Suddenly he stopped; a new utterly unexpected and exceedingly simple question
perplexed and bitterly confounded him.
"If it all has really been done deliberately and not idiotically, if I really
had a certain and definite object, how is it I did not even glance into the purse
and don't know what I had there, for which I have undergone these agonies, and have
deliberately undertaken this base, filthy degrading business? And here I wanted
at once to throw into the water the purse together with all the things which I had
not seen either… how's that?"
Yes, that was so, that was all so. Yet he had known it all before, and it was
not a new question for him, even when it was decided in the night without hesitation
and consideration, as though so it must be, as though it could not possibly be otherwise….
Yes, he had known it all, and understood it all; it surely had all been settled
even yesterday at the moment when he was bending over the box and pulling the jewel-cases
out of it…. Yes, so it was.
"It is because I am very ill," he decided grimly at last, "I have been worrying
and fretting myself, and I don't know what I am doing…. Yesterday and the day before
yesterday and all this time I have been worrying myself…. I shall get well and I
shall not worry…. But what if I don't get well at all? Good God, how sick I am of
He walked on without resting. He had a terrible longing for some distraction,
but he did not know what to do, what to attempt. A new overwhelming sensation was
gaining more and more mastery over him every moment; this was an immeasurable, almost
physical, repulsion for everything surrounding him, an obstinate, malignant feeling
of hatred. All who met him were loathsome to him– he loathed their faces, their
movements, their gestures. If any one had addressed him, he felt that he might have
spat at him or bitten him….
He stopped suddenly, on coming out on the bank of the Little Neva, near the bridge
to Vassilyevsky Ostrov. "Why, he lives here, in that house," he thought, "why, I
have not come to Razumihin of my own accord! Here it's the same thing over again….
Very interesting to know, though; have I come on purpose or have I simply walked
here by chance? Never mind, I said the day before yesterday that I would go and
see him the day after; well, and so I will! Besides I really cannot go further now."
He went up to Razumihin's room on the fifth floor.
The latter was at home in his garret, busily writing at the moment, and he opened
the door himself. It was four months since they had seen each other. Razumihin was
sitting in a ragged dressing-gown, with slippers on his bare feet, unkempt, unshaven
and unwashed. His face showed surprise.
"Is it you?" he cried. He looked his comrade up and down; then after a brief
pause, he whistled. "As hard up as all that! Why, brother, you've cut me out!" he
added, looking at Raskolnikov's rags. "Come sit down, you are tired, I'll be bound."
And when he had sunk down on the American leather sofa, which was in even worse
condition than his own, Razumihin saw at once that his visitor was ill.
"Why, you are seriously ill, do you know that?" He began feeling his pulse. Raskolnikov
pulled away his hand.
"Never mind," he said, "I have come for this; I have no lessons…. I wanted… but
I don't want lessons…."
"But I say! You are delirious, you know!" Razumihin observed, watching him carefully.
"No, I am not."
Raskolnikov got up from the sofa. As he had mounted the stairs to Razumihin's,
he had not realised that he would be meeting his friend face to face. Now, in a
flash, he knew, that what he was least of all disposed for at that moment was to
be face to face with any one in the wide world. His spleen rose within him. He almost
choked with rage at himself as soon as he crossed Razumihin's threshold.
"Good-bye," he said abruptly, and walked to the door.
"Stop, stop! You queer fish."
"I don't want to," said the other, again pulling away his hand.
"Then why the devil have you come? Are you mad, or what? Why, this is… almost
insulting! I won't let you go like that."
"Well, then, I came to you because I know no one but you who could help… to begin…
because you are kinder than any one– clever, I mean, and can judge… and now I see
that I want nothing. Do you hear? Nothing at all… no one's services… no one's sympathy.
I am by myself… alone. Come, that's enough. Leave me alone."
"Stay a minute, you sweep! You are a perfect madman. As you like for all I care.
