> CHAPTER IV
Raskolnikov had been a vigorous and active champion of Sonia against
Luzhin, although he had such a load of horror and anguish in his own
heart. But having gone through so much in the morning, he found a sort
of relief in a change of sensations, apart from the strong personal
feeling which impelled him to defend Sonia. He was agitated too,
especially at some moments, by the thought of his approaching
interview with Sonia: he /had/ to tell her who had killed Lizaveta. He
knew the terrible suffering it would be to him and, as it were,
brushed away the thought of it. So when he cried as he left Katerina
Ivanovna's, "Well, Sofya Semyonovna, we shall see what you'll say
now!" he was still superficially excited, still vigorous and defiant
from his triumph over Luzhin. But, strange to say, by the time he
reached Sonia's lodging, he felt a sudden impotence and fear. He stood
still in hesitation at the door, asking himself the strange question:
"Must he tell her who killed Lizaveta?" It was a strange question
because he felt at the very time not only that he could not help
telling her, but also that he could not put off the telling. He did
not yet know why it must be so, he only /felt/ it, and the agonising
sense of his impotence before the inevitable almost crushed him. To
cut short his hesitation and suffering, he quickly opened the door and
looked at Sonia from the doorway. She was sitting with her elbows on
the table and her face in her hands, but seeing Raskolnikov she got up
at once and came to meet him as though she were expecting him.
"What would have become of me but for you?" she said quickly, meeting
him in the middle of the room.
Evidently she was in haste to say this to him. It was what she had
been waiting for.
Raskolnikov went to the table and sat down on the chair from which she
had only just risen. She stood facing him, two steps away, just as she
had done the day before.
"Well, Sonia?" he said, and felt that his voice was trembling, "it was
all due to 'your social position and the habits associated with it.'
Did you understand that just now?"
Her face showed her distress.
"Only don't talk to me as you did yesterday," she interrupted him.
"Please don't begin it. There is misery enough without that."
She made haste to smile, afraid that he might not like the reproach.
"I was silly to come away from there. What is happening there now? I
wanted to go back directly, but I kept thinking that . . . you would
He told her that Amalia Ivanovna was turning them out of their lodging
and that Katerina Ivanovna had run off somewhere "to seek justice."
"My God!" cried Sonia, "let's go at once. . . ."
And she snatched up her cape.
"It's everlastingly the same thing!" said Raskolnikov, irritably.
"You've no thought except for them! Stay a little with me."
"But . . . Katerina Ivanovna?"
"You won't lose Katerina Ivanovna, you may be sure, she'll come to you
herself since she has run out," he added peevishly. "If she doesn't
find you here, you'll be blamed for it. . . ."
Sonia sat down in painful suspense. Raskolnikov was silent, gazing at
the floor and deliberating.
"This time Luzhin did not want to prosecute you," he began, not
looking at Sonia, "but if he had wanted to, if it had suited his
plans, he would have sent you to prison if it had not been for
Lebeziatnikov and me. Ah?"
"Yes," she assented in a faint voice. "Yes," she repeated, preoccupied
"But I might easily not have been there. And it was quite an accident
Lebeziatnikov's turning up."
Sonia was silent.
"And if you'd gone to prison, what then? Do you remember what I said
Again she did not answer. He waited.
"I thought you would cry out again 'don't speak of it, leave off.'"
Raskolnikov gave a laugh, but rather a forced one. "What, silence
again?" he asked a minute later. "We must talk about something, you
know. It would be interesting for me to know how you would decide a
certain 'problem' as Lebeziatnikov would say." (He was beginning to
lose the thread.) "No, really, I am serious. Imagine, Sonia, that you
had known all Luzhin's intentions beforehand. Known, that is, for a
fact, that they would be the ruin of Katerina Ivanovna and the
children and yourself thrown in--since you don't count yourself for
anything--Polenka too . . . for she'll go the same way. Well, if
suddenly it all depended on your decision whether he or they should go
on living, that is whether Luzhin should go on living and doing wicked
things, or Katerina Ivanovna should die? How would you decide which of
them was to die? I ask you?"
