"Of course, I've been meaning lately to go to Razumihin's to ask for work, t_sk him to get me lessons or something … " Raskolnikov thought, "but what hel_an he be to me now? Suppose he gets me lessons, suppose he shares his las_arthing with me, if he has any farthings, so that I could get some boots an_ake myself tidy enough to give lessons … hm … Well and what then? What shal_ do with the few coppers I earn? That's not what I want now. It's reall_bsurd for me to go to Razumihin… ."
The question why he was now going to Razumihin agitated him even more than h_as himself aware; he kept uneasily seeking for some sinister significance i_his apparently ordinary action.
"Could I have expected to set it all straight and to find a way out by mean_f Razumihin alone?" he asked himself in perplexity.
He pondered and rubbed his forehead, and, strange to say, after long musing, suddenly, as if it were spontaneously and by chance, a fantastic thought cam_nto his head.
"Hm … to Razumihin's," he said all at once, calmly, as though he had reached _inal determination. "I shall go to Razumihin's of course, but … not now. _hall go to him … on the next day after It, when It will be over an_verything will begin afresh… ."
And suddenly he realised what he was thinking.
"After It," he shouted, jumping up from the seat, "but is It really going t_appen? Is it possible it really will happen?" He left the seat, and went of_lmost at a run; he meant to turn back, homewards, but the thought of goin_ome suddenly filled him with intense loathing; in that hole, in that awfu_ittle cupboard of his, all this had for a month past been growing up in him; and he walked on at random.
His nervous shudder had passed into a fever that made him feel shivering; i_pite of the heat he felt cold. With a kind of effort he began almos_nconsciously, from some inner craving, to stare at all the objects befor_im, as though looking for something to distract his attention; but he did no_ucceed, and kept dropping every moment into brooding. When with a start h_ifted his head again and looked round, he forgot at once what he had jus_een thinking about and even where he was going. In this way he walked righ_cross Vassilyevsky Ostrov, came out on to the Lesser Neva, crossed the bridg_nd turned towards the islands. The greenness and freshness were at firs_estful to his weary eyes after the dust of the town and the huge houses tha_emmed him in and weighed upon him. Here there were no taverns, no stiflin_loseness, no stench. But soon these new pleasant sensations passed int_orbid irritability. Sometimes he stood still before a brightly painted summe_illa standing among green foliage, he gazed through the fence, he saw in th_istance smartly dressed women on the verandahs and balconies, and childre_unning in the gardens. The flowers especially caught his attention; he gaze_t them longer than at anything. He was met, too, by luxurious carriages an_y men and women on horseback; he watched them with curious eyes and forgo_bout them before they had vanished from his sight. Once he stood still an_ounted his money; he found he had thirty copecks. "Twenty to the policeman, three to Nastasya for the letter, so I must have given forty-seven or fifty t_he Marmeladovs yesterday," he thought, reckoning it up for some unknow_eason, but he soon forgot with what object he had taken the money out of hi_ocket. He recalled it on passing an eating-house or tavern, and felt that h_as hungry… . Going into the tavern he drank a glass of vodka and ate a pie o_ome sort. He finished eating it as he walked away. It was a long while sinc_e had taken vodka and it had an effect upon him at once, though he only dran_ wineglassful. His legs felt suddenly heavy and a great drowsiness came upo_im. He turned homewards, but reaching Petrovsky Ostrov he stopped completel_xhausted, turned off the road into the bushes, sank down upon the grass an_nstantly fell asleep.
In a morbid condition of the brain, dreams often have a singular actuality, vividness, and extraordinary semblance of reality. At times monstrous image_re created, but the setting and the whole picture are so truthlike and fille_ith details so delicate, so unexpectedly, but so artistically consistent, that the dreamer, were he an artist like Pushkin or Turgenev even, could neve_ave invented them in the waking state. Such sick dreams always remain long i_he memory and make a powerful impression on the overwrought and derange_ervous system.
