The same day, about seven o'clock in the evening, Raskolnikov was on his wa_o his mother's and sister's lodging—the lodging in Bakaleyev's house whic_azumihin had found for them. The stairs went up from the street. Raskolniko_alked with lagging steps, as though still hesitating whether to go or not.
But nothing would have turned him back: his decision was taken.
"Besides, it doesn't matter, they still know nothing," he thought, "and the_re used to thinking of me as eccentric."
He was appallingly dressed: his clothes torn and dirty, soaked with a night'_ain. His face was almost distorted from fatigue, exposure, the inwar_onflict that had lasted for twenty-four hours. He had spent all the previou_ight alone, God knows where. But anyway he had reached a decision.
He knocked at the door which was opened by his mother. Dounia was not at home.
Even the servant happened to be out. At first Pulcheria Alexandrovna wa_peechless with joy and surprise; then she took him by the hand and drew hi_nto the room.
"Here you are!" she began, faltering with joy. "Don't be angry with me, Rodya, for welcoming you so foolishly with tears: I am laughing not crying. Did yo_hink I was crying? No, I am delighted, but I've got into such a stupid habi_f shedding tears. I've been like that ever since your father's death. I cr_or anything. Sit down, dear boy, you must be tired; I see you are. Ah, ho_uddy you are."
"I was in the rain yesterday, mother… ." Raskolnikov began.
"No, no," Pulcheria Alexandrovna hurriedly interrupted, "you thought I wa_oing to cross-question you in the womanish way I used to; don't be anxious, _nderstand, I understand it all: now I've learned the ways here and truly _ee for myself that they are better. I've made up my mind once for all: ho_ould I understand your plans and expect you to give an account of them? Go_nows what concerns and plans you may have, or what ideas you are hatching; s_t's not for me to keep nudging your elbow, asking you what you are thinkin_bout? But, my goodness! why am I running to and fro as though I were crazy … ? I am reading your article in the magazine for the third time, Rodya. Dmitr_rokofitch brought it to me. Directly I saw it I cried out to myself: 'There, foolish one,' I thought, 'that's what he is busy about; that's the solution o_he mystery! Learned people are always like that. He may have some new idea_n his head just now; he is thinking them over and I worry him and upset him.'
I read it, my dear, and of course there was a great deal I did not understand; but that's only natural—how should I?"
"Show me, mother."
Raskolnikov took the magazine and glanced at his article. Incongruous as i_as with his mood and his circumstances, he felt that strange and bitter swee_ensation that every author experiences the first time he sees himself i_rint; besides, he was only twenty-three. It lasted only a moment. Afte_eading a few lines he frowned and his heart throbbed with anguish. H_ecalled all the inward conflict of the preceding months. He flung the articl_n the table with disgust and anger.
"But, however foolish I may be, Rodya, I can see for myself that you will ver_oon be one of the leading—if not the leading man—in the world of Russia_hought. And they dared to think you were mad! You don't know, but they reall_hought that. Ah, the despicable creatures, how could they understand genius!
And Dounia, Dounia was all but believing it—what do you say to that? You_ather sent twice to magazines—the first time poems (I've got the manuscrip_nd will show you) and the second time a whole novel (I begged him to let m_opy it out) and how we prayed that they should be taken—they weren't! I wa_reaking my heart, Rodya, six or seven days ago over your food and you_lothes and the way you are living. But now I see again how foolish I was, fo_ou can attain any position you like by your intellect and talent. No doub_ou don't care about that for the present and you are occupied with much mor_mportant matters… ."
"Dounia's not at home, mother?"
"No, Rodya. I often don't see her; she leaves me alone. Dmitri Prokofitc_omes to see me, it's so good of him, and he always talks about you. He love_ou and respects you, my dear. I don't say that Dounia is very wanting i_onsideration. I am not complaining. She has her ways and I have mine; sh_eems to have got some secrets of late and I never have any secrets from yo_wo. Of course, I am sure that Dounia has far too much sense, and besides sh_oves you and me … but I don't know what it will all lead to. You've made m_o happy by coming now, Rodya, but she has missed you by going out; when sh_omes in I'll tell her: 'Your brother came in while you were out. Where hav_ou been all this time?' You mustn't spoil me, Rodya, you know; come when yo_an, but if you can't, it doesn't matter, I can wait. I shall know, anyway, that you are fond of me, that will be enough for me. I shall read what yo_rite, I shall hear about you from everyone, and sometimes you'll com_ourself to see me. What could be better? Here you've come now to comfort you_other, I see that."
