eBooks Cube

"And what if there has been a search already? What if I find them in
my room?"

But here was his room. Nothing and no one in it. No one had peeped in.
Even Nastasya had not touched it. But heavens! how could he have left
all those things in the hole?

He rushed to the corner, slipped his hand under the paper, pulled the
things out and lined his pockets with them. There were eight articles
in all: two little boxes with ear-rings or something of the sort, he
hardly looked to see; then four small leather cases. There was a
chain, too, merely wrapped in newspaper and something else in
newspaper, that looked like a decoration. . . . He put them all in the
different pockets of his overcoat, and the remaining pocket of his
trousers, trying to conceal them as much as possible. He took the
purse, too. Then he went out of his room, leaving the door open. He
walked quickly and resolutely, and though he felt shattered, he had
his senses about him. He was afraid of pursuit, he was afraid that in
another half-hour, another quarter of an hour perhaps, instructions
would be issued for his pursuit, and so at all costs, he must hide all
traces before then. He must clear everything up while he still had
some strength, some reasoning power left him. . . . Where was he to

That had long been settled: "Fling them into the canal, and all traces
hidden in the water, the thing would be at an end." So he had decided
in the night of his delirium when several times he had had the impulse
to get up and go away, to make haste, and get rid of it all. But to
get rid of it, turned out to be a very difficult task. He wandered
along the bank of the Ekaterininsky Canal for half an hour or more and
looked several times at the steps running down to the water, but he
could not think of carrying out his plan; either rafts stood at the
steps' edge, and women were washing clothes on them, or boats were
moored there, and people were swarming everywhere. Moreover he could
be seen and noticed from the banks on all sides; it would look
suspicious for a man to go down on purpose, stop, and throw something
into the water. And what if the boxes were to float instead of
sinking? And of course they would. Even as it was, everyone he met
seemed to stare and look round, as if they had nothing to do but to
watch him. "Why is it, or can it be my fancy?" he thought.

At last the thought struck him that it might be better to go to the
Neva. There were not so many people there, he would be less observed,
and it would be more convenient in every way, above all it was further
off. He wondered how he could have been wandering for a good half-
hour, worried and anxious in this dangerous past without thinking of
it before. And that half-hour he had lost over an irrational plan,
simply because he had thought of it in delirium! He had become
extremely absent and forgetful and he was aware of it. He certainly
must make haste.

He walked towards the Neva along V---- Prospect, but on the way
another idea struck him. "Why to the Neva? Would it not be better to
go somewhere far off, to the Islands again, and there hide the things
in some solitary place, in a wood or under a bush, and mark the spot
perhaps?" And though he felt incapable of clear judgment, the idea
seemed to him a sound one. But he was not destined to go there. For
coming out of V---- Prospect towards the square, he saw on the left a
passage leading between two blank walls to a courtyard. On the right
hand, the blank unwhitewashed wall of a four-storied house stretched
far into the court; on the left, a wooden hoarding ran parallel with
it for twenty paces into the court, and then turned sharply to the
left. Here was a deserted fenced-off place where rubbish of different
sorts was lying. At the end of the court, the corner of a low, smutty,
stone shed, apparently part of some workshop, peeped from behind the
hoarding. It was probably a carriage builder's or carpenter's shed;
the whole place from the entrance was black with coal dust. Here would
be the place to throw it, he thought. Not seeing anyone in the yard,
he slipped in, and at once saw near the gate a sink, such as is often
put in yards where there are many workmen or cab-drivers; and on the
hoarding above had been scribbled in chalk the time-honoured
witticism, "Standing here strictly forbidden." This was all the
better, for there would be nothing suspicious about his going in.
"Here I could throw it all in a heap and get away!"

Looking round once more, with his hand already in his pocket, he
noticed against the outer wall, between the entrance and the sink, a
big unhewn stone, weighing perhaps sixty pounds. The other side of the
wall was a street. He could hear passers-by, always numerous in that
part, but he could not be seen from the entrance, unless someone came
in from the street, which might well happen indeed, so there was need
of haste.

