Fyodor Dostoevsky (18211881). Crime and Punishment.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
HE was not completely unconscious, however, all the time he was ill; he was in a feverish state, sometimes delirious, sometimes half conscious. He remembered a great deal afterwards. Sometimes it seemed as though there were a number of people round him; they wanted to take him away somewhere, there was a great deal of squabbling and discussing about him. Then he would be alone in the room; they had all gone away afraid of him, and only now and then opened the door a crack to look at him; they threatened him, plotted something together, laughed, and mocked at him. He remembered Nastasya often at his bedside; he distinguished another person, too, whom he seemed to know very well, though he could not remember who he was, and this fretted him, even made him cry. Sometimes he fancied he had been lying there a month; at other times it all seemed part of the same day. But of thatof that he had no recollection, and yet every minute he felt that he had forgotten something he ought to remember. He worried and tormented himself he ought to remember. He worried and tormented himself trying to remember, moaned, flew into a rage, or sank into awful, intolerable terror. Then he struggled to get up, would have run away, but some one always prevented him by force, and he sank back into impotence and forgetfulness. At last he returned to complete consciousness.
It happened at ten oclock in the morning. On fine days the sun shone into the room at that hour, throwing a streak of light on the right wall and the corner near the door. Nastasya was standing beside him with another person, a complete stranger, who was looking at him very inquisitively. He was a young man with a beard, wearing a full, shortwaisted coat, and looked like a messenger. The landlady was peeping in at the half-opened door. Raskolnikov sat up.
Concluding that he had returned to his senses, the landlady closed the door and disappeared. She was always shy and dreaded conversations or discussions. She was a woman of forty, not at all bad-looking, fat and buxom, with black eyes and eyebrows, good-natured from fatness and laziness, and absurdly bashful.
And who are you? Razumihin asked, suddenly addressing him. My name is Vrazumihin, at your service; not Razumihin, as I am always called, but Vrazumihin, a student and gentleman; and he is my friend. And who are you?
Please sit down. Razumihin seated himself on the other side of the table. Its a good thing youve come to, brother, he went on to Raskolnikov. For the last four days you have scarcely eaten or drunk anything. We had to give you tea in spoonfuls. I brought Zossimov to see you twice. You remember Zossimov? He examined you carefully and said at once it was nothing serioussomething seemed to have gone to your head. Some nervous nonsense, the result of bad feeding, he says you have not had enough beer and radish, but its nothing much, it will pass and you will be all right. Zossimov is a first-rate fellow! He is making quite a name. Come, I wont keep you, he said, addressing the man again. Will you explain what you want? You must know, Rodya, this is the second time they have sent from the office; but it was another man last time, and I talked to him. Who was it came before?
At your mammas request, through Afanasy Ivanovitch Vahrushin, of whom I presume you have heard more than once, a remittance is sent to you from our office, the man began, addressing Raskolnikov. If you are in an intelligible condition, Ive thirty-five roubles to remit to you, as Semyon Semyonovitch has received from Afanasy Ivanovitch at your mammas request instructions to that effect, as on previous occasions. Do you know him, sir?
Thats the gentleman, Vahrushin, Afanasy Ivanovitch, And at the request of your mamma, who has sent you a remittance once before in the same manner through him, he did not refuse this time also, and sent instructions to Semyon Semyonovitch some days since to hand you thirty-five roubles in the hope of better to come.
Dont want the money! Come, brother, thats nonsense, I bear witness. Dont trouble, please, its only that he is on his travels again. But thats pretty common with him at all times though. You are a man of judgment and we will take him in hand, that is, more simply, take his hand and he will sign it. Here.
Raskolnikov looked at all this with profound astonishment and a dull, unreasoning terror. He made up his mind to keep quiet and see what would happen. I believe I am not wandering. I believe its reality, he thought.
In a couple of minutes Nastasya returned with the soup, and announced that the tea would be ready directly. With the soup she brought two spoons, two plates, salt, pepper, mustard for the beef, and so on. The table was set as it had not been for a long time. The cloth was clean.
Raskolnikov still gazed wildly with strained attention. Meanwhile Razumihin sat down on the sofa beside him, as clumsily as a bear put his left arm round Raskolnikovs head, although he was able to sit up, and with his right hand gave him a spoonful of soup, blowing on it that it might not burn him. But the soup was only just warm Raskolnikov swallowed one spoonful greedily, then a second, then a third. But after giving him a few more spoonfuls of soup, Razumihin suddenly stopped, and said that he must ask Zossimov whether he ought to have more.
