Fyodor Dostoevsky (18211881). Crime and Punishment.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
AN ELEGANT carriage stood in the middle of the road with a pair of spirited grey horses; there was no one in it, and the coachman had got off his box and stood by; the horses were being held by the bridle A mass of people had gathered round, the police standing in front. One of them held a lighted lantern which he was turning on something lying close to the wheels. Every one was talking, shouting, exclaiming; the coachman seemed at a loss and kept repeating:
Raskolnikov pushed his way in as far as he could, and succeeded at last in seeing the object of the commotion and interest. On the ground a man who had been run over lay apparently unconscious, and covered with blood; he was very badly dressed, but not like a workman. Blood was flowing from his head and face; his face was crushed, mutilated and disfigured. He was evidently badly injured.
Merciful heaven! wailed the coachman, what more could I do? If Id been driving fast or had not shouted to him, but I was going quietly, not in a hurry. Every one could see I was going along just like everybody else. A drunken man cant walk straight, we all know . I saw him crossing the street, staggering and almost falling. I shouted again and a second and a third time, then I held the horses in, but he fell straight under their feet! Either he did it on purpose or he was very tipsy . The horses are young and ready to take fright they started, he screamed that made them worse. Thats how it happened!
But the coachman was not very much distressed and frightened. It was evident that the carriage belonged to a rich and important person who was awaiting it somewhere; the police, of course, were in no little anxiety to avoid upsetting his arrangements. All they had to do was to take the injured man to the police station and the hospital. No one knew his name.
I know him! I know him! he shouted, pushing to the front. Its a government clerk retired from the service, Marmeladov. He lives close by in Kozels house . Make haste for a doctor! I will pay, see. He pulled money out of his pocket and showed it to the policeman. He was in violent agitation.
The police were glad that they had found out who the man was. Raskolnikov gave his own name and address, and, as earnestly as if it had been his father, he besought the police to carry the unconscious Marmeladov to his lodging at once.
Just here, three houses away, he said eagerly, the house belongs to Kozel, a rich German. He was going home, no doubt drunk. I know him, he is a drunkard. He has a family there, a wife, children, he has one daughter . It will take time to take him to the hospital, and there is sure to be a doctor in the house. Ill pay, Ill pay! At least he will be looked after at home they will help him at once. But hell die before you get him to the hospital. He managed to slip something unseen into the policemans hand. But the thing was straightforward and legitimate, and in any case help was closer here. They raised the injured man; people volunteered to help.
Katerina Ivanovna had just begun, as she always did at every free moment, walking to and fro in her little room from window to stove and back again, with her arms folded across her chest, talking to herself and coughing. Of late she had begun to talk more than ever to her eldest girl, Polenka, a child of ten, who, though there was much she did not understand, understood very well that her mother needed her, and so always watched her with her big clever eyes and strove her utmost to appear to understand. This time Polenka was undressing her little brother, who had been unwell all day and was going to bed. The boy was waiting for her to take off his shirt, which had to be washed at night. He was sitting straight and motionless on a chair, with a silent, serious face, with his legs stretched out straight before himheels together and toes turned out.
He was listening to what his mother was saying to his sister, sitting perfectly still with pouting lips and wide-open eyes, just as all good little boys have to sit when they are undressed to go to bed. A little girl, still younger, dressed literally in rags, stood at the screen, waiting for her turn. The door on to the stairs was open to relieve them a little from the clouds of tobacco smoke which floated in from the other rooms and brought on long terrible fits of coughing in the poor, consumptive woman. Katerina Ivanovna seemed to have grown even thinner during that week and the heavy flush on her face was brighter than ever.
