He still remained on his knees. Porfiry Petrovitch stood for some moments as
though meditating, but suddenly roused himself and waved back the uninvited spectators.
They instantly vanished and closed the door. Then he looked towards Raskolnikov,
who was standing in the corner, staring wildly at Nikolay, and moved towards him,
but stopped short, looked from Nikolay to Raskolnikov and then again at Nikolay,
and seeming unable to restrain himself darted at the latter.
"You're in too great a hurry," he shouted at him, almost angrily. "I didn't ask
you what came over you…. Speak, did you kill them?"
"I am the murderer…. I want to give evidence," Nikolay pronounced.
"Ach! What did you kill them with?"
"An axe. I had it ready."
"Ach, he is in a hurry! Alone?"
Nikolay did not understand the question.
"Did you do it alone?"
"Yes, alone. And Mitka is not guilty and had no share in it."
"Don't be in a hurry about Mitka! A-ach! How was it you ran downstairs like that
at the time? The porters met you both!"
"It was to put them off the scent… I ran after Mitka," Nikolay replied hurriedly,
as though he had prepared the answer.
"I knew it!" cried Porfiry, with vexation. "It's not his own tale he is telling,"
he muttered as though to himself, and suddenly his eyes rested on Raskolnikov again.
He was apparently so taken up with Nikolay that for a moment he had forgotten
Raskolnikov. He was a little taken aback.
"My dear Rodion Romanovitch, excuse me!" he flew up to him, "this won't do; I'm
afraid you must go… it's no good your staying… I will… you see, what a surprise!…
And taking him by the arm, he showed him to the door.
"I suppose you didn't expect it?" said Raskolnikov who, though he had not yet
fully grasped the situation, had regained his courage.
"You did not expect it either, my friend. See how your hand is trembling! He-he!"
"You're trembling, too, Porfiry Petrovitch!"
"Yes, I am; I didn't expect it."
They were already at the door; Porfiry was impatient for Raskolnikov to be gone.
"And your little surprise, aren't you going to show it to me?" Raskolnikov said,
"Why, his teeth are chattering as he asks, he-he! You are an ironical person!
Come, till we meet!"
"I believe we can say good-bye!"
"That's in God's hands," muttered Porfiry, with an unnatural smile.
As he walked through the office, Raskolnikov noticed that many people were looking
at him. Among them he saw the two porters from the house, whom he had invited that
night to the police station. They stood there waiting. But he was no sooner on the
stairs than he heard the voice of Porfiry Petrovitch behind him. Turning round,
he saw the latter running after him, out of breath.
"One word, Rodion Romanovitch; as to all the rest, it's in God's hands, but as
a matter of form there are some questions I shall have to ask you… so we shall meet
again, shan't we?"
And Porfiry stood still, facing him with a smile.
"Shan't we?" he added again.
He seemed to want to say something more, but could not speak out.
"You must forgive me, Porfiry Petrovitch, for what has just passed… I lost my
temper," began Raskolnikov, who had so far regained his courage that he felt irresistibly
inclined to display his coolness.
"Don't mention it, don't mention it," Porfiry replied, almost gleefully. "I myself,
too… I have a wicked temper, I admit it! But we shall meet again. If it's God's
will, we may see a great deal of one another."
"And will get to know each other through and through?" added Raskolnikov.
"Yes; know each other through and through," assented Porfiry Petrovitch, and
he screwed up his eyes, looking earnestly at Raskolnikov. "Now you're going to a
"To a funeral."
"Of course, the funeral! Take care of yourself, and get well."
"I don't know what to wish you," said Raskolnikov, who had begun to descend the
stairs, but looked back again. "I should like to wish you success, but your office
is such a comical one."
"Why comical?" Porfiry Petrovitch had turned to go, but he seemed to prick up
his ears at this.
"Why, how you must have been torturing and harassing that poor Nikolay psychologically,
after your fashion, till he confessed! You must have been at him day and night,
proving to him that he was the murderer, and now that he has confessed, you'll begin
vivisecting him again. 'You are lying,' you'll say. 'You are not the murderer! You
can't be! It's not your own tale you are telling!' You must admit it's a comical
"He-he-he! You noticed then that I said to Nikolay just now that it was not his
own tale he was telling?"
