"He has changed his mind since last night."
"Quite the contrary! If they had that brainless idea, they would do their utmost
to hide it, and conceal their cards, so as to catch you afterwards…. But it was
all impudent and careless."
"If they had had facts– I mean, real facts– or at least grounds for suspicion,
then they would certainly have tried to hide their game, in the hope of getting
more (they would have made a search long ago besides). But they have no facts, not
one. It is all mirage– all ambiguous. Simply a floating idea. So they try to throw
me out by impudence. And perhaps, he was irritated at having no facts, and blurted
it out in his vexation– or perhaps he has some plan… he seems an intelligent man.
Perhaps he wanted to frighten me by pretending to know. They have a psychology of
their own, brother. But it is loathsome explaining it all. Stop!"
"And it's insulting, insulting! I understand you. But… since we have spoken openly
now (and it is an excellent thing that we have at last– I am glad) I will own now
frankly that I noticed it in them long ago, this idea. Of course the merest hint
only– an insinuation– but why an insinuation even? How dare they? What foundation
have they? If only you knew how furious I have been. Think only! Simply because
a poor student, unhinged by poverty and hypochondria, on the eve of a severe delirious
illness (note that), suspicious, vain, proud, who has not seen a soul to speak to
for six months, in rags and in boots without soles, has to face some wretched policemen
and put up with their insolence; and the unexpected debt thrust under his nose,
the I.O.U. presented by Tchebarov, the new paint, thirty degrees Reaumur and a stifling
atmosphere, a crowd of people, the talk about the murder of a person where he had
been just before, and all that on an empty stomach– he might well have a fainting
fit! And that, that is what they found it all on! Damn them! I understand how annoying
it is, but in your place, Rodya, I would laugh at them, or better still, spit in
their ugly faces, and spit a dozen times in all directions. I'd hit out in all directions,
neatly too, and so I'd put an end to it. Damn them! Don't be downhearted. It's a
"He really has put it well, though," Raskolnikov thought.
"Damn them? But the cross-examination again, to-morrow?" he said with bitterness.
"Must I really enter into explanations with them? I feel vexed as it is that I condescended
to speak to Zametov yesterday in the restaurant…."
"Damn it! I will go myself to Porfiry. I will squeeze it out of him, as one of
the family: he must let me know the ins and outs of it all! And as for Zametov…"
"At last he sees through him!" thought Raskolnikov.
"Stay!" cried Razumihin, seizing him by the shoulder again. "Stay! you were wrong.
I have thought it out. You are wrong! How was that a trap? You say that the question
about the workmen was a trap. But if you had done that, could you have said you
had seen them painting the flat… and the workmen? On the contrary, you would have
seen nothing, even if you had seen it. Who would own it against himself?"
"If I had done that thing, I should certainly have said that I had seen the workmen
and the flat." Raskolnikov answered, with reluctance and obvious disgust.
"But why speak against yourself?"
"Because only peasants, or the most inexperienced novices deny everything flatly
at examinations. If a man is ever so little developed and experienced, he will certainly
try to admit all the external facts that can't be avoided, but will seek other explanations
of them, will introduce some special, unexpected turn, that will give them another
significance and put them in another light. Porfiry might well reckon that I should
be sure to answer so, and say I had seen them to give an air of truth, and then
make some explanation."
"But he would have told you at once, that the workmen could not have been there
two days before, and that therefore you must have been there on the day of the murder
at eight o'clock. And so he would have caught you over a detail."
"Yes, that is what he was reckoning on, that I should not have time to reflect,
and should be in a hurry to make the most likely answer, and so would forget that
the workmen could not have been there two days before."
"But how could you forget it?"
"Nothing easier. It is in just such stupid things clever people are most easily
caught. The more cunning a man is, the less he suspects that he will be caught in
a simple thing. The more cunning a man is, the simpler the trap he must be caught
in. Porfiry is not such a fool as you think…."
"He is a knave then, if that is so!"
Raskolnikov could not help laughing. But at the very moment, he was struck by
the strangeness of his own frankness, and the eagerness with which he had made this
explanation, though he had kept up all the preceding conversation with gloomy repulsion,
obviously with a motive, from necessity.
"I am getting a relish for certain aspects!" he thought to himself. But almost
at the same instant, he became suddenly uneasy, as though an unexpected and alarming
idea had occurred to him. His uneasiness kept on increasing. They had just reached
the entrance to Bakaleyev's.
"Go in alone!" said Raskolnikov suddenly. "I will be back directly."
"Where are you going? Why, we are just here."
