Marmeladov broke off, tried to smile, but suddenly his chin began to twitch.
He controlled himself however. The tavern, the degraded appearance of the man, the
five nights in the hay barge, and the pot of spirits, and yet this poignant love
for his wife and children bewildered his listener. Raskolnikov listened intently
but with a sick sensation. He felt vexed that he had come here.
"Honoured sir, honoured sir," cried Marmeladov recovering himself– "Oh, sir,
perhaps all this seems a laughing matter to you, as it does to others, and perhaps
I am only worrying you with the stupidity of all the trivial details of my home
life, but it is not a laughing matter to me. For I can feel it all…. And the whole
of that heavenly day of my life and the whole of that evening I passed in fleeting
dreams of how I would arrange it all, and how I would dress all the children, and
how I should give her rest, and how I should rescue my own daughter from dishonour
and restore her to the bosom of her family…. And a great deal more…. Quite excusable,
sir. Well, then, sir (Marmeladov suddenly gave a sort of start, raised his head
and gazed intently at his listener) well, on the very next day after all those dreams,
that is to say, exactly five days ago, in the evening, by a cunning trick, like
a thief in the night, I stole from Katerina Ivanovna the key of her box, took out
what was left of my earnings, how much it was I have forgotten, and now look at
me, all of you! It's the fifth day since I left home, and they are looking for me
there and it's the end of my employment, and my uniform is lying in a tavern on
the Egyptian bridge. I exchanged it for the garments I have on… and it's the end
Marmeladov struck his forehead with his fist, clenched his teeth, closed his
eyes and leaned heavily with his elbow on the table. But a minute later his face
suddenly changed and with a certain assumed slyness and affectation of bravado,
he glanced at Raskolnikov, laughed and said:
"This morning I went to see Sonia, I went to ask her for a pick-me-up! He-he-he!"
"You don't say she gave it to you?" cried one of the new-comers; he shouted the
words and went off into a guffaw.
"This very quart was bought with her money," Marmeladov declared, addressing
himself exclusively to Raskolnikov. "Thirty copecks she gave me with her own hands,
her last, all she had, as I saw…. She said nothing, she only looked at me without
a word…. Not on earth, but up yonder… they grieve over men, they weep, but they
don't blame them, they don't blame them! But it hurts more, it hurts more when they
don't blame! Thirty copecks yes! And maybe she needs them now, eh? What do you think,
my dear sir? For now she's got to keep up her appearance. It costs money, that smartness,
that special smartness, you know? Do you understand? And there's pomatum, too, you
see, she must have things; petticoats, starched ones, shoes, too, real jaunty ones
to show off her foot when she has to step over a puddle. Do you understand, sir,
do you understand what all that smartness means? And here I, her own father, here
I took thirty copecks of that money for a drink! And I am drinking it! And I have
already drunk it! Come, who will have pity on a man like me, eh? Are you sorry for
me, sir, or not? Tell me, sir, are you sorry or not? He-he-he!"
He would have filled his glass, but there was no drink left. The pot was empty.
"What are you to be pitied for?" shouted the tavern-keeper who was again near
Shouts of laughter and even oaths followed. The laughter and the oaths came from
those who were listening and also from those who had heard nothing but were simply
looking at the figure of the discharged government clerk.
"To be pitied! Why am I to be pitied?" Marmeladov suddenly declaimed, standing
up with his arm outstretched, as though he had been only waiting for that question.
"Why am I to be pitied, you say? Yes! there's nothing to pity me for! I ought
to be crucified, crucified on a cross, not pitied! Crucify me, oh judge, crucify
me but pity me! And then I will go of myself to be crucified, for it's not merry-making
I seek but tears and tribulation!… Do you suppose, you that sell, that this pint
of yours has been sweet to me? It was tribulation I sought at the bottom of it,
tears and tribulation, and have found it, and I have tasted it; but He will pity
us Who has had pity on all men, Who has understood all men and all things, He is
the One. He too is the judge. He will come in that day and He will ask: 'Where is
the daughter who gave herself for her cross, consumptive step-mother and for the
little children of another? Where is the daughter who had pity upon the filthy drunkard,
her earthly father, undismayed by his beastliness?' And He will say, 'Come to me!
