FROM THE LARGE BALLROOM of Skvoreshniki (the room in which the last intervie_ith Varvara Petrovna and Stepan Trofimovitch had taken place) the fire coul_e plainly seen At daybreak, soon after five in the morning, Liza was standin_t the farthest window on the right looking intently at the fading glow. Sh_as alone in the room. She was wearing the dress she had worn the day befor_t the matineea very smart light green dress covered with lace, but crushe_nd put on carelessly and with haste. Suddenly noticing that some of the hook_ere undone in front she flushed, hurriedly set it right, snatched up from _hair the red shawl she had flung down when she came in the day before, an_ut it round her neck. Some locks of her luxuriant hair had come loose an_howed below the shawl on her right shoulder. Her face looked weary an_areworn. but her eyes glowed under her frowning brows. She went up to th_indow again and pressed her burning forehead against the cold pane. The doo_pened and Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch came in.
"I've sent a messenger on horseback," he said. "In ten minutes we shall hea_ll about it, meantime the servants say that part of the riverside quarter ha_een burnt down, on the right side of the bridge near the quay. It's bee_urning since eleven o'clock; now the fire is going down."
He did not go near the window, but stood three steps behind her; she did no_urn towards him.
"It ought to have been light an hour ago by the calendar, and it's stil_lmost night," she said irritably.
"'Calendars always tell lies,'" he observed with a polite smile, but, a littl_shamed; he made haste to add: "It's dull to live by the calendar, Liza."
And he relapsed into silence, vexed at the ineptitude of the second sentence.
Liza gave a wry smile.
"You are in such a melancholy mood that you cannot even find words to speak t_e. But you need not trouble, there's a point in what you said. I always liv_y the calendar. Every step I take is regulated by the calendar. Does tha_urprise you?"
She turned quickly from the window and sat down in a low chair.
"You sit down, too, please. We haven't long to be together and I want to sa_nything I like… . Why shouldn't you, too, say anything you like?"
Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch sat beside her and softly, almost timidly took he_and.
"What's the meaning of this tone, Liza? Where has it suddenly sprung from?
What do you mean by 'we haven't long to be together'? That's the secon_ysterious phrase since you waked, half an hour ago."
"You are beginning to reckon up my mysterious phrases!" she laughed. "Do yo_emember I told you I was a dead woman when I came in yesterday? That yo_hought fit to forget. To forget or not to notice."
"I don't remember, Liza. Why dead? You must live."
"And is that all? You've quite lost your flow of words. I've lived my hour an_hat's enough. Do you remember Christopher Ivanovitch?"
"No I don't," he answered, frowning.
"Christopher Ivanovitch at Lausanne? He bored you dreadfully. He always use_o open the door and say,' I've come for one minute,' and then stay the whol_ay. I don't want to be like Christopher Ivanovitch and stay the whole day." _ook of pain came into his face.
"Liza, it grieves me, this unnatural language. This affectation must hurt you, too. What's it for? What's the object of it?"
His eyes glowed.
"Liza," he cried, "I swear I love you now more than yesterday when you came t_e!"
"What a strange declaration! Why bring in yesterday and to-day and thes_omparisons?"
"You won't leave me," he went on, almost with despair; "we will go awa_ogether, to-day, won't we? Won't we?"
"Aie, don't squeeze my hand so painfully! Where could we go together to-day?
To 'rise again' somewhere? No, we've made experiments enough … and it's to_low for me; and I am not fit for it; it's too exalted for me. If we are t_o, let it be to Moscow, to pay visits and entertainthat's my ideal you know; even in Switzerland I didn't disguise from you what I was like. As we can't g_o Moscow and pay visits since you are married, it's no use talking of that."
"Liza! What happened yesterday!"
"What happened is over!"
"That's impossible! That's cruel?"
"What if it is cruel? You must bear it if it is cruel."
"You are avenging yourself on me for yesterday's caprice," he muttered with a_ngry smile. Liza flushed.
"What a mean thought!"
"Why then did you bestow on me … so great a happiness? Have I the right t_now?"
"No, you must manage without rights; don't aggravate the meanness of you_upposition by stupidity. You are not lucky to-day. By the way, you surel_an't be afraid of public opinion and that you will be blamed for this 'grea_appiness'? If that's it, for God's sake don't alarm yourself. It's not you_oing at all and you are not responsible to anyone. When I opened your doo_esterday, you didn't even know who was coming in. It was simply my caprice, as you expressed it just now, and nothing more! You can look every one in th_ace boldly and triumphantly!"
"Your words, that laugh, have been making me feel cold with horror for th_ast hour. That 'happiness' of which you speak frantically is worth … everything to me. How can I lose you now? I swear I loved you less yesterday.
Why are you taking everything from me to-day? Do you know what it has cost me, this new hope? I've paid for it with life."
"Your own life or another's?" He got up quickly.
"What does that mean?" he brought out, looking at her steadily.
"Have you paid for it with your life or with mine? is what I mean. Or have yo_ost all power of understanding?" cried Liza, flushing. "Why did you start u_o suddenly? Why do you stare at me with such a look? You frighten me? What i_t you are afraid of all the time? I noticed some time ago that you wer_fraid and you are now, this very minute … Good heavens, how pale you are!"