Sonia looked uneasily at him. There was something peculiar in this
hesitating question, which seemed approaching something in a
"I felt that you were going to ask some question like that," she said,
looking inquisitively at him.
"I dare say you did. But how is it to be answered?"
"Why do you ask about what could not happen?" said Sonia reluctantly.
"Then it would be better for Luzhin to go on living and doing wicked
things? You haven't dared to decide even that!"
"But I can't know the Divine Providence. . . . And why do you ask what
can't be answered? What's the use of such foolish questions? How could
it happen that it should depend on my decision--who has made me a
judge to decide who is to live and who is not to live?"
"Oh, if the Divine Providence is to be mixed up in it, there is no
doing anything," Raskolnikov grumbled morosely.
"You'd better say straight out what you want!" Sonia cried in
distress. "You are leading up to something again. . . . Can you have
come simply to torture me?"
She could not control herself and began crying bitterly. He looked at
her in gloomy misery. Five minutes passed.
"Of course you're right, Sonia," he said softly at last. He was
suddenly changed. His tone of assumed arrogance and helpless defiance
was gone. Even his voice was suddenly weak. "I told you yesterday that
I was not coming to ask forgiveness and almost the first thing I've
said is to ask forgiveness. . . . I said that about Luzhin and
Providence for my own sake. I was asking forgiveness, Sonia. . . ."
He tried to smile, but there was something helpless and incomplete in
his pale smile. He bowed his head and hid his face in his hands.
And suddenly a strange, surprising sensation of a sort of bitter
hatred for Sonia passed through his heart. As it were wondering and
frightened of this sensation, he raised his head and looked intently
at her; but he met her uneasy and painfully anxious eyes fixed on him;
there was love in them; his hatred vanished like a phantom. It was not
the real feeling; he had taken the one feeling for the other. It only
meant that /that/ minute had come.
He hid his face in his hands again and bowed his head. Suddenly he
turned pale, got up from his chair, looked at Sonia, and without
uttering a word sat down mechanically on her bed.
His sensations that moment were terribly like the moment when he had
stood over the old woman with the axe in his hand and felt that "he
must not lose another minute."
"What's the matter?" asked Sonia, dreadfully frightened.
He could not utter a word. This was not at all, not at all the way he
had intended to "tell" and he did not understand what was happening to
him now. She went up to him, softly, sat down on the bed beside him
and waited, not taking her eyes off him. Her heart throbbed and sank.
It was unendurable; he turned his deadly pale face to her. His lips
worked, helplessly struggling to utter something. A pang of terror
passed through Sonia's heart.
"What's the matter?" she repeated, drawing a little away from him.
"Nothing, Sonia, don't be frightened. . . . It's nonsense. It really
is nonsense, if you think of it," he muttered, like a man in delirium.
"Why have I come to torture you?" he added suddenly, looking at her.
"Why, really? I keep asking myself that question, Sonia. . . ."
He had perhaps been asking himself that question a quarter of an hour
before, but now he spoke helplessly, hardly knowing what he said and
feeling a continual tremor all over.
"Oh, how you are suffering!" she muttered in distress, looking
intently at him.
"It's all nonsense. . . . Listen, Sonia." He suddenly smiled, a pale
helpless smile for two seconds. "You remember what I meant to tell you
Sonia waited uneasily.
"I said as I went away that perhaps I was saying good-bye for ever,
but that if I came to-day I would tell you who . . . who killed
She began trembling all over.
"Well, here I've come to tell you."
"Then you really meant it yesterday?" she whispered with difficulty.
"How do you know?" she asked quickly, as though suddenly regaining her
Sonia's face grew paler and paler, and she breathed painfully.
She paused a minute.
"Have they found him?" she asked timidly.
