Fyodor Dostoevsky (18211881). Crime and Punishment.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
AT that moment the door was softly opened, and a young girl walked into the room, looking timidly about her Every one turned towards her with surprise and curiosity. At first sight, Raskolnikov did not recognise her. It was Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov. He had seen her yesterday for the first time, but at such a moment, in such surroundings and in such a dress, that his memory retained a very different image of her. Now she was a modestly and poorly-dressed young girl, very young, indeed almost like a child, with a modest and refined manner, with a candid but somewhat frightened-looking face. She was wearing a very plain indoor dress, and had on a shabby oldfashioned hat, but she still carried a parasol. Unexpectedly finding the room full of people, she was not so much embarrassed as completely overwhelmed with shyness, like a little child. She was even about to retreat. Oh its you! said Raskolnikov, extremely astonished, and he, too, was confused. He at once recollected that his mother and sister knew through Luzhins letter of some young woman of notorious behaviour. He had only just been protesting against Luzhins calumny and declaring that he had seen the girl last night for the first time, and suddenly she had walked in. He remembered, too, that he had not protested against the expression of notorious behaviour. All this passed vaguely and fleetingly through his brain, but looking at her more intently, he saw that the humiliated creature was so humiliated that he felt suddenly sorry for her. When she made a movement to retreat in terror, it sent a pang to his heart.
At Sonias entrance, Razumihin, who had been sitting on one of Raskolnikovs three chairs, close to the door, got up to allow her to enter. Raskolnikov had at first shown her the place on the sofa where Zossimov had been sitting, but feeling that the sofa, which served him as a bed, was too familiar a place, he hurriedly motioned her to Razumihins chair.
Sonia sat down, almost shaking with terror, and looked timidly at the two ladies. It was evidently almost inconceivable to herself that she could sit down beside them. At the thought of it, she was so frightened that she hurriedly got up again, and in utter confusion addressed Raskolnikov.
I I have come for one minute. Forgive me for disturbing you, she began falteringly. I come from Katerina Ivanovna, and she had no one to send. Katerina Ivanovna told me to beg you to be at the service in the morning at the Mitrofanievsky and then to us to do her the honour she told me to beg you Sonia stammered and ceased speaking.
I will try, certainly, most certainly, answered Raskolnikov. He, too, stood up, and he, too, faltered and could not finish his sentence. Please sit down, he said, suddenly. I want to talk to you. You are perhaps in a hurry, but please, be so kind, spare me two minutes, and he drew up a chair for her.
Mother, he said, firmly and insistently, this is Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov, the daughter of that unfortunate Mr. Marmeladov, who was run over yesterday before my eyes, and of whom I was just telling you.
Pulcheria Alexandrovna glanced at Sonia, and slightly screwed up her eyes. In spite of her embarrassment before Rodyas urgent and challenging look, she could not deny herself that satisfaction. Dounia gazed gravely and intently into the poor girls face, and scrutinised her with perplexity. Sonia, hearing herself introduced, tried to raise her eyes again, but was more embarrassed than ever.
At the bodys remaining so long. You see it is hot now. So that, to-day, they will carry it to the cemetery, into the chapel, until to-morrow. At first Katerina Ivanovna was unwilling, but now she sees herself that its necessary
During the conversation, Raskolnikov watched her carefully. She had a thin, very thin, pale little face, rather irregular and angular, with a sharp little nose and chin. She could not have been called pretty, but her blue eyes were so clear, and when they lighted up, there was such a kindliness and simplicity in her expression that one could not help being attracted. Her face, and her whole figure indeed, had another peculiar characteristic. In spite of her eighteen years, she looked almost a little girlalmost a child. And in some of her gestures, this childishness seemed almost absurd.
The coffin will be plain, of course and everything will be plain, so it wont cost much. Katerina Ivanovna and I have reckoned it all out, so that there will be enough left and Katerina Ivanovna was very anxious it should be so. You know one cant its a comfort to her she is like that, you know.
You gave us everything yesterday, Sonia said suddenly, in reply, in a loud rapid whisper; and again she looked down in confusion. Her lips and chin were trembling once more. She had been struck at once by Raskolnikovs poor surroundings, and now these words broke out spontaneously. A silence followed. There was a light in Dounias eyes, and even Pulcheria Alexandrovna looked kindly at Sonia.
