When he went into Sonia's room, it was already getting dark. All day Sonia ha_een waiting for him in terrible anxiety. Dounia had been waiting with her.
She had come to her that morning, remembering Svidrigaïlov's words that Soni_new. We will not describe the conversation and tears of the two girls, an_ow friendly they became. Dounia gained one comfort at least from tha_nterview, that her brother would not be alone. He had gone to her, Sonia, first with his confession; he had gone to her for human fellowship when h_eeded it; she would go with him wherever fate might send him. Dounia did no_sk, but she knew it was so. She looked at Sonia almost with reverence and a_irst almost embarrassed her by it. Sonia was almost on the point of tears.
She felt herself, on the contrary, hardly worthy to look at Dounia. Dounia'_racious image when she had bowed to her so attentively and respectfully a_heir first meeting in Raskolnikov's room had remained in her mind as one o_he fairest visions of her life.
Dounia at last became impatient and, leaving Sonia, went to her brother's roo_o await him there; she kept thinking that he would come there first. When sh_ad gone, Sonia began to be tortured by the dread of his committing suicide, and Dounia too feared it. But they had spent the day trying to persuade eac_ther that that could not be, and both were less anxious while they wer_ogether. As soon as they parted, each thought of nothing else. Soni_emembered how Svidrigaïlov had said to her the day before that Raskolniko_ad two alternatives—Siberia or … Besides she knew his vanity, his pride an_is lack of faith.
"Is it possible that he has nothing but cowardice and fear of death to mak_im live?" she thought at last in despair.
Meanwhile the sun was setting. Sonia was standing in dejection, lookin_ntently out of the window, but from it she could see nothing but th_nwhitewashed blank wall of the next house. At last when she began to fee_ure of his death—he walked into the room.
She gave a cry of joy, but looking carefully into his face she turned pale.
"Yes," said Raskolnikov, smiling. "I have come for your cross, Sonia. It wa_ou told me to go to the cross-roads; why is it you are frightened now it'_ome to that?"
Sonia gazed at him astonished. His tone seemed strange to her; a cold shive_an over her, but in a moment she guessed that the tone and the words were _ask. He spoke to her looking away, as though to avoid meeting her eyes.
"You see, Sonia, I've decided that it will be better so. There is one fact… .
But it's a long story and there's no need to discuss it. But do you know wha_ngers me? It annoys me that all those stupid brutish faces will be gaping a_e directly, pestering me with their stupid questions, which I shall have t_nswer—they'll point their fingers at me… . Tfoo! You know I am not going t_orfiry, I am sick of him. I'd rather go to my friend, the Explosiv_ieutenant; how I shall surprise him, what a sensation I shall make! But _ust be cooler; I've become too irritable of late. You know I was nearl_haking my fist at my sister just now, because she turned to take a last loo_t me. It's a brutal state to be in! Ah! what am I coming to! Well, where ar_he crosses?"
He seemed hardly to know what he was doing. He could not stay still o_oncentrate his attention on anything; his ideas seemed to gallop after on_nother, he talked incoherently, his hands trembled slightly.
Without a word Sonia took out of the drawer two crosses, one of cypress woo_nd one of copper. She made the sign of the cross over herself and over him, and put the wooden cross on his neck.
"It's the symbol of my taking up the cross," he laughed. "As though I had no_uffered much till now! The wooden cross, that is the peasant one; the coppe_ne, that is Lizaveta's—you will wear yourself, show me! So she had it on … a_hat moment? I remember two things like these too, a silver one and a littl_kon. I threw them back on the old woman's neck. Those would be appropriat_ow, really, those are what I ought to put on now… . But I am talking nonsens_nd forgetting what matters; I'm somehow forgetful… . You see I have come t_arn you, Sonia, so that you might know … that's all— that's all I came for.
But I thought I had more to say. You wanted me to go yourself. Well, now I a_oing to prison and you'll have your wish. Well, what are you crying for? Yo_oo? Don't. Leave off! Oh, how I hate it all!"
But his feeling was stirred; his heart ached, as he looked at her. "Why is sh_rieving too?" he thought to himself. "What am I to her? Why does she weep?
Why is she looking after me, like my mother or Dounia? She'll be my nurse."
"Cross yourself, say at least one prayer," Sonia begged in a timid broke_oice.
"Oh certainly, as much as you like! And sincerely, Sonia, sincerely… ."
But he wanted to say something quite different.
He crossed himself several times. Sonia took up her shawl and put it over he_ead. It was the green drap de dames shawl of which Marmeladov had spoken,
"the family shawl." Raskolnikov thought of that looking at it, but he did no_sk. He began to feel himself that he was certainly forgetting things and wa_isgustingly agitated. He was frightened at this. He was suddenly struck to_y the thought that Sonia meant to go with him.
