Part Five. V

Lebezyatnikov looked alarmed. “I must see you, Sofya Semyonovna. Excuse me…I thought I’d find you here,” he turned suddenly to Raskolnikov, “that is, I thought nothing…of the sort… but I precisely thought… Katerina Ivanovna has gone out of her mind there at our place,” he suddenly said abruptly to Sonya, abandoning Raskolnikov.

Sonya gave a cry.

“That is, it seems so anyway. However…We don’t know what to do, that’s the thing! She came back…it seems she was thrown out of somewhere, maybe beaten as well… it seems so at least… She ran to see Semyon Zakharych’s superior but didn’t find him at home; he was out having dinner at some other general’s…Imagine, she flew over to where this dinner was…to this other general’s, and imagine—she really insisted, she called Semyon Zakharych’s superior out and, it seems, away from the table at that. You can imagine what came of it. Naturally, she was chased away; and, according to her, she swore and threw something at him. Which is quite likely… How it happened that she wasn’t arrested is beyond me! Now she’s telling everyone about it, including Amalia Ivanovna, only it’s hard to understand her, she’s shouting and thrashing about… Ah, yes: she’s saying and shouting that since everyone has abandoned her now, she’ll take the children and go into the street with a barrel-organ, and the children will sing and dance, and so will she, and collect money, and stand every day under the general’s window…’Let them see,’ she says, ‘how the noble children of a civil servant are going about begging in the streets!’ She beats all the children, and they cry. She’s teaching Lenya to sing ‘The Little Farm,’ and the boy to dance, and Polina Mikhailovna as well; she’s tearing up all the clothes, making them some sort of little hats like actors; and she herself is going to carry a basin and bang on it for music…She won’t listen to anything…Imagine, you see? It’s simply impossible.”

Lebezyatnikov would have gone on longer, but Sonya, who had been listening to him almost without breathing, suddenly snatched her cape and hat and ran out of the room, putting them on as she ran. Raskolnikov went out after her, and Lebezyatnikov after him.

“She’s certainly gone mad!” he said to Raskolnikov, as they came out to the street. “I just didn’t want to frighten Sofya Semyonovna, so I said ‘it seems,’ but there isn’t any doubt. It’s those little knobs they say come out on the brain in consumption; too bad I don’t know any medicine. By the way, I tried to convince her, but she won’t listen to anything.”

“You told her about the little knobs?”

“I mean, not exactly about the little knobs. Besides, she wouldn’t have understood anything. But what I say is this: if one convinces a person logically that he essentially has nothing to cry about, he’ll stop crying. That’s clear. Or are you convinced that he won’t?”

“Life would be too easy that way,” Raskolnikov replied.

“I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon, of course it’s quite hard for Katerina Ivanovna to understand, but do you know that in Paris serious experiments have already been performed with regard to the possibility of curing mad people by working through logical conviction alone? A professor there, who died recently, a serious scientist, fancied that such treatment should be possible. His basic idea is that there’s no specific disorder in a mad person’s organism, but that madness is, so to speak, a logical error, an error of judgment, a mistaken view of things. He would gradually prove his patient wrong, and imagine, they say he achieved results! But since he used showers at the same time, the results of the treatment are, of course, subject to doubt…Or so it seems.”

Raskolnikov had long since stopped listening. Having reached his house, he nodded to Lebezyatnikov and turned in at the gateway. Lebezyatnikov came to his senses, looked around, and ran on.

Raskolnikov walked into his closet and stood in the middle of it. Why had he come back here? He looked around at the shabby, yellowish wallpaper, the dust, his sofa…Some sharp, incessant rapping was coming from the courtyard, as if something, some nail, was being hammered in somewhere…He went to the window, stood on tiptoe, and for a long time, with an extremely attentive look, peered down into the courtyard. But the courtyard was empty; whoever was doing the rapping could not be seen. In the wing to the left, open windows could be seen here and there; pots with scrawny geraniums. Laundry was hanging outside the windows…He knew it all by heart. He turned away and sat down on the sofa.

Never, never before had he felt himself so terribly lonely!