Here Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to cry.
"Here I am again! Don't mind my foolishness. My goodness, why am I sittin_ere?" she cried, jumping up. "There is coffee and I don't offer you any. Ah, that's the selfishness of old age. I'll get it at once!"
"Mother, don't trouble, I am going at once. I haven't come for that. Pleas_isten to me."
Pulcheria Alexandrovna went up to him timidly.
"Mother, whatever happens, whatever you hear about me, whatever you are tol_bout me, will you always love me as you do now?" he asked suddenly from th_ullness of his heart, as though not thinking of his words and not weighin_hem.
"Rodya, Rodya, what is the matter? How can you ask me such a question? Why, who will tell me anything about you? Besides, I shouldn't believe anyone, _hould refuse to listen."
"I've come to assure you that I've always loved you and I am glad that we ar_lone, even glad Dounia is out," he went on with the same impulse. "I hav_ome to tell you that though you will be unhappy, you must believe that you_on loves you now more than himself, and that all you thought about me, that _as cruel and didn't care about you, was all a mistake. I shall never cease t_ove you… . Well, that's enough: I thought I must do this and begin with this… ."
Pulcheria Alexandrovna embraced him in silence, pressing him to her bosom an_eeping gently.
"I don't know what is wrong with you, Rodya," she said at last. "I've bee_hinking all this time that we were simply boring you and now I see that ther_s a great sorrow in store for you, and that's why you are miserable. I'v_oreseen it a long time, Rodya. Forgive me for speaking about it. I kee_hinking about it and lie awake at nights. Your sister lay talking in he_leep all last night, talking of nothing but you. I caught something, but _ouldn't make it out. I felt all the morning as though I were going to b_anged, waiting for something, expecting something, and now it has come!
Rodya, Rodya, where are you going? You are going away somewhere?"
"That's what I thought! I can come with you, you know, if you need me. An_ounia, too; she loves you, she loves you dearly—and Sofya Semyonovna may com_ith us if you like. You see, I am glad to look upon her as a daughter even … Dmitri Prokofitch will help us to go together. But … where … are you going?"
"What, to-day?" she cried, as though losing him for ever.
"I can't stay, I must go now… ."
"And can't I come with you?"
"No, but kneel down and pray to God for me. Your prayer perhaps will reac_im."
"Let me bless you and sign you with the cross. That's right, that's right. Oh, God, what are we doing?"
Yes, he was glad, he was very glad that there was no one there, that he wa_lone with his mother. For the first time after all those awful months hi_eart was softened. He fell down before her, he kissed her feet and both wept, embracing. And she was not surprised and did not question him this time. Fo_ome days she had realised that something awful was happening to her son an_hat now some terrible minute had come for him.
"Rodya, my darling, my first born," she said sobbing, "now you are just a_hen you were little. You would run like this to me and hug me and kiss me.
When your father was living and we were poor, you comforted us simply by bein_ith us and when I buried your father, how often we wept together at his grav_nd embraced, as now. And if I've been crying lately, it's that my mother'_eart had a foreboding of trouble. The first time I saw you, that evening, yo_emember, as soon as we arrived here, I guessed simply from your eyes. M_eart sank at once, and to-day when I opened the door and looked at you, _hought the fatal hour had come. Rodya, Rodya, you are not going away to-day?"
"You'll come again?"
"Yes … I'll come."
"Rodya, don't be angry, I don't dare to question you. I know I mustn't. Onl_ay two words to me—is it far where you are going?"
"What is awaiting you there? Some post or career for you?"
"What God sends … only pray for me." Raskolnikov went to the door, but sh_lutched him and gazed despairingly into his eyes. Her face worked wit_error.
"Enough, mother," said Raskolnikov, deeply regretting that he had come.
"Not for ever, it's not yet for ever? You'll come, you'll come to-morrow?"
"I will, I will, good-bye." He tore himself away at last.
It was a warm, fresh, bright evening; it had cleared up in the morning.
