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Chapter 5

  • It was striking midnight from all the clock towers in Petersburg when Mr.
  • Golyadkin, beside himself, ran out on the Fontanka Quay, close to th_smailovsky Bridge, fleeing from his foes, from persecution, from a hailstor_f nips and pinches aimed at him, from the shrieks of excited old ladies, fro_he Ohs and Ahs of women and from the murderous eyes of Andrey Filippovitch.
  • Mr. Golyadkin was killed — killed entirely, in the full sense of the word, an_f he still preserved the power of running, it was simply through some sort o_iracle, a miracle in which at last he refused himself to believe. It was a_wful November night — wet, foggy, rainy, snowy, teeming with colds in th_ead, fevers, swollen faces, quinseys, inflammations of all kinds an_escriptions — teeming, in fact, with all the gifts of a Petersburg November.
  • The wind howled in the deserted streets, lifting up the black water of th_anal above the rings on the bank, and irritably brushing against the lea_amp-posts which chimed in with its howling in a thin, shrill creak, keepin_p the endless squeaky, jangling concert with which every inhabitant o_etersburg is so familiar. Snow and rain were falling both at once. Lashed b_he wind, the streams of rainwater spurted almost horizontally, as though fro_ fireman’s hose, pricking and stinging the face of the luckless Mr. Golyadki_ike a thousand pins and needles. In the stillness of the night, broken onl_y the distant rumbling of carriages, the howl of the wind and the creaking o_he lamp-posts, there was the dismal sound of the splash and gurgle of water,
  • rushing from every roof, every porch, every pipe and every cornice, on to th_ranite of the pavement. There was not a soul, near or far, and, indeed, i_eemed there could not be at such an hour and in such weather. And so only Mr.
  • Golyadkin, alone with his despair, was fleeing in terror along the pavement o_ontanka, with his usual rapid little step, in haste to get home as soon a_ossible to his flat on the fourth storey in Shestilavotchny Street.
  • Though the snow, the rain, and all the nameless horrors of a raging snowstor_nd fog, under a Petersburg November sky, were attacking Mr. Golyadkin,
  • already shattered by misfortunes, were showing him no mercy, giving him n_est, drenching him to the bone, glueing up his eyelids, blowing right throug_im from all sides, baffling and perplexing him — though conspiring an_ombining with all his enemies to make a grand day, evening, and night fo_im, in spite of all this Mr. Golyadkin was almost insensible to this fina_roof of the persecution of destiny: so violent had been the shock and th_mpression made upon him a few minutes before at the civil councillo_erendyev’s! If any disinterested spectator could have glanced casually at Mr.
  • Golyadkin’s painful progress, he would certainly have said that Mr. Golyadki_ooked as though he wanted to hide from himself, as though he were trying t_un away from himself! Yes! It was really so. One may say more: Mr. Golyadki_id not want only to run away from himself, but to be obliterated, to cease t_e, to return to dust. At the moment he took in nothing surrounding him,
  • understood nothing of what was going on about him, and looked as though th_iseries of the stormy night, of the long tramp, the rain, the snow, the wind,
  • all the cruelty of the weather, did not exist for him. The golosh slipping of_he boot on Mr. Golyadkin’s right foot was left behind in the snow and slus_n the pavement of Fontanka, and Mr. Golyadkin did not think of turning bac_o get it, did not, in fact, notice that he had lost it. He was so perplexe_hat, in spite of everything surrounding him, he stood several times stoc_till in the middle of the pavement, completely possessed by the thought o_is recent horrible humiliation; at that instant he was dying, disappearing;
  • then he suddenly set off again like mad and ran and ran without looking back,
  • as though he were pursued, as though he were fleeing from some still mor_wful calamity. . . . The position was truly awful! . . . At last Mr.
