"Pyotr Petrovitch," she cried, "protect me... you at least! Make this foolish woman understand that she can't behave like this to a lady in misfortune... that there is a law for such things.... I'll go to the governor-general himself.... She shall answer for it.... Remembering my father's hospitality protect these orphans."
"Allow me, madam.... Allow me." Pyotr Petrovitch waved her off. "Your papa as you are well aware I had not the honour of knowing" (someone laughed aloud) "and I do not intend to take part in your everlasting squabbles with Amalia Ivanovna.... I have come here to speak of my own affairs... and I want to have a word with your stepdaughter, Sofya... Ivanovna, I think it is? Allow me to pass."
Pyotr Petrovitch, edging by her, went to the opposite corner where Sonia was.
Katerina Ivanovna remained standing where she was, as though thunderstruck. She could not understand how Pyotr Petrovitch could deny having enjoyed her father's hospitality. Though she had invented it herself, she believed in it firmly by this time. She was struck too by the businesslike, dry and even contemptuous menacing tone of Pyotr Petrovitch. All the clamour gradually died away at his entrance. Not only was this "serious business man" strikingly incongruous with the rest of the party, but it was evident, too, that he had come upon some matter of consequence, that some exceptional cause must have brought him and that therefore something was going to happen. Raskolnikov, standing beside Sonia, moved aside to let him pass; Pyotr Petrovitch did not seem to notice him. A minute later Lebeziatnikov, too, appeared in the doorway; he did not come in, but stood still, listening with marked interest, almost wonder, and seemed for a time perplexed.
"Excuse me for possibly interrupting you, but it's a matter of some importance," Pyotr Petrovitch observed, addressing the company generally. "I am glad indeed to find other persons present. Amalia Ivanovna, I humbly beg you as mistress of the house to pay careful attention to what I have to say to Sofya Ivanovna. Sofya Ivanovna," he went on, addressing Sonia, who was very much surprised and already alarmed, "immediately after your visit I found that a hundred-rouble note was missing from my table, in the room of my friend Mr. Lebeziatnikov. If in any way whatever you know and will tell us where it is now, I assure you on my word of honour and call all present to witness that the matter shall end there. In the opposite case I shall be compelled to have recourse to very serious measures and then... you must blame yourself."
Complete silence reigned in the room. Even the crying children were still. Sonia stood deadly pale, staring at Luzhin and unable to say a word. She seemed not to understand. Some seconds passed.
"Well, how is it to be then?" asked Luzhin, looking intently at her.
"I don't know.... I know nothing about it," Sonia articulated faintly at last.
"No, you know nothing?" Luzhin repeated and again he paused for some seconds. "Think a moment, mademoiselle," he began severely, but still, as it were, admonishing her. "Reflect, I am prepared to give you time for consideration. Kindly observe this: if I were not so entirely convinced I should not, you may be sure, with my experience venture to accuse you so directly. Seeing that for such direct accusation before witnesses, if false or even mistaken, I should myself in a certain sense be made responsible, I am aware of that. This morning I changed for my own purposes several five-per-cent securities for the sum of approximately three thousand roubles. The account is noted down in my pocket-book. On my return home I proceeded to count the money--as Mr. Lebeziatnikov will bear witness--and after counting two thousand three hundred roubles I put the rest in my pocket-book in my coat pocket. About five hundred roubles remained on the table and among them three notes of a hundred roubles each. At that moment you entered (at my invitation)--and all the time you were present you were exceedingly embarrassed; so that three times you jumped up in the middle of the conversation and tried to make off. Mr. Lebeziatnikov can bear witness to this. You yourself, mademoiselle, probably will not refuse to confirm my statement that I invited you through Mr. Lebeziatnikov, solely in order to discuss with you the hopeless and destitute position of your relative, Katerina Ivanovna (whose dinner I was unable to attend), and the advisability of getting up something of the nature of a subscription, lottery or the like, for her benefit. You thanked me and even shed tears. I describe all this as it took place, primarily to recall it to your mind and secondly to show you that not the slightest detail has escaped my recollection. Then I took a ten-rouble note from the table and handed it to you by way of first instalment on my part for the benefit of your relative. Mr. Lebeziatnikov saw all this. Then I accompanied you to the door--you being still in the same state of embarrassment--after which, being left alone with Mr. Lebeziatnikov I talked to him for ten minutes--then Mr. Lebeziatnikov went out and I returned to the table with the money lying on it, intending to count it and to put it aside, as I proposed doing before. To my surprise one hundred-rouble note had disappeared. Kindly consider the position. Mr. Lebeziatnikov I cannot suspect. I am ashamed to allude to such a supposition. I cannot have made a mistake in my reckoning, for the minute before your entrance I had finished my accounts and found the total correct. You will admit that recollecting your embarrassment, your eagerness to get away and the fact that you kept your hands for some time on the table, and taking into consideration your social position and the habits associated with it, I was, so to say, with horror and positively against my will, _compelled_ to entertain a suspicion--a cruel, but justifiable suspicion! I will add further and repeat that in spite of my positive conviction, I realise that I run a certain risk in making this accusation, but as you see, I could not let it pass. I have taken action and I will tell you why: solely, madam, solely, owing to your black ingratitude! Why! I invite you for the benefit of your destitute relative, I present you with my donation of ten roubles and you, on the spot, repay me for all that with such an action. It is too bad! You need a lesson. Reflect! Moreover, like a true friend I beg you--and you could have no better friend at this moment--think what you are doing, otherwise I shall be immovable! Well, what do you say?"
"I have taken nothing," Sonia whispered in terror, "you gave me ten roubles, here it is, take it."
Sonia pulled her handkerchief out of her pocket, untied a corner of it, took out the ten-rouble note and gave it to Luzhin.
"And the hundred roubles you do not confess to taking?" he insisted reproachfully, not taking the note.
Sonia looked about her. All were looking at her with such awful, stern, ironical, hostile eyes. She looked at Raskolnikov... he stood against the wall, with his arms crossed, looking at her with glowing eyes.
"Good God!" broke from Sonia.
"Amalia Ivanovna, we shall have to send word to the police and therefore I humbly beg you meanwhile to send for the house porter," Luzhin said softly and even kindly.
"_Gott der Barmherzige_! I knew she was the thief," cried Amalia Ivanovna, throwing up her hands.
"You knew it?" Luzhin caught her up, "then I suppose you had some reason before this for thinking so. I beg you, worthy Amalia Ivanovna, to remember your words which have been uttered before witnesses."
There was a buzz of loud conversation on all sides. All were in movement.
"What!" cried Katerina Ivanovna, suddenly realising the position, and she rushed at Luzhin. "What! You accuse her of stealing? Sonia? Ah, the wretches, the wretches!"
And running to Sonia she flung her wasted arms round her and held her as in a vise.
"Sonia! how dared you take ten roubles from him? Foolish girl! Give it to me! Give me the ten roubles at once--here!"
And snatching the note from Sonia, Katerina Ivanovna crumpled it up and flung it straight into Luzhin's face. It hit him in the eye and fell on the ground. Amalia Ivanovna hastened to pick it up. Pyotr Petrovitch lost his temper.
