—a rich man! Pah, what a dear little boy!” Here Raskolnikov dissolved into nervous laughter right in Zamyotov’s face. The latter drew back, not really offended, but very much surprised.

“Pah, what a strange fellow!” Zamyotov repeated, very seriously. “I think you’re still raving.”

“Raving? Nonsense, my little sparrow! … So I’m strange, am I? Well, and are you curious about me? Are you curious?”

“I’m curious.”

“Then shall I tell you what I was reading about, what I was looking for? See how many issues I had them drag out for me! Suspicious, eh?”

“So, tell me.”

“Are your ears pricked up?”

“Why pricked up?”

“I’ll tell you why later, and now, my dear, I declare to you…no, better: ‘I confess’…No, that’s not right either: ‘I give testimony, and you take it’—that’s best! So, I give testimony that I was reading…I was interested in…I was searching…I was looking for . . .” Raskolnikov narrowed his eyes and paused: “I was looking—and that is the reason I came here—for news about the murder of the official’s old widow,” he finally uttered, almost in a whisper, bringing his face extremely close to Zamyotov’s face. Zamyotov looked straight at him, point-blank, without moving or drawing his face back from Raskolnikov’s face. What seemed strangest afterwards to Zamyotov was that their silence lasted for exactly a full minute, and that for exactly a full minute they sat looking at each other that way.

“Well, so what if you were?” he suddenly cried out in perplexity and impatience. “Why should I care? What of it?”

“It’s that same old woman,” Raskolnikov went on, still in a whisper, not moving at Zamyotov’s exclamation, “the same one, remember, that you started telling about in the office, and I fainted. So, do you understand now?”

“But what do you mean? ‘Understand’…what?” said Zamyotov, almost alarmed.

Raskolnikov’s frozen and serious expression transformed in an instant, and he suddenly dissolved into the same nervous laughter as shortly before, apparently quite unable to restrain himself. And in a flash he recalled, with the extreme clarity of a sensation, that recent moment when he was standing with the axe behind the door, the hook was jumping up and down, the people outside the door were cursing and trying to force it, and he suddenly wanted to shout to them, curse at them, stick his tongue out, taunt them, and laugh loudly—laugh, laugh, laugh!

“You’re either crazy, or . . .” Zamyotov said, and stopped, as if suddenly struck by a thought that flashed unexpectedly through his mind.

“Or? Or what? Well, what? Go on, say it!”

“Nothing!” replied Zamyotov, exasperated. “It’s all nonsense!”

Both fell silent. After his unexpected burst into a fit of laughter, Raskolnikov all at once became pensive and sad. He leaned his elbow on the table and propped his head in his hand. He seemed to forget Zamyotov entirely. The silence lasted for quite some time.

“Why don’t you drink your tea? It’ll get cold,” said Zamyotov.

“Eh? What? Tea?…Maybe so . . .” Raskolnikov took a sip from the cup, put a piece of bread in his mouth, and, looking at Zamyotov, seemed suddenly to recall everything and rouse himself: at the same moment his face resumed its original mocking expression. He went on drinking tea.

“There’s a lot of this crookedness around nowadays,” said Zamyotov. “Just recently I read in the Moscow Gazette that they caught a whole gang of counterfeiters in Moscow. A whole organization. They were making bank notes.”

“Oh, that was way back! I read about it a month ago,” Raskolnikov replied calmly. “So they’re crooks in your opinion?” he added, grinning.

“What else would you call them?”

“Them? They’re children, greenhorns, not crooks! A full fifty of them went into such a thing together! How is it possible? Even three would be too many, and even then they’d have to be surer of each other than of themselves! Otherwise, if just one of them gets drunk and spills it out, the whole thing falls through. Greenhorns! They hire unreliable people to change the money in banks: trusting such a job to the first comer! Well, suppose the greenhorns even brought it off, suppose each one got a million changed—well, what then? For the rest of their lives? They have to depend on each other all the rest of their lives! No, better to hang oneself! But they couldn’t even get it changed: one of them went to the bank, got five thousand changed, and his hands betrayed him. He counted through four thousand and then took the fifth without counting it, on faith, just to pocket it and run away quickly. So he aroused suspicion. And everything blew up because of one fool! How is it possible?”[3]

“That his hands betrayed him?” Zamyotov picked up. “No, that is possible, sir. No, I’m absolutely sure it’s possible. Sometimes one just can’t stand it.”