I have already forgiven thee once…. I have forgiven thee once…. Thy sins which are
many are forgiven thee for thou hast loved much….' And he will forgive my Sonia,
He will forgive, I know it… I felt it in my heart when I was with her just now!
And He will judge and will forgive all, the good and the evil, the wise and the
meek…. And when He has done with all of them, then He will summon us. 'You too come
forth,' He will say, 'Come forth ye drunkards, come forth, ye weak ones, come forth,
ye children of shame!' And we shall all come forth, without shame and shall stand
before him. And He will say unto us, 'Ye are swine, made in the Image of the Beast
and with his mark; but come ye also!' And the wise ones and those of understanding
will say, 'Oh Lord, why dost Thou receive these men?' And He will say, 'This is
why I receive them, oh ye wise, this is why I receive them, oh ye of understanding,
that not one of them believed himself to be worthy of this.' And He will hold out
His hands to us and we shall fall down before him… and we shall weep… and we shall
understand all things! Then we shall understand all!… and all will understand, Katerina
Ivanovna even… she will understand…. Lord, Thy kingdom come!" And he sank down on
the bench exhausted, and helpless, looking at no one, apparently oblivious of his
surroundings and plunged in deep thought. His words had created a certain impression;
there was a moment of silence; but soon laughter and oaths were heard again.
"That's his notion!"
"Talked himself silly!"
"A fine clerk he is!"
And so on, and so on.
"Let us go, sir," said Marmeladov all at once, raising his head and addressing
Raskolnikov– "come along with me… Kozel's house, looking into the yard. I'm going
to Katerina Ivanovna– time I did."
Raskolnikov had for some time been wanting to go and he had meant to help him.
Marmeladov was much unsteadier on his legs than in his speech and leaned heavily
on the young man. They had two or three hundred paces to go. The drunken man was
more and more overcome by dismay and confusion as they drew nearer the house.
"It's not Katerina Ivanovna I am afraid of now," he muttered in agitation– "and
that she will begin pulling my hair. What does my hair matter! Bother my hair! That's
what I say! Indeed it will be better if she does begin pulling it, that's not what
I am afraid of… it's her eyes I am afraid of… yes, her eyes… the red on her cheeks,
too, frightens me… and her breathing too…. Have you noticed how people in that disease
breathe… when they are excited? I am frightened of the children's crying, too….
For if Sonia has not taken them food… I don't know what's happened! I don't know!
But blows I am not afraid of…. Know, sir, that such blows are not a pain to me,
but even an enjoyment. In fact I can't get on without it…. It's better so. Let her
strike me, it relieves her heart… it's better so… There is the house. The house
of Kozel, the cabinet maker… a German, well-to-do. Lead the way!"
They went in from the yard and up to the fourth storey. The staircase got darker
and darker as they went up. It was nearly eleven o'clock and although in summer
in Petersburg there is no real night, yet it was quite dark at the top of the stairs.
A grimy little door at the very top of the stairs stood ajar. A very poor-looking
room about ten paces long was lighted up by a candle-end; the whole of it was visible
from the entrance. It was all in disorder, littered up with rags of all sorts, especially
children's garments. Across the furthest corner was stretched a ragged sheet. Behind
it probably was the bed. There was nothing in the room except two chairs and a sofa
covered with American leather, full of holes, before which stood an old deal kitchen-table,
unpainted and uncovered. At the edge of the table stood a smoldering tallow-candle
in an iron candlestick. It appeared that the family had a room to themselves, not
part of a room, but their room was practically a passage. The door leading to the
other rooms, or rather cupboards, into which Amalia Lippevechsel's flat was divided
stood half open, and there was shouting, uproar and laughter within. People seemed
to be playing cards and drinking tea there. Words of the most unceremonious kind
flew out from time to time.
Raskolnikov recognised Katerina Ivanovna at once. She was a rather tall, slim
and graceful woman, terribly emaciated, with magnificent dark brown hair and with
a hectic flush in her cheeks. She was pacing up and down in her little room, pressing
her hands against her chest; her lips were parched and her breathing came in nervous
broken gasps. Her eyes glittered as in fever and looked about with a harsh immovable
stare. And that consumptive and excited face with the last flickering light of the
candle-end playing upon it made a sickening impression. She seemed to Raskolnikov
about thirty years old and was certainly a strange wife for Marmeladov…. She had
not heard them and did not notice them coming in. She seemed to be lost in thought,
hearing and seeing nothing. The room was close, but she had not opened the window;
a stench rose from the staircase, but the door on to the stairs was not closed.