Raskolnikov had a fearful dream. He dreamt he was back in his childhood in th_ittle town of his birth. He was a child about seven years old, walking int_he country with his father on the evening of a holiday. It was a grey an_eavy day, the country was exactly as he remembered it; indeed he recalled i_ar more vividly in his dream than he had done in memory. The little tow_tood on a level flat as bare as the hand, not even a willow near it; only i_he far distance, a copse lay, a dark blur on the very edge of the horizon. _ew paces beyond the last market garden stood a tavern, a big tavern, whic_ad always aroused in him a feeling of aversion, even of fear, when he walke_y it with his father. There was always a crowd there, always shouting, laughter and abuse, hideous hoarse singing and often fighting. Drunken an_orrible-looking figures were hanging about the tavern. He used to cling clos_o his father, trembling all over when he met them. Near the tavern the roa_ecame a dusty track, the dust of which was always black. It was a windin_oad, and about a hundred paces further on, it turned to the right to th_raveyard. In the middle of the graveyard stood a stone church with a gree_upola where he used to go to mass two or three times a year with his fathe_nd mother, when a service was held in memory of his grandmother, who had lon_een dead, and whom he had never seen. On these occasions they used to take o_ white dish tied up in a table napkin a special sort of rice pudding wit_aisins stuck in it in the shape of a cross. He loved that church, the old- fashioned, unadorned ikons and the old priest with the shaking head. Near hi_randmother's grave, which was marked by a stone, was the little grave of hi_ounger brother who had died at six months old. He did not remember him a_ll, but he had been told about his little brother, and whenever he visite_he graveyard he used religiously and reverently to cross himself and to bo_own and kiss the little grave. And now he dreamt that he was walking with hi_ather past the tavern on the way to the graveyard; he was holding hi_ather's hand and looking with dread at the tavern. A peculiar circumstanc_ttracted his attention: there seemed to be some kind of festivity going on, there were crowds of gaily dressed townspeople, peasant women, their husbands, and riff-raff of all sorts, all singing and all more or less drunk. Near th_ntrance of the tavern stood a cart, but a strange cart. It was one of thos_ig carts usually drawn by heavy cart-horses and laden with casks of wine o_ther heavy goods. He always liked looking at those great cart- horses, wit_heir long manes, thick legs, and slow even pace, drawing along a perfec_ountain with no appearance of effort, as though it were easier going with _oad than without it. But now, strange to say, in the shafts of such a cart h_aw a thin little sorrel beast, one of those peasants' nags which he had ofte_een straining their utmost under a heavy load of wood or hay, especially whe_he wheels were stuck in the mud or in a rut. And the peasants would beat the_o cruelly, sometimes even about the nose and eyes, and he felt so sorry, s_orry for them that he almost cried, and his mother always used to take hi_way from the window. All of a sudden there was a great uproar of shouting, singing and the balalaïka, and from the tavern a number of big and ver_runken peasants came out, wearing red and blue shirts and coats thrown ove_heir shoulders.
"Get in, get in!" shouted one of them, a young thick-necked peasant with _leshy face red as a carrot. "I'll take you all, get in!"
But at once there was an outbreak of laughter and exclamations in the crowd.
"Take us all with a beast like that!"
"Why, Mikolka, are you crazy to put a nag like that in such a cart?"
"And this mare is twenty if she is a day, mates!"
"Get in, I'll take you all," Mikolka shouted again, leaping first into th_art, seizing the reins and standing straight up in front. "The bay has gon_ith Matvey," he shouted from the cart—"and this brute, mates, is jus_reaking my heart, I feel as if I could kill her. She's just eating her hea_ff. Get in, I tell you! I'll make her gallop! She'll gallop!" and he picke_p the whip, preparing himself with relish to flog the little mare.
"Get in! Come along!" The crowd laughed. "D'you hear, she'll gallop!"
"Gallop indeed! She has not had a gallop in her for the last ten years!"
"She'll jog along!"
"Don't you mind her, mates, bring a whip each of you, get ready!"
"All right! Give it to her!"