I have no lessons, do you see, and I don't care about that, but there's a bookseller,
Heruvimov– and he takes the place of a lesson. I would not exchange him for five
lessons. He's doing publishing of a kind, and issuing natural science manuals and
what a circulation they have! The very titles are worth the money! You always maintained
that I was a fool, but by Jove, my boy, there are greater fools than I am! Now he
is setting up for being advanced, not that he has an inkling of anything, but, of
course, I encourage him. Here are two signatures of the German text– in my opinion,
the crudest charlatanism; it discusses the question, 'Is woman a human being?' And,
of course, triumphantly proves that she is. Heruvimov is going to bring out this
work as a contribution to the woman question; I am translating it; he will expand
these two and a half signatures into six, we shall make up a gorgeous title half
a page long and bring it out at half a rouble. It will do! He pays me six roubles
the signature, it works out to fifteen roubles for the job, and I've had six already
in advance. When we have finished this, we are going to begin a translation about
whales, and then some of the dullest scandals out of the second part of Les Confessions
we have marked for translation; somebody has told Heruvimov, that Rousseau was a
kind of Radishchev. You may be sure I don't contradict him, hang him! Well, would
you like to do the second signature of 'Is woman a human being?' If you would, take
the German and pens and paper– all those are provided, and take three roubles; for
as I have had six roubles in advance on the whole thing, three roubles come to you
for your share. And when you have finished the signature there will be another three
roubles for you. And please don't think I am doing you a service; quite the contrary,
as soon as you came in, I saw how you could help me; to begin with, I am weak in
spelling, and secondly, I am sometimes utterly adrift in German, so that I make
it up as I go along for the most part. The only comfort is, that it's bound to be
a change for the better. Though who can tell, maybe it's sometimes for the worse.
Will you take it?"
Raskolnikov took the German sheets in silence, took the three roubles and without
a word went out. Razumihin gazed after him in astonishment. But when Raskolnikov
was in the next street, he turned back, mounted the stairs to Razumihin's again
and laying on the table the German article and the three roubles, went out again,
still without uttering a word.
"Are you raving, or what?" Razumihin shouted, roused to fury at last. "What farce
is this? You'll drive me crazy too… what did you come to see me for, damn you?"
"I don't want… translation," muttered Raskolnikov from the stairs.
"Then what the devil do you want?" shouted Razumihin from above. Raskolnikov
continued descending the staircase in silence.
"Hey, there! Where are you living?"
"Well, confound you then!"
But Raskolnikov was already stepping into the street. On the Nikolaevsky Bridge
he was roused to full consciousness again by an unpleasant incident. A coachman,
after shouting at him two or three times, gave him a violent lash on the back with
his whip, for having almost fallen under his horses' hoofs. The lash so infuriated
him that he dashed away to the railing (for some unknown reason he had been walking
in the very middle of the bridge in the traffic). He angrily clenched and ground
his teeth. He heard laughter, of course.
"Serves him right!"
"A pickpocket I dare say."
"Pretending to be drunk, for sure, and getting under the wheels on purpose; and
you have to answer for him."
"It's a regular profession, that's what it is."
But while he stood at the railing, still looking angry and bewildered after the
retreating carriage, and rubbing his back, he suddenly felt some one thrust money
into his hand. He looked. It was an elderly woman in a kerchief and goatskin shoes,
with a girl, probably her daughter, wearing a hat, and carrying a green parasol.
"Take it, my good man, in Christ's name."
He took it and they passed on. It was a piece of twenty copecks. From his dress
and appearance they might well have taken him for a beggar asking alms in the streets,
and the gift of the twenty copecks he doubtless owed to the blow, which made them
feel sorry for him.
He closed his hand on the twenty copecks, walked on for ten paces, and turned
facing the Neva, looking towards the palace. The sky was without a cloud and the
water was almost bright blue, which is so rare in the Neva. The cupola of the cathedral,
which is seen at its best from the bridge about twenty paces from the chapel, glittered
in the sunlight, and in the pure air every ornament on it could be clearly distinguished.
