Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 5

  • "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.