Cut along, Nastasya, and bring some tea, for tea we may venture on without the faculty. But here is the beer! He moved back to his chair, pulled the soup and meat in front of him, and began eating as though he had not touched food for three days.
I must tell you, Rodya, I dine like this here every day now, he mumbled with his mouth full of beef, and its all Pashenka, your dear little landlady, who sees to that; she loves to do anything for me. I dont ask for it, but, of course, I dont object. And heres Nastasya with the tea. She is a quick girl. Nastasya, my dear, wont you have some beer?
He poured out two cups, left his dinner, and sat on the sofa again. As before, he put his left arm round the sick mans head, raised him up and gave him tea in spoonfuls, again blowing each spoonful steadily and earnestly, as though this process was the principal and most effective means towards his friends recovery. Raskolnikov said nothing and made no resistance, though he felt quite strong enough to sit upon the sofa without support and could not merely have held a cup or a spoon, but even perhaps could have walked about. But from some queer, almost, animal, cunning he conceived the idea of hiding his strength and lying low for a time, pretending if necessary not to be yet in full possession of his faculties, and meanwhile listening to find out what was going on. Yet he could not overcome his sense of repugnance. After sipping a dozen spoonfuls of tea, he suddenly released his head, pushed the spoon away capriciously, and sank back on the pillow. There were actually real pillows under his head now, down pillows in clean cases, he observed that, too, and took note of it.
Shell get it at the shop, my dear. You see, Rodya, all sorts of things have been happening while you have been laid up. When you decamped in that rascally way without leaving your address, I felt so angry that I resolved to find you out and punish you. I set to work that very day. How I ran about making inquiries for you! This lodging of yours I had forgotten, though I never remembered it, indeed, because I did not know it; and as for your old lodgings, I could only remember it was at the Five Corners, Harlamovs house. I kept trying to find that Harlamovs house, and afterwards it turned out that it was not Harlamovs, but Buchs. How one muddles up sounds sometimes! So I lost my temper, and I went on the chance to the address bureau next day, and only fancy, in two minutes they looked you up! Your name is down there.
I should think so; and yet a General Kobelev they could not find while I was there. Well, its a long story. But as soon as I did land on this place, I soon got to know all your affairsall, all, brother, I know everything; Nastasya here will tell you. I made the acquaintance of Nikodim Fomitch and Ilya Petrovich and the house-porter and Mr. Zametov, Alexander Grigorievitch, the head clerk in the police office, and, last but not least, of Pashenka; Nastasya here knows.
Ill make a note of it. Well, brother, to make a long story short, I was going in for a regular explosion here to uproot all malignant influences in the locality, but Pashenka won the day. I had not expected, brother, to find her so prepossessing. Eh, what do you think?
Its a pity, brother, that you did not set to work in the right way at first. You ought to have approached her differently. She is, so to speak, a most unaccountable character. But we will talk about her character later. How could you let things come to such a pass that she gave up sending you your dinner? And that I. O. U.? You must have been mad to sign an I. O. U. And that promise of marriage when her daughter, Natalya Yegorovna, was alive? I know all about it! But I see thats a delicate matter and I am an ass; forgive me. But, talking of foolishness, do you know Praskovya Pavlovna is not nearly so foolish as you would think at first sight?
She isnt, is she? cried Razumihin, delighted to get an answer out of him. But she is not very clever either, eh? She is essentially, essentially an unaccountable character! I am sometimes quite at a loss, I assure you. She must be forty; she says she is thirty-six, and of course she has every right to say so. But I swear I judge her intellectually, simply from the metaphysical point of view; there is a sort of symbolism sprung up between us, a sort of algebra or what not! I dont understand it! Well, thats all nonsense. Only, seeing that you are not a student now and have lost your lessons and your clothes, and that through the young ladys death she has no need to treat you as a relation, she suddenly took fright; and as you hid in your den and dropped all your old relations with her, she planned to get rid of you. And shes been cherishing that design a long time, but was sorry to lose the I. O. U., for you assured her yourself that your mother would pay.
Yes, you did very sensibly. But the worst of it is that at that point Mr. Tchebarov turns up, a business man. Pashenka would never have thought of doing anything on her own account, she is too retiring; but the business man is by no means retiring, and first thing he puts the question, Is there any hope of realising the I. O. U.? Answer: there is, because he has a mother who would save her Rodya with her hundred and twenty-five roubles pension, if she has to starve herself; and a sister, too, who would go into bondage for his sake. Thats what he was building upon. Why do you start? I know all the ins and outs of your affairs now, my dear boyits not for nothing that you were so open with Pashenka when you were her prospective son-in-law, and I say all this as a friend. But I tell you what it is: an honest and sensitive man is open; and a business man listens and goes on eating you up. Well, then she gave the I. O. U. by way of payment to this Tchebarov, and without hesitation he made a formal demand for payment. When I heard of all this I wanted to blow him up, too, to clear my conscience, but by that time harmony reigned between me and Pashenka, and I insisted on stopping the whole affair, engaging that you would pay. I went security for you, brother. Do you understand? We called Tchebarov, flung him ten roubles and got the I. O. U. back from him, and here I have the honour of presenting it to you. She trusts your word now. Here, take it, you see I have torn it.