"Hold that mad woman!" he shouted.
At that moment several other persons, besides Lebeziatnikov, appeared in the doorway, among them the two ladies.
"What! Mad? Am I mad? Idiot!" shrieked Katerina Ivanovna. "You are an idiot yourself, pettifogging lawyer, base man! Sonia, Sonia take his money! Sonia a thief! Why, she'd give away her last penny!" and Katerina Ivanovna broke into hysterical laughter. "Did you ever see such an idiot?" she turned from side to side. "And you too?" she suddenly saw the landlady, "and you too, sausage eater, you declare that she is a thief, you trashy Prussian hen's leg in a crinoline! She hasn't been out of this room: she came straight from you, you wretch, and sat down beside me, everyone saw her. She sat here, by Rodion Romanovitch. Search her! Since she's not left the room, the money would have to be on her! Search her, search her! But if you don't find it, then excuse me, my dear fellow, you'll answer for it! I'll go to our Sovereign, to our Sovereign, to our gracious Tsar himself, and throw myself at his feet, to-day, this minute! I am alone in the world! They would let me in! Do you think they wouldn't? You're wrong, I will get in! I will get in! You reckoned on her meekness! You relied upon that! But I am not so submissive, let me tell you! You've gone too far yourself. Search her, search her!"
And Katerina Ivanovna in a frenzy shook Luzhin and dragged him towards Sonia.
"I am ready, I'll be responsible... but calm yourself, madam, calm yourself. I see that you are not so submissive!... Well, well, but as to that..." Luzhin muttered, "that ought to be before the police... though indeed there are witnesses enough as it is.... I am ready.... But in any case it's difficult for a man... on account of her sex.... But with the help of Amalia Ivanovna... though, of course, it's not the way to do things.... How is it to be done?"
"As you will! Let anyone who likes search her!" cried Katerina Ivanovna. "Sonia, turn out your pockets! See! Look, monster, the pocket is empty, here was her handkerchief! Here is the other pocket, look! D'you see, d'you see?"
And Katerina Ivanovna turned--or rather snatched--both pockets inside out. But from the right pocket a piece of paper flew out and describing a parabola in the air fell at Luzhin's feet. Everyone saw it, several cried out. Pyotr Petrovitch stooped down, picked up the paper in two fingers, lifted it where all could see it and opened it. It was a hundred-rouble note folded in eight. Pyotr Petrovitch held up the note showing it to everyone.
"Thief! Out of my lodging. Police, police!" yelled Amalia Ivanovna. "They must to Siberia be sent! Away!"
Exclamations arose on all sides. Raskolnikov was silent, keeping his eyes fixed on Sonia, except for an occasional rapid glance at Luzhin. Sonia stood still, as though unconscious. She was hardly able to feel surprise. Suddenly the colour rushed to her cheeks; she uttered a cry and hid her face in her hands.
"No, it wasn't I! I didn't take it! I know nothing about it," she cried with a heartrending wail, and she ran to Katerina Ivanovna, who clasped her tightly in her arms, as though she would shelter her from all the world.
"Sonia! Sonia! I don't believe it! You see, I don't believe it!" she cried in the face of the obvious fact, swaying her to and fro in her arms like a baby, kissing her face continually, then snatching at her hands and kissing them, too, "you took it! How stupid these people are! Oh dear! You are fools, fools," she cried, addressing the whole room, "you don't know, you don't know what a heart she has, what a girl she is! She take it, she? She'd sell her last rag, she'd go barefoot to help you if you needed it, that's what she is! She has the yellow passport because my children were starving, she sold herself for us! Ah, husband, husband! Do you see? Do you see? What a memorial dinner for you! Merciful heavens! Defend her, why are you all standing still? Rodion Romanovitch, why don't you stand up for her? Do you believe it, too? You are not worth her little finger, all of you together! Good God! Defend her now, at least!"
The wail of the poor, consumptive, helpless woman seemed to produce a great effect on her audience. The agonised, wasted, consumptive face, the parched blood-stained lips, the hoarse voice, the tears unrestrained as a child's, the trustful, childish and yet despairing prayer for help were so piteous that everyone seemed to feel for her. Pyotr Petrovitch at any rate was at once moved to _compassion_.
"Madam, madam, this incident does not reflect upon you!" he cried impressively, "no one would take upon himself to accuse you of being an instigator or even an accomplice in it, especially as you have proved her guilt by turning out her pockets, showing that you had no previous idea of it. I am most ready, most ready to show compassion, if poverty, so to speak, drove Sofya Semyonovna to it, but why did you refuse to confess, mademoiselle? Were you afraid of the disgrace? The first step? You lost your head, perhaps? One can quite understand it.... But how could you have lowered yourself to such an action? Gentlemen," he addressed the whole company, "gentlemen! Compassionate and, so to say, commiserating these people, I am ready to overlook it even now in spite of the personal insult lavished upon me! And may this disgrace be a lesson to you for the future," he said, addressing Sonia, "and I will carry the matter no further. Enough!"
Pyotr Petrovitch stole a glance at Raskolnikov. Their eyes met, and the fire in Raskolnikov's seemed ready to reduce him to ashes. Meanwhile Katerina Ivanovna apparently heard nothing. She was kissing and hugging Sonia like a madwoman. The children, too, were embracing Sonia on all sides, and Polenka--though she did not fully understand what was wrong--was drowned in tears and shaking with sobs, as she hid her pretty little face, swollen with weeping, on Sonia's shoulder.
"How vile!" a loud voice cried suddenly in the doorway.
Pyotr Petrovitch looked round quickly.
"What vileness!" Lebeziatnikov repeated, staring him straight in the face.
Pyotr Petrovitch gave a positive start--all noticed it and recalled it afterwards. Lebeziatnikov strode into the room.
"And you dared to call me as witness?" he said, going up to Pyotr Petrovitch.
"What do you mean? What are you talking about?" muttered Luzhin.
"I mean that you... are a slanderer, that's what my words mean!" Lebeziatnikov said hotly, looking sternly at him with his short-sighted eyes.
He was extremely angry. Raskolnikov gazed intently at him, as though seizing and weighing each word. Again there was a silence. Pyotr Petrovitch indeed seemed almost dumbfounded for the first moment.
"If you mean that for me,..." he began, stammering. "But what's the matter with you? Are you out of your mind?"
"I'm in my mind, but you are a scoundrel! Ah, how vile! I have heard everything. I kept waiting on purpose to understand it, for I must own even now it is not quite logical.... What you have done it all for I can't understand."
"Why, what have I done then? Give over talking in your nonsensical riddles! Or maybe you are drunk!"
"You may be a drunkard, perhaps, vile man, but I am not! I never touch vodka, for it's against my convictions. Would you believe it, he, he himself, with his own hands gave Sofya Semyonovna that hundred-rouble note--I saw it, I was a witness, I'll take my oath! He did it, he!" repeated Lebeziatnikov, addressing all.
"Are you crazy, milksop?" squealed Luzhin. "She is herself before you--she herself here declared just now before everyone that I gave her only ten roubles. How could I have given it to her?"
