"Zametov told you all about it?"
"Yes, and he did well. Now I understand what it all means and so does Zametov….
Well, the fact is, Rodya… the point is… I am a little drunk now…. But that's… no
matter… the point is that this idea… you understand? was just being hatched in their
brains… you understand? That is, no one ventured to say it aloud, because the idea
is too absurd and especially since the arrest of that painter, that bubble's burst
and gone for ever. But why are they such fools? I gave Zametov a bit of a thrashing
at the time– that's between ourselves, brother; please don't let out a hint that
you know of it; I've noticed he is a ticklish subject; it was at Luise Ivanovna's.
But to-day, to-day it's all cleared up. That Ilya Petrovitch is at the bottom of
it! He took advantage of your fainting at the police station, but he is ashamed
of it himself now; I know that…"
Raskolnikov listened greedily. Razumihin was drunk enough to talk too freely.
"I fainted then because it was so close and the smell of paint," said Raskolnikov.
"No need to explain that! And it wasn't the paint only: the fever had been coming
on for a month; Zossimov testifies to that! But how crushed that boy is now, you
wouldn't believe! 'I am not worth his little finger,' he says. Yours, he means.
He has good feelings at times, brother. But the lesson, the lesson you gave him
to-day in the Palais de Crystal, that was too good for anything! You frightened
him at first, you know, he nearly went into convulsions! You almost convinced him
again of the truth of all that hideous nonsense, and then you suddenly– put out
your tongue at him: 'There now, what do you make of it?' It was perfect! He is crushed,
annihilated now! It was masterly, by Jove, it's what they deserve! Ah, that I wasn't
there! He was hoping to see you awfully. Porfiry, too, wants to make your acquaintance…"
"Ah!… he too… but why did they put me down as mad?"
"Oh, not mad. I must have said too much, brother…. What struck him, you see,
was that only that subject seemed to interest you; now it's clear why it did interest
you; knowing all the circumstances…. and how that irritated you and worked in with
your illness… I am a little drunk, brother, only, confound him, he has some idea
of his own… I tell you, he's mad on mental diseases. But don't you mind him…"
For half a minute both were silent.
"Listen, Razumihin," began Raskolnikov, "I want to tell you plainly: I've just
been at a death-bed, a clerk who died… I gave them all my money… and besides I've
just been kissed by some one who, if I had killed any one, would just the same…
in fact I saw some one else there… with a flame-coloured feather… but I am talking
nonsense; I am very weak, support me… we shall be at the stairs directly…"
"What's the matter? What's the matter with you?" Razumihin asked anxiously.
"I am a little giddy, but that's not the point, I am so sad, so sad… like a woman.
Look, what's that? Look, look!"
"What is it?"
"Don't you see? A light in my room, you see? Through the crack…"
They were already at the foot of the last flight of stairs, at the level of the
landlady's door, and they could, as a fact, see from below that there was a light
in Raskolnikov's garret.
"Queer! Nastasya, perhaps," observed Razumihin.
"She is never in my room at this time and she must be in bed long ago, but… I
don't care! Good-bye!"
"What do you mean? I am coming with you, we'll come in together!"
"I know we are going in together, but I want to shake hands here and say good-bye
to you here. So give me your hand, good-bye!"
"What's the matter with you, Rodya?"
"Nothing… come along… you shall be witness."
They began mounting the stairs, and the idea struck Razumihin that perhaps Zossimov
might be right after all. "Ah, I've upset him with my chatter!" he muttered to himself.
When they reached the door they heard voices in the room.
"What is it?" cried Razumihin. Raskolnikov was the first to open the door; he
flung it wide and stood still in the doorway, dumbfounded.
His mother and sister were sitting on his sofa and had been waiting an hour and
a half for him. Why had he never expected, never thought of them, though the news
that they had started, were on their way and would arrive immediately, had been
repeated to him only that day? They had spent that hour and a half plying Nastasya
with questions. She was standing before them and had told them everything by now.
They were beside themselves with alarm when they heard of his "running away" to-day,
ill and, as they understood from her story, delirious! "Good Heavens, what had become
of him?" Both had been weeping, both had been in anguish for that hour and a half.
A cry of joy, of ecstasy, greeted Raskolnikov's entrance. Both rushed to him.
But he stood like one dead; a sudden intolerable sensation struck him like a thunderbolt.
He did not lift his arms to embrace them, he could not. His mother and sister clasped
him in their arms, kissed him, laughed and cried. He took a step, tottered and fell
to the ground, fainting.