“A thing like that?”

“And you think you could stand it? No, I couldn’t. To risk such horror for a hundred-rouble reward! To take a false bank note, and where?—to a banking house, where they do know a hawk from a handsaw—no, I’d get flustered. Wouldn’t you?”

Again Raskolnikov suddenly felt a terrible urge to “stick his tongue out.” Shivers momentarily ran down his spine.

“I wouldn’t do it that way,” he began, remotely. “This is how I would get it changed: I’d count the first thousand four times or so, backwards and forwards, examining every note, and then go on to the next thousand; I’d start counting, count half way through, pull out a fifty-rouble note and hold it up to the light, turn it over, and hold it up to the light again—is it false or not? ‘I’m afraid,’ I’d say, ‘I have a relative, and the other day she lost twenty-five roubles that way,’ and I’d tell them the story. Then, when I started counting the third thousand—’No, sorry, I think, back there in the second thousand, I counted the seventh hundred incorrectly; I’m not sure’—and I’d leave the third thousand and start over again on the second; and so on for the whole five thousand. And when I was done, I’d pull out a note from the fifth thousand and one from the second, hold them up to the light again, and say in a doubtful voice: ‘Change them, please.’ And I’d have the clerk in such a lather by then that he’d do anything to be rid of me! When I was finally done with it all, I’d go and open the door—’No, sorry,’ and I’d come back again to ask about something, to get some explanation—that’s how I would do it!”

“Pah, what awful things you say!” Zamyotov laughed. “Only it’s all just talk; in reality you’d be sure to make a slip. Here, let me tell you, not only you and I, but in my opinion even a seasoned, desperate man cannot vouch for himself. But why go far? Take, for example, this old woman who was murdered in our precinct. It looks like the work of a real daredevil; he risked it all in broad daylight, got away only by a miracle—and even so his hands betrayed him: he wasn’t able to steal, he couldn’t stand it; that’s clear from the evidence . . .”

Raskolnikov looked offended.

“Clear! Go and catch him then!” he cried, gloatingly egging Zamyotov on.

“Oh, they’ll catch him all right!”

“Who? You? You’re going to catch him? You’ll run yourselves into the ground! What’s the main thing for you—whether the man spends the money or not? First he has no money, then he suddenly starts spending—who else could it be? A child so high could hoodwink you with that if he wanted to!”

“That’s precisely it; they all do it that way,” Zamyotov replied. “He kills cunningly, risks his life, and then immediately gets caught in some pot-house. They get caught spending. Not everyone is as cunning as you are. You wouldn’t go to a pot-house, naturally?”

Raskolnikov frowned and looked fixedly at Zamyotov.

“It seems I’ve whetted your appetite. So, you want to know how I’d act in this case, too?” he asked with displeasure.

“Yes, I do,” the other answered firmly and seriously. He had begun to look and sound all too serious.

“Very much?”

“Very much.”

“All right. This is how I would act,” Raskolnikov began, again suddenly bringing his face close to Zamyotov’s, again looking point-blank at him, again speaking in a whisper, so that this time Zamyotov even gave a start. “Here’s what I would do: I would take the money and the things, and as soon as I left there, immediately, without stopping anywhere, I’d go to some out-of-the-way place where there were only fences and almost no people around—some kitchen garden or the like. There would be a stone in this yard, which I would have picked out beforehand, weighing thirty or forty pounds, somewhere in a corner near the fence, that might have been sitting there since the house was built; I’d lift this stone—of course there would be a shallow hole under it—and put all the money and things into the hole. I’d put them there and replace the stone just the way it had been before, tamp it down with my foot, and go away. And I wouldn’t touch it for a year, or two, or three—so, look all you like. Now you see me, and now you don’t!”

