Crime and Punishment*
by Feodor Mikhailovitch Dostoyevsky
* (At the risk of shocking the reader, it has been decided that the
real permanent detective stories of the world were ill represented
without Dostoyevsky's terrible tale of what might be called "self-
detection." If to sensitive readers the story seems so real as to
be hideous, it is well to recall that Dostoyevsky in 1849 underwent
the agony of sentence to death as a revolutionist. Although the
sentence was commuted to hard labor in Siberia, and although six
years later he was freed and again took up his writing, his mind
never rose from beneath the weight of horror and hopelessness that
hangs over offenders against the Great White Czar. Dostoyevsky,
sentenced as a criminal, herded with criminals, really BECAME a
criminal in literary imagination. Add to this a minute
observation, a marvelous memory, ardent political convictions—and
we can understand why the story here, with others of his, is taken
as a scientific text by criminologists.—EDITOR.)
One sultry evening early in July a young man emerged from the small
furnished lodging he occupied in a large five-storied house in the
Pereoulok S——, and turned slowly, with an air of indecision,
toward the K—— bridge. He was fortunate enough not to meet his
landlady on the stairs. She occupied the floor beneath him, and
her kitchen, with its usually open door, was entered from the
staircase. Thus, whenever the young man went out, he found himself
obliged to pass under the enemy's fire, which always produced a
morbid terror, humiliating him and making him knit his brows. He
owed her some money and felt afraid of encountering her.
It was not that he had been terrified or crushed by misfortune, but
that for some time past he had fallen into a state of nervous
depression akin to hypochondria. He had withdrawn from society and
shut himself up, till he was ready to shun, not merely his
landlady, but every human face. Poverty had once weighed him down,
though, of late, he had lost his sensitiveness on that score. He
had given up all his daily occupations. In his heart of hearts he
laughed scornfully at his landlady and the extremities to which she
might proceed. Still, to be waylaid on the stairs, to have to
listen to all her jargon, hear her demands, threats, and
complaints, and have to make excuses and subterfuges in return—no,
he preferred to steal down without attracting notice. On this
occasion, however, when he had gained the street, he felt surprised
himself at this dread of meeting the woman to whom he was in debt.
"Why should I be alarmed by these trifles when I am contemplating
such a desperate deed?" thought he, and he gave a strange smile.
"Ah, well, man holds the remedy in his own hands, and lets
everything go its own way, simply through cowardice—that is an
axiom. I should like to know what people fear most:—whatever is
contrary to their usual habits, I imagine. But I am talking too
much. I talk and so I do nothing, though I might just as well say,
I do nothing and so I talk. I have acquired this habit of
chattering during the last month, while I have been lying for days
together in a corner, feeding my mind on trifles. Come, why am I
taking this walk now? Am I capable of THAT? Can THAT really be
serious? Not in the least. These are mere chimeras, idle fancies
that flit across my brain!
The heat in the streets was stifling. The crowd, the sight of
lime, bricks, scaffolding, and the peculiar odor so familiar to the
nostrils of the inhabitant of St. Petersburg who has no means of
escaping to the country for the summer, all contributed to irritate
the young man's already excited nerves. The reeking fumes of the
dram shops, so numerous in this part of the city, and the tipsy men
to be seen at every point, although it was no holiday, completed
the repulsive character of the scene. Our hero's refined features
betrayed, for a moment, an expression of bitter disgust. We may
observe casually that he was not destitute of personal attractions;
he was above middle height, with a slender and well-proportioned
figure, and he had dark auburn hair and fine dark eyes. In a
little while he sank into a deep reverie, or rather into a sort of
mental torpor. He walked on without noticing, or trying to notice,
his surroundings. Occasionally he muttered a few words to himself;
as if, as he himself had just perceived, this had become his habit.
At this moment it dawned upon him that his ideas were becoming
confused and that he was very feeble; he had eaten nothing worth
mentioning for the last two days.
His dress was so miserable that anyone else might have scrupled to
go out in such rags during the daytime. This quarter of the city,
indeed, was not particular as to dress. In the neighborhood of the
Cyennaza or Haymarket, in those streets in the heart of St.
Petersburg, occupied by the artisan classes, no vagaries in costume
call forth the least surprise. Besides the young man's fierce
disdain had reached such a pitch, that, notwithstanding his extreme
sensitiveness, he felt no shame at exhibiting his tattered garments
in the street. He would have felt differently had he come across
anyone he knew, any of the old friends whom he usually avoided.
Yet he stopped short on hearing the attention of passers-by
directed to him by the thick voice of a tipsy man shouting: "Eh,
look at the German hatter!" The exclamation came from an
individual who, for some unknown reason, was being jolted away in a
great wagon. The young man snatched off his hat and began to
examine it. It was a high-crowned hat that had been originally
bought at Zimmermann's, but had become worn and rusty, was covered
with dents and stains, slit and short of a brim, a frightful object
in short. Yet its owner, far from feeling his vanity wounded, was
suffering rather from anxiety than humiliation.
"I suspected this," muttered he, uneasily, "I foresaw it. That's
the worst of it! Some wretched trifle like this might spoil it
all. Yes, this hat is certainly too remarkable; it looks so
ridiculous. I must get a cap to suit my rags; any old thing would
be better than this horror. Hats like these are not worn; this one
would be noticeable a verst* off; it would be remembered; people
would think of it again some time after, and it might furnish a
clew. I must attract as little attention as possible just now.
Trifles become important, everything hinges on them."
* 1,000 yards.
He had not far to go; he knew the exact distance between his
lodging and present destination—just seven hundred and thirty
paces. He had counted them when his plan only floated through his
brain like a vague dream. At that time, he himself would not have
believed it capable of realization; he merely dallied in fancy with
a chimera which was both terrible and seductive. But a month had
elapsed, and he had already begun to view it in a different light.
Although he reproached himself throughout his soliloquies with
irresolution and a want of energy, he had accustomed himself,
little by little, and, indeed, in spite of himself, to consider the
realization of his dream a possibility, though he doubted his own
resolution. He was but just now rehearsing his enterprise, and his
agitation was increasing at every step.
His heart sank, and his limbs trembled nervously, as he came to an
immense pile of building facing the canal on one side and the
street on the other. This block was divided into a host of small
tenements, tenanted by all sorts of trades. People were swarming
in and out through the two doors. There were three or four
dvorniks* belonging to the house, but the young man, to his great
satisfaction, came across none of them, and, escaping notice as he
entered, mounted at once the stairs on the right hand. He had
already made acquaintance with this dark and narrow staircase, and
its obscurity was grateful to him; it was gloomy enough to hide him
from prying eyes. "If I feel so timid now, what will it be when I
come to put my plan into execution?" thought he, as he reached the
fourth floor. Here he found the passage blocked; some military
porters were removing the furniture from a tenement recently
occupied, as the young man knew, by a German official and his
family. "Thanks to the departure of this German, for some time to
come there will be no one on this landing but the old woman. It is
as well to know this, at any rate," thought he to himself, as he
rang the old woman's bell. It gave a faint sound, as if it were
made of tin instead of copper. In houses of this sort, the smaller
lodgings generally have such bells.
He had forgotten this; the peculiar tinkling sound seemed to recall
something to his memory, for he gave a shiver—his nerves were very
weak. In another moment the door was opened part way, and the
occupant of the rooms stood examining her visitor through the
opening with evident suspicion, her small eyes glimmering through
the darkness like luminous points. But when she saw the people on
the landing, she seemed reassured, and flung the door open. The
young man entered a gloomy antechamber, divided by a partition,
behind which was a small kitchen. The old woman stood silently in
front of him, eyeing him keenly. She was a thin little creature of
sixty, with a small sharp nose, and eyes sparkling with malice.
Her head was uncovered, and her grizzled locks shone with grease.
A strip of flannel was wound round her long thin neck, and, in
spite of the heat, she wore a shabby yellow fur tippet on her
shoulders. She coughed incessantly. The young man was probably
eyeing her strangely, for the look of mistrust suddenly reappeared
on her face.
"The Student Raskolnikoff. I called on you a month ago," said the
visitor, hurriedly, with a slight bow. He had suddenly remembered
that he must make himself more agreeable.
"I remember, batuchka, I remember it well," returned the old woman,
still fixing her eyes on him suspiciously.
"Well, then, look here. I have come again on a similar errand,"
continued Raskolnikoff, somewhat surprised and uneasy at being
received with so much distrust. "After all, this may be her usual
manner, though I did not notice it before," thought he,
The old woman remained silent a while, and seemed to reflect.
Then, pointing to the door of the inner room, she drew back for her
visitor to pass, and said, "Come in, batuchka."*
* "Little father."
The small room into which the young man was ushered was papered
with yellow; there were geraniums and muslin curtains in the
windows, and the setting sun shed a flood of light on the interior.
"The sun will shine on it just the same THEN!" said Raskolnikoff
all at once to himself, as he glanced rapidly round to take in the
various objects and engrave them on his memory. The room, however,
contained nothing remarkable. The yellow wood furniture was all
very old. A couch with a shelving back, opposite which stood an
oval table, a toilet-table with a pier glass attached, chairs
lining the walls, and two or three poor prints representing German
girls with birds in their hands, completed the inventory. A lamp
was burning in one corner in front of a small image. The floor and
furniture were clean and well polished. "Elizabeth attends to
that," thought the young man. It would have been difficult to find
a speck of dust on anything. "It is only in the houses of these
dreadful old widows that such order is to be seen," continued
Raskolnikoff to himself, looking with curiosity at the chintz
curtain overhanging the door which led into a second small room, in
which he had never set foot; it contained the old woman's bed and
chest of drawers. The apartment consisted of these two rooms.
"What is it you want?" asked the mistress of the house dryly; she
had followed her visitor in, and planted herself in front of him to
examine him more closely.
"I have come to pawn something, that is all!" With this he drew
from his pocket a flat old silver watch. A globe was engraved
inside the lid, and the chain was of steel.
"But you have not repaid the sum I lent you before. It was due two
"I will pay you the interest for another month; have a little
"I may have patience or I may sell your pledge at once, batuchka,
just whichever I like."
"What will you give me on this watch, Alena Ivanovna?"
"That is a wretched thing, batuchka, worth a mere nothing. Last
time I lent you two small notes on your ring, when I could have
bought a new one at the jeweler's for a ruble and a half."
"Give me four rubles, and I will redeem it; it belonged to my
father. I expect some money soon."
"A ruble and a half! and I shall take the interest in advance."
"A ruble and a half!" protested the young man.
"Please yourself whether you take it or not." So saying, the old
woman tendered back the watch. Her visitor took it and was about
to depart in vexation, when he reflected that this money lender was
his last resource—and, besides, he had another object in coming.
"Come, fork out!" said he in a rough tone.
The old woman fumbled in her pockets for her keys, and passed on
into the adjoining room. The young man, left standing there alone,
pricked up his ears and began to make various inductions. He heard
this female usurer open her drawer. "It must be the top one," was
his conclusion. "I know now that she carries her keys in her right
pocket—they are all hung on a steel ring—one of them is three
times as large as the rest, and has the wards toothed; that cannot
be the key of her drawer—then she must have some strong box or
safe. It is curious that the keys of strong boxes should be
generally like that—but, after all, how ignoble!"
The old woman reappeared. "See here, batuchka: if I take a ten-
kopeck piece a month on each ruble, I ought to receive fifteen
kopecks on a ruble and a half, the interest being payable in
advance. Then, as you ask me to wait another month for the
repayment of the two rubles I have already lent you, you owe me
twenty kopecks more, which makes a total of five and thirty. What,
therefore, I have to advance upon your watch is one ruble fifteen
kopecks. Here it is."
"What! Is one ruble fifteen kopecks all you mean to give me now?"
"That is all that is due to you."
The young man took the money without further discussion. He looked
at the old woman and was in no haste to depart. He seemed anxious
to say or do something more, but without knowing exactly what.
"Perhaps I may be bringing you some other article soon, Alena
Ivanovna, a very pretty cigar case—a silver one—when I get it
back from the friend to whom I have lent it." These words were
uttered with much embarrassment.
