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> CHAPTER V

This was a gentleman no longer young, of a stiff and portly
appearance, and a cautious and sour countenance. He began by stopping
short in the doorway, staring about him with offensive and undisguised
astonishment, as though asking himself what sort of place he had come
to. Mistrustfully and with an affectation of being alarmed and almost
affronted, he scanned Raskolnikov's low and narrow "cabin." With the
same amazement he stared at Raskolnikov, who lay undressed,
dishevelled, unwashed, on his miserable dirty sofa, looking fixedly at
him. Then with the same deliberation he scrutinised the uncouth,
unkempt figure and unshaven face of Razumihin, who looked him boldly
and inquiringly in the face without rising from his seat. A
constrained silence lasted for a couple of minutes, and then, as might
be expected, some scene-shifting took place. Reflecting, probably from
certain fairly unmistakable signs, that he would get nothing in this
"cabin" by attempting to overawe them, the gentleman softened
somewhat, and civilly, though with some severity, emphasising every
syllable of his question, addressed Zossimov:

"Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, a student, or formerly a student?"

Zossimov made a slight movement, and would have answered, had not
Razumihin anticipated him.

"Here he is lying on the sofa! What do you want?"

This familiar "what do you want" seemed to cut the ground from the
feet of the pompous gentleman. He was turning to Razumihin, but
checked himself in time and turned to Zossimov again.

"This is Raskolnikov," mumbled Zossimov, nodding towards him. Then he
gave a prolonged yawn, opening his mouth as wide as possible. Then he
lazily put his hand into his waistcoat-pocket, pulled out a huge gold
watch in a round hunter's case, opened it, looked at it and as slowly
and lazily proceeded to put it back.

Raskolnikov himself lay without speaking, on his back, gazing
persistently, though without understanding, at the stranger. Now that
his face was turned away from the strange flower on the paper, it was
extremely pale and wore a look of anguish, as though he had just
undergone an agonising operation or just been taken from the rack. But
the new-comer gradually began to arouse his attention, then his
wonder, then suspicion and even alarm. When Zossimov said "This is
Raskolnikov" he jumped up quickly, sat on the sofa and with an almost
defiant, but weak and breaking, voice articulated:

"Yes, I am Raskolnikov! What do you want?"

The visitor scrutinised him and pronounced impressively:

"Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin. I believe I have reason to hope that my name
is not wholly unknown to you?"

But Raskolnikov, who had expected something quite different, gazed
blankly and dreamily at him, making no reply, as though he heard the
name of Pyotr Petrovitch for the first time.

"Is it possible that you can up to the present have received no
information?" asked Pyotr Petrovitch, somewhat disconcerted.

In reply Raskolnikov sank languidly back on the pillow, put his hands
behind his head and gazed at the ceiling. A look of dismay came into
Luzhin's face. Zossimov and Razumihin stared at him more inquisitively
than ever, and at last he showed unmistakable signs of embarrassment.

"I had presumed and calculated," he faltered, "that a letter posted
more than ten days, if not a fortnight ago . . ."

"I say, why are you standing in the doorway?" Razumihin interrupted
suddenly. "If you've something to say, sit down. Nastasya and you are
so crowded. Nastasya, make room. Here's a chair, thread your way in!"

He moved his chair back from the table, made a little space between
the table and his knees, and waited in a rather cramped position for
the visitor to "thread his way in." The minute was so chosen that it
was impossible to refuse, and the visitor squeezed his way through,
hurrying and stumbling. Reaching the chair, he sat down, looking
suspiciously at Razumihin.

"No need to be nervous," the latter blurted out. "Rodya has been ill
for the last five days and delirious for three, but now he is
recovering and has got an appetite. This is his doctor, who has just
had a look at him. I am a comrade of Rodya's, like him, formerly a
student, and now I am nursing him; so don't you take any notice of us,
but go on with your business."

"Thank you. But shall I not disturb the invalid by my presence and
conversation?" Pyotr Petrovitch asked of Zossimov.

"N-no," mumbled Zossimov; "you may amuse him." He yawned again.

"He has been conscious a long time, since the morning," went on
Razumihin, whose familiarity seemed so much like unaffected good-
nature that Pyotr Petrovitch began to be more cheerful, partly,
perhaps, because this shabby and impudent person had introduced
himself as a student.