Anxiety, cries of horror, moans… Razumihin who was standing in the doorway flew
into the room, seized the sick man in his strong arms and in a moment had him on
"It's nothing, nothing!" he cried to the mother and sister– "it's only a faint,
a mere trifle! Only just now the doctor said he was much better, that he is perfectly
well! Water! See, he is coming to himself, he is all right again!"
And seizing Dounia by the arm so that he almost dislocated it, he made her bend
down to see that "he is all right again." The mother and sister looked on him with
emotion and gratitude, as their Providence. They had heard already from Nastasya
all that had been done for their Rodya during his illness, by this "very competent
young man," as Pulcheria Alexandrovna Raskolnikov called him that evening in conversation
with Dounia. CHAPTERONE PART THREE
Chapter One –
RASKOLNIKOV got up, and sat down on the sofa. He waved his hand weakly to Razumihin
to cut short the flow of warm and incoherent consolations he was addressing to his
mother and sister, took them both by the hand and for a minute or two gazed from
one to the other without speaking. His mother was alarmed by his expression. It
revealed an emotion agonisingly poignant, and at the same time something immovable,
almost insane. Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to cry.
Avdotya Romanovna was pale; her hand trembled in her brother's.
"Go home… with him," he said in a broken voice, pointing to Razumihin, "good-bye
till to-morrow; to-morrow everything… Is it long since you arrived?"
"This evening, Rodya," answered Pulcheria Alexandrovna, "the train was awfully
late. But, Rodya, nothing would induce me to leave you now! I will spend the night
here, near you…"
"Don't torture me!" he said with a gesture of irritation.
"I will stay with him," cried Razumihin, "I won't leave him for a moment. Bother
all my visitors! Let them rage to their hearts' content! My uncle is presiding there."
"How, how can I thank you!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna was beginning, once more pressing
Razumihin's hands, but Raskolnikov interrupted her again.
"I can't have it! I can't have it!" he repeated irritably, "don't worry me! Enough,
go away… I can't stand it!"
"Come, mamma, come out of the room at least for a minute," Dounia whispered in
dismay; "we are distressing him, that's evident."
"Mayn't I look at him after three years?" wept Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Stay," he stopped them again, "you keep interrupting me, and my ideas get muddled….
Have you seen Luzhin?"
"No, Rodya, but he knows already of our arrival. We have heard, Rodya, that Pyotr
Petrovitch was so kind as to visit you today," Pulcheria Alexandrovna added somewhat
"Yes… he was so kind… Dounia, I promised Luzhin I'd throw him downstairs and
told him to go to hell…."
"Rodya, what are you saying! Surely, you don't mean to tell us…" Pulcheria Alexandrovna
began in alarm, but she stopped, looking at Dounia.
Avdotya Romanovna was looking attentively at her brother, waiting for what would
come next. Both of them had heard of the quarrel from Nastasya, so far as she had
succeeded in understanding and reporting it, and were in painful perplexity and
"Dounia," Raskolnikov continued with an effort, "I don't want that marriage,
so at the first opportunity to-morrow you must refuse Luzhin, so that we may never
hear his name again."
"Good Heavens!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Brother, think what you are saying!" Avdotya Romanovna began impetuously, but
immediately checked herself. "You are not fit to talk now, perhaps; you are tired,"
she added gently.
"You think I am delirious? No… You are marrying Luzhin for my sake. But I won't
accept the sacrifice. And so write a letter before to-morrow, to refuse him… Let
me read it in the morning and that will be the end of it!"
"That I can't do!" the girl cried, offended, "what right have you…"
"Dounia, you are hasty, too, be quiet, to-morrow… Don't you see…" the mother
interposed in dismay. "Better come away!"
"He is raving," Razumihin cried tipsily, "or how would he dare! To-morrow all
this nonsense will be over… to-day he certainly did drive him away. That was so.
And Luzhin got angry, too… He made speeches here, wanted to show off his learning
and he went out crest-fallen…."
"Then it's true?" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Good-bye till to-morrow, brother," said Dounia compassionately– "let us go,
mother… Good-bye, Rodya."
"Do you hear, sister," he repeated after them, making a last effort, "I am not
delirious; this marriage is– an infamy. Let me act like a scoundrel, but you mustn't…
one is enough… and though I am a scoundrel, I wouldn't own such a sister. It's me
or Luzhin! Go now…."
