When he remembered the scene afterwards, this is how Raskolnikov saw it.
The noise behind the door increased, and suddenly the door was opened _ittle.
"What is it?" cried Porfiry Petrovitch, annoyed. "Why, I gave orders … "
For an instant there was no answer, but it was evident that there were severa_ersons at the door, and that they were apparently pushing somebody back.
"What is it?" Porfiry Petrovitch repeated, uneasily.
"The prisoner Nikolay has been brought," someone answered.
"He is not wanted! Take him away! Let him wait! What's he doing here? Ho_rregular!" cried Porfiry, rushing to the door.
"But he … " began the same voice, and suddenly ceased.
Two seconds, not more, were spent in actual struggle, then someone gave _iolent shove, and then a man, very pale, strode into the room.
This man's appearance was at first sight very strange. He stared straigh_efore him, as though seeing nothing. There was a determined gleam in hi_yes; at the same time there was a deathly pallor in his face, as though h_ere being led to the scaffold. His white lips were faintly twitching.
He was dressed like a workman and was of medium height, very young, slim, hi_air cut in round crop, with thin spare features. The man whom he had thrus_ack followed him into the room and succeeded in seizing him by the shoulder; he was a warder; but Nikolay pulled his arm away.
Several persons crowded inquisitively into the doorway. Some of them tried t_et in. All this took place almost instantaneously.
"Go away, it's too soon! Wait till you are sent for! … Why have you brough_im so soon?" Porfiry Petrovitch muttered, extremely annoyed, and as it wer_hrown out of his reckoning.
But Nikolay suddenly knelt down.
"What's the matter?" cried Porfiry, surprised.
"I am guilty! Mine is the sin! I am the murderer," Nikolay articulate_uddenly, rather breathless, but speaking fairly loudly.
For ten seconds there was silence as though all had been struck dumb; even th_arder stepped back, mechanically retreated to the door, and stood immovable.
"What is it?" cried Porfiry Petrovitch, recovering from his momentar_tupefaction.
"I … am the murderer," repeated Nikolay, after a brief pause.
"What … you … what … whom did you kill?" Porfiry Petrovitch was obviousl_ewildered.
Nikolay again was silent for a moment.
"Alyona Ivanovna and her sister Lizaveta Ivanovna, I … killed … with an axe.
Darkness came over me," he added suddenly, and was again silent.
He still remained on his knees. Porfiry Petrovitch stood for some moments a_hough meditating, but suddenly roused himself and waved back the uninvite_pectators. They instantly vanished and closed the door. Then he looke_owards Raskolnikov, who was standing in the corner, staring wildly at Nikola_nd moved towards him, but stopped short, looked from Nikolay to Raskolniko_nd then again at Nikolay, and seeming unable to restrain himself darted a_he latter.
"You're in too great a hurry," he shouted at him, almost angrily. "I didn'_sk you what came over you… . Speak, did you kill them?"
"I am the murderer… . I want to give evidence," Nikolay pronounced.
"Ach! What did you kill them with?"
"An axe. I had it ready."
"Ach, he is in a hurry! Alone?"
Nikolay did not understand the question.
"Did you do it alone?"
"Yes, alone. And Mitka is not guilty and had no share in it."
"Don't be in a hurry about Mitka! A-ach! How was it you ran downstairs lik_hat at the time? The porters met you both!"
"It was to put them off the scent … I ran after Mitka," Nikolay replie_urriedly, as though he had prepared the answer.
"I knew it!" cried Porfiry, with vexation. "It's not his own tale he i_elling," he muttered as though to himself, and suddenly his eyes rested o_askolnikov again.
He was apparently so taken up with Nikolay that for a moment he had forgotte_askolnikov. He was a little taken aback.
"My dear Rodion Romanovitch, excuse me!" he flew up to him, "this won't do; I'm afraid you must go … it's no good your staying … I will … you see, what _urprise! … Good-bye!"
And taking him by the arm, he showed him to the door.
"I suppose you didn't expect it?" said Raskolnikov who, though he had not ye_ully grasped the situation, had regained his courage.
"You did not expect it either, my friend. See how your hand is trembling! He- he!"
"You're trembling, too, Porfiry Petrovitch!"
"Yes, I am; I didn't expect it."
They were already at the door; Porfiry was impatient for Raskolnikov to b_one.
"And your little surprise, aren't you going to show it to me?" Raskolniko_aid, sarcastically.
"Why, his teeth are chattering as he asks, he-he! You are an ironical person!
Come, till we meet!"
"I believe we can say good-bye!"
"That's in God's hands," muttered Porfiry, with an unnatural smile.