He bent down over the stone, seized the top of it firmly in both
hands, and using all his strength turned it over. Under the stone was
a small hollow in the ground, and he immediately emptied his pocket
into it. The purse lay at the top, and yet the hollow was not filled
up. Then he seized the stone again and with one twist turned it back,
so that it was in the same position again, though it stood a very
little higher. But he scraped the earth about it and pressed it at the
edges with his foot. Nothing could be noticed.

Then he went out, and turned into the square. Again an intense, almost
unbearable joy overwhelmed him for an instant, as it had in the
police-office. "I have buried my tracks! And who, who can think of
looking under that stone? It has been lying there most likely ever
since the house was built, and will lie as many years more. And if it
were found, who would think of me? It is all over! No clue!" And he
laughed. Yes, he remembered that he began laughing a thin, nervous
noiseless laugh, and went on laughing all the time he was crossing the
square. But when he reached the K---- Boulevard where two days before
he had come upon that girl, his laughter suddenly ceased. Other ideas
crept into his mind. He felt all at once that it would be loathsome to
pass that seat on which after the girl was gone, he had sat and
pondered, and that it would be hateful, too, to meet that whiskered
policeman to whom he had given the twenty copecks: "Damn him!"

He walked, looking about him angrily and distractedly. All his ideas
now seemed to be circling round some single point, and he felt that
there really was such a point, and that now, now, he was left facing
that point--and for the first time, indeed, during the last two

"Damn it all!" he thought suddenly, in a fit of ungovernable fury. "If
it has begun, then it has begun. Hang the new life! Good Lord, how
stupid it is! . . . And what lies I told to-day! How despicably I
fawned upon that wretched Ilya Petrovitch! But that is all folly! What
do I care for them all, and my fawning upon them! It is not that at
all! It is not that at all!"

Suddenly he stopped; a new utterly unexpected and exceedingly simple
question perplexed and bitterly confounded him.

"If it all has really been done deliberately and not idiotically, if I
really had a certain and definite object, how is it I did not even
glance into the purse and don't know what I had there, for which I
have undergone these agonies, and have deliberately undertaken this
base, filthy degrading business? And here I wanted at once to throw
into the water the purse together with all the things which I had not
seen either . . . how's that?"

Yes, that was so, that was all so. Yet he had known it all before, and
it was not a new question for him, even when it was decided in the
night without hesitation and consideration, as though so it must be,
as though it could not possibly be otherwise. . . . Yes, he had known
it all, and understood it all; it surely had all been settled even
yesterday at the moment when he was bending over the box and pulling
the jewel-cases out of it. . . . Yes, so it was.

"It is because I am very ill," he decided grimly at last, "I have been
worrying and fretting myself, and I don't know what I am doing. . . .
Yesterday and the day before yesterday and all this time I have been
worrying myself. . . . I shall get well and I shall not worry. . . .
But what if I don't get well at all? Good God, how sick I am of it

He walked on without resting. He had a terrible longing for some
distraction, but he did not know what to do, what to attempt. A new
overwhelming sensation was gaining more and more mastery over him
every moment; this was an immeasurable, almost physical, repulsion for
everything surrounding him, an obstinate, malignant feeling of hatred.
All who met him were loathsome to him--he loathed their faces, their
movements, their gestures. If anyone had addressed him, he felt that
he might have spat at him or bitten him. . . .

He stopped suddenly, on coming out on the bank of the Little Neva,
near the bridge to Vassilyevsky Ostrov. "Why, he lives here, in that
house," he thought, "why, I have not come to Razumihin of my own
accord! Here it's the same thing over again. . . . Very interesting to
know, though; have I come on purpose or have I simply walked here by
chance? Never mind, I said the day before yesterday that I would go
and see him the day /after/; well, and so I will! Besides I really
cannot go further now."

He went up to Razumihin's room on the fifth floor.