Rodya, she said, getting up, we shall have dinner together of course. Come, Dounia. And you, Rodya, had better go for a little walk, and then rest and lie down before you come to see us. I am afraid we have exhausted you.
But Avdotya Romanovna seemed to await her turn, and following her mother out, gave Sonia an attentive, courteous, bow. Sonia, in confusion, gave a hurried, frightened curtsy. There was a look of poignant discomfort in her face, as though Avdotya Romanovnas courtesy and attention were oppressive and painful to her.
Heavens, Dounia, Pulcheria Alexandrovna began, as soon as they were in the street, I really feel relieved myself at coming awaymore at ease. How little did I think yesterday in the train that I could ever be glad of that.
Well, you were not very patient! Pulcheria Alexandrovna caught her up, hotly and jealously. Do you know, Dounia, I was looking at you two. You are the very portrait of him, and not so much in face as in soul. You are both melancholy, both morose and hot tempered, both haughty and both generous. Surely he cant be an egoist, Dounia. Eh? When I think of what is in store for us this evening, my heart sinks!
We did well to come away, Pulcheria Alexandrovna hurriedly broke in. He was in a hurry about some business or other. If he gets out and has a breath of air it is fearfully close in his room. But where is one to get a breath of air here. The very streets here feel like shut-up rooms. Good heavens! what a town! stay this side they will crush youcarry something. Why it is a piano they have got, I declare how they push I am very much afraid of that young woman, too.
Well, you will see. She worries me; but you will see, you will see! I was so frightened. She was gazing at me with those eyes. I could scarcely sit still in my chair when he began introducing her, do you remember? It seems so strange, but Pyotr Petrovitch writes like that about her, and he introduces her to usto you! So he must think a great deal of her.
One minute, Sofya Semyonovna. We have no secrets. You are not in our way. I want to have another word or two with you. Listen! he turned suddenly to Razumihin again, You know that whats his name Porfiry Petrovitch?
He was inquiring for people who had pawned things, and I have some pledges there, tootriflesa ring my sister gave me as a keepsake when I left home, and my fathers silver watchthey are only worth five or six roubles altogether but I value them. So what am I to do now? I do not want to lose the things, especially the watch. I was quaking just now, for fear mother would ask to look at it, when we spoke of Dounias watch. It is the only thing of fathers left us. She would be ill if it were lost. You know what women are. So tell me what to do. I know I ought to have given notice at the police station, but would it not be better to go straight to Porfiry? Eh? What do you think? The matter might be settled more quickly. You see mother may ask for it before dinner.
Certainly not to the police station. Certainly to Porfiry. Razumihin shouted in extraordinary excitement. Well, how glad I am. Let us go at once. It is a couple of steps. We shall be sure to find him.
And he will be very, very glad to make your acquaintance. I have often talked to him of you at different times. I was speaking of you yesterday. Let us go. So you knew the old woman? So thats it! It is all turning out splendidly. Oh, yes, Sofya Ivanovna
Do you go to the right, Sofya Semyonovna? How did you find me, by the way? he added, as though he wanted to say something quite different. He wanted to look at her soft clear eyes, but this was not easy.
I had heard my father speak of you only I did not know your name, and he did not know it. And now I came and as I had learnt your name, I asked to-day, Where does Mr. Raskolnikov live? I did not know you had only a room too. Good-bye, I will tell Katerina Ivanovna.
She was extremely glad to escape at last; she went away looking down, hurrying to get out of sight as soon as possible, to walk the twenty steps to the turning on the right and to be at last alone, and then moving rapidly along, looking at no one, noticing nothing, to think, to remember, to meditate on every word, every detail. Never, never had she felt anything like this. Dimly and unconsciously a whole new world was opening before her. She remembered suddenly that Raskolnikov meant to come to her that day, perhaps that morning, perhaps at once!
She was not capable at that instant of noticing an unknown gentleman who was watching her and following at her heels. He had accompanied her from the gateway. At the moment when Razumihin, Raskolnikov, and she stood still at parting on the pavement, this gentleman, who was just passing, started on hearing Sonias words: and I asked where Mr. Raskolnikov lived? He turned a rapid but attentive look upon all three, especially upon Raskolnikov, to whom Sonia was speaking; then looked back and noted the house. All this was done in an instant as he passed, and trying not to betray his interest, he walked on more slowly as though waiting for something. He was waiting for Sonia; he saw that they were parting, and that Sonia was going home.