You wouldnt believe, you cant imagine, Polenka, she said, walking about the room, what a happy luxurious life we had in my papas house and how this drunkard has brought me, and will bring you all, to ruin! Papa was a civil colonel and only a step from being a governor; so that every one who came to see him said We look upon you, Ivan Mihailovitch, as our governor! When I when she coughed violently, Oh, cursed life, she cried, clearing her throat and pressing her hands to her breast, when I when at the last ball at the marshals Princess Bezzemelny saw mewho gave me the blessing when your father and I were married, Polenkashe asked at once Isnt that the pretty girl who danced the shawl dance at the breaking up. (You must mend that tear, you must take your needle and darn it as I showed you, or tomorrowcough, cough, coughhe will make the hole bigger, she articulated with effort.) Prince Schegolskoy, a kammerjunker, had just come from Petersburg then he danced the mazurka with me and wanted to make me an offer next day; but I thanked him in flattering expressions and told him that my heart had long been anothers. That other was your father, Polya; papa was fearfully angry. Is the water ready? Give me the shirt, and the stockings! Lida, said she to the youngest one, you must manage without your chemise to-night and lay your stockings out with it Ill wash them together. How is it that drunken vagabond doesnt come in? He has worn his shirt till it looks like a dishclout, he has torn it to rags! Id do it all together, so as not to have to work two nights running! Oh, dear! (Cough, cough, cough, cough!) Again! Whats this? she cried, noticing a crowd in the passage and the men who were pushing into her room, carrying a burden. What is it? What are they bringing? Mercy on us!
For Gods sake be calm, dont be frightened! he said, speaking quickly, he was crossing the road and was run over by a carriage, dont be frightened, he will come to, I told them to bring him here. Ive been here already, you remember? He will come to; Ill pay!
Raskolnikov noticed at once that she was not one of those women who swoon easily. She instantly placed under the luckless mans head a pillow, which no one had thought of and began undressing and examining him. She kept her head, forgetting herself, biting her trembling lips and stifling the screams which were ready to break from her.
Ive sent for a doctor, he kept assuring Katerina Ivanovna dont be uneasy, Ill pay. Havent you water? and give me a napkin or a towel, anything, as quick as you can. He is injured, but not killed, believe me. We shall see what the doctor says!
Katerina Ivanovna ran to the window; there, on a broken chair in the corner, a large earthenware basin full of water had been stood, in readiness for washing her childrens and husbands linen that night. This washing was done by Katerina Ivanovna at night at least twice a week, if not oftener. For the family had come to such a pass that they were practically without change of linen, and Katerina Ivanovna could not endure uncleanliness and, rather than see dirt in the house, she preferred to wear herself out at night, working beyond her strength when the rest were asleep, so as to get the wet linen hung on a line and dry by the morning. She took up the basin of water at Raskolnikovs request, but almost fell down with her burden. But the latter had already succeeded in finding a towel, wetted it and begun washing the blood off Marmeladovs face.
Katerina Ivanovna stood by, breathing painfully and pressing her hands to her breast. She was in need of attention herself. Raskolnikov began to realise that he might have made a mistake in having the injured man brought here. The policeman, too, stood in hesitation.
Polenka, cried Katerina Ivanovna, run to Sonia, make haste. If you dont find her at home, leave word that her father has been run over and that she is to come here at once when she comes in. Run, Polenka! there, put on the shawl.
Meanwhile the room had become so full of people that you couldnt have dropped a pin. The policemen left, all except one, who remained for a time, trying to drive out the people who came in from the stairs. Almost all Madame Lippevechsels lodgers had streamed in from the inner rooms of the flat; at first they were squeezed together in the doorway, but afterwards they overflowed into the room. Katerina Ivanovna flew into a fury.
You might let him die in peace, at least, she shouted at the crowd, is it a spectacle for you to gape at? With cigarettes! (Cough, cough, cough!) You might as well keep your hats on. And there is one in his hat! Get away! You should respect the dead, at least!
Her cough choked herbut her reproaches were not without result. They evidently stood in some awe of Katerina Ivanovna. The lodgers, one after another, squeezed back into the doorway with that strange inner feeling of satisfaction which may be observed in the presence of a sudden accident, even in those nearest and dearest to the victim, from which no living man is exempt, even in spite of the sincerest sympathy and compassion.
No business to die! cried Katerina Ivanovna, and she was rushing to the door to vent her wrath upon them, but in the doorway came face to face with Madame Lippevechsel who had only just heard of the accident and ran in to restore order. She was a particularly quarrelsome and irresponsible German.