"Then how do you know about /it/?" she asked again, hardly audibly and
again after a minute's pause.
He turned to her and looked very intently at her.
"Guess," he said, with the same distorted helpless smile.
A shudder passed over her.
"But you . . . why do you frighten me like this?" she said, smiling
like a child.
"I must be a great friend of /his/ . . . since I know," Raskolnikov
went on, still gazing into her face, as though he could not turn his
eyes away. "He . . . did not mean to kill that Lizaveta . . . he . . .
killed her accidentally. . . . He meant to kill the old woman when she
was alone and he went there . . . and then Lizaveta came in . . . he
killed her too."
Another awful moment passed. Both still gazed at one another.
"You can't guess, then?" he asked suddenly, feeling as though he were
flinging himself down from a steeple.
"N-no . . ." whispered Sonia.
"Take a good look."
As soon as he had said this again, the same familiar sensation froze
his heart. He looked at her and all at once seemed to see in her face
the face of Lizaveta. He remembered clearly the expression in
Lizaveta's face, when he approached her with the axe and she stepped
back to the wall, putting out her hand, with childish terror in her
face, looking as little children do when they begin to be frightened
of something, looking intently and uneasily at what frightens them,
shrinking back and holding out their little hands on the point of
crying. Almost the same thing happened now to Sonia. With the same
helplessness and the same terror, she looked at him for a while and,
suddenly putting out her left hand, pressed her fingers faintly
against his breast and slowly began to get up from the bed, moving
further from him and keeping her eyes fixed even more immovably on
him. Her terror infected him. The same fear showed itself on his face.
In the same way he stared at her and almost with the same /childish/
"Have you guessed?" he whispered at last.
"Good God!" broke in an awful wail from her bosom.
She sank helplessly on the bed with her face in the pillows, but a
moment later she got up, moved quickly to him, seized both his hands
and, gripping them tight in her thin fingers, began looking into his
face again with the same intent stare. In this last desperate look she
tried to look into him and catch some last hope. But there was no
hope; there was no doubt remaining; it was all true! Later on, indeed,
when she recalled that moment, she thought it strange and wondered why
she had seen at once that there was no doubt. She could not have said,
for instance, that she had foreseen something of the sort--and yet
now, as soon as he told her, she suddenly fancied that she had really
foreseen this very thing.
"Stop, Sonia, enough! don't torture me," he begged her miserably.
It was not at all, not at all like this he had thought of telling her,
but this is how it happened.
She jumped up, seeming not to know what she was doing, and, wringing
her hands, walked into the middle of the room; but quickly went back
and sat down again beside him, her shoulder almost touching his. All
of a sudden she started as though she had been stabbed, uttered a cry
and fell on her knees before him, she did not know why.
"What have you done--what have you done to yourself?" she said in
despair, and, jumping up, she flung herself on his neck, threw her
arms round him, and held him tightly.
Raskolnikov drew back and looked at her with a mournful smile.
"You are a strange girl, Sonia--you kiss me and hug me when I tell you
about that. . . . You don't think what you are doing."
"There is no one--no one in the whole world now so unhappy as you!"
she cried in a frenzy, not hearing what he said, and she suddenly
broke into violent hysterical weeping.
A feeling long unfamiliar to him flooded his heart and softened it at
once. He did not struggle against it. Two tears started into his eyes
and hung on his eyelashes.
"Then you won't leave me, Sonia?" he said, looking at her almost with
"No, no, never, nowhere!" cried Sonia. "I will follow you, I will
follow you everywhere. Oh, my God! Oh, how miserable I am! . . . Why,
why didn't I know you before! Why didn't you come before? Oh, dear!"
"Here I have come."
"Yes, now! What's to be done now? . . . Together, together!" she
repeated as it were unconsciously, and she hugged him again. "I'll
follow you to Siberia!"
He recoiled at this, and the same hostile, almost haughty smile came
to his lips.
"Perhaps I don't want to go to Siberia yet, Sonia," he said.
