Part Three. II

Preoccupied and serious, Razumikhin woke up the next day between seven and eight. In the morning he suddenly turned out to have many new and unforeseen perplexities. He had never before imagined that he would wake up like that one day. He recalled every last detail of the previous day, realizing that something uncommon had befallen him, and that he had received into himself a certain impression heretofore unknown to him and unlike any other. At the same time he clearly understood that the dream that had begun burning in his head was in the highest degree unrealizable—so unrealizable that he was even ashamed of it, and he hurried on to other, more urgent cares and perplexities bequeathed him by that “thrice-cursed yesterday.”

His most terrible recollection was of how “base and vile” he had turned out to be, not only because he was drunk, but because, taking advantage of the girl’s situation, he had abused her fiancé before her, out of stupidly hasty jealousy, not only knowing nothing of their mutual relations and commitments but not even knowing the man himself properly. And what right did he have to judge him so hastily and rashly? And who had invited him to be a judge! Was such a being as Avdotya Romanovna indeed capable of giving herself to an unworthy man for money? So there must be some worth in him. The rooms? But how, in fact, could he have known they were that sort of rooms? He was having an apartment made ready, after all… pah, how base it all was! He was drunk, but what sort of justification was that? A silly excuse, which humiliated him even more! The truth is in wine, and so this whole truth told itself—”that is, all the filth of his envious, boorish heart!” And was such a dream in any degree permissible for him, Razumikhin? Who was he compared with such a girl—he, a drunken brawler and yesterday’s braggart? “Is such a cynical and ridiculous juxtaposition possible?” Razumikhin blushed desperately at the thought of it, and suddenly, as if by design, at the same moment he clearly recalled standing on the stairs yesterday, telling them that the landlady would be jealous of Avdotya Romanovna on account of him…that was really unbearable. He swung with all his might and hit the kitchen stove with his fist, hurting his hand and knocking out a brick.

“Of course,” he muttered to himself after a moment, with some feeling of self-abasement, “of course, now I can never paint or smooth over all those nasty things…so there’s no point in thinking about it, I must simply go silently and…do my duty…also silently…and not apologize or say anything, and…and, of course, all is lost now!”

Nevertheless, as he was getting dressed, he looked over his outfit more carefully than usual. He had no other clothes, and even if he had, he would perhaps not have put them on—”just so, I wouldn’t, on purpose.” But all the same he could not go on being a cynic and a dirty sloven: he had no right to offend other people’s feelings, all the more so in that those others needed him and were calling him to them. He gave his clothes a careful brushing. And the linen he wore was always passable; in that sense he was particularly clean.

He washed zealously that morning—Nastasya found him some soap—washed his hair, his neck, and especially his hands. But when it came to the question of whether or not to shave his stubble (Praskovya Pavlovna had excellent razors, still preserved from the late Mr. Zarnitsyn), the question was resolved, even with a vengeance, in the negative: “Let it stay as it is! What if they should think I shaved in order to…and that’s certainly what they would think! No, not for anything in the world!”

And…and, above all, he was so coarse, so dirty, with his tavern manners; and…and suppose he knew that he was still, let us say, a decent man at least…well, what was there to be proud of in being a decent man? Everyone ought to be a decent man, and even better than that, and…and still (now he remembered) there were some little turns laid to his account. . . not really dishonest, but all the same! … And what thoughts he sometimes had! Hm…and to set all that next to Avdotya Romanovna! “Well, so, the devil! Who cares! I’ll be dirty, salacious, tavern-mannered on purpose, and to hell with it! I’ll be even more so! . . .”

In these monologues he was found by Zossimov, who had spent the night in Praskovya Pavlovna’s drawing room.

He was about to go home, and was hurrying to have a look at the sick man before he left. Razumikhin reported to him that he was sleeping like a log. Zossimov gave orders not to rouse him before he woke up on his own. And he promised to stop by some time after ten.

“I only hope he’ll be here,” he added. “Pah, the devil! No control over my own patient; just try treating him! Do you know if he will go to them or they will come here?”

“They’ll come, I think,” Razumikhin replied, understanding the intent of the question, “and, of course, they’ll talk over their family affairs. I’ll leave. As a doctor, naturally, you have more rights than I do.”

“But I’m also not their father confessor. I’ll come and go. I have enough to do without them.”

“One thing troubles me,” Razumikhin interrupted, frowning. “Yesterday, being drunk, I blurted out various foolish things to him as we walked along…various things…among them that you’re afraid he…is inclined to madness.”

“You blurted out the same thing to the ladies as well.”

“I know it was stupid! Beat me if you like! And did you really have some firm idea?”