Amalia Ludwigovna, I beg you to recollect what you are saying, Katerina Ivanovna began haughtily (she always took a haughty tone with the landlady that she might remember her place and even now could not deny herself this satisfaction). Amalia Ludwigovna
You are not Amalia Ivanovna, but Amalia Ludwigovna, and as I am not one of your despicable flatterers like Mr. Lebeziatnikov, whos laughing behind the door at this moment (a laugh and a cry of they are at it again was in fact audible at the door) so I shall always call you Amalia Ludwigovna, though I fail to understand why you dislike that name. You can see for yourself what has happened to Semyon Zaharovitch; he is dying. I beg you to close that door at once and to admit no one. Let him at least die in peace. Or I warn you the Governor-General, himself, shall be informed of your conduct to-morrow. The prince knew me as a girl; he remembers Semyon Zaharovitch well and has often been a benefactor to him. Every one knows that Semyon Zaharovitch had many friends and protectors, whom he abandoned himself from an honourable pride, knowing his unhappy weakness, but now (she pointed to Raskolnikov) a generous young man has come to our assistance, who has wealth and connections and whom Semyon Zaharovitch has known from a child. You may rest assured, Amalia Ludwigovna
All this was uttered with extreme rapidity, getting quicker and quicker, but a cough suddenly cut short Katerina Ivanovnas eloquence. At that instant the dying man recovered consciousness and uttered a groan; she ran to him. The injured man opened his eyes and without recognition or understanding gazed at Raskolnikov who was bending over him. He drew deep, slow, painful breaths; blood oozed at the corners of his mouth and drops of perspiration came out on his forehead. Not recognising Raskolnikov, he began looking round uneasily. Katerina Ivanovna looked at him with a sad but stern face, and tears trickled from her eyes.
Theyve gone for him, Katerina Ivanovna shouted to him; he obeyed her shout and was silent. With sad and timid eyes he looked for her; she returned and stood by his pillow. He seemed a little easier, but not for long.
Thank God, the doctor, exclaimed Raskolnikov, relieved. The doctor came in, a precise little old man, a German, looking about him mistrustfully; he went up to the sick man, took his pulse, carefully felt his head and with the help of Katerina Ivanovna he unbuttoned the blood-stained shirt, and bared the injured mans chest. It was gashed, crushed and fractured, several ribs on the right side were broken. On the left side, just over the heart, was a large, sinister-looking yellowish-black bruisea cruel kick from the horses hoof. The doctor frowned. The policeman told him that he was caught in the wheel and turned round with it for thirty yards on the road.
At that moment other steps were heard; the crowd in the passage parted, and the priest, a little, grey old man, appeared in the doorway bearing the sacrament. A policeman had gone for him at the time of the time of the accident. The doctor changed places with him, exchanging glances with him. Raskolnikov begged the doctor to remain a little while. He shrugged his shoulders and remained.
All stepped back. The confession was soon over. The dying man probably understood little; he could only utter indistinct broken sounds. Katerina Ivanovna took little Lida, lifted the boy from the chair, knelt down in the corner by the stove and made the children kneel in front of her. The little girl was still trembling; but the boy, kneeling on his little bare knees, lifted his hand rhythmically, crossing himself with precision and bowed down, touching the door with his forehead, which seemed to afford him especial satisfaction. Katerina Ivanovna bit her lips and held back her tears; she prayed, too, now and then pulling straight the boys shirt, and managed to cover the girls bare shoulders with a kerchief, which she took from the chest without rising from her knees or ceasing to pray. Meanwhile the door from the inner rooms was opened inquisitively again. In the passage the crowd of spectators from all the flats on the staircase grew denser and denser, but they did not venture beyond the threshold. A single candle-end lighted up the scene.
At that moment Polenka forced her way through the crowd at the door. She came in panting from running so fast, took off her kerchief, looked for her mother, went up to her and said, Shes coming, I met her in the street.Her mother made her kneel beside her.