Sonia looked at him quickly.
Again after her first passionate, agonising sympathy for the unhappy
man the terrible idea of the murder overwhelmed her. In his changed
tone she seemed to hear the murderer speaking. She looked at him
bewildered. She knew nothing as yet, why, how, with what object it had
been. Now all these questions rushed at once into her mind. And again
she could not believe it: "He, he is a murderer! Could it be true?"
"What's the meaning of it? Where am I?" she said in complete
bewilderment, as though still unable to recover herself. "How could
you, you, a man like you. . . . How could you bring yourself to it?
. . . What does it mean?"
"Oh, well--to plunder. Leave off, Sonia," he answered wearily, almost
Sonia stood as though struck dumb, but suddenly she cried:
"You were hungry! It was . . . to help your mother? Yes?"
"No, Sonia, no," he muttered, turning away and hanging his head. "I
was not so hungry. . . . I certainly did want to help my mother, but
. . . that's not the real thing either. . . . Don't torture me,
Sonia clasped her hands.
"Could it, could it all be true? Good God, what a truth! Who could
believe it? And how could you give away your last farthing and yet rob
and murder! Ah," she cried suddenly, "that money you gave Katerina
Ivanovna . . . that money. . . . Can that money . . ."
"No, Sonia," he broke in hurriedly, "that money was not it. Don't
worry yourself! That money my mother sent me and it came when I was
ill, the day I gave it to you. . . . Razumihin saw it . . . he
received it for me. . . . That money was mine--my own."
Sonia listened to him in bewilderment and did her utmost to
"And /that/ money. . . . I don't even know really whether there was
any money," he added softly, as though reflecting. "I took a purse off
her neck, made of chamois leather . . . a purse stuffed full of
something . . . but I didn't look in it; I suppose I hadn't time.
. . . And the things--chains and trinkets--I buried under a stone with
the purse next morning in a yard off the V---- Prospect. They are all
there now. . . . ."
Sonia strained every nerve to listen.
"Then why . . . why, you said you did it to rob, but you took
nothing?" she asked quickly, catching at a straw.
"I don't know. . . . I haven't yet decided whether to take that money
or not," he said, musing again; and, seeming to wake up with a start,
he gave a brief ironical smile. "Ach, what silly stuff I am talking,
The thought flashed through Sonia's mind, wasn't he mad? But she
dismissed it at once. "No, it was something else." She could make
nothing of it, nothing.
"Do you know, Sonia," he said suddenly with conviction, "let me tell
you: if I'd simply killed because I was hungry," laying stress on
every word and looking enigmatically but sincerely at her, "I should
be /happy/ now. You must believe that! What would it matter to you,"
he cried a moment later with a sort of despair, "what would it matter
to you if I were to confess that I did wrong? What do you gain by such
a stupid triumph over me? Ah, Sonia, was it for that I've come to you
Again Sonia tried to say something, but did not speak.
"I asked you to go with me yesterday because you are all I have left."
"Go where?" asked Sonia timidly.
"Not to steal and not to murder, don't be anxious," he smiled
bitterly. "We are so different. . . . And you know, Sonia, it's only
now, only this moment that I understand /where/ I asked you to go with
me yesterday! Yesterday when I said it I did not know where. I asked
you for one thing, I came to you for one thing--not to leave me. You
won't leave me, Sonia?"
She squeezed his hand.
"And why, why did I tell her? Why did I let her know?" he cried a
minute later in despair, looking with infinite anguish at her. "Here
you expect an explanation from me, Sonia; you are sitting and waiting
for it, I see that. But what can I tell you? You won't understand and
will only suffer misery . . . on my account! Well, you are crying and
embracing me again. Why do you do it? Because I couldn't bear my
burden and have come to throw it on another: you suffer too, and I
shall feel better! And can you love such a mean wretch?"
"But aren't you suffering, too?" cried Sonia.
Again a wave of the same feeling surged into his heart, and again for
an instant softened it.