"What are you doing? Where are you going? Stay here, stay! I'll go alone," h_ried in cowardly vexation, and almost resentful, he moved towards the door.
"What's the use of going in procession?" he muttered going out.
Sonia remained standing in the middle of the room. He had not even said good- bye to her; he had forgotten her. A poignant and rebellious doubt surged i_is heart.
"Was it right, was it right, all this?" he thought again as he went down th_tairs. "Couldn't he stop and retract it all … and not go?"
But still he went. He felt suddenly once for all that he mustn't ask himsel_uestions. As he turned into the street he remembered that he had not sai_ood-bye to Sonia, that he had left her in the middle of the room in her gree_hawl, not daring to stir after he had shouted at her, and he stopped shor_or a moment. At the same instant, another thought dawned upon him, as thoug_t had been lying in wait to strike him then.
"Why, with what object did I go to her just now? I told her—on business; o_hat business? I had no sort of business! To tell her I was going; but wher_as the need? Do I love her? No, no, I drove her away just now like a dog. Di_ want her crosses? Oh, how low I've sunk! No, I wanted her tears, I wanted t_ee her terror, to see how her heart ached! I had to have something to clin_o, something to delay me, some friendly face to see! And I dared to believ_n myself, to dream of what I would do! I am a beggarly contemptible wretch, contemptible!"
He walked along the canal bank, and he had not much further to go. But o_eaching the bridge he stopped and turning out of his way along it went to th_ay Market.
He looked eagerly to right and left, gazed intently at every object and coul_ot fix his attention on anything; everything slipped away. "In another week, another month I shall be driven in a prison van over this bridge, how shall _ook at the canal then? I should like to remember this!" slipped into hi_ind. "Look at this sign! How shall I read those letters then? It's writte_ere 'Campany,' that's a thing to remember, that letter a, and to look at i_gain in a month—how shall I look at it then? What shall I be feeling an_hinking then? … How trivial it all must be, what I am fretting about now! O_ourse it must all be interesting … in its way … (Ha-ha-ha! What am I thinkin_bout?) I am becoming a baby, I am showing off to myself; why am I ashamed?
Foo! how people shove! that fat man—a German he must be—who pushed against me, does he know whom he pushed? There's a peasant woman with a baby, begging.
It's curious that she thinks me happier than she is. I might give he_omething, for the incongruity of it. Here's a five copeck piece left in m_ocket, where did I get it? Here, here … take it, my good woman!"
"God bless you," the beggar chanted in a lachrymose voice.
He went into the Hay Market. It was distasteful, very distasteful to be in _rowd, but he walked just where he saw most people. He would have give_nything in the world to be alone; but he knew himself that he would not hav_emained alone for a moment. There was a man drunk and disorderly in th_rowd; he kept trying to dance and falling down. There was a ring round him.
Raskolnikov squeezed his way through the crowd, stared for some minutes at th_runken man and suddenly gave a short jerky laugh. A minute later he ha_orgotten him and did not see him, though he still stared. He moved away a_ast, not remembering where he was; but when he got into the middle of th_quare an emotion suddenly came over him, overwhelming him body and mind.
He suddenly recalled Sonia's words, "Go to the cross-roads, bow down to th_eople, kiss the earth, for you have sinned against it too, and say aloud t_he whole world, 'I am a murderer.'" He trembled, remembering that. And th_opeless misery and anxiety of all that time, especially of the last hours, had weighed so heavily upon him that he positively clutched at the chance o_his new unmixed, complete sensation. It came over him like a fit; it was lik_ single spark kindled in his soul and spreading fire through him. Everythin_n him softened at once and the tears started into his eyes. He fell to th_arth on the spot… .
He knelt down in the middle of the square, bowed down to the earth, and kisse_hat filthy earth with bliss and rapture. He got up and bowed down a secon_ime.
"He's boozed," a youth near him observed.
There was a roar of laughter.
"He's going to Jerusalem, brothers, and saying good-bye to his children an_is country. He's bowing down to all the world and kissing the great city o_t. Petersburg and its pavement," added a workman who was a little drunk.
"Quite a young man, too!" observed a third.
"And a gentleman," someone observed soberly.
"There's no knowing who's a gentleman and who isn't nowadays."
These exclamations and remarks checked Raskolnikov, and the words, "I am _urderer," which were perhaps on the point of dropping from his lips, die_way. He bore these remarks quietly, however, and, without looking round, h_urned down a street leading to the police office. He had a glimpse o_omething on the way which did not surprise him; he had felt that it must b_o. The second time he bowed down in the Hay Market he saw, standing fift_aces from him on the left, Sonia. She was hiding from him behind one of th_ooden shanties in the market-place. She had followed him then on his painfu_ay! Raskolnikov at that moment felt and knew once for all that Sonia was wit_im for ever and would follow him to the ends of the earth, wherever fat_ight take him. It wrung his heart … but he was just reaching the fatal place.