At the turning he crossed over, looked round, and saw Sonia coming the same way, noticing nothing. She turned the corner. He followed her on the other side. After about fifty paces he crossed over again, overtook her and kept two or three yards behind her.
He was a man about fifty, rather tall and thickly set, with broad high shoulders which made him look as though he stooped a little. He wore good and fashionable clothes, and looked like a gentleman of position. He carried a handsome cane, which he tapped on the pavement at each step; his gloves were spotless. He had a broad, rather pleasant face with high cheek-bones and a fresh colour, not often seen in Petersburg. His flaxen hair was still abundant, and only touched here and there with grey, and his thick square beard was even lighter than his hair. His eyes were blue and had a cold and thoughtful look; his lips were crimson. He was a remarkably well-preserved man and looked much younger than his years.
When Sonia came out on the canal bank, they were the only two persons on the pavement. He observed her dreaminess and preoccupation. On reaching the house where she lodged, Sonia turned in at the gate; he followed her, seeming rather surprised. In the courtyard she turned to the right corner. Bah! muttered the unknown gentleman, and mounted the stairs behind her. Only then Sonia noticed him. She reached the third storey, turned down the passage, and rang at No. 9. On the door was inscribed in chalk, Kapernaumov, Tailor. Bah! the stranger repeated again, wondering at the strange coincidence, and he rang next door, at No. 8. The doors were two or three yards apart.
When was it? Raskolnikov stopped still to recollect. Two or three days before her death it must have been. But I am not going to redeem the things now, he put in with a sort of hurried and conspicuous solicitude about the things. Ive not more than a silver rouble left after last nights accursed delirium!
Yes, yes, Razumihin hastened to agreewith what was not clear. Then thats why you were struck partly you know in your delirium you were continually mentioning some rings or chains! Yes, yes thats clear, its all clear now.
Hullo! How that idea must have got about among them. Here this man will go to the stake for me, and I find him delighted at having it cleared up why I spoke of rings in my delirium! What a hold the idea must have on all of them!
Oh, yes, Razumihin answered quickly. He is a nice fellow, you will see, brother. Rather clumsy, that is to say, he is a man of polished manners, but I mean clumsy in a different sense. He is an intelligent fellow, very much so indeed, but he has his own range of ideas. He is incredulous, sceptical, cynical he likes to impose on people, or rather to make fun of them. His is the old, circumstantial method. But he understands his work thoroughly. Last year he cleared up a case of murder in which the police had hardly a clue. He is very, very anxious to make your acquaintance!
Oh, its not exactly you see, since youve been ill I happen to have mentioned you several times. So, when he heard about you about your being a law student and not able to finish your studies, he said, What a pity! And so I concluded from everything together, not only that; yesterday Zametov you know, Rodya, I talked some nonsense on the way home to you yesterday, when I was drunk I am afraid, brother, of your exaggerating it, you see.
I shall have to pull a long face with him too, he thought, with a beating heart, and he turned white, and do it naturally, too. But the most natural thing would be to do nothing at all. Carefully do nothing at all! No, carefully would not be natural again. Oh, well, we shall see how it turns out. We shall see directly. Is it a good thing to go or not? The butterfly flies to the light. My heart is beating, thats whats bad!
The most important thing, does Porfiry know that I was at the old hags flat yesterday and asked about the blood? I must find that out instantly, as soon as I go in, find out from his face; otherwise Ill find out, if its my ruin.
Yes, brother, I assure you its noticeable. Why, you sat on your chair in a way you never do sit, on the edge somehow, and you seemed to be writhing all the time. You kept jumping up for nothing. One moment you were angry, and the next your face looked like a sweetmeat. You even blushed; especially when you were invited to dinner, you blushed awfully.
You are like a summer rose. And if only you knew how it suits you; a Romeo over six foot high! And how youve washed to-dayyou cleaned your nails, I declare. Eh? Thats something unheard of! Why, I do believe youve got pomatum on your hair! Bend down.
Raskolnikov laughed as though he could not restrain himself. So laughing, they entered Porfiry Petrovitchs flat. This is what Raskolnikov wanted: from within they could be heard laughing as they came in, still guffawing in the passage.