Raskolnikov got up, and sat down on the sofa. He waved his hand weakly to Razumihin to cut short the flow of warm and incoherent consolations he was addressing to his mother and sister, took them both by the hand and for a minute or two gazed from one to the other without speaking. His mother was alarmed by his expression. It revealed an emotion agonisingly poignant, and at the same time something immovable, almost insane. Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to cry.
Avdotya Romanovna was pale; her hand trembled in her brother's.
"Go home... with him," he said in a broken voice, pointing to Razumihin, "good-bye till to-morrow; to-morrow everything... Is it long since you arrived?"
"This evening, Rodya," answered Pulcheria Alexandrovna, "the train was awfully late. But, Rodya, nothing would induce me to leave you now! I will spend the night here, near you..."
"Don't torture me!" he said with a gesture of irritation.
"I will stay with him," cried Razumihin, "I won't leave him for a moment. Bother all my visitors! Let them rage to their hearts' content! My uncle is presiding there."
"How, how can I thank you!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna was beginning, once more pressing Razumihin's hands, but Raskolnikov interrupted her again.
"I can't have it! I can't have it!" he repeated irritably, "don't worry me! Enough, go away... I can't stand it!"
"Come, mamma, come out of the room at least for a minute," Dounia whispered in dismay; "we are distressing him, that's evident."
"Mayn't I look at him after three years?" wept Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Stay," he stopped them again, "you keep interrupting me, and my ideas get muddled.... Have you seen Luzhin?"
"No, Rodya, but he knows already of our arrival. We have heard, Rodya, that Pyotr Petrovitch was so kind as to visit you today," Pulcheria Alexandrovna added somewhat timidly.
"Yes... he was so kind... Dounia, I promised Luzhin I'd throw him downstairs and told him to go to hell...."
"Rodya, what are you saying! Surely, you don't mean to tell us..." Pulcheria Alexandrovna began in alarm, but she stopped, looking at Dounia.
Avdotya Romanovna was looking attentively at her brother, waiting for what would come next. Both of them had heard of the quarrel from Nastasya, so far as she had succeeded in understanding and reporting it, and were in painful perplexity and suspense.
"Dounia," Raskolnikov continued with an effort, "I don't want that marriage, so at the first opportunity to-morrow you must refuse Luzhin, so that we may never hear his name again."
"Good Heavens!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Brother, think what you are saying!" Avdotya Romanovna began impetuously, but immediately checked herself. "You are not fit to talk now, perhaps; you are tired," she added gently.
"You think I am delirious? No... You are marrying Luzhin for _my_ sake. But I won't accept the sacrifice. And so write a letter before to-morrow, to refuse him... Let me read it in the morning and that will be the end of it!"
"That I can't do!" the girl cried, offended, "what right have you..."
"Dounia, you are hasty, too, be quiet, to-morrow... Don't you see..." the mother interposed in dismay. "Better come away!"
"He is raving," Razumihin cried tipsily, "or how would he dare! To-morrow all this nonsense will be over... to-day he certainly did drive him away. That was so. And Luzhin got angry, too.... He made speeches here, wanted to show off his learning and he went out crest-fallen...."
"Then it's true?" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Good-bye till to-morrow, brother," said Dounia compassionately--"let us go, mother... Good-bye, Rodya."
"Do you hear, sister," he repeated after them, making a last effort, "I am not delirious; this marriage is--an infamy. Let me act like a scoundrel, but you mustn't... one is enough... and though I am a scoundrel, I wouldn't own such a sister. It's me or Luzhin! Go now...."
"But you're out of your mind! Despot!" roared Razumihin; but Raskolnikov did not and perhaps could not answer. He lay down on the sofa, and turned to the wall, utterly exhausted. Avdotya Romanovna looked with interest at Razumihin; her black eyes flashed; Razumihin positively started at her glance.
Pulcheria Alexandrovna stood overwhelmed.
"Nothing would induce me to go," she whispered in despair to Razumihin. "I will stay somewhere here... escort Dounia home."
"You'll spoil everything," Razumihin answered in the same whisper, losing patience--"come out on to the stairs, anyway. Nastasya, show a light! I assure you," he went on in a half whisper on the stairs-"that he was almost beating the doctor and me this afternoon! Do you understand? The doctor himself! Even he gave way and left him, so as not to irritate him. I remained downstairs on guard, but he dressed at once and slipped off. And he will slip off again if you irritate him, at this time of night, and will do himself some mischief...."
"What are you saying?"
"And Avdotya Romanovna can't possibly be left in those lodgings without you. Just think where you are staying! That blackguard Pyotr Petrovitch couldn't find you better lodgings... But you know I've had a little to drink, and that's what makes me... swear; don't mind it...."
"But I'll go to the landlady here," Pulcheria Alexandrovna insisted, "Ill beseech her to find some corner for Dounia and me for the night. I can't leave him like that, I cannot!"
This conversation took place on the landing just before the landlady's door. Nastasya lighted them from a step below. Razumihin was in extraordinary excitement. Half an hour earlier, while he was bringing Raskolnikov home, he had indeed talked too freely, but he was aware of it himself, and his head was clear in spite of the vast quantities he had imbibed. Now he was in a state bordering on ecstasy, and all that he had drunk seemed to fly to his head with redoubled effect. He stood with the two ladies, seizing both by their hands, persuading them, and giving them reasons with astonishing plainness of speech, and at almost every word he uttered, probably to emphasise his arguments, he squeezed their hands painfully as in a vise. He stared at Avdotya Romanovna without the least regard for good manners. They sometimes pulled their hands out of his huge bony paws, but far from noticing what was the matter, he drew them all the closer to him. If they'd told him to jump head foremost from the staircase, he would have done it without thought or hesitation in their service. Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna felt that the young man was really too eccentric and pinched her hand too much, in her anxiety over her Rodya she looked on his presence as providential, and was unwilling to notice all his peculiarities. But though Avdotya Romanovna shared her anxiety, and was not of timorous disposition, she could not see the glowing light in his eyes without wonder and almost alarm. It was only the unbounded confidence inspired by Nastasya's account of her brother's queer friend, which prevented her from trying to run away from him, and to persuade her mother to do the same. She realised, too, that even running away was perhaps impossible now. Ten minutes later, however, she was considerably reassured; it was characteristic of Razumihin that he showed his true nature at once, whatever mood he might be in, so that people quickly saw the sort of man they had to deal with.
