"Through idleness and depravity," Raskolnikov put in.
"I certainly am idle and depraved, but your sister has such qualities that even
I could not help being impressed by them. But that's all nonsense, as I see myself
"Have you seen that long?"
"I began to be aware of it before, but was only perfectly sure of it the day
before yesterday, almost at the moment I arrived in Petersburg. I still fancied
in Moscow, though, that I was coming to try to get Avdotya Romanovna's hand and
to cut out Mr. Luzhin."
"Excuse me for interrupting you; kindly be brief, and come to the object of your
visit. I am in a hurry, I want to go out…"
"With the greatest pleasure. On arriving here and determining on a certain… journey,
I should like to make some necessary preliminary arrangements. I left my children
with an aunt; they are well provided for; and they have no need of me personally.
And a nice father I should make, too! I have taken nothing but what Marfa Petrovna
gave me a year ago. That's enough for me. Excuse me, I am just coming to the point.
Before the journey which may come off, I want to settle Mr. Luzhin, too. It's not
that I detest him so much, but it was through him I quarrelled with Marfa Petrovna
when I learned that she had dished up this marriage. I want now to see Avdotya Romanovna
through your mediation, and if you like in your presence, to explain to her that
in the first place she will never gain anything but harm from Mr. Luzhin. Then begging
her pardon for all past unpleasantness, to make her a present of ten thousand roubles
and so assist the rupture with Mr. Luzhin, a rupture to which I believe she is herself
not disinclined, if she could see the way to it."
"You are certainly mad," cried Raskolnikov not so much angered as astonished.
"How dare you talk like that!"
"I knew you would scream at me; but in the first place, though I am not rich,
this ten thousand roubles is perfectly free; I have absolutely no need for it. If
Avdotya Romanovna does not accept it, I shall waste it in some more foolish way.
That's the first thing. Secondly, my conscience is perfectly easy; I make the offer
with no ulterior motive. You may not believe it, but in the end Avdotya Romanovna
and you will know. The point is, that I did actually cause your sister, whom I greatly
respect, some trouble and unpleasantness, and so, sincerely regretting it, I want–
not to compensate, not to repay her for the unpleasantness, but simply to do something
to her advantage, to show that I am not, after all, privileged to do nothing but
harm. If there were a millionth fraction of self interest in my offer, I should
not have made it so openly; and I should not have offered her ten thousand only,
when five weeks ago I offered her more, Besides, I may, perhaps, very soon marry
a young lady, and that alone ought to prevent suspicion of any design on Avdotya
Romanovna. In conclusion, let me say that in marrying Mr. Luzhin, she is taking
money just the same, only from another man. Don't be angry, Rodion Romanovitch,
think it over coolly and quietly."
Svidrigailov himself was exceedingly cool and quiet as he was saying this.
"I beg you to say no more," said Raskolnikov. "In any case this is unpardonable
"Not in the least. Then a man may do nothing but harm to his neighbour in this
world, and is prevented from doing the tiniest bit of good by trivial conventional
formalities. That's absurd. If I died, for instance, and left that sum to your sister
in my will, surely she wouldn't refuse it?"
"Very likely she would."
"Oh, no, indeed. However, if you refuse it, so be it, though ten thousand roubles
is a capital thing to have on occasion. In any case I beg you to repeat what I have
said to Avdotya Romanovna."
"No, I won't."
"In that case, Rodion Romanovitch, I shall be obliged to try and see her myself
and worry her by doing so."
"And if I do tell her, will you not try to see her?"
"I don't know really what to say. I should like very much to see her once more."
"Don't hope for it."
"I'm sorry. But you don't know me. Perhaps we may become better friends."
"You think we may become friends?"
"And why not?" Svidrigailov said, smiling. He stood up and took his hat. "I didn't
quite intend to disturb you and I came here without reckoning on it… though I was
very much struck by your face this morning."
"Where did you see me this morning?" Raskolnikov asked uneasily.
"I saw you by chance…. I kept fancying there is something about you like me….
