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> CHAPTER IV

Zossimov was a tall, fat man with a puffy, colourless, clean-shaven
face and straight flaxen hair. He wore spectacles, and a big gold ring
on his fat finger. He was twenty-seven. He had on a light grey
fashionable loose coat, light summer trousers, and everything about
him loose, fashionable and spick and span; his linen was
irreproachable, his watch-chain was massive. In manner he was slow
and, as it were, nonchalant, and at the same time studiously free and
easy; he made efforts to conceal his self-importance, but it was
apparent at every instant. All his acquaintances found him tedious,
but said he was clever at his work.

"I've been to you twice to-day, brother. You see, he's come to
himself," cried Razumihin.

"I see, I see; and how do we feel now, eh?" said Zossimov to
Raskolnikov, watching him carefully and, sitting down at the foot of
the sofa, he settled himself as comfortably as he could.

"He is still depressed," Razumihin went on. "We've just changed his
linen and he almost cried."

"That's very natural; you might have put it off if he did not wish it.
. . . His pulse is first-rate. Is your head still aching, eh?"

"I am well, I am perfectly well!" Raskolnikov declared positively and
irritably. He raised himself on the sofa and looked at them with
glittering eyes, but sank back on to the pillow at once and turned to
the wall. Zossimov watched him intently.

"Very good. . . . Going on all right," he said lazily. "Has he eaten
anything?"

They told him, and asked what he might have.

"He may have anything . . . soup, tea . . . mushrooms and cucumbers,
of course, you must not give him; he'd better not have meat either,
and . . . but no need to tell you that!" Razumihin and he looked at
each other. "No more medicine or anything. I'll look at him again
to-morrow. Perhaps, to-day even . . . but never mind . . ."

"To-morrow evening I shall take him for a walk," said Razumihin. "We
are going to the Yusupov garden and then to the Palais de Crystal."

"I would not disturb him to-morrow at all, but I don't know . . . a
little, maybe . . . but we'll see."

"Ach, what a nuisance! I've got a house-warming party to-night; it's
only a step from here. Couldn't he come? He could lie on the sofa. You
are coming?" Razumihin said to Zossimov. "Don't forget, you promised."

"All right, only rather later. What are you going to do?"

"Oh, nothing--tea, vodka, herrings. There will be a pie . . . just our
friends."

"And who?"

"All neighbours here, almost all new friends, except my old uncle, and
he is new too--he only arrived in Petersburg yesterday to see to some
business of his. We meet once in five years."

"What is he?"

"He's been stagnating all his life as a district postmaster; gets a
little pension. He is sixty-five--not worth talking about. . . . But I
am fond of him. Porfiry Petrovitch, the head of the Investigation
Department here . . . But you know him."

"Is he a relation of yours, too?"

"A very distant one. But why are you scowling? Because you quarrelled
once, won't you come then?"

"I don't care a damn for him."

"So much the better. Well, there will be some students, a teacher, a
government clerk, a musician, an officer and Zametov."

"Do tell me, please, what you or he"--Zossimov nodded at Raskolnikov--
"can have in common with this Zametov?"

"Oh, you particular gentleman! Principles! You are worked by
principles, as it were by springs; you won't venture to turn round on
your own account. If a man is a nice fellow, that's the only principle
I go upon. Zametov is a delightful person."

"Though he does take bribes."

"Well, he does! and what of it? I don't care if he does take bribes,"
Razumihin cried with unnatural irritability. "I don't praise him for
taking bribes. I only say he is a nice man in his own way! But if one
looks at men in all ways--are there many good ones left? Why, I am
sure I shouldn't be worth a baked onion myself . . . perhaps with you
thrown in."

"That's too little; I'd give two for you."

"And I wouldn't give more than one for you. No more of your jokes!
Zametov is no more than a boy. I can pull his hair and one must draw
him not repel him. You'll never improve a man by repelling him,
especially a boy. One has to be twice as careful with a boy. Oh, you
progressive dullards! You don't understand. You harm yourselves
running another man down. . . . But if you want to know, we really
have something in common."