"If you know anything, Liza, I swear I don't … and I wasn't talking of tha_ust now when I said that I had paid for it with life… ."
"I don't understand you," she brought out, faltering apprehensively.
At last a slow brooding smile came on to his lips. He slowly sat down, put hi_lbows on his knees, and covered his face with his hands.
"A bad dream and delirium… . We were talking of two different things."
"I don't know what you were talking about… . Do you mean to say you did no_now yesterday that I should leave you to-day, did you know or not? Don't tel_ lie, did you or not?"
"I did," he said softly.
"Well then, "what would you have? You knew and yet you accepted 'that moment'
for yourself. Aren't we quits?"
"Tell me the whole truth," he cried in intense distress. "When you opened m_oor yesterday, did you know yourself that it was only for one hour?"
She looked at him with hatred.
"Really, the most sensible person can ask most amazing questions. And why ar_ou so uneasy? Can it be vanity that a woman should leave you first instead o_our leaving her? Do you know, Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch, since I've been wit_ou I've discovered that you are very generous to me, and it's just that _an't endure from you."
He got up from his seat and took a few steps about the room.
"Very well, perhaps it was bound to end so… . But how can it all hav_appened?"
"That's a question to worry about! Especially as you know the answer yoursel_erfectly well, and understand it better than anyone on earth, and wer_ounting on it yourself. I am a young lady, my heart has been trained on th_pera, that's how it all began, that's the solution."
"There is nothing in it to fret your vanity. It is all the absolute truth. I_egan with a fine moment which was too much for me to bear. The day befor_esterday, when I "insulted" you before every one and you answered me s_hivalrously, I went home and guessed at once that you were running away fro_e because you were married, and not from contempt for me which, as _ashionable young lady, I dreaded more than anything. I understood that it wa_or my sake, for me, mad as I was, that you ran away. You see how I appreciat_our generosity. Then Pyotr Stepanovitch skipped up to me and explained it al_o me at once. He revealed to me that you were dominated by a 'great idea,'
before which he and I were as nothing, but yet that I was a stumbling-block i_our path. He brought himself in, he insisted that we three should wor_ogether, and said the most fantastic things about a boat and about maple-woo_ars out of some Russian song. I complimented him and told him he was a poet, which he swallowed as the real thing. And as apart from him I had known lon_efore that I had not the strength to do anything for long, I made up my min_n the spot. Well, that's all and quite enough, and please let us have no mor_xplanations. We might quarrel. Don't be afraid of anyone, I take it all o_yself. I am horrid and capricious, I was fascinated by that operatic boat, _m a young lady … but you know I did think that you were dreadfully in lov_ith me. Don't despise the poor fool, and don't laugh at the tear that droppe_ust now. I am awfully given to crying with self-pity. Come, that's enough, that's enough. I am no good for anything and you are no good for anything; it's as bad for both of us, so let's comfort ourselves with that. Anyway, i_ases our vanity."
"Dream and delirium," cried Stavrogin, wringing his hands, and pacing abou_he room. "Liza, poor child, what have you done to yourself?"
"I've burnt myself in a candle, nothing more. Surely you are not crying, too?
You should show less feeling and better breeding… ."
"Why, why did you come to me?"
"Don't you understand what a ludicrous position you put yourself in in th_yes of the world by asking such questions?"
"Why have you ruined yourself, so grotesquely and so stupidly, and what's t_e done now?"
"And this is Stavrogin, 'the vampire Stavrogin,' as you are called by a lad_ere who is in love with you! Listen! I have told you already, I've put all m_ife into one hour and I am at peace. Do the same with yours … though you'v_o need to: you have plenty of 'hours' and 'moments' of all sorts before you."
"As many as you; I give you my solemn word, not one hour more than you!"
He was still walking up and down and did not see the rapid penetrating glanc_he turned upon him, in which there seemed a dawning hope. But the light die_way at the same moment.
"If you knew what it costs me that I can't be sincere at this moment, Liza, i_ could only tell you … "
"Tell me? You want to tell me something, to me? God save me from you_ecrets!" she broke in almost in terror. He stopped and waited uneasily.
"I ought to confess that ever since those days in Switzerland I have had _trong feeling that you have something awful, loathsome, some bloodshed o_our conscience … and yet something that would make you look very ridiculous.
Beware of telling me, if it's true: I shall laugh you to scorn. I shall laug_t you for the rest of your life… . Aie, you are turning pale again? I won't, I won't, I'll go at once." She jumped up from her chair with a movement o_isgust and contempt.
"Torture me, punish me, vent your spite on me," he cried in despair. "You hav_he full right. I knew I did not love you and yet I ruined you! Yes, _ccepted the moment for my own; I had a hope … I've had it a long time … m_ast hope… . I could not resist the radiance that flooded my heart when yo_ame in to me yesterday, of yourself, alone, of your own accord. I suddenl_elieved… . Perhaps I have faith in it still."
"I will repay such noble frankness by being as frank. I don't want to be _ister of Mercy for you. Perhaps I really may become a nurse unless I happe_ppropriately to die to-day; but if I do I won't be your nurse, though, o_ourse, you need one as much as any crippled creature. I always fancied tha_ou would take me to some place where there was a huge wicked spider, big as _an, and we should spend our lives looking at it and being afraid of it.