The latter was at home in his garret, busily writing at the moment,
and he opened the door himself. It was four months since they had seen
each other. Razumihin was sitting in a ragged dressing-gown, with
slippers on his bare feet, unkempt, unshaven and unwashed. His face
showed surprise.

"Is it you?" he cried. He looked his comrade up and down; then after a
brief pause, he whistled. "As hard up as all that! Why, brother,
you've cut me out!" he added, looking at Raskolnikov's rags. "Come sit
down, you are tired, I'll be bound."

And when he had sunk down on the American leather sofa, which was in
even worse condition than his own, Razumihin saw at once that his
visitor was ill.

"Why, you are seriously ill, do you know that?" He began feeling his
pulse. Raskolnikov pulled away his hand.

"Never mind," he said, "I have come for this: I have no lessons. . . .
I wanted, . . . but I don't really want lessons. . . ."

"But I say! You are delirious, you know!" Razumihin observed, watching
him carefully.

"No, I am not."

Raskolnikov got up from the sofa. As he had mounted the stairs to
Razumihin's, he had not realised that he would be meeting his friend
face to face. Now, in a flash, he knew, that what he was least of all
disposed for at that moment was to be face to face with anyone in the
wide world. His spleen rose within him. He almost choked with rage at
himself as soon as he crossed Razumihin's threshold.

"Good-bye," he said abruptly, and walked to the door.

"Stop, stop! You queer fish."

"I don't want to," said the other, again pulling away his hand.

"Then why the devil have you come? Are you mad, or what? Why, this is
. . . almost insulting! I won't let you go like that."

"Well, then, I came to you because I know no one but you who could
help . . . to begin . . . because you are kinder than anyone--
cleverer, I mean, and can judge . . . and now I see that I want
nothing. Do you hear? Nothing at all . . . no one's services . . . no
one's sympathy. I am by myself . . . alone. Come, that's enough. Leave
me alone."

"Stay a minute, you sweep! You are a perfect madman. As you like for
all I care. I have no lessons, do you see, and I don't care about
that, but there's a bookseller, Heruvimov--and he takes the place of a
lesson. I would not exchange him for five lessons. He's doing
publishing of a kind, and issuing natural science manuals and what a
circulation they have! The very titles are worth the money! You always
maintained that I was a fool, but by Jove, my boy, there are greater
fools than I am! Now he is setting up for being advanced, not that he
has an inkling of anything, but, of course, I encourage him. Here are
two signatures of the German text--in my opinion, the crudest
charlatanism; it discusses the question, 'Is woman a human being?'
And, of course, triumphantly proves that she is. Heruvimov is going to
bring out this work as a contribution to the woman question; I am
translating it; he will expand these two and a half signatures into
six, we shall make up a gorgeous title half a page long and bring it
out at half a rouble. It will do! He pays me six roubles the
signature, it works out to about fifteen roubles for the job, and I've
had six already in advance. When we have finished this, we are going
to begin a translation about whales, and then some of the dullest
scandals out of the second part of /Les Confessions/ we have marked
for translation; somebody has told Heruvimov, that Rousseau was a kind
of Radishchev. You may be sure I don't contradict him, hang him! Well,
would you like to do the second signature of '/Is woman a human
being?/' If you would, take the German and pens and paper--all those
are provided, and take three roubles; for as I have had six roubles in
advance on the whole thing, three roubles come to you for your share.
And when you have finished the signature there will be another three
roubles for you. And please don't think I am doing you a service;
quite the contrary, as soon as you came in, I saw how you could help
me; to begin with, I am weak in spelling, and secondly, I am sometimes
utterly adrift in German, so that I make it up as I go along for the
most part. The only comfort is, that it's bound to be a change for the
better. Though who can tell, maybe it's sometimes for the worse. Will
you take it?"

Raskolnikov took the German sheets in silence, took the three roubles
and without a word went out. Razumihin gazed after him in
astonishment. But when Raskolnikov was in the next street, he turned
back, mounted the stairs to Razumihin's again and laying on the table
the German article and the three roubles, went out again, still
without uttering a word.