Raskolnikov went to his lodgings; he made haste. He wanted to finish al_efore sunset. He did not want to meet anyone till then. Going up the stair_e noticed that Nastasya rushed from the samovar to watch him intently. "Ca_nyone have come to see me?" he wondered. He had a disgusted vision o_orfiry. But opening his door he saw Dounia. She was sitting alone, plunged i_eep thought, and looked as though she had been waiting a long time. H_topped short in the doorway. She rose from the sofa in dismay and stood u_acing him. Her eyes, fixed upon him, betrayed horror and infinite grief. An_rom those eyes alone he saw at once that she knew.
"Am I to come in or go away?" he asked uncertainly.
"I've been all day with Sofya Semyonovna. We were both waiting for you. W_hought that you would be sure to come there."
Raskolnikov went into the room and sank exhausted on a chair.
"I feel weak, Dounia, I am very tired; and I should have liked at this momen_o be able to control myself."
He glanced at her mistrustfully.
"Where were you all night?"
"I don't remember clearly. You see, sister, I wanted to make up my mind onc_or all, and several times I walked by the Neva, I remember that I wanted t_nd it all there, but … I couldn't make up my mind," he whispered, looking a_er mistrustfully again.
"Thank God! That was just what we were afraid of, Sofya Semyonovna and I. The_ou still have faith in life? Thank God, thank God!"
Raskolnikov smiled bitterly.
"I haven't faith, but I have just been weeping in mother's arms; I haven'_aith, but I have just asked her to pray for me. I don't know how it is, Dounia, I don't understand it."
"Have you been at mother's? Have you told her?" cried Dounia, horror- stricken. "Surely you haven't done that?"
"No, I didn't tell her … in words; but she understood a great deal. She hear_ou talking in your sleep. I am sure she half understands it already. Perhap_ did wrong in going to see her. I don't know why I did go. I am _ontemptible person, Dounia."
"A contemptible person, but ready to face suffering! You are, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am going. At once. Yes, to escape the disgrace I thought of drownin_yself, Dounia, but as I looked into the water, I thought that if I ha_onsidered myself strong till now I'd better not be afraid of disgrace," h_aid, hurrying on. "It's pride, Dounia."
There was a gleam of fire in his lustreless eyes; he seemed to be glad t_hink that he was still proud.
"You don't think, sister, that I was simply afraid of the water?" he asked, looking into her face with a sinister smile.
"Oh, Rodya, hush!" cried Dounia bitterly. Silence lasted for two minutes. H_at with his eyes fixed on the floor; Dounia stood at the other end of th_able and looked at him with anguish. Suddenly he got up.
"It's late, it's time to go! I am going at once to give myself up. But I don'_now why I am going to give myself up."
Big tears fell down her cheeks.
"You are crying, sister, but can you hold out your hand to me?"
"You doubted it?"
She threw her arms round him.
"Aren't you half expiating your crime by facing the suffering?" she cried, holding him close and kissing him.
"Crime? What crime?" he cried in sudden fury. "That I killed a vile noxiou_nsect, an old pawnbroker woman, of use to no one! … Killing her was atonemen_or forty sins. She was sucking the life out of poor people. Was that a crime?
I am not thinking of it and I am not thinking of expiating it, and why are yo_ll rubbing it in on all sides? 'A crime! a crime!' Only now I see clearly th_mbecility of my cowardice, now that I have decided to face this superfluou_isgrace. It's simply because I am contemptible and have nothing in me that _ave decided to, perhaps too for my advantage, as that … Porfiry … suggested!"
"Brother, brother, what are you saying? Why, you have shed blood?" crie_ounia in despair.
"Which all men shed," he put in almost frantically, "which flows and ha_lways flowed in streams, which is spilt like champagne, and for which men ar_rowned in the Capitol and are called afterwards benefactors of mankind. Loo_nto it more carefully and understand it! I too wanted to do good to men an_ould have done hundreds, thousands of good deeds to make up for that on_iece of stupidity, not stupidity even, simply clumsiness, for the idea was b_o means so stupid as it seems now that it has failed… . (Everything seem_tupid when it fails.) By that stupidity I only wanted to put myself into a_ndependent position, to take the first step, to obtain means, and the_verything would have been smoothed over by benefits immeasurable i_omparison… . But I … I couldn't carry out even the first step, because I a_ontemptible, that's what's the matter! And yet I won't look at it as you do.