But don't be uneasy. I am not intrusive; I used to get on all right with card-sharpers,
and I never bored Prince Svirbey, a great personage who is a distant relation of
mine, and I could write about Raphael's Madonna in Madam Prilukov's album, and I
never left Marfa Petrovna's side for seven years, and I used to stay the night at
Viazemsky's house in the Hay Market in the old days, and I may go up in a balloon
with Berg, perhaps."
"Oh, all right. Are you starting soon on your travels, may I ask?"
"Why, on that 'journey'; you spoke of it yourself."
"A journey? Oh, yes. I did speak of a journey. Well, that's a wide subject….
if only you knew what you are asking," he added, and gave a sudden, loud, short
laugh. "Perhaps I'll get married instead of the journey. They're making a match
"How have you had time for that?"
"But I am very anxious to see Avdotya Romanovna once. I earnestly beg it. Well,
good-bye for the present. Oh, yes, I have forgotten something. Tell your sister,
Rodion Romanovitch, that Marfa Petrovna remembered her in her will and left her
three thousand rubles. That's absolutely certain. Marfa Petrovna arranged it a week
before her death, and it was done in my presence. Avdotya Romanovna will be able
to receive the money in two or three weeks."
"Are you telling the truth?"
"Yes, tell her. Well, your servant. I am staying very near you."
As he went out, Svidrigailov ran up against Razumihin in the doorway. CHAPTERTWO
IT WAS nearly eight o'clock. The two young men hurried to Bakaleyev's, to arrive
"Why, who was that?" asked Razumihin, as soon as they were in the street.
"It was Svidrigailov, that landowner in whose house my sister was insulted when
she was their governess. Through his persecuting her with his attentions, she was
turned out by his wife, Marfa Petrovna. This Marfa Petrovna begged Dounia's forgiveness
afterwards, and she's just died suddenly. It was of her we were talking this morning.
I don't know why I'm afraid of that man. He came here at once after his wife's funeral.
He is very strange, and is determined on doing something…. We must guard Dounia
from him… that's what I wanted to tell you, do you hear?"
"Guard her! What can he do to harm Avdotya Romanovna? Thank you, Rodya, for speaking
to me like that…. We will, we will guard her. Where does he live?"
"I don't know."
"Why didn't you ask? What a pity! I'll find out, though."
"Did you see him?" asked Raskolnikov after a pause.
"Yes, I noticed him, I noticed him well."
"You did really see him? You saw him clearly?" Raskolnikov insisted.
"Yes, I remember him perfectly, I should know him in a thousand; I have a good
memory for faces."
They were silent again.
"Hm!… that's all right," muttered Raskolnikov. "Do you know, I fancied… I keep
thinking that it may have been an hallucination."
"What do you mean? I don't understand you."
"Well, you all say," Raskolnikov went on, twisting his mouth into a smile, "that
I am mad. I thought just now that perhaps I really am mad, and have only seen a
"What do you mean?"
"Why, who can tell? Perhaps I am really mad, and perhaps everything that happened
all these days may be only imagination."
"Ach, Rodya, you have been upset again!… But what did he say, what did he come
Raskolnikov did not answer. Razumihin thought a minute.
"Now let me tell you my story," he began, "I came to you, you were asleep. Then
we had dinner and then I went to Porfiry's, Zametov was still with him. I tried
to begin, but it was no use. I couldn't speak in the right way. They don't seem
to understand and can't understand, but are not a bit ashamed. I drew Porfiry to
the window, and began talking to him, but it was still no use. He looked away and
I looked away. At last I shook my fist in his ugly face, and told him as a cousin
I'd brain him. He merely looked at me, I cursed and came away. That was all. It
was very stupid. To Zametov I didn't say a word. But, you see, I thought I'd made
a mess of it, but as I went downstairs a brilliant idea struck me: why should we
trouble? Of course if you were in any danger or anything, but why need you care?
You needn't care a hang for them. We shall have a laugh at them afterwards, and
if I were in your place I'd mystify them more than ever. How ashamed they'll be
afterwards! Hang them! We can thrash them afterwards, but let's laugh at them now!"