From the inner rooms clouds of tobacco smoke floated in, she kept coughing, but
did not close the door. The youngest child, a girl of six, was asleep, sitting curled
up on the floor with her head on the sofa. A boy a year older stood crying and shaking
in the corner, probably he had just had a beating. Beside him stood a girl of nine
years old, tall and thin, wearing a thin and ragged chemise with an ancient cashmere
pelisse flung over her bare shoulders, long outgrown and barely reaching her knees.
Her arm, as thin as a stick, was round her brother's neck. She was trying to comfort
him, whispering something to him, and doing all she could to keep him from whimpering
again. At the same time her large dark eyes, which looked larger still from the
thinness of her frightened face, were watching her mother with alarm. Marmeladov
did not enter the door, but dropped on his knees in the very doorway, pushing Raskolnikov
in front of him. The woman seeing a stranger stopped indifferently facing him, coming
to herself for a moment and apparently wondering what he had come for. But evidently
she decided that he was going into the next room, as he had to pass through hers
to get there. Taking no further notice of him, she walked towards the outer door
to close it and uttered a sudden scream on seeing her husband on his knees in the
"Ah!" she cried out in a frenzy, "he has come back! The criminal! the monster!…
And where is the money? What's in your pocket, show me! And your clothes are all
different! Where are your clothes? Where is the money! speak!"
And she fell to searching him. Marmeladov submissively and obediently held up
both arms to facilitate the search. Not a farthing was there.
"Where's the money?" she cried– "Mercy on us, can he have drunk it all? There
were twelve silver roubles left in the chest!" and in a fury she seized him by the
hair and dragged him into the room. Marmeladov seconded her efforts by meekly crawling
along on his knees.
"And this is a consolation to me! This does not hurt me, but is a positive con-so-la-tion,
ho-nou-red sir," he called out, shaken to and fro by his hair and even once striking
the ground with his forehead. The child asleep on the floor woke up, and began to
cry. The boy in the corner losing all control began trembling and screaming and
rushed to his sister in violent terror, almost in a fit. The eldest girl was shaking
like a leaf.
"He's drunk it! he's drunk it all," the poor woman screamed in despair– "and
his clothes are gone! And they are hungry, hungry!"– and wringing her hands she
pointed to the children. "Oh, accursed life! And you, are you not ashamed?"– she
pounced all at once upon Raskolnikov– "from the tavern! Have been drinking with
him? You have been drinking with him, too! Go away!"
The young man was hastening away without uttering a word. The inner door was
thrown wide open and inquisitive faces were peering in at it. Coarse laughing faces
with pipes and cigarettes and heads wearing caps thrust themselves in at the doorway.
Further in could be seen figures in dressing gowns flung open, in costumes of unseemly
scantiness, some of them with cards in their hands. They were particularly diverted,
when Marmeladov, dragged about by his hair, shouted that it was a consolation to
him. They even began to come into the room; at last a sinister shrill outcry was
heard: this came from Amalia Lippevechsel herself pushing her way amongst them and
trying to restore order after her own fashion and for the hundredth time to frighten
the poor woman by ordering her with coarse abuse to clear out of the room next day.
As he went out, Raskolnikov had time to put his hand into his pocket, to snatch
up the coppers he had received in exchange for his rouble in the tavern and to lay
them unnoticed on the window. Afterwards on the stairs, he changed his mind and
would have gone back.
"What a stupid thing I've done," he thought to himself, "they have Sonia and
I want it myself." But reflecting that it would be impossible to take it back now
and that in any case he would not have taken it, he dismissed it with a wave of
his hand and went back to his lodging. "Sonia wants pomatum too," he said as he
walked along the street, and he laughed malignantly– "such smartness costs money….
Hm! And maybe Sonia herself will be bankrupt to-day, for there is always a risk,
hunting big game… digging for gold… then they would all be without a crust to-morrow
except for my money. Hurrah for Sonia! What a mine they've dug there! And they're
making the most of it! Yes, they are making the most of it! They've wept over it
and grown used to it. Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!"