Yes, he felt once again that he might indeed come to hate Sonya, and precisely now, when he had made her more miserable. Why had he gone to her to beg for her tears? Why was it so necessary for him to eat up her life? Oh, meanness!

“I’ll stay alone!” he suddenly said resolutely. “And she won’t come to the jail!”

After about five minutes, he raised his head and smiled strangely. The thought was a strange one: “Perhaps hard labor would indeed be better,” it had suddenly occurred to him.

He did not remember how long he had been sitting in his room with vague thoughts crowding in his head. Suddenly the door opened and Avdotya Romanovna came in. She stopped first and looked at him from the threshold, as he had done earlier at Sonya’s; then she went and sat down on a chair facing him, in the same place as yesterday. He looked at her silently and somehow unthinkingly.

“Don’t be angry, brother, I’ve come only for a moment,” said Dunya. The expression of her face was thoughtful but not stern. Her eyes were clear and gentle. He could see that this one, too, had come to him with love.

“Brother, I know everything now, everything. Dmitri Prokofych has explained and told me everything. You are being persecuted and tormented because of a stupid and odious suspicion…Dmitri Prokofych told me that there isn’t any danger and that you needn’t take it with such horror. I disagree. I fully understand all the resentment you must feel, and that this indignation may leave its mark forever. That is what I am afraid of. I do not judge and have no right to judge you for abandoning us, and forgive me if I reproached you before. I feel in myself that if I had such a great grief, I, too, would leave everyone. I won’t tell mother about this, but I’ll talk about you constantly, and I’ll tell her, on your behalf, that you will come very soon. Don’t suffer over her; I will set her at ease; but don’t make her suffer either—come at least once; remember she’s your mother! I’ve come now only to say” (Dunya began to get up) “that in case you should need me for something, or should need… my whole life, or…call me, and I’ll come. Good-bye!”

She turned sharply and walked to the door.

“Dunya!” Raskolnikov stopped her, got up, and went to her. “This Razumikhin, Dmitri Prokofych, is a very good man.”

Dunya blushed a little.

“Well?” she asked, after waiting a moment.

“He is a practical man, hard-working, honest, and capable of deep love…Good-bye, Dunya.”

Dunya flushed all over, and then suddenly became alarmed.

“What is it, brother, are we really parting forever, since you’re making me…such bequests?”

“Never mind…good-bye . . .”

He turned and walked away from her to the window. She stood, looked at him uneasily, and left in alarm.

No, he was not cold towards her. There had been a moment (the very last) when he had wanted terribly to embrace her tightly, to make it a real farewell, and even to tell her, but he had not even dared to give her his hand.

“She might shudder later when she remembered that I embraced her now; she might say I stole her kiss!

“And will this one endure, or will she not?” he added to himself, after a few minutes. “No, she will not; her kind cannot endure! Her kind can never endure…”

And he thought of Sonya.

There came a breath of fresh air from the window. The light outside was no longer shining so brightly. He suddenly took his cap and went out.

Of course, he could not and did not want to concern himself with his ill condition. But all this ceaseless anxiety and all this horror of the soul could not go without consequences. And if he was not yet lying in real delirium, it was perhaps precisely because this ceaseless inner anxiety still kept him on his feet and conscious, but somehow artificially, for a time.

He wandered aimlessly. The sun was going down. Some particular anguish had begun telling in him lately. There was nothing particularly acute or burning in it; but there came from it a breath of something permanent, eternal, a presentiment of unending years of this cold, deadening anguish, a presentiment of some eternity on “a square foot of space.” This feeling usually began to torment him even more strongly in the evening hours.

“Try keeping yourself from doing something stupid, with these stupid, purely physical ailments that depend only on some sunset! One could wind up going not just to Sonya, but to Dunya!” he muttered hatefully.

Someone called out to him. He turned around. Lebezyatnikov rushed up to him.

“Imagine, I was just at your place, I’ve been looking for you. Imagine, she carried out her intention and took the children away! Sofya Semyonovna and I had a hard time finding them. She’s banging on a frying pan, making the children sing and dance. The children are crying. They stand at intersections and outside of shops. Foolish people are running after them. Come on!”