"I saw it, I saw it," Lebeziatnikov repeated, "and though it is against my principles, I am ready this very minute to take any oath you like before the court, for I saw how you slipped it in her pocket. Only like a fool I thought you did it out of kindness! When you were saying good-bye to her at the door, while you held her hand in one hand, with the other, the left, you slipped the note into her pocket. I saw it, I saw it!"
Luzhin turned pale.
"What lies!" he cried impudently, "why, how could you, standing by the window, see the note? You fancied it with your short-sighted eyes. You are raving!"
"No, I didn't fancy it. And though I was standing some way off, I saw it all. And though it certainly would be hard to distinguish a note from the window--that's true--I knew for certain that it was a hundred-rouble note, because, when you were going to give Sofya Semyonovna ten roubles, you took up from the table a hundred-rouble note (I saw it because I was standing near then, and an idea struck me at once, so that I did not forget you had it in your hand). You folded it and kept it in your hand all the time. I didn't think of it again until, when you were getting up, you changed it from your right hand to your left and nearly dropped it! I noticed it because the same idea struck me again, that you meant to do her a kindness without my seeing. You can fancy how I watched you and I saw how you succeeded in slipping it into her pocket. I saw it, I saw it, I'll take my oath."
Lebeziatnikov was almost breathless. Exclamations arose on all hands chiefly expressive of wonder, but some were menacing in tone. They all crowded round Pyotr Petrovitch. Katerina Ivanovna flew to Lebeziatnikov.
"I was mistaken in you! Protect her! You are the only one to take her part! She is an orphan. God has sent you!"
Katerina Ivanovna, hardly knowing what she was doing, sank on her knees before him.
"A pack of nonsense!" yelled Luzhin, roused to fury, "it's all nonsense you've been talking! 'An idea struck you, you didn't think, you noticed'--what does it amount to? So I gave it to her on the sly on purpose? What for? With what object? What have I to do with this...?"
"What for? That's what I can't understand, but that what I am telling you is the fact, that's certain! So far from my being mistaken, you infamous criminal man, I remember how, on account of it, a question occurred to me at once, just when I was thanking you and pressing your hand. What made you put it secretly in her pocket? Why you did it secretly, I mean? Could it be simply to conceal it from me, knowing that my convictions are opposed to yours and that I do not approve of private benevolence, which effects no radical cure? Well, I decided that you really were ashamed of giving such a large sum before me. Perhaps, too, I thought, he wants to give her a surprise, when she finds a whole hundred-rouble note in her pocket. (For I know, some benevolent people are very fond of decking out their charitable actions in that way.) Then the idea struck me, too, that you wanted to test her, to see whether, when she found it, she would come to thank you. Then, too, that you wanted to avoid thanks and that, as the saying is, your right hand should not know... something of that sort, in fact. I thought of so many possibilities that I put off considering it, but still thought it indelicate to show you that I knew your secret. But another idea struck me again that Sofya Semyonovna might easily lose the money before she noticed it, that was why I decided to come in here to call her out of the room and to tell her that you put a hundred roubles in her pocket. But on my way I went first to Madame Kobilatnikov's to take them the 'General Treatise on the Positive Method' and especially to recommend Piderit's article (and also Wagner's); then I come on here and what a state of things I find! Now could I, could I, have all these ideas and reflections if I had not seen you put the hundred-rouble note in her pocket?"
When Lebeziatnikov finished his long-winded harangue with the logical deduction at the end, he was quite tired, and the perspiration streamed from his face. He could not, alas, even express himself correctly in Russian, though he knew no other language, so that he was quite exhausted, almost emaciated after this heroic exploit. But his speech produced a powerful effect. He had spoken with such vehemence, with such conviction that everyone obviously believed him. Pyotr Petrovitch felt that things were going badly with him.
"What is it to do with me if silly ideas did occur to you?" he shouted, "that's no evidence. You may have dreamt it, that's all! And I tell you, you are lying, sir. You are lying and slandering from some spite against me, simply from pique, because I did not agree with your free-thinking, godless, social propositions!"
But this retort did not benefit Pyotr Petrovitch. Murmurs of disapproval were heard on all sides.
"Ah, that's your line now, is it!" cried Lebeziatnikov, "that's nonsense! Call the police and I'll take my oath! There's only one thing I can't understand: what made him risk such a contemptible action. Oh, pitiful, despicable man!"
"I can explain why he risked such an action, and if necessary, I, too, will swear to it," Raskolnikov said at last in a firm voice, and he stepped forward.
He appeared to be firm and composed. Everyone felt clearly, from the very look of him that he really knew about it and that the mystery would be solved.
"Now I can explain it all to myself," said Raskolnikov, addressing Lebeziatnikov. "From the very beginning of the business, I suspected that there was some scoundrelly intrigue at the bottom of it. I began to suspect it from some special circumstances known to me only, which I will explain at once to everyone: they account for everything. Your valuable evidence has finally made everything clear to me. I beg all, all to listen. This gentleman (he pointed to Luzhin) was recently engaged to be married to a young lady--my sister, Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikov. But coming to Petersburg he quarrelled with me, the day before yesterday, at our first meeting and I drove him out of my room--I have two witnesses to prove it. He is a very spiteful man.... The day before yesterday I did not know that he was staying here, in your room, and that consequently on the very day we quarrelled--the day before yesterday--he saw me give Katerina Ivanovna some money for the funeral, as a friend of the late Mr. Marmeladov. He at once wrote a note to my mother and informed her that I had given away all my money, not to Katerina Ivanovna but to Sofya Semyonovna, and referred in a most contemptible way to the... character of Sofya Semyonovna, that is, hinted at the character of my attitude to Sofya Semyonovna. All this you understand was with the object of dividing me from my mother and sister, by insinuating that I was squandering on unworthy objects the money which they had sent me and which was all they had. Yesterday evening, before my mother and sister and in his presence, I declared that I had given the money to Katerina Ivanovna for the funeral and not to Sofya Semyonovna and that I had no acquaintance with Sofya Semyonovna and had never seen her before, indeed. At the same time I added that he, Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin, with all his virtues, was not worth Sofya Semyonovna's little finger, though he spoke so ill of her. To his question--would I let Sofya Semyonovna sit down beside my sister, I answered that I had already done so that day. Irritated that my mother and sister were unwilling to quarrel with me at his insinuations, he gradually began being unpardonably rude to them. A final rupture took place and he was turned out of the house. All this happened yesterday evening. Now I beg your special attention: consider: if he had now succeeded in proving that Sofya Semyonovna was a thief, he would have shown to my mother and sister that he was almost right in his suspicions, that he had reason to be angry at my putting my sister on a level with Sofya Semyonovna, that, in attacking me, he was protecting and preserving the honour of my sister, his betrothed. In fact he might even, through all this, have been able to estrange me from my family, and no doubt he hoped to be restored to favour with them; to say nothing of revenging himself on me personally, for he has grounds for supposing that the honour and happiness of Sofya Semyonovna are very precious to me. That was what he was working for! That's how I understand it. That's the whole reason for it and there can be no other!"