"How could I help noticing it!"
"He-he! You are quick-witted. You notice everything! You've really a playful
mind! And you always fasten on the comic side… he-he! They say that was the marked
characteristic of Gogol, among the writers."
"Yes, of Gogol."
"Yes, of Gogol…. I shall look forward to meeting you."
"So shall I."
Raskolnikov walked straight home. He was so muddled and bewildered that on getting
home he sat for a quarter of an hour on the sofa, trying to collect his thoughts.
He did not attempt to think about Nikolay; he was stupefied; he felt that his confession
was something inexplicable, amazing– something beyond his understanding. But Nikolay's
confession was an actual fact. The consequences of this fact were clear to him at
once, its falsehood could not fail to be discovered, and then they would be after
him again. Till then, at least, he was free and must do something for himself, for
the danger was imminent.
But how imminent? His position gradually became clear to him. Remembering, sketchily,
the main outlines of his recent scene with Porfiry, he could not help shuddering
again with horror. Of course, he did not yet know all Porfiry's aims, he could not
see into all his calculations. But he had already partly shown his hand, and no
one knew better than Raskolnikov how terrible Porfiry's "lead" had been for him.
A little more and he might have given himself away completely, circumstantially.
Knowing his nervous temperament and from the first glance seeing through him, Porfiry,
though playing a bold game, was bound to win. There's no denying that Raskolnikov
had compromised himself seriously, but no facts had come to light as yet; there
was nothing positive. But was he taking a true view of the position? Wasn't he mistaken?
What had Porfiry been trying to get at? Had he really some surprise prepared for
him? And what was it? Had he really been expecting something or not? How would they
have parted if it had not been for the unexpected appearance of Nikolay?
Porfiry had shown almost all his cards– of course, he had risked something in
showing them– and if he had really had anything up his sleeve (Raskolnikov reflected),
he would have shown that, too. What was that "surprise"? Was it a joke? Had it meant
anything? Could it have concealed anything like a fact, a piece of positive evidence?
His yesterday's visitor? What had become of him? Where was he to-day? If Porfiry
really had any evidence, it must be connected with him….
He sat on the sofa with his elbows on his knees and his face hidden in his hands.
He was still shivering nervously. At last he got up, took his cap, thought a minute,
and went to the door.
He had a sort of presentiment that for to-day, at least, he might consider himself
out of danger. He had a sudden sense almost of joy; he wanted to make haste to Katerina
Ivanovna's. He would be too late for the funeral, of course, but he would be in
time for the memorial dinner, and there at once he would see Sonia.
He stood still, thought a moment, and a suffering smile came for a moment on
to his lips.
"To-day! To-day," he repeated to himself. "Yes, to-day! So it must be…."
But as he was about to open the door, it began opening of itself. He started
and moved back. The door opened gently and slowly, and there suddenly appeared a
figure– yesterday's visitor from underground.
The man stood in the doorway, looked at Raskolnikov without speaking, and took
a step forward into the room. He was exactly the same as yesterday; the same figure,
the same dress, but there was a great change in his face; he looked dejected and
sighed deeply. If he had only put his hand up to his cheek and leaned his head on
one side he would have looked exactly like a peasant woman.
"What do you want?" asked Raskolnikov, numb with terror. The man was still silent,
but suddenly he bowed down almost to the ground, touching it with his finger.
"What is it?" cried Raskolnikov.
"I have sinned," the man articulated softly.
"By evil thoughts."
They looked at one another.
"I was vexed. When you came, perhaps in drink, and bade the porters go to the
police station and asked about the blood, I was vexed that they let you go and took
you for drunken. I was so vexed that I lost my sleep. And remembering the address
we came here yesterday and asked for you…."
"Who came?" Raskolnikov interrupted, instantly beginning to recollect.
"I did, I've wronged you."
"Then you came from that house?"
