Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Chapter IV

At that moment the door was softly opened, and a young girl walked into the room, looking timidly about her. Everyone 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 old-fashioned 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 . . . it’s you!” said Raskolnikov, extremely astonished, and he, too, was confused. He at once recollected that his mother and sister knew through Luzhin’s letter of “some young woman of notorious behaviour.” He had only just been protesting against Luzhin’s 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.

“I did not expect you,” he said, hurriedly, with a look that made her stop. “Please sit down. You come, no doubt, from Katerina Ivanovna. Allow me — not there. Sit here . . . .”

At Sonia’s entrance, Razumihin, who had been sitting on one of Raskolnikov’s 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 Razumihin’s chair.

“You sit here,” he said to Razumihin, putting him on the sofa.

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 Mitrofanievsky . . . and then . . . to us . . . to her . . . 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.

Sonia sat down again, and again timidly she took a hurried, frightened look at the two ladies, and dropped her eyes. Raskolnikov’s pale face flushed, a shudder passed over him, his eyes glowed.

“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 Rodya’s urgent and challenging look, she could not deny herself that satisfaction. Dounia gazed gravely and intently into the poor girl’s face, and scrutinised her with perplexity. Sonia, hearing herself introduced, tried to raise her eyes again, but was more embarrassed than ever.

“I wanted to ask you,” said Raskolnikov, hastily, “how things were arranged yesterday. You were not worried by the police, for instance?”

“No, that was all right . . . it was too evident, the cause of death . . . they did not worry us . . . only the lodgers are angry.”

“Why?”

“At the body’s 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 it’s necessary . . .”

“To-day, then?”

“She begs you to do us the honour to be in the church to-morrow for the service, and then to be present at the funeral lunch.”

“She is giving a funeral lunch?”

“Yes . . . just a little. . . . She told me to thank you very much for helping us yesterday. But for you, we should have had nothing for the funeral.”

All at once her lips and chin began trembling, but, with an effort, she controlled herself, looking down again.

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 girl — almost a child. And in some of her gestures, this childishness seemed almost absurd.

“But has Katerina Ivanovna been able to manage with such small means? Does she even mean to have a funeral lunch?” Raskolnikov asked, persistently keeping up the conversation.

“The coffin will be plain, of course . . . and everything will be plain, so it won’t 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 can’t . . . it’s a comfort to her . . . she is like that, you know . . . .”

“I understand, I understand . . . of course . . . why do you look at my room like that? My mother has just said it is like a tomb.”

“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 Raskolnikov’s poor surroundings, and now these words broke out spontaneously. A silence followed. There was a light in Dounia’s 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 . . . .”

“Yes, yes, I’ll come,” he answered, getting up fussily. “But I have something to see to.”

“But surely you will have dinner together?” cried Razumihin, looking in surprise at Raskolnikov. “What do you mean?”

“Yes, yes, I am coming . . . of course, of course! And you stay a minute. You do not want him just now, do you, mother? Or perhaps I am taking him from you?”

“Oh, no, no. And will you, Dmitri Prokofitch, do us the favour of dining with us?”

“Please do,” added Dounia.

Razumihin bowed, positively radiant. For one moment, they were all strangely embarrassed.

“Good-bye, Rodya, that is till we meet. I do not like saying good-bye. Good-bye, Nastasya. Ah, I have said good-bye again.”

Pulcheria Alexandrovna meant to greet Sonia, too; but it somehow failed to come off, and she went in a flutter out of the room.

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 Romanovna’s courtesy and attention were oppressive and painful to her.

“Dounia, good-bye,” called Raskolnikov, in the passage. “Give me your hand.”

“Why, I did give it to you. Have you forgotten?” said Dounia, turning warmly and awkwardly to him.

“Never mind, give it to me again.” And he squeezed her fingers warmly.

Dounia smiled, flushed, pulled her hand away, and went off quite happy.

“Come, that’s capital,” he said to Sonia, going back and looking brightly at her. “God give peace to the dead, the living have still to live. That is right, isn’t it?”

Sonia looked surprised at the sudden brightness of his face. He looked at her for some moments in silence. The whole history of the dead father floated before his memory in those moments . . . .

*****

“Heavens, Dounia,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna began, as soon as they were in the street, “I really feel relieved myself at coming away — more at ease. How little did I think yesterday in the train that I could ever be glad of that.”

“I tell you again, mother, he is still very ill. Don’t you see it? Perhaps worrying about us upset him. We must be patient, and much, much can be forgiven.”

“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 can’t be an egoist, Dounia. Eh? When I think of what is in store for us this evening, my heart sinks!”

“Don’t be uneasy, mother. What must be, will be.”

“Dounia, only think what a position we are in! What if Pyotr Petrovitch breaks it off?” poor Pulcheria Alexandrovna blurted out, incautiously.

“He won’t be worth much if he does,” answered Dounia, sharply and contemptuously.

“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 you — carrying something. Why, it is a piano they have got, I declare . . . how they push! . . . I am very much afraid of that young woman, too.”

“What young woman, mother?

“Why, that Sofya Semyonovna, who was there just now.”

“Why?”

“I have a presentiment, Dounia. Well, you may believe it or not, but as soon as she came in, that very minute, I felt that she was the chief cause of the trouble . . . .”

“Nothing of the sort!” cried Dounia, in vexation. “What nonsense, with your presentiments, mother! He only made her acquaintance the evening before, and he did not know her when she came in.”

“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 us — to you! So he must think a great deal of her.”

“People will write anything. We were talked about and written about, too. Have you forgotten? I am sure that she is a good girl, and that it is all nonsense.”

“God grant it may be!”

“And Pyotr Petrovitch is a contemptible slanderer,” Dounia snapped out, suddenly.

Pulcheria Alexandrovna was crushed; the conversation was not resumed.