"You can't go to the landlady, that's perfect nonsense!" he cried. "If you stay, though you are his mother, you'll drive him to a frenzy, and then goodness knows what will happen! Listen, I'll tell you what I'll do: Nastasya will stay with him now, and I'll conduct you both home, you can't be in the streets alone; Petersburg is an awful place in that way.... But no matter! Then I'll run straight back here and a quarter of an hour later, on my word of honour, I'll bring you news how he is, whether he is asleep, and all that. Then, listen! Then I'll run home in a twinkling--I've a lot of friends there, all drunk--I'll fetch Zossimov--that's the doctor who is looking after him, he is there, too, but he is not drunk; he is not drunk, he is never drunk! I'll drag him to Rodya, and then to you, so that you'll get two reports in the hour--from the doctor, you understand, from the doctor himself, that's a very different thing from my account of him! If there's anything wrong, I swear I'll bring you here myself, but, if it's all right, you go to bed. And I'll spend the night here, in the passage, he won't hear me, and I'll tell Zossimov to sleep at the landlady's, to be at hand. Which is better for him: you or the doctor? So come home then! But the landlady is out of the question; it's all right for me, but it's out of the question for you: she wouldn't take you, for she's... for she's a fool... She'd be jealous on my account of Avdotya Romanovna and of you, too, if you want to know... of Avdotya Romanovna certainly. She is an absolutely, absolutely unaccountable character! But I am a fool, too!... No matter! Come along! Do you trust me? Come, do you trust me or not?"
"Let us go, mother," said Avdotya Romanovna, "he will certainly do what he has promised. He has saved Rodya already, and if the doctor really will consent to spend the night here, what could be better?"
"You see, you... you... understand me, because you are an angel!" Razumihin cried in ecstasy, "let us go! Nastasya! Fly upstairs and sit with him with a light; I'll come in a quarter of an hour."
Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna was not perfectly convinced, she made no further resistance. Razumihin gave an arm to each and drew them down the stairs. He still made her uneasy, as though he was competent and good-natured, was he capable of carrying out his promise? He seemed in such a condition....
"Ah, I see you think I am in such a condition!" Razumihin broke in upon her thoughts, guessing them, as he strolled along the pavement with huge steps, so that the two ladies could hardly keep up with him, a fact he did not observe, however. "Nonsense! That is... I am drunk like a fool, but that's not it; I am not drunk from wine. It's seeing you has turned my head... But don't mind me! Don't take any notice: I am talking nonsense, I am not worthy of you.... I am utterly unworthy of you! The minute I've taken you home, I'll pour a couple of pailfuls of water over my head in the gutter here, and then I shall be all right.... If only you knew how I love you both! Don't laugh, and don't be angry! You may be angry with anyone, but not with me! I am his friend, and therefore I am your friend, too, I want to be... I had a presentiment... Last year there was a moment... though it wasn't a presentiment really, for you seem to have fallen from heaven. And I expect I shan't sleep all night... Zossimov was afraid a little time ago that he would go mad... that's why he mustn't be irritated."
"What do you say?" cried the mother.
"Did the doctor really say that?" asked Avdotya Romanovna, alarmed.
"Yes, but it's not so, not a bit of it. He gave him some medicine, a powder, I saw it, and then your coming here.... Ah! It would have been better if you had come to-morrow. It's a good thing we went away. And in an hour Zossimov himself will report to you about everything. He is not drunk! And I shan't be drunk.... And what made me get so tight? Because they got me into an argument, damn them! I've sworn never to argue! They talk such trash! I almost came to blows! I've left my uncle to preside. Would you believe, they insist on complete absence of individualism and that's just what they relish! Not to be themselves, to be as unlike themselves as they can. That's what they regard as the highest point of progress. If only their nonsense were their own, but as it is..."
"Listen!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna interrupted timidly, but it only added fuel to the flames.
"What do you think?" shouted Razumihin, louder than ever, "you think I am attacking them for talking nonsense? Not a bit! I like them to talk nonsense. That's man's one privilege over all creation. Through error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in its way; but we can't even make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. In the first case you are a man, in the second you're no better than a bird. Truth won't escape you, but life can be cramped. There have been examples. And what are we doing now? In science, development, thought, invention, ideals, aims, liberalism, judgment, experience and everything, everything, everything, we are still in the preparatory class at school. We prefer to live on other people's ideas, it's what we are used to! Am I right, am I right?" cried Razumihin, pressing and shaking the two ladies' hands.
"Oh, mercy, I do not know," cried poor Pulcheria Alexandrovna.
"Yes, yes... though I don't agree with you in everything," added Avdotya Romanovna earnestly and at once uttered a cry, for he squeezed her hand so painfully.
"Yes, you say yes... well after that you... you..." he cried in a transport, "you are a fount of goodness, purity, sense... and perfection. Give me your hand... you give me yours, too! I want to kiss your hands here at once, on my knees..." and he fell on his knees on the pavement, fortunately at that time deserted.
"Leave off, I entreat you, what are you doing?" Pulcheria Alexandrovna cried, greatly distressed.