Whats the matter with you? What are you upset about? He wanted to make your acquaintance because I talked to him a lot about you. How could I have found out so much except from him? He is a capital fellow, brother, first-rate in his own way, of course. Now we are friendssee each other almost every day. I have moved into this part, you know. I have only just moved. Ive been with him to Luise Ivanovna once or twice. Do you remember Luise, Luise Ivanovna?
How he keeps on! Are you afraid of having let out some secret? Dont worry yourself; you said nothing about a countess. But you said a lot about a bulldog, and about earrings and chains, and about Krestovsky Island, and some porter, and Nikodim Fomitch and Ilya Petrovitch, the assistant superintendent. And another thing that was of special interest to you was your own sock. You whined, Give me my sock. Zametov hunted all about your room for your socks, and with his own scented, ring-bedecked fingers he gave you the rag. And only then were you comforted, and for the next twenty-four hours you held the wretched thing in your hand; we could not get it from you. It is most likely somewhere under your quilt as this moment. And then you asked so piteously for fringe for your trousers. We tried to find out what sort of fringe, but we could not make it out. Now to business! Here are thirty-five roubles; I take ten of them, and shall give you an account of them in an hour or two. I will let Zossimov know at the same time, though he ought to have been here long ago, for it is nearly twelve. And you, Nastasya, look in pretty often while I am away, to see whether he wants a drink or anything else. And I will tell Pashenka what is wanted myself. Good-bye!
No sooner had she left the room than the sick man flung off the bedclothes and leapt out of bed like a madman. With burning, twitching impatience he had waited for them to be gone so that he might set to work. But to what work? Now, as though to spite him, it eluded him.
Good God, only tell me one thing: do they know of it yet or not? What if they know it and are only pretending, mocking me while I am laid up, and then they will come in and tell me that its been discovered long ago and that they have only What am I to do now? Thats what Ive forgotten, as though on purpose; forgotten it all at once, I remembered a minute ago.
He stood in the middle of the room and gazed in miserable bewilderment about him; he walked to the door, opened it, listened; but that was not what he wanted. Suddenly, as though recalling something, he rushed to the corner where there was a hole under the paper, began examining it, put his hand into the hole, fumbledbut that was not it. He went to the stove, opened it and began rummaging in the ashes; the frayed edges of his trousers and the rags cut off his pocket were lying there just as he had thrown them. No one had looked, then! Then he remembered the sock about which Razumihin had just been telling him. Yes, there it lay on the sofa under the quilt, but it was so covered with dust and grime that Zametov could not have seen anything on it.
Bah, Zametov! The police office! And why am I sent for to the police office? Wheres the notice? Bah! I am mixing it up: that was then. I looked at my sock then, too, but now now I have been ill. But what did Zametov come for? Why did Razumihin bring him? he muttered, helplessly sitting on the sofa again. What does it mean? Am I still in delirium, or is it real? I believe it is real. Ah, I remember; I must escape! Make haste to escape. Yes, I must, I must escape! Yes but where? And where are my clothes? Ive no boots. Theyve taken them away! Theyve hidden them! I understand! Ah, here is my coatthey passed that over! And here is money on the table, thank God! And heres the I. O. U. Ill take the money and go and take another lodging. They wont find me! Yes, but the address bureau? Theyll find me, Razumihin will find me. Better escape altogether far away to America, and let them do their worst! And take the I. O. U. it would be of use there. What else shall I take? They think I am ill! They dont know that I can walk, ha-ha-ha! I could see by their eyes that they know all about it! If only I could get downstairs! And what if they have set a watch therepolicemen! Whats this, tea? Ah, and here is beer left, half a bottle, cold!
He snatched up the bottle, which still contained a glassful of beer, and gulped it down with relish, as though quenching a flame in his breast. But in another minute the beer had gone to his head, and a faint and even pleasant shiver ran down his spine. He lay down and pulled the quilt over him. His sick and incoherent thoughts grew more and more disconnected, and soon a light, pleasant drowsiness came upon him. With a sense of comfort he nestled his head into the pillow, wrapped more closely about him the soft, wadded quilt which had replaced the old, ragged great-coat, sighed softly and sank into a deep, sound, refreshing sleep.