“But it’s nonsense, I tell you; what firm idea! You yourself described him as a monomaniac when you brought me to him…Well, and then yesterday we added more fuel—that is, you did—with those stories…about the house-painter; a nice conversation that was, when it may have been just what made him lose his mind! If only I’d known exactly what happened in the office that time, and that some boor had…offended him with that suspicion! Hm…I wouldn’t have allowed such a conversation yesterday. Because these monomaniacs turn a drop into an ocean, they think any sort of claptrap is a reality…As far as I remember, I understood half of this business from Zamyotov’s story yesterday. But that’s nothing! I know a case of a hypochondriac, a forty-year-old man, who couldn’t stand an eight-year-old boy’s daily mockery at the table, and put a knife in him! And there he was, all in rags, an insolent policeman, the start of an illness, and such a suspicion! For a wild hypochondriac! With such rabid, exceptional vanity! The whole starting point of the illness may well have been sitting right there! Well, so, the devil! … Incidentally, this Zamyotov really is a nice boy, only…hm…he shouldn’t have told all that yesterday. An awful babbler!”

“But who did he tell? Me and you?”

“And Porfiry.”

“So, why not Porfiry?”

“Incidentally, do you have any influence over those two, the mother and the sister? They should be more careful with him today . . .”

“They’ll manage!” Razumikhin answered reluctantly.

“And why is he so much against this Luzhin? The man has money, she doesn’t seem averse to him…and they don’t have a bean, do they?”

“What are you trying to worm out of me?” Razumikhin cried irritably. “Bean or no bean, how do I know? Ask them yourself, maybe you’ll find out…”

“Pah, how stupid you are sometimes! Yesterday’s drunkenness is still sitting in you…Good-bye; thank your Praskovya Pavlovna for the night’s lodging. She locked herself in, wouldn’t answer my bonjour through the door, but she got up at seven o’clock, a samovar was brought to her through the corridor from the kitchen…I wasn’t deemed worthy of beholding…”

At nine o’clock sharp Razumikhin arrived at Bakaleev’s rooming house. The two ladies had been awaiting him for a long, long time, with hysterical impatience. They had risen at about seven, or even earlier. He came in looking dark as night, and bowed awkwardly, for which he immediately became angry—at himself, of course. He had reckoned without his host: Pulcheria Alexandrovna simply rushed to him, seized both his hands, and almost kissed them. He glanced timidly at Avdotya Romanovna, but that arrogant face had at the moment an expression of such gratitude and friendliness, such complete and, for him, unexpected esteem (instead of mocking looks and involuntary, poorly disguised contempt!) that it would truly have been easier for him if he had been met with abuse; otherwise it was too embarrassing. Fortunately, there was a ready topic of conversation, and he hastened to seize upon it.

Having heard that “he was not awake yet” but that “everything was excellent,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna declared that it was all for the better, “because she needed very, very, very much to discuss things first.” The question of tea followed, with an invitation to have it together; they had not had anything yet, since they were expecting Razumikhin. Avdotya Romanovna rang the bell, a dirty ragamuffin answered the summons, tea was ordered and eventually served, but in so dirty and improper a fashion that the ladies were ashamed. Razumikhin vehemently denounced the rooming house but, remembering about Luzhin, fell silent, became embarrassed, and was terribly glad when Pulcheria Alexandrovna’s questions finally came pouring out one after another, without a break.

He spent three-quarters of an hour answering them, constantly interrupted and questioned again, and managed to convey the most important and necessary facts as he knew them from the last year of Rodion Romanovich’s life, concluding with a detailed account of his illness. However, he omitted much of what was better omitted, including the scene in the office with all its consequences. His account was greedily listened to; but when he thought he had already finished and satisfied his listeners, it turned out that for them it was as if he had not yet begun.

“Tell me, tell me, what do you think…ah, forgive me, I still do not know your name!” Pulcheria Alexandrovna hurried.

“Dmitri Prokofych.”

“Now then, Dmitri Prokofych, I should like very, very much to know…generally…how he looks at things now—that is, please understand me, how shall I put it—that is, better to say: what are his likes and dislikes? Is he always so irritable? What are his wishes and, so to speak, his dreams, if you can say? What precisely has a special influence on him now? In short, I should like . . .”

“Ah, mama, how can anyone answer so much all at once?” Dunya remarked.

“Ah, my God, but this is not at all, not at all how I expected to see him, Dmitri Prokofych.”