That's how our love would spend itself. Appeal to Dashenka; she will go wit_ou anywhere you like."
"Can't you help thinking of her even now?"
"Poor little spaniel! Give her my greetings. Does she know that even i_witzerland you had fixed on her for your old age? What prudence! Wha_oresight! Aie, who's that?"
At the farther end of the room a door opened a crack; a head was thrust in an_anished again hurriedly.
"Is that you, Alexey Yegorytch?" asked Stavrogin. "No, it's only I." Pyot_tepanovitch thrust himself half in again. "How do you do, Lizavet_ikolaevna? Good morning, anyway. I guessed I should find you both in thi_oom. I have come for one moment literally, Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch. I wa_nxious to have a couple of words with you at all costs absolutely necessary … only a few words!"
Stavrogin moved towards him but turned back to Liza at the third step.
"If you hear anything directly, Liza, let me tell you I am to blame for it!"
She started and looked at him in dismay; but he hurriedly went out.
The room from which Pyotr Stepanovitch had peeped in was a large ova_estibule. Alexey Yegorytch had been sitting there before Pyotr Stepanovitc_ame in, but the latter sent him away. Stavrogin closed the door after him an_tood expectant. Pyotr Stepanovitch looked rapidly and searchingly at him."
"If you know already," said Pyotr Stepanovitch hurriedly, his eyes looking a_hough they would dive into Stavrogin's soul, "then, of course, we are none o_s to blame, above all not you, for it's such a concatenation … such _oincidence of events … in brief, you can't be legally implicated and I'v_ushed here to tell you so beforehand."
"Have they been burnt? murdered?"
"Murdered but not burnt, that's the trouble, but I give you my word of honou_hat it's not been my fault, however much you may suspect me, eh? Do you wan_he whole truth: you see the idea really did cross my mindyou hinted i_ourself, not seriously, but teasing me (for, of course, you would not hint i_eriously), but I couldn't bring myself to it, and wouldn't bring myself to i_or anything, not for a hundred roublesand what was there to be gained by it, I mean for me, for me… ." (He was in desperate haste and his talk was like th_lacking of a rattle.) "But what a coincidence of circumstances: I gave tha_runken fool Lebyadkin two hundred and thirty roubles of my own money (do yo_ear, my own money, there wasn't a rouble of yours and, what's more, you kno_t yourself) the day before yesterday, in the eveningdo you hear, no_esterday after the matinee, but the day before yesterday, make a note of it: it's a very important coincidence for I did not know for certain at that tim_hether Lizaveta Nikolaevna would come to you or not; I gave my own mone_imply because you distinguished yourself by taking it into your head t_etray your secret to every one. Well, I won't go into that … that's you_ffair … your chivalry . but I must own I was amazed, it was a knock-dow_low. And forasmuch as I was exceeding weary of these tragic stories and le_e tell you, I talk seriously though I do use Biblical languageas it was al_psetting my plans in fact, I made up my mind at any cost, and without you_nowledge, to pack the Lebyadkins off to Petersburg, especially as he was se_n going himself. I made one mistake: I gave the money in your name;was it _istake or not? Perhaps it wasn't a mistake, eh? Listen now, listen how it ha_ll turned out… ."
In the heat of his talk he went close up to Stavrogin and took hold of th_evers of his coat (really, it may have been on purpose). With a violen_ovement Stavrogin struck him on the arm.
"Come, what is it … give over … you'll break my arm, . . what matters is th_ay things have turned out," he rattled on, not in the least surprised at th_low. "I forked out the money in the evening on condition that his sister an_e should set off early next morning; I trusted that rascal Liputin with th_ob of getting them into the train and seeing them off. But that beast Liputi_anted to play his schoolboy pranks on the public perhaps you heard? At th_atinee? Listen, listen: they both got drunk, made up verses of which half ar_iputin's; he rigged Lebyadkin out in a dress-coat, assuring me meanwhile tha_e had packed him off that morning, but he kept him shut somewhere in a bac_oom, till he thrust him on the platform at the matinee. But Lebyadkin go_runk quickly and unexpectedly. Then came the scandalous scene you know of, and then they got him home more dead than alive, and Liputin niched away th_wo hundred roubles, leaving him only small change. But it appears unluckil_hat already that morning Lebyadkin had taken that two hundred roubles out o_is pocket, boasted of it and shown it in undesirable quarters. And as tha_as just what Fedka was expecting, and as he had heard something at Kirillov's (do you remember, your hint?) he made up his mind to take advantage of it.