He woke up, hearing some one come in. He opened his eyes and saw Razumihin standing in the doorway, uncertain whether to come in or not. Raskolnikov sat up quickly on the sofa and gazed at him, as though trying to recall something.
And why not? It will do you good. Whats the hurry? A tryst, is it? Weve all time before us. Ive been waiting for the last three hours for you; Ive been up twice and found you asleep. Ive called on Zossimov twice: not at home, only fancy! But no matter, he will turn up. And Ive been out on my own business, too. You know Ive been moving to-day, moving with my uncle. I have an uncle living with me now. But thats no matter,to business. Give me the parcel, Nastasya. We will open it directly. And how do you feel now, brother?
Hm! said the latter, he has forgotten. I fancied then that you were not quite yourself. Now you are better for your sleep. You really look much better. First rate! Well, to business. Look here, my dear boy.
Believe me, brother, this is something specially near my heart. For we must make a man of you. Lets begin from the top. Do you see this cap? he said, taking out of the bundle a fairly good, though cheap, and ordinary cap. Let me try it on.
Come, Rodya, my boy, dont oppose it, afterwards will be too late; and I shant sleep all night, for I bought it by guess, without measure. Just right! he cried triumphantly, fitting it on, just your size! A proper head-covering is the first thing in dress and a recommendation in its own way. Tolstyakov, a friend of mine, is always obliged to take off his pudding basin when he goes into any public place where other people wear their hats or caps. People think he does it from slavish politeness, but its simply because he is ashamed of his birds nest; he is such a bashful fellow! Look, Nastasya, here are two specimens of headgear: this Palmerstonhe took from the corner Raskolnikovs old, battered hat, which for some unknown reason he called a Palmerstonor this jewel! Guess the price, Rodya, what do you suppose I paid for it, Nastasya! he said, turning to her, seeing that Raskolnikov did not speak.
Twenty copecks, silly! he cried, offended. Why, nowadays you would cost more than thateighty copecks! And that only because it has been worn. And its bought on condition that when its worn out, they will give you another next year. Yes, on my word! Well, now let us pass to the United States of America, as they called them at school. I assure you I am proud of these breeches, and he exhibited to Raskolnikov a pair of light, summer trousers of grey woolen material. No holes, no spots, and quite respectable, although a little worn; and a waistcoat to match, quite in the fashion. And its being worn really is an improvement, its softer, smoother. You see, Rodya, to my thinking, the great thing for getting on in the world is always to keep to the seasons; if you dont insist on having asparagus in January, you keep your money in your purse; and its the same with this purchase. Its summer now, so Ive been buying summer thingswarmer materials will be wanted for autumn, so you will have to throw these away in any case especially as they will be done for by then from their own lack of coherence if not your higher standard of luxury. Come, price them! What do you say? Two roubles twenty-five copecks! And remember the condition: if you wear these out, you will have another suit for nothing! They only do business on that system at Fedyaevs; if youve bought a thing once, you are satisfied for life, for you will never go there again of your own free will. Now for the boots. What do you say? You see that they are a bit worn, but theyll last a couple of months, for its foreign work and foreign leather; the secretary of the English Embassy sold them last weekhe had only worn them six days, but he was very short of cash. Pricea rouble and a half. A bargain?
I did not go empty-handedthey took the size from this monster. We all did our best. And as to your linen, your landlady has seen to that. Here, to begin with are three shirts, hempen but with a fashionable front. Well now then, eighty copecks the cap, two roubles twenty-five copecks the suittogether three roubles five copecksa rouble and a half for the bootsfor, you see, they are very goodand that makes four roubles fifty-five copecks; five roubles for the underclothesthey were bought in the lotwhich makes exactly nine roubles fifty-five copecks. Forty-five copecks change in coppers. Will you take it? And so, Rodya, you are set up with a complete new rig-out, for your overcoat will serve, and even has a style of its own. That comes from getting ones clothes from Sharmers! As for your socks and other things I leave them to you; weve twenty-five roubles left. And as for Pashenka and paying for your lodging, dont you worry. I tell you shell trust you for anything. And now, brother, let me change your linen, for I daresay you will throw off your illness with your shirt.
Come, brother, dont tell me Ive been trudging around for nothing, Razumihin insisted. Nastasya, dont be bashful, but help methats it, and in spite of Raskolnikovs resistance he changed his linen. The latter sank back on the pillows and for a minute or two said nothing.