"Well, we can talk about it then, batuchka."
"Good-by. You are always alone—is your sister never with you?"
asked he with as indifferent an air as he could assume, as he
entered the anteroom.
"What have you to do with my sister, batuchka?"
"Nothing. I had no reason for asking. You will—well, good-by,
Raskolnikoff made his exit in a perturbed state of mind. As he
went downstairs, he stopped from time to time, as if overcome by
violent emotion. When he had at length emerged upon the street, he
exclaimed to himself: "How loathsome it all is! Can I, can I
ever?—no, it is absurd, preposterous!" added he mentally. "How
could such a horrible idea ever enter my head? Could I ever be
capable of such infamy? It is odious, ignoble, repulsive! And yet
for a whole month—"
Words and exclamations, however, could not give full vent to his
agitation. The loathing sense of disgust which had begun to
oppress him on his way to the old woman's house had now become so
intense that he longed to find some way of escape from the torture.
He reeled along the pavement like a tipsy man, taking no notice of
those who passed, but bumping against them. On looking round he
saw a dram shop near at hand; steps led down from the footpath to
the basement, and Raskolnikoff saw two drunkards coming out at that
moment, leaning heavily on each other and exchanging abusive
language. The young man barely paused before he descended the
steps. He had never before entered such a place, but he felt dizzy
and was also suffering from intense thirst. He had a craving for
some beer, partly because he attributed his weakness to an empty
stomach. Seating himself in a dark and dirty corner, in front of a
filthy little table, he called for some beer, and eagerly drank off
He felt instantly relieved, and his brain began to clear: "How
absurd I have been!" said he to himself, "there was really nothing
to make me uneasy! It was simply physical! A glass of beer and a
mouthful of biscuit were all that was necessary to restore my
strength of mind and make my thoughts clear and resolution fixed.
How paltry all this is!"
The next morning Raskolnikoff awoke late, after disturbed and
unrefreshing slumbers. He felt very cross and glanced angrily
round his room. It was a tiny place, not more than six feet in
length, and its dirty buff paper hung in shreds, giving it a most
miserable aspect; besides which, the ceiling was so low that a tall
man would have felt in danger of bumping his head. The furniture
was quite in harmony with the room, consisting of three old rickety
chairs, a painted table in one corner, on which lay books and
papers thick with dust (showing how long it was since they had been
touched), and, finally, a large and very ugly sofa with ragged
covers. This sofa, which filled nearly half the room, served
Raskolnikoff as a bed. He often lay down on it in his clothes,
without any sheets, covering himself with his old student's coat,
and using instead of a pillow a little cushion, which he raised by
keeping under it all his clean or dirty linen. Before the sofa
stood a small table.
Raskolnikoff's misanthropy did not take offense at the dirty state
of his den. Human faces had grown so distasteful to him, that the
very sight of the servant whose business it was to clean the rooms
produced a feeling of exasperation. To such a condition may
monomaniacs come by continually brooding over one idea. For the
last fortnight, the landlady had ceased to supply her lodger with
provisions, and he had not yet thought of demanding an explanation.
Nastasia, who had to cook and clean for the whole house, was not
sorry to see the lodger in this state of mind, as it diminished her
labors: she had quite given up tidying and dusting his room; the
utmost she did was to come and sweep it once a week. She it was
who was arousing him at this moment.
"Come, get up, why are you sleeping so late?" she exclaimed. "It
is nine o'clock. I have brought up some tea, will you take a cup?
How pale you look!"
Raskolnikoff opened his eyes, shook himself, and recognized
Nastasia. "Has the landlady sent me this tea?" asked he, making a
painful effort to sit up.
"Not much chance of that!" And the servant placed before him her
own teapot, in which there was still some tea left, and laid two
small lumps of brownish sugar on the table.
"Here, Nastasia, take this, please," said Raskolnikoff, fumbling in
his pocket and drawing out a handful of small change (for he had
again lain down in his clothes), "and fetch me a white roll. Go to
the pork shop as well, and buy me a bit of cheap sausage."
"I will bring you the roll in a minute, but had you not better take
some shtchi* instead of the sausage? We make it here, and it is
capital. I kept some for you last night, but it was so late before
you came in! You will find it very good." She went to fetch the
shtchi, and, when Raskolnikoff had begun to eat, she seated herself
on the sofa beside him and commenced to chatter, like a true
country girl as she was. "Prascovia Paulovna means to report you
to the police," said she.
* Cabbage soup.
The young man's brow clouded. "To the police? Why?"
"Because you don't pay and won't go. That's why."
"The deuce!" growled be between his teeth, "that is the finishing
stroke; it comes at a most unfortunate juncture. She is a fool,"
added he aloud. "I shall go and talk to her to-morrow."
"She is, of course, just as much of a fool as I am; but why do you,
who are so intelligent, lie here doing nothing? How is it you
never seem to have money for anything now? You used to give
lessons, I hear; how is it you do nothing now?"
"I am engaged on something," returned Raskolnikoff dryly and half
"What sort of work?"
"Thinking," replied he gravely, after a short silence.
Nastasia was convulsed. She was of a merry disposition, but her
laughter was always noiseless, an internal convulsion which made
her actually writhe with pain. "And does your thinking bring you
any money?" asked she, as soon as she could manage to speak.
"Well! I can't give lessons when I have no boots to go out in?
Besides, I despise them."
"Take care lest you suffer for it."
"There is so little to be made by giving lessons! What can one do
with a few kopecks?" said he in an irritable tone, rather to
himself than the servant.
"So you wish to make your fortune at one stroke?"
He looked at her rather strangely, and was silent for a moment.
"Yes, my fortune," rejoined he impressively.
"Hush! you frighten me, you look terrible. Shall I go and fetch
you a roll?"
"Just as you like."
Later in the day, Raskolnikoff went out and wandered about the
streets. At last he sat down under a tree to rest, and fell into a
reverie. His limbs felt disjointed, and his mind was in darkness
and confusion. He placed his elbows on his knees and held his head
with his hands.
"God! Am I to stand beating in her skull with a hatchet or
something, wade in warm blood, break open the lock and rob and
tremble, blood flowing all around, and hide myself, with the
hatchet? O God! is this indeed possible, and must it be?" He
trembled like a leaf as he said this.
"What am I thinking of?" he cried in some astonishment. "I know
well I could not endure that with which I have been torturing
myself. I saw that clearly yesterday when I tried to rehearse it.
Perfectly plain. Then what am I questioning? Did I not say
yesterday as I went up the stairs how disgusting and mean and low
it all was, and did not I run away in terror?"
He stood up and looked all round, wondering how he got there, and
moved off toward the T—— bridge. He was pale and his eyes were
hot, and feebleness was in all his members, but he seemed to
breathe easier. He felt that he had thrown off the old time which
had been so oppressive; and in its place had come peace and light.
"Lord!" he prayed, "show me my way, that I may renounce these
horrid thoughts of mine!"
Going across the bridge, he quietly gazed on the Neva, and the
clear red sunset. He did not feel himself tired now,
notwithstanding his weakness, and the load which had lain upon his
heart seemed to be gone. Liberty! Liberty! he was free from those
enchantments and all their vile instigations. In later times when
he recalled this period of his existence, and all that happened to
him in those days, minute by minute and point by point, he
recollected how each circumstance, although in the main not very
unusual, constantly appeared to his mind as an evidence of the
predetermination of his fate, so superstitious was he. Especially
he could never understand why he, weary and harassed as he was,
could not have returned home by the shortest route, instead of
across the Haymarket, which was quite out of the way. Certainly, a
dozen times before, he had reached his lodgings by most circuitous
routes, and never known through which streets he had come. But why
(he always asked) should such a really fateful meeting have taken
place in the market (through which there was no need to go), and
happen, too, at exactly such a time and at a moment of his life
when his mind was in the state it was, and the event, in these
circumstances, could only produce the most definite and decided
effect upon his fate? Surely he was the instrument of some
It was about nine o'clock as he stood in the Haymarket. All the
dealers had closed their establishments or cleared away their goods
and gone home. About this place, with its tattered population, its
dirty and nauseous courtyards and numerous alleys, Raskolnikoff
dearly loved to roam in his aimless wanderings. He attracted no
notice there. At the corner of K—— Lane were a dealer and his
wife, who were engaged in packing up their wares, consisting of
tapes, handkerchiefs, cotton, &c., preparatory to going home. They
were lingering over their work, and conversing with an
acquaintance. This was Elizabeth Ivanovna, or simple Elizabeth, as
all called her, the younger sister of the old woman, Alena
Ivanovna, to whose rooms Raskolnikoff went the day before for the
purpose of pawning his watch to make his REHEARSAL. He knew all
about this Elizabeth, as she knew also a little about him. She was
a tall, awkward woman, about thirty-five years of age, timid and
quiet, indeed almost an idiot, and was a regular slave to her
sister, working for her day and night, trembling before her and
enduring even blows. She was evidently hesitating about something,
as she stood there with a bundle under her arm, and her friends
were pressing some subject rather warmly. When Raskolnikoff
recognized her he seemed struck with the greatest astonishment,
although there was nothing strange about such a meeting.
"You ought to decide yourself, Elizabeth Ivanovna," said the man.
"Come to-morrow at seven o'clock."
"To-morrow?" said Elizabeth slowly, as if undecided.
"She is frightened of Alena Ivanovna," cried the wife, a brisk
little woman. "You are like a little child, Elizabeth Ivanovna,
and she's not your own sister, but a stepsister. She has too much
her own way."
"You say nothing to Alena Ivanovna," interrupted the man, "and come
without asking, that's the way to do it, and your sister can manage
"When shall I come?"
"At seven o'clock, to-morrow."
"Very well, I will come," said Elizabeth, slowly and reluctantly.
She then quitted them.
Raskolnikoff also went away, and stayed to hear no more. His
original amazement had changed gradually into a feeling of actual
terror; a chill ran down his back. He had learned unexpectedly and
positively, that, at seven o'clock the next evening, Elizabeth, the
old woman's sister, the only person living with her, would not be
at home, and that, therefore, the old woman, at seven o'clock
tomorrow, WOULD BE THERE ALONE. It needed but a few steps to reach
his room. He went along like one sentenced to death, with his
reason clogged and numbed. He felt that now all liberty of action
and free will were gone, and everything was irrevocably decided. A
more convenient occasion than was thus unexpectedly offered to him
now would never arise, and he might never learn again, beforehand,
that, at a certain time on a certain day, she, on whom he was to
make the attempt, would be entirely alone.
Raskolnikoff learned subsequently what induced the man and his wife
to invite Elizabeth to call on them. It was a very simple matter.
A foreign family, finding themselves in straitened circumstances,
were desirous of parting with various things, consisting for the
most part in articles of female attire. They were anxious,
therefore, to meet with a dealer in cast-off clothes, and this was
one of Elizabeth's callings. She had a large connection, because
she was very honest and always stuck to her price: there was no
higgling to be done with her. She was a woman of few words and
very shy and reserved. But Raskolnikoff was very superstitious,
and traces of this remained in him long after. In all the events
of this period of his life he was ever ready to detect something
mysterious, and attribute every circumstance to the presence of
some particular influence upon his destiny.
The previous winter, a fellow student, Pokoreff by name, on leaving
for Charkoff, had happened to communicate to him in conversation
the address of Alena Ivanovna, in case he should ever require to
pawn anything. For a long time he did not use it, as he was giving
lessons, and managed somehow to get along, but six weeks before
this time he had recollected the address. He had two things fit to
pawn—an old silver watch, formerly his father's; and a small gold
ring with three red stones, a souvenir from his sister on leaving
home. He decided on getting rid of the latter, and went to the old
woman's. At the first glance, and knowing nothing whatever of her
personally, she inspired him with an unaccountable loathing. He
took her two notes, and on leaving went into a poor traktir, or
restaurant, and ordered some tea. He sat down musing, and strange
thoughts flitted across his mind and became hatched in his brain.