"Your mamma," began Luzhin.

"Hm!" Razumihin cleared his throat loudly. Luzhin looked at him
inquiringly.

"That's all right, go on."

Luzhin shrugged his shoulders.

"Your mamma had commenced a letter to you while I was sojourning in
her neighbourhood. On my arrival here I purposely allowed a few days
to elapse before coming to see you, in order that I might be fully
assured that you were in full possession of the tidings; but now, to
my astonishment . . ."

"I know, I know!" Raskolnikov cried suddenly with impatient vexation.
"So you are the /fiancé/? I know, and that's enough!"

There was no doubt about Pyotr Petrovitch's being offended this time,
but he said nothing. He made a violent effort to understand what it
all meant. There was a moment's silence.

Meanwhile Raskolnikov, who had turned a little towards him when he
answered, began suddenly staring at him again with marked curiosity,
as though he had not had a good look at him yet, or as though
something new had struck him; he rose from his pillow on purpose to
stare at him. There certainly was something peculiar in Pyotr
Petrovitch's whole appearance, something which seemed to justify the
title of "fiancé" so unceremoniously applied to him. In the first
place, it was evident, far too much so indeed, that Pyotr Petrovitch
had made eager use of his few days in the capital to get himself up
and rig himself out in expectation of his betrothed--a perfectly
innocent and permissible proceeding, indeed. Even his own, perhaps too
complacent, consciousness of the agreeable improvement in his
appearance might have been forgiven in such circumstances, seeing that
Pyotr Petrovitch had taken up the rôle of fiancé. All his clothes were
fresh from the tailor's and were all right, except for being too new
and too distinctly appropriate. Even the stylish new round hat had the
same significance. Pyotr Petrovitch treated it too respectfully and
held it too carefully in his hands. The exquisite pair of lavender
gloves, real Louvain, told the same tale, if only from the fact of his
not wearing them, but carrying them in his hand for show. Light and
youthful colours predominated in Pyotr Petrovitch's attire. He wore a
charming summer jacket of a fawn shade, light thin trousers, a
waistcoat of the same, new and fine linen, a cravat of the lightest
cambric with pink stripes on it, and the best of it was, this all
suited Pyotr Petrovitch. His very fresh and even handsome face looked
younger than his forty-five years at all times. His dark, mutton-chop
whiskers made an agreeable setting on both sides, growing thickly
upon his shining, clean-shaven chin. Even his hair, touched here and
there with grey, though it had been combed and curled at a
hairdresser's, did not give him a stupid appearance, as curled hair
usually does, by inevitably suggesting a German on his wedding-day. If
there really was something unpleasing and repulsive in his rather
good-looking and imposing countenance, it was due to quite other
causes. After scanning Mr. Luzhin unceremoniously, Raskolnikov smiled
malignantly, sank back on the pillow and stared at the ceiling as
before.

But Mr. Luzhin hardened his heart and seemed to determine to take no
notice of their oddities.

"I feel the greatest regret at finding you in this situation," he
began, again breaking the silence with an effort. "If I had been aware
of your illness I should have come earlier. But you know what business
is. I have, too, a very important legal affair in the Senate, not to
mention other preoccupations which you may well conjecture. I am
expecting your mamma and sister any minute."

Raskolnikov made a movement and seemed about to speak; his face showed
some excitement. Pyotr Petrovitch paused, waited, but as nothing
followed, he went on:

". . . Any minute. I have found a lodging for them on their arrival."

"Where?" asked Raskolnikov weakly.

"Very near here, in Bakaleyev's house."

"That's in Voskresensky," put in Razumihin. "There are two storeys of
rooms, let by a merchant called Yushin; I've been there."

"Yes, rooms . . ."

"A disgusting place--filthy, stinking and, what's more, of doubtful
character. Things have happened there, and there are all sorts of
queer people living there. And I went there about a scandalous
business. It's cheap, though . . ."

"I could not, of course, find out so much about it, for I am a
stranger in Petersburg myself," Pyotr Petrovitch replied huffily.
"However, the two rooms are exceedingly clean, and as it is for so
short a time . . . I have already taken a permanent, that is, our
future flat," he said, addressing Raskolnikov, "and I am having it
done up. And meanwhile I am myself cramped for room in a lodging with
my friend Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov, in the flat of Madame
Lippevechsel; it was he who told me of Bakaleyev's house, too . . ."