He went into the yard fairly resolutely. He had to mount to the third storey.
"I shall be some time going up," he thought. He felt as though the fatefu_oment was still far off, as though he had plenty of time left fo_onsideration.
Again the same rubbish, the same eggshells lying about on the spiral stairs, again the open doors of the flats, again the same kitchens and the same fume_nd stench coming from them. Raskolnikov had not been here since that day. Hi_egs were numb and gave way under him, but still they moved forward. H_topped for a moment to take breath, to collect himself, so as to enter like _an. "But why? what for?" he wondered, reflecting. "If I must drink the cu_hat difference does it make? The more revolting the better." He imagined fo_n instant the figure of the "explosive lieutenant," Ilya Petrovitch. Was h_ctually going to him? Couldn't he go to someone else? To Nikodim Fomitch?
Couldn't he turn back and go straight to Nikodim Fomitch's lodgings? At leas_hen it would be done privately… . No, no! To the "explosive lieutenant"! I_e must drink it, drink it off at once.
Turning cold and hardly conscious, he opened the door of the office. Ther_ere very few people in it this time—only a house porter and a peasant. Th_oorkeeper did not even peep out from behind his screen. Raskolnikov walke_nto the next room. "Perhaps I still need not speak," passed through his mind.
Some sort of clerk not wearing a uniform was settling himself at a bureau t_rite. In a corner another clerk was seating himself. Zametov was not there, nor, of course, Nikodim Fomitch.
"No one in?" Raskolnikov asked, addressing the person at the bureau.
"Whom do you want?"
"A-ah! Not a sound was heard, not a sight was seen, but I scent the Russian … how does it go on in the fairy tale … I've forgotten! 'At your service!'" _amiliar voice cried suddenly.
Raskolnikov shuddered. The Explosive Lieutenant stood before him. He had jus_ome in from the third room. "It is the hand of fate," thought Raskolnikov.
"Why is he here?"
"You've come to see us? What about?" cried Ilya Petrovitch. He was obviousl_n an exceedingly good humour and perhaps a trifle exhilarated. "If it's o_usiness you are rather early. It's only a chance that I am here … howeve_'ll do what I can. I must admit, I … what is it, what is it? Excuse me… ."
"Of course, Raskolnikov. You didn't imagine I'd forgotten? Don't think I a_ike that … Rodion Ro—Ro—Rodionovitch, that's it, isn't it?"
"Yes, yes, of course, Rodion Romanovitch! I was just getting at it. I mad_any inquiries about you. I assure you I've been genuinely grieved since that … since I behaved like that … it was explained to me afterwards that you wer_ literary man … and a learned one too … and so to say the first steps … Merc_n us! What literary or scientific man does not begin by some originality o_onduct! My wife and I have the greatest respect for literature, in my wif_t's a genuine passion! Literature and art! If only a man is a gentleman, al_he rest can be gained by talents, learning, good sense, genius. As for _at—well, what does a hat matter? I can buy a hat as easily as I can a bun; but what's under the hat, what the hat covers, I can't buy that! I was eve_eaning to come and apologise to you, but thought maybe you'd … But I a_orgetting to ask you, is there anything you want really? I hear your famil_ave come?"
"Yes, my mother and sister."
"I've even had the honour and happiness of meeting your sister—a highl_ultivated and charming person. I confess I was sorry I got so hot with you.
There it is! But as for my looking suspiciously at your fainting fit—tha_ffair has been cleared up splendidly! Bigotry and fanaticism! I understan_our indignation. Perhaps you are changing your lodging on account of you_amily's arriving?"
"No, I only looked in … I came to ask … I thought that I should find Zameto_ere."
"Oh, yes! Of course, you've made friends, I heard. Well, no, Zametov is no_ere. Yes, we've lost Zametov. He's not been here since yesterday … h_uarrelled with everyone on leaving … in the rudest way. He is a feather- headed youngster, that's all; one might have expected something from him, bu_here, you know what they are, our brilliant young men. He wanted to go in fo_ome examination, but it's only to talk and boast about it, it will go n_urther than that. Of course it's a very different matter with you or Mr.
Razumihin there, your friend. Your career is an intellectual one and you won'_e deterred by failure. For you, one may say, all the attractions of lif_ihil est—you are an ascetic, a monk, a hermit! … A book, a pen behind you_ar, a learned research—that's where your spirit soars! I am the same wa_yself… . Have you read Livingstone's Travels?"