"Sonia, I have a bad heart, take note of that. It may explain a great
deal. I have come because I am bad. There are men who wouldn't have
come. But I am a coward and . . . a mean wretch. But . . . never mind!
That's not the point. I must speak now, but I don't know how to
He paused and sank into thought.
"Ach, we are so different," he cried again, "we are not alike. And
why, why did I come? I shall never forgive myself that."
"No, no, it was a good thing you came," cried Sonia. "It's better I
should know, far better!"
He looked at her with anguish.
"What if it were really that?" he said, as though reaching a
conclusion. "Yes, that's what it was! I wanted to become a Napoleon,
that is why I killed her. . . . Do you understand now?"
"N-no," Sonia whispered na´vely and timidly. "Only speak, speak, I
shall understand, I shall understand /in myself/!" she kept begging
"You'll understand? Very well, we shall see!" He paused and was for
some time lost in meditation.
"It was like this: I asked myself one day this question--what if
Napoleon, for instance, had happened to be in my place, and if he had
not had Toulon nor Egypt nor the passage of Mont Blanc to begin his
career with, but instead of all those picturesque and monumental
things, there had simply been some ridiculous old hag, a pawnbroker,
who had to be murdered too to get money from her trunk (for his
career, you understand). Well, would he have brought himself to that
if there had been no other means? Wouldn't he have felt a pang at its
being so far from monumental and . . . and sinful, too? Well, I must
tell you that I worried myself fearfully over that 'question' so that
I was awfully ashamed when I guessed at last (all of a sudden,
somehow) that it would not have given him the least pang, that it
would not even have struck him that it was not monumental . . . that
he would not have seen that there was anything in it to pause over,
and that, if he had had no other way, he would have strangled her in a
minute without thinking about it! Well, I too . . . left off thinking
about it . . . murdered her, following his example. And that's exactly
how it was! Do you think it funny? Yes, Sonia, the funniest thing of
all is that perhaps that's just how it was."
Sonia did not think it at all funny.
"You had better tell me straight out . . . without examples," she
begged, still more timidly and scarcely audibly.
He turned to her, looked sadly at her and took her hands.
"You are right again, Sonia. Of course that's all nonsense, it's
almost all talk! You see, you know of course that my mother has
scarcely anything, my sister happened to have a good education and was
condemned to drudge as a governess. All their hopes were centered on
me. I was a student, but I couldn't keep myself at the university and
was forced for a time to leave it. Even if I had lingered on like
that, in ten or twelve years I might (with luck) hope to be some sort
of teacher or clerk with a salary of a thousand roubles" (he repeated
it as though it were a lesson) "and by that time my mother would be
worn out with grief and anxiety and I could not succeed in keeping her
in comfort while my sister . . . well, my sister might well have fared
worse! And it's a hard thing to pass everything by all one's life, to
turn one's back upon everything, to forget one's mother and decorously
accept the insults inflicted on one's sister. Why should one? When one
has buried them to burden oneself with others--wife and children--and
to leave them again without a farthing? So I resolved to gain
possession of the old woman's money and to use it for my first years
without worrying my mother, to keep myself at the university and for a
little while after leaving it--and to do this all on a broad, thorough
scale, so as to build up a completely new career and enter upon a new
life of independence. . . . Well . . . that's all. . . . Well, of
course in killing the old woman I did wrong. . . . Well, that's
He struggled to the end of his speech in exhaustion and let his head
"Oh, that's not it, that's not it," Sonia cried in distress. "How
could one . . . no, that's not right, not right."
"You see yourself that it's not right. But I've spoken truly, it's the
"As though that could be the truth! Good God!"
"I've only killed a louse, Sonia, a useless, loathsome, harmful
"A human being--a louse!"
"I too know it wasn't a louse," he answered, looking strangely at her.