"Are you raving, or what?" Razumihin shouted, roused to fury at last.
"What farce is this? You'll drive me crazy too . . . what did you come
to see me for, damn you?"

"I don't want . . . translation," muttered Raskolnikov from the

"Then what the devil do you want?" shouted Razumihin from above.
Raskolnikov continued descending the staircase in silence.

"Hey, there! Where are you living?"

No answer.

"Well, confound you then!"

But Raskolnikov was already stepping into the street. On the
Nikolaevsky Bridge he was roused to full consciousness again by an
unpleasant incident. A coachman, after shouting at him two or three
times, gave him a violent lash on the back with his whip, for having
almost fallen under his horses' hoofs. The lash so infuriated him that
he dashed away to the railing (for some unknown reason he had been
walking in the very middle of the bridge in the traffic). He angrily
clenched and ground his teeth. He heard laughter, of course.

"Serves him right!"

"A pickpocket I dare say."

"Pretending to be drunk, for sure, and getting under the wheels on
purpose; and you have to answer for him."

"It's a regular profession, that's what it is."

But while he stood at the railing, still looking angry and bewildered
after the retreating carriage, and rubbing his back, he suddenly felt
someone thrust money into his hand. He looked. It was an elderly woman
in a kerchief and goatskin shoes, with a girl, probably her daughter
wearing a hat, and carrying a green parasol.

"Take it, my good man, in Christ's name."

He took it and they passed on. It was a piece of twenty copecks. From
his dress and appearance they might well have taken him for a beggar
asking alms in the streets, and the gift of the twenty copecks he
doubtless owed to the blow, which made them feel sorry for him.

He closed his hand on the twenty copecks, walked on for ten paces, and
turned facing the Neva, looking towards the palace. The sky was
without a cloud and the water was almost bright blue, which is so rare
in the Neva. The cupola of the cathedral, which is seen at its best
from the bridge about twenty paces from the chapel, glittered in the
sunlight, and in the pure air every ornament on it could be clearly
distinguished. The pain from the lash went off, and Raskolnikov forgot
about it; one uneasy and not quite definite idea occupied him now
completely. He stood still, and gazed long and intently into the
distance; this spot was especially familiar to him. When he was
attending the university, he had hundreds of times--generally on his
way home--stood still on this spot, gazed at this truly magnificent
spectacle and almost always marvelled at a vague and mysterious
emotion it roused in him. It left him strangely cold; this gorgeous
picture was for him blank and lifeless. He wondered every time at his
sombre and enigmatic impression and, mistrusting himself, put off
finding the explanation of it. He vividly recalled those old doubts
and perplexities, and it seemed to him that it was no mere chance that
he recalled them now. It struck him as strange and grotesque, that he
should have stopped at the same spot as before, as though he actually
imagined he could think the same thoughts, be interested in the same
theories and pictures that had interested him . . . so short a time
ago. He felt it almost amusing, and yet it wrung his heart. Deep down,
hidden far away out of sight all that seemed to him now--all his old
past, his old thoughts, his old problems and theories, his old
impressions and that picture and himself and all, all. . . . He felt
as though he were flying upwards, and everything were vanishing from
his sight. Making an unconscious movement with his hand, he suddenly
became aware of the piece of money in his fist. He opened his hand,
stared at the coin, and with a sweep of his arm flung it into the
water; then he turned and went home. It seemed to him, he had cut
himself off from everyone and from everything at that moment.

Evening was coming on when he reached home, so that he must have been
walking about six hours. How and where he came back he did not
remember. Undressing, and quivering like an overdriven horse, he lay
down on the sofa, drew his greatcoat over him, and at once sank into
oblivion. . . .

It was dusk when he was waked up by a fearful scream. Good God, what a
scream! Such unnatural sounds, such howling, wailing, grinding, tears,
blows and curses he had never heard.