If I had succeeded I should have been crowned with glory, but now I'_rapped."
"But that's not so, not so! Brother, what are you saying?"
"Ah, it's not picturesque, not æsthetically attractive! I fail to understan_hy bombarding people by regular siege is more honourable. The fear o_ppearances is the first symptom of impotence. I've never, never recognise_his more clearly than now, and I am further than ever from seeing that what _id was a crime. I've never, never been stronger and more convinced than now."
The colour had rushed into his pale exhausted face, but as he uttered his las_xplanation, he happened to meet Dounia's eyes and he saw such anguish in the_hat he could not help being checked. He felt that he had, anyway, made thes_wo poor women miserable, that he was, anyway, the cause …
"Dounia darling, if I am guilty forgive me (though I cannot be forgiven if _m guilty). Good-bye! We won't dispute. It's time, high time to go. Don'_ollow me, I beseech you, I have somewhere else to go… . But you go at onc_nd sit with mother. I entreat you to! It's my last request of you. Don'_eave her at all; I left her in a state of anxiety, that she is not fit t_ear; she will die or go out of her mind. Be with her! Razumihin will be wit_ou. I've been talking to him… . Don't cry about me: I'll try to be honest an_anly all my life, even if I am a murderer. Perhaps I shall some day make _ame. I won't disgrace you, you will see; I'll still show… . Now good-bye fo_he present," he concluded hurriedly, noticing again a strange expression i_ounia's eyes at his last words and promises. "Why are you crying? Don't cry, don't cry: we are not parting for ever! Ah, yes! Wait a minute, I'_orgotten!"
He went to the table, took up a thick dusty book, opened it and took fro_etween the pages a little water-colour portrait on ivory. It was the portrai_f his landlady's daughter, who had died of fever, that strange girl who ha_anted to be a nun. For a minute he gazed at the delicate expressive face o_is betrothed, kissed the portrait and gave it to Dounia.
"I used to talk a great deal about it to her, only to her," he sai_houghtfully. "To her heart I confided much of what has since been s_ideously realised. Don't be uneasy," he returned to Dounia, "she was as muc_pposed to it as you, and I am glad that she is gone. The great point is tha_verything now is going to be different, is going to be broken in two," h_ried, suddenly returning to his dejection. "Everything, everything, and am _repared for it? Do I want it myself? They say it is necessary for me t_uffer! What's the object of these senseless sufferings? shall I know an_etter what they are for, when I am crushed by hardships and idiocy, and wea_s an old man after twenty years' penal servitude? And what shall I have t_ive for then? Why am I consenting to that life now? Oh, I knew I wa_ontemptible when I stood looking at the Neva at daybreak to-day!"
At last they both went out. It was hard for Dounia, but she loved him. Sh_alked away, but after going fifty paces she turned round to look at hi_gain. He was still in sight. At the corner he too turned and for the las_ime their eyes met; but noticing that she was looking at him, he motioned he_way with impatience and even vexation, and turned the corner abruptly.
"I am wicked, I see that," he thought to himself, feeling ashamed a momen_ater of his angry gesture to Dounia. "But why are they so fond of me if _on't deserve it? Oh, if only I were alone and no one loved me and I too ha_ever loved anyone! Nothing of all this would have happened. But I wonde_hall I in those fifteen or twenty years grow so meek that I shall humbl_yself before people and whimper at every word that I am a criminal? Yes, that's it, that's it, that's what they are sending me there for, that's wha_hey want. Look at them running to and fro about the streets, every one o_hem a scoundrel and a criminal at heart and, worse still, an idiot. But tr_o get me off and they'd be wild with righteous indignation. Oh, how I hat_hem all!"
He fell to musing by what process it could come to pass, that he could b_umbled before all of them, indiscriminately—humbled by conviction. And ye_hy not? It must be so. Would not twenty years of continual bondage crush hi_tterly? Water wears out a stone. And why, why should he live after that? Wh_hould he go now when he knew that it would be so? It was the hundredth tim_erhaps that he had asked himself that question since the previous evening, but still he went.