"I should like to know what."

"Why, it's all about a house-painter. . . . We are getting him out of
a mess! Though indeed there's nothing to fear now. The matter is
absolutely self-evident. We only put on steam."

"A painter?"

"Why, haven't I told you about it? I only told you the beginning then
about the murder of the old pawnbroker-woman. Well, the painter is
mixed up in it . . ."

"Oh, I heard about that murder before and was rather interested in it
. . . partly . . . for one reason. . . . I read about it in the
papers, too. . . ."

"Lizaveta was murdered, too," Nastasya blurted out, suddenly
addressing Raskolnikov. She remained in the room all the time,
standing by the door listening.

"Lizaveta," murmured Raskolnikov hardly audibly.

"Lizaveta, who sold old clothes. Didn't you know her? She used to come
here. She mended a shirt for you, too."

Raskolnikov turned to the wall where in the dirty, yellow paper he
picked out one clumsy, white flower with brown lines on it and began
examining how many petals there were in it, how many scallops in the
petals and how many lines on them. He felt his arms and legs as
lifeless as though they had been cut off. He did not attempt to move,
but stared obstinately at the flower.

"But what about the painter?" Zossimov interrupted Nastasya's chatter
with marked displeasure. She sighed and was silent.

"Why, he was accused of the murder," Razumihin went on hotly.

"Was there evidence against him then?"

"Evidence, indeed! Evidence that was no evidence, and that's what we
have to prove. It was just as they pitched on those fellows, Koch and
Pestryakov, at first. Foo! how stupidly it's all done, it makes one
sick, though it's not one's business! Pestryakov may be coming
to-night. . . . By the way, Rodya, you've heard about the business
already; it happened before you were ill, the day before you fainted
at the police office while they were talking about it."

Zossimov looked curiously at Raskolnikov. He did not stir.

"But I say, Razumihin, I wonder at you. What a busybody you are!"
Zossimov observed.

"Maybe I am, but we will get him off anyway," shouted Razumihin,
bringing his fist down on the table. "What's the most offensive is not
their lying--one can always forgive lying--lying is a delightful
thing, for it leads to truth--what is offensive is that they lie and
worship their own lying. . . . I respect Porfiry, but . . . What threw
them out at first? The door was locked, and when they came back with
the porter it was open. So it followed that Koch and Pestryakov were
the murderers--that was their logic!"

"But don't excite yourself; they simply detained them, they could not
help that. . . . And, by the way, I've met that man Koch. He used to
buy unredeemed pledges from the old woman? Eh?"

"Yes, he is a swindler. He buys up bad debts, too. He makes a
profession of it. But enough of him! Do you know what makes me angry?
It's their sickening rotten, petrified routine. . . . And this case
might be the means of introducing a new method. One can show from the
psychological data alone how to get on the track of the real man. 'We
have facts,' they say. But facts are not everything--at least half the
business lies in how you interpret them!"

"Can you interpret them, then?"

"Anyway, one can't hold one's tongue when one has a feeling, a
tangible feeling, that one might be a help if only. . . . Eh! Do you
know the details of the case?"

"I am waiting to hear about the painter."