"Lebeziatnikov?" said Raskolnikov slowly, as if recalling something.

"Yes, Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov, a clerk in the Ministry. Do
you know him?"

"Yes . . . no," Raskolnikov answered.

"Excuse me, I fancied so from your inquiry. I was once his guardian.
. . . A very nice young man and advanced. I like to meet young people:
one learns new things from them." Luzhin looked round hopefully at
them all.

"How do you mean?" asked Razumihin.

"In the most serious and essential matters," Pyotr Petrovitch replied,
as though delighted at the question. "You see, it's ten years since I
visited Petersburg. All the novelties, reforms, ideas have reached us
in the provinces, but to see it all more clearly one must be in
Petersburg. And it's my notion that you observe and learn most by
watching the younger generation. And I confess I am delighted . . ."

"At what?"

"Your question is a wide one. I may be mistaken, but I fancy I find
clearer views, more, so to say, criticism, more practicality . . ."

"That's true," Zossimov let drop.

"Nonsense! There's no practicality." Razumihin flew at him.
"Practicality is a difficult thing to find; it does not drop down from
heaven. And for the last two hundred years we have been divorced from
all practical life. Ideas, if you like, are fermenting," he said to
Pyotr Petrovitch, "and desire for good exists, though it's in a
childish form, and honesty you may find, although there are crowds of
brigands. Anyway, there's no practicality. Practicality goes well
shod."

"I don't agree with you," Pyotr Petrovitch replied, with evident
enjoyment. "Of course, people do get carried away and make mistakes,
but one must have indulgence; those mistakes are merely evidence of
enthusiasm for the cause and of abnormal external environment. If
little has been done, the time has been but short; of means I will not
speak. It's my personal view, if you care to know, that something has
been accomplished already. New valuable ideas, new valuable works are
circulating in the place of our old dreamy and romantic authors.
Literature is taking a maturer form, many injurious prejudice have
been rooted up and turned into ridicule. . . . In a word, we have cut
ourselves off irrevocably from the past, and that, to my thinking, is
a great thing . . ."

"He's learnt it by heart to show off!" Raskolnikov pronounced
suddenly.

"What?" asked Pyotr Petrovitch, not catching his words; but he
received no reply.

"That's all true," Zossimov hastened to interpose.

"Isn't it so?" Pyotr Petrovitch went on, glancing affably at Zossimov.
"You must admit," he went on, addressing Razumihin with a shade of
triumph and superciliousness--he almost added "young man"--"that there
is an advance, or, as they say now, progress in the name of science
and economic truth . . ."

"A commonplace."

"No, not a commonplace! Hitherto, for instance, if I were told, 'love
thy neighbour,' what came of it?" Pyotr Petrovitch went on, perhaps
with excessive haste. "It came to my tearing my coat in half to share
with my neighbour and we both were left half naked. As a Russian
proverb has it, 'Catch several hares and you won't catch one.' Science
now tells us, love yourself before all men, for everything in the
world rests on self-interest. You love yourself and manage your own
affairs properly and your coat remains whole. Economic truth adds that
the better private affairs are organised in society--the more whole
coats, so to say--the firmer are its foundations and the better is the
common welfare organised too. Therefore, in acquiring wealth solely
and exclusively for myself, I am acquiring, so to speak, for all, and
helping to bring to pass my neighbour's getting a little more than a
torn coat; and that not from private, personal liberality, but as a
consequence of the general advance. The idea is simple, but unhappily
it has been a long time reaching us, being hindered by idealism and
sentimentality. And yet it would seem to want very little wit to
perceive it . . ."

"Excuse me, I've very little wit myself," Razumihin cut in sharply,
"and so let us drop it. I began this discussion with an object, but
I've grown so sick during the last three years of this chattering to
amuse oneself, of this incessant flow of commonplaces, always the
same, that, by Jove, I blush even when other people talk like that.
You are in a hurry, no doubt, to exhibit your acquirements; and I
don't blame you, that's quite pardonable. I only wanted to find out
what sort of man you are, for so many unscrupulous people have got
hold of the progressive cause of late and have so distorted in their
own interests everything they touched, that the whole cause has been
dragged in the mire. That's enough!"