“And Sonya?…” Raskolnikov asked in alarm, hurrying after Lebezyatnikov.

“Simply in a frenzy. That is, Sofya Semyonovna’s not in a frenzy, but Katerina Ivanovna is; however, Sofya Semyonovna’s in a frenzy, too. And Katerina Ivanovna is in a complete frenzy. She’s gone finally crazy, I tell you. They’ll be taken to the police. You can imagine what effect that will have…They’re at the canal now, near the——sky Bridge, not far from Sofya Semyonovna’s. Nearby.”

At the canal, not very far from the bridge, two houses away from where Sonya lived, a small crowd of people had gathered. Boys and girls especially came running. The hoarse, strained voice of Katerina Ivanovna could already be heard from the bridge. And indeed it was a strange spectacle, capable of attracting the interest of the street public. Katerina Ivanovna, in her old dress, the flannel shawl, and a battered straw hat shoved to one side in an ugly lump, was indeed in a real frenzy. She was tired and short of breath. Her worn-out, consumptive face showed more suffering than ever (besides, a consumptive always looks more sick and disfigured outside, in the sun, than at home), but her agitated state would not leave her, and she was becoming more irritated every moment. She kept rushing to the children, yelling at them, coaxing them, teaching them right there, in front of people, how to dance and what to sing; she would start explaining to them why it was necessary, despair over their slow-wittedness, beat them…Then, before she had finished, she would rush to the public; if she noticed an even slightly well-dressed person stopping to look, she would immediately start explaining to him that this was what the children “of a noble, one might even say aristocratic, house” had been driven to. If she heard laughter or some taunting little remark from the crowd, she would immediately fall upon the impudent ones and start squabbling with them. Some, indeed, were laughing; others were shaking their heads; in general, everyone was curious to see the crazy woman with her frightened children. The frying pan Lebezyatnikov had spoken of was not there; at least Raskolnikov did not see it; but instead of banging on a frying pan, Katerina Ivanovna would begin clapping out the rhythm with her dry palms, making Polechka sing and Lenya and Kolya dance, even beginning to sing along herself, but breaking off each time at the second note with a racking cough, at which she would again fall into despair, curse her cough, and even weep. Most of all it was the frightened tears of Kolya and Lenya that drove her to distraction. There had indeed been an attempt to dress the children up in street-singers’ costumes. The boy was wearing a turban of some red and white material, to represent a Turk. No costume could be found for Lenya; all she had was a red knitted worsted hat (or rather nightcap) from the late Semyon Zakharych, with a broken ostrich feather stuck in it that once belonged to Katerina Ivanovna’s grandmother and had been kept until now in the trunk as a family curio. Polechka was wearing her usual little dress. Timid and lost, she watched her mother, would not leave her side, hiding her tears, guessing at her mother’s madness, and looking around uneasily. The street and the crowd frightened her terribly. Sonya doggedly followed Katerina Ivanovna, weeping and begging her all the while to go back home. But Katerina Ivanovna was implacable.

“Stop, Sonya, stop!” she shouted in a hurried patter, choking and coughing. “You don’t know what you’re asking, you’re like a child! I’ve already told you I won’t go back to that drunken German woman. Let them all, let all of Petersburg see how a gentleman’s children go begging, though their father served faithfully and honestly all his life and, one might say, died in service.” (Katerina Ivanovna had already managed to create this fantasy and believe in it blindly.) “Let him see, let that worthless runt of a general see. And how stupid you are, Sonya: what are we going to eat now, tell me? We’ve preyed upon you enough, I don’t want any more of it! Ah, Rodion Romanych, it’s you!” she exclaimed, noticing Raskolnikov and rushing to him. “Please explain to this little fool that this is the smartest thing we could do! Even organ-grinders make a living, and we’ll be picked out at once, people will see that we’re a poor, noble family of orphans, driven into abject poverty, and that runt of a general—he’ll lose his position, you’ll see! We’ll stand under his windows every day, and when the sovereign drives by I’ll kneel, push them all forward, and point to them: ‘Protect us, father!’ He’s the father of all orphans, he’s merciful, he’ll protect us, you’ll see, and that runt of a general, he’ll…Lenya! Tenez-vous droite! [1] You, Kolya, are going to dance again now. Why are you whimpering? He’s whimpering again! What, what are you afraid of now, you little fool! Lord! What am I to do with them, Rodion Romanych! If you knew how muddleheaded they are! What can one do with the likes of them! … ”

