The fact was that up to the last moment he had never expected such an ending; he had been overbearing to the last degree, never dreaming that two destitut_nd defenceless women could escape from his control. This conviction wa_trengthened by his vanity and conceit, a conceit to the point of fatuity.
Pyotr Petrovitch, who had made his way up from insignificance, was morbidl_iven to self-admiration, had the highest opinion of his intelligence an_apacities, and sometimes even gloated in solitude over his image in th_lass. But what he loved and valued above all was the money he had amassed b_is labour, and by all sorts of devices: that money made him the equal of al_ho had been his superiors.
When he had bitterly reminded Dounia that he had decided to take her in spit_f evil report, Pyotr Petrovitch had spoken with perfect sincerity and had, indeed, felt genuinely indignant at such "black ingratitude." And yet, when h_ade Dounia his offer, he was fully aware of the groundlessness of all th_ossip. The story had been everywhere contradicted by Marfa Petrovna, and wa_y then disbelieved by all the townspeople, who were warm in Dounia'a defence.
And he would not have denied that he knew all that at the time. Yet he stil_hought highly of his own resolution in lifting Dounia to his level an_egarded it as something heroic. In speaking of it to Dounia, he had let ou_he secret feeling he cherished and admired, and he could not understand tha_thers should fail to admire it too. He had called on Raskolnikov with th_eelings of a benefactor who is about to reap the fruits of his good deeds an_o hear agreeable flattery. And as he went downstairs now, he considere_imself most undeservedly injured and unrecognised.
Dounia was simply essential to him; to do without her was unthinkable. Fo_any years he had had voluptuous dreams of marriage, but he had gone o_aiting and amassing money. He brooded with relish, in profound secret, ove_he image of a girl—virtuous, poor (she must be poor), very young, ver_retty, of good birth and education, very timid, one who had suffered much, and was completely humbled before him, one who would all her life look on hi_s her saviour, worship him, admire him and only him. How many scenes, ho_any amorous episodes he had imagined on this seductive and playful theme, when his work was over! And, behold, the dream of so many years was all bu_ealised; the beauty and education of Avdotya Romanovna had impressed him; he_elpless position had been a great allurement; in her he had found even mor_han he dreamed of. Here was a girl of pride, character, virtue, of educatio_nd breeding superior to his own (he felt that), and this creature would b_lavishly grateful all her life for his heroic condescension, and would humbl_erself in the dust before him, and he would have absolute, unbounded powe_ver her! … Not long before, he had, too, after long reflection an_esitation, made an important change in his career and was now entering on _ider circle of business. With this change his cherished dreams of rising int_ higher class of society seemed likely to be realised… . He was, in fact, determined to try his fortune in Petersburg. He knew that women could do _ery great deal. The fascination of a charming, virtuous, highly educate_oman might make his way easier, might do wonders in attracting people to him, throwing an aureole round him, and now everything was in ruins! This sudde_orrible rupture affected him like a clap of thunder; it was like a hideou_oke, an absurdity. He had only been a tiny bit masterful, had not even tim_o speak out, had simply made a joke, been carried away —and it had ended s_eriously. And, of course, too, he did love Dounia in his own way; he alread_ossessed her in his dreams—and all at once! No! The next day, the very nex_ay, it must all be set right, smoothed over, settled. Above all he must crus_hat conceited milksop who was the cause of it all. With a sick feeling h_ould not help recalling Razumihin too, but, he soon reassured himself on tha_core; as though a fellow like that could be put on a level with him! The ma_e really dreaded in earnest was Svidrigaïlov… . He had, in short, a grea_eal to attend to… .
"No, I, I am more to blame than anyone!" said Dounia, kissing and embracin_er mother. "I was tempted by his money, but on my honour, brother, I had n_dea he was such a base man. If I had seen through him before, nothing woul_ave tempted me! Don't blame me, brother!"
"God has delivered us! God has delivered us!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna muttered, but half consciously, as though scarcely able to realise what had happened.
They were all relieved, and in five minutes they were laughing. Only now an_hen Dounia turned white and frowned, remembering what had passed. Pulcheri_lexandrovna was surprised to find that she, too, was glad: she had only tha_orning thought rupture with Luzhin a terrible misfortune. Razumihin wa_elighted. He did not yet dare to express his joy fully, but he was in a feve_f excitement as though a ton-weight had fallen off his heart. Now he had th_ight to devote his life to them, to serve them… . Anything might happen now!
But he felt afraid to think of further possibilities and dared not let hi_magination range. But Raskolnikov sat still in the same place, almost sulle_nd indifferent. Though he had been the most insistent on getting rid o_uzhin, he seemed now the least concerned at what had happened. Dounia coul_ot help thinking that he was still angry with her, and Pulcheria Alexandrovn_atched him timidly.
"What did Svidrigaïlov say to you?" said Dounia, approaching him.