“That’s only natural,” Dmitri Prokofych replied. “I have no mother, but my uncle comes here every year, and almost every time fails to recognize me, even externally, and he is an intelligent man; well, and in the three years of your separation a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. What can I tell you? I’ve known Rodion for a year and a half: sullen, gloomy, arrogant, proud; recently (and maybe much earlier) insecure and hypochondriac. Magnanimous and kind. Doesn’t like voicing his feelings, and would rather do something cruel than speak his heart out in words. At times, however, he’s not hypochondriac at all, but just inhumanly cold and callous, as if there really were two opposite characters in him, changing places with each other. At times he’s terribly taciturn! He’s always in a hurry, always too busy, yet he lies there doing nothing. Not given to mockery, and not because he lacks sharpness but as if he had no time for such trifles. Never hears people out to the end. Is never interested in what interests everyone else at a given moment. Sets a terribly high value on himself and, it seems, not without a certain justification. Well, what else?… It seems to me that your arrival will have a salutary effect on him.”

“Ah, God grant us that!” Pulcheria Alexandrovna cried out, tormented by Razumikhin’s assessment of her Rodya.

And Razumikhin at last looked more courageously at Avdotya Romanovna. He had glanced at her frequently during the conversation, but cursorily, for a moment only, looking away at once. Avdotya Romanovna now sat at the table and listened attentively, now got up again and began pacing from corner to corner, as was her habit, arms crossed, lips pressed together, occasionally asking a question without interrupting her pacing, and again falling into thought. She, too, had the habit of not hearing people out to the end. She was wearing a dark dress of some thin fabric, with a sheer white scarf tied around her neck. Razumikhin noted at once by many tokens that both women were in extremely poor circumstances. Had Avdotya Romanovna been dressed like a queen, he most likely would not have been afraid of her at all; but now, perhaps just because she was so poorly dressed and because he noticed this whole niggardly situation, fear crept into his heart, and he became apprehensive of every word, every gesture— which, of course, was inconvenient for a man who did not trust himself to begin with.

“You have said many curious things about my brother’s character, and…have spoken impartially. That’s good; I thought you were in awe of him,” Avdotya Romanovna observed with a smile. “It also seems true that he ought to have a woman around him,” she added pensively.

“I didn’t say so, but perhaps you’re right about that, too, only . . .”

“What?”

“He doesn’t love anyone, and maybe he never will,” Razumikhin said bluntly.

“You mean he’s unable to love?”

“And you know, Avdotya Romanovna, you resemble your brother terribly much, in everything even!” he suddenly blurted out, unexpectedly for himself, but, recalling what he had just told her about her brother, he immediately blushed like a lobster and became terribly embarrassed. Looking at him, Avdotya Romanovna could not help laughing.

“You both may be mistaken about Rodya,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna interrupted, somewhat piqued. “I’m not talking about now, Dunechka. What Pyotr Petrovich writes in this letter…and what you and I were supposing, may not be true, but you cannot even imagine, Dmitri Prokofych, how fantastical and, how shall I put it, capricious he is. I could never trust his character, even when he was only fifteen years old. I’m certain that even now he might suddenly do something with himself that no other man would ever think of doing…There’s no need to look far: do you know how he astounded me, shocked me, and all but completely did me in a year ago, when he took it into his head to marry that—what’s her name?—Zarnitsyn, his landlady’s daughter?”

“Do you know any details of that story?” asked Avdotya Romanovna.

“Do you think,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna continued hotly, “that my tears, my pleas, my illness, my possible death from grief, our poverty, would have stopped him? He would have stepped quite calmly over every obstacle. Yet can it be, can it be that he doesn’t love us?”

“He never told me anything about that story himself,” Razumikhin answered cautiously, “but I have heard a thing or two from Mrs. Zarnitsyn herself, who for her own part is also not a great talker, and what I heard is perhaps even a bit strange…”

“But what, what did you hear?” both women asked at once.

“Nothing so very special, really. I only learned that this marriage, which was already quite settled and failed to take place only because of the bride’s death, was not at all to Mrs. Zarnitsyn’s liking…Besides, they say the bride was not even good-looking—that is, they say she was even homely…and quite sickly and…and strange…though it seems she had some merits. There absolutely must have been some merits; otherwise none of it makes any sense…There was no dowry either, but he wouldn’t have counted on a dowry…Generally, it’s hard to judge in such matters.”

“I’m sure she was a worthy girl,” Avdotya Romanovna observed tersely.