  • Golyadkin halted in exhaustion, leaned on the railing in the attitude of a ma_hose nose has suddenly begun to bleed, and began looking intently at th_lack and troubled waters of the canal. All that is known is that at tha_nstant Mr. Golyadkin reached such a pitch of despair, was so harassed, s_ortured, so exhausted, and so weakened in what feeble faculties were left hi_hat he forgot everything, forgot the Ismailovsky Bridge, forgo_hestilavotchny Street, forgot his present plight . . . After all, what did i_atter to him? The thing was done. The decision was affirmed and ratified;
  • what could he do? All at once . . . all at once he started and involuntaril_kipped a couple of paces aside. With unaccountable uneasiness he began gazin_bout him; but no one was there, nothing special had happened, and yet . . .
  • and yet he fancied that just now, that very minute, some one was standing nea_im, beside him, also leaning on the railing, and — marvellous to relate! —
  • had even said something to him, said something quickly, abruptly, not quit_ntelligibly, but something quite private, something concerning himself.
  • “Why, was it my fancy?” said Mr. Golyadkin, looking round once more. “Bu_here am I standing? . . . Ech, ech,” he thought finally, shaking his head,
  • though he began gazing with an uneasy, miserable feeling into the damp, murk_istance, straining his sight and doing his utmost to pierce with his short-
  • sighted eyes the wet darkness that stretched all round him. There was nothin_ew, however, nothing special caught the eye of Mr. Golyadkin. Everythin_eemed to be all right, as it should be, that is, the snow was falling mor_iolently, more thickly and in larger flakes, nothing could be seen twent_aces away, the lamp-posts creaked more shrilly than ever and the wind seeme_o intone its melancholy song even more tearfully, more piteously, like a_mportunate beggar whining for a copper to get a crust of bread. At the sam_ime a new sensation took possession of Mr. Golyadkin’s whole being: agon_pon agony, terror upon terror . . . a feverish tremor ran through his veins.
  • The moment was insufferably unpleasant! “Well, no matter; perhaps it’s n_atter at all, and there’s no stain on any one’s honour. Perhaps it’s as i_hould be,” he went on, without understanding what he was saying. “Perhaps i_ill all be for the best in the end, and there will be nothing to complain of,
  • and every one will be justified.”
  • Talking like this and comforting himself with words, Mr. Golyadkin shoo_imself a little, shook off the snow which had drifted in thick layers on hi_at, his collar, his overcoat, his tie, his boots and everything — but hi_trange feeling, his strange obscure misery he could not get rid of, could no_hake off. Somewhere in the distance there was the boom of a cannon shot.
  • “Ach, what weather!” thought our hero. “Tchoo! isn’t there going to be _lood? It seems as though the water has risen so violently.”
  • Mr. Golyadkin had hardly said or thought this when he saw a person comin_owards him, belated, no doubt, like him, through some accident. A_nimportant, casual incident, one might suppose, but for some unknown reaso_r. Golyadkin was troubled, even scared, and rather flurried. It was not tha_e was exactly afraid of some ill-intentioned man, but just that “perhaps . .
  • . after all, who knows, this belated individual,” flashed through Mr.
  • Golyadkin’s mind, “maybe he’s that very thing, maybe he’s the very principa_hing in it, and isn’t here for nothing, but is here with an object, crossin_y path and provoking me.” Possibly, however, he did not think this precisely,
  • but only had a passing feeling of something like it — and very unpleasant.
  • There was no time, however, for thinking and feeling. The stranger was alread_ithin two paces. Mr. Golyadkin, as he invariably did, hastened to assume _uite peculiar air, an air that expressed clearly that he, Golyadkin, kep_imself to himself, that he was “all right,” that the road was wide enough fo_ll, and that he, Golyadkin, was not interfering with any one. Suddenly h_topped short as though petrified, as though struck by lightning, and quickl_urned round after the figure which had only just passed him — turned a_hough some one had given him a tug from behind, as though the wind had turne_im like a weathercock. The passer-by vanished quickly in the snowstorm. He,
  • too, walked quickly; he was dressed like Mr. Golyadkin and, like him, too,
  • wrapped up from head to foot, and he, too, tripped and trotted along th_avement of Fontanka with rapid little steps that suggested that he was _ittle scared.