And, almost weeping herself (which did not hinder her constant, incessant pattering), she pointed to the whimpering children. Raskolnikov tried to persuade her to go back, and even said, hoping to touch her vanity, that it was not proper for her to walk the streets as organ-grinders do, since she was preparing to be the directress of an institute for noble girls . . .

“An institute, ha, ha, ha! Castles in Spain!” cried Katerina Ivanovna, her laughter followed immediately by a fit of coughing. “No, Rodion Romanych, the dream is over! Everyone’s abandoned us! And that runt of a general. . . You know, Rodion Romanych, I flung an inkpot at him—it just happened to be standing there, in the anteroom, on the table next to the visitors’ book, so I signed my name, flung it at him, and ran away. Oh, vile, vile men! But spit on them; I’ll feed mine myself now, I won’t bow to anybody! We’ve tormented her enough.” (She pointed to Sonya.) “Polechka, how much have we collected, show me! What? Just two kopecks? Oh, the villains! They don’t give anything, they just run after us with their tongues hanging out! Now, what’s that blockhead laughing at?” (She pointed to a man in the crowd.) “It’s all because Kolka here is so slow-witted; he’s a nuisance! What do you want, Polechka? Speak French to me, parlez-moi français. I’ve been teaching you, you know several phrases! … Otherwise how can they tell you’re educated children, from a noble family, and not at all like the rest of the organ-grinders; we’re not putting on some ‘Petrushka’ in the street,[2] we’ll sing them a proper romance…Ah, yes! What are we going to sing? You keep interrupting me, and we…you see, Rodion Romanych, we stopped here to choose what to sing—something Kolya can also dance to… because, can you imagine, we haven’t prepared anything; we must decide and rehearse it all perfectly, then we’ll go to the Nevsky Prospect, where there are many more people of high society, and we’ll be noticed at once: Lenya knows ‘The Little Farm’…Only it’s always ‘The Little Farm,’ the same ‘Little Farm,’ everybody sings it! We ought to sing something much more noble…Well, what have you come up with, Polya, you could at least help your mother! Memory, my memory’s gone, or I’d have remembered something! We can’t sing ‘A Hussar Leaning on His Sabre,’ really! Ah, let’s sing ‘Cinq sous’ in French. I taught it to you, I know I did. And the main thing is that it’s in French, so people will see at once that you’re a nobleman’s children, and it will be much more moving… Or why not even ‘Malborough s’en va-t-en guerre,[3] because it’s a perfect children’s song and they use it as a lullaby in aristocratic houses. ‘Malborougb s’en va-t-en guerre, Ne sait quand reviendra… ‘“ She began singing… “But no, better ‘Cinq sous’! Now, Kolya, put your hands on your hips, quickly, and you, Lenya, turn around, too, the opposite way, and Polechka and I will sing and clap along! ‘Cinq sous, cinq sous, Pour monter notre ménage …’[4] Hem, hem, hem!” (And she went off into a fit of coughing.) “Straighten your dress, Polechka, the shoulders are slipping down,” she remarked through her coughing, gasping for breath. “You must behave especially properly and on a fine footing now, so that everyone can see you’re noble children. I said then that the bodice ought to be cut longer and made from two lengths. It’s all you and your advice, Sonya: ‘Shorter, shorter’—and as a result the child’s completely disfigured…Ah, what’s all this crying, stupid children! Well, Kolya, start, quickly, quickly, quickly—oh, what an unbearable child! . . . ‘Cinq sous, cinq sous . . .’ Another soldier! Well, what do you want?”