“God forgive me, but I was glad of her death all the same, though I don’t know which of them would have ruined the other, he her or she him,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna concluded; then carefully, with pauses and constant glances at Dunya, who obviously did not like it, she again began to ask questions about the previous day’s scene between Rodya and Luzhin. One could see that this event troubled her most of all, to the point of fear and trembling. Razumikhin went over everything again in detail, but this time also added his own conclusion: he accused Raskolnikov straight out of deliberately insulting Pyotr Petrovich, this time excusing him very little on account of his illness.

“He thought it all up before his illness,” he added.

“I think so, too,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna said, looking crushed. But she was greatly struck that Razumikhin this time spoke so carefully, even as if respectfully, about Pyotr Petrovich. Avdotya Romanovna was also struck by this.

“So this is your opinion of Pyotr Petrovich?” Pulcheria Alexandrovna could not help asking.

“I cannot be of any other opinion regarding your daughter’s future husband,” Razumikhin replied, firmly and ardently, “and I say it not only out of common politeness, but because…because…well, if only because Avdotya Romanovna herself, of her own free will, has deigned to choose this man. And if I abused him so much yesterday, it’s because I was filthy drunk and…mad as well; yes, mad, off my head, out of my mind, completely…and today I’m ashamed of it! … ” He got red in the face and fell silent. Avdotya Romanovna also blushed, but did not break her silence. She had not said a single word from the moment they began talking about Luzhin.

And meanwhile, without her support, Pulcheria Alexandrovna obviously felt hesitant. At last, faltering and glancing continually at her daughter, she declared that one circumstance troubled her greatly at present.

“You see, Dmitri Prokofych . . .” she began. “Shall I be completely frank with Dmitri Prokofych, Dunechka?”

“Of course, mama,” Avdotya Romanovna remarked imposingly.

“This is what it is,” her mother hurried on, as if a mountain had been lifted from her by this permission to voice her grief. “This morning, very early, we received a note from Pyotr Petrovich in reply to yesterday’s message concerning our arrival. You see, he was to have met us yesterday, as he had promised, right at the station. Instead, some lackey was sent to meet us at the station, to give us the address of this rooming house and show us the way, and Pyotr Petrovich told him to tell us he would come to us today, in the morning. Instead of which, today, in the morning, this note came from him…It would be best if you read it yourself; there is a point in it that troubles me very much…You’ll see now what this point is and…tell me your frank opinion, Dmitri Prokofych! You know Rodya’s character best of all and can advise us better than anyone else. I warn you that Dunechka already resolved everything from the first moment, but I, I still do not know how to act and…and have been waiting for you.”

Razumikhin unfolded the note, dated the previous day, and read the following:

Dear Madam, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, I have the honor of informing you that owing to suddenly arisen delays I was unable to meet you on the platform, having sent a rather efficient man for that purpose. I must equally deprive myself of the honor of seeing you tomorrow morning, owing to urgent matters in the Senate, and so as not to intrude upon your family reunion with your son, and Avdotya Romanovna’s with her brother. I shall have the honor of calling upon you and paying my respects to you in your apartment not earlier than tomorrow evening at eight o’clock sharp, and with that I venture to add an earnest and, may I say, insistent request that Rodion Romanovich not be present at this general meeting of ours, inasmuch as he offended me in an unparalleled and discourteous way when I visited him yesterday in his illness, and wishing, moreover, to have a necessary and thorough discussion with you of a certain point, concerning which I should like to know your own interpretation. With that I have the honor of forewarning you beforehand that if, contrary to my request, I do encounter Rodion Romanovich, I shall be obliged to withdraw at once, and in that case you will have only yourself to blame. I write this with the understanding that Rodion Romanovich, who appeared so ill at the time of my visit, suddenly recovered two hours later, and may therefore be able to leave his room and come to you. This was confirmed for me by my own eyes, in the apartment of a certain drunkard, who was crushed by horses and died as a result, and to whose daughter, a girl of notorious behavior, he handed over as much as twenty-five roubles yesterday, on the pretext of a funeral, which surprised me greatly, knowing what trouble you had in gathering this sum. With that, and expressing my particular respect to the esteemed Avdotya Romanovna, I beg you to accept the respectfully devoted feelings of

Your humble servant, P. Luzhin

“What am I to do now, Dmitri Prokofych?” Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to say, almost in tears. “How am I to suggest that Rodya not come? Yesterday he demanded so insistently that we refuse Pyotr Petrovich, and now we’re told not to receive him! But if he finds out, he will come on purpose…and what will happen then?”

“Do as Avdotya Romanovna has decided,” Razumikhin replied calmly and at once.