"I can't help it…. I will come in half an hour. Tell them."
"Say what you like, I will come with you."
"You, too, want to torture me!" he screamed, with such bitter irritation, such
despair in his eyes that Razumihin's hands dropped. He stood for some time on the
steps, looking gloomily at Raskolnikov striding rapidly away in the direction of
his lodging. At last, gritting his teeth and clenching his fist, he swore he would
squeeze Porfiry like a lemon that very day, and went up the stairs to reassure Pulcheria
Alexandrovna, who was by now alarmed at their long absence.
When Raskolnikov got home, his hair was soaked with sweat and he was breathing
heavily. He went rapidly up the stairs, walked into his unlocked room and at once
fastened the latch. Then in senseless terror he rushed to the corner, to that hole
under the paper where he had put the thing; put his hand in, and for some minutes
felt carefully in the hole, in every crack and fold of the paper. Finding nothing,
he got up and drew a deep breath. As he was reaching the steps of Bakaleyev's, he
suddenly fancied that something, a chain, a stud or even a bit of paper in which
they had been wrapped with the old woman's handwriting on it, might somehow have
slipped out and been lost in some crack, and then might suddenly turn up as unexpected,
conclusive evidence against him.
He stood as though lost in thought, and a strange, humiliated, half senseless
smile strayed on his lips. He took his cap at last and went quietly out of the room.
His ideas were all tangled. He went dreamily through the gateway.
"Here he is himself," shouted a loud voice.
He raised his head.
The porter was standing at the door of his little room and was pointing him out
to a short man who looked like an artisan, wearing a long coat and a waistcoat,
and looking at a distance remarkably like a woman. He stooped, and his head in a
greasy cap hung forward. From his wrinkled flabby face he looked over fifty; his
little eyes were lost in fat and they looked out grimly, sternly and discontentedly.
"What is it?" Raskolnikov asked, going up to the porter.
The man stole a look at him from under his brows and he looked at him attentively,
deliberately; then he turned slowly and went out of the gate into the street without
saying a word.
"What is it?" cried Raskolnikov.
"Why, he there was asking whether a student lived here, mentioned your name and
whom you lodged with. I saw you coming and pointed you out and he went away. It's
The porter too seemed rather puzzled, but not much so, and after wondering for
a moment he turned and went back to his room.
Raskolnikov ran after the stranger, and at once caught sight of him walking along
the other side of the street with the same even, deliberate step with his eyes fixed
on the ground, as though in meditation. He soon overtook him, but for some time
walked behind him. At last, moving on to a level with him, he looked at his face.
The man noticed him at once, looked at him quickly, but dropped his eyes again;
and so they walked for a minute side by side without uttering a word.
"You were inquiring for me… of the porter?" Raskolnikov said at last, but in
a curiously quiet voice.
The man made no answer; he didn't even look at him. Again they were both silent.
"Why do you… come and ask for me… and say nothing…. What's the meaning of it?"
Raskolnikov's voice broke and he seemed unable to articulate the words clearly.
The man raised his eyes this time and turned a gloomy sinister look at Raskolnikov.
"Murderer!" he said suddenly in a quiet but clear and distinct voice.
Raskolnikov went on walking beside him. His legs felt suddenly weak, a cold shiver
ran down his spine, and his heart seemed to stand still for a moment, then suddenly
began throbbing as though it were set free. So they walked for about a hundred paces,
side by side in silence.
The man did not look at him.
"What do you mean… what is…. Who is a murderer?" muttered Raskolnikov hardly
"You are a murderer," the man answered still more articulately and emphatically,
with a smile of triumphant hatred, and again he looked straight into Raskolnikov's
pale face and stricken eyes.
They had just reached the crossroads. The man turned to the left without looking
behind him. Raskolnikov remained standing, gazing after him. He saw him turn round
fifty paces away and look back at him still standing there. Raskolnikov could not
see clearly, but he fancied that he was again smiling the same smile of cold hatred
With slow faltering steps, with shaking knees, Raskolnikov made his way back
to his little garret, feeling chilled all over. He took off his cap and put it on
the table, and for ten minutes he stood without moving. Then he sank exhausted on
the sofa and with a weak moan of pain he stretched himself on it. So he lay for
half an hour.