"Excuse me, sir," said Luzhin, affronted, and speaking with excessive
dignity. "Do you mean to suggest so unceremoniously that I too . . ."

"Oh, my dear sir . . . how could I? . . . Come, that's enough,"
Razumihin concluded, and he turned abruptly to Zossimov to continue
their previous conversation.

Pyotr Petrovitch had the good sense to accept the disavowal. He made
up his mind to take leave in another minute or two.

"I trust our acquaintance," he said, addressing Raskolnikov, "may,
upon your recovery and in view of the circumstances of which you are
aware, become closer . . . Above all, I hope for your return to
health . . ."

Raskolnikov did not even turn his head. Pyotr Petrovitch began getting
up from his chair.

"One of her customers must have killed her," Zossimov declared
positively.

"Not a doubt of it," replied Razumihin. "Porfiry doesn't give his
opinion, but is examining all who have left pledges with her there."

"Examining them?" Raskolnikov asked aloud.

"Yes. What then?"

"Nothing."

"How does he get hold of them?" asked Zossimov.

"Koch has given the names of some of them, other names are on the
wrappers of the pledges and some have come forward of themselves."

"It must have been a cunning and practised ruffian! The boldness of
it! The coolness!"

"That's just what it wasn't!" interposed Razumihin. "That's what
throws you all off the scent. But I maintain that he is not cunning,
not practised, and probably this was his first crime! The supposition
that it was a calculated crime and a cunning criminal doesn't work.
Suppose him to have been inexperienced, and it's clear that it was
only a chance that saved him--and chance may do anything. Why, he did
not foresee obstacles, perhaps! And how did he set to work? He took
jewels worth ten or twenty roubles, stuffing his pockets with them,
ransacked the old woman's trunks, her rags--and they found fifteen
hundred roubles, besides notes, in a box in the top drawer of the
chest! He did not know how to rob; he could only murder. It was his
first crime, I assure you, his first crime; he lost his head. And he
got off more by luck than good counsel!"

"You are talking of the murder of the old pawnbroker, I believe?"
Pyotr Petrovitch put in, addressing Zossimov. He was standing, hat and
gloves in hand, but before departing he felt disposed to throw off a
few more intellectual phrases. He was evidently anxious to make a
favourable impression and his vanity overcame his prudence.

"Yes. You've heard of it?"

"Oh, yes, being in the neighbourhood."

"Do you know the details?"

"I can't say that; but another circumstance interests me in the case--
the whole question, so to say. Not to speak of the fact that crime has
been greatly on the increase among the lower classes during the last
five years, not to speak of the cases of robbery and arson everywhere,
what strikes me as the strangest thing is that in the higher classes,
too, crime is increasing proportionately. In one place one hears of a
student's robbing the mail on the high road; in another place people
of good social position forge false banknotes; in Moscow of late a
whole gang has been captured who used to forge lottery tickets, and
one of the ringleaders was a lecturer in universal history; then our
secretary abroad was murdered from some obscure motive of gain. . . .
And if this old woman, the pawnbroker, has been murdered by someone
of a higher class in society--for peasants don't pawn gold trinkets--
how are we to explain this demoralisation of the civilised part of our
society?"

"There are many economic changes," put in Zossimov.

"How are we to explain it?" Razumihin caught him up. "It might be
explained by our inveterate impracticality."

"How do you mean?"

"What answer had your lecturer in Moscow to make to the question why
he was forging notes? 'Everybody is getting rich one way or another,
so I want to make haste to get rich too.' I don't remember the exact
words, but the upshot was that he wants money for nothing, without
waiting or working! We've grown used to having everything ready-made,
to walking on crutches, to having our food chewed for us. Then the
great hour struck,[*] and every man showed himself in his true
colours."

[*] The emancipation of the serfs in 1861 is meant.--TRANSLATOR'S
NOTE.

"But morality? And so to speak, principles . . ."

"But why do you worry about it?" Raskolnikov interposed suddenly.
"It's in accordance with your theory!"

"In accordance with my theory?"

"Why, carry out logically the theory you were advocating just now, and
it follows that people may be killed . . ."

"Upon my word!" cried Luzhin.

"No, that's not so," put in Zossimov.