It was like this, or somewhat like this, that Raskolnikov wound up his speech which was followed very attentively, though often interrupted by exclamations from his audience. But in spite of interruptions he spoke clearly, calmly, exactly, firmly. His decisive voice, his tone of conviction and his stern face made a great impression on everyone.
"Yes, yes, that's it," Lebeziatnikov assented gleefully, "that must be it, for he asked me, as soon as Sofya Semyonovna came into our room, whether you were here, whether I had seen you among Katerina Ivanovna's guests. He called me aside to the window and asked me in secret. It was essential for him that you should be here! That's it, that's it!"
Luzhin smiled contemptuously and did not speak. But he was very pale. He seemed to be deliberating on some means of escape. Perhaps he would have been glad to give up everything and get away, but at the moment this was scarcely possible. It would have implied admitting the truth of the accusations brought against him. Moreover, the company, which had already been excited by drink, was now too much stirred to allow it. The commissariat clerk, though indeed he had not grasped the whole position, was shouting louder than anyone and was making some suggestions very unpleasant to Luzhin. But not all those present were drunk; lodgers came in from all the rooms. The three Poles were tremendously excited and were continually shouting at him: "The _pan_ is a _lajdak_!" and muttering threats in Polish. Sonia had been listening with strained attention, though she too seemed unable to grasp it all; she seemed as though she had just returned to consciousness. She did not take her eyes off Raskolnikov, feeling that all her safety lay in him. Katerina Ivanovna breathed hard and painfully and seemed fearfully exhausted. Amalia Ivanovna stood looking more stupid than anyone, with her mouth wide open, unable to make out what had happened. She only saw that Pyotr Petrovitch had somehow come to grief.
Raskolnikov was attempting to speak again, but they did not let him. Everyone was crowding round Luzhin with threats and shouts of abuse. But Pyotr Petrovitch was not intimidated. Seeing that his accusation of Sonia had completely failed, he had recourse to insolence:
"Allow me, gentlemen, allow me! Don't squeeze, let me pass!" he said, making his way through the crowd. "And no threats, if you please! I assure you it will be useless, you will gain nothing by it. On the contrary, you'll have to answer, gentlemen, for violently obstructing the course of justice. The thief has been more than unmasked, and I shall prosecute. Our judges are not so blind and... not so drunk, and will not believe the testimony of two notorious infidels, agitators, and atheists, who accuse me from motives of personal revenge which they are foolish enough to admit.... Yes, allow me to pass!"
"Don't let me find a trace of you in my room! Kindly leave at once, and everything is at an end between us! When I think of the trouble I've been taking, the way I've been expounding... all this fortnight!"
"I told you myself to-day that I was going, when you tried to keep me; now I will simply add that you are a fool. I advise you to see a doctor for your brains and your short sight. Let me pass, gentlemen!"
He forced his way through. But the commissariat clerk was unwilling to let him off so easily: he picked up a glass from the table, brandished it in the air and flung it at Pyotr Petrovitch; but the glass flew straight at Amalia Ivanovna. She screamed, and the clerk, overbalancing, fell heavily under the table. Pyotr Petrovitch made his way to his room and half an hour later had left the house. Sonia, timid by nature, had felt before that day that she could be ill-treated more easily than anyone, and that she could be wronged with impunity. Yet till that moment she had fancied that she might escape misfortune by care, gentleness and submissiveness before everyone. Her disappointment was too great. She could, of course, bear with patience and almost without murmur anything, even this. But for the first minute she felt it too bitter. In spite of her triumph and her justification--when her first terror and stupefaction had passed and she could understand it all clearly--the feeling of her helplessness and of the wrong done to her made her heart throb with anguish and she was overcome with hysterical weeping. At last, unable to bear any more, she rushed out of the room and ran home, almost immediately after Luzhin's departure. When amidst loud laughter the glass flew at Amalia Ivanovna, it was more than the landlady could endure. With a shriek she rushed like a fury at Katerina Ivanovna, considering her to blame for everything.
"Out of my lodgings! At once! Quick march!"
And with these words she began snatching up everything she could lay her hands on that belonged to Katerina Ivanovna, and throwing it on the floor. Katerina Ivanovna, pale, almost fainting, and gasping for breath, jumped up from the bed where she had sunk in exhaustion and darted at Amalia Ivanovna. But the battle was too unequal: the landlady waved her away like a feather.
"What! As though that godless calumny was not enough--this vile creature attacks me! What! On the day of my husband's funeral I am turned out of my lodging! After eating my bread and salt she turns me into the street, with my orphans! Where am I to go?" wailed the poor woman, sobbing and gasping. "Good God!" she cried with flashing eyes, "is there no justice upon earth? Whom should you protect if not us orphans? We shall see! There is law and justice on earth, there is, I will find it! Wait a bit, godless creature! Polenka, stay with the children, I'll come back. Wait for me, if you have to wait in the street. We will see whether there is justice on earth!"
And throwing over her head that green shawl which Marmeladov had mentioned to Raskolnikov, Katerina Ivanovna squeezed her way through the disorderly and drunken crowd of lodgers who still filled the room, and, wailing and tearful, she ran into the street--with a vague intention of going at once somewhere to find justice. Polenka with the two little ones in her arms crouched, terrified, on the trunk in the corner of the room, where she waited trembling for her mother to come back. Amalia Ivanovna raged about the room, shrieking, lamenting and throwing everything she came across on the floor. The lodgers talked incoherently, some commented to the best of their ability on what had happened, others quarrelled and swore at one another, while others struck up a song....
"Now it's time for me to go," thought Raskolnikov. "Well, Sofya Semyonovna, we shall see what you'll say now!"
And he set off in the direction of Sonia's lodgings.
Raskolnikov had been a vigorous and active champion of Sonia against Luzhin, although he had such a load of horror and anguish in his own heart. But having gone through so much in the morning, he found a sort of relief in a change of sensations, apart from the strong personal feeling which impelled him to defend Sonia. He was agitated too, especially at some moments, by the thought of his approaching interview with Sonia: he _had_ to tell her who had killed Lizaveta. He knew the terrible suffering it would be to him and, as it were, brushed away the thought of it. So when he cried as he left Katerina Ivanovna's, "Well, Sofya Semyonovna, we shall see what you'll say now!" he was still superficially excited, still vigorous and defiant from his triumph over Luzhin. But, strange to say, by the time he reached Sonia's lodging, he felt a sudden impotence and fear. He stood still in hesitation at the door, asking himself the strange question: "Must he tell her who killed Lizaveta?" It was a strange question because he felt at the very time not only that he could not help telling her, but also that he could not put off the telling. He did not yet know why it must be so, he only _felt_ it, and the agonising sense of his impotence before the inevitable almost crushed him. To cut short his hesitation and suffering, he quickly opened the door and looked at Sonia from the doorway. She was sitting with her elbows on the table and her face in her hands, but seeing Raskolnikov she got up at once and came to meet him as though she were expecting him.
"What would have become of me but for you?" she said quickly, meeting him in the middle of the room.
Evidently she was in haste to say this to him. It was what she had been waiting for.