"Get up, get up!" said Dounia laughing, though she, too, was upset.
"Not for anything till you let me kiss your hands! That's it! Enough! I get up and we'll go on! I am a luckless fool, I am unworthy of you and drunk... and I am ashamed.... I am not worthy to love you, but to do homage to you is the duty of every man who is not a perfect beast! And I've done homage.... Here are your lodgings, and for that alone Rodya was right in driving your Pyotr Petrovitch away.... How dare he! how dare he put you in such lodgings! It's a scandal! Do you know the sort of people they take in here? And you his betrothed! You are his betrothed? Yes? Well, then, I'll tell you, your _fianc�_ is a scoundrel."
"Excuse me, Mr. Razumihin, you are forgetting..." Pulcheria Alexandrovna was beginning.
"Yes, yes, you are right, I did forget myself, I am ashamed of it," Razumihin made haste to apologise. "But... but you can't be angry with me for speaking so! For I speak sincerely and not because... hm, hm! That would be disgraceful; in fact not because I'm in... hm! Well, anyway, I won't say why, I daren't.... But we all saw to-day when he came in that that man is not of our sort. Not because he had his hair curled at the barber's, not because he was in such a hurry to show his wit, but because he is a spy, a speculator, because he is a skin-flint and a buffoon. That's evident. Do you think him clever? No, he is a fool, a fool. And is he a match for you? Good heavens! Do you see, ladies?" he stopped suddenly on the way upstairs to their rooms, "though all my friends there are drunk, yet they are all honest, and though we do talk a lot of trash, and I do, too, yet we shall talk our way to the truth at last, for we are on the right path, while Pyotr Petrovitch... is not on the right path. Though I've been calling them all sorts of names just now, I do respect them all... though I don't respect Zametov, I like him, for he is a puppy, and that bullock Zossimov, because he is an honest man and knows his work. But enough, it's all said and forgiven. Is it forgiven? Well, then, let's go on. I know this corridor, I've been here, there was a scandal here at Number 3.... Where are you here? Which number? eight? Well, lock yourselves in for the night, then. Don't let anybody in. In a quarter of an hour I'll come back with news, and half an hour later I'll bring Zossimov, you'll see! Good-bye, I'll run."
"Good heavens, Dounia, what is going to happen?" said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, addressing her daughter with anxiety and dismay.
"Don't worry yourself, mother," said Dounia, taking off her hat and cape. "God has sent this gentleman to our aid, though he has come from a drinking party. We can depend on him, I assure you. And all that he has done for Rodya...."
"Ah. Dounia, goodness knows whether he will come! How could I bring myself to leave Rodya?... And how different, how different I had fancied our meeting! How sullen he was, as though not pleased to see us...."
Tears came into her eyes.
"No, it's not that, mother. You didn't see, you were crying all the time. He is quite unhinged by serious illness--that's the reason."
"Ah, that illness! What will happen, what will happen? And how he talked to you, Dounia!" said the mother, looking timidly at her daughter, trying to read her thoughts and, already half consoled by Dounia's standing up for her brother, which meant that she had already forgiven him. "I am sure he will think better of it to-morrow," she added, probing her further.
"And I am sure that he will say the same to-morrow... about that," Avdotya Romanovna said finally. And, of course, there was no going beyond that, for this was a point which Pulcheria Alexandrovna was afraid to discuss. Dounia went up and kissed her mother. The latter warmly embraced her without speaking. Then she sat down to wait anxiously for Razumihin's return, timidly watching her daughter who walked up and down the room with her arms folded, lost in thought. This walking up and down when she was thinking was a habit of Avdotya Romanovna's and the mother was always afraid to break in on her daughter's mood at such moments.
Razumihin, of course, was ridiculous in his sudden drunken infatuation for Avdotya Romanovna. Yet apart from his eccentric condition, many people would have thought it justified if they had seen Avdotya Romanovna, especially at that moment when she was walking to and fro with folded arms, pensive and melancholy. Avdotya Romanovna was remarkably good looking; she was tall, strikingly well-proportioned, strong and self-reliant--the latter quality was apparent in every gesture, though it did not in the least detract from the grace and softness of her movements. In face she resembled her brother, but she might be described as really beautiful. Her hair was dark brown, a little lighter than her brother's; there was a proud light in her almost black eyes and yet at times a look of extraordinary kindness. She was pale, but it was a healthy pallor; her face was radiant with freshness and vigour. Her mouth was rather small; the full red lower lip projected a little as did her chin; it was the only irregularity in her beautiful face, but it gave it a peculiarly individual and almost haughty expression. Her face was always more serious and thoughtful than gay; but how well smiles, how well youthful, lighthearted, irresponsible, laughter suited her face! It was natural enough that a warm, open, simple-hearted, honest giant like Razumihin, who had never seen anyone like her and was not quite sober at the time, should lose his head immediately. Besides, as chance would have it, he saw Dounia for the first time transfigured by her love for her brother and her joy at meeting him. Afterwards he saw her lower lip quiver with indignation at her brother's insolent, cruel and ungrateful words--and his fate was sealed.
He had spoken the truth, moreover, when he blurted out in his drunken talk on the stairs that Praskovya Pavlovna, Raskolnikov's eccentric landlady, would be jealous of Pulcheria Alexandrovna as well as of Avdotya Romanovna on his account. Although Pulcheria Alexandrovna was forty-three, her face still retained traces of her former beauty; she looked much younger than her age, indeed, which is almost always the case with women who retain serenity of spirit, sensitiveness and pure sincere warmth of heart to old age. We may add in parenthesis that to preserve all this is the only means of retaining beauty to old age. Her hair had begun to grow grey and thin, there had long been little crow's foot wrinkles round her eyes, her cheeks were hollow and sunken from anxiety and grief, and yet it was a handsome face. She was Dounia over again, twenty years older, but without the projecting underlip. Pulcheria Alexandrovna was emotional, but not sentimental, timid and yielding, but only to a certain point. She could give way and accept a great deal even of what was contrary to her convictions, but there was a certain barrier fixed by honesty, principle and the deepest convictions which nothing would induce her to cross.