Indeed, a policeman was forcing his way through the crowd. But at the same time a gentleman in a uniform and greatcoat, an imposing official of about fifty with an order around his neck (this last fact rather pleased Katerina Ivanovna, and was not without effect on the policeman), approached and silently gave Katerina Ivanovna a green three-rouble bill. His face expressed genuine compassion. Katerina Ivanovna accepted and bowed to him politely, even ceremoniously.

“I thank you, my dear sir,” she began haughtily. “The reasons that have prompted us… take the money, Polechka. You see, there do exist noble and magnanimous people, who are ready at once to help a poor gentlewoman in misfortune. You see before you, my dear sir, the orphans of a noble family, with, one might even say, the most aristocratic connections…And that runt of a general was sitting there eating grouse…he stamped his foot at me for bothering him…’Your Excellency,’ I said, ‘protect the orphans, seeing that you knew the late Semyon Zakharych so well,’ I said, ‘and his own daughter was slandered on the day of his death by the worst of all scoundrels . . .’ That soldier again! Protect me!” she cried to the official. “Why won’t that soldier leave me alone! We already ran away from one on Meshchanskaya…what business is it of yours, fool!”

“Because it’s prohibited in the streets. Kindly stop this outrage.”

“You’re the outrageous one! It’s the same as going around with a barrel-organ. What business is it of yours?”

“Concerning a barrel-organ, a permit is required for that; and with yourself and your behavior, you’re stirring people up, madam. Kindly tell me where you live.”

“What! A permit!” Katerina Ivanovna yelled. “I buried my husband today, what’s this about a permit!”

“Madam, madam, calm yourself,” the official tried to begin, “come, I’ll take you…It’s improper here, in the crowd, you are not well . . .”

“My dear sir, my dear sir, you know nothing!” Katerina Ivanovna shouted. “We’ll go to the Nevsky Prospect—Sonya, Sonya! Where is she? She’s crying, too! What’s the matter with you all! … Kolya, Lenya, where are you going?” she suddenly cried out in fear. “Oh, stupid children! Kolya, Lenya, but where are they going! . . .”

It so happened that Kolya and Lenya, utterly frightened by the street crowd and the antics of their mad mother, and seeing, finally, a policeman who wanted to take them and lead them off somewhere, suddenly, as if by agreement, seized each other by the hand and broke into a run. Shouting and weeping, poor Katerina Ivanovna rushed after them. It was grotesque and pitiful to see her running, weeping, choking. Sonya and Polechka rushed after her.

“Bring them back, bring them back, Sonya! Oh, stupid, ungrateful children! … Polya! Catch them…It’s for your sake that I . . .”

She stumbled in mid-run and fell.

“She’s hurt! She’s bleeding! Oh, Lord!” Sonya cried out, bending over her.

Everyone came running, everyone crowded around. Raskolnikov and Lebezyatnikov were among the first to reach her; the official also came quickly, and after him came the policeman as well, having groaned, “Oh, no!” and waved his hand, anticipating that the matter was going to take a troublesome turn.

“Move on! Move on!” he drove away the people who were crowding around.

“She’s dying!” someone cried.

“She’s lost her mind!” said another.

“God forbid!” one woman said, crossing herself. “Did they catch the lad and the girl? Here they are, the older girl caught them…Little loonies!”

But when they looked closely at Katerina Ivanovna, they saw that she had not injured herself against the stone at all, as Sonya thought, but that the blood staining the pavement was flowing through her mouth from her chest.

“This I know, I’ve seen it before,” the official murmured to Raskolnikov and Lebezyatnikov. “It’s consumption, sir; the blood flows out like that and chokes them. I witnessed it just recently with a relation of mine; about a glass and a half…all at once, sir…Anyway, what can we do; she’s dying.”

“Here, here, to my place!” Sonya begged. “I live right here! … This house, the second one down…To my place, quickly, quickly! . . .” She was rushing from one person to another. “Send for a doctor…Oh, Lord!”