That's the whole truth. I am glad, anyway, that Fedka did not find the money, the rascal was reckoning on a thousand, you know! He was in a hurry and seem_o have been frightened by the fire himself… . Would you believe it, that fir_ame as a thunderbolt for me. Devil only knows what to make of it! It i_aking things into their own hands… . You see, as I expect so much of you _ill hide nothing from you: I've long been hatching this idea of a fir_ecause it suits the national and popular taste; but I was keeping it for _ritical moment, for that precious time when we should all rise up and … An_hey suddenly took it into their heads to do it, on their own initiative, without orders, now at the very moment when we ought to be lying low an_eeping quiet! Such presumption! … The fact is, I've not got to the bottom o_t yet, they talk about two Shpigulin men . but if there are any of ou_ellows in it, if any one of them has had a hand in itso much the worse fo_im! You see what comes of letting people get ever so little out of hand! No, this democratic rabble, with its quintets, is a poor foundation; what we wan_s one magnificent, despotic will, like an idol, resting on somethin_undamental and external… . Then the quintets will cringe into obedience an_e obsequiously ready on occasion. But, anyway, though, they are all cryin_ut now that Stavrogin wanted his wife to be burnt and that that's what cause_he fire in the town, but … "
"Why, are they all saying that?"
"Well, not yet, and I must confess I have heard nothing of the sort, but wha_ne can do with people, especially when they've been burnt out! Vox populi vo_ei. A stupid rumour is soon set going. But you really have nothing to b_fraid of. From the legal point of view you are all right, and with you_onscience also. For you didn't want it done, did you? There's no clue, nothing but the coincidence… . The only thing is Fedka may remember what yo_aid that night at Kirillov's (and what made you say it?) but that prove_othing and we shall stop Fedka's mouth. I shall stop it to-day… ."
"And weren't the bodies burnt at all?"
"Not a bit; that ruffian could not manage anything properly. But I am glad, anyway, that you are so calm … for though you are not in any way to blame, even in thought, but all the same… . And you must admit that all this settle_our difficulties capitally: you are suddenly free and a widower and can marr_ charming girl this minute with a lot of money, who is already yours, int_he bargain. See what can be done by crude, simple coincidenceeh?"
"Are you threatening me, you fool?"
"Come, leave off, leave off! Here you .are, calling me a fool, and what a ton_o use! You ought to be glad, yet you … I rushed here on purpose to let yo_now in good time… . Besides, how could I threaten you? As if I cared for wha_ could get by threats! I want you to help from goodwill and not from fear.
You are the light and the sun… . It's I who am terribly afraid of you, not yo_f me! I am not Mavriky Nikolaevitch… . And only fancy, as I flew here in _acing droshky I saw Mavriky Nikolaevitch by the fence at the farthest corne_f your garden … in his greatcoat, drenched through, he must have been sittin_here all night! Queer goings on! How mad people can be!"
"Mavriky Nikolaevitch? Is that true?"
"Yes, yes. He is sitting by the garden fence. About three hundred paces fro_ere, I think. I made haste to pass him, but he saw me. Didn't you know? I_hat case I am glad I didn't forget to tell you. A man like that is mor_angerous than anyone if he happens to have a revolver about him, and then th_ight, the sleet, or natural irritabilityfor after all he is in a nic_osition, ha ha! What do you think V Why is he sitting there?"
"He is waiting for Lizaveta Nikolaevna, of course."
"Well! Why should she go out to him? And … in such rain too … what a fool!"
"She is just going out to him!"
"Eh! That's a piece of news! So then … But listen, her position is completel_hanged now. What does she want with Mavriky now? You are free, a widower, an_an marry her to-morrow? She doesn't know yetleave it to me and I'll arrang_t all for you. Where is she? We must relieve her mind too."
"Relieve her mind?"
"Rather! Let's go."
"And do you suppose she won't guess what those dead bodies mean?" sai_tavrogin, screwing up his eyes in a peculiar way.
"Of course she won't," said Pyotr Stepanovitch with all the confidence of _erfect simpleton, "for legally … Ech, what a man you are! What if she di_uess? Women are so clever at shutting their eyes to such things, you don'_nderstand women! Apart from it's being altogether to her interest to marr_ou now, because there's no denying she's disgraced herself; apart from that, I talked to her of 'the boat' and I saw that one could affect her by it, s_hat shows you what the girl is made of. Don't be uneasy, she will step ove_hose dead bodies without turning a hairespecially as you are not to blame fo_hem; not in the least, are you? She will only keep them in reserve to us_hem against you when you've been married two or three years. Every woma_aves up something of the sort out of her husband's past when she get_arried, but by that time … what may not happen in a year? Ha ha!"
"If you've come in a racing droshky, take her to Mavriky Nikolaevitch now. Sh_aid just now that she could not endure me and would leave me, and sh_ertainly will not accept my carriage."
"What! Can she really be leaving? How can this have come about?" said Pyot_tepanovitch, staring stupidly at him.
"She's guessed somehow during this night that I don't love her … which sh_new all along, indeed."
"But don't you love her?" said Pyotr Stepanovitch, with an expression o_xtreme surprise. "If so, why did you keep her when she came to you yesterday, instead of telling her plainly like an honourable man that you didn't care fo_er? That was horribly shabby on your part; and how mean you make me look i_er eyes!"
Stavrogin suddenly laughed."
"I am laughing at my monkey," he explained at once.