Close by, at another table, were seated a student, whom he did not
know, and a young officer. They had been playing billiards, and
were now drinking tea. Suddenly Raskolnikoff heard the student
give the officer the address of Alena Ivanovna, the widow of a
professor, as one who lent money on pledges. This alone struck
Raskolnikoff as very peculiar. They were talking of the same
person he had just been to see. No doubt it was pure chance, but,
at the moment he was struggling against an impression he could not
overcome, this stranger's words came and gave extra force to it.
The student went on talking, and began to give his companion some
account of Alena Ivanovna.
"She is well known," he said, "and always good for money. She is
as rich as a Jew, and can advance five thousand rubles at a
moment's notice; yet she will take in pledge objects worth as
little as a ruble. She is quite a providence to many of our
fellows—but such an old hag! I tell you what I would do. I would
kill that damnable old hag, and take all she is possessed of,
without any qualm of conscience," exclaimed the student excitedly.
The officer laughed, but Raskolnikoff shuddered. The words just
uttered so strongly echoed his own thoughts. "Let me put a serious
question to you," resumed the student, more and more excited. "I
have hitherto been joking, but now listen to this. On the one side
here is a silly, flint-hearted, evil-minded, sulky old woman,
necessary to no one—on the contrary, pernicious to all—and who
does not know herself why she lives."
"Well?" said the officer.
"Hear me further. On the other hand, young fresh strength droops
and is lost for want of sustenance; this is the case with thousands
everywhere! A hundred, a thousand good deeds and enterprises could
be carried out and upheld with the money this old woman has
bequeathed to a monastery. A dozen families might be saved from
hunger, want, ruin, crime, and misery, and all with her money!
Kill her, I say, take it from her, and dedicate it to the service
of humanity and the general good! What is your opinion? Shall not
one little crime be effaced and atoned for by a thousand good
deeds? For one useless life a thousand lives saved from decay and
death. One death, and a hundred beings restored to existence!
There's a calculation for you. What in proportion is the life of
this miserable old woman? No more than the life of a flea, a
beetle, nay, not even that, for she is pernicious. She preys on
other lives. She lately bit Elizabeth's finger, in a fit of
passion, and nearly bit it off!"
"Certainly she does not deserve to live," observed the officer,
"Ah, my friend, nature has to be governed and guided, or we should
be drowned in prejudices. Without it there would never be one
great man. They say 'duty is conscience.' Now I have nothing to
say against duty and conscience, but let us see, how do we
understand them? Let me put another question to you. Listen."
"Stop a minute, I will give you one."
"After all you have said and declaimed, tell me—are you going to
kill the old woman YOURSELF, or not?"
"Of course not. I only pointed out the inequality of things. As
for the deed—"
"Well, if you won't, it's my opinion that it would not be just to
do so! Come, let's have another game!"
Raskolnikoff was in the greatest agitation. Still, there was
nothing extraordinary in this conversation; it was not the first
time he had heard, only in other forms and on other topics, such
ideas from the lips of the young and hotheaded. But why should he,
of all men, happen to overhear such a conversation and such ideas,
when the very same thoughts were being engendered in himself?—and
why precisely THEN, immediately on his becoming possessed of them
and on leaving the old woman? Strange, indeed, did this
coincidence appear to him. This idle conversation was destined to
have a fearful influence on his destiny, extending to the most
trifling incident and causing him to feel sure he was the
instrument of a fixed purpose.
On his return from the market, he flung himself upon his couch and
sat motionless for a whole hour. It became dark, he had no light,
but sat on. He could never afterwards recollect his thoughts at
the time. At last he felt cold, and a shiver ran through him. He
recognized with delight that he was sitting on his couch and could
lie down, and soon he fell into a deep, heavy sleep. He slept much
longer than usual, and his slumbers were undisturbed by dreams.
Nastasia, who came to his room the next morning at ten o'clock, had
great difficulty in awakening him. The servant brought him some
bread and, the same as the day before, what was left of her tea.
"Not up yet!" exclaimed she indignantly. "How can you sleep so
Raskolnikoff raised himself with an effort; his head ached; he got
upon his feet, took a few steps, and then dropped down again upon
"What, again!" cried Nastasia, "but you must be ill then?" He did
not answer. "Would you like some tea?"
"By and by," he muttered painfully, after which he closed his eyes
and turned his face to the wall. Nastasia, standing over him,
remained watching him for a while.
"After all, he's perhaps ill," said she, before withdrawing. At
two o'clock she returned with some soup. Raskolnikoff was still
lying on the couch. He had not touched the tea. The servant
became angry and shook the lodger violently. "Whatever makes you
sleep thus?" scolded she, eyeing him contemptuously.
He sat up, but answered not a word, and remained with his eyes
fixed on the floor.
"Are you ill, or are you not?" asked Nastasia. This second
question met with no more answer than the first. "You should go
out," continued she, after a pause, "the fresh air would do you
good. You'll eat something, will you not?"
"By and by," answered he feebly. "Go away!" and he motioned her
off. She remained a moment longer, watching him with an air of
pity, and then left the room.
After a few minutes he raised his eyes, gave a long look at the tea
and soup, and then began to eat. He swallowed three or four
spoonfuls without the least appetite—almost mechanically. His
head felt better. When he had finished his light repast, he again
lay down on the couch, but he could not sleep and remained
motionless, flat on his stomach, his face buried in the pillow.
His reverie kept conjuring up strange scenes. At one time he was
in Africa, in Egypt, on some oasis, where palms were dotted about.
The caravans were at rest, the camels lay quietly, and the
travelers were eating their evening meal. They drank water direct
from the stream which ran murmuring close by. How refreshing was
the marvelously blue water, and how beautifully clear it looked as
it ran over many-colored stones and mingled with the golden
spangles of the sandy bottom! All at once he clearly heard the
hour chiming. He shuddered, raised his head, looked at the window
to calculate the time. He came to himself immediately and jumped
up, and, going on tiptoe, silently opened the door and stood
listening on the landing. His heart beat violently. But not a
sound came from the staircase. It seemed as though the house was
wrapped in sleep. He could not understand how he had been able to
sleep away the time as he had done, while nothing was prepared for
the enterprise. And yet it was, perhaps, six o'clock that had just
Then, he became excited as he felt what there was to be done, and
he endeavored with all his might to keep his thoughts from
wandering and concentrate his mind on his task. All the time his
heart thumped and beat until he could hardly draw breath. In the
first place it was necessary to make a loop and fasten to his coat.
He went to his pillow and took from among the linen he kept there
an old and dirty shirt and tore part of it into strips. He then
fastened a couple of these together, and, taking off his coat—a
stout cotton summer one—began to sew the loop inside, under the
left arm. His hands shook violently, but he accomplished his task
satisfactorily, and when he again put on his coat nothing was
visible. Needle and thread had been procured long ago, and lay on
the table in a piece of paper. The loop was provided for a
hatchet. It would never have done to have appeared in the streets
carrying a hatchet, and if he placed it under the coat, it would
have been necessary to hold it with his hands; but with the loop
all he had to do was to put the iron in it and it would hang of
itself under the coat, and with his hands in his pockets he could
keep it from shaking, and no one could suspect that he was carrying
anything. He had thought over all this about a fortnight before.
Having finished his task, Raskolnikoff inserted his finger in a
small crevice in the floor under his couch, and brought out the
PLEDGE with which he had been careful to provide himself. This
pledge was, however, only a sham—a thin smooth piece of wood about
the size and thickness of a silver cigarette case, which he had
found in a yard adjoining a carpenter's shop, and a thin piece of
iron of about the same size, which he had picked up in the street.
He fastened the two together firmly with thread, then proceeded to
wrap them up neatly in a piece of clean white paper, and tie the
parcel in such a manner that it would he difficult to undo it
again. This was all done in order to occupy the attention of the
old woman and to seize a favorable opportunity when she would be
busy with the knot. The piece of iron was simply added for weight,
in order that she might not immediately detect the fraud. He had
just finished, and had put the packet in his pocket, when in the
court below resounded the cry:
"Six o'clock struck long ago!"
"Long ago! Good heavens!"
He ran to the door, listened, seized his hat, and went down the
stairs cautiously and stealthily as a cat. He still had the most
important thing to do—to steal the hatchet out of the kitchen.
That a hatchet was the best instrument, he had long since decided.
He had an old garden knife, but on a knife—especially on his own
strength—he could not rely; he finally fixed on the hatchet. A
peculiarity was to be noticed in all these resolutions of his; the
more definitely they were settled, the more absurd and horrible
they immediately appeared to his eyes, and never, for a moment, did
he feel sure of the execution of his project. But even if every
question had been settled, every doubt cleared away, every
difficulty overcome, he would probably have renounced his design on
the instant, as something absurd, monstrous, and impossible. But
there were still a host of matters to arrange, of problems to
solve. As to procuring the hatchet, this trifle did not trouble
Raskolnikoff in the least, for nothing was easier. As a matter of
fact Nastasia was scarcely ever at home, especially of an evening.
She was constantly out gossiping with friends or tradespeople, and
that was the reason of her mistress's constant complaints. When
the time came, all he would have to do would be to quietly enter
the kitchen and take the hatchet, and then to replace it an hour
afterwards when all was over. But perhaps this would not be as
easy as he fancied. "Suppose," said the young man to himself,
"that when, in an hour's time, I come to replace the hatchet,
Nastasia should have come in. Now, in that case, I could naturally
not enter the kitchen until she had gone out again. But supposing
during this time she notices the absence of the hatchet, she will
grumble, perhaps kick up a shindy, and that will serve to denounce
me, or at least might do so!"
Before he had got to the bottom of the staircase, a trifling
circumstance came and upset all his plans. On reaching his
landlady's landing, he found the kitchen door wide open, as usual,
and he peeped in, in order to make sure that, in the absence of
Nastasia, her mistress was not there, and that the doors of the
other rooms were closed. But great was his annoyance to find
Nastasia there herself, engaged in hanging clothes on a line.
Perceiving the young man, she stopped and turned to him
inquiringly. He averted his eyes and went away without remark.
But the affair was done for. There was no hatchet, he was
frustrated entirely. He felt crushed, nay, humiliated, but a
feeling of brutal vindictiveness at his disappointment soon ensued,
and he continued down the stairs, smiling maliciously to himself.
He stood hesitating at the gate. To walk about the streets or to
go back were equally repugnant. "To think that I have missed such
a splendid opportunity!" he murmured as he stood aimlessly at the
entrance, leaning near the open door of the porter's lodge.
Suddenly he started—something in the dark room attracted his eye.
He looked quietly around. No one was near. He descended the two
steps on tiptoe, and called for the porter. There was no reply,
and he rushed headlong to the hatchet (it was a hatchet), secured
it where it lay among some wood, and hurriedly fastened it to the
loop as he made his way out into the street. No one saw him!
"There's more of the devil in this than my design," he said smiling
to himself. The occurrence gave him fresh courage.
He went away quietly in order not to excite any suspicion, and
walked along the street with his eyes studiously fixed on the
ground, avoiding the faces of the passers-by. Suddenly he
recollected his hat. "Good heavens! the day before yesterday I had
money, and not to have thought of that! I could so easily have
bought a cap!" and he began cursing himself. Glancing casually in
a shop, he saw it was ten minutes past seven. He had yet a long
way to go, as he was making a circuit, not wishing to walk direct
to the house. He kept off, as much as he was able, all thought of
his mission, and on the way reflected upon possible improvements of
the public grounds, upon the desirability of fountains, and why
people lived where there were neither parks nor fountains, but only
mud, lime, and bricks, emitting horrid exhalations and every
conceivable foulness. This reminded him of his own walks about the
Cyennaza, and he came to himself.
"How true it is that persons being led to execution interest
themselves in anything that strikes them on the way!" was the
thought that came into his head; but it passed away like lightning
to be succeeded by some other. "Here we are—there is the gate."
It struck half-past seven as he stood near the house.
To his delight, he passed in without observation. As if on
purpose, at the very same moment a load of hay was going in, and it
completely screened him. On the other side of the load, a dispute
or brawl was evidently taking place, and he gained the old woman's
staircase in a second. Recovering his breath and pressing his hand
to his beating heart, he commenced the ascent, though first feeling
for the hatchet and arranging it. Every minute he stopped to
listen. The stairs were quite deserted, and every door was closed.