Through the efforts of the official the matter was settled; the policeman even helped to transport Katerina Ivanovna. She was brought to Sonya’s room in an almost dead faint and laid on the bed. The bleeding continued, but she seemed to begin to come to her senses. Along with Sonya, Raskolnikov, and Lebezyatnikov, the official and the policeman also entered the room, the latter after dispersing the crowd, some of whom had accompanied them right to the door. Polechka brought Kolya and Lenya in, holding them by their hands; they were trembling and crying. The Kapernaumovs also came from their room: the man himself, lame and one-eyed, of odd appearance, his bristling hair and side-whiskers standing on end; his wife, who somehow looked forever frightened; and several children, with faces frozen in permanent surprise and open mouths. Amidst all this public, Svidrigailov also suddenly appeared. Raskolnikov looked at him in surprise, not understanding where he had come from and not remembering having seen him in the crowd.

There was talk of a doctor and a priest. The official, though he whispered to Raskolnikov that a doctor now seemed superfluous, still ordered one to be sent for. Kapernaumov ran himself.

Meanwhile Katerina Ivanovna recovered her breath, and the bleeding stopped for a while. She looked with pained but intent and penetrating eyes at the pale and trembling Sonya, who was wiping the drops of sweat from her forehead with a handkerchief; finally, she asked to sit up. With help, she sat up on the bed, supported on both sides.

“Where are the children?” she asked, in a weak voice. “Did you bring them, Polya? Oh, you stupid ones! … Why did you run away…ahh!”

Her withered lips were still all bloody. She moved her eyes, looking around.

“So this is how you live, Sonya! I’ve never even been here…now is my chance…”

She looked at her with suffering.

“We’ve sucked you dry, Sonya…Polya, Lenya, Kolya, come here…Well, Sonya, here they all are, take them…I’m handing them over to you…I’ve had enough! … The ball is over! Gh-a! … Lay me back; at least let me die in peace . . .”

They laid her back again on the pillow.

“What? A priest?…No need…Where’s your spare rouble?…There are no sins on me! … God should forgive me anyway…He knows how I’ve suffered! … And if He doesn’t, He doesn’t! . . .”

A restless delirium was taking hold of her more and more. From time to time she gave a start, moved her eyes around, recognized everyone for a moment, but her consciousness would immediately give way to delirium again. Her breathing was hoarse and labored, and it was as if something were gurgling in her throat.

“I said to him, ‘Your Excellency! . . .’ “ she exclaimed, drawing a breath after each word, “ ‘this Amalia Ludwigovna’…ah! Lenya, Kolya! Hands on your hips, quickly, quickly, glissez, glissez, pas de Basque! [5] Tap your feet…Be a graceful child.

‘Du hast Diamanten und Perlen ‘. . .

How does it go? I wish we could sing . . .

‘Du hast die schonsten Augen, Madchen, was willst du mehr?’[6]

Well, really, I must say! Was willst du mehr —what’s he thinking of, the blockhead! … Ah, yes, here’s another:

‘In the noonday heat, in a vale of Daghestan’ . . .[7]

Ah, how I loved…I loved that song to the point of adoration, Polechka! … You know, your father…used to sing it when he was still my fiancé…Oh, those days! … If only, if only we could sing it! How, how does it go now…I’ve forgotten…remind me how it goes!” She was extremely agitated and was making an effort to raise herself. Finally, in a terrible, hoarse, straining voice, she began to sing, crying out and choking at every word, with a look of some mounting fear:

“‘In the noonday heat! … in a vale! … of Daghestan! … With a bullet in my breast!’ . . .

Your Excellency!” she suddenly screamed in a rending scream, dissolving in tears. “Protect the orphans! Having known the bread and salt of the late Semyon Zakharych! … One might even say, aristocratic! … Gh-a!” She gave a sudden start, came to herself, and looked around in some sort of horror, but immediately recognized Sonya. “Sonya, Sonya!” she said meekly and tenderly, as if surprised to see her there in front of her. “Sonya, dear, you’re here, too?”

They raised her up again.

“Enough! … It’s time! … Farewell, hapless girl! … The nag’s been overdriven! … Too much stra-a-ain!” she cried desperately and hatefully, and her head fell back on the pillow.