The pain from the lash went off, and Raskolnikov forgot about it; one uneasy and
not quite definite idea occupied him now completely. He stood still, and gazed long
and intently into the distance; this spot was especially familiar to him. When he
was attending the university, he had hundreds of times– generally on his way home–
stood still on this spot, gazed at this truly magnificent spectacle and almost always
marvelled at a vague and mysterious emotion it roused in him. It left him strangely
cold; this gorgeous picture was for him blank and lifeless. He wondered every time
at his sombre and enigmatic impression and, mistrusting himself, put off finding
the explanation of it. He vividly recalled those old doubts and perplexities, and
it seemed to him that it was no mere chance that he recalled them now. It struck
him as strange and grotesque, that he should have stopped at the same spot as before,
as though he actually imagined he could think the same thoughts, be interested in
the same theories and pictures that had interested him… so short a time ago. He
felt it almost amusing, and yet it wrung his heart. Deep down, hidden far away out
of sight all that seemed to him now– all his old past, his old thoughts, his old
problems and theories, his old impressions and that picture and himself and all,
all…. He felt as though he were flying upwards, and everything were vanishing from
his sight. Making an unconscious movement with his hand, he suddenly became aware
of the piece of money in his fist. He opened his hand, stared at the coin, and with
a sweep his arm flung it into the water; then he turned and went home. It seemed
to him, he had cut himself off from every one and from everything that moment.
Evening was coming on when he reached home, so that he must have been walking
about six hours. How and where he came back he did not remember. Undressing, and
quivering like an overdriven horse, he lay down on the sofa, drew his greatcoat
over him, and at once sank into oblivion….
It was dusk when he was waked up by a fearful scream. Good God, what a scream!
Such unnatural sounds, such howling, wailing, grinding, tears, blows and curses
he had never heard.
He could never have imagined such brutality, such frenzy. In terror he sat up
in bed, almost swooning with agony. But the fighting, wailing and cursing grew louder
and louder. And then to his intense amazement he caught the voice of his landlady.
She was howling, shrieking and wailing, rapidly, hurriedly, incoherently, so that
he could not make out what she was talking about; she was beseeching, no doubt,
not to be beaten, for she was being mercilessly beaten on the stairs. The voice
of her assailant was so horrible from spite and rage that it was almost a croak;
but he, too, was saying something, and just as quickly and indistinctly, hurrying
and spluttering. All at once Raskolnikov trembled; he recognized the voice– it was
the voice of Ilya Petrovitch. Ilya Petrovitch here and beating the landlady! He
is kicking her, banging her head against the steps– that's clear, that can be told
from the sounds, from the cries and the thuds. How is it, is the world topsy-turvy?
He could hear people running in crowds from all the storeys and all the staircases;
he heard voices, exclamations, knocking, doors banging. "But why, why, and how could
it be?" he repeated, thinking seriously that he had gone mad. But no, he heard too
distinctly! And they would come to him then next, "for no doubt… it's all about
that… about yesterday…. Good God!" He would have fastened his door with the latch,
but he could not lift his hand… besides, it would be useless. Terror gripped his
heart like ice, tortured him and numbed him…. But at last all this uproar, after
continuing about ten minutes, began gradually to subside. The landlady was moaning
and groaning; Ilya Petrovitch was still uttering threats and curses…. But at last
he, too, seemed to be silent, and now he could not be heard. "Can he have gone away?
Good Lord!" Yes, and now the landlady is going too, still weeping and moaning… and
then her door slammed…. Now the crowd was going from the stairs to their rooms,
exclaiming, disputing, calling to one another, raising their voices to a shout,
dropping them to a whisper. There must have been numbers of them– almost all the
inmates of the block. "But, good God, how could it be! And why, why had he come
Raskolnikov sank worn out on the sofa, but could not close his eyes. He lay for
half an hour in such anguish, such an intolerable sensation of infinite terror as
he had never experienced before. Suddenly a bright light flashed into his room.
Nastasya came in with a candle and a plate of soup. Looking at him carefully and
ascertaining that he was not asleep, she set the candle on the table and began to
lay out what she had brought– bread, salt, a plate, a spoon.