Exactly twenty minutes after Razumihin's departure, there came two subdued but hurried knocks at the door: he had come back.
"I won't come in, I haven't time," he hastened to say when the door was opened. "He sleeps like a top, soundly, quietly, and God grant he may sleep ten hours. Nastasya's with him; I told her not to leave till I came. Now I am fetching Zossimov, he will report to you and then you'd better turn in; I can see you are too tired to do anything...."
And he ran off down the corridor.
"What a very competent and... devoted young man!" cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna exceedingly delighted.
"He seems a splendid person!" Avdotya Romanovna replied with some warmth, resuming her walk up and down the room.
It was nearly an hour later when they heard footsteps in the corridor and another knock at the door. Both women waited this time completely relying on Razumihin's promise; he actually had succeeded in bringing Zossimov. Zossimov had agreed at once to desert the drinking party to go to Raskolnikov's, but he came reluctantly and with the greatest suspicion to see the ladies, mistrusting Razumihin in his exhilarated condition. But his vanity was at once reassured and flattered; he saw that they were really expecting him as an oracle. He stayed just ten minutes and succeeded in completely convincing and comforting Pulcheria Alexandrovna. He spoke with marked sympathy, but with the reserve and extreme seriousness of a young doctor at an important consultation. He did not utter a word on any other subject and did not display the slightest desire to enter into more personal relations with the two ladies. Remarking at his first entrance the dazzling beauty of Avdotya Romanovna, he endeavoured not to notice her at all during his visit and addressed himself solely to Pulcheria Alexandrovna. All this gave him extraordinary inward satisfaction. He declared that he thought the invalid at this moment going on very satisfactorily. According to his observations the patient's illness was due partly to his unfortunate material surroundings during the last few months, but it had partly also a moral origin, "was, so to speak, the product of several material and moral influences, anxieties, apprehensions, troubles, certain ideas... and so on." Noticing stealthily that Avdotya Romanovna was following his words with close attention, Zossimov allowed himself to enlarge on this theme. On Pulcheria Alexandrovna's anxiously and timidly inquiring as to "some suspicion of insanity," he replied with a composed and candid smile that his words had been exaggerated; that certainly the patient had some fixed idea, something approaching a monomania--he, Zossimov, was now particularly studying this interesting branch of medicine--but that it must be recollected that until to-day the patient had been in delirium and... and that no doubt the presence of his family would have a favourable effect on his recovery and distract his mind, "if only all fresh shocks can be avoided," he added significantly. Then he got up, took leave with an impressive and affable bow, while blessings, warm gratitude, and entreaties were showered upon him, and Avdotya Romanovna spontaneously offered her hand to him. He went out exceedingly pleased with his visit and still more so with himself.
"We'll talk to-morrow; go to bed at once!" Razumihin said in conclusion, following Zossimov out. "I'll be with you to-morrow morning as early as possible with my report."
"That's a fetching little girl, Avdotya Romanovna," remarked Zossimov, almost licking his lips as they both came out into the street.
"Fetching? You said fetching?" roared Razumihin and he flew at Zossimov and seized him by the throat. "If you ever dare.... Do you understand? Do you understand?" he shouted, shaking him by the collar and squeezing him against the wall. "Do you hear?"
"Let me go, you drunken devil," said Zossimov, struggling and when he had let him go, he stared at him and went off into a sudden guffaw. Razumihin stood facing him in gloomy and earnest reflection.
"Of course, I am an ass," he observed, sombre as a storm cloud, "but still... you are another."
"No, brother, not at all such another. I am not dreaming of any folly."
They walked along in silence and only when they were close to Raskolnikov's lodgings, Razumihin broke the silence in considerable anxiety.
"Listen," he said, "you're a first-rate fellow, but among your other failings, you're a loose fish, that I know, and a dirty one, too. You are a feeble, nervous wretch, and a mass of whims, you're getting fat and lazy and can't deny yourself anything--and I call that dirty because it leads one straight into the dirt. You've let yourself get so slack that I don't know how it is you are still a good, even a devoted doctor. You--a doctor--sleep on a feather bed and get up at night to your patients! In another three or four years you won't get up for your patients... But hang it all, that's not the point!... You are going to spend to-night in the landlady's flat here. (Hard work I've had to persuade her!) And I'll be in the kitchen. So here's a chance for you to get to know her better.... It's not as you think! There's not a trace of anything of the sort, brother...!"
"But I don't think!"
"Here you have modesty, brother, silence, bashfulness, a savage virtue... and yet she's sighing and melting like wax, simply melting! Save me from her, by all that's unholy! She's most prepossessing... I'll repay you, I'll do anything...."
Zossimov laughed more violently than ever.
"Well, you are smitten! But what am I to do with her?"
"It won't be much trouble, I assure you. Talk any rot you like to her, as long as you sit by her and talk. You're a doctor, too; try curing her of something. I swear you won't regret it. She has a piano, and you know, I strum a little. I have a song there, a genuine Russian one: 'I shed hot tears.' She likes the genuine article--and well, it all began with that song; Now you're a regular performer, a _ma�tre_, a Rubinstein.... I assure you, you won't regret it!"
"But have you made her some promise? Something signed? A promise of marriage, perhaps?"
"Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of the kind! Besides she is not that sort at all.... Tchebarov tried that...."
"Well then, drop her!"
"But I can't drop her like that!"
"Why can't you?"