No one met him. On the second floor, indeed, the door of an empty
lodging was wide open; some painters were working there, but they
did not look up. He stopped a moment to think, and then continued
the ascent: "No doubt it would be better if they were not there,
but fortunately there are two more floors above them." At last he
reached the fourth floor, and Alena Ivanovna's door; the lodging
facing it was unoccupied. The lodging on the third floor, just
beneath the old woman's, was also apparently empty. The card that
used to be on the door had gone; the lodgers had, no doubt, moved.
Raskolnikoff was stifling. He stood hesitating a moment: "Had I
not better go away?" But without answering the question, he waited
and listened. Not a sound issued from the old woman's apartments.
The staircase was filled with the same silence. After listening
for a long time, the young man cast a last glance around, and again
felt his hatchet. "Do I not look too pale?" thought he. "Do I not
appear too agitated? She is mistrustful. I should do well to wait
a little, to give my emotion time to calm down."
But instead of becoming quieter, his heart throbbed more violently.
He could stand it no longer, and, raising his hand toward the bell
rope, he pulled it toward him. After waiting half a minute, he
rang again—this time a little louder. No answer. To ring like a
deaf man would have been useless, stupid even. The old woman was
certainly at home; but, suspicious by nature, she was likely to be
so all the more then, as she happened to be alone. Raskolnikoff
knew something of Alena Ivanovna's habits. He therefore placed his
ear to the door. Had the circumstances amid which he was placed
strangely developed his power of hearing, which, in general, is
difficult to admit, or was the sound really easily perceptible?
Anyhow, he suddenly became aware that a hand was being cautiously
placed on the lock, and that a dress rustled against the door.
Some one inside was going through exactly the same movements as he
on the landing. Some one, standing up against the lock, was
listening while trying to hide her presence, and had probably her
ear also against the door.
In order to avoid all idea of mystery, the young man purposely
moved about rather noisily, and muttered something half aloud; then
he rang a third time, but gently and coolly, without allowing the
bell to betray the least sign of impatience. Raskolnikoff never
forgot this moment of his life. When, in after days, he thought
over it, he could never understand how he had been able to display
such cunning, especially at a time when emotion was now and again
depriving him of the free use of his intellectual and physical
faculties. After a short while he heard the bolt withdrawn.
The door, as before, was opened a little, and again the two eyes,
with mistrustful glance, peeped out of the dark. Then Raskolnikoff
lost his presence of mind and made a serious mistake. Fearing that
the old woman would take alarm at finding they were alone, and
knowing that his appearance would not reassure her, he took hold of
the door and pulled it toward him in order to prevent her shutting
it again if she should be thus minded. Seeing this, she held on to
the lock, so that he almost drew her together with the door on to
the staircase. She recovered herself, and stood to prevent his
entrance, speechless with fright.
"Good evening, Alena Ivanovna," he commenced, trying to speak with
unconcern, but his voice did not obey him, and he faltered and
trembled, "Good evening, I have brought you something, but we had
better go into the light." He pushed past her and entered the room
uninvited. The old woman followed and found her tongue.
"What is it you want? Who are you?" she commenced.
"Pardon me, Alena Ivanovna, your old acquaintance Raskolnikoff. I
have brought a pledge, as I promised the other day," and he held
out the packet to her.
The old woman was about to examine it, when she raised her eyes and
looked straight into those of the visitor who had entered so
unceremoniously. She examined him attentively, distrustfully, for
a minute. Raskolnikoff fancied there was a gleam of mockery in her
look as if she guessed all. He felt he was changing color, and
that if she kept her glance upon him much longer without saying a
word he would be obliged to run away.
"Why are you looking at me thus?" he said at last in anger. "Will
you take it or not? or shall I take it elsewhere? I have no time
to waste." He did not intend to say this, but the words came out.
The tone seemed to quiet her suspicions.
"Why were you so impatient, batuchka? What is it?" she asked,
glancing at the pledge.
"The silver cigarette case of which I spoke the other day."
She held out her hand. "But why are you so pale, why do your hands
shake? What is the matter with you, batuchka?"
"Fever," replied he abruptly. "You would be pale too if you had
nothing to eat." He could hardly speak the words and felt his
strength failing. But there was some plausibility in his reply;
and the old woman took the pledge.
"What is it?" she asked once more, weighing it in her hand and
looking straight at her visitor.
"Cigarette case, silver, look at it."
"It doesn't feel as though it were silver. Oh! what a dreadful
She began to untie the packet and turned to the light (all the
windows were closed in spite of the heat). Her back was turned
toward Raskolnikoff, and for a few seconds she paid no further
attention to him. He opened his coat, freed the hatchet from the
loop, but did not yet take it from its hiding place; he held it
with his right hand beneath the garment. His limbs were weak, each
moment they grew more numbed and stiff. He feared his fingers
would relax their hold of the hatchet. Then his head turned giddy.
"What is this you bring me?" cried Alena Ivanovna, turning to him
in a rage.
There was not a moment to lose now. He pulled out the hatchet,
raised it with both hands, and let it descend without force, almost
mechanically, on the old woman's head. But directly he had struck
the blow his strength returned. According to her usual habit,
Alena Ivanovna was bareheaded. Her scanty gray locks, greasy with
oil, were gathered in one thin plait, which was fixed to the back
of her neck by means of a piece of horn comb. The hatchet struck
her just on the sinciput, and this was partly owing to her small
stature. She scarcely uttered a faint cry and collapsed at once
all in a heap on the floor; she was dead.
The murderer laid his hatchet down and at once began to search the
corpse, taking the greatest precaution not to get stained with the
blood; he remembered seeing Alena Ivanovna, on the occasion of his
last visit, take her keys from the right-hand pocket of her dress.
He was in full possession of his intellect; he felt neither giddy
nor dazed, but his hands continued to shake. Later on, he
recollected that he had been very prudent, very attentive, that he
had taken every care not to soil himself. It did not take him long
to find the keys; the same as the other day, they were all together
on a steel ring. Having secured. them, Raskolnikoff at once
passed into the bedroom. It was a very small apartment; on one
side was a large glass case full of holy images, on the other a
great bed looking very clean with its quilted-silk patchwork
coverlet. The third wall was occupied by a chest of drawers.
Strange to say, the young man had no sooner attempted to open them,
he had no sooner commenced to try the keys, than a kind of shudder
ran through his frame. Again the idea came to him to give up his
task and go away, but this weakness only lasted a second: it was
now too late to draw back.
He was even smiling at having for a moment entertained such a
thought, when he was suddenly seized with a terrible anxiety:
suppose the old woman were still alive, suppose she recovered
consciousness. Leaving at once the keys and the drawers, he
hastened to the corpse, seized the hatchet, and prepared to strike
another blow at his victim, but he found there was no necessity to
do so. Alena Ivanovna was dead beyond all doubt. Leaning over her
again to examine her closer, Raskolnikoff saw that the skull was
shattered. He was about to touch her with his fingers, but drew
back, as it was quite unnecessary. There was a pool of blood upon
the floor. Suddenly noticing a bit of cord round the old woman's
neck, the young man gave it a tug, but the gory stuff was strong,
and did not break. The murderer then tried to remove it by drawing
it down the body. But this second attempt was no more successful
than the first, the cord encountered some obstacle and became
fixed. Burning with impatience, Raskolnikoff brandished the
hatchet, ready to strike the corpse and sever the confounded string
at the same blow. However, he could not make up his mind to
proceed with such brutality. At last, after trying for two
minutes, and staining his hands with blood, he succeeded in
severing the cord with the blade of the hatchet without further
disfiguring the dead body. As he had imagined, there was a purse
suspended to the old woman's neck. Besides this there was also a
small enameled medal and two crosses, one of cypress wood, the
other of brass. The greasy purse, a little chamois-leather bag,
was as full as it could hold. Raskolnikoff thrust it in his pocket
without examining the contents. He then threw the crosses on his
victim's breast, and hastily returned to the bedroom, taking the
hatchet with him.
His impatience was now intense, he seized the keys, and again set
to work. But all his attempts to open the drawers were unavailing,
and this was not so much owing to the shaking of his hands as to
his continual misconceptions. He could see, for instance, that a
certain key would not fit the lock, and yet he continued to try and
insert it. All on a sudden he recalled a conjecture he had formed
on the occasion of his preceding visit: the big key with the
toothed wards, which was attached to the ring with the smaller
ones, probably belonged, not to the drawers, but to some box in
which the old woman, no doubt, hoarded up her valuables. Without
further troubling about the drawers, he at once looked under the
bed, aware that old women are in the habit of hiding their
treasures in such places. And there indeed was a trunk with
rounded lid, covered with red morocco and studded with steel nails.
Raskolnikoff was able to insert the key in the lock without the
least difficulty. When he opened the box he perceived a hareskin
cloak trimmed with red lying on a white sheet; beneath the fur was
a silk dress, and then a shawl, the rest of the contents appeared
to be nothing but rags. The young man commenced by wiping his
bloodstained hands on the red trimming. "It will not show so much
on red." Then he suddenly seemed to change his mind: "Heavens! am
I going mad?" thought he with fright.
But scarcely had he touched these clothes than a gold watch rolled
from under the fur. He then overhauled everything in the box.
Among the rags were various gold trinkets, which had all probably
been pledged with the old woman: bracelets, chains, earrings, scarf
pins, &c. Some were in their cases, while the others were tied up
with tape in pieces of newspaper folded in two. Raskolnikoff did
not hesitate, he laid hands on these jewels, and stowed them away
in the pockets of his coat and trousers, without opening the cases
or untying the packets; but he was soon interrupted in his work—
Footsteps resounded in the other room. He stopped short, frozen
with terror. But the noise having ceased, he was already imagining
he had been mistaken, when suddenly he distinctly heard a faint
cry, or rather a kind of feeble interrupted moan. At the end of a
minute or two, everything was again as silent as death.
Raskolnikoff had seated himself on the floor beside the trunk and
was waiting, scarcely daring to breathe; suddenly he bounded up,
caught up the hatchet, and rushed from the bedroom. In the center
of the apartment, Elizabeth, a huge bundle in her hands, stood
gazing in a terror-stricken way at her dead sister; white as a
sheet, she did not seem to have the strength to call out. On the
sudden appearance of the murderer, she began to quake in every
limb, and nervous twitches passed over her face; she tried to raise
her arm, to open her mouth, but she was unable to utter the least
cry, and, slowly retreating, her gaze still riveted on
Raskolnikoff, she sought refuge in a corner. The poor woman drew
back in perfect silence, as though she had no breath left in her
body. The young man rushed upon her, brandishing the hatchet; the
wretched creature's lips assumed the doleful expression peculiar to
quite young children when, beginning to feel frightened of
something, they gaze fixedly at the object which has raised their
alarm, and are on the point of crying out. Terror had so
completely stupefied this unfortunate Elizabeth, that, though
threatened by the hatchet, she did not even think of protecting her
face by holding her hands before her head, with that mechanical
gesture which the instinct of self-preservation prompts on such
occasions. She scarcely raised her left arm, and extended it
slowly in the direction of the murderer, as thought to keep him
off. The hatchet penetrated her skull, laying it open from the
upper part of the forehead to the crown. Elizabeth fell down dead.
No longer aware of what he did, Raskolnikoff took the bundle from
his victim's hand, then dropped it and ran to the anteroom.
He was more and more terrified, especially after this second
murder, entirely unpremeditated by him. He was in a hurry to be
gone; had he then been in a state to see things more clearly, had
he only been able to form an idea of the difficulties besetting his
position, to see how desperate, how hideous, how absurd it was, to
understand how many obstacles there still remained for him to
surmount, perhaps even crimes to commit, to escape from this house
and return home, he would most likely have withdrawn from the
struggle, and have gone at once and given himself up to justice; it
was not cowardice which would have prompted him to do so, but the
horror of what he had done. This last impression became more and
more powerful every minute. Nothing in the world could now have
made him return to the trunk, nor even reenter the room in which it
lay. Little by little his mind became diverted by other thoughts,
and he lapsed into a kind of reverie; at times the murderer seemed
to forget his position, or rather the most important part of it,
and to concentrate his attention on trifles. After a while,
happening to glance in the kitchen, he observed a pail half full of
water, standing on a bench, and that gave him the idea of washing
his hands and the hatchet. The blood had made his hands sticky.