"But you're out of your mind! Despot!" roared Razumihin; but Raskolnikov did
not and perhaps could not answer. He lay down on the sofa, and turned to the wall,
utterly exhausted. Avdotya Romanovna looked with interest at Razumihin; her black
eyes flashed; Razumihin positively started at her glance.
Pulcheria Alexandrovna stood overwhelmed.
"Nothing would induce me to go," she whispered in despair to Razumihin. "I will
stay somewhere here… escort Dounia home."
"You'll spoil everything," Razumihin answered in the same whisper, losing patience–
"come out on to the stairs, anyway. Nastasya, show a light! I assure you," he went
on in a half whisper on the stairs– "that he was almost beating the doctor and me
this afternoon! Do you understand? The doctor himself! Even he gave way and left
him, so as not to irritate him. I remained downstairs on guard, but he dressed at
once and slipped off. And he will slip off again if you irritate him, at this time
of night, and will do himself some mischief…."
"What are you saying?"
"And Avdotya Romanovna can't possibly be left in those lodgings without you.
Just think where you are staying! That blackguard Pyotr Petrovitch couldn't find
you better lodgings… But you know I've had a little to drink, and that's what makes
me… swear; don't mind it…."
"But I'll go to the landlady here," Pulcheria Alexandrovna insisted, "Ill beseech
her to find some corner for Dounia and me for the night. I can't leave him like
that, I cannot!"
This conversation took place on the landing just before the landlady's door.
Nastasya lighted them from a step below. Razumihin was in extraordinary excitement.
Half an hour earlier, while he was bringing Raskolnikov home, he had indeed talked
too freely, but he was aware of it himself, and his head was clear in spite of the
vast quantities he had imbibed. Now he was in a state bordering on ecstasy, and
all that he had drunk seemed to fly to his head with redoubled effect. He stood
with the two ladies, seizing both by their hands, persuading them, and giving them
reasons with astonishing plainness of speech, and at almost every word he uttered,
probably to emphasize his arguments, he squeezed their hands painfully as in a vise.
He stared at Avdotya Romanovna without the least regard for good manners. They sometimes
pulled their hands out of his huge bony paws, but far from noticing what was the
matter, he drew them all the closer to him. If they'd told him to jump head foremost
from the staircase, he would have done it without thought or hesitation in their
service. Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna felt that the young man was really too eccentric
and pinched her hand too much, in her anxiety over her Rodya she looked on his presence
as providential and was unwilling to notice all his peculiarities. But though Avdotya
Romanovna shared her anxiety, and was not of timorous disposition, she could not
see the glowing light in his eyes without wonder and almost alarm. It was only the
unbounded confidence inspired by Nastasya's account of her brother's queer friend,
which prevented her from trying to run away from him, and to persuade her mother
to do the same. She realised, too, that even running away was perhaps impossible
now. Ten minutes later, however, she was considerably reassured; it was characteristic
of Razumihin that he showed his true nature at once, whatever mood he might be in,
so that people quickly saw the sort of man they had to deal with.
"You can't go to the landlady, that's perfect nonsense!" he cried. "If you stay,
though you are his mother, you'll drive him to a frenzy, and then goodness knows
what will happen! Listen, I'll tell you what I'll do: Nastasya will stay with him
now, and I'll conduct you both home, you can't be in the streets alone; Petersburg
is an awful place in that way… But no matter! Then I'll run straight back here and
a quarter of an hour later, on my word of honour, I'll bring you news how he is,
whether he is asleep, and all that. Then, listen! Then I'll run home in a twinkling–
I've a lot of friends there, all drunk– I'll fetch Zossimov– that's the doctor who
is looking after him, he is there, too, but he is not drunk; he is not drunk, he
is never drunk! I'll drag him to Rodya, and then to you, so that you'll get two
reports in the hour– from the doctor, you understand, from the doctor himself, that's
a very different thing from my account of him! If there's anything wrong, I swear
I'll bring you here myself, but, if it's all right, you go to bed. And I'll spend
the night here, in the passage, he won't hear me, and I'll tell Zossimov to sleep
at the landlady's, to be at hand. Which is better for him: you or the doctor? So
come home then! But the landlady is out of the question; it's all right for me,
but it's out of the question for you: she wouldn't take you, for she's… for she's
a fool… She'd be jealous on my account of Avdotya Romanovna and of you, too, if
you want to know… of Avdotya Romanovna certainly. She is an absolutely, absolutely
unaccountable character! But I am a fool, too!… No matter! Come along! Do you trust
me? Come, do you trust me or not?"