He could never have imagined such brutality, such frenzy. In terror he
sat up in bed, almost swooning with agony. But the fighting, wailing
and cursing grew louder and louder. And then to his intense amazement
he caught the voice of his landlady. She was howling, shrieking and
wailing, rapidly, hurriedly, incoherently, so that he could not make
out what she was talking about; she was beseeching, no doubt, not to
be beaten, for she was being mercilessly beaten on the stairs. The
voice of her assailant was so horrible from spite and rage that it was
almost a croak; but he, too, was saying something, and just as quickly
and indistinctly, hurrying and spluttering. All at once Raskolnikov
trembled; he recognised the voice--it was the voice of Ilya
Petrovitch. Ilya Petrovitch here and beating the landlady! He is
kicking her, banging her head against the steps--that's clear, that
can be told from the sounds, from the cries and the thuds. How is it,
is the world topsy-turvy? He could hear people running in crowds from
all the storeys and all the staircases; he heard voices, exclamations,
knocking, doors banging. "But why, why, and how could it be?" he
repeated, thinking seriously that he had gone mad. But no, he heard
too distinctly! And they would come to him then next, "for no doubt
. . . it's all about that . . . about yesterday. . . . Good God!" He
would have fastened his door with the latch, but he could not lift his
hand . . . besides, it would be useless. Terror gripped his heart like
ice, tortured him and numbed him. . . . But at last all this uproar,
after continuing about ten minutes, began gradually to subside. The
landlady was moaning and groaning; Ilya Petrovitch was still uttering
threats and curses. . . . But at last he, too, seemed to be silent,
and now he could not be heard. "Can he have gone away? Good Lord!"
Yes, and now the landlady is going too, still weeping and moaning
. . . and then her door slammed. . . . Now the crowd was going from
the stairs to their rooms, exclaiming, disputing, calling to one
another, raising their voices to a shout, dropping them to a whisper.
There must have been numbers of them--almost all the inmates of the
block. "But, good God, how could it be! And why, why had he come

Raskolnikov sank worn out on the sofa, but could not close his eyes.
He lay for half an hour in such anguish, such an intolerable sensation
of infinite terror as he had never experienced before. Suddenly a
bright light flashed into his room. Nastasya came in with a candle and
a plate of soup. Looking at him carefully and ascertaining that he was
not asleep, she set the candle on the table and began to lay out what
she had brought--bread, salt, a plate, a spoon.

"You've eaten nothing since yesterday, I warrant. You've been trudging
about all day, and you're shaking with fever."

"Nastasya . . . what were they beating the landlady for?"

She looked intently at him.

"Who beat the landlady?"

"Just now . . . half an hour ago, Ilya Petrovitch, the assistant
superintendent, on the stairs. . . . Why was he ill-treating her like
that, and . . . why was he here?"

Nastasya scrutinised him, silent and frowning, and her scrutiny lasted
a long time. He felt uneasy, even frightened at her searching eyes.

"Nastasya, why don't you speak?" he said timidly at last in a weak

"It's the blood," she answered at last softly, as though speaking to

"Blood? What blood?" he muttered, growing white and turning towards
the wall.

Nastasya still looked at him without speaking.

"Nobody has been beating the landlady," she declared at last in a
firm, resolute voice.

He gazed at her, hardly able to breathe.

"I heard it myself. . . . I was not asleep . . . I was sitting up," he
said still more timidly. "I listened a long while. The assistant
superintendent came. . . . Everyone ran out on to the stairs from all
the flats."

"No one has been here. That's the blood crying in your ears. When
there's no outlet for it and it gets clotted, you begin fancying
things. . . . Will you eat something?"

He made no answer. Nastasya still stood over him, watching him.

"Give me something to drink . . . Nastasya."

She went downstairs and returned with a white earthenware jug of
water. He remembered only swallowing one sip of the cold water and
spilling some on his neck. Then followed forgetfulness.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
General Fiction
Nabou.com: the big site