"Oh, yes! Well, here's the story. Early on the third day after the
murder, when they were still dandling Koch and Pestryakov--though they
accounted for every step they took and it was as plain as a pikestaff-
an unexpected fact turned up. A peasant called Dushkin, who keeps a
dram-shop facing the house, brought to the police office a jeweller's
case containing some gold ear-rings, and told a long rigamarole. 'The
day before yesterday, just after eight o'clock'--mark the day and the
hour!--'a journeyman house-painter, Nikolay, who had been in to see me
already that day, brought me this box of gold ear-rings and stones,
and asked me to give him two roubles for them. When I asked him where
he got them, he said that he picked them up in the street. I did not
ask him anything more.' I am telling you Dushkin's story. 'I gave him
a note'--a rouble that is--'for I thought if he did not pawn it with
me he would with another. It would all come to the same thing--he'd
spend it on drink, so the thing had better be with me. The further you
hide it the quicker you will find it, and if anything turns up, if I
hear any rumours, I'll take it to the police.' Of course, that's all
taradiddle; he lies like a horse, for I know this Dushkin, he is a
pawnbroker and a receiver of stolen goods, and he did not cheat
Nikolay out of a thirty-rouble trinket in order to give it to the
police. He was simply afraid. But no matter, to return to Dushkin's
story. 'I've known this peasant, Nikolay Dementyev, from a child; he
comes from the same province and district of Zarask, we are both
Ryazan men. And though Nikolay is not a drunkard, he drinks, and I
knew he had a job in that house, painting work with Dmitri, who comes
from the same village, too. As soon as he got the rouble he changed
it, had a couple of glasses, took his change and went out. But I did
not see Dmitri with him then. And the next day I heard that someone
had murdered Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, Lizaveta Ivanovna, with
an axe. I knew them, and I felt suspicious about the ear-rings at
once, for I knew the murdered woman lent money on pledges. I went to
the house, and began to make careful inquiries without saying a word
to anyone. First of all I asked, "Is Nikolay here?" Dmitri told me
that Nikolay had gone off on the spree; he had come home at daybreak
drunk, stayed in the house about ten minutes, and went out again.
Dmitri didn't see him again and is finishing the job alone. And their
job is on the same staircase as the murder, on the second floor. When
I heard all that I did not say a word to anyone'--that's Dushkin's
tale--'but I found out what I could about the murder, and went home
feeling as suspicious as ever. And at eight o'clock this morning'--
that was the third day, you understand--'I saw Nikolay coming in, not
sober, though not to say very drunk--he could understand what was said
to him. He sat down on the bench and did not speak. There was only one
stranger in the bar and a man I knew asleep on a bench and our two
boys. "Have you seen Dmitri?" said I. "No, I haven't," said he. "And
you've not been here either?" "Not since the day before yesterday,"
said he. "And where did you sleep last night?" "In Peski, with the
Kolomensky men." "And where did you get those ear-rings?" I asked. "I
found them in the street," and the way he said it was a bit queer; he
did not look at me. "Did you hear what happened that very evening, at
that very hour, on that same staircase?" said I. "No," said he, "I had
not heard," and all the while he was listening, his eyes were staring
out of his head and he turned as white as chalk. I told him all about
it and he took his hat and began getting up. I wanted to keep him.
"Wait a bit, Nikolay," said I, "won't you have a drink?" And I signed
to the boy to hold the door, and I came out from behind the bar; but
he darted out and down the street to the turning at a run. I have not
seen him since. Then my doubts were at an end--it was his doing, as
clear as could be. . . .'"

"I should think so," said Zossimov.

"Wait! Hear the end. Of course they sought high and low for Nikolay;
they detained Dushkin and searched his house; Dmitri, too, was
arrested; the Kolomensky men also were turned inside out. And the day
before yesterday they arrested Nikolay in a tavern at the end of the
town. He had gone there, taken the silver cross off his neck and asked
for a dram for it. They gave it to him. A few minutes afterwards the
woman went to the cowshed, and through a crack in the wall she saw in
the stable adjoining he had made a noose of his sash from the beam,
stood on a block of wood, and was trying to put his neck in the noose.
The woman screeched her hardest; people ran in. 'So that's what you
are up to!' 'Take me,' he says, 'to such-and-such a police officer;
I'll confess everything.' Well, they took him to that police station--
that is here--with a suitable escort. So they asked him this and that,
how old he is, 'twenty-two,' and so on. At the question, 'When you
were working with Dmitri, didn't you see anyone on the staircase at
such-and-such a time?'--answer: 'To be sure folks may have gone up and
down, but I did not notice them.' 'And didn't you hear anything, any
noise, and so on?' 'We heard nothing special.' 'And did you hear,
Nikolay, that on the same day Widow So-and-so and her sister were
murdered and robbed?' 'I never knew a thing about it. The first I
heard of it was from Afanasy Pavlovitch the day before yesterday.'
'And where did you find the ear-rings?' 'I found them on the pavement.
"Why didn't you go to work with Dmitri the other day?' 'Because I was
drinking.' 'And where were you drinking?' 'Oh, in such-and-such a
place.' 'Why did you run away from Dushkin's?' 'Because I was awfully
frightened.' 'What were you frightened of?' 'That I should be
accused.' 'How could you be frightened, if you felt free from guilt?'
Now, Zossimov, you may not believe me, that question was put literally
in those words. I know it for a fact, it was repeated to me exactly!
What do you say to that?"