“You are a madman,” Zamyotov spoke for some reason also almost in a whisper, and for some reason suddenly drew back from Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov’s eyes were flashing; he became terribly pale; his upper lip twitched and began to tremble. He leaned as close to Zamyotov as he could and began moving his lips without uttering anything; this went on for half a minute or so; he was aware of what he was doing, but could not stop himself. A terrible word was trembling on his lips, like the hook on that door: another moment and it would jump out; another moment and it would let go; another moment and it would be spoken!

“And what if it was I who killed the old woman and Lizaveta?” he said suddenly—and came to his senses.

Zamyotov looked wildly at him and went white as a sheet. His face twisted into a smile.

“But can it be?” he said, barely audibly.

Raskolnikov looked at him spitefully.

“Admit that you believed it! Right? Am I right?”

“Not at all! Now more than ever I don’t!” Zamyotov said hastily.

“Got you at last! The little sparrow’s caught! So you did believe it at first, if ‘now more than ever you don’t’?”

“No, not at all, really!” Zamyotov exclaimed, visibly confused. “Is that why you’ve been frightening me, so as to lead up to that?”

“You don’t believe it, then? And what did you start talking about in my absence, when I left the office that time? And why did Lieutenant Gunpowder interrogate me after I fainted? Hey, you,” he called to the waiter, getting up and taking his cap, “how much?”

“Thirty kopecks in all, sir,” the waiter answered, running over.

“And here’s twenty more for a tip. Look at all this money!” He held the notes out to Zamyotov with a trembling hand. “Red ones, blue ones, twenty-five roubles. Where from? And where did the new clothes come from? You know I didn’t have a kopeck! I bet you’ve already questioned the landlady, eh?…Well, enough! Assez causé! [4] See you later…with the greatest pleasure! . . .”

He went out all atremble with some wild, hysterical feeling, in which there was at the same time a portion of unbearable delight— yet he was gloomy and terribly tired. His face was distorted, as if after some fit. His fatigue was increasing rapidly. His energy would now be aroused and surge up suddenly, with the first push, the first irritating sensation, and then rapidly grow weaker as the sensation weakened.

Zamyotov, left alone, went on sitting where he was for a long time, pondering. Raskolnikov had unwittingly overturned all his ideas on a certain point, and had finally settled his opinion.

“Ilya Petrovich is a blockhead!” he decided finally.

Raskolnikov had just opened the door to go out when he suddenly bumped into Razumikhin, right on the porch, coming in. Neither one saw the other even a step before, so that they almost bumped heads. They stood for some time looking each other up and down. Razumikhin was greatly amazed, but suddenly wrath, real wrath, flashed menacingly in his eyes.

“So here’s where you are!” he shouted at the top of his lungs. “Ran away from your sick-bed! And I even looked for you under the sofa! We went to the attic! I almost gave Nastasya a beating because of you…And here’s where he is! Rodka! What is the meaning of this! Tell the whole truth! Confess! Do you hear?”

“It means that I’m sick to death of all of you, and I want to be alone,” Raskolnikov replied calmly.

“Alone? When you still can’t walk, when your mug is white as a sheet, and you can barely breathe! Fool! … What were you doing in the ‘Crystal Palace’? Confess immediately!”

“Let me be!” said Raskolnikov, and he tried to pass by. This now drove Razumikhin into a rage: he seized him firmly by the shoulder.

“Let you be? You dare tell me to let you be? And do you know what I’m going to do with you now? I’m going to pick you up, tie you in a knot, carry you home under my arm, and lock you in!”

“Listen, Razumikhin,” Raskolnikov began softly and apparently quite calmly, “can’t you see that I don’t want your good deeds? And who wants to do good deeds for someone who…spits on them? For someone, finally, who only feels seriously burdened by them? Why did you seek me out at the start of my illness? Maybe I would have been quite happy to die! Didn’t I make it sufficiently plain to you today that you are tormenting me, that I am . .. sick of you! Really, why do you want to torment people! I assure you that it all seriously interferes with my recovery, because it keeps me constantly irritated. Didn’t Zossimov leave today so as not to irritate me? You leave me, too, for God’s sake! And what right do you have, finally, to restrain me by force? Can’t you see as I’m speaking now that I’m entirely in my right mind? How, teach me how to implore you, finally, not to pester me with your good deeds! Say I’m ungrateful, say I’m mean, only leave me alone, all of you, for God’s sake, leave me alone! Leave me! Leave me!”