"Ah! You saw that I was putting it on!" cried Pyotr Stepanovitch, laughin_oo, with great enjoyment. "I did it to amuse you! Only fancy, as soon as yo_ame out to me I guessed from your face that you'd been 'unlucky.' A complet_iasco, perhaps. Eh? There! I'll bet anything," he cried, almost gasping wit_elight, "that you've been sitting side by side in the drawing-room all nigh_asting your precious time discussing something lofty and elevated … There, forgive me, forgive me; it's not my business. I felt sure yesterday that i_ould all end in foolishness. I brought her to you simply to amuse you, and t_how you that you wouldn't have a dull time with me. I shall be of use to yo_ hundred times in that way. I always like pleasing people. If you don't wan_er now, which was what I was reckoning on when I came, then … "
"So you brought her simply for my amusement?"
"Why, what else?"
"Not to make me kill my wife?"
"Come. You've not killed her? What a tragic fellow you are!
"It's just the same; you killed her."
"I didn't kill her! I tell you I had no hand in it… . You are beginning t_ake me uneasy, though… ."
"Go on. You said, 'if you don't want her now, then … '"
"Then, leave it to me, of course. I can quite easily marry her off to Mavrik_ikolaevitch, though I didn't make him sit down by the fence. Don't take tha_otion into your head. I am afraid of him, now. You talk about my droshky, bu_ simply dashed by… . What if he has a revolver? It's a good thing I brough_ine. Here it is." He brought a revolver out of his pocket, showed it, and hi_t again at once. "I took it as I was coming such a long way… . But I'l_rrange all that for you in a twinkling: her little heart is aching at thi_oment for Mavriky; it should be, anyway… . And, do you know, I am reall_ather sorry for her? If I take her to Mavriky she will begin about yo_irectly; she will praise you to him and abuse him to his face. You know th_eart of woman! There you are, laughing again! I am awfully glad that you ar_o cheerful now. Come, let's go. I'll begin with Mavriky right away, and abou_hem … those who've been murdered … hadn't we better keep quiet now? She'l_ear later on, anyway."
"What will she hear? Who's been murdered? What were you saying about Mavrik_ikolaevitch?" said Liza, suddenly opening the door.
"Ah! You've been listening?"
"What were you saying just now about Mavriky Nikolaevitch? Has he bee_urdered?"
"Ah! Then you didn't hear? Don't distress yourself, Mavriky Nikolaevitch i_live and well, and you can satisfy yourself of it in an instant, for he i_ere by the wayside, by the garden fence … and I believe he's been sittin_here all night. He is drenched through in his greatcoat! He saw me as I drov_ast."
"That's not true. You said 'murdered.' … Who's been murdered?" she insiste_ith agonising mistrust.
"The only people who have been murdered are my wife, her brother Lebyadkin, and their servant," Stavrogin brought out firmly.
Liza trembled and turned terribly pale.
"A strange brutal outrage, Lizaveta Nikolaevna. A simple case of robbery,"
Pyotr Stepanovitch rattled off at once "Simply robbery, under cover of th_ire. The crime was committed by Fedka the convict, and it was all that foo_ebyadkin's fault for showing every one his money… . I rushed here with th_ews … it fell on me like a thunderbolt. Stavrogin could hardly stand when _old him. We were deliberating here whether to tell you at once or not?"
"Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch, is he telling the truth?" Liza articulated faintly.
"No; it's false."
"False?" said Pyotr Stepanovitch, starting. "What do you mean by that?"
"Heavens! I-shall go mad!" cried Liza.
"Do you understand, anyway, that he is mad now!" Pyotr Stepanovitch cried a_he top of his voice. "After all, his wife has just been murdered. You see ho_hite he is… . Why, he has been with you the whole night. He hasn't left you_ide a minute. How can you suspect him?"
"Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch, tell me, as before God, are you guilty or not, and _wear I'll believe your word as though it were God's, and I'll follow you t_he end of the earth. Yes, I will. I'll follow you like a dog."
"Why are you tormenting her, you fantastic creature?" cried Pyotr Stepanovitc_n exasperation. "Lizaveta Nikolaevna, upon my oath, you can crush me int_owder, but he is not guilty. On the contrary, it has crushed him, and he i_aving, you see that. He is not to blame in any way, not in any way, not eve_n thought! … It's all the work of robbers who will probably be found within _eek and flogged… . It's all the work of Fedka the convict, and some Shpiguli_en, all the town is agog with it. That's why I say so too."
"Is that right? Is that right?" Liza waited trembling for her final sentence.
"I did not kill them, and I was against it, but I knew they were going to b_illed and I did not stop the murderers. Leave me, Liza," Stavrogin brough_ut, and he walked into the drawing-room.
Liza hid her face in her hands and walked out of the house. Pyotr Stepanovitc_as rushing after her, but at once 'hurried back and went into the drawing- room.
"So that's your line? That's your line? So there's nothing you are afraid of?"
He flew at Stavrogin in an absolute fury, muttering incoherently, scarcel_ble to find words and foaming at the mouth.
Stavrogin stood in the middle of the room and did not answer a word. H_lutched a lock of his hair in his left hand and smiled helplessly. Pyot_tepanovitch pulled him violently by the sleeve.
"Is it all over with you? So that's the line you are taking? You'll infor_gainst all of us, and go to a monastery yourself, or to the devil… . But I'l_o for you, though you are not afraid of me!"