"But I am talking nonsense, Sonia," he added. "I've been talking
nonsense a long time. . . . That's not it, you are right there. There
were quite, quite other causes for it! I haven't talked to anyone for
so long, Sonia. . . . My head aches dreadfully now."
His eyes shone with feverish brilliance. He was almost delirious; an
uneasy smile strayed on his lips. His terrible exhaustion could be
seen through his excitement. Sonia saw how he was suffering. She too
was growing dizzy. And he talked so strangely; it seemed somehow
comprehensible, but yet . . . "But how, how! Good God!" And she wrung
her hands in despair.
"No, Sonia, that's not it," he began again suddenly, raising his head,
as though a new and sudden train of thought had struck and as it were
roused him--"that's not it! Better . . . imagine--yes, it's certainly
better--imagine that I am vain, envious, malicious, base, vindictive
and . . . well, perhaps with a tendency to insanity. (Let's have it
all out at once! They've talked of madness already, I noticed.) I told
you just now I could not keep myself at the university. But do you
know that perhaps I might have done? My mother would have sent me what
I needed for the fees and I could have earned enough for clothes,
boots and food, no doubt. Lessons had turned up at half a rouble.
Razumihin works! But I turned sulky and wouldn't. (Yes, sulkiness,
that's the right word for it!) I sat in my room like a spider. You've
been in my den, you've seen it. . . . And do you know, Sonia, that low
ceilings and tiny rooms cramp the soul and the mind? Ah, how I hated
that garret! And yet I wouldn't go out of it! I wouldn't on purpose! I
didn't go out for days together, and I wouldn't work, I wouldn't even
eat, I just lay there doing nothing. If Nastasya brought me anything,
I ate it, if she didn't, I went all day without; I wouldn't ask, on
purpose, from sulkiness! At night I had no light, I lay in the dark
and I wouldn't earn money for candles. I ought to have studied, but I
sold my books; and the dust lies an inch thick on the notebooks on my
table. I preferred lying still and thinking. And I kept thinking.
. . . And I had dreams all the time, strange dreams of all sorts, no
need to describe! Only then I began to fancy that . . . No, that's not
it! Again I am telling you wrong! You see I kept asking myself then:
why am I so stupid that if others are stupid--and I know they are--yet
I won't be wiser? Then I saw, Sonia, that if one waits for everyone to
get wiser it will take too long. . . . Afterwards I understood that
that would never come to pass, that men won't change and that nobody
can alter it and that it's not worth wasting effort over it. Yes,
that's so. That's the law of their nature, Sonia, . . . that's so!
. . . And I know now, Sonia, that whoever is strong in mind and spirit
will have power over them. Anyone who is greatly daring is right in
their eyes. He who despises most things will be a lawgiver among them
and he who dares most of all will be most in the right! So it has been
till now and so it will always be. A man must be blind not to see it!"
Though Raskolnikov looked at Sonia as he said this, he no longer cared
whether she understood or not. The fever had complete hold of him; he
was in a sort of gloomy ecstasy (he certainly had been too long
without talking to anyone). Sonia felt that his gloomy creed had
become his faith and code.
"I divined then, Sonia," he went on eagerly, "that power is only
vouchsafed to the man who dares to stoop and pick it up. There is only
one thing, one thing needful: one has only to dare! Then for the first
time in my life an idea took shape in my mind which no one had ever
thought of before me, no one! I saw clear as daylight how strange it
is that not a single person living in this mad world has had the
daring to go straight for it all and send it flying to the devil! I
. . . I wanted /to have the daring/ . . . and I killed her. I only
wanted to have the daring, Sonia! That was the whole cause of it!"
"Oh hush, hush," cried Sonia, clasping her hands. "You turned away
from God and God has smitten you, has given you over to the devil!"
"Then Sonia, when I used to lie there in the dark and all this became
clear to me, was it a temptation of the devil, eh?"
"Hush, don't laugh, blasphemer! You don't understand, you don't
understand! Oh God! He won't understand!"
