Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 7

  • 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?"
  • "Yes."
  • "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?"
  • "Good-bye, mother."
  • "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?"
  • "No!"
  • "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?"
  • "Very far."
  • "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."
  • "Pride, Rodya."
  • 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.