Raskolnikov went to the table and sat down on the chair from which she had only just risen. She stood facing him, two steps away, just as she had done the day before.
"Well, Sonia?" he said, and felt that his voice was trembling, "it was all due to 'your social position and the habits associated with it.' Did you understand that just now?"
Her face showed her distress.
"Only don't talk to me as you did yesterday," she interrupted him. "Please don't begin it. There is misery enough without that."
She made haste to smile, afraid that he might not like the reproach.
"I was silly to come away from there. What is happening there now? I wanted to go back directly, but I kept thinking that... you would come."
He told her that Amalia Ivanovna was turning them out of their lodging and that Katerina Ivanovna had run off somewhere "to seek justice."
"My God!" cried Sonia, "let's go at once...."
And she snatched up her cape.
"It's everlastingly the same thing!" said Raskolnikov, irritably. "You've no thought except for them! Stay a little with me."
"But... Katerina Ivanovna?"
"You won't lose Katerina Ivanovna, you may be sure, she'll come to you herself since she has run out," he added peevishly. "If she doesn't find you here, you'll be blamed for it...."
Sonia sat down in painful suspense. Raskolnikov was silent, gazing at the floor and deliberating.
"This time Luzhin did not want to prosecute you," he began, not looking at Sonia, "but if he had wanted to, if it had suited his plans, he would have sent you to prison if it had not been for Lebeziatnikov and me. Ah?"
"Yes," she assented in a faint voice. "Yes," she repeated, preoccupied and distressed.
"But I might easily not have been there. And it was quite an accident Lebeziatnikov's turning up."
Sonia was silent.
"And if you'd gone to prison, what then? Do you remember what I said yesterday?"
Again she did not answer. He waited.
"I thought you would cry out again 'don't speak of it, leave off.'" Raskolnikov gave a laugh, but rather a forced one. "What, silence again?" he asked a minute later. "We must talk about something, you know. It would be interesting for me to know how you would decide a certain 'problem' as Lebeziatnikov would say." (He was beginning to lose the thread.) "No, really, I am serious. Imagine, Sonia, that you had known all Luzhin's intentions beforehand. Known, that is, for a fact, that they would be the ruin of Katerina Ivanovna and the children and yourself thrown in--since you don't count yourself for anything--Polenka too... for she'll go the same way. Well, if suddenly it all depended on your decision whether he or they should go on living, that is whether Luzhin should go on living and doing wicked things, or Katerina Ivanovna should die? How would you decide which of them was to die? I ask you?"
Sonia looked uneasily at him. There was something peculiar in this hesitating question, which seemed approaching something in a roundabout way.
"I felt that you were going to ask some question like that," she said, looking inquisitively at him.
"I dare say you did. But how is it to be answered?"
"Why do you ask about what could not happen?" said Sonia reluctantly.
"Then it would be better for Luzhin to go on living and doing wicked things? You haven't dared to decide even that!"
"But I can't know the Divine Providence.... And why do you ask what can't be answered? What's the use of such foolish questions? How could it happen that it should depend on my decision--who has made me a judge to decide who is to live and who is not to live?"
"Oh, if the Divine Providence is to be mixed up in it, there is no doing anything," Raskolnikov grumbled morosely.
"You'd better say straight out what you want!" Sonia cried in distress. "You are leading up to something again.... Can you have come simply to torture me?"
She could not control herself and began crying bitterly. He looked at her in gloomy misery. Five minutes passed.
"Of course you're right, Sonia," he said softly at last. He was suddenly changed. His tone of assumed arrogance and helpless defiance was gone. Even his voice was suddenly weak. "I told you yesterday that I was not coming to ask forgiveness and almost the first thing I've said is to ask forgiveness.... I said that about Luzhin and Providence for my own sake. I was asking forgiveness, Sonia...."
He tried to smile, but there was something helpless and incomplete in his pale smile. He bowed his head and hid his face in his hands.
And suddenly a strange, surprising sensation of a sort of bitter hatred for Sonia passed through his heart. As it were wondering and frightened of this sensation, he raised his head and looked intently at her; but he met her uneasy and painfully anxious eyes fixed on him; there was love in them; his hatred vanished like a phantom. It was not the real feeling; he had taken the one feeling for the other. It only meant that _that_ minute had come.
He hid his face in his hands again and bowed his head. Suddenly he turned pale, got up from his chair, looked at Sonia, and without uttering a word sat down mechanically on her bed.
His sensations that moment were terribly like the moment when he had stood over the old woman with the axe in his hand and felt that "he must not lose another minute."
"What's the matter?" asked Sonia, dreadfully frightened.
He could not utter a word. This was not at all, not at all the way he had intended to "tell" and he did not understand what was happening to him now. She went up to him, softly, sat down on the bed beside him and waited, not taking her eyes off him. Her heart throbbed and sank. It was unendurable; he turned his deadly pale face to her. His lips worked, helplessly struggling to utter something. A pang of terror passed through Sonia's heart.
"What's the matter?" she repeated, drawing a little away from him.
"Nothing, Sonia, don't be frightened.... It's nonsense. It really is nonsense, if you think of it," he muttered, like a man in delirium. "Why have I come to torture you?" he added suddenly, looking at her. "Why, really? I keep asking myself that question, Sonia...."
He had perhaps been asking himself that question a quarter of an hour before, but now he spoke helplessly, hardly knowing what he said and feeling a continual tremor all over.
"Oh, how you are suffering!" she muttered in distress, looking intently at him.
"It's all nonsense.... Listen, Sonia." He suddenly smiled, a pale helpless smile for two seconds. "You remember what I meant to tell you yesterday?"
Sonia waited uneasily.
"I said as I went away that perhaps I was saying good-bye for ever, but that if I came to-day I would tell you who... who killed Lizaveta."
She began trembling all over.
"Well, here I've come to tell you."
"Then you really meant it yesterday?" she whispered with difficulty. "How do you know?" she asked quickly, as though suddenly regaining her reason.
Sonia's face grew paler and paler, and she breathed painfully.
She paused a minute.
"Have they found him?" she asked timidly.
"Then how do you know about _it_?" she asked again, hardly audibly and again after a minute's pause.
He turned to her and looked very intently at her.
"Guess," he said, with the same distorted helpless smile.
A shudder passed over her.
"But you... why do you frighten me like this?" she said, smiling like a child.
"I must be a great friend of _his_... since I know," Raskolnikov went on, still gazing into her face, as though he could not turn his eyes away. "He... did not mean to kill that Lizaveta... he... killed her accidentally.... He meant to kill the old woman when she was alone and he went there... and then Lizaveta came in... he killed her too."
Another awful moment passed. Both still gazed at one another.
"You can't guess, then?" he asked suddenly, feeling as though he were flinging himself down from a steeple.
"N-no..." whispered Sonia.
"Take a good look."