"Yes, yes!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
Raskolnikov raised his head.
"He wants to make you a present of ten thousand roubles and he desires to se_ou once in my presence."
"See her! On no account!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna. "And how dare he offe_er money!"
Then Raskolnikov repeated (rather dryly) his conversation with Svidrigaïlov, omitting his account of the ghostly visitations of Marfa Petrovna, wishing t_void all unnecessary talk.
"What answer did you give him?" asked Dounia.
"At first I said I would not take any message to you. Then he said that h_ould do his utmost to obtain an interview with you without my help. H_ssured me that his passion for you was a passing infatuation, now he has n_eeling for you. He doesn't want you to marry Luzhin… . His talk wa_ltogether rather muddled."
"How do you explain him to yourself, Rodya? How did he strike you?"
"I must confess I don't quite understand him. He offers you ten thousand, an_et says he is not well off. He says he is going away, and in ten minutes h_orgets he has said it. Then he says is he going to be married and has alread_ixed on the girl… . No doubt he has a motive, and probably a bad one. Bu_t's odd that he should be so clumsy about it if he had any designs agains_ou… . Of course, I refused this money on your account, once for all.
Altogether, I thought him very strange… . One might almost think he was mad.
But I may be mistaken; that may only be the part he assumes. The death o_arfa Petrovna seems to have made a great impression on him."
"God rest her soul," exclaimed Pulcheria Alexandrovna. "I shall always, alway_ray for her! Where should we be now, Dounia, without this three thousand!
It's as though it had fallen from heaven! Why, Rodya, this morning we had onl_hree roubles in our pocket and Dounia and I were just planning to pawn he_atch, so as to avoid borrowing from that man until he offered help."
Dounia seemed strangely impressed by Svidrigaïlov's offer. She still stoo_editating.
"He has got some terrible plan," she said in a half whisper to herself, almos_huddering.
Raskolnikov noticed this disproportionate terror.
"I fancy I shall have to see him more than once again," he said to Dounia.
"We will watch him! I will track him out!" cried Razumihin, vigorously. "_on't lose sight of him. Rodya has given me leave. He said to me himself jus_ow. 'Take care of my sister.' Will you give me leave, too, Avdoty_omanovna?"
Dounia smiled and held out her hand, but the look of anxiety did not leave he_ace. Pulcheria Alexandrovna gazed at her timidly, but the three thousan_oubles had obviously a soothing effect on her.
A quarter of an hour later, they were all engaged in a lively conversation.
Even Raskolnikov listened attentively for some time, though he did not talk.
Razumihin was the speaker.
"And why, why should you go away?" he flowed on ecstatically. "And what ar_ou to do in a little town? The great thing is, you are all here together an_ou need one another—you do need one another, believe me. For a time, anyway… . Take me into partnership, and I assure you we'll plan a capital enterprise.
Listen! I'll explain it all in detail to you, the whole project! It al_lashed into my head this morning, before anything had happened … I tell yo_hat; I have an uncle, I must introduce him to you (a most accommodating an_espectable old man). This uncle has got a capital of a thousand roubles, an_e lives on his pension and has no need of that money. For the last two year_e has been bothering me to borrow it from him and pay him six per cent.
interest. I know what that means; he simply wants to help me. Last year I ha_o need of it, but this year I resolved to borrow it as soon as he arrived.
Then you lend me another thousand of your three and we have enough for _tart, so we'll go into partnership, and what are we going to do?"
Then Razumihin began to unfold his project, and he explained at length tha_lmost all our publishers and booksellers know nothing at all of what they ar_elling, and for that reason they are usually bad publishers, and that an_ecent publications pay as a rule and give a profit, sometimes a considerabl_ne. Razumihin had, indeed, been dreaming of setting up as a publisher. Fo_he last two years he had been working in publishers' offices, and knew thre_uropean languages well, though he had told Raskolnikov six days before tha_e was "schwach" in German with an object of persuading him to take half hi_ranslation and half the payment for it. He had told a lie then, an_askolnikov knew he was lying.
"Why, why should we let our chance slip when we have one of the chief means o_uccess—money of our own!" cried Razumihin warmly. "Of course there will be _ot of work, but we will work, you, Avdotya Romanovna, I, Rodion… . You get _plendid profit on some books nowadays! And the great point of the business i_hat we shall know just what wants translating, and we shall be translating, publishing, learning all at once. I can be of use because I have experience.
For nearly two years I've been scuttling about among the publishers, and now _now every detail of their business. You need not be a saint to make pots, believe me! And why, why should we let our chance slip! Why, I know—and I kep_he secret—two or three books which one might get a hundred roubles simply fo_hinking of translating and publishing. Indeed, and I would not take fiv_undred for the very idea of one of them. And what do you think? If I were t_ell a publisher, I dare say he'd hesitate—they are such blockheads! And a_or the business side, printing, paper, selling, you trust to me, I know m_ay about. We'll begin in a small way and go on to a large. In any case i_ill get us our living and we shall get back our capital."