"I was standing at the gate with them… don't you remember? We have carried on
our trade in that house for years past. We cure and prepare hides, we take work
home… most of all I was vexed…."
And the whole scene of the day before yesterday in the gateway came clearly before
Raskolnikov's mind; he recollected that there had been several people there besides
the porters, women among them. He remembered one voice had suggested taking him
straight to the police station. He could not recall the face of the speaker, and
even now he did not recognise it, but he remembered that he had turned round and
made him some answer….
So this was the solution of yesterday's horror. The most awful thought was that
he had been actually almost lost, had almost done for himself on account of such
a trivial circumstance. So this man could tell nothing except his asking about the
flat and the blood stains. So Porfiry, too, had nothing but that delirium, no facts
but this psychology which cuts both ways, nothing positive. So if no more facts
come to light (and they must not, they must not!) then… then what can they do to
him? How can they convict him, even if they arrest him? And Porfiry then had only
just heard about the flat and had not known about it before.
"Was it you who told Porfiry… that I'd been there?" he cried, struck by a sudden
"The head of the detective department?"
"Yes. The porters did not go there, but I went."
"I got there two minutes before you. And I heard, I heard it all, how he worried
"Where? What? When?"
"Why, in the next room. I was sitting there all the time." CHAPTERONE PART FIVE
Chapter One –
THE MORNING that followed the fateful interview with Dounia and her mother brought
sobering influences to bear on Pyotr Petrovitch. Intensely unpleasant as it was,
he was forced little by little to accept as a fact beyond recall what had seemed
to him only the day before fantastic and incredible. The black snake of wounded
vanity had been gnawing at his heart all night. When he got out of bed, Pyotr Petrovitch
immediately looked in the looking-glass. He was afraid that he had jaundice. However
his health seemed unimpaired so far, and looking at his noble, clear-skinned countenance
which had grown fattish of late, Pyotr Petrovitch for an instant was positively
comforted in the conviction that he would find another bride and, perhaps, even
a better one. But coming back to the sense of his present position, he turned aside
and spat vigorously, which excited a sarcastic smile in Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov,
the young friend with whom he was staying. That smile Pyotr Petrovitch noticed,
and at once set it down against his young friend's account. He had set down a good
many points against him of late. His anger was redoubled when he reflected that
he ought not to have told Andrey Semyonovitch about the result of yesterday's interview.
That was the second mistake he had made in temper, through impulsiveness and irritability….
Moreover, all that morning one unpleasantness followed another. He even found a
hitch awaiting him in his legal case in the Senate. He was particularly irritated
by the owner of the flat which had been taken in view of his approaching marriage
and was being redecorated at his own expense; the owner, a rich German tradesman,
would not entertain the idea of breaking the contract which had just been signed
and insisted on the full forfeit money, though Pyotr Petrovitch would be giving
him back the flat practically redecorated. In the same way the upholsterers refused
to return a single rouble of the instalment paid for the furniture purchased but
not yet removed to the flat.
"Am I to get married simply for the sake of the furniture?" Pyotr Petrovitch
ground his teeth and at the same time once more he had a gleam of desperate hope.
"Can all that be really so irrevocably over? Is it no use to make another effort?"
The thought of Dounia sent a voluptuous pang through his heart. He endured anguish
at that moment, and if it had been possible to slay Raskolnikov instantly by wishing
it, Pyotr Petrovitch would promptly have uttered the wish.
"It was my mistake, too, not to have given them money," he thought, as he returned
dejectedly to Lebeziatnikov's room, "and why on earth was I such a Jew? It was false
economy! I meant to keep them without a penny so that they should turn to me as
their providence, and look at them! Foo! If I'd spent some fifteen hundred roubles
on them for the trousseau and presents, on knick-knacks, dressing-cases, jewellery,
materials, and all that sort of trash from Knopp's and the English shop, my position
would have been better and… stronger! They could not have refused me so easily!
They are the sort of people that would feel bound to return money and presents if
they broke it off; and they would find it hard to do it! And their consciences would
prick them: how can we dismiss a man who has hitherto been so generous and delicate?….
H'm! I've made a blunder."