"To be sure," answered Raskolnikov. "But what will you say to-morrow?" he thought
to himself. Strange to say, till that moment it had never occurred to him to wonder
what Razumihin would think when he knew. As he thought it, Raskolnikov looked at
him. Razumihin's account of his visit to Porfiry had very little interest for him,
so much had come and gone since then.
In the corridor they came upon Luzhin; he had arrived punctually at eight, and
was looking for the number, so that all three went in together without greeting
or looking at one another. The young men walked in first, while Pyotr Petrovitch,
for good manners, lingered a little in the passage, taking off his coat. Pulcheria
Alexandrovna came forward at once to greet him in the doorway, Dounia was welcoming
her brother. Pyotr Petrovitch walked in and quite amiably, though with redoubled
dignity, bowed to the ladies. He looked, however, as though he were a little put
out and could not yet recover himself. Pulcheria Alexandrovna, who seemed also a
little embarrassed, hastened to make them all sit down at the round table where
a samovar was boiling. Dounia and Luzhin were facing one another on opposite sides
of the table. Razumihin and Raskolnikov were facing Pulcheria Alexandrovna, Razumihin
was next to Luzhin and Raskolnikov was beside his sister.
A moment's silence followed. Pyotr Petrovitch deliberately drew out a cambric
handkerchief reeking of scent and blew his nose with an air of a benevolent man
who felt himself slighted, and was firmly resolved to insist on an explanation.
In the passage the idea had occurred to him to keep on his overcoat and walk away,
and so give the two ladies a sharp and emphatic lesson and make them feel the gravity
of the position. But he could not bring himself to do this. Besides, he could not
endure uncertainty and he wanted an explanation: if his request had been so openly
disobeyed, there was something behind it, and in that case it was better to find
it out beforehand; it rested with him to punish them and there would always be time
"I trust you had a favourable journey," he inquired officially of Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Oh, very, Pyotr Petrovitch."
"I am gratified to hear it. And Avdotya Romanovna is not over fatigued either?"
"I am young and strong, I don't get tired, but it was a great strain for mother,"
"That's unavoidable; our national railways are of terrible length. 'Mother Russia,'
as they say, is a vast country…. In spite of all my desire to do so, I was unable
to meet you yesterday. But I trust all passed off without inconvenience?"
"Oh, no, Pyotr Petrovitch, it was all terribly disheartening," Pulcheria Alexandrovna
hastened to declare with peculiar intonation, "and if Dmitri Prokofitch had not
been sent us, I really believe by God Himself, we should have been utterly lost.
Here, he is! Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin," she added, introducing him to Luzhin.
"I had the pleasure… yesterday," muttered Pyotr Petrovitch with a hostile glance
sidelong at Razumihin; then he scowled and was silent.
Pyotr Petrovitch belonged to that class of persons, on the surface very polite
in society, who make a great point of punctiliousness, but who, directly they are
crossed in anything, are completely disconcerted, and become more like sacks of
flour than elegant and lively men of society. Again all was silent; Raskolnikov
was obstinately mute, Avdotya Romanovna was unwilling to open the conversation too
soon. Razumihin had nothing to say, so Pulcheria Alexandrovna was anxious again.
"Marfa Petrovna is dead, have you heard?" she began having recourse to her leading
item of conversation.
"To be sure, I heard so. I was immediately informed, and I have come to make
you acquainted with the fact that Arkady Ivanovitch Svidrigailov set off in haste
for Petersburg immediately after his wife's funeral. So at least I have excellent
authority for believing."
"To Petersburg? here?" Dounia asked in alarm and looked at her mother.
"Yes, indeed, and doubtless not without some design, having in view the rapidity
of his departure, and all the circumstances preceding it."
"Good heavens! won't he leave Dounia in peace even here?" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"I imagine that neither you nor Avdotya Romanovna have any grounds for uneasiness,
unless, of course, you are yourselves desirous of getting into communication with
him. For my part I am on my guard, and am now discovering where he is lodging."