*****

“I will tell you what I want with you,” said Raskolnikov, drawing Razumihin to the window.

“Then I will tell Katerina Ivanovna that you are coming,” Sonia said hurriedly, preparing to depart.

“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 . . . what’s his name . . . Porfiry Petrovitch?”

“I should think so! He is a relation. Why?” added the latter, with interest.

“Is not he managing that case . . . you know, about that murder? . . . You were speaking about it yesterday.”

“Yes . . . well?” Razumihin’s eyes opened wide.

“He was inquiring for people who had pawned things, and I have some pledges there, too — trifles — a ring my sister gave me as a keepsake when I left home, and my father’s silver watch — they 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 Dounia’s watch. It is the only thing of father’s 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.”

“Very well, let us go.”

“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 that’s it! It is all turning out splendidly. . . . Oh, yes, Sofya Ivanovna . . .”

“Sofya Semyonovna,” corrected Raskolnikov. “Sofya Semyonovna, this is my friend Razumihin, and he is a good man.”

“If you have to go now,” Sonia was beginning, not looking at Razumihin at all, and still more embarrassed.

“Let us go,” decided Raskolnikov. “I will come to you to-day, Sofya Semyonovna. Only tell me where you live.”

He was not exactly ill at ease, but seemed hurried, and avoided her eyes. Sonia gave her address, and flushed as she did so. They all went out together.

“Don’t you lock up?” asked Razumihin, following him on to the stairs.

“Never,” answered Raskolnikov. “I have been meaning to buy a lock for these two years. People are happy who have no need of locks,” he said, laughing, to Sonia. They stood still in the gateway.

“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.

“Why, you gave your address to Polenka yesterday.”

“Polenka? Oh, yes; Polenka, that is the little girl. She is your sister? Did I give her the address?”

“Why, had you forgotten?”

“No, I remember.”

“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 at once!

“Only not to-day, please, not to-day!” she kept muttering with a sinking heart, as though entreating someone, like a frightened child. “Mercy! to me . . . to that room . . . he will see . . . oh, dear!”

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 Sonia’s 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.

“Home? Where? I’ve seen that face somewhere,” he thought. “I must find out.”

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 remarkedly 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.

“You lodge at Kapernaumov’s,” he said, looking at Sonia and laughing. “He altered a waistcoat for me yesterday. I am staying close here at Madame Resslich’s. How odd!” Sonia looked at him attentively.

“We are neighbours,” he went on gaily. “I only came to town the day before yesterday. Good-bye for the present.”

Sonia made no reply; the door opened and she slipped in. She felt for some reason ashamed and uneasy.

*****

On the way to Porfiry’s, Razumihin was obviously excited.

“That’s capital, brother,” he repeated several times, “and I am glad! I am glad!”

“What are you glad about?” Raskolnikov thought to himself.

“I didn’t know that you pledged things at the old woman’s, too. And . . . was it long ago? I mean, was it long since you were there?”

“What a simple-hearted fool he is!”

“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. “I’ve not more than a silver rouble left . . . after last night’s accursed delirium!”

He laid special emphasis on the delirium.

“Yes, yes,” Razumihin hastened to agree — with what was not clear. “Then that’s why you . . . were stuck . . . partly . . . you know in your delirium you were continually mentioning some rings or chains! Yes, yes . . . that’s clear, it’s 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!”

“Shall we find him?” he asked suddenly.

“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!”

“On what grounds is he so anxious?”

“Oh, it’s not exactly . . . you see, since you’ve 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.”

“What? That they think I am a madman? Maybe they are right,” he said with a constrained smile.

“Yes, yes. . . . That is, pooh, no! . . . But all that I said (and there was something else too) it was all nonsense, drunken nonsense.”

“But why are you apologising? I am so sick of it all!” Raskolnikov cried with exaggerated irritability. It was partly assumed, however.

“I know, I know, I understand. Believe me, I understand. One’s ashamed to speak of it.”

“If you are ashamed, then don’t speak of it.”

Both were silent. Razumihin was more than ecstatic and Raskolnikov perceived it with repulsion. He was alarmed, too, by what Razumihin had just said about Porfiry.

“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, that’s what’s bad!”

“In this grey house,” said Razumihin.

“The most important thing, does Porfiry know that I was at the old hag’s 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 . . . I’ll find out, if it’s my ruin.”

“I say, brother,” he said suddenly, addressing Razumihin, with a sly smile, “I have been noticing all day that you seem to be curiously excited. Isn’t it so?”

“Excited? Not a bit of it,” said Razumihin, stung to the quick.

“Yes, brother, I assure you it’s 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.”

“Nothing of the sort, nonsense! What do you mean?”

“But why are you wriggling out of it, like a schoolboy? By Jove, there he’s blushing again.”

“What a pig you are!”

“But why are you so shamefaced about it? Romeo! Stay, I’ll tell of you to-day. Ha-ha-ha! I’ll make mother laugh, and someone else, too . . .”

“Listen, listen, listen, this is serious. . . . What next, you fiend!” Razumihin was utterly overwhelmed, turning cold with horror. “What will you tell them? Come, brother . . . foo! what a pig you are!”

“You are like a summer rose. And if only you knew how it suits you; a Romeo over six foot high! And how you’ve washed to-day — you cleaned your nails, I declare. Eh? That’s something unheard of! Why, I do believe you’ve got pomatum on your hair! Bend down.”

“Pig!”

Raskolnikov laughed as though he could not restrain himself. So laughing, they entered Porfiry Petrovitch’s flat. This is what Raskolnikov wanted: from within they could be heard laughing as they came in, still guffawing in the passage.

“Not a word here or I’ll . . . brain you!” Razumihin whispered furiously, seizing Raskolnikov by the shoulder.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 15:49