He had begun calmly, savoring beforehand all the venom he was going to pour out, but he finished frenzied and breathless, as earlier with Luzhin.

Razumikhin stood, thought, and let his hand fall.

“Go to the devil, then!” he said softly and almost pensively. “Wait!” he suddenly bellowed, as Raskolnikov tried to set off. “Listen to me. I announce to you that you’re all, to a man, babblers and braggarts! Some little suffering comes along, and you brood over it like a hen over an egg! Even there you steal from other authors! There isn’t a sign of independent life in you! You’re made of spermaceti ointment, with whey instead of blood in your veins! I don’t believe a one of you! The first thing you do in any circumstances is try not to resemble a human being! Wa-a-ait!” he cried with redoubled fury, seeing that Raskolnikov was making another attempt to leave. “Hear me out! You know I have people coming today for a housewarming party, maybe they’ve come already, but I left my uncle there—I ran over just now—to receive my guests. So, if you weren’t a fool, a banal fool, an utter fool, a foreign translation…you see, Rodya, I admit you’re a smart fellow, but you’re a fool!—so, if you weren’t a fool, you’d be better off spending the evening at my place than going around wearing out your boots for nothing. Since you’ve already gone out, what’s the difference! I’ll roll in a soft armchair for you, my landlord has one…A bit of tea, good company…Or else I can put you on the couch—anyway, you’ll be lying there with us…Zossimov will be there, too. Will you come?”

“No.”

“R-r-rot!” Razumikhin cried out impatiently. “How can you tell? You can’t answer for yourself! Besides, you have no understanding of these things…I’ve fallen out with people like this a thousand times and gone running back…One gets ashamed—and goes back to the man! So remember, Pochinkov’s house, third floor . . .”

“And in the same way, Mr. Razumikhin, you would probably let someone beat you for the pleasure of doing them good.”

“Who, me? I’ll twist your nose off just for thinking it! Pochinkov’s house, number forty-seven, the official Babushkin’s apartment . . .”

“I won’t come, Razumikhin!” Raskolnikov turned and started to walk away.

“I bet you will!” Razumikhin called after him. “Otherwise you…otherwise I don’t want to know you! Hey, wait! Is Zamyotov in there?”

“He is.”

“You saw him?”

“I did.”

“You spoke?”

“We spoke.”

“What about? Ah, devil take you, don’t tell me, then! Pochinkov’s, forty-seven, Babushkin’s, remember!”

Raskolnikov reached Sadovaya and turned the corner. Razumikhin followed him with his eyes, pondering. Finally he threw up his hands, went into the tavern, but stopped halfway up the stairs.

“Devil take it!” he continued, almost aloud. “He talks sense, but it’s as if…still, I’m a fool, too! Don’t madmen talk sense? I think that’s what Zossimov is afraid of!” He tapped himself on the forehead with his finger. “And what if…no, he shouldn’t be allowed to go by himself now! He might drown himself…Ech, I messed that one up! Impossible!” And he ran back outside after Raskolnikov, but the trail was already cold. He spat and with quick steps went back to the “Crystal Palace,” hastening to question Zamyotov.