After plunging the blade of the hatchet in the water, he took a
small piece of soap which lay on the window sill, and commenced his
ablutions. When he had washed his hands, he set to cleaning the
iron part of his weapon; then he devoted three minutes to soaping
the wooden handle, which was also stained with blood.
After this he wiped it with a cloth which had been hung up to dry
on a line stretched across the kitchen. This done, he drew near
the window and carefully examined the hatchet for some minutes.
The accusing stains had disappeared, but the handle was still damp.
Raskolnikoff carefully hid the weapon under his coat by replacing
it in the loop; after which, he minutely inspected his clothes,
that is to say so far as the dim light of the kitchen allowed him
to do so. He saw nothing suspicious about the coat and trousers,
but there were bloodstains on the boots. He removed them with the
aid of a damp rag. But these precautions only half reassured him,
for he knew that he could not see properly and that certain stains
had very likely escaped him. He stood irresolute in the middle of
the room, a prey to a somber, agonizing thought, the thought that
he was going mad, that at that moment he was not in a fit state to
come to a determination and to watch over his security, that his
way of going to work was probably not the one the circumstances
demanded. "Good heavens! I ought to go, to go away at once!"
murmured he, and he rushed to the anteroom where the greatest
terror he had yet experienced awaited him.
He stood stock-still, not daring to believe his eyes: the door of
the lodging, the outer door which opened on to the landing, the
same one at which he had rung a little while before and by which he
had entered, was open; up till then it had remained ajar, the old
woman had no doubt omitted to close it by way of precaution; it had
been neither locked nor bolted! But he had seen Elizabeth after
that. How was it that it had not occurred to him that she had come
in by way of the door? She could not have entered the lodging
through the wall. He shut the door and bolted it. "But no, that
is not what I should do? I must go away, go away." He drew back
the bolt and, after opening the door again, stood listening on the
He stood thus a long while. Down below, probably at the street
door, two noisy voices were vociferating insults. "Who can those
people be?" He waited patiently. At last the noise ceased, the
brawlers had taken their departure. The young man was about to do
the same, when a door on the floor immediately below was noisily
opened and some one went downstairs, humming a tune. "Whatever are
they all up to?" wondered Raskolnikoff, and closing the door again
he waited a while. At length all became silent as before; but just
as he was preparing to go down, he suddenly became aware of a fresh
sound, footsteps as yet far off, at the bottom of the staircase;
and he no sooner heard them than he guessed the truth:—some one
was coming THERE, to the old woman's on the fourth floor. Whence
came this presentiment? What was there so particularly significant
in the sound of these footsteps? They were heavy, regular, and
rather slow than hurried. HE has now reached the first floor, he
still continues to ascend. The sound is becoming plainer and
plainer. He pants as though with asthma at each step he takes. He
has commenced the third flight. He will soon be on the fourth!
And Raskolnikoff felt suddenly seized as with a general paralysis,
the same as happens when a person has the nightmare and fancies
himself pursued by enemies; they are on the point of catching him,
they will kill him, and yet he remains spellbound, unable to move a
The stranger was now ascending the fourth flight. Raskolnikoff,
who until then had been riveted to the landing with fright, was at
length able to shake off his torpor, and hastily reentered the
apartment, closing the door behind him. Then he bolted it, being
careful to make as little noise as possible. Instinct rather than
reason prompted him to do this. When he had finished, he remained
close to the door, listening, scarcely daring to breathe. The
visitor was now on the landing. Only the thickness of the door
separated the two men. The unknown was in the same position toward
Raskolnikoff as the latter had been a little while before toward
the old woman. The visitor stood panting for some little time.
"He must be stout and big," thought the young man as he clasped the
hatchet firmly in his hand. It was all like a dream to him. The
visitor gave a violent pull at the bell. He immediately fancied he
heard something move inside. He listened attentively during a few
seconds, then he gave another ring and again waited; suddenly
losing patience, he began to shake the door handle with all his
might. Raskolnikoff watched with terror the bolt trembling in the
socket, expecting to see it shoot back at any moment, so violent
were the jerks given to the door. It occurred to him to hold the
bolt in its place with his hand, but the MAN might have found it
out. His head was turning quite dizzy again. "I shall betray
myself!" thought he; but he suddenly recovered his presence of mind
as the unknown broke the silence.
"Are they both asleep, or has some one strangled them? The thrice-
confounded creatures!" growled the visitor in a guttural voice.
"Hi! Alena Ivanovna, you old sorceress! Elizabeth Ivanovna, you
indescribable beauty!—open! Oh! the witches! can they be asleep?"
In his exasperation he rang ten times running, and as loud as he
possibly could. This man was evidently not a stranger there, and
was in the habit of being obeyed. At the same moment some light
and rapid footsteps resounded on the staircase. It was another
person coming to the fourth floor. Raskolnikoff was not at first
aware of the newcomer's arrival.
"Is it possible that there's no one at home?" said the latter in a
loud and hearty tone of voice, addressing the first visitor who was
still tugging at the bell pull. "Good day, Koch!"
"Judging by his voice, he must be quite a young man," immediately
"The devil only knows! I've almost smashed the lock," replied
Koch. "But how is it you know me?"
"What a question! The day before yesterday I played you at
billiards, at Gambrinus's, and won three games right off."
"So they're not at home? That's strange. I might almost say it's
ridiculous. Where can the old woman have gone? I want to speak
"And I too, batuchka, I want to speak with her."
"Well, what's to be done? I suppose we must go back to whence we
came. I wanted to borrow some money of her!" exclaimed the young
"Of course we must go back again; but why then did she make an
appointment? She herself, the old witch, told me to come at this
hour. And it's a long way to where I live. Where the deuce can
she be? I don't understand it. She never stirs from one year's
end to the other, the old witch; she quite rots in the place, her
legs have always got something the matter with them, and now all on
a sudden she goes gallivanting about!"
"Suppose we question the porter?"
"To find out where she's gone and when she will be back."
"Hum!—the deuce!—question!—but she never goes anywhere." And he
again tugged at the door handle. "The devil take her! there's
nothing to be done but to go."
"Wait!" suddenly exclaimed the young man, "look!—do you notice how
the door resists when we pull it?"
"Well, what then?"
"Why, that shows that it's not locked, but bolted! Hark how it
"Don't you understand? That shows that one of them must be at
home. If both were out, they would have locked the door after
them, and not have bolted it inside. Listen, don't you hear the
noise it makes? Well, to bolt one's door, one must be at home, you
understand. Therefore it follows that they are at home, only for
some reason or other they don't open the door!"
"Why, yes, you're right!" exclaimed the astonished Koch. "So
they're there, are they?" And he again shook the door violently.
"Stay!" resumed the young man, "don't pull like that. There's
something peculiar about this. You've rung, you've pulled at the
door with all your might, and they haven't answered you; therefore,
they've either both fainted away, or—"
"This is what we had better do: have the porter up, so that he may
find out what's the matter."
"That's not a bad idea!"
They both started downstairs.
"Stop! you stay here; I'll fetch the porter."
"Why stay here?"
"Well, one never knows what might happen—"
"You see, I might also pass for an examining magistrate! There's
something very peculiar about all this, that's evident, e-vi-dent!"
said the young man excitedly, and he hastily made his way down the
Left alone, Koch rang again, but gently this time; then, with a
thoughtful air, he began to play with the door handle, turning it
first one way, then the other, so as to make sure the door was only
bolted. After this, with a great deal of puffing and blowing, he
stooped down to look through the keyhole, but the key was in the
lock, and turned in such a way that one could not see through.
Standing up on the other side of the door, Raskolnikoff still held
the hatchet in his hands. He was almost in a state of delirium and
was preparing to attack the two men the moment they forced an
entrance. More than once, on hearing them knocking and planning
together, he had felt inclined to put an end to the matter there
and then by calling out to them. At times he experienced a desire
to abuse and defy them, while awaiting their irruption. "The
sooner it's over the better!" he kept thinking.
"The devil take them!" The time passed; still no one came. Koch
was beginning to lose patience. "The devil take them!" he muttered
again, and, tired of waiting, he relinquished his watch to go and
find the young man. By degrees the sound of his heavy boots
echoing on the stairs ceased to be heard.
"Heavens! What shall I do?"
Raskolnikoff drew back the bolt and opened the door a few inches.
Reassured by the silence which reigned in the house, and, moreover,
scarcely in a fit state at the time to reflect on what he did, he
went out on to the landing, shut the door behind him as securely as
he could and turned to go downstairs. He had already descended
several steps when suddenly a great uproar arose from one of the
floors below. Where could he hide? Concealment was impossible, so
he hastened upstairs again.
"Hi there! hang it! stop!"
He who uttered these cries had just burst out of one of the
lodgings, and was rushing down the stairs as fast as his legs would
carry him, yelling the while: "Dmitri! Dmitri! Dmitri! May the
devil take the fool!"
The rest died away in the distance; the man who was uttering these
cries had already left the house far behind. All was once more
silent; but scarcely was this alarm over than a fresh one succeeded
it: several individuals talking together in a loud tone of voice
were noisily coming up the stairs. There were three or four of
them. Raskolnikoff recognized the young man's sonorous accents.
"It is they!" No longer hoping to escape them, he advanced boldly
to meet them: "Let happen what will!" said he to himself: "if they
stop me, all is over; if they let me pass, all is over just the
same: they will remember passing me on the stairs." They were
about to encounter him, only one flight separated them—when
suddenly he felt himself saved! A few steps from him, to the
right, there was an empty lodging with the door wide open, it was
that same one on the second floor where he had seen the painters
working, but, by a happy chance, they had just left it. It was
they, no doubt, who a few minutes before had gone off, uttering
those shouts. The paint on the floors was quite fresh, the workmen
had left their things in the middle of the room: a small tub, some
paint in an earthenware crock, and a big brush. In the twinkling
of an eye, Raskolnikoff glided into the deserted apartment and hid
himself as best he could up against the wall. It was none too
soon: his pursuers were already on the landing; they did not stop
there, however, but went on up to the fourth floor, talking loudly
among themselves. After waiting till they had got some distance
off, he left the room on tiptoe and hurried down as fast as his
legs would carry him. No one on the stairs! No one either at the
street door! He stepped briskly outside, and, once in the street,
turned to the left.
He knew very well, he knew without a doubt, that they who were
seeking him were at that moment in the old woman's lodging, and
were amazed to find that the door, which a little while before had
been shut so securely, was now open. 'They're examining the
corpses," thought he; "it won't take them a minute to come to the
conclusion that the murderer managed to hide himself from them as
they went up the stairs; perhaps they may even have a suspicion
that he stowed himself away in the empty lodging on the second
floor while they were hurrying to the upper part of the house."
But, in spite of these reflections, he did not dare to increase his
pace, though he still had a hundred steps or so to go before
reaching the first turning. "Suppose I slipped into some doorway,
in some out-of-the-way street, and waited there a few minutes? No,
that would never do! I might throw my hatchet away somewhere? or
take a cab? No good! no good!" At last he reached a narrow lane;
he entered it more dead than alive. There, he was almost in
safety, and he knew it: in such a place, suspicion could hardly be
fixed upon him; while, on the other hand, it was easier for him to
avoid notice by mingling with the crowd. But all these agonizing
events had so enfeebled him that he could scarcely keep on his
legs. Great drops of perspiration streamed down his face; his neck
was quite wet. "I think you've had your fill!" shouted some one
who took him for a drunken man as he reached the canal bank.