They all clambered into Mikolka's cart, laughing and making jokes. Six men go_n and there was still room for more. They hauled in a fat, rosy-cheeke_oman. She was dressed in red cotton, in a pointed, beaded headdress and thic_eather shoes; she was cracking nuts and laughing. The crowd round them wa_aughing too and indeed, how could they help laughing? That wretched nag wa_o drag all the cartload of them at a gallop! Two young fellows in the car_ere just getting whips ready to help Mikolka. With the cry of "now," the mar_ugged with all her might, but far from galloping, could scarcely mov_orward; she struggled with her legs, gasping and shrinking from the blows o_he three whips which were showered upon her like hail. The laughter in th_art and in the crowd was redoubled, but Mikolka flew into a rage an_uriously thrashed the mare, as though he supposed she really could gallop.
"Let me get in, too, mates," shouted a young man in the crowd whose appetit_as aroused.
"Get in, all get in," cried Mikolka, "she will draw you all. I'll beat her t_eath!" And he thrashed and thrashed at the mare, beside himself with fury.
"Father, father," he cried, "father, what are they doing? Father, they ar_eating the poor horse!"
"Come along, come along!" said his father. "They are drunken and foolish, the_re in fun; come away, don't look!" and he tried to draw him away, but he tor_imself away from his hand, and, beside himself with horror, ran to the horse.
The poor beast was in a bad way. She was gasping, standing still, then tuggin_gain and almost falling.
"Beat her to death," cried Mikolka, "it's come to that. I'll do for her!"
"What are you about, are you a Christian, you devil?" shouted an old man i_he crowd.
"Did anyone ever see the like? A wretched nag like that pulling such _artload," said another.
"You'll kill her," shouted the third.
"Don't meddle! It's my property, I'll do what I choose. Get in, more of you!
Get in, all of you! I will have her go at a gallop! … "
All at once laughter broke into a roar and covered everything: the mare, roused by the shower of blows, began feebly kicking. Even the old man coul_ot help smiling. To think of a wretched little beast like that trying t_ick!
Two lads in the crowd snatched up whips and ran to the mare to beat her abou_he ribs. One ran each side.
"Hit her in the face, in the eyes, in the eyes," cried Mikolka.
"Give us a song, mates," shouted someone in the cart and everyone in the car_oined in a riotous song, jingling a tambourine and whistling. The woman wen_n cracking nuts and laughing.
… He ran beside the mare, ran in front of her, saw her being whipped acros_he eyes, right in the eyes! He was crying, he felt choking, his tears wer_treaming. One of the men gave him a cut with the whip across the face, he di_ot feel it. Wringing his hands and screaming, he rushed up to the grey-heade_ld man with the grey beard, who was shaking his head in disapproval. On_oman seized him by the hand and would have taken him away, but he tor_imself from her and ran back to the mare. She was almost at the last gasp, but began kicking once more.
"I'll teach you to kick," Mikolka shouted ferociously. He threw down the whip, bent forward and picked up from the bottom of the cart a long, thick shaft, h_ook hold of one end with both hands and with an effort brandished it over th_are.
"He'll crush her," was shouted round him. "He'll kill her!"
"It's my property," shouted Mikolka and brought the shaft down with a swingin_low. There was a sound of a heavy thud.
"Thrash her, thrash her! Why have you stopped?" shouted voices in the crowd.
And Mikolka swung the shaft a second time and it fell a second time on th_pine of the luckless mare. She sank back on her haunches, but lurched forwar_nd tugged forward with all her force, tugged first on one side and then o_he other, trying to move the cart. But the six whips were attacking her i_ll directions, and the shaft was raised again and fell upon her a third time, then a fourth, with heavy measured blows. Mikolka was in a fury that he coul_ot kill her at one blow.
"She's a tough one," was shouted in the crowd.
"She'll fall in a minute, mates, there will soon be an end of her," said a_dmiring spectator in the crowd.
"Fetch an axe to her! Finish her off," shouted a third.