Timidly and noiselessly a young girl made her way through the crowd, and strange was her appearance in that room, in the midst of want, rags, death and despair. She, too, was in rags, her attire was all of the cheapest, but decked out in gutter finery of a special stamp, unmistakably betraying its shameful purpose. Sonia stopped short in the doorway and looked about her bewildered, unconscious of everything. She forgot her fourth-hand, gaudy silk dress, so unseemly here with its ridiculous long train, and her immense crinoline that filled up the whole doorway, and her light-coloured shoes, and the parasol she brought with her, though it was no use at night, and the absurd round straw hat with its flaring flame-coloured feather. Under this rakishly-tilted hat was a pale, frightened little face with lips parted and eyes staring in terror. Sonia was a small thin girl of eighteen with fair hair, rather pretty, with wonderful blue eyes. She looked intently at the bed and the priest; she too was out of breath with running. At last whispers, some words in the crowd probably, reached her. She looked down and took a step forward into the room, still keeping close to the door.
You dont understand! cried Katerina Ivanovna angrily waving her hand. And why should they compensate me? Why, he was drunk and threw himself under the horses! What earnings? He brought us in nothing but misery. He drank everything away, the drunkard! He robbed us to get drink, he wasted their lives and mine for drink! And thank God hes dying! One less to keep!
Katerina Ivanovna was busy with the dying man; she was giving him water, wiping the blood and sweat from his head, setting his pillow straight, and had only turned now and then for a moment to address the priest. Now she flew at him almost in a frenzy.
Ah, father! Thats words and only words! Forgive! If hed not been run over, hed have come home to-day drunk and his only shirt dirty and in rags and hed have fallen asleep like a log, and I should have been sousing and rinsing till daybreak, washing his rags and the childrens and then drying them by the window and as soon as it was daylight I should have been darning them. Thats how I spend my nights! Whats the use of talking of forgiveness! I have forgiven as it is!
A terrible hollow cough interrupted her words. She put her handkerchief to her lips and showed it to the priest, pressing her other hand to her aching chest. The handkerchief was covered with blood. The priest bowed his head and said nothing.
Marmeladov was in the last agony; he did not take his eyes off the face of Katerina Ivanovna, who was bending over him again. He kept trying to say something to her; he began moving his tongue with difficulty and articulating indistinctly, but Katerina Ivanovna, understanding that he wanted to ask her forgiveness, called peremptorily to him:
With unnatural strength he had succeeded in propping himself on his elbow. He looked wildly and fixedly for some time on his daughter, as though not recognising her. He had never seen her before in such attire. Suddenly he recognised her, crushed and ashamed in her humiliation and gaudy finery, meekly awaiting her turn to say good-bye to her dying father. His face showed intense suffering.
Sonia! Daughter! Forgive! he cried, and he tried to hold out his hand to her, but, losing his balance, he fell off the sofa, face downwards on the floor. They rushed to pick him up, they put him on the sofa; but he was dying. Sonia with a faint cry ran up, embraced him and remained so without moving. He died in her arms.
Katerina Ivanovna, he began, last week your husband told me all his life and circumstances Believe me, he spoke of you with passionate reverence. From that evening, when I learnt how devoted he was to you all and how he loved and respected you especially, Katerina Ivanovna, in spite of his unfortunate weakness, from that evening we became friends. Allow me now to do something to repay my debt to my dead friend. Here are twenty roubles I thinkand if that can be of any assistance to you, then I in short, I will come again, I will be sure to come again I shall, perhaps, come again to-morrow. Good-bye!
And he went quickly out of the room, squeezing his way through the crowd to the stairs. But in the crowd he suddenly jostled against Nikodim Fomitch, who had heard of the accident and had come to give instructions in person. They had not met since the scene at the police station, but Nikodim Fomitch knew him instantly.
Hes dead, answered Raskolnikov. The doctor and the priest have been, all as it should have been. Dont worry the poor woman too much, she is in consumption as it is. Try and cheer her up, if possible you are a kind-hearted man, I know he added with a smile, looking straight in his face.
He walked down slowly and deliberately, feverish but not conscious of it, entirely absorbed in a new overwhelming sensation of life and strength that surged up suddenly within him. This sensation might be compared to that of a man condemned to death who has suddenly been pardoned. Halfway down the staircase he was overtaken by the priest on his way home; Raskolnikov let him pass, exchanging a silent greeting with him. He was just descending the last steps when he heard rapid footsteps behind him. Some one overtook him; it was Polenka. She was running after him, calling Wait! wait!