He no longer knew what he was doing; the farther he went, the more
obscure became his ideas. However, when he found himself on the
quay, he became frightened at seeing so few people there, and,
fearing that he might be noticed on so deserted a spot, he returned
to the lane. Though he had hardly the strength to put one leg
before the other, he nevertheless took the longest way to reach his
home. He had scarcely recovered his presence of mind even when he
crossed the threshold; at least the thought of the hatchet never
came to him until he was on the stairs. Yet the question he had to
solve was a most serious one: it consisted in returning the hatchet
to the place he had taken it from, and in doing so without
attracting the least attention. Had he been more capable of
considering his position, he would certainly have understood that,
instead of replacing the hatchet, it would be far safer to get rid
of it by throwing it into the yard of some other house.
Nevertheless he met with no mishap. The door of the porter's lodge
was closed, though not locked; to all appearance, therefore, the
porter was at home. But Raskolnikoff had so thoroughly lost all
faculty of preparing any kind of plan, that he walked straight to
the door and opened it. If the porter had asked him: "What do you
want?" perhaps he would simply have handed him the hatchet. But,
the same as on the previous occasion, the porter was absent, and
this gave the young man every facility to replace the hatchet under
the bench, exactly where he had found it. Then he went upstairs
and reached his room without meeting a soul; the door of his
landlady's apartments was shut. Once home again, he threw himself
on his couch just as he was. He did not sleep, but lay in a sort
of semiconsciousness. If anybody had then appeared before him, he
would have sprung up and cried out. His head was swimming with a
host of vague thoughts: do what he could, he was unable to follow
the thread of one of them.
Raskolnikoff lay on the couch a very long while. At times he
seemed to rouse from this half sleep, and then he noticed that the
night was very far advanced, but still it never entered his head to
rise. Soon it began to brighten into day, and the dawn found him
in a state of stupefaction, lying motionless on his back. A
desperate clamor, and sounds of brawls from the streets below, rose
to his ears. These awakened him thoroughly, although he heard them
every morning early at the same hour. "Ah! two o'clock, drinking
is over," and he started up as though some one had pulled him off
the couch. "What! two o'clock already?" He sat on the edge of the
couch and then recollected everything, in an instant it all came
back! At first he thought he was going out of his mind, a strange
chill pervaded his frame, but the cold arose from the fever which
had seized upon him during his sleep. He shivered until his teeth
chattered, and all his limbs fairly shook. He went to the door,
opened it, and listened; all was silent in the house. With
astonishment he turned and looked round the room. How could he
have come home the night before, not bolted the door, and thrown
himself on the couch just as he was, not only not undressed, but
with his hat on? There it lay in the middle of the floor where it
had rolled. "If anyone came in, what would he think? That I am
drunk, of course."
He went to the window—it was pretty light—and looked himself all
over from head to foot, to see if there were any stains on his
clothes. But he could not rely upon that sort of inspection; so,
still shivering, he undressed and examined his clothes again,
looking everywhere with the greatest care. To make quite sure, he
went over them three times. He discovered nothing but a few drops
of clotted blood on the ends of his trousers which were very much
frayed. He took a big clasp-knife and cut off the frayed edges.
Suddenly he remembered that the purse and the things he had
abstracted from the old woman's chest, were still in his pockets!
He had never thought of taking them out and hiding them! indeed, it
had never crossed his mind that they were in his pockets while
examining his clothes! Was it possible? In a second he emptied
all out on to the table in a heap. Then, turning his pockets
inside out to make sure there was nothing left in them, he carried
the things to a corner of the room. Just there, the paper was
hanging loose from the wall; he bent down and commenced to stuff
all the things into a hole behind the paper. "There, it's all out
of sight!" thought he gleefully, as he stood gazing stupidly at the
spot where the paper bulged out more than ever. Suddenly he began
to shudder from terror. "Good heavens!" murmured he in despair,
"what is the matter with me? Is that hidden? Is that the way to
Indeed, he had not reckoned on such spoil, he had only thought of
taking the old woman's money; so he was not prepared with a hiding
place for the jewels. "I have no cause to rejoice now," thought
he. "Is that the way to hide anything? I must really be losing my
senses!" He sunk on the couch again exhausted; another fit of
intolerable shivering seized him, and he mechanically pulled his
old student's cloak over him for warmth, as he fell into a
delirious sleep. He lost all consciousness of himself. Not more
than five minutes had elapsed before he woke up in intense
excitement, and bent over his clothes in the deepest anguish. "How
could I go to sleep again when nothing is done! For I have done
nothing, the loop is still where I sewed it. I forgot all about
that! What a convincing proof it would have been." He ripped it
off and tore it into shreds which he placed among his underlinen
under the pillow. "These rags cannot awaken any suspicions, I
fancy; at least, so it seems to me," repeated he, standing up in
the middle of the room, and, with an attempt rendered all the more
painful by the effort it cost him, he looked all round, trying to
make sure he had forgotten nothing. He suffered cruelly from this
conviction, that everything, even memory, even the most elementary
prudence, was abandoning him.
"Can this be the punishment already beginning? Indeed! indeed! it
And indeed the frayed edges he had cut from the bottom of his
trousers were lying on the floor, in the middle of the room,
exposed to the view of the first comer. "But what can I be
thinking of?" exclaimed he in utter bewilderment. Then a strange
idea came into his head; he thought that perhaps all his clothes
were saturated in blood, and that he could not see this because his
senses were gone and his perception of things lost. Then he
recollected that there would be traces on the purse, and his
pockets would be wet with blood. It was so. "I am bereft of my
reason, I know not what I am doing. Bah! not at all!—it is only
weakness, delirium. I shall soon be better." He tore at the
lining. At this moment the rays of the morning streamed in and
shone on his left boot. There were plain traces, and all the point
was covered. "I must have stepped in that pool. What shall I do
now? Boot, lining, rags, where shall they go?" He rolled them up
and stood thinking in the middle of the room. "Ah, the stove.
Yes, burn them. No, I cannot, I have no match. Better throw them
away. Yes, yes, that is the thing," said he, again sitting on the
couch. "At once, and without delay too, quick." But, instead, his
head fell back upon the pillow, and chilly shiverings again came
over him. He covered himself with his cloak and slept again. It
appeared hours to him, and many a time in his sleep he tried to
rise to hasten to throw away his bundle, but he could not, he
seemed chained to the bed. At last he awoke, as he heard a loud
knock at his door.
"Eh, open, will you?" cried Nastasia. "Don't lie there like a dog.
It's eleven o'clock."
"Perhaps he is not in," said a man's voice.
"The porter's voice. What does he want?" Raskolnikoff rose, and
sat on the couch listening. His heart throbbed violently.
"Who has bolted the door then?" exclaimed the servant. "Open, will
"All must be discovered?" He rose a little and undid the bolt, and
fell back again on his bed. There stood the porter and Nastasia.
The servant looked strangely at Raskolnikoff, while he fixed a
despairing glance upon the porter.
"Here is a notice for you from the office," said the latter.
"The police office."
"I don't know. You are summoned there, go." The porter looked
anxiously at the lodger, and turned to leave. Raskolnikoff made no
observation, and held the paper unopened in his hand.
"There, stay where you are," said Nastasia, seeing him fall back on
the couch. "If you are ill, do not go. What is that in your
He looked down; in his right hand were clutched the pieces of
frayed cloth, his boot, and the lining of his pocket. He had
evidently fallen asleep with them as they were; indeed he
recollected how, thinking deeply about them, he had dozed away.
"The idea of taking a lot of rags to bed and hugging them to you
like a treasure!" laughed the servant in her sickly manner.
In a second he hid all under his coat and looked at her
attentively. Although little was capable of passing in his mind,
he felt she would not talk thus to a man under arrest for a crime.
But then, the police?
"Is there anything you want? You stay here, I will bring it."
"No, I will go. I am going at once," murmured he, rising to his
She went out after the porter. As soon as she had disappeared, he
rushed to the light to look at his boot. Yes, there were spots,
but not very plain, all covered with mud. But who would
distinguish them? Nastasia could know nothing, thank heavens!
Then with trembling hand he tore open the notice, and began to
read. At last he understood; it was simply the usual notice to
report himself at the office of the district that day at half-past
"But why to-day?" cried he. "Lord, let it be over soon." He was
about to fall down on his knees to pray, when a fit of laughter
seized him. "I must trust to myself, not to prayers." He quickly
dressed himself. "Shall I put the boot on?" he thought, "better
throw it away, and hide all traces of it." Nevertheless he put it
on, only, however, to throw it off again with an expression of
horror. As, however, he recollected he had no other, a smile came
to his face, and he drew it on once more. Again his face changed
into deep despair, his limbs shook more and more. "This is not
from exertion," thought he, "it is fear." His head spun round and
round and his temples throbbed visibly.
On the stairs he recollected that all the things were in the hole
in the wall, and then where was his certificate of birth? He
stopped to think. But such despair, and, if it may be so called,
cynicism, took hold of him, that he simply shook his head and went
out. The sooner over, the better. Once again in the open air, he
encountered the same insufferable heat, the dust, and the people in
drink rolling about the streets. The sun caught him full in the
eyes and almost blinded him, while his head spun round and round,
as is usual in fever. On reaching the turning into the street he
had taken the day before, he glanced in great agitation in the
direction of the house, but immediately averted his eyes again.
"If they ask me, I should confess, perhaps," said he to himself, as
he turned away and made for the office. This was not far distant,
in a new house, on the fourth floor. As he entered the court, he
saw to the right of him a staircase, ascending which was a man
carrying some books. "It was evidently there." He did not think
"I will go and fall on my knees and confess all," he murmured, and
began to ascend the narrow and very steep stairs. On every floor
the doors of the kitchens of the several apartments stood open to
the staircase, and emitted a suffocating, sickening odor. The
entrance to the office he was in search of was also wide open, and
he walked in. A number of persons were waiting in the anteroom.
The stench was simply intolerable, and was intensified by the smell
of fresh paint. Pausing a little, he decided to advance farther
into the small low room. He became impatient when he found no one
took any notice of him. In an inner room were seated a number of
clerks engaged in writing. He went up to one of these.
"What do you want?" Raskolnikoff showed him the notice.
"You are a student?" asked a clerk, glancing at the notice.
"Yes;—that is, I used to be."
The clerk glanced at him—without, however, any particular
curiosity. He was a man with unkempt hair and an expressionless
"There is nothing to be learned from him, evidently," thought
"Step in there to the head clerk," said the man, pointing to a
farther room, which was quite full of people, among whom were two
The assistant district officer, a man adorned with red whiskers
standing out on either side of his face, and with extremely small
features, looked up impatiently at Raskolnikoff, whose filthy
attire was by no means prepossessing. The latter returned his
glance calmly and straight in the face, and in such a manner as to
give the officer offense.
"What do you want here?" he cried, apparently surprised that such a
ragged beggar was not knocked down by his thunder-bearing glance.
"I am here because I was summoned," stammered Raskolnikoff.
"It is for the recovery of money lent," said the head clerk.
"Here!" and he threw a paper to Raskolnikoff, "Read!"
"Money? What money? It cannot be that," thought the young man,
and he trembled with joy. Everything became clear, and the load
fell off his shoulders.
"At what hour did you receive this, sir?" cried the lieutenant;
"you were told to come at nine o'clock, and now it is nearly
"I received it a quarter of an hour ago," loudly replied
Raskolnikoff, over his shoulder, suddenly angered, "and it is
sufficient to say that I am ill with a fever."
"Please not to bawl!"
"I did not bawl, but spoke plainly; it is you that bawl. I am a
student, and am not going to have you speak to me in that fashion."
The officer became enraged, and fumed so that only splutters flew
out of his mouth. He jumped up from his place. "Please keep
silence. You are in court. Don't be insolent."
"And so are you in court; and, besides bawling, you are smoking, so
you are wanting in politeness to the whole company." As he said
this, Raskolnikoff felt an inexpressible delight at his
maliciousness. The clerk looked up with a smile. The choleric
officer was clearly nonplused.
"That is not your business, sir," he cried at last, unnaturally
loud. "Make the necessary declaration. Show him, Alexander
Gregorivitch. Complaints have been made about you! You don't pay
your debts! You know how to fly the kite evidently!"