"Ah! That's you chattering!" said Stavrogin, noticing him at last. "Run," h_aid, coming to himself suddenly, "run after her, order the carriage, don'_eave her… . Run, run! Take her home so that no one may know … and that sh_ayn't go there … to the bodies … to the bodies… . Force her to get into th_arriage … Alexey Yegorytch! Alexey Yegorytch!"
"Stay, don't shout! By now she is in Mavriky's arms… . Mavriky won't put he_nto your carriage… . Stay! There's something more important than th_arriage!"
He seized his revolver again. Stavrogin looked at him gravely.
"Very well, kill me," he said softly, almost conciliatorily.
"Foo. Damn it! What a maze of false sentiment a man can get into!" said Pyot_tepanovitch, shaking with rage. "Yes, really, you ought to be killed! Sh_ught simply to spit at you! Fine sort of 'magic boat,' you are; you are _roken-down, leaky old hulk! … You ought to pull yourself together if onl_rom spite! Ech! Why, what difference would it make to you since you ask for _ullet through your brains yourself?"
Stavrogin smiled strangely.
"If you were not such a buffoon I might perhaps have said yes now… . If yo_ad only a grain of sense … "
"I am a buffoon, but I don't want you, my better half, to be one! Do yo_nderstand me?" , .
Stavrogin did understand, though perhaps no one else did. Shatov, fo_nstance, was astonished when Stavrogin told him that Pyotr Stepanovitch ha_nthusiasm.
"Go to the devil now, and to-morrow perhaps I may wring something out o_yself. Come to-morrow."
"How can I tell! … Go to hell. Go to hell." And he walked out of the room.
"Perhaps, after all, it may be for the best," Pyotr Stepanovitch muttered t_imself as he hid the revolver.
He rushed off to overtake Lizaveta Nikolaevna. She had not got far away, onl_ few steps, from the house. She had been detained by Alexey Yegorytch, wh_as following a step behind her, in a tail coat, and without a hat; his hea_as bowed respectfully. He was persistently entreating her to wait for _arriage; the old man was alarmed and almost in tears.
"Go along. Your master is asking for tea, and there's no one to give it t_im," said Pyotr Stepanovitch, pushing him away. He took Liza's arm.
She did not pull her arm away, but she seemed hardly to know what she wa_oing; she was still dazed.
"To begin with, you are going the wrong way," babbled Pyotr Stepanovitch. "W_ught to go this way, and not by the garden, and, secondly, walking i_mpossible in any case. It's over two miles, and you are not properly dressed.
If you would wait a second, I came in a droshky; the horse is in the yard.
I'll get it instantly, put you in, and get you home so that no one sees you."
"How kind you are," said Liza graciously. "Oh, not at all. Any humane man i_y position would do the same… ."
Liza looked at him, and was surprised.
"Good heavens! Why I thought it was that old man here still."
"Listen. I am awfully glad that you take it like this, because it's all such _rightfully stupid convention, and since it's come to that, hadn't I bette_ell the old man to get the carriage at once. It's only a matter of te_inutes and we'll turn back and wait in the porch, eh?"
"I want first … where are those murdered people?"
"Ah! What next? That was what I was afraid of… . No, we'd better leave thos_retched creatures alone; it's no use your looking at them."
"I know where they are. I know that house."
"Well? What if you do know it? Come; it's raining, and there's a fog. (A nic_ob this sacred duty I've taken upon myself.) Listen, Lizaveta Nikolaevna!
It's one of two alternatives. Either you come with me in the droshkyin tha_ase wait here, and don't take another step, for if we go another twenty step_e must be seen by Mavriky Nikolaevitch."
"Mavriky Nikolaevitch! Where? Where?"
"Well, if you want to go with him, I'll take you a little farther, if yo_ike, and show you where he sits, but I don't care to go up to him just now.
No, thank you."
"He is waiting for me. Good God!" she suddenly stopped, and a flush of colou_looded her face.
"Oh! Come now. If he is an unconventional man! You know, Lizaveta Nikolaevna, it's none of my business. I am a complete outsider, and you know tha_ourself. But, still, I wish you well… . If your 'fairy boat' has failed you, if it has turned out to be nothing more than a rotten old hulk, only fit to b_hopped up … "
"Ah! That's fine, that's lovely," cried Liza.
"Lovely, and yet your tears are falling. You must have spirit. You must be a_ood as a man in every way. In our age, when woman … Foo, hang it," Pyot_tepanovitch was on the point of spitting. "And the chief point is that ther_s nothing to regret. It may all turn out for the best. Mavriky Nikolaevitc_s a man… . In fact, he is a man of feeling though not talkative, but that's _ood thing, too, as long as he has no conventional notions, of course… ."
"Lovely, lovely!" Liza laughed hysterically.
"Well, hang it all … Lizaveta Nikolaevna," said Pyotr Stepanovitch suddenl_iqued. "I am simply here on your account… . It's nothing to me… . I helpe_ou yesterday when you wanted it yourself. To-day … well, you can see Mavrik_ikolaevitch from here; there he's sitting; he doesn't see us. I say, Lizavet_ikolaevna, have you ever read 'Polenka Saxe'?"
"It's the name of a novel, 'Polenka Saxe.' I read it when I was a student… .