"Hush, Sonia! I am not laughing. I know myself that it was the devil
leading me. Hush, Sonia, hush!" he repeated with gloomy insistence. "I
know it all, I have thought it all over and over and whispered it all
over to myself, lying there in the dark. . . . I've argued it all over
with myself, every point of it, and I know it all, all! And how sick,
how sick I was then of going over it all! I have kept wanting to
forget it and make a new beginning, Sonia, and leave off thinking. And
you don't suppose that I went into it headlong like a fool? I went
into it like a wise man, and that was just my destruction. And you
mustn't suppose that I didn't know, for instance, that if I began to
question myself whether I had the right to gain power--I certainly
hadn't the right--or that if I asked myself whether a human being is a
louse it proved that it wasn't so for me, though it might be for a man
who would go straight to his goal without asking questions. . . . If I
worried myself all those days, wondering whether Napoleon would have
done it or not, I felt clearly of course that I wasn't Napoleon. I had
to endure all the agony of that battle of ideas, Sonia, and I longed
to throw it off: I wanted to murder without casuistry, to murder for
my own sake, for myself alone! I didn't want to lie about it even to
myself. It wasn't to help my mother I did the murder--that's nonsense
--I didn't do the murder to gain wealth and power and to become a
benefactor of mankind. Nonsense! I simply did it; I did the murder for
myself, for myself alone, and whether I became a benefactor to others,
or spent my life like a spider catching men in my web and sucking the
life out of men, I couldn't have cared at that moment. . . . And it
was not the money I wanted, Sonia, when I did it. It was not so much
the money I wanted, but something else. . . . I know it all now. . . .
Understand me! Perhaps I should never have committed a murder again. I
wanted to find out something else; it was something else led me on. I
wanted to find out then and quickly whether I was a louse like
everybody else or a man. Whether I can step over barriers or not,
whether I dare stoop to pick up or not, whether I am a trembling
creature or whether I have the /right/ . . ."
"To kill? Have the right to kill?" Sonia clasped her hands.
"Ach, Sonia!" he cried irritably and seemed about to make some retort,
but was contemptuously silent. "Don't interrupt me, Sonia. I want to
prove one thing only, that the devil led me on then and he has shown
me since that I had not the right to take that path, because I am just
such a louse as all the rest. He was mocking me and here I've come to
you now! Welcome your guest! If I were not a louse, should I have come
to you? Listen: when I went then to the old woman's I only went to
/try/. . . . You may be sure of that!"
"And you murdered her!"
"But how did I murder her? Is that how men do murders? Do men go to
commit a murder as I went then? I will tell you some day how I went!
Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed
myself once for all, for ever. . . . But it was the devil that killed
that old woman, not I. Enough, enough, Sonia, enough! Let me be!" he
cried in a sudden spasm of agony, "let me be!"
He leaned his elbows on his knees and squeezed his head in his hands
as in a vise.
"What suffering!" A wail of anguish broke from Sonia.
"Well, what am I to do now?" he asked, suddenly raising his head and
looking at her with a face hideously distorted by despair.
"What are you to do?" she cried, jumping up, and her eyes that had
been full of tears suddenly began to shine. "Stand up!" (She seized
him by the shoulder, he got up, looking at her almost bewildered.) "Go
at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first
kiss the earth which you have defiled and then bow down to all the
world and say to all men aloud, 'I am a murderer!' Then God will send
you life again. Will you go, will you go?" she asked him, trembling
all over, snatching his two hands, squeezing them tight in hers and
gazing at him with eyes full of fire.
He was amazed at her sudden ecstasy.
"You mean Siberia, Sonia? I must give myself up?" he asked gloomily.
"Suffer and expiate your sin by it, that's what you must do."
"No! I am not going to them, Sonia!"
"But how will you go on living? What will you live for?" cried Sonia,
"how is it possible now? Why, how can you talk to your mother? (Oh,
what will become of them now?) But what am I saying? You have
abandoned your mother and your sister already. He has abandoned them
already! Oh, God!" she cried, "why, he knows it all himself. How, how
can he live by himself! What will become of you now?"