Raskolnikoff did not listen, but greedily seized the paper. He
read it through more than once, and could make nothing of it.
"What is this?" he asked of the clerk.
"It is a writ for recovery on a note of hand of yours. Please
write," said the clerk.
"Write what?" asked he rudely.
"As I dictate."
The clerk stood near and dictated to him the usual form of
declaration: that he was unable to pay, that he would not quit the
capital, dispose of his goods in any way, etc., etc.
"You cannot write, your pen is falling from your fingers," said the
clerk, and he looked him in the face. "Are you ill?"
"Yes, my head swims. Go on."
"That is all. Now sign it."
Raskolnikoff let fall the pen, and seemed as if about to rise and
go; but, instead of doing so, he laid both elbows on the table and
supported his head with his hands. A new idea formed in his mind:
to rise immediately, go straight to Nicodemus Thomich the ward
officer and tell him all that had occurred; then to accompany him
to his room, and show him all the things hidden away in the wall
behind the paper. His desire to do all this was of such strength
that he got up from the table to carry his design into execution.
"Reflect, reflect a moment!" ran in his head. "No, better not
think, get it off my shoulders." Suddenly he stood still as if
shot. Nicodemus Thomich was at this moment hotly discussing
something with Elia Petrovitch, the inspector of police, and the
words caught Raskolnikoff's anxious attention. He listened.
"It cannot be, they will both be released. In the first place, all
is contradictory. Consider. Why did they call the porter if it
were their work? To denounce themselves? Or out of cunning? Not
at all, that would be too much! Besides, did not the porter see
the student Pestriakoff at the very gate just as he came in, and he
stood there some time with three friends who had accompanied him.
And Koch: was he not below in the silversmith's for half an hour
before he went up to the old woman's? Now, consider."
"But see what contradictions arise! They say they knocked and
found the door closed; yet three minutes after, when they went back
with the porter, it was open."
"That's true. The murderer was inside, and had bolted the door,
and certainly he would have been captured had not Koch foolishly
run off to the porter. In the interval HE, no doubt, had time to
escape downstairs. Koch explains that, if he had remained, the man
would have leaped out and killed him. He wanted to have a Te Deum
sung. Ha, ha!"
"Did nobody see the murderer?"
"How could they? The house is a perfect Noah's ark," put in the
clerk, who had been listening.
"The thing is clear, very clear," said Nicodemus Thomich
"Not at all! Not at all!" cried Elia Petrovitch, in reply.
Raskolnikoff took up his hat and made for the door, but he never
reached it. When he came to himself he found he was sitting on a
chair, supported on the right by some unknown man, while to his
left stood another, holding some yellow water in a yellow glass.
Nicodemus Thomich, standing before him, was looking at him fixedly.
"What is it? Are you ill?" asked the officer sharply.
"He could hardly hold the pen to sign his name," the clerk
explained, at the same time going back to his books.
"Have you been ill very long?" cried Elia Petrovitch from his
table; he had run to see the swoon and returned to his place.
"Since yesterday," murmured Raskolnikoff in reply.
"You went out yesterday?"
"At what time?"
"Eight o'clock in the evening."
"Where did you go, allow me to ask?"
"In the streets."
"Concise and clear."
Raskolnikoff had replied sharply, in a broken voice, his face as
pale as a handkerchief, and with his black swollen eyes averted
from Elia Petrovitch's scrutinizing glance.
"He can hardly stand on his legs. Do you want to ask anything
more?" said Nicodemus Thomich.
"Nothing," replied Elia Petrovitch.
Nicodemus Thomich evidently wished to say more, but, turning to the
clerk, who in turn glanced expressively at him, the latter became
silent, all suddenly stopped speaking. It was strange.
Raskolnikoff went out. As he descended the stairs he could hear an
animated discussion had broken out, and above all, the
interrogative voice of Nicodemus Thomich. In the street he came to
"Search, search! they are going to search!" he cried. "The
scoundrels, they suspect me!" The old dread seized him again, from
head to foot.
Here was the room. All was quiet, and no one had, apparently,
disturbed it—not even Nastasia. But, heavens! how could he have
left all those things where they were? He rushed to the corner,
pushed his hands behind the paper, took out the things, and thrust
them in his pockets. There were eight articles in all: two little
boxes with earrings or something of that description, then four
little morocco cases; a chain wrapped up in paper, and something
else done up in a common piece of newspaper—possibly a decoration.
Raskolnikoff distributed these, together with the purse, about his
person, in order to make them less noticeable, and quitted the room
again. All the time he had left the door wide open. He went away
hurriedly, fearing pursuit. Perhaps in a few minutes orders would
be issued to hunt him down, so he must hide all traces of his theft
at once; and he would do so while he had strength and reason left
him. But where should he go?
This had been long decided. Throw the lot in the canal and the
matter would be at an end! So he had resolved in that night of
delirium, when he cried out, "Quick, quick! throw all away!" But
this was not so easy. He wandered to the quays of the Catherine
Canal, and lingered there for half an hour. Here a washing raft
lay where he had thought of sinking his spoil, or there boats were
moored, and everywhere people swarmed. Then, again, would the
cases sink? Would they not rather float? No, this would not do.
He would go to the Neva; there would be fewer people there and more
room, and it would be more convenient. He recognized that he had
been wandering about for fully half an hour, and in dangerous
places. He must make haste. He made his way to the river, but
soon came to another standstill. Why in the Neva? Why in the
water at all? Better some solitary place in a wood, or under some
bushes. Dig a hole and bury them! He felt he was not in a
condition to deliberate clearly and soundly, but this idea appeared
This idea also, however, was not destined to be realized, and
another took its place. As he passed the V—— Prospect, he
suddenly noticed on the left an entrance into a court, which was
surrounded entirely by high walls. On the right, a long way up the
court, rose the side of a huge four-storied building. To the left,
parallel with the walls of the house, and commencing immediately at
the gate, there ran a wooden hoarding of about twenty paces down
the court. Then came a space where a lot of rubbish was deposited;
while farther down, at the bottom of the court, was a shed,
apparently part of some workshop, possibly that of a carpenter or
coach builder. Everything appeared as black as coal dust. Here
was the very place, he thought; and, after looking round, went up
the court. Behind the door he espied a large unworked stone,
weighing about fifty pounds, which lay close up against the
hoarding. No one could see him where he stood; he was entirely
free from observation. He bent down to the stone, managed to turn
it over after considerable effort, and found underneath a small
cavity. He threw in the cases, and then the purse on the top of
all. The stone was not perceptibly higher when he had replaced it,
and little traces of its having been moved could be noticed. So he
pressed some earth against the edges with his foot, and made off.
He laughed for joy when again in the street. All traces were gone,
and who would think of looking there? And if they were found who
would suspect him? All proofs were gone, and he laughed again.
Yes, he recollected afterwards how he laughed—a long, nervous,
lingering laugh, lasting all the time he was in that street.
He reached home toward evening, perhaps at about eight o'clock—
how, and by what particular way he never recollected—but, speedily
undressing, he lay down on the couch, trembling like a beaten
horse, and, drawing his overcoat over him, he fell immediately into
a deep sleep. He awoke in a high fever and delirious. Some days
later he came to himself, rose and went out. It was eight o'clock,
and the sun had disappeared. The heat was as intolerable as
before, but he inhaled the dusty, fetid, infected town air with
greediness. And now his head began to spin round, and a wild
expression of energy crept into his inflamed eyes and pale, meager,
wan face. He did not know, did not even think, what he was going
to do; he only knew that all was to be finished "to-day," at one
blow, immediately, or he would never return home, because he had no
desire to live thus. How to finish? By what means? No matter
how, and he did not want to think. He drove away any thoughts
which disturbed him, and only clung to the necessity of ending all,
"no matter how," said he, with desperate self-confidence and
decision. By force of habit he took his old walk, and set out in
the direction of the Haymarket. Farther on, he came on a young man
who was grinding some very feeling ballads upon a barrel organ.
Near the man, on the footpath, was a young girl of about fifteen
years of age, fashionably dressed, with crinoline, mantle, and
gloves, and a straw hat trimmed with gaudy feathers, but all old
and terribly worn out, who, in a loud and cracked though not
altogether unpleasing voice, was singing before a shop in
expectation of a couple of kopecks. Raskolnikoff stopped and
joined one or two listeners, took out a five-kopeck piece, and gave
it to the girl. The latter at once stopped on a very high note
which she had just reached, and cried to the man, "Come along," and
both immediately moved on to another place.
"Do you like street music?" said Raskolnikoff to a middle-aged man
standing near him. The latter looked at him in surprise, but
smiled. "I love it," continued Raskolnikoff, "especially when they
sing to the organ on a cold, dark, gray winter's evening, when all
the passers-by seem to have pale, green, sickly-looking faces—when
the snow is falling like a sleet, straight down and with no wind,
you know, and while the lamps shine on it all."
"I don't know. Excuse me," said the man, frightened at the
question and Raskolnikoff's strange appearance, and hastily
withdrawing to the other side of the street.
Raskolnikoff went on, and came to the place in the Hay-market where
he had met the trader and his wife and Elizabeth. No one was there
at the moment. He stopped, and turned to a young fellow, in a red
shirt, who was gaping at the entrance to a flour shop.
"A man trades here at this corner, with his wife, eh?"
"Everyone trades here," replied the lad, scanning his questioner
from head to foot.
"What is he called?"
"What he was christened."
"But you belong to Zaraisk, don't you? To what Government?"
The boy stared at Raskolnikoff. "We have no governor, your
highness, but districts. I stay at home, and know nothing about
it, but my brother does; so pardon me, your most mighty highness."
"Is that an eating house there?"
"That's a dram shop; they have a billiard table."
"There are newspapers here?" asked he, as he entered a room—one of
a suite—rather empty. Two or three persons sat with tea before
them, while in a farther room a group of men were seated, drinking
champagne. Raskolnikoff thought he recognized Zametoff among them,
but be could not be sure. "Never mind, if it is!" he muttered.
"Brandy, sir?" asked the waiter.
"No, tea; and bring me some newspapers—for about the last five
days. I'll give you a drink."
The papers and the tea appeared. Raskolnikoff sat and searched,
and, at last, found what he wanted. "Ah, here it is!" he cried, as
he began to read. The words danced before his eyes, but he read
greedily to the end, and turned to others for later intelligence.
His hands trembled with impatience, and the sheets shook again.
Suddenly some one sat down near him. He looked up, and there was
Zametoff—that same Zametoff, with his rings and chain, his oiled
locks and fancy waistcoat and unclean linen. He seemed pleased,
and his tanned face, a little inflamed by the champagne, wore a
"Ah! you here?" he commenced, in a tone as if he had known
Raskolnikoff for an age. "Why Razoumikhin told me yesterday that
you were lying unconscious. How strange! Then I was at your
Raskolnikoff laid down the paper and turned to Zametoff. On his
lips was a slight provoking smile. "I know you were," he replied,
"I heard so. You searched for my boot. To what agreeable places
you resort. Who gives you champagne to drink?"
"We were drinking together. What do you mean?"
"Nothing, dear boy, nothing," said Raskolnikoff, with a smile and
slapping Zametoff on the shoulders. "I am not in earnest, but
simply in fun, as your workman said, when he wrestled with Dmitri,
you know, in that murder case."
"Do you know about that?"
"Yes, and perhaps more than you do."
"You are very peculiar. It is a pity you came out. You are ill."
"Do I seem strange?"
"Yes; what are you reading?"
"There are a number of fires."
"I am not reading about them." He looked curiously at Zametoff,
and a malicious smile distorted his lips. "No, fires are not in my
line," he added, winking at Zametoff. "Now, I should like to know,
sweet youth, what it signifies to you what I read?"
"Nothing at all. I only asked. Perhaps I—"
"Listen. You are a cultivated man—a literary man, are you not?"
"I was in the sixth class at college," Zametoff answered, with a
certain amount of dignity.
"The sixth! Oh, my fine fellow! With rings and a chain—a rich
man! You are a dear boy," and Raskolnikoff gave a short, nervous
laugh, right in the face of Zametoff. The latter was very much
taken aback, and, if not offended, seemed a good deal surprised.