"I'll show you! Stand off," Mikolka screamed frantically; he threw down th_haft, stooped down in the cart and picked up an iron crowbar. "Look out," h_houted, and with all his might he dealt a stunning blow at the poor mare. Th_low fell; the mare staggered, sank back, tried to pull, but the bar fel_gain with a swinging blow on her back and she fell on the ground like a log.
"Finish her off," shouted Mikolka and he leapt beside himself, out of th_art. Several young men, also flushed with drink, seized anything they coul_ome across—whips, sticks, poles, and ran to the dying mare. Mikolka stood o_ne side and began dealing random blows with the crowbar. The mare stretche_ut her head, drew a long breath and died.
"You butchered her," someone shouted in the crowd.
"Why wouldn't she gallop then?"
"My property!" shouted Mikolka, with bloodshot eyes, brandishing the bar i_is hands. He stood as though regretting that he had nothing more to beat.
"No mistake about it, you are not a Christian," many voices were shouting i_he crowd.
But the poor boy, beside himself, made his way, screaming, through the crow_o the sorrel nag, put his arms round her bleeding dead head and kissed it, kissed the eyes and kissed the lips… . Then he jumped up and flew in a frenz_ith his little fists out at Mikolka. At that instant his father, who had bee_unning after him, snatched him up and carried him out of the crowd.
"Come along, come! Let us go home," he said to him.
"Father! Why did they … kill … the poor horse!" he sobbed, but his voice brok_nd the words came in shrieks from his panting chest.
"They are drunk… . They are brutal … it's not our business!" said his father.
He put his arms round his father but he felt choked, choked. He tried to dra_ breath, to cry out—and woke up.
He waked up, gasping for breath, his hair soaked with perspiration, and stoo_p in terror.
"Thank God, that was only a dream," he said, sitting down under a tree an_rawing deep breaths. "But what is it? Is it some fever coming on? Such _ideous dream!"
He felt utterly broken: darkness and confusion were in his soul. He rested hi_lbows on his knees and leaned his head on his hands.
"Good God!" he cried, "can it be, can it be, that I shall really take an axe, that I shall strike her on the head, split her skull open … that I shall trea_n the sticky warm blood, break the lock, steal and tremble; hide, al_pattered in the blood … with the axe… . Good God, can it be?"
He was shaking like a leaf as he said this.
"But why am I going on like this?" he continued, sitting up again, as it wer_n profound amazement. "I knew that I could never bring myself to it, so wha_ave I been torturing myself for till now? Yesterday, yesterday, when I wen_o make that … experiment, yesterday I realised completely that I could neve_ear to do it… . Why am I going over it again, then? Why am I hesitating? As _ame down the stairs yesterday, I said myself that it was base, loathsome, vile, vile … the very thought of it made me feel sick and filled me wit_orror.
"No, I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it! Granted, granted that there is n_law in all that reasoning, that all that I have concluded this last month i_lear as day, true as arithmetic… . My God! Anyway I couldn't bring myself t_t! I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it! Why, why then am I still … ?"
He rose to his feet, looked round in wonder as though surprised at findin_imself in this place, and went towards the bridge. He was pale, his eye_lowed, he was exhausted in every limb, but he seemed suddenly to breathe mor_asily. He felt he had cast off that fearful burden that had so long bee_eighing upon him, and all at once there was a sense of relief and peace i_is soul. "Lord," he prayed, "show me my path—I renounce that accursed … drea_f mine."
Crossing the bridge, he gazed quietly and calmly at the Neva, at the glowin_ed sun setting in the glowing sky. In spite of his weakness he was no_onscious of fatigue. It was as though an abscess that had been forming for _onth past in his heart had suddenly broken. Freedom, freedom! He was fre_rom that spell, that sorcery, that obsession!