As he walked through the office, Raskolnikov noticed that many people wer_ooking at him. Among them he saw the two porters from the house, whom he ha_nvited that night to the police station. They stood there waiting. But he wa_o sooner on the stairs than he heard the voice of Porfiry Petrovitch behin_im. Turning round, he saw the latter running after him, out of breath.
"One word, Rodion Romanovitch; as to all the rest, it's in God's hands, but a_ matter of form there are some questions I shall have to ask you … so w_hall meet again, shan't we?"
And Porfiry stood still, facing him with a smile.
"Shan't we?" he added again.
He seemed to want to say something more, but could not speak out.
"You must forgive me, Porfiry Petrovitch, for what has just passed … I lost m_emper," began Raskolnikov, who had so far regained his courage that he fel_rresistibly inclined to display his coolness.
"Don't mention it, don't mention it," Porfiry replied, almost gleefully. "_yself, too … I have a wicked temper, I admit it! But we shall meet again. I_t's God's will, we may see a great deal of one another."
"And will get to know each other through and through?" added Raskolnikov.
"Yes; know each other through and through," assented Porfiry Petrovitch, an_e screwed up his eyes, looking earnestly at Raskolnikov. "Now you're going t_ birthday party?"
"To a funeral."
"Of course, the funeral! Take care of yourself, and get well."
"I don't know what to wish you," said Raskolnikov, who had begun to descen_he stairs, but looked back again. "I should like to wish you success, bu_our office is such a comical one."
"Why comical?" Porfiry Petrovitch had turned to go, but he seemed to prick u_is ears at this.
"Why, how you must have been torturing and harassing that poor Nikola_sychologically, after your fashion, till he confessed! You must have been a_im day and night, proving to him that he was the murderer, and now that h_as confessed, you'll begin vivisecting him again. 'You are lying,' you'l_ay. 'You are not the murderer! You can't be! It's not your own tale you ar_elling!' You must admit it's a comical business!"
"He-he-he! You noticed then that I said to Nikolay just now that it was no_is own tale he was telling?"
"How could I help noticing it!"
"He-he! You are quick-witted. You notice everything! You've really a playfu_ind! And you always fasten on the comic side … he-he! They say that was th_arked characteristic of Gogol, among the writers."
"Yes, of Gogol."
"Yes, of Gogol… . I shall look forward to meeting you."
"So shall I."
Raskolnikov walked straight home. He was so muddled and bewildered that o_etting home he sat for a quarter of an hour on the sofa, trying to collec_is thoughts. He did not attempt to think about Nikolay; he was stupefied; h_elt that his confession was something inexplicable, amazing—something beyon_is understanding. But Nikolay's confession was an actual fact. Th_onsequences of this fact were clear to him at once, its falsehood could no_ail to be discovered, and then they would be after him again. Till then, a_east, he was free and must do something for himself, for the danger wa_mminent.
But how imminent? His position gradually became clear to him. Remembering, sketchily, the main outlines of his recent scene with Porfiry, he could no_elp shuddering again with horror. Of course, he did not yet know al_orfiry's aims, he could not see into all his calculations. But he had alread_artly shown his hand, and no one knew better than Raskolnikov how terribl_orfiry's "lead" had been for him. A little more and he might have give_imself away completely, circumstantially. Knowing his nervous temperament an_rom the first glance seeing through him, Porfiry, though playing a bold game, was bound to win. There's no denying that Raskolnikov had compromised himsel_eriously, but no facts had come to light as yet; there was nothing positive.
But was he taking a true view of the position? Wasn't he mistaken? What ha_orfiry been trying to get at? Had he really some surprise prepared for him?
And what was it? Had he really been expecting something or not? How would the_ave parted if it had not been for the unexpected appearance of Nikolay?
Porfiry had shown almost all his cards—of course, he had risked something i_howing them—and if he had really had anything up his sleeve (Raskolniko_eflected), he would have shown that, too. What was that "surprise"? Was it _oke? Had it meant anything? Could it have concealed anything like a fact, _iece of positive evidence? His yesterday's visitor? What had become of him?
Where was he to-day? If Porfiry really had any evidence, it must be connecte_ith him… .
He sat on the sofa with his elbows on his knees and his face hidden in hi_ands. He was still shivering nervously. At last he got up, took his cap, thought a minute, and went to the door.
He had a sort of presentiment that for to-day, at least, he might conside_imself out of danger. He had a sudden sense almost of joy; he wanted to mak_aste to Katerina Ivanovna's. He would be too late for the funeral, of course, but he would be in time for the memorial dinner, and there at once he woul_ee Sonia.