"Well, I can't, that's all about it! There's an element of attraction here, brother."
"Then why have you fascinated her?"
"I haven't fascinated her; perhaps I was fascinated myself in my folly. But she won't care a straw whether it's you or I, so long as somebody sits beside her, sighing.... I can't explain the position, brother... look here, you are good at mathematics, and working at it now... begin teaching her the integral calculus; upon my soul, I'm not joking, I'm in earnest, it'll be just the same to her. She will gaze at you and sigh for a whole year together. I talked to her once for two days at a time about the Prussian House of Lords (for one must talk of something)--she just sighed and perspired! And you mustn't talk of love--she's bashful to hysterics--but just let her see you can't tear yourself away--that's enough. It's fearfully comfortable; you're quite at home, you can read, sit, lie about, write. You may even venture on a kiss, if you're careful."
"But what do I want with her?"
"Ach, I can't make you understand! You see, you are made for each other! I have often been reminded of you!... You'll come to it in the end! So does it matter whether it's sooner or later? There's the feather-bed element here, brother--ach! and not only that! There's an attraction here--here you have the end of the world, an anchorage, a quiet haven, the navel of the earth, the three fishes that are the foundation of the world, the essence of pancakes, of savoury fish-pies, of the evening samovar, of soft sighs and warm shawls, and hot stoves to sleep on--as snug as though you were dead, and yet you're alive--the advantages of both at once! Well, hang it, brother, what stuff I'm talking, it's bedtime! Listen. I sometimes wake up at night; so I'll go in and look at him. But there's no need, it's all right. Don't you worry yourself, yet if you like, you might just look in once, too. But if you notice anything--delirium or fever--wake me at once. But there can't be...."
Razumihin waked up next morning at eight o'clock, troubled and serious. He found himself confronted with many new and unlooked-for perplexities. He had never expected that he would ever wake up feeling like that. He remembered every detail of the previous day and he knew that a perfectly novel experience had befallen him, that he had received an impression unlike anything he had known before. At the same time he recognised clearly that the dream which had fired his imagination was hopelessly unattainable--so unattainable that he felt positively ashamed of it, and he hastened to pass to the other more practical cares and difficulties bequeathed him by that "thrice accursed yesterday."
The most awful recollection of the previous day was the way he had shown himself "base and mean," not only because he had been drunk, but because he had taken advantage of the young girl's position to abuse her _fianc�_ in his stupid jealousy, knowing nothing of their mutual relations and obligations and next to nothing of the man himself. And what right had he to criticise him in that hasty and unguarded manner? Who had asked for his opinion? Was it thinkable that such a creature as Avdotya Romanovna would be marrying an unworthy man for money? So there must be something in him. The lodgings? But after all how could he know the character of the lodgings? He was furnishing a flat... Foo! how despicable it all was! And what justification was it that he was drunk? Such a stupid excuse was even more degrading! In wine is truth, and the truth had all come out, "that is, all the uncleanness of his coarse and envious heart"! And would such a dream ever be permissible to him, Razumihin? What was he beside such a girl--he, the drunken noisy braggart of last night? Was it possible to imagine so absurd and cynical a juxtaposition? Razumihin blushed desperately at the very idea and suddenly the recollection forced itself vividly upon him of how he had said last night on the stairs that the landlady would be jealous of Avdotya Romanovna... that was simply intolerable. He brought his fist down heavily on the kitchen stove, hurt his hand and sent one of the bricks flying.
"Of course," he muttered to himself a minute later with a feeling of self-abasement, "of course, all these infamies can never be wiped out or smoothed over... and so it's useless even to think of it, and I must go to them in silence and do my duty... in silence, too... and not ask forgiveness, and say nothing... for all is lost now!"
And yet as he dressed he examined his attire more carefully than usual. He hadn't another suit--if he had had, perhaps he wouldn't have put it on. "I would have made a point of not putting it on." But in any case he could not remain a cynic and a dirty sloven; he had no right to offend the feelings of others, especially when they were in need of his assistance and asking him to see them. He brushed his clothes carefully. His linen was always decent; in that respect he was especially clean.
He washed that morning scrupulously--he got some soap from Nastasya--he washed his hair, his neck and especially his hands. When it came to the question whether to shave his stubbly chin or not (Praskovya Pavlovna had capital razors that had been left by her late husband), the question was angrily answered in the negative. "Let it stay as it is! What if they think that I shaved on purpose to...? They certainly would think so! Not on any account!"
"And... the worst of it was he was so coarse, so dirty, he had the manners of a pothouse; and... and even admitting that he knew he had some of the essentials of a gentleman... what was there in that to be proud of? Everyone ought to be a gentleman and more than that... and all the same (he remembered) he, too, had done little things... not exactly dishonest, and yet.... And what thoughts he sometimes had; hm... and to set all that beside Avdotya Romanovna! Confound it! So be it! Well, he'd make a point then of being dirty, greasy, pothouse in his manners and he wouldn't care! He'd be worse!"
He was engaged in such monologues when Zossimov, who had spent the night in Praskovya Pavlovna's parlour, came in.
He was going home and was in a hurry to look at the invalid first. Razumihin informed him that Raskolnikov was sleeping like a dormouse. Zossimov gave orders that they shouldn't wake him and promised to see him again about eleven.
"If he is still at home," he added. "Damn it all! If one can't control one's patients, how is one to cure them? Do you know whether _he_ will go to them, or whether _they_ are coming here?"
"They are coming, I think," said Razumihin, understanding the object of the question, "and they will discuss their family affairs, no doubt. I'll be off. You, as the doctor, have more right to be here than I."
"But I am not a father confessor; I shall come and go away; I've plenty to do besides looking after them."