  • “What — what is it?” whispered Mr. Golyadkin, smiling mistrustfully, though h_rembled all over. An icy shiver ran down his back. Meanwhile, the strange_ad vanished completely; there was no sound of his step, while Mr. Golyadki_till stood and gazed after him. At last, however, he gradually came t_imself.
  • “Why, what’s the meaning of it?” he thought with vexation. “Why, have I reall_one out of my mind, or what?” He turned and went on his way, making hi_ootsteps more rapid and frequent, and doing his best not to think of anythin_t all. He even closed his eyes at last with the same object. Suddenly,
  • through the howling of the wind and the uproar of the storm, the sound o_teps very close at hand reached his ears again. He started and opened hi_yes. Again a rapidly approaching figure stood out black before him, som_wenty paces away. This little figure was hastening, tripping along, hurryin_ervously; the distance between them grew rapidly less. Mr. Golyadkin could b_ow get a full view of the second belated companion. He looked full at him an_ried out with amazement and horror; his legs gave way under him. It was th_ame individual who had passed him ten minutes before, and who now quit_nexpectedly turned up facing him again. But this was not the only marvel tha_truck Mr. Golyadkin. He was so amazed that he stood still, cried out, trie_o say something, and rushed to overtake the stranger, even shouted somethin_o him, probably anxious to stop him as quickly as possible. The stranger did,
  • in fact, stop ten paces from Mr. Golyadkin, so that the light from the lamp-
  • post that stood near fell full upon his whole figure — stood still, turned t_r. Golyadkin, and with impatient and anxious face waited to hear what h_ould say.
  • “Excuse me, possibly I’m mistaken,” our hero brought out in a quavering voice.
  • The stranger in silence, and with an air of annoyance, turned and rapidly wen_n his way, as though in haste to make up for the two seconds he had wasted o_r. Golyadkin. As for the latter, he was quivering in every nerve, his knee_hook and gave way under him, and with a moan he squatted on a stone at th_dge of the pavement. There really was reason, however, for his being s_verwhelmed. The fact is that this stranger seemed to him somehow familiar.
  • That would have been nothing, though. But he recognised, almost certainl_ecognised this man. He had often seen him, that man, had seen him some time,
  • and very lately too; where could it have been? Surely not yesterday? But,
  • again, that was not the chief thing that Mr. Golyadkin had often seen hi_efore; there was hardly anything special about the man; the man at firs_ight would not have aroused any special attention. He was just a man like an_ne else, a gentleman like all other gentlemen, of course, and perhaps he ha_ome good qualities and very valuable one too — in fact, he was a man who wa_uite himself. Mr. Golyadkin cherished no sort of hatred or enmity, not eve_he slightest hostility towards this man — quite the contrary, it would seem,
  • indeed — and yet (and this was the real point) he would not for any treasur_n earth have been willing to meet that man, and especially to meet him as h_ad done now, for instance. We may say more: Mr. Golyadkin knew that ma_erfectly well: he even knew what he was called, what his name was; and ye_othing would have induced him, and again, for no treasure on earth would h_ave consented to name him, to consent to acknowledge that he was called so-
  • and-so, that his father’s name was this and his surname was that. Whether Mr.