He turned round. She was at the bottom of the staircase and stopped short a step above him. A dim light came in from the yard. Raskolnikov could distinguish the childs thin but pretty little face, looking at him with a bright childish smile. She had run after him with a message which she was evidently glad to give.
By way of answer he saw the little girls face approaching him, her full lips naively held out to kiss him. Suddenly her arms as thin as sticks held him tightly, her head rested on his shoulder and the little girl wept softly, pressing her face against him.
I am sorry for father, she said a moment later, raising her tear-stained face and brushing away the tears with her hands. Its nothing but misfortunes now, she added suddenly with that peculiarly sedate air which children try hard to assume when they want to speak like grown-up people.
He loved Lida most, she went on very seriously without a smile, exactly like grown-up people, he loved her because she is little and because she is ill, too. And he always used to bring her presents. But he taught us to read and me grammar and scripture, too, she added with dignity. And mother never used to say anything, but we knew that she liked it and father knew it, too. And mother wants to teach me French, for its time my education began.
Of course, we do! We knew them long ago. I say my prayers to myself as I am a big girl now, but Kolya and Lida say them aloud with mother. First they repeat the Ave Maria and then another prayer: Lord, forgive and bless sister Sonia, and then another, Lord, forgive and bless our second father. For our elder father is dead and this is another one, but we do pray for the other as well.
Raskolnikov told her his name and address and promised to be sure to come next day. The child went away quite enchanted with him. It was past ten when he came out into the street. In five minutes he was standing on the bridge at the spot where the woman had jumped in.
Enough, he pronounced resolutely and triumphantly. Ive done with fancies, imaginary errors and phantoms! Life is real! havent I lived just now? My life has not yet died with that old woman! The Kingdom of Heaven to herand now enough, madam, leave me in peace! Now for the reign of reason and light and of will, and of strength and now we will see! We will try our strength! he added defiantly, as though challenging some power of darkness. And I was ready to consent to live in a square of space!
I am very weak at this moment, but I believe my illness is all over. I knew it would be over when I went out. By the way, Potchinkovs house is only a few steps away. I certainly must go to Razumihin even if it were not close by let him win his bet! Let us give him some satisfaction, toono matter! Strength, strength is what one wants, you can get nothing without it, and strength must be won by strengththats what they dont know, he added proudly and self-confidently and he walked with flagging footsteps from the bridge. Pride and self-confidence grew continually stronger in him; he was becoming a different man every moment. What was it had happened to work this revolution in him? He did know himself; like a man catching at a straw, he suddenly felt that he, too, could live, that there was still life for him, that his life had not died with the old woman. Perhaps he was in too great a hurry with his conclusions, but he did not think of that.
But I did ask her to remember Thy servant Rodion in her prayers, the idea struck him. Well, that was in case of emergency, he added and laughed himself at his boyish sally. He was in the best of spirits.
He easily found Razumihin; the new lodger was already known at Potchinkovs and the porter at once showed him the way. Half-way upstairs he could hear the noise and animated conversation of a big gathering of people. The door was wide open on the stairs; he could hear exclamations and discussion. Raziumihins room was fairly large; the company consisted of fifteen people. Raskolnikov stopped in the entry, where two of the landladys servants were busy behind a screen with two samovars, bottles, plates and dishes of pie and savouries, brought up from the landladys servants were busy behind a screen with two samovars, bottles, plates and dishes of pie and savouries, brought up from the landladys kitchen. Raskolnikov sent in for Razumihin. He ran out delighted. At the first glance it was apparent that he had had a great deal to drink and, though no amount of liquor made Razumihin quite drunk, this time he was perceptibly affected by it.
Listen, Raskolnikov hastened to say, Ive only just come to tell you youve won your bet and that no one really knows what may not happen to him. I cant come in; I am so weak that I shall fall down directly. And so good evening and good-bye! Come and see me to-morrow.
He? Goodness only knows! Some friend of uncles I expect, or perhaps he has come without being invited Ill leave uncle with them, he is an invaluable person, pity I cant introduce you to him now. But confound them all now! They wont notice me, and I need a little fresh air, for youve come just in the nick of timeanother two minutes and I should have come to blows! They are talking such a lot of wild stuff you simply cant imagine what men will say! Though why shouldnt you imagine? Dont we talk nonsense ourselves? And let them thats the way to learn not to! Wait a minute, Ill fetch Zossimov.