As soon as he had said this again, the same familiar sensation froze his heart. He looked at her and all at once seemed to see in her face the face of Lizaveta. He remembered clearly the expression in Lizaveta's face, when he approached her with the axe and she stepped back to the wall, putting out her hand, with childish terror in her face, looking as little children do when they begin to be frightened of something, looking intently and uneasily at what frightens them, shrinking back and holding out their little hands on the point of crying. Almost the same thing happened now to Sonia. With the same helplessness and the same terror, she looked at him for a while and, suddenly putting out her left hand, pressed her fingers faintly against his breast and slowly began to get up from the bed, moving further from him and keeping her eyes fixed even more immovably on him. Her terror infected him. The same fear showed itself on his face. In the same way he stared at her and almost with the same _childish_ smile.
"Have you guessed?" he whispered at last.
"Good God!" broke in an awful wail from her bosom.
She sank helplessly on the bed with her face in the pillows, but a moment later she got up, moved quickly to him, seized both his hands and, gripping them tight in her thin fingers, began looking into his face again with the same intent stare. In this last desperate look she tried to look into him and catch some last hope. But there was no hope; there was no doubt remaining; it was all true! Later on, indeed, when she recalled that moment, she thought it strange and wondered why she had seen at once that there was no doubt. She could not have said, for instance, that she had foreseen something of the sort--and yet now, as soon as he told her, she suddenly fancied that she had really foreseen this very thing.
"Stop, Sonia, enough! don't torture me," he begged her miserably.
It was not at all, not at all like this he had thought of telling her, but this is how it happened.
She jumped up, seeming not to know what she was doing, and, wringing her hands, walked into the middle of the room; but quickly went back and sat down again beside him, her shoulder almost touching his. All of a sudden she started as though she had been stabbed, uttered a cry and fell on her knees before him, she did not know why.
"What have you done--what have you done to yourself?" she said in despair, and, jumping up, she flung herself on his neck, threw her arms round him, and held him tightly.
Raskolnikov drew back and looked at her with a mournful smile.
"You are a strange girl, Sonia--you kiss me and hug me when I tell you about that.... You don't think what you are doing."
"There is no one--no one in the whole world now so unhappy as you!" she cried in a frenzy, not hearing what he said, and she suddenly broke into violent hysterical weeping.
A feeling long unfamiliar to him flooded his heart and softened it at once. He did not struggle against it. Two tears started into his eyes and hung on his eyelashes.
"Then you won't leave me, Sonia?" he said, looking at her almost with hope.
"No, no, never, nowhere!" cried Sonia. "I will follow you, I will follow you everywhere. Oh, my God! Oh, how miserable I am!... Why, why didn't I know you before! Why didn't you come before? Oh, dear!"
"Here I have come."
"Yes, now! What's to be done now?... Together, together!" she repeated as it were unconsciously, and she hugged him again. "I'll follow you to Siberia!"
He recoiled at this, and the same hostile, almost haughty smile came to his lips.
"Perhaps I don't want to go to Siberia yet, Sonia," he said.
Sonia looked at him quickly.
Again after her first passionate, agonising sympathy for the unhappy man the terrible idea of the murder overwhelmed her. In his changed tone she seemed to hear the murderer speaking. She looked at him bewildered. She knew nothing as yet, why, how, with what object it had been. Now all these questions rushed at once into her mind. And again she could not believe it: "He, he is a murderer! Could it be true?"
"What's the meaning of it? Where am I?" she said in complete bewilderment, as though still unable to recover herself. "How could you, you, a man like you.... How could you bring yourself to it?... What does it mean?"
"Oh, well--to plunder. Leave off, Sonia," he answered wearily, almost with vexation.
Sonia stood as though struck dumb, but suddenly she cried:
"You were hungry! It was... to help your mother? Yes?"
"No, Sonia, no," he muttered, turning away and hanging his head. "I was not so hungry.... I certainly did want to help my mother, but... that's not the real thing either.... Don't torture me, Sonia."
Sonia clasped her hands.
"Could it, could it all be true? Good God, what a truth! Who could believe it? And how could you give away your last farthing and yet rob and murder! Ah," she cried suddenly, "that money you gave Katerina Ivanovna... that money.... Can that money..."
"No, Sonia," he broke in hurriedly, "that money was not it. Don't worry yourself! That money my mother sent me and it came when I was ill, the day I gave it to you.... Razumihin saw it... he received it for me.... That money was mine--my own."
Sonia listened to him in bewilderment and did her utmost to comprehend.
"And _that_ money.... I don't even know really whether there was any money," he added softly, as though reflecting. "I took a purse off her neck, made of chamois leather... a purse stuffed full of something... but I didn't look in it; I suppose I hadn't time.... And the things--chains and trinkets--I buried under a stone with the purse next morning in a yard off the V---- Prospect. They are all there now...."
Sonia strained every nerve to listen.
"Then why... why, you said you did it to rob, but you took nothing?" she asked quickly, catching at a straw.
"I don't know.... I haven't yet decided whether to take that money or not," he said, musing again; and, seeming to wake up with a start, he gave a brief ironical smile. "Ach, what silly stuff I am talking, eh?"
The thought flashed through Sonia's mind, wasn't he mad? But she dismissed it at once. "No, it was something else." She could make nothing of it, nothing.
"Do you know, Sonia," he said suddenly with conviction, "let me tell you: if I'd simply killed because I was hungry," laying stress on every word and looking enigmatically but sincerely at her, "I should be _happy_ now. You must believe that! What would it matter to you," he cried a moment later with a sort of despair, "what would it matter to you if I were to confess that I did wrong? What do you gain by such a stupid triumph over me? Ah, Sonia, was it for that I've come to you to-day?"
Again Sonia tried to say something, but did not speak.
"I asked you to go with me yesterday because you are all I have left."
"Go where?" asked Sonia timidly.
"Not to steal and not to murder, don't be anxious," he smiled bitterly. "We are so different.... And you know, Sonia, it's only now, only this moment that I understand _where_ I asked you to go with me yesterday! Yesterday when I said it I did not know where. I asked you for one thing, I came to you for one thing--not to leave me. You won't leave me, Sonia?"
She squeezed his hand.
"And why, why did I tell her? Why did I let her know?" he cried a minute later in despair, looking with infinite anguish at her. "Here you expect an explanation from me, Sonia; you are sitting and waiting for it, I see that. But what can I tell you? You won't understand and will only suffer misery... on my account! Well, you are crying and embracing me again. Why do you do it? Because I couldn't bear my burden and have come to throw it on another: you suffer too, and I shall feel better! And can you love such a mean wretch?"
"But aren't you suffering, too?" cried Sonia.
Again a wave of the same feeling surged into his heart, and again for an instant softened it.
"Sonia, I have a bad heart, take note of that. It may explain a great deal. I have come because I am bad. There are men who wouldn't have come. But I am a coward and... a mean wretch. But... never mind! That's not the point. I must speak now, but I don't know how to begin."
He paused and sank into thought.
"Ach, we are so different," he cried again, "we are not alike. And why, why did I come? I shall never forgive myself that."
"No, no, it was a good thing you came," cried Sonia. "It's better I should know, far better!"
He looked at her with anguish.
"What if it were really that?" he said, as though reaching a conclusion. "Yes, that's what it was! I wanted to become a Napoleon, that is why I killed her.... Do you understand now?"