"Well, anyway, there's the evidence."

"I am not talking of the evidence now, I am talking about that
question, of their own idea of themselves. Well, so they squeezed and
squeezed him and he confessed: 'I did not find it in the street, but
in the flat where I was painting with Dmitri.' 'And how was that?'
'Why, Dmitri and I were painting there all day, and we were just
getting ready to go, and Dmitri took a brush and painted my face, and
he ran off and I after him. I ran after him, shouting my hardest, and
at the bottom of the stairs I ran right against the porter and some
gentlemen--and how many gentlemen were there I don't remember. And the
porter swore at me, and the other porter swore, too, and the porter's
wife came out, and swore at us, too; and a gentleman came into the
entry with a lady, and he swore at us, too, for Dmitri and I lay right
across the way. I got hold of Dmitri's hair and knocked him down and
began beating him. And Dmitri, too, caught me by the hair and began
beating me. But we did it all not for temper but in a friendly way,
for sport. And then Dmitri escaped and ran into the street, and I ran
after him; but I did not catch him, and went back to the flat alone; I
had to clear up my things. I began putting them together, expecting
Dmitri to come, and there in the passage, in the corner by the door, I
stepped on the box. I saw it lying there wrapped up in paper. I took
off the paper, saw some little hooks, undid them, and in the box were
the ear-rings. . . .'"

"Behind the door? Lying behind the door? Behind the door?" Raskolnikov
cried suddenly, staring with a blank look of terror at Razumihin, and
he slowly sat up on the sofa, leaning on his hand.

"Yes . . . why? What's the matter? What's wrong?" Razumihin, too, got
up from his seat.

"Nothing," Raskolnikov answered faintly, turning to the wall. All were
silent for a while.

"He must have waked from a dream," Razumihin said at last, looking
inquiringly at Zossimov. The latter slightly shook his head.

"Well, go on," said Zossimov. "What next?"

"What next? As soon as he saw the ear-rings, forgetting Dmitri and
everything, he took up his cap and ran to Dushkin and, as we know, got
a rouble from him. He told a lie saying he found them in the street,
and went off drinking. He keeps repeating his old story about the
murder: 'I know nothing of it, never heard of it till the day before
yesterday.' 'And why didn't you come to the police till now?' 'I was
frightened.' 'And why did you try to hang yourself?' 'From anxiety.'
'What anxiety?' 'That I should be accused of it.' Well, that's the
whole story. And now what do you suppose they deduced from that?"

"Why, there's no supposing. There's a clue, such as it is, a fact. You
wouldn't have your painter set free?"

"Now they've simply taken him for the murderer. They haven't a shadow
of doubt."

"That's nonsense. You are excited. But what about the ear-rings? You
must admit that, if on the very same day and hour ear-rings from the
old woman's box have come into Nikolay's hands, they must have come
there somehow. That's a good deal in such a case."

"How did they get there? How did they get there?" cried Razumihin.
"How can you, a doctor, whose duty it is to study man and who has more
opportunity than anyone else for studying human nature--how can you
fail to see the character of the man in the whole story? Don't you see
at once that the answers he has given in the examination are the holy
truth? They came into his hand precisely as he has told us--he stepped
on the box and picked it up."

"The holy truth! But didn't he own himself that he told a lie at
first?"