Raskolnikov lay with a white face and twitching upper lip, breathing
painfully.

"There's a measure in all things," Luzhin went on superciliously.
"Economic ideas are not an incitement to murder, and one has but to
suppose . . ."

"And is it true," Raskolnikov interposed once more suddenly, again in
a voice quivering with fury and delight in insulting him, "is it true
that you told your /fiancée/ . . . within an hour of her acceptance,
that what pleased you most . . . was that she was a beggar . . .
because it was better to raise a wife from poverty, so that you may
have complete control over her, and reproach her with your being her
benefactor?"

"Upon my word," Luzhin cried wrathfully and irritably, crimson with
confusion, "to distort my words in this way! Excuse me, allow me to
assure you that the report which has reached you, or rather, let me
say, has been conveyed to you, has no foundation in truth, and I . . .
suspect who . . . in a word . . . this arrow . . . in a word, your
mamma . . . She seemed to me in other things, with all her excellent
qualities, of a somewhat high-flown and romantic way of thinking.
. . . But I was a thousand miles from supposing that she would
misunderstand and misrepresent things in so fanciful a way. . . . And
indeed . . . indeed . . ."

"I tell you what," cried Raskolnikov, raising himself on his pillow
and fixing his piercing, glittering eyes upon him, "I tell you what."

"What?" Luzhin stood still, waiting with a defiant and offended face.
Silence lasted for some seconds.

"Why, if ever again . . . you dare to mention a single word . . .
about my mother . . . I shall send you flying downstairs!"

"What's the matter with you?" cried Razumihin.

"So that's how it is?" Luzhin turned pale and bit his lip. "Let me
tell you, sir," he began deliberately, doing his utmost to restrain
himself but breathing hard, "at the first moment I saw you you were
ill-disposed to me, but I remained here on purpose to find out more. I
could forgive a great deal in a sick man and a connection, but you
. . . never after this . . ."

"I am not ill," cried Raskolnikov.

"So much the worse . . ."

"Go to hell!"

But Luzhin was already leaving without finishing his speech, squeezing
between the table and the chair; Razumihin got up this time to let him
pass. Without glancing at anyone, and not even nodding to Zossimov,
who had for some time been making signs to him to let the sick man
alone, he went out, lifting his hat to the level of his shoulders to
avoid crushing it as he stooped to go out of the door. And even the
curve of his spine was expressive of the horrible insult he had
received.

"How could you--how could you!" Razumihin said, shaking his head in
perplexity.

"Let me alone--let me alone all of you!" Raskolnikov cried in a
frenzy. "Will you ever leave off tormenting me? I am not afraid of
you! I am not afraid of anyone, anyone now! Get away from me! I want
to be alone, alone, alone!"

"Come along," said Zossimov, nodding to Razumihin.

"But we can't leave him like this!"

"Come along," Zossimov repeated insistently, and he went out.
Razumihin thought a minute and ran to overtake him.

"It might be worse not to obey him," said Zossimov on the stairs. "He
mustn't be irritated."

"What's the matter with him?"

"If only he could get some favourable shock, that's what would do it!
At first he was better. . . . You know he has got something on his
mind! Some fixed idea weighing on him. . . . I am very much afraid so;
he must have!"

"Perhaps it's that gentleman, Pyotr Petrovitch. From his conversation
I gather he is going to marry his sister, and that he had received a
letter about it just before his illness. . . ."

"Yes, confound the man! he may have upset the case altogether. But
have you noticed, he takes no interest in anything, he does not
respond to anything except one point on which he seems excited--that's
the murder?"

"Yes, yes," Razumihin agreed, "I noticed that, too. He is interested,
frightened. It gave him a shock on the day he was ill in the police
office; he fainted."

"Tell me more about that this evening and I'll tell you something
afterwards. He interests me very much! In half an hour I'll go and see
him again. . . . There'll be no inflammation though."

"Thanks! And I'll wait with Pashenka meantime and will keep watch on
him through Nastasya. . . ."

Raskolnikov, left alone, looked with impatience and misery at
Nastasya, but she still lingered.

"Won't you have some tea now?" she asked.

"Later! I am sleepy! Leave me."

He turned abruptly to the wall; Nastasya went out.



Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Category:
General Fiction
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