He stood still, thought a moment, and a suffering smile came for a moment o_o his lips.
"To-day! To-day," he repeated to himself. "Yes, to-day! So it must be… ."
But as he was about to open the door, it began opening of itself. He starte_nd moved back. The door opened gently and slowly, and there suddenly appeare_ figure—yesterday's visitor from underground.
The man stood in the doorway, looked at Raskolnikov without speaking, and too_ step forward into the room. He was exactly the same as yesterday; the sam_igure, the same dress, but there was a great change in his face; he looke_ejected and sighed deeply. If he had only put his hand up to his cheek an_eaned his head on one side he would have looked exactly like a peasant woman.
"What do you want?" asked Raskolnikov, numb with terror. The man was stil_ilent, but suddenly he bowed down almost to the ground, touching it with hi_inger.
"What is it?" cried Raskolnikov.
"I have sinned," the man articulated softly.
"By evil thoughts."
They looked at one another.
"I was vexed. When you came, perhaps in drink, and bade the porters go to th_olice station and asked about the blood, I was vexed that they let you go an_ook you for drunken. I was so vexed that I lost my sleep. And remembering th_ddress we came here yesterday and asked for you… ."
"Who came?" Raskolnikov interrupted, instantly beginning to recollect.
"I did, I've wronged you."
"Then you come from that house?"
"I was standing at the gate with them … don't you remember? We have carried o_ur trade in that house for years past. We cure and prepare hides, we tak_ork home … most of all I was vexed… ."
And the whole scene of the day before yesterday in the gateway came clearl_efore Raskolnikov's mind; he recollected that there had been several peopl_here besides the porters, women among them. He remembered one voice ha_uggested taking him straight to the police- station. He could not recall th_ace of the speaker, and even now he did not recognise it, but he remembere_hat he had turned round and made him some answer… .
So this was the solution of yesterday's horror. The most awful thought wa_hat he had been actually almost lost, had almost done for himself on accoun_f such a trivial circumstance. So this man could tell nothing except hi_sking about the flat and the blood stains. So Porfiry, too, had nothing bu_hat delirium, no facts but this psychology which cuts both ways, nothin_ositive. So if no more facts come to light (and they must not, they mus_ot!) then … then what can they do to him? How can they convict him, even i_hey arrest him? And Porfiry then had only just heard about the flat and ha_ot known about it before.
"Was it you who told Porfiry … that I'd been there?" he cried, struck by _udden idea.
"The head of the detective department?"
"Yes. The porters did not go there, but I went."
"I got there two minutes before you. And I heard, I heard it all, how h_orried you."
"Where? What? When?"
"Why, in the next room. I was sitting there all the time."
"What? Why, then you were the surprise? But how could it happen? Upon m_ord!"
"I saw that the porters did not want to do what I said," began the man; "fo_t's too late, said they, and maybe he'll be angry that we did not come at th_ime. I was vexed and I lost my sleep, and I began making inquiries. An_inding out yesterday where to go, I went to-day. The first time I went h_asn't there, when I came an hour later he couldn't see me. I went the thir_ime, and they showed me in. I informed him of everything, just as i_appened, and he began skipping about the room and punching himself on th_hest. 'What do you scoundrels mean by it? If I'd known about it I should hav_rrested him!' Then he ran out, called somebody and began talking to him i_he corner, then he turned to me, scolding and questioning me. He scolded me _reat deal; and I told him everything, and I told him that you didn't dare t_ay a word in answer to me yesterday and that you didn't recognise me. And h_ell to running about again and kept hitting himself on the chest, and gettin_ngry and running about, and when you were announced he told me to go into th_ext room. 'Sit there a bit,' he said. 'Don't move, whatever you may hear.'
And he set a chair there for me and locked me in. 'Perhaps,' he said, 'I ma_all you.' And when Nikolay'd been brought he let me out as soon as you wer_one. 'I shall send for you again and question you,' he said."
"And did he question Nikolay while you were there?"
"He got rid of me as he did of you, before he spoke to Nikolay."
The man stood still, and again suddenly bowed down, touching the ground wit_is finger.
"Forgive me for my evil thoughts, and my slander."
"May God forgive you," answered Raskolnikov.
And as he said this, the man bowed down again, but not to the ground, turne_lowly and went out of the room.
"It all cuts both ways, now it all cuts both ways," repeated Raskolnikov, an_e went out more confident than ever.
"Now we'll make a fight for it," he said, with a malicious smile, as he wen_own the stairs. His malice was aimed at himself; with shame and contempt h_ecollected his "cowardice."