Raskolnikov walked straight to the ——sky Bridge, stopped in the middle of it, leaned both elbows on the railing, and began to look along. After parting with Razumikhin he became so weak that he had barely been able to get there. He longed to sit or lie down somewhere in the street. Leaning over the water, he gazed mechanically at the last pink gleams of the sunset, at the row of houses, dark in the thickening dusk, at one distant window, somewhere in a garret on the left bank, blazing as if aflame when the last ray of sunlight struck it for a moment, at the dark water of the canal—he stood as if peering intently into the water. Finally, red circles began spinning in his eyes, the houses began to sway, the passers-by, the embankments, the carriages—all began spinning and dancing around him. Suddenly he gave a start, perhaps saved from fainting again by a wild and ugly sight. He sensed that someone was standing next to him, to his right, close by; he looked— and saw a woman, tall, wearing a kerchief, with a long, yellow, wasted face and reddish, sunken eyes. She was looking straight at him, but obviously saw nothing and recognized no one. Suddenly she leaned her right forearm on the parapet, raised her right leg, swung it over the railing, then her left leg, and threw herself into the canal. The dirty water parted, swallowing its victim for a moment, but a minute later the drowning woman floated up and was gently carried downstream, her head and legs in the water, her back up, her skirt to one side and ballooning over the water like a pillow.

“She’s drowned herself! Drowned herself!” dozens of voices were crying; people came running, both embankments were strung with spectators, people crowded around Raskolnikov on the bridge, pushing and pressing him from behind.

“Merciful God, it’s our Afrosinyushka!” a woman’s tearful cry came from somewhere nearby. “Merciful God, save her! Pull her out, dear people!”

“A boat! A boat!” shouts came from the crowd.

But by then there was no need for a boat; a policeman ran down the stairs, threw off his greatcoat and boots, and plunged into the water. It was not much of a task; the stream carried the drowning woman within two yards of the stairs; he seized her clothes with his right hand, with his left managed to get hold of the pole a fellow policeman held out to him, and the drowning woman was pulled out at once. They laid her on the granite slabs of the embankment. She quickly came around, raised herself a little, sat up, and began sneezing and snorting, senselessly wiping off her wet dress with her hands. She said nothing.

“Drank herself cockeyed, my dears, she drank herself cockeyed,” the same woman’s voice went on howling, next to Afrosinyushka now. “The other day, too, she went and tried to hang herself; we took her out of the noose. And now I had to go to the store, and I left a girl to keep an eye on her, and it all came to grief! She’s a tradeswoman, my dear, like us, we’re neighbors, second house from the corner, right here . . .”

People began to disperse; the policemen were still fussing over the nearly drowned woman; someone shouted something about the police station…Raskolnikov looked upon it all with a strange feeling of indifference and detachment. It was disgusting to him. “No, it’s vile . .. the water…better not,” he was muttering to himself. “Nothing’ll come of it,” he added, “no point in waiting. What’s that—the police station?…And why isn’t Zamyotov there in his office? The office is open past nine…” He turned his back to the railing and looked around him.

“Well, after all, why not!” he said resolutely, left the bridge, and set off in the direction of the police station. His heart was empty and blank. He did not want to reflect. Even his anguish had gone; and not a trace remained of his former energy, when he had left the house determined to “end it all!” Total apathy had taken its place.

“After all, it’s a way out!” he thought, walking slowly and listlessly along the embankment of the canal. “Anyway, I’ll end it because I want to…Is it a way out, though? But what’s the difference! There’ll be a square foot of space—hah! What sort of an end, though? Can it really be the end? Shall I tell them or shall I not tell them? Ah…the devil! Besides, I’m tired; I wish I could lie or sit down somewhere soon! What’s most shameful is that it’s so stupid! But I spit on that, too. Pah, what stupid things come into one’s head . . .”

To get to the police station he had to keep straight on and take the second turn to the left: it was there, two steps away. But having reached the first turn, he stopped, thought, went down the side street, and made a detour through two more streets—perhaps without any purpose, or perhaps to delay for at least another minute and gain time. He walked along looking down. Suddenly it was as if someone whispered something in his ear. He raised his head and saw that he was standing in front of that house, right by the gate. He had not gone there, or even passed by, since that evening.