"Listen to me, listen attentively. The porter and Koch and Pestryakov
and the other porter and the wife of the first porter and the woman
who was sitting in the porter's lodge and the man Kryukov, who had
just got out of a cab at that minute and went in at the entry with a
lady on his arm, that is eight or ten witnesses, agree that Nikolay
had Dmitri on the ground, was lying on him beating him, while Dmitri
hung on to his hair, beating him, too. They lay right across the way,
blocking the thoroughfare. They were sworn at on all sides while they
'like children' (the very words of the witnesses) were falling over
one another, squealing, fighting and laughing with the funniest faces,
and, chasing one another like children, they ran into the street. Now
take careful note. The bodies upstairs were warm, you understand, warm
when they found them! If they, or Nikolay alone, had murdered them and
broken open the boxes, or simply taken part in the robbery, allow me
to ask you one question: do their state of mind, their squeals and
giggles and childish scuffling at the gate fit in with axes,
bloodshed, fiendish cunning, robbery? They'd just killed them, not
five or ten minutes before, for the bodies were still warm, and at
once, leaving the flat open, knowing that people would go there at
once, flinging away their booty, they rolled about like children,
laughing and attracting general attention. And there are a dozen
witnesses to swear to that!"

"Of course it is strange! It's impossible, indeed, but . . ."

"No, brother, no /buts/. And if the ear-rings being found in Nikolay's
hands at the very day and hour of the murder constitutes an important
piece of circumstantial evidence against him--although the explanation
given by him accounts for it, and therefore it does not tell seriously
against him--one must take into consideration the facts which prove
him innocent, especially as they are facts that /cannot be denied/.
And do you suppose, from the character of our legal system, that they
will accept, or that they are in a position to accept, this fact--
resting simply on a psychological impossibility--as irrefutable and
conclusively breaking down the circumstantial evidence for the
prosecution? No, they won't accept it, they certainly won't, because
they found the jewel-case and the man tried to hang himself, 'which he
could not have done if he hadn't felt guilty.' That's the point,
that's what excites me, you must understand!"

"Oh, I see you are excited! Wait a bit. I forgot to ask you; what
proof is there that the box came from the old woman?"

"That's been proved," said Razumihin with apparent reluctance,
frowning. "Koch recognised the jewel-case and gave the name of the
owner, who proved conclusively that it was his."

"That's bad. Now another point. Did anyone see Nikolay at the time
that Koch and Pestryakov were going upstairs at first, and is there no
evidence about that?"

"Nobody did see him," Razumihin answered with vexation. "That's the
worst of it. Even Koch and Pestryakov did not notice them on their way
upstairs, though, indeed, their evidence could not have been worth
much. They said they saw the flat was open, and that there must be
work going on in it, but they took no special notice and could not
remember whether there actually were men at work in it."

"Hm! . . . So the only evidence for the defence is that they were
beating one another and laughing. That constitutes a strong
presumption, but . . . How do you explain the facts yourself?"

"How do I explain them? What is there to explain? It's clear. At any
rate, the direction in which explanation is to be sought is clear, and
the jewel-case points to it. The real murderer dropped those ear-
rings. The murderer was upstairs, locked in, when Koch and Pestryakov
knocked at the door. Koch, like an ass, did not stay at the door; so
the murderer popped out and ran down, too; for he had no other way of
escape. He hid from Koch, Pestryakov and the porter in the flat when
Nikolay and Dmitri had just run out of it. He stopped there while the
porter and others were going upstairs, waited till they were out of
hearing, and then went calmly downstairs at the very minute when
Dmitri and Nikolay ran out into the street and there was no one in the
entry; possibly he was seen, but not noticed. There are lots of people
going in and out. He must have dropped the ear-rings out of his pocket
when he stood behind the door, and did not notice he dropped them,
because he had other things to think of. The jewel-case is a
conclusive proof that he did stand there. . . . That's how I explain
it."

"Too clever! No, my boy, you're too clever. That beats everything."

"But, why, why?"

"Why, because everything fits too well . . . it's too melodramatic."

"A-ach!" Razumihin was exclaiming, but at that moment the door opened
and a personage came in who was a stranger to all present.



Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Category:
General Fiction
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