In it a very wealthy official of some sort, Saxe, arrested his wife at _ummer villa for infidelity… . But, hang it; it's no consequence! You'll see, Mavriky Nikolaevitch will make you an offer before you get home. He doesn'_ee us yet."
"Ach! Don't let him see us!" Liza cried suddenly, like a mad creature. "Com_way, come away! To the woods, to the fields!"
And she ran back.
"Lizaveta Nikolaevna, this is such cowardice," cried Pyotr Stepanovitch, running after her. "And why don't you want him to see you? On the contrary, you must look him straight in the face, with pride… . If it's some feelin_bout that . . some maidenly … that's such a prejudice, so out of date… Bu_here are you going? Where are you going? Ech! she is running! Better go bac_o Stavrogin's and take my droshky… . Where are you going? That's the way t_he fields! There! She's fallen down! … "
He stopped. Liza was flying along like a bird, not conscious where she wa_oing, and Pyotr Stepanovitch was already fifty paces behind her. She stumble_ver a mound of earth and fell down. At the same moment there was the sound o_ terrible shout from behind. It came from Mavriky Nikolaevitch, who had see_er flight and her fall, and was running to her across the field. In a flas_yotr Stepanovitch had retired into Stavrogin's gateway to make haste and ge_nto his droshky.
Mavriky Nikolaevitch was already standing in terrible alarm by Liza, who ha_isen to her feet; he was bending over her and holding her hands in both o_is. All the incredible surroundings of this meeting overwhelmed him, an_ears were rolling down his cheeks. He saw the woman for whom he had suc_everent devotion running madly across the fields, at such an hour, in suc_eather, with nothing over her dress, the gay dress she wore the day befor_ow crumpled and muddy from her fall… . He could not utter a word; he took of_is greatcoat, and with trembling hands put it round her shoulders. Suddenl_e uttered a cry, feeling that she had pressed her lips to his hand.
"Liza," he cried, "I am no good for anything, but don't drive me away fro_ou!"
"Oh, no! Let us make haste away from here. Don't leave me!" and, seizing hi_and, she drew him after her. "Mavriky Nikolaevitch," she suddenly dropped he_oice timidly, "I kept a bold face there all the time, but now I am afraid o_eath. I shall die soon, very soon, but I am afraid, I am afraid to die … ."
she whispered, pressing his hand tight.
"Oh, if there were some one," he looked round in despair. "Some passer-by! Yo_ill get your feet wet, you … will lose your reason!"
"It's all right; it's all right," she tried to reassure him. "That's right. _m not so frightened with you. Hold my hand, lead me… . Where are we goin_ow? Home? No! I want first to see the people who have been murdered. His wif_as been murdered they say, and he says he killed her himself. But that's no_rue, is it? I want to see for myself those three who've been killed … on m_ccount … it's because of them his love for me has grown cold since las_ight… . I shall see and find out everything. Make haste, make haste, I kno_he house … there's a fire there… . Mavriky Nikolaevitch, my dear one, don'_orgive me in my shame! Why forgive me? Why are you crying? Give me a blow an_ill me here in the field, like a dog!"
"No one is your judge now," Mavriky Nikolaevitch pronounced firmly. "Go_orgive you. I least of all can be your judge."
But it would be strange to describe their conversation. And meanwhile the_alked hand in hand quickly, hurrying as though they were crazy. They wer_oing straight towards the fire. Mavriky Nikolaevitch still had hopes o_eeting a cart at least, but no one came that way. A mist of fine, drizzlin_ain enveloped the whole country, swallowing up every ray of light, ever_leam of colour, and transforming everything into one smoky, leaden, indistinguishable mass. It had long been daylight, yet it seemed as though i_ere still night. And suddenly in this cold foggy mist there appeared comin_owards them a strange and absurd figure. Picturing it now I think I shoul_ot have believed my eyes if I had been in Lizaveta Nikolaevna's place, ye_he uttered a cry of joy, and recognised the approaching figure at once. I_as Stepan Trofimovitch. How he had gone off, how the insane, impracticabl_dea of his flight came to be carried out, of that later. I will only mentio_hat he was in a fever that morning, yet even illness did not prevent hi_tarting. He was walking resolutely on the damp ground. It was evident that h_ad planned the enterprise to the best of his ability, alone with hi_nexperience and lack of practical sense. He wore "travelling dress," that is, a greatcoat with a wide patent-leather belt, fastened with a buckle and a pai_f new high boots pulled over his trousers. Probably he had for some time pas_ictured a traveller as looking like this, and the belt and the high boot_ith the shining tops like a hussar's, in which he could hardly walk, had bee_eady some time before. A broad-brimmed hat, a knitted scarf, twisted clos_ound his neck, a stick in his right hand, and an exceedingly small bu_xtremely tightly packed bag in his left, completed his get-up. He had, besides, in the same right hand, an open umbrella. These three objectsth_mbrella, the stick, and the baghad been very awkward to carry for the firs_ile, and had begun to be heavy by the second.
"Can it really be you?" cried Liza, looking at him with distressed wonder, after her first rush of instinctive gladness.
"Use," cried Stepan Trofimovitch, rushing to her almost in delirium too.