He thought of nothing. Some thoughts or fragments of thoughts, some images without
order or coherence floated before his mind– faces of people he had seen in his childhood
or met somewhere once, whom he would never have recalled, the belfry of the church
at V., the billiard table in a restaurant and some officers playing billiards, the
smell of cigars in some underground tobacco shop, a tavern room, a back staircase
quite dark, all sloppy with dirty water and strewn with egg shells, and the Sunday
bells floating in from somewhere…. The images followed one another, whirling like
a hurricane. Some of them he liked and tried to clutch at, but they faded and all
the while there was an oppression within him, but it was not overwhelming, sometimes
it was even pleasant…. The slight shivering still persisted, but that too was an
almost pleasant sensation.
He heard the hurried footsteps of Razumihin; he closed his eyes and pretended
to be asleep. Razumihin opened the door and stood for some time in the doorway as
though hesitating, then he stepped softly into the room and went cautiously to the
sofa. Raskolnikov heard Nastasya's whisper:
"Don't disturb him! Let him sleep. He can have his dinner later."
"Quite so," answered Razumihin. Both withdrew carefully and closed the door.
Another half-hour passed. Raskolnikov opened his eyes, turned on his back again,
clasping his hands behind his head.
"Who is he? Who is that man who sprang out of the earth? Where was he, what did
he see? He has seen it all, that's clear. Where was he then? And from where did
he see? Why has he only now sprung out of the earth? And how could he see? Is it
possible? Hm…" continued Raskolnikov, turning cold and shivering, "and the jewel
case Nikolay found behind the door– was that possible? A clue? You miss an infinitesimal
line and you can build it into a pyramid of evidence! A fly flew by and saw it!
Is it possible?" He felt with sudden loathing how weak, how physically weak he had
become. "I ought to have known it," he thought with a bitter smile. "And how dared
I, knowing myself, knowing how I should be, take up an axe and shed blood! I ought
to have known beforehand…. Ah, but I did know!" he whispered in despair. At times
he came to a standstill at some thought.
"No, those men are not made so. The real Master to whom all is permitted storms
Toulon, makes a massacre in Paris, forgets an army in Egypt, wastes half a million
men in the Moscow expedition and gets off with a jest at Vilna. And altars are set
up to him after his death, and so all is permitted. No, such people it seems are
not of flesh but of bronze!"
One sudden irrelevant idea almost made him laugh. Napoleon, the pyramids, Waterloo,
and a wretched skinny old woman, a pawnbroker with a red trunk under her bed– it's
a nice hash for Porfiry Petrovitch to digest! How can they digest it! It's too inartistic.
"A Napoleon creep under an old woman's bed! Ugh, how loathsome!"
At moments he felt he was raving. He sank into a state of feverish excitement.
"The old woman is of no consequence," he thought, hotly and incoherently. "The old
woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not what matters! The old woman was only
an illness…. I was in a hurry to overstep…. I didn't kill a human being, but a principle!
I killed the principle, but I didn't overstep, I stopped on this side…. I was only
capable of killing. And it seems I wasn't even capable of that… Principle? Why was
that fool Razumihin abusing the socialists? They are industrious, commercial people;
'the happiness of all' is their case. No, life is only given to me once and I shall
never have it again; I don't want to wait for 'the happiness of all.' I want to
live myself, or else better not live at all. I simply couldn't pass by my mother
starving, keeping my trouble in my pocket while I waited for the 'happiness of all.'
I am putting my little brick into the happiness of all and so my heart is at peace.
Ha-ha! Why have you let me slip? I only live once, I too want…. Ech, I am an aesthetic
louse and nothing more," he added suddenly, laughing like a madman. "Yes, I am certainly
a louse," he went on, clutching at the idea, gloating over it and playing with it
with vindictive pleasure. "In the first place, because I can reason that I am one,
and secondly, because for a month past I have been troubling benevolent Providence,
calling it to witness that not for my own fleshly lusts did I undertake it, but
with a grand and noble object– ha-ha! Thirdly, because I aimed at carrying it out
as justly as possible, weighing, measuring and calculating. Of all the lice I picked
out the most useless one and proposed to take from her only as much as I needed
for the first step, no more nor less (so the rest would have gone to a monastery,
according to her will, ha-ha!). And what shows that I am utterly a louse," he added,
grinding his teeth, "is that I am perhaps viler and more loathsome than the louse
I killed, and I felt beforehand that I should tell myself so after killing her.
Can anything be compared with the horror of that! The vulgarity! The abjectness!
I understand the 'prophet' with his sabre, on his steed: Allah commands and 'trembling'
creation must obey! The 'prophet' is right, he is right when he sets a battery across
the street and blows up the innocent and the guilty without deigning to explain!
It's for you to obey, trembling creation, and not to have desires, for that's not
for you!… I shall never, never forgive the old woman!"