"One thing worries me," interposed Razumihin, frowning. "On the way home I talked a lot of drunken nonsense to him... all sorts of things... and amongst them that you were afraid that he... might become insane."
"You told the ladies so, too."
"I know it was stupid! You may beat me if you like! Did you think so seriously?"
"That's nonsense, I tell you, how could I think it seriously? You, yourself, described him as a monomaniac when you fetched me to him... and we added fuel to the fire yesterday, you did, that is, with your story about the painter; it was a nice conversation, when he was, perhaps, mad on that very point! If only I'd known what happened then at the police station and that some wretch... had insulted him with this suspicion! Hm... I would not have allowed that conversation yesterday. These monomaniacs will make a mountain out of a mole-hill... and see their fancies as solid realities.... As far as I remember, it was Zametov's story that cleared up half the mystery, to my mind. Why, I know one case in which a hypochondriac, a man of forty, cut the throat of a little boy of eight, because he couldn't endure the jokes he made every day at table! And in this case his rags, the insolent police officer, the fever and this suspicion! All that working upon a man half frantic with hypochondria, and with his morbid exceptional vanity! That may well have been the starting-point of illness. Well, bother it all!... And, by the way, that Zametov certainly is a nice fellow, but hm... he shouldn't have told all that last night. He is an awful chatterbox!"
"But whom did he tell it to? You and me?"
"What does that matter?"
"And, by the way, have you any influence on them, his mother and sister? Tell them to be more careful with him to-day...."
"They'll get on all right!" Razumihin answered reluctantly.
"Why is he so set against this Luzhin? A man with money and she doesn't seem to dislike him... and they haven't a farthing, I suppose? eh?"
"But what business is it of yours?" Razumihin cried with annoyance. "How can I tell whether they've a farthing? Ask them yourself and perhaps you'll find out...."
"Foo! what an ass you are sometimes! Last night's wine has not gone off yet.... Good-bye; thank your Praskovya Pavlovna from me for my night's lodging. She locked herself in, made no reply to my _bonjour_ through the door; she was up at seven o'clock, the samovar was taken into her from the kitchen. I was not vouchsafed a personal interview...."
At nine o'clock precisely Razumihin reached the lodgings at Bakaleyev's house. Both ladies were waiting for him with nervous impatience. They had risen at seven o'clock or earlier. He entered looking as black as night, bowed awkwardly and was at once furious with himself for it. He had reckoned without his host: Pulcheria Alexandrovna fairly rushed at him, seized him by both hands and was almost kissing them. He glanced timidly at Avdotya Romanovna, but her proud countenance wore at that moment an expression of such gratitude and friendliness, such complete and unlooked-for respect (in place of the sneering looks and ill-disguised contempt he had expected), that it threw him into greater confusion than if he had been met with abuse. Fortunately there was a subject for conversation, and he made haste to snatch at it.
Hearing that everything was going well and that Rodya had not yet waked, Pulcheria Alexandrovna declared that she was glad to hear it, because "she had something which it was very, very necessary to talk over beforehand." Then followed an inquiry about breakfast and an invitation to have it with them; they had waited to have it with him. Avdotya Romanovna rang the bell: it was answered by a ragged dirty waiter, and they asked him to bring tea which was served at last, but in such a dirty and disorderly way that the ladies were ashamed. Razumihin vigorously attacked the lodgings, but, remembering Luzhin, stopped in embarrassment and was greatly relieved by Pulcheria Alexandrovna's questions, which showered in a continual stream upon him.
He talked for three quarters of an hour, being constantly interrupted by their questions, and succeeded in describing to them all the most important facts he knew of the last year of Raskolnikov's life, concluding with a circumstantial account of his illness. He omitted, however, many things, which were better omitted, including the scene at the police station with all its consequences. They listened eagerly to his story, and, when he thought he had finished and satisfied his listeners, he found that they considered he had hardly begun.
"Tell me, tell me! What do you think...? Excuse me, I still don't know your name!" Pulcheria Alexandrovna put in hastily.
"I should like very, very much to know, Dmitri Prokofitch... how he looks... on things in general now, that is, how can I explain, what are his likes and dislikes? Is he always so irritable? Tell me, if you can, what are his hopes and, so to say, his dreams? Under what influences is he now? In a word, I should like..."
"Ah, mother, how can he answer all that at once?" observed Dounia.
"Good heavens, I had not expected to find him in the least like this, Dmitri Prokofitch!"
"Naturally," answered Razumihin. "I have no mother, but my uncle comes every year and almost every time he can scarcely recognise me, even in appearance, though he is a clever man; and your three years' separation means a great deal. What am I to tell you? I have known Rodion for a year and a half; he is morose, gloomy, proud and haughty, and of late--and perhaps for a long time before--he has been suspicious and fanciful. He has a noble nature and a kind heart. He does not like showing his feelings and would rather do a cruel thing than open his heart freely. Sometimes, though, he is not at all morbid, but simply cold and inhumanly callous; it's as though he were alternating between two characters. Sometimes he is fearfully reserved! He says he is so busy that everything is a hindrance, and yet he lies in bed doing nothing. He doesn't jeer at things, not because he hasn't the wit, but as though he hadn't time to waste on such trifles. He never listens to what is said to him. He is never interested in what interests other people at any given moment. He thinks very highly of himself and perhaps he is right. Well, what more? I think your arrival will have a most beneficial influence upon him."
"God grant it may," cried Pulcheria Alexandrovna, distressed by Razumihin's account of her Rodya.