"Chere, chere… . Can you be out, too . . in such a fog? You see the glow o_ire. Vous ties malheureuse, n'est-ce pas? I see, I see. Don't tell me, bu_on't question me either. Nous sommes tous malheureux mais il faut le_ardonner tons. Pardonnons, Lise, and let us be free for ever. To be quit o_he world and be completely free. Il faut pardonner, pardonner, et pardonner!"
"But why are you kneeling down?"
"Because, taking leave of the world, I want to take leave of all my past i_our person!" He wept and raised both her hands to his tear-stained eyes. "_neel to all that was beautiful in my life. I kiss and give thanks! Now I'v_orn myself in half; left behind a mad visionary who dreamed of soaring to th_ky. Vingt-deux ans, here. A shattered, frozen old man. A tutor chez c_archand, s'il existe pourtant ce marchand… . But how drenched you are, Lise "
he cried, jumping on to his feet, feeling that his knees too were soaked b_he wet earth. "And how is it possible … you are in such a dress … and o_oot, and in these fields? … You are crying! Vous etes malheureuse. Bah, I di_ear something… . But where have you come from now?" He asked hurrie_uestions with an uneasy air, looking in extreme bewilderment at Mavrik_ikolaevitch. "Mais savez-vous l'heure qu'il est?"
"Stepan Trofimovitch, have you heard anything about the people who've bee_urdered? … Is it true? Is it true?"
"These people! I saw the glow of their work all night. They were bound to en_n this… ." His eyes flashed again.
"I am fleeing away from madness, from a delirious dream. I am fleeing away t_eek for Russia. Existe-t-elle, la Russie? Bah! C'est vous, cher capitaine!
I've never doubted that I should meet you somewhere on some high adventure… .
But take my umbrella, andwhy must you be on foot? For God's sake, do at leas_ake my umbrella, for I shall hire a carriage somewhere in any case. I am o_oot because Stasie (I mean, Nastasya) would have shouted for the benefit o_he whole street if she'd found out I was going away. So I slipped away as fa_s possible incognito. I don't know; in the Voice they write of there bein_rigands everywhere, but I thought surely I shouldn't meet a brigand th_oment I came out on the road. Chere Lise, I thought you said something o_ome one's being murdered. Oh, mon Dieu! You are ill!"
"Come along, come along!" cried Liza, almost in hysterics, drawing Mavrik_ikolaevitch after her again. "Wait a minute, Stepan Trofimovitch!" she cam_ack suddenly to him. "Stay, poor darling, let me sign you with the cross.
Perhaps, it would be better to put you under control, but I'd rather make th_ign of the cross over you. You, too, pray for 'poor' Liza just a little, don't bother too much about it. Mavriky Nikolaevitch, give that baby back hi_mbrella. You must give it him. That's right… . Come, let us go, let us go!"
They reached the fatal house at the very moment when the huge crowd, which ha_athered round it, had already heard a good deal of Stavrogin, and of how muc_t was to his interest to murder his wife. Yet, I repeat, the immense majorit_ent on listening without moving or uttering a word. The only people who wer_xcited were bawling drunkards and excitable individuals of the same sort a_he gesticulatory cabinet-maker. Every one knew the latter as a man really o_ild disposition, but he was liable on occasion to get excited and to fly of_t a tangent if anything struck him in a certain way. I did not see Liza an_avriky Nikolaevitch arrive. Petrified with amazement, I first noticed Liz_ome distance away in the crowd, and I did not at once catch sight of Mavrik_ikolaevitch. I fancy there was a moment when he fell two or three step_ehind her or was pressed back by the crush. Liza, forcing her way through th_rowd, seeing and noticing nothing round her, like one in a delirium, like _atient escaped from a hospital, attracted attention only too quickly, o_ourse. There arose a hubbub of loud talking and at last sudden shouts. Som_ne bawled out, "It's Stavrogin's woman!" And on the other side, "It's no_nough to murder them, she wants to look at them!" All at once I saw an ar_aised above her head from behind and suddenly brought down upon it. Liza fel_o the ground. We heard a fearful scream from Mavriky Nikolaevitch as h_ashed to her assistance and struck with all his strength the man who stoo_etween him and Liza. But at that instant the same cabinetmaker seized hi_ith both arms from behind. For some minutes nothing could be distinguished i_he scrimmage that followed. I believe Liza got up but was knocked down b_nother blow. Suddenly the crowd parted and a small space was left empty roun_iza's prostrate figure, and Mavriky Nikolaevitch, frantic with grief an_overed with blood, was standing over her, screaming, weeping, and wringin_is hands. I don't remember exactly what followed after; I only remember tha_hey began to carry Liza away. I ran after her. She was still alive an_erhaps still conscious. The cabinet-maker and three other men in the crow_ere seized. These three still deny having taken any part in the dastardl_eed, stubbornly maintaining that they have been arrested by mistake. Perhap_t's the truth. Though the evidence against the cabinet-maker is clear, he i_o irrational that he is still unable to explain what happened coherently. _oo, as a spectator, though at some distance, had to give evidence at th_nquest. I declared that it had all happened entirely accidentally through th_ction of men perhaps moved by ill-feeling, yet scarcely conscious of wha_hey were doingdrunk and irresponsible. I am of that opinion to this day.