"N-no," Sonia whispered na�vely and timidly. "Only speak, speak, I shall understand, I shall understand _in myself_!" she kept begging him.
"You'll understand? Very well, we shall see!" He paused and was for some time lost in meditation.
"It was like this: I asked myself one day this question--what if Napoleon, for instance, had happened to be in my place, and if he had not had Toulon nor Egypt nor the passage of Mont Blanc to begin his career with, but instead of all those picturesque and monumental things, there had simply been some ridiculous old hag, a pawnbroker, who had to be murdered too to get money from her trunk (for his career, you understand). Well, would he have brought himself to that if there had been no other means? Wouldn't he have felt a pang at its being so far from monumental and... and sinful, too? Well, I must tell you that I worried myself fearfully over that 'question' so that I was awfully ashamed when I guessed at last (all of a sudden, somehow) that it would not have given him the least pang, that it would not even have struck him that it was not monumental... that he would not have seen that there was anything in it to pause over, and that, if he had had no other way, he would have strangled her in a minute without thinking about it! Well, I too... left off thinking about it... murdered her, following his example. And that's exactly how it was! Do you think it funny? Yes, Sonia, the funniest thing of all is that perhaps that's just how it was."
Sonia did not think it at all funny.
"You had better tell me straight out... without examples," she begged, still more timidly and scarcely audibly.
He turned to her, looked sadly at her and took her hands.
"You are right again, Sonia. Of course that's all nonsense, it's almost all talk! You see, you know of course that my mother has scarcely anything, my sister happened to have a good education and was condemned to drudge as a governess. All their hopes were centered on me. I was a student, but I couldn't keep myself at the university and was forced for a time to leave it. Even if I had lingered on like that, in ten or twelve years I might (with luck) hope to be some sort of teacher or clerk with a salary of a thousand roubles" (he repeated it as though it were a lesson) "and by that time my mother would be worn out with grief and anxiety and I could not succeed in keeping her in comfort while my sister... well, my sister might well have fared worse! And it's a hard thing to pass everything by all one's life, to turn one's back upon everything, to forget one's mother and decorously accept the insults inflicted on one's sister. Why should one? When one has buried them to burden oneself with others--wife and children--and to leave them again without a farthing? So I resolved to gain possession of the old woman's money and to use it for my first years without worrying my mother, to keep myself at the university and for a little while after leaving it--and to do this all on a broad, thorough scale, so as to build up a completely new career and enter upon a new life of independence.... Well... that's all.... Well, of course in killing the old woman I did wrong.... Well, that's enough."
He struggled to the end of his speech in exhaustion and let his head sink.
"Oh, that's not it, that's not it," Sonia cried in distress. "How could one... no, that's not right, not right."
"You see yourself that it's not right. But I've spoken truly, it's the truth."
"As though that could be the truth! Good God!"
"I've only killed a louse, Sonia, a useless, loathsome, harmful creature."
"A human being--a louse!"
"I too know it wasn't a louse," he answered, looking strangely at her. "But I am talking nonsense, Sonia," he added. "I've been talking nonsense a long time.... That's not it, you are right there. There were quite, quite other causes for it! I haven't talked to anyone for so long, Sonia.... My head aches dreadfully now."
His eyes shone with feverish brilliance. He was almost delirious; an uneasy smile strayed on his lips. His terrible exhaustion could be seen through his excitement. Sonia saw how he was suffering. She too was growing dizzy. And he talked so strangely; it seemed somehow comprehensible, but yet... "But how, how! Good God!" And she wrung her hands in despair.
"No, Sonia, that's not it," he began again suddenly, raising his head, as though a new and sudden train of thought had struck and as it were roused him--"that's not it! Better... imagine--yes, it's certainly better--imagine that I am vain, envious, malicious, base, vindictive and... well, perhaps with a tendency to insanity. (Let's have it all out at once! They've talked of madness already, I noticed.) I told you just now I could not keep myself at the university. But do you know that perhaps I might have done? My mother would have sent me what I needed for the fees and I could have earned enough for clothes, boots and food, no doubt. Lessons had turned up at half a rouble. Razumihin works! But I turned sulky and wouldn't. (Yes, sulkiness, that's the right word for it!) I sat in my room like a spider. You've been in my den, you've seen it.... And do you know, Sonia, that low ceilings and tiny rooms cramp the soul and the mind? Ah, how I hated that garret! And yet I wouldn't go out of it! I wouldn't on purpose! I didn't go out for days together, and I wouldn't work, I wouldn't even eat, I just lay there doing nothing. If Nastasya brought me anything, I ate it, if she didn't, I went all day without; I wouldn't ask, on purpose, from sulkiness! At night I had no light, I lay in the dark and I wouldn't earn money for candles. I ought to have studied, but I sold my books; and the dust lies an inch thick on the notebooks on my table. I preferred lying still and thinking. And I kept thinking.... And I had dreams all the time, strange dreams of all sorts, no need to describe! Only then I began to fancy that... No, that's not it! Again I am telling you wrong! You see I kept asking myself then: why am I so stupid that if others are stupid--and I know they are--yet I won't be wiser? Then I saw, Sonia, that if one waits for everyone to get wiser it will take too long.... Afterwards I understood that that would never come to pass, that men won't change and that nobody can alter it and that it's not worth wasting effort over it. Yes, that's so. That's the law of their nature, Sonia,... that's so!... And I know now, Sonia, that whoever is strong in mind and spirit will have power over them. Anyone who is greatly daring is right in their eyes. He who despises most things will be a lawgiver among them and he who dares most of all will be most in the right! So it has been till now and so it will always be. A man must be blind not to see it!"
Though Raskolnikov looked at Sonia as he said this, he no longer cared whether she understood or not. The fever had complete hold of him; he was in a sort of gloomy ecstasy (he certainly had been too long without talking to anyone). Sonia felt that his gloomy creed had become his faith and code.
"I divined then, Sonia," he went on eagerly, "that power is only vouchsafed to the man who dares to stoop and pick it up. There is only one thing, one thing needful: one has only to dare! Then for the first time in my life an idea took shape in my mind which no one had ever thought of before me, no one! I saw clear as daylight how strange it is that not a single person living in this mad world has had the daring to go straight for it all and send it flying to the devil! I... I wanted _to have the daring_... and I killed her. I only wanted to have the daring, Sonia! That was the whole cause of it!"
"Oh hush, hush," cried Sonia, clasping her hands. "You turned away from God and God has smitten you, has given you over to the devil!"
"Then Sonia, when I used to lie there in the dark and all this became clear to me, was it a temptation of the devil, eh?"
"Hush, don't laugh, blasphemer! You don't understand, you don't understand! Oh God! He won't understand!"