Later on, when he recalled that time and all that happened to him during thos_ays, minute by minute, point by point, he was superstitiously impressed b_ne circumstance, which, though in itself not very exceptional, always seeme_o him afterwards the predestined turning-point of his fate. He could neve_nderstand and explain to himself why, when he was tired and worn out, when i_ould have been more convenient for him to go home by the shortest and mos_irect way, he had returned by the Hay Market where he had no need to go. I_as obviously and quite unnecessarily out of his way, though not much so. I_s true that it happened to him dozens of times to return home withou_oticing what streets he passed through. But why, he was always askin_imself, why had such an important, such a decisive and at the same time suc_n absolutely chance meeting happened in the Hay Market (where he had moreove_o reason to go) at the very hour, the very minute of his life when he wa_ust in the very mood and in the very circumstances in which that meeting wa_ble to exert the gravest and most decisive influence on his whole destiny? A_hough it had been lying in wait for him on purpose!
It was about nine o'clock when he crossed the Hay Market. At the tables an_he barrows, at the booths and the shops, all the market people were closin_heir establishments or clearing away and packing up their wares and, lik_heir customers, were going home. Rag pickers and costermongers of all kind_ere crowding round the taverns in the dirty and stinking courtyards of th_ay Market. Raskolnikov particularly liked this place and the neighbourin_lleys, when he wandered aimlessly in the streets. Here his rags did no_ttract contemptuous attention, and one could walk about in any attire withou_candalising people. At the corner of an alley a huckster and his wife had tw_ables set out with tapes, thread, cotton handkerchiefs, etc. They, too, ha_ot up to go home, but were lingering in conversation with a friend, who ha_ust come up to them. This friend was Lizaveta Ivanovna, or, as everyon_alled her, Lizaveta, the younger sister of the old pawnbroker, Alyon_vanovna, whom Raskolnikov had visited the previous day to pawn his watch an_ake his experiment… . He already knew all about Lizaveta and she knew him _ittle too. She was a single woman of about thirty-five, tall, clumsy, timid, submissive and almost idiotic. She was a complete slave and went in fear an_rembling of her sister, who made her work day and night, and even beat her.
She was standing with a bundle before the huckster and his wife, listenin_arnestly and doubtfully. They were talking of something with special warmth.
The moment Raskolnikov caught sight of her, he was overcome by a strang_ensation as it were of intense astonishment, though there was nothin_stonishing about this meeting.
"You could make up your mind for yourself, Lizaveta Ivanovna," the huckste_as saying aloud. "Come round to-morrow about seven. They will be here too."
"To-morrow?" said Lizaveta slowly and thoughtfully, as though unable to mak_p her mind.
"Upon my word, what a fright you are in of Alyona Ivanovna," gabbled th_uckster's wife, a lively little woman. "I look at you, you are like som_ittle babe. And she is not your own sister either-nothing but a step-siste_nd what a hand she keeps over you!"
"But this time don't say a word to Alyona Ivanovna," her husband interrupted;
"that's my advice, but come round to us without asking. It will be worth you_hile. Later on your sister herself may have a notion."
"Am I to come?"
"About seven o'clock to-morrow. And they will be here. You will be able t_ecide for yourself."
"And we'll have a cup of tea," added his wife.
"All right, I'll come," said Lizaveta, still pondering, and she began slowl_oving away.
Raskolnikov had just passed and heard no more. He passed softly, unnoticed, trying not to miss a word. His first amazement was followed by a thrill o_orror, like a shiver running down his spine. He had learnt, he had suddenl_uite unexpectedly learnt, that the next day at seven o'clock Lizaveta, th_ld woman's sister and only companion, would be away from home and tha_herefore at seven o'clock precisely the old woman would be left alone.
He was only a few steps from his lodging. He went in like a man condemned t_eath. He thought of nothing and was incapable of thinking; but he fel_uddenly in his whole being that he had no more freedom of thought, no will, and that everything was suddenly and irrevocably decided.
Certainly, if he had to wait whole years for a suitable opportunity, he coul_ot reckon on a more certain step towards the success of the plan than tha_hich had just presented itself. In any case, it would have been difficult t_ind out beforehand and with certainty, with greater exactness and less risk, and without dangerous inquiries and investigations, that next day at a certai_ime an old woman, on whose life an attempt was contemplated, would be at hom_nd entirely alone.