“Ah, my God! She says…she says God knows what, and she won’t explain her purpose! She says it would be better—not really better, that is, but it’s somehow supposedly necessary—that Rodya also come tonight, on purpose, at eight o’clock, and it’s necessary that they meet… As for me, I didn’t even want to show him the letter; I wanted to arrange it somehow slyly, through you, so that he wouldn’t come…because he’s so irritable…Besides, I don’t understand a thing— who is this drunkard who died, and who is this daughter, and how could he give this daughter all the money he has left…that . . .”

“That cost you so dearly, mama,” Avdotya Romanovna added.

“He was not himself yesterday,” Razumikhin said thoughtfully. “If you knew what sort of things he poured out yesterday in the tavern, though it was all intelligent. . . hm! He was indeed saying something yesterday, as we were going home, about some dead man and some girl, but I didn’t understand a word of it…However, yesterday I myself . . .”

“Best of all, mama, let’s go to him ourselves, and there, I assure you, we’ll see at once what to do. And besides, it’s time—Lord, it’s past ten!” she exclaimed, glancing at her magnificent gold and enamel watch, which hung round her neck on a fine Venetian chain and was terribly out of harmony with the rest of her attire. “A present from the fiancé,” thought Razumikhin.

“Ah, it’s time! … It’s time, Dunechka, it’s time!” Pulcheria Alexandrovna began bustling about in alarm. “He may think we’re angry because of yesterday, since we’re so long in coming. Ah, my God!”

She was busily throwing on her cape and putting on her hat as she spoke; Dunechka also readied herself. Her gloves were not only worn out but even torn, as Razumikhin noticed, and yet the obvious poverty of their dress even lent both ladies an air of some special dignity, as always happens with those who know how to wear poor clothing. Razumikhin looked at Dunechka with awe and was proud to be escorting her. “That queen,” he thought to himself, “who mended her own stockings in prison—of course, she looked like a real queen at that moment, even more so than during the most splendid solemnities and appearances.”[1]

“My God!” exclaimed Pulcheria Alexandrovna, “would I ever have thought I’d be afraid to meet my own son, my dear, dear Rodya, as I am now! … I am afraid, Dmitri Prokofych!” she added, glancing at him timidly.

“Don’t be afraid, mama,” Dunya said, kissing her. “Better to believe in him. I do.”

“Ah, my God! So do I, but I didn’t sleep all night!” the poor woman exclaimed.

They walked out to the street.

“You know, Dunechka, I no sooner fell asleep a little, towards morning, than I suddenly dreamed of the late Marfa Petrovna…all in white…she came up to me and took me by the hand, and she shook her head at me so sternly, so sternly, as if in disapproval. . . Does that bode well? Ah, my God, Dmitri Prokofych, you don’t know yet: Marfa Petrovna died!”

“No, I didn’t know. What Marfa Petrovna?”

“Quite suddenly! And imagine…”

“Later, mama!” Dunya interrupted. “He doesn’t know yet who Marfa Petrovna is!”

“Ah, you don’t know? And I thought you already knew everything. You must forgive me, Dmitri Prokofych, I’m quite addled these days. I really regard you as our Providence, and so I was convinced that you already knew everything. I regard you as one of our family…You won’t be angry with me for saying so. Ah, my God, what’s the matter with your right hand? Did you hurt it?”

“Yes, I hurt it,” murmured the overjoyed Razumikhin.

“I sometimes speak too much from the heart, so that Dunya corrects me…But, my God, what a closet he lives in! Is he awake yet, I wonder? And that woman, his landlady, considers it a room? Listen, you say he doesn’t like to show his heart; do you think perhaps I’ll tire him out with my…weaknesses?…Won’t you teach me, Dmitri Prokofych? How should I be with him? You know, I go about quite like a lost person.”

“Don’t question him too much about anything, if you see him making a wry face; especially avoid asking him too much about his health—he doesn’t like it.”

“Ah, Dmitri Prokofych, how difficult it is to be a mother! But here is the stairway…What an awful stairway!”

“Mama, you’re even pale; calm yourself, my dear,” Dunya said, caressing her. “He must be happy just to see you, and you torment yourself so,” she added, flashing her eyes.

“Wait, I’ll go ahead and find out if he’s awake.”

The ladies slowly followed after Razumikhin, who started up the stairs ahead of them. When they came to the fourth-floor landing, outside the landlady’s door, they noticed that the door was open a tiny crack and that two quick black eyes were examining them both from the darkness. When their eyes met, the door was suddenly slammed shut with such a bang that Pulcheria Alexandrovna almost cried out in fright.

 

[1] Marie Antoinette de Lorraine (1755-93), archduchess of Austria, married to Louis XVI of France, was imprisoned during the French Revolution and then guillotined. Dostoevsky mentions her name in his notes for C&P.

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