"Hush, Sonia! I am not laughing. I know myself that it was the devil leading me. Hush, Sonia, hush!" he repeated with gloomy insistence. "I know it all, I have thought it all over and over and whispered it all over to myself, lying there in the dark.... I've argued it all over with myself, every point of it, and I know it all, all! And how sick, how sick I was then of going over it all! I have kept wanting to forget it and make a new beginning, Sonia, and leave off thinking. And you don't suppose that I went into it headlong like a fool? I went into it like a wise man, and that was just my destruction. And you mustn't suppose that I didn't know, for instance, that if I began to question myself whether I had the right to gain power--I certainly hadn't the right--or that if I asked myself whether a human being is a louse it proved that it wasn't so for me, though it might be for a man who would go straight to his goal without asking questions.... If I worried myself all those days, wondering whether Napoleon would have done it or not, I felt clearly of course that I wasn't Napoleon. I had to endure all the agony of that battle of ideas, Sonia, and I longed to throw it off: I wanted to murder without casuistry, to murder for my own sake, for myself alone! I didn't want to lie about it even to myself. It wasn't to help my mother I did the murder--that's nonsense--I didn't do the murder to gain wealth and power and to become a benefactor of mankind. Nonsense! I simply did it; I did the murder for myself, for myself alone, and whether I became a benefactor to others, or spent my life like a spider catching men in my web and sucking the life out of men, I couldn't have cared at that moment.... And it was not the money I wanted, Sonia, when I did it. It was not so much the money I wanted, but something else.... I know it all now.... Understand me! Perhaps I should never have committed a murder again. I wanted to find out something else; it was something else led me on. I wanted to find out then and quickly whether I was a louse like everybody else or a man. Whether I can step over barriers or not, whether I dare stoop to pick up or not, whether I am a trembling creature or whether I have the _right_..."
"To kill? Have the right to kill?" Sonia clasped her hands.
"Ach, Sonia!" he cried irritably and seemed about to make some retort, but was contemptuously silent. "Don't interrupt me, Sonia. I want to prove one thing only, that the devil led me on then and he has shown me since that I had not the right to take that path, because I am just such a louse as all the rest. He was mocking me and here I've come to you now! Welcome your guest! If I were not a louse, should I have come to you? Listen: when I went then to the old woman's I only went to _try_.... You may be sure of that!"
"And you murdered her!"
"But how did I murder her? Is that how men do murders? Do men go to commit a murder as I went then? I will tell you some day how I went! Did I murder the old woman? I murdered myself, not her! I crushed myself once for all, for ever.... But it was the devil that killed that old woman, not I. Enough, enough, Sonia, enough! Let me be!" he cried in a sudden spasm of agony, "let me be!"
He leaned his elbows on his knees and squeezed his head in his hands as in a vise.
"What suffering!" A wail of anguish broke from Sonia.
"Well, what am I to do now?" he asked, suddenly raising his head and looking at her with a face hideously distorted by despair.
"What are you to do?" she cried, jumping up, and her eyes that had been full of tears suddenly began to shine. "Stand up!" (She seized him by the shoulder, he got up, looking at her almost bewildered.) "Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud, 'I am a murderer!' Then God will send you life again. Will you go, will you go?" she asked him, trembling all over, snatching his two hands, squeezing them tight in hers and gazing at him with eyes full of fire.
He was amazed at her sudden ecstasy.
"You mean Siberia, Sonia? I must give myself up?" he asked gloomily.
"Suffer and expiate your sin by it, that's what you must do."
"No! I am not going to them, Sonia!"
"But how will you go on living? What will you live for?" cried Sonia, "how is it possible now? Why, how can you talk to your mother? (Oh, what will become of them now?) But what am I saying? You have abandoned your mother and your sister already. He has abandoned them already! Oh, God!" she cried, "why, he knows it all himself. How, how can he live by himself! What will become of you now?"
"Don't be a child, Sonia," he said softly. "What wrong have I done them? Why should I go to them? What should I say to them? That's only a phantom.... They destroy men by millions themselves and look on it as a virtue. They are knaves and scoundrels, Sonia! I am not going to them. And what should I say to them--that I murdered her, but did not dare to take the money and hid it under a stone?" he added with a bitter smile. "Why, they would laugh at me, and would call me a fool for not getting it. A coward and a fool! They wouldn't understand and they don't deserve to understand. Why should I go to them? I won't. Don't be a child, Sonia...."
"It will be too much for you to bear, too much!" she repeated, holding out her hands in despairing supplication.
"Perhaps I've been unfair to myself," he observed gloomily, pondering, "perhaps after all I am a man and not a louse and I've been in too great a hurry to condemn myself. I'll make another fight for it."
A haughty smile appeared on his lips.
"What a burden to bear! And your whole life, your whole life!"
"I shall get used to it," he said grimly and thoughtfully. "Listen," he began a minute later, "stop crying, it's time to talk of the facts: I've come to tell you that the police are after me, on my track...."
"Ach!" Sonia cried in terror.
"Well, why do you cry out? You want me to go to Siberia and now you are frightened? But let me tell you: I shall not give myself up. I shall make a struggle for it and they won't do anything to me. They've no real evidence. Yesterday I was in great danger and believed I was lost; but to-day things are going better. All the facts they know can be explained two ways, that's to say I can turn their accusations to my credit, do you understand? And I shall, for I've learnt my lesson. But they will certainly arrest me. If it had not been for something that happened, they would have done so to-day for certain; perhaps even now they will arrest me to-day.... But that's no matter, Sonia; they'll let me out again... for there isn't any real proof against me, and there won't be, I give you my word for it. And they can't convict a man on what they have against me. Enough.... I only tell you that you may know.... I will try to manage somehow to put it to my mother and sister so that they won't be frightened.... My sister's future is secure, however, now, I believe... and my mother's must be too.... Well, that's all. Be careful, though. Will you come and see me in prison when I am there?"
"Oh, I will, I will."
They sat side by side, both mournful and dejected, as though they had been cast up by the tempest alone on some deserted shore. He looked at Sonia and felt how great was her love for him, and strange to say he felt it suddenly burdensome and painful to be so loved. Yes, it was a strange and awful sensation! On his way to see Sonia he had felt that all his hopes rested on her; he expected to be rid of at least part of his suffering, and now, when all her heart turned towards him, he suddenly felt that he was immeasurably unhappier than before.
"Sonia," he said, "you'd better not come and see me when I am in prison."
Sonia did not answer, she was crying. Several minutes passed.
"Have you a cross on you?" she asked, as though suddenly thinking of it.
He did not at first understand the question.
"No, of course not. Here, take this one, of cypress wood. I have another, a copper one that belonged to Lizaveta. I changed with Lizaveta: she gave me her cross and I gave her my little ikon. I will wear Lizaveta's now and give you this. Take it... it's mine! It's mine, you know," she begged him. "We will go to suffer together, and together we will bear our cross!"
"Give it me," said Raskolnikov.
He did not want to hurt her feelings. But immediately he drew back the hand he held out for the cross.
"Not now, Sonia. Better later," he added to comfort her.
"Yes, yes, better," she repeated with conviction, "when you go to meet your suffering, then put it on. You will come to me, I'll put it on you, we will pray and go together."
At that moment someone knocked three times at the door.
"Sofya Semyonovna, may I come in?" they heard in a very familiar and polite voice.
Sonia rushed to the door in a fright. The flaxen head of Mr. Lebeziatnikov appeared at the door.