Do you know what Zossimov whispered to me when we were coming out? Razumihin blurted out, as soon as they were in the street. I wont tell you everything, brother, because they are such fools. Zossimov told me to talk freely to you on the way and get you talk freely to me, and afterwards I am to tell him about it, for hes got a notion in his head that you are mad or close on it. Only fancy! In the first place, youve three times the brains he has; in the second, if you are not mad, you neednt care a hang that he has got such a wild idea; and thirdly, that piece of beef whose specialty is surgery has gone mad on mental diseases, and whats brought him to this conclusion about you was your conversation to-day with Zametov.
Yes, and he did well. Now I understand what it all means and so does Zametov. Well, the fact is, Rodya the point is I am a little drunk now. But thats no matter the point is that this idea you understand? was just being hatched in their brains you understand? That is, no one ventured to say it aloud, because the idea is too absurd and especially since the arrest of that painter, that bubbles burst and gone for ever. But why are they such fools? I gave Zametov a bit of a thrashing at the timethats between ourselves, brother; please dont let out a hint that you know of it; Ive noticed he is a ticklish subject; it was at Luise Ivanovnas. But to-day, to-day its all cleared up. That Ilya Petrovitch is at the bottom of it! He took advantage of your fainting at the police station, but he is ashamed of it himself now; I know that
No need to explain that! And it wasnt the paint only: the fever had been coming on for a month; Zossimov testifies to that! But how crushed that boy is now, you wouldnt believe! I am not worth his little finger, he says. Yours, he means. He has good feelings at times, brother. But the lesson, the lesson you gave him to-day in the Palais de Crystal, that was too good for anything! You frightened him at first, you know, he nearly went into convulsions! You almost convinced him again of the truth of all that hideous nonsense, and then you suddenlyput out your tongue at him: There now, what do you make of it? It was perfect! He is crushed, annihilated now! It was masterly, by Jove, its what they deserve! Ah, that I wasnt there! He was hoping to see you awfully. Porfiry, too, wants to make your acquaintance
Oh, not mad. I must have said too much brother What struck him, you see, was that only that subject seemed to interest you; now its clear why it did interest you; knowing all the circumstances and how that irritated you and worked in with your illness I am a little drunk, brother, only, confound him, he has some idea of his own I tell you, hes mad on mental diseases. But dont you mind him
Listen, Razumihin, began Raskolnikov, I want to tell you plainly: Ive just been at a death-bed, a clerk who died I gave them all my money and besides Ive just been kissed by some one who, if I had killed any one, would just the same in fact I saw some one else there with a flame-coloured feather but I am talking nonsense; I am very weak, support me we shall be at the stairs directly
His mother and sister were sitting on his sofa and had been waiting an hour and a half for him. Why had he never expected, never thought of them, though the news that they had started, were on their way and would arrive immediately, had been repeated to him only that day? They had spent that hour and a half plying Nastasya with questions. She was still standing before them and had told them everything by now. They were beside themselves with alarm when they heard of his running away to-day, ill and, as they understood from her story, delirious! Good Heavens, what had become of him? Both had been weeping, both had been in anguish for that hour and a half.
A cry of joy, of ecstasy, greeted Raskolnikovs entrance. Both rushed to him. But he stood like one dead; a sudden intolerable sensation struck him like a thunderbolt. He did not lift his arms to embrace them, he could not. His mother and sister clasped him in their arms, kissed him, laughed and cried. He took a step, tottered and fell to the ground, fainting.
Its nothing, nothing! he cried to the mother and sisterIts only a faint, a mere trifle! Only just now the doctor said he was much better, that he is perfectly well! Water! See, he is coming to himself, he is all right again!
And seizing Dounia by the arm so that he almost dislocated it, he made her bend down to see that he is all right again. The mother and sister looked on him with emotion and gratitude, as their Providence. They had heard already from Nastasya all that had been done for their Rodya during his illness, by this very competent young man, as Pulcheria Alexandrovna Raskolnikov called him that evening in conversation with Dounia.