And Razumihin ventured to look more boldly at Avdotya Romanovna at last. He glanced at her often while he was talking, but only for a moment and looked away again at once. Avdotya Romanovna sat at the table, listening attentively, then got up again and began walking to and fro with her arms folded and her lips compressed, occasionally putting in a question, without stopping her walk. She had the same habit of not listening to what was said. She was wearing a dress of thin dark stuff and she had a white transparent scarf round her neck. Razumihin soon detected signs of extreme poverty in their belongings. Had Avdotya Romanovna been dressed like a queen, he felt that he would not be afraid of her, but perhaps just because she was poorly dressed and that he noticed all the misery of her surroundings, his heart was filled with dread and he began to be afraid of every word he uttered, every gesture he made, which was very trying for a man who already felt diffident.
"You've told us a great deal that is interesting about my brother's character... and have told it impartially. I am glad. I thought that you were too uncritically devoted to him," observed Avdotya Romanovna with a smile. "I think you are right that he needs a woman's care," she added thoughtfully.
"I didn't say so; but I daresay you are right, only..."
"He loves no one and perhaps he never will," Razumihin declared decisively.
"You mean he is not capable of love?"
"Do you know, Avdotya Romanovna, you are awfully like your brother, in everything, indeed!" he blurted out suddenly to his own surprise, but remembering at once what he had just before said of her brother, he turned as red as a crab and was overcome with confusion. Avdotya Romanovna couldn't help laughing when she looked at him.
"You may both be mistaken about Rodya," Pulcheria Alexandrovna remarked, slightly piqued. "I am not talking of our present difficulty, Dounia. What Pyotr Petrovitch writes in this letter and what you and I have supposed may be mistaken, but you can't imagine, Dmitri Prokofitch, how moody and, so to say, capricious he is. I never could depend on what he would do when he was only fifteen. And I am sure that he might do something now that nobody else would think of doing... Well, for instance, do you know how a year and a half ago he astounded me and gave me a shock that nearly killed me, when he had the idea of marrying that girl--what was her name--his landlady's daughter?"
"Did you hear about that affair?" asked Avdotya Romanovna.
"Do you suppose----" Pulcheria Alexandrovna continued warmly. "Do you suppose that my tears, my entreaties, my illness, my possible death from grief, our poverty would have made him pause? No, he would calmly have disregarded all obstacles. And yet it isn't that he doesn't love us!"
"He has never spoken a word of that affair to me," Razumihin answered cautiously. "But I did hear something from Praskovya Pavlovna herself, though she is by no means a gossip. And what I heard certainly was rather strange."
"And what did you hear?" both the ladies asked at once.
"Well, nothing very special. I only learned that the marriage, which only failed to take place through the girl's death, was not at all to Praskovya Pavlovna's liking. They say, too, the girl was not at all pretty, in fact I am told positively ugly... and such an invalid... and queer. But she seems to have had some good qualities. She must have had some good qualities or it's quite inexplicable.... She had no money either and he wouldn't have considered her money.... But it's always difficult to judge in such matters."
"I am sure she was a good girl," Avdotya Romanovna observed briefly.
"God forgive me, I simply rejoiced at her death. Though I don't know which of them would have caused most misery to the other--he to her or she to him," Pulcheria Alexandrovna concluded. Then she began tentatively questioning him about the scene on the previous day with Luzhin, hesitating and continually glancing at Dounia, obviously to the latter's annoyance. This incident more than all the rest evidently caused her uneasiness, even consternation. Razumihin described it in detail again, but this time he added his own conclusions: he openly blamed Raskolnikov for intentionally insulting Pyotr Petrovitch, not seeking to excuse him on the score of his illness.
"He had planned it before his illness," he added.
"I think so, too," Pulcheria Alexandrovna agreed with a dejected air. But she was very much surprised at hearing Razumihin express himself so carefully and even with a certain respect about Pyotr Petrovitch. Avdotya Romanovna, too, was struck by it.
"So this is your opinion of Pyotr Petrovitch?" Pulcheria Alexandrovna could not resist asking.
"I can have no other opinion of your daughter's future husband," Razumihin answered firmly and with warmth, "and I don't say it simply from vulgar politeness, but because... simply because Avdotya Romanovna has of her own free will deigned to accept this man. If I spoke so rudely of him last night, it was because I was disgustingly drunk and... mad besides; yes, mad, crazy, I lost my head completely... and this morning I am ashamed of it."
He crimsoned and ceased speaking. Avdotya Romanovna flushed, but did not break the silence. She had not uttered a word from the moment they began to speak of Luzhin.
Without her support Pulcheria Alexandrovna obviously did not know what to do. At last, faltering and continually glancing at her daughter, she confessed that she was exceedingly worried by one circumstance.
"You see, Dmitri Prokofitch," she began. "I'll be perfectly open with Dmitri Prokofitch, Dounia?"
"Of course, mother," said Avdotya Romanovna emphatically.
"This is what it is," she began in haste, as though the permission to speak of her trouble lifted a weight off her mind. "Very early this morning we got a note from Pyotr Petrovitch in reply to our letter announcing our arrival. He promised to meet us at the station, you know; instead of that he sent a servant to bring us the address of these lodgings and to show us the way; and he sent a message that he would be here himself this morning. But this morning this note came from him. You'd better read it yourself; there is one point in it which worries me very much... you will soon see what that is, and... tell me your candid opinion, Dmitri Prokofitch! You know Rodya's character better than anyone and no one can advise us better than you can. Dounia, I must tell you, made her decision at once, but I still don't feel sure how to act and I... I've been waiting for your opinion."