"Don't be a child, Sonia," he said softly. "What wrong have I done
them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? That's only
a phantom. . . . They destroy men by millions themselves and look on
it as a virtue. They are knaves and scoundrels, Sonia! I am not going
to them. And what should I say to them--that I murdered her, but did
not dare to take the money and hid it under a stone?" he added with a
bitter smile. "Why, they would laugh at me, and would call me a fool
for not getting it. A coward and a fool! They wouldn't understand and
they don't deserve to understand. Why should I go to them? I won't.
Don't be a child, Sonia. . . ."
"It will be too much for you to bear, too much!" she repeated, holding
out her hands in despairing supplication.
"Perhaps I've been unfair to myself," he observed gloomily, pondering,
"perhaps after all I am a man and not a louse and I've been in too
great a hurry to condemn myself. I'll make another fight for it."
A haughty smile appeared on his lips.
"What a burden to bear! And your whole life, your whole life!"
"I shall get used to it," he said grimly and thoughtfully. "Listen,"
he began a minute later, "stop crying, it's time to talk of the facts:
I've come to tell you that the police are after me, on my
track. . . ."
"Ach!" Sonia cried in terror.
"Well, why do you cry out? You want me to go to Siberia and now you
are frightened? But let me tell you: I shall not give myself up. I
shall make a struggle for it and they won't do anything to me. They've
no real evidence. Yesterday I was in great danger and believed I was
lost; but to-day things are going better. All the facts they know can
be explained two ways, that's to say I can turn their accusations to
my credit, do you understand? And I shall, for I've learnt my lesson.
But they will certainly arrest me. If it had not been for something
that happened, they would have done so to-day for certain; perhaps
even now they will arrest me to-day. . . . But that's no matter,
Sonia; they'll let me out again . . . for there isn't any real proof
against me, and there won't be, I give you my word for it. And they
can't convict a man on what they have against me. Enough. . . . I only
tell you that you may know. . . . I will try to manage somehow to put
it to my mother and sister so that they won't be frightened. . . . My
sister's future is secure, however, now, I believe . . . and my
mother's must be too. . . . Well, that's all. Be careful, though. Will
you come and see me in prison when I am there?"
"Oh, I will, I will."
They sat side by side, both mournful and dejected, as though they had
been cast up by the tempest alone on some deserted shore. He looked at
Sonia and felt how great was her love for him, and strange to say he
felt it suddenly burdensome and painful to be so loved. Yes, it was a
strange and awful sensation! On his way to see Sonia he had felt that
all his hopes rested on her; he expected to be rid of at least part of
his suffering, and now, when all her heart turned towards him, he
suddenly felt that he was immeasurably unhappier than before.
"Sonia," he said, "you'd better not come and see me when I am in
Sonia did not answer, she was crying. Several minutes passed.
"Have you a cross on you?" she asked, as though suddenly thinking of
He did not at first understand the question.
"No, of course not. Here, take this one, of cypress wood. I have
another, a copper one that belonged to Lizaveta. I changed with
Lizaveta: she gave me her cross and I gave her my little ikon. I will
wear Lizaveta's now and give you this. Take it . . . it's mine! It's
mine, you know," she begged him. "We will go to suffer together, and
together we will bear our cross!"
"Give it me," said Raskolnikov.
He did not want to hurt her feelings. But immediately he drew back the
hand he held out for the cross.
"Not now, Sonia. Better later," he added to comfort her.
"Yes, yes, better," she repeated with conviction, "when you go to meet
your suffering, then put it on. You will come to me, I'll put it on
you, we will pray and go together."
At that moment someone knocked three times at the door.
"Sofya Semyonovna, may I come in?" they heard in a very familiar and
Sonia rushed to the door in a fright. The flaxen head of Mr.
Lebeziatnikov appeared at the door.