An irresistible and inexplicable desire drew him on. He went in, passed all the way under the gateway, turned to the first door on the right, and begun going up the familiar stairs to the fourth floor. The narrow and steep stairway was very dark. He stopped on each landing and looked around with curiosity. The entire window frame on the first-floor landing had been taken out: “It wasn’t like that then,” he thought. Here was the second-floor apartment where Nikolashka and Mitka had been working then: “Closed and the door has been painted; that must mean it’s for rent.” Now it was the third floor…the fourth…”Here!” He was overcome with perplexity: the door to the apartment was wide open, there were people in it, voices could be heard; he had not expected that at all. After a short hesitation, he mounted the last steps and went into the apartment.

It, too, was being redecorated; workmen were there; he seemed to be struck by the fact. He had been imagining for some reason that he would find everything just as he had left it then, perhaps even the corpses in the same places on the floor. Instead, bare walls, no furniture—it was somehow strange! He walked over to the window and sat down on the sill.

There were two workmen, both young fellows, one on the older side, the other much younger. They were hanging fresh wallpaper, white with little purple flowers, in place of the former tattered and torn yellow paper. For some reason Raskolnikov was terribly displeased by this; he looked at the new wallpaper with animosity, as though he were sorry to see everything so changed.

The workmen were obviously late, and were now hastily rolling up their paper in preparation for going home. Raskolnikov’s appearance drew almost no notice from them. They were talking about something. Raskolnikov crossed his arms and began to listen.

“So she comes to me in the morning,” the older one was saying to the younger one, “really early, and she’s all gussied up. ‘What are you doing,’ I says, ‘sugar-and-spicing in front of me like that?’ ‘From henceforth, Tit Vasilievich,’ she says, ‘I want to stay under your complete will.’ So that’s how it is! And all gussied up, like a magazine, just like a magazine!”

“What’s a magazine, pops?” asked the young one. “Pops” was obviously giving him lessons.

“A magazine is pictures, brother, colored pictures, and they get sent here to local tailors, every Saturday, by mail, from abroad, to tell how everybody should dress, the male sex the same as the female. Drawings, I mean. The male sex is shown more in fancy suits, and in the female department, brother, there’s such pompadours—give me all you’ve got and it won’t be enough!”

“What you can’t find here in Petersburg!” the young one exclaimed enthusiastically. “Except for your old granny, they’ve got everything!”

“Except for that, brother, there’s everything to be found,” the older one concluded didactically.

Raskolnikov stood up and walked into the other room, where the trunk, the bed, and the chest used to be; the room seemed terribly small to him without the furniture. The wallpaper was still the same; the place where the icon-stand had been was sharply outlined on the wallpaper in the corner. He looked around and returned to his window. The older workman was watching him out of the corner of his eye.

“What do you want, sir?” he asked, suddenly addressing him.

Instead of answering, Raskolnikov stood up, walked out to the landing, took hold of the bell-pull, and rang. The same bell, the same tinny sound! He rang a second, a third time; he listened and remembered. The former painfully horrible, hideous sensation began to come back to him more clearly, more vividly; he shuddered with each ring, and enjoyed the feeling more and more.

“What do you want? Who are you?” cried the workman, coming out to him. Raskolnikov walked back in the door.

“I want to rent this apartment,” he said. “I’m looking it over.”

“Nobody rents places at night; and besides, you should have come with the caretaker.”

“The floor has been washed; are they going to paint it?” Raskolnikov went on. “Is there any blood?”

“What blood?”

“That old woman and her sister were murdered here. There was a whole pool of blood.”

“What sort of man are you?” the workman cried worriedly.

“Me?”

“Yes, you.”

“You want to know?…Let’s go to the police, I’ll tell you there.”

The workman looked at him in perplexity.

“It’s time we left, sir, we’re late. Let’s go, Alyoshka. We’ll have to lock up,” the older workman said.

“Let’s go, then!” Raskolnikov replied indifferently, and he walked out first and went slowly down the stairs. “Hey, caretaker!” he cried as he passed under the gateway.

Several people were standing just at the street entrance, gazing at the passers-by: the two caretakers, a woman, a tradesman in a smock, and some others. Raskolnikov went straight up to them.

“What do you want?” one of the caretakers responded.

“Have you been to the police?”

“Just came back. So, what do you want?”

“They’re all there?”

“They are.”

“The assistant’s there?”