Dounia's eyes shone.
"I like what you are saying, Dmitri Prokofitch!" she said.
"I know nothing about it, of course," put in Pulcheria Alexandrovna, "it ma_e a good idea, but again God knows. It's new and untried. Of course, we mus_emain here at least for a time." She looked at Rodya.
"What do you think, brother?" said Dounia.
"I think he's got a very good idea," he answered. "Of course, it's too soon t_ream of a publishing firm, but we certainly might bring out five or six book_nd be sure of success. I know of one book myself which would be sure to g_ell. And as for his being able to manage it, there's no doubt about tha_ither. He knows the business… . But we can talk it over later… ."
"Hurrah!" cried Razumihin. "Now, stay, there's a flat here in this house, belonging to the same owner. It's a special flat apart, not communicating wit_hese lodgings. It's furnished, rent moderate, three rooms. Suppose you tak_hem to begin with. I'll pawn your watch to-morrow and bring you the money, and everything can be arranged then. You can all three live together, an_odya will be with you. But where are you off to, Rodya?"
"What, Rodya, you are going already?" Pulcheria Alexandrovna asked in dismay.
"At such a minute?" cried Razumihin.
Dounia looked at her brother with incredulous wonder. He held his cap in hi_and, he was preparing to leave them.
"One would think you were burying me or saying good-bye for ever," he sai_omewhat oddly. He attempted to smile, but it did not turn out a smile. "Bu_ho knows, perhaps it is the last time we shall see each other … " he let sli_ccidentally. It was what he was thinking, and it somehow was uttered aloud.
"What is the matter with you?" cried his mother.
"Where are you going, Rodya?" asked Dounia rather strangely.
"Oh, I'm quite obliged to … " he answered vaguely, as though hesitating wha_e would say. But there was a look of sharp determination in his white face.
"I meant to say … as I was coming here … I meant to tell you, mother, and you, Dounia, that it would be better for us to part for a time. I feel ill, I a_ot at peace… . I will come afterwards, I will come of myself … when it'_ossible. I remember you and love you… . Leave me, leave me alone. I decide_his even before … I'm absolutely resolved on it. Whatever may come to me, whether I come to ruin or not, I want to be alone. Forget me altogether, it'_etter. Don't inquire about me. When I can, I'll come of myself or … I'll sen_or you. Perhaps it will all come back, but now if you love me, give me up … else I shall begin to hate you, I feel it… . Good-bye!"
"Good God!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna. Both his mother and his sister wer_erribly alarmed. Razumihin was also.
"Rodya, Rodya, be reconciled with us! Let us be as before!" cried his poo_other.
He turned slowly to the door and slowly went out of the room. Dounia overtoo_im.
"Brother, what are you doing to mother?" she whispered, her eyes flashing wit_ndignation.
He looked dully at her.
"No matter, I shall come… . I'm coming," he muttered in an undertone, a_hough not fully conscious of what he was saying, and he went out of the room.
"Wicked, heartless egoist!" cried Dounia.
"He is insane, but not heartless. He is mad! Don't you see it? You'r_eartless after that!" Razumihin whispered in her ear, squeezing her han_ightly. "I shall be back directly," he shouted to the horror- stricke_other, and he ran out of the room.
Raskolnikov was waiting for him at the end of the passage.
"I knew you would run after me," he said. "Go back to them—be with them … b_ith them to-morrow and always… . I … perhaps I shall come … if I can. Good- bye."
And without holding out his hand he walked away.
"But where are you going? What are you doing? What's the matter with you? Ho_an you go on like this?" Razumihin muttered, at his wits' end.
Raskolnikov stopped once more.
"Once for all, never ask me about anything. I have nothing to tell you. Don'_ome to see me. Maybe I'll come here… . Leave me, but don't leave them. Do yo_nderstand me?"
It was dark in the corridor, they were standing near the lamp. For a minut_hey were looking at one another in silence. Razumihin remembered that minut_ll his life. Raskolnikov's burning and intent eyes grew more penetratin_very moment, piercing into his soul, into his consciousness. Suddenl_azumihin started. Something strange, as it were, passed between them… . Som_dea, some hint, as it were, slipped, something awful, hideous, and suddenl_nderstood on both sides… . Razumihin turned pale.
"Do you understand now?" said Raskolnikov, his face twitching nervously. "G_ack, go to them," he said suddenly, and turning quickly, he went out of th_ouse.
I will not attempt to describe how Razumihin went back to the ladies, how h_oothed them, how he protested that Rodya needed rest in his illness, protested that Rodya was sure to come, that he would come every day, that h_as very, very much upset, that he must not be irritated, that he, Razumihin, would watch over him, would get him a doctor, the best doctor, a consultation… . In fact from that evening Razumihin took his place with them as a son and _rother.