"Oh, I have. There are a great many Nihilists about nowadays, you know, an_ndeed it is not to be wondered at. What sort of days are they? I ask you. Bu_e thought … you are not a Nihilist of course? Answer me openly, openly!"
"N-no … "
"Believe me, you can speak openly to me as you would to yourself! Officia_uty is one thing but … you are thinking I meant to say friendship is quit_nother? No, you're wrong! It's not friendship, but the feeling of a man and _itizen, the feeling of humanity and of love for the Almighty. I may be a_fficial, but I am always bound to feel myself a man and a citizen… . You wer_sking about Zametov. Zametov will make a scandal in the French style in _ouse of bad reputation, over a glass of champagne … that's all your Zameto_s good for! While I'm perhaps, so to speak, burning with devotion and loft_eelings, and besides I have rank, consequence, a post! I am married and hav_hildren, I fulfil the duties of a man and a citizen, but who is he, may _sk? I appeal to you as a man ennobled by education … Then these midwives, too, have become extraordinarily numerous."
Raskolnikov raised his eyebrows inquiringly. The words of Ilya Petrovitch, wh_ad obviously been dining, were for the most part a stream of empty sounds fo_im. But some of them he understood. He looked at him inquiringly, not knowin_ow it would end.
"I mean those crop-headed wenches," the talkative Ilya Petrovitch continued.
"Midwives is my name for them. I think it a very satisfactory one, ha-ha! The_o to the Academy, study anatomy. If I fall ill, am I to send for a young lad_o treat me? What do you say? Ha-ha!" Ilya Petrovitch laughed, quite please_ith his own wit. "It's an immoderate zeal for education, but once you'r_ducated, that's enough. Why abuse it? Why insult honourable people, as tha_coundrel Zametov does? Why did he insult me, I ask you? Look at thes_uicides, too, how common they are, you can't fancy! People spend their las_alfpenny and kill themselves, boys and girls and old people. Only thi_orning we heard about a gentleman who had just come to town. Nil Pavlitch, _ay, what was the name of that gentleman who shot himself?"
"Svidrigaïlov," someone answered from the other room with drowsy listlessness.
"Svidrigaïlov! Svidrigaïlov has shot himself!" he cried.
"What, do you know Svidrigaïlov?"
"Yes … I knew him… . He hadn't been here long."
"Yes, that's so. He had lost his wife, was a man of reckless habits and all o_ sudden shot himself, and in such a shocking way… . He left in his notebook _ew words: that he dies in full possession of his faculties and that no one i_o blame for his death. He had money, they say. How did you come to know him?"
"I … was acquainted … my sister was governess in his family."
"Bah-bah-bah! Then no doubt you can tell us something about him. You had n_uspicion?"
"I saw him yesterday … he … was drinking wine; I knew nothing."
Raskolnikov felt as though something had fallen on him and was stifling him.
"You've turned pale again. It's so stuffy here … "
"Yes, I must go," muttered Raskolnikov. "Excuse my troubling you… ."
"Oh, not at all, as often as you like. It's a pleasure to see you and I a_lad to say so."
Ilya Petrovitch held out his hand.
"I only wanted … I came to see Zametov."
"I understand, I understand, and it's a pleasure to see you."
"I … am very glad … good-bye," Raskolnikov smiled.
He went out; he reeled, he was overtaken with giddiness and did not know wha_e was doing. He began going down the stairs, supporting himself with hi_ight hand against the wall. He fancied that a porter pushed past him on hi_ay upstairs to the police office, that a dog in the lower storey kept up _hrill barking and that a woman flung a rolling-pin at it and shouted. He wen_own and out into the yard. There, not far from the entrance, stood Sonia, pale and horror- stricken. She looked wildly at him. He stood still befor_er. There was a look of poignant agony, of despair, in her face. She claspe_er hands. His lips worked in an ugly, meaningless smile. He stood still _inute, grinned and went back to the police office.
Ilya Petrovitch had sat down and was rummaging among some papers. Before hi_tood the same peasant who had pushed by on the stairs.
"Hulloa! Back again! have you left something behind? What's the matter?"
Raskolnikov, with white lips and staring eyes, came slowly nearer. He walke_ight to the table, leaned his hand on it, tried to say something, but coul_ot; only incoherent sounds were audible.
"You are feeling ill, a chair! Here, sit down! Some water!"
Raskolnikov dropped on to a chair, but he kept his eyes fixed on the face o_lya Petrovitch, which expressed unpleasant surprise. Both looked at on_nother for a minute and waited. Water was brought.
"It was I … " began Raskolnikov.
"Drink some water."
Raskolnikov refused the water with his hand, and softly and brokenly, bu_istinctly said:
"It was I killed the old pawnbroker woman and her sister Lizaveta with an ax_nd robbed them."
Ilya Petrovitch opened his mouth. People ran up on all sides.