  • Golyadkin’s stupefaction lasted a short time or a long time, whether he wa_itting for a long time on the stone of the pavement I cannot say; but,
  • recovering himself a little at last, he suddenly fell to running, withou_ooking round, as fast as his legs could carry him; his mind was preoccupied,
  • twice he stumbled and almost fell — and through this circumstance his othe_oot was also bereaved of its golosh. At last Mr. Golyadkin slackened his pac_ little to get breath, looked hurriedly round and saw that he had already,
  • without being aware of it, run passed part of the Nevsky Prospect and was no_tanding at the turning into Liteyny Street. Mr. Golyadkin turned into Liteyn_treet. His position at that instant was like that of a man standing at th_dge of a fearful precipice, while the earth is bursting open under him, i_lready shaking, moving, rocking for the last time, falling, drawing him int_he abyss, and yet, the luckless wretch has not the strength, nor th_esolution, to leap back, to avert his eyes from the yawning gulf below; th_byss draws him and at last he leaps into it of himself, himself hastening th_oment of destruction. Mr. Golyadkin knew, felt and was firmly convinced tha_ome other evil would certainly befall him on the way, that som_npleasantness would overtake him, that he would, for instance, meet hi_tranger once more: but — strange to say, he positively desired this meeting,
  • considered it inevitable, and all he asked was that it might all be quickl_ver, that he should be relieved from his position in one way or another, bu_s soon as possible. And meanwhile he ran on and on, as though moved by som_xternal force, for he felt a weakness and numbness in his whole being: h_ould not think of anything, though his thoughts caught at everything lik_rambles. A little lost dog, soaked and shivering, attached itself to Mr.
  • Golyadkin, and ran beside him, scurrying along with tail and ears drooping,
  • looking at him from time to time with timid comprehension. Some remote, long-
  • forgotten idea — some memory of something that had happened long ago — cam_ack into his mind now, kept knocking at his brain as with a hammer, vexin_im and refusing to be shaken off.
  • “Ech, that horrid little cur!” whispered Mr. Golyadkin, not understandin_imself.
  • At last he saw his stranger at the turning into Italyansky Street. But thi_ime the stranger was not coming to meet him, but was running in the sam_irection as he was, and he, too, was running, a few steps in front. At las_hey turned into Shestilavotchny Street.
  • Mr. Golyadkin caught his breath. The stranger stopped exactly before the hous_n which Mr. Golyadkin lodged. He heard a ring at the bell and almost at th_ame time the grating of the iron bolt. The gate opened, the stranger stooped,
  • darted in and disappeared. Almost at the same instant Mr. Golyadkin reache_he spot and like an arrow flew in at the gate. Heedless of the grumblin_orter, he ran, gasping for breath, into the yard, and immediately saw hi_nteresting companion, whom he had lost sight of for a moment.
  • The stranger darted towards the staircase which led to Mr. Golyadkin’s flat.
  • Mr. Golyadkin rushed after him. The stairs were dark, damp and dirt. At ever_urning there were heaped-up masses of refuse from the flats, so that an_naccustomed stranger who found himself on the stairs in the dark was force_o travel to and fro for half an hour in danger of breaking his legs, cursin_he stairs as well as the friends who lived in such an inconvenient place. Bu_r. Golyadkin’s companion seemed as though familiar with it, as though a_ome; he ran up lightly, without difficulty, showing a perfect knowledge o_is surroundings. Mr. Golyadkin had almost caught him up; in fact, once o_wice the stranger’s coat flicked him on the nose. His heart stood still. Th_tranger stopped before the door of Mr. Golyadkin’s flat, knocked on it, and
  • (which would, however, have surprised Mr. Golyadkin at any other time)
  • Petrushka, as though he had been sitting up in expectation, opened the door a_nce and, with a candle in his hand, followed the strange as the latter wen_n. The hero of our story dashed into his lodging beside himself; withou_aking off his hat or coat he crossed the little passage and stood still i_he doorway of his room, as though thunderstruck. All his presentiments ha_ome true. All that he had dreaded and surmised was coming to pass in reality.
  • His breath failed him, his head was in a whirl. The stranger, also in his coa_nd hat, was sitting before him on his bed, and with a faint smile, screwin_p his eyes, nodded to him in a friendly way. Mr. Golyadkin wanted to scream,
  • but could not — to protest in some way, but his strength failed him. His hai_tood on end, and he almost fell down with horror. And, indeed, there was goo_eason. He recognised his nocturnal visitor. The nocturnal visitor was n_ther than himself — Mr. Golyadkin himself, another Mr. Golyadkin, bu_bsolutely the same as himself — in fact, what is called a double in ever_espect…