Razumihin opened the note which was dated the previous evening and read as follows:
"Dear Madam, Pulcheria Alexandrovna, I have the honour to inform you that owing to unforeseen obstacles I was rendered unable to meet you at the railway station; I sent a very competent person with the same object in view. I likewise shall be deprived of the honour of an interview with you to-morrow morning by business in the Senate that does not admit of delay, and also that I may not intrude on your family circle while you are meeting your son, and Avdotya Romanovna her brother. I shall have the honour of visiting you and paying you my respects at your lodgings not later than to-morrow evening at eight o'clock precisely, and herewith I venture to present my earnest and, I may add, imperative request that Rodion Romanovitch may not be present at our interview--as he offered me a gross and unprecedented affront on the occasion of my visit to him in his illness yesterday, and, moreover, since I desire from you personally an indispensable and circumstantial explanation upon a certain point, in regard to which I wish to learn your own interpretation. I have the honour to inform you, in anticipation, that if, in spite of my request, I meet Rodion Romanovitch, I shall be compelled to withdraw immediately and then you have only yourself to blame. I write on the assumption that Rodion Romanovitch who appeared so ill at my visit, suddenly recovered two hours later and so, being able to leave the house, may visit you also. I was confirmed in that belief by the testimony of my own eyes in the lodging of a drunken man who was run over and has since died, to whose daughter, a young woman of notorious behaviour, he gave twenty-five roubles on the pretext of the funeral, which gravely surprised me knowing what pains you were at to raise that sum. Herewith expressing my special respect to your estimable daughter, Avdotya Romanovna, I beg you to accept the respectful homage of
"Your humble servant,
"What am I to do now, Dmitri Prokofitch?" began Pulcheria Alexandrovna, almost weeping. "How can I ask Rodya not to come? Yesterday he insisted so earnestly on our refusing Pyotr Petrovitch and now we are ordered not to receive Rodya! He will come on purpose if he knows, and... what will happen then?"
"Act on Avdotya Romanovna's decision," Razumihin answered calmly at once.
"Oh, dear me! She says... goodness knows what she says, she doesn't explain her object! She says that it would be best, at least, not that it would be best, but that it's absolutely necessary that Rodya should make a point of being here at eight o'clock and that they must meet.... I didn't want even to show him the letter, but to prevent him from coming by some stratagem with your help... because he is so irritable.... Besides I don't understand about that drunkard who died and that daughter, and how he could have given the daughter all the money... which..."
"Which cost you such sacrifice, mother," put in Avdotya Romanovna.
"He was not himself yesterday," Razumihin said thoughtfully, "if you only knew what he was up to in a restaurant yesterday, though there was sense in it too.... Hm! He did say something, as we were going home yesterday evening, about a dead man and a girl, but I didn't understand a word.... But last night, I myself..."
"The best thing, mother, will be for us to go to him ourselves and there I assure you we shall see at once what's to be done. Besides, it's getting late--good heavens, it's past ten," she cried looking at a splendid gold enamelled watch which hung round her neck on a thin Venetian chain, and looked entirely out of keeping with the rest of her dress. "A present from her _fianc�_," thought Razumihin.
"We must start, Dounia, we must start," her mother cried in a flutter. "He will be thinking we are still angry after yesterday, from our coming so late. Merciful heavens!"
While she said this she was hurriedly putting on her hat and mantle; Dounia, too, put on her things. Her gloves, as Razumihin noticed, were not merely shabby but had holes in them, and yet this evident poverty gave the two ladies an air of special dignity, which is always found in people who know how to wear poor clothes. Razumihin looked reverently at Dounia and felt proud of escorting her. "The queen who mended her stockings in prison," he thought, "must have looked then every inch a queen and even more a queen than at sumptuous banquets and lev�es."
"My God!" exclaimed Pulcheria Alexandrovna, "little did I think that I should ever fear seeing my son, my darling, darling Rodya! I am afraid, Dmitri Prokofitch," she added, glancing at him timidly.
"Don't be afraid, mother," said Dounia, kissing her, "better have faith in him."
"Oh, dear, I have faith in him, but I haven't slept all night," exclaimed the poor woman.
They came out into the street.
"Do you know, Dounia, when I dozed a little this morning I dreamed of Marfa Petrovna... she was all in white... she came up to me, took my hand, and shook her head at me, but so sternly as though she were blaming me.... Is that a good omen? Oh, dear me! You don't know, Dmitri Prokofitch, that Marfa Petrovna's dead!"
"No, I didn't know; who is Marfa Petrovna?"
"She died suddenly; and only fancy..."
"Afterwards, mamma," put in Dounia. "He doesn't know who Marfa Petrovna is."
"Ah, you don't know? And I was thinking that you knew all about us. Forgive me, Dmitri Prokofitch, I don't know what I am thinking about these last few days. I look upon you really as a providence for us, and so I took it for granted that you knew all about us. I look on you as a relation.... Don't be angry with me for saying so. Dear me, what's the matter with your right hand? Have you knocked it?"
"Yes, I bruised it," muttered Razumihin overjoyed.
"I sometimes speak too much from the heart, so that Dounia finds fault with me.... But, dear me, what a cupboard he lives in! I wonder whether he is awake? Does this woman, his landlady, consider it a room? Listen, you say he does not like to show his feelings, so perhaps I shall annoy him with my... weaknesses? Do advise me, Dmitri Prokofitch, how am I to treat him? I feel quite distracted, you know."
"Don't question him too much about anything if you see him frown; don't ask him too much about his health; he doesn't like that."
"Ah, Dmitri Prokofitch, how hard it is to be a mother! But here are the stairs.... What an awful staircase!"
"Mother, you are quite pale, don't distress yourself, darling," said Dounia caressing her, then with flashing eyes she added: "He ought to be happy at seeing you, and you are tormenting yourself so."
"Wait, I'll peep in and see whether he has waked up."
The ladies slowly followed Razumihin, who went on before, and when they reached the landlady's door on the fourth storey, they noticed that her door was a tiny crack open and that two keen black eyes were watching them from the darkness within. When their eyes met, the door was suddenly shut with such a slam that Pulcheria Alexandrovna almost cried out.