“He was for a while. What do you want?”

Raskolnikov did not answer, but stood beside them, pondering.

“He came to look at the place,” the older workman said, coming up.

“What place?”

“Where we’re working. ‘Why have you washed the blood up?’ he said. ‘There was a murder here, and I’ve come to rent the place.’ And he started ringing the bell, all but tore it out. ‘Let’s go to the police,’ he says, ‘I’ll prove it all there.’ Just wouldn’t leave off.”

The caretaker scrutinized Raskolnikov, perplexed and frowning.

“But who are you?” he cried, a bit more menacingly.

“I am Rodion Romanych Raskolnikov, a former student, and I live at Shil’s house, here in the lane, not far away, apartment number fourteen. Ask the caretaker… he knows me.” Raskolnikov said all this somehow lazily and pensively, not turning, but gazing fixedly at the darkened street.

“Why did you go up there?”

“To look.”

“What’s there to look at?”

“Why not just take him to the police?” the tradesman suddenly mixed in, and then fell silent.

Raskolnikov cast a sidelong glance at him over his shoulder, looked at him attentively, and said, as slowly and lazily as before:

“Let’s go.”

“Just take him, then!” the encouraged tradesman picked up. “Why did he come about that? What’s on his mind, eh?”

“God knows, maybe he’s drunk, maybe he’s not,” the workman muttered.

“But what do you want?” the caretaker shouted again, beginning to get seriously angry. “Quit pestering us!”

“Scared to go to the police?” Raskolnikov said to him mockingly.

“Why scared? Quit pestering us!”

“Scofflaw!” cried the woman.

“Why go on talking to him?” shouted the other caretaker, a huge man in an unbuttoned coat and with keys on his belt. “Clear out! … Yes, he’s a scofflaw! … Clear out!”

And seizing Raskolnikov by the shoulder, he threw him into the street. Raskolnikov nearly went head over heels, but did not fall. He straightened himself up, looked silently at all the spectators, and walked away.

“A weird man,” the workman let fall.

“People turned weird lately,” the woman said.

“We still should’ve taken him to the police,” the tradesman added.

“No point getting involved,” the big caretaker decided. “He’s a scofflaw for sure! You could see he was foisting himself on us, but once you get involved, there’s no getting out…Don’t we know it!”

“Well now, shall I go or not?” thought Raskolnikov, stopping in the middle of the street, at an intersection, and looking around as if he were waiting for the final word from someone. But no reply came from anywhere; everything was blank and dead, like the stones he was walking on, dead for him, for him alone…Suddenly, in the distance, about two hundred paces away, at the end of the street, in the thickening darkness, he made out a crowd, voices, shouts…In the midst of the crowd stood some carriage…A small light started flickering in the middle of the street. “What’s going on?” Raskolnikov turned to the right and went towards the crowd. It was as if he were snatching at anything, and he grinned coldly as he thought of it, because he had firmly decided about the police and knew for certain that now it was all going to end.

 

[1] Raskolnikov read about this “narrow ledge” in Book 11, chapter 2, of Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris (1831), first published in Russian translation in Dostoevsky’s short-lived magazine Time in 1862.

[2] Ivan Ivanovich Izler was the owner of a man-made suburban spa in Petersburg called “Mineral Waters,” very popular in the 1860s. The Petersburg newspapers of 1865 were full of news about the arrival in the city of a young midget couple, Massimo and Bartola, said to be descendants of the ancient Aztecs. The unusual number of fires in Petersburg and then\throughout Russia in 1862 were sometimes blamed on revolutionary students. Dostoevsky tried to oppose these rumors in his magazine, Time, but the articles were not passed by the censors.

[3] This account of the nervous accomplice comes from an actual event reported in a Moscow newspaper in 1865.

[4] “Enough talk!” (French). According to his wife’s memoirs, this was one of Dostoevsky’s own favorite phrases. He borrowed it from Vautrin, a character in the novels of Honoré de Balzac (1700-1850). Dostoevsky was a great admirer of Balzac, whose Rastignac is a fictional precursor of Raskolnikov.

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