She became oblivious again, but this last oblivion did not continue long. Her pale yellow, withered face turned up, her mouth opened, her legs straightened convulsively. She drew a very deep breath and died.

Sonya fell on her corpse, put her arms around her, and lay motionless, her head resting on the deceased woman’s withered breast. Polechka fell down at her mother’s feet and kissed them, sobbing. Kolya and Lenya, not yet understanding what had happened, but sensing something very awful, seized each other’s shoulders and, staring into each other’s eyes, suddenly, together, at the same time, opened their mouths and began howling. They were both still in their costumes: he in the turban, she in the nightcap with an ostrich feather.

And how had that “certificate of merit” suddenly turned up on the bed, near Katerina Ivanovna? It was lying right there by the pillow; Raskolnikov saw it.

He walked over to the window. Lebezyatnikov ran up to him.

“She’s dead!” Lebezyatnikov said.

“Rodion Romanovich, I have a couple of necessary words for you,” Svidrigailov approached. Lebezyatnikov yielded his place at once and delicately effaced himself. Svidrigailov drew the surprised Raskolnikov still further into the corner.

“All this bother—that is, the funeral and the rest of it—I will take upon myself. It’s a matter of money, you know, and, as I told you, I have some to spare. I’ll place these two younglings and Polechka in some orphanage, of the better sort, and settle fifteen hundred roubles on each of them, for their coming of age, so that Sofya Semyonovna can be completely at ease. And I’ll get her out of the quagmire, because she’s a nice girl, isn’t she? So, sir, you can tell Avdotya Romanovna that that is how I used her ten thousand.”

“What’s the purpose of all this philanthropizing?” asked Raskolnikov.

“Ehh! Such a mistrustful man!” laughed Svidrigailov. “I did tell you I had this money to spare. Well, and simply, humanly speaking, can you not allow it? She wasn’t some sort of ‘louse,’ was she” (he jabbed his finger towards the corner where the deceased woman lay), “like some little old money-lender? Well, you’ll agree, well, ‘is it, indeed, for Luzhin to live and commit abominations, or for her to die?’ And if it weren’t for my help, then ‘Polechka, for example, will go there, too, the same way . . .’”

He said this with the look of some winking, merry slyness, not taking his eyes off Raskolnikov. Raskolnikov turned pale and cold, hearing the very phrases he had spoken to Sonya. He quickly recoiled and looked wildly at Svidrigailov.

“How d-do you…know?” he whispered, scarcely breathing.

“But I’m staying here, just the other side of the wall, at Madame Resslich’s. Kapernaumov is here, and there—Madame Resslich, an ancient and most faithful friend. I’m a neighbor, sir.”


“Me,” Svidrigailov went on, heaving with laughter. “And I assure you on my honor, dearest Rodion Romanovich, that you have got me extremely interested. I told you we’d become close, I predicted it— well, and so we have. You’ll see what a congenial man I am. You’ll see that one can get along with me after all . . .”


[1] “Stand up straight!” (French).

[2] Petrushka is a Russian clown; shows involving his antics were put on at fairs and in the streets.

[3] “A Hussar Leaning on His Sabre” is a well-known song, with words by the poet Konstantin Batyushkov (1787-1855). “Cinq sous” (“Five pennies”) is a French popular song. “Malborough s’en va-t-en guerre” (“Malborough’s going to war”) is a widely known French song about John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), who led the English forces in the War of the Spanish Succession in the Low Countries. The Duke’s name is variously misspelled in French transcriptions as “Malbrough,” “Malbrouk,” or “Malborough,” as Dostoevsky has it here.

[4] “Malborough’s going to war / Doesn’t know when he’ll come back . . .” “Five pennies, live pennies / To set up our household . . .”

[5] French dance terms: “slide, slide, the Basque step.”

[6] Lines from the poem “Back in My Native Land” from the Book of Songs, by the German poet Heinrich Heine (1707-1856), set to music by Franz Schubert: “You have diamonds and pearls … / You have the most beautiful eyes, / Maiden, what more do you want?”

[7] A setting of the poem “The Dream” by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41).


Обращение к пользователям