"How strange you are!" said Zametoff seriously. "You have the
fever still on you; you are raving!"
"Am I, my fine fellow—am I strange? Yes, but I am very
interesting to you, am I not?"
"Yes. You ask me what I am reading, what I am looking for; then I
am looking through a number of papers. Suspicious, isn't it?
Well, I will explain to you, or rather confess—no, not that
exactly. I will give testimony, and you shall take it down—that's
it. So then, I swear that I was reading, and came here on
purpose"—Raskolnikoff blinked his eyes and paused—"to read an
account of the murder of the old woman." He finished almost in a
whisper, eagerly watching Zametoff's face. The latter returned his
glances without flinching. And it appeared strange to Zametoff
that a full minute seemed to pass as they kept fixedly staring at
each other in this manner.
"Oh, so that's what you have been reading?" Zametoff at last cried
impatiently. "What is there in that?"
"She is the same woman," continued Raskolnikoff, still in a
whisper, and taking no notice of Zametoff's remark, "the very same
woman you were talking about when I swooned in your office. You
recollect—you surely recollect?"
"Recollect what?" said Zametoff, almost alarmed.
The serious expression on Raskolnikoff's face altered in an
instant, and he again commenced his nervous laugh, and laughed as
if he were quite unable to contain himself. There had recurred to
his mind, with fearful clearness, the moment when he stood at the
door with the hatchet in his hand. There he was, holding the bolt,
and they were tugging and thumping away at the door. Oh, how he
itched to shriek at them, open the door, thrust out his tongue at
them, and frighten them away, and then laugh, "Ah, ah, ah, ah!"
"You are insane, or else—" said Zametoff, and then paused as if a
new thought had suddenly struck him.
"Or what, or what? Now what? Tell me!"
"Nonsense!" said Zametoff to himself, "it can't be." Both became
silent. After this unexpected and fitful outburst of laughter,
Raskolnikoff had become lost in thought and looked very sad. He
leaned on the table with his elbows, buried his head in his hands,
and seemed to have quite forgotten Zametoff. The silence continued
a long time. "You do not drink your tea; it is getting cold," said
the latter, at last.
"What? Tea? Yes!" Raskolnikoff snatched at his glass, put a
piece of bread in his mouth, and then, after looking at Zametoff,
seemingly recollected and roused himself. His face at once resumed
its previous smile, and he continued to sip his tea.
"What a number of rogues there are about," Zametoff said. "I read
not long ago, in the Moscow papers, that they had captured a whole
gang of forgers in that city. Quite a colony."
"That's old news. I read it a month ago," replied Raskolnikoff in
a careless manner. "And you call such as these rogues?" he added,
"Rogues indeed! Why, they are only children and babies. Fifty
banded together for such purposes! Is it possible? Three would be
quite sufficient, and then they should be sure of one another—not
babble over their cups. The babies! Then to hire unreliable
people to change the notes at the money changers', persons whose
hands tremble as they receive the rubles. On such their lives
depend! Far better to strangle yourself! The man goes in,
receives the change, counts some over, the last portion he takes on
faith, stuffs all in his pocket, rushes away and the murder is out.
All is lost by one foolish man. Is it not ridiculous?"
"That his hands should shake?" replied Zametoff. "No; that is
quite likely. Yours would not, I suppose? I could not endure it,
though. For a paltry reward of a hundred rubles to go on such a
mission! And where? Into a banker's office with forged notes! I
should certainly lose my head. Would not you?"
Raskolnikoff felt again a strong impulse to make a face at him. A
shiver ran down his back. "You would not catch me acting so
foolishly," he commenced. "This is how I should do. I should
count over the first thousand very carefully, perhaps four times,
right to the end, carefully examine each note, and then only pass
to the second thousand, count these as far as the middle of the
bundle, take out a note, hold it to the light, turn it over, then
hold it to the light again, and say, 'I fear this is a bad note,'
and then begin to relate some story about a lost note. Then there
would be a third thousand to count. Not yet, please, there is a
mistake in the second thousand. No, it is correct. And so I
should proceed until I had received all. At last I should turn to
go, open the door, but, no, pardon me! I should return, ask some
question, receive some explanation, and there it is all done."
"What funny things you do say!" said Zametoff with a smile. "You
are all very well theoretically, but try it and see. Look, for
example, at the murder of the money lender, a case in point. There
was a desperate villain who in broad daylight stopped at nothing,
and yet his hand shook, did it not?—and he could not finish, and
left all the spoil behind him. The deed evidently robbed him of
his presence of mind."
This language nettled Raskolnikoff. "You think so? Then lay your
hand upon him," said he, maliciously delighted to tease him.
"Never fear but we shall!"
"You? Go to, you know nothing about it. All you think of
inquiring is whether a man is flinging money about; he is—then,
ergo he is guilty."
"That is exactly what they do," replied Zametoff, "they murder,
risk their lives, and then rush to the public house and are caught.
Their lavishness betrays them. You see they are not all so crafty
as you are. You would not run there, I suppose?"
Raskolnikoff frowned and looked steadily at Zametoff. "You seem
anxious to know how I should act," he said with some displeasure.
"I should very much like to know," replied Zametoff in a serious
tone. He seemed, indeed, very anxious.
"Good. This would be my plan," Raskolnikoff said, as he again bent
near to the face of his listener, and speaking in such a tragic
whisper as almost to make the latter shudder. "I should take the
money and all I could find, and make off, going, however, in no
particular direction, but on and on until I came to some obscure
and inclosed place, where no one was about—a market garden, or any
such-like spot. I should then look about me for a stone, perhaps a
pound and a half in weight, lying, it may be, in a corner against a
partition, say a stone used for building purposes; this I should
lift up and under it there would be a hole. In that hole I should
deposit all the things I had got, roll back the stone, stamp it
down with my feet, and be off. For a year I should let them lie—
for two years, three years. Now then, search for them! Where are
"You are indeed mad," said Zametoff, also in a low tone, but
turning away from Raskolnikoff. The latter's eyes glistened, he
became paler than ever, while his upper lip trembled violently. He
placed his face closer, if possible, to that of Zametoff, his lips
moving as if he wished to speak, but no words escaped them—several
moments elapsed—Raskolnikoff knew what he was doing, but felt
utterly unable to control himself, that strange impulse was upon
him as when he stood at the bolted door, to come forth and let all
"What if I killed the old woman and Elizabeth?" he asked suddenly,
and then—came to himself.
Zametoff turned quite pale; then his face changed to a smile. "Can
it be so?" he muttered to himself.
Raskolnikoff eyed him savagely. "Speak out. What do you think?
Yes? Is it so?"
"Of course not. I believe it now less than ever," replied Zametoff
"Caught at last! caught, my fine fellow! What people believe less
than ever, they must have believed once, eh?"
"Not at all. You frightened me into the supposition," said
Zametoff, visibly confused.
"So you do not think this? Then why those questions in the office?
Why did the lieutenant question me after my swoon? Waiter," he
cried, seizing his cap, "here, how much?"
"Thirty kopecks, sir," replied the man.
"There you are, and twenty for yourself. Look, what a lot of
money!" turning to Zametoff and thrusting forth his shaking hand
filled with the twenty-five rubles, red and blue notes. "Whence
comes all this? Where did I obtain these new clothes from? You
know I had none. You have asked the landlady, I suppose? Well, no
matter!—Enough! Adieu, most affectionately."
He went out, shaking from some savage hysterical emotion, a mixture
of delight, gloom, and weariness. His face was drawn as if he had
just recovered from a fit; and, as his agitation of mind increased,
so did his weakness.
Meanwhile, Zametoff remained in the restaurant where Raskolnikoff
had left him, deeply buried in thought, considering the different
points Raskolnikoff had placed before him.
His heart was empty and depressed, and he strove again to drive off
thought. No feeling of anguish came, neither was there any trace
of that fierce energy which moved him when he left the house to
"put an end to it all."
"What will be the end of it? The result lies in my own will. What
kind of end? Ah, we are all alike, and accept the bit of ground
for our feet and live. Must this be the end? Shall I say the word
or not? Oh, how weary I feel! Oh, to lie down or sit anywhere!
How foolish it is to strive against my illness! Bah! What
thoughts run through my brain!" Thus he meditated as he went
drowsily along the banks of the canal, until, turning to the right
and then to the left, he reached the office building. He stopped
short, however, and, turning down a lane, went on past two other
streets, with no fixed purpose, simply, no doubt, to give himself a
few moments longer for reflection. He went on, his eyes fixed on
the ground, until all of a sudden he started, as if some one had
whispered in his ear. Raising his eyes he saw that he stood before
THE HOUSE, at its very gates.
Quick as lightning, an idea rushed into his head, and he marched
through the yard and made his way up the well-known staircase to
the fourth story. It was, as usual, very dark, and as he reached
each landing he peered almost with caution. There was the room
newly painted, where Dmitri and Mikola had worked. He reached the
fourth landing and he paused before the murdered woman's room in
doubt. The door was wide open and he could hear voices within;
this he had not anticipated. However, after wavering a little, he
went straight in. The room was being done up, and in it were some
workmen. This astonished him—indeed, it would seem he had
expected to find everything as he had left it, even to the dead
bodies lying on the floor. But to see the place with bare walls
and bereft of furniture was very strange! He walked up to the
windows and sat on the sill. One of the workmen now saw him and
"What do you want here?"
Instead of replying, Raskolnikoff walked to the outer door and,
standing outside, began to pull at the bell. Yes, that was the
bell, with its harsh sound. He pulled again and again three times,
and remained there listening and thinking.
"What is it you want?" again cried the workman as he went out to
"I wish to hire some rooms. I came to look at these."
"People don't take lodgings in the night. Why don't you apply to
"The floor has been washed. Are you going to paint it?" remarked
Raskolnikoff. "Where is the blood?"
"The old woman's and her sister's. There was quite a pool."
"Who are you?" cried the workman uneasily.
"I am Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikoff, ex-student. I live at the
house Schilla, in a lane not far from here, No. 14. Ask the porter
there—he knows me," Raskolnikoff replied indifferently, without
turning to his questioner.
"What were you doing in those rooms?"
"Looking at them."
"What for? Come, out you go then, if you won't explain yourself,"
suddenly shouted the porter, a huge fellow in a smock frock, with a
large bunch of keys round his waist; and he caught Raskolnikoff by
the shoulder and pitched him into the street. The latter lurched
forward, but recovered himself, and, giving one look at the
spectators, went quietly away.
"What shall I do now?" thought Raskolnikoff. He was standing on
the bridge, near a crossing, and was looking around him as if
expecting some one to speak. But no one spoke, and all was dark
and dull, and dead—at least to him, and him alone.
A few days later, Raskolnikoff heard from his friend Razoumikhin
that those who had borrowed money from Alena Ivanovna were going to
the police office to redeem their pledges. He went with
Razoumikhin to the office where they were received by Porphyrius
Petrovitch, the examining magistrate, who seemed to have expected
"You have been expecting this visit? But how did you know that he
had pledged anything with Alena Ivanovna?" cried Razoumikhin.
Porphyrius Petrovitch, without any further reply, said to
Raskolnikoff: "Your things, a ring and a watch, were at her place,
wrapped up in a piece of paper, and on this paper your name was
legibly written in pencil, with the date of the day she had
received these things from you."
"What a memory you must have got!" said Raskolnikoff, with a forced
smile, doing his best to look the magistrate unflinchingly in the
face. However, he could not help adding: "I say so, because, as
the owners of the pledged articles are no doubt very numerous, you
must, I should fancy, have some difficulty in remembering them all;
but I see, on the contrary, that you do nothing of the kind. (Oh!
fool! why add that?)"
"But they have nearly all of them come here; you alone had not done
so," answered Porphyrius, with an almost imperceptible sneer.
"I happened to be rather unwell."
"So I heard. I have been told that you have been in great pain.
Even now you are pale."
"Not at all. I am not pale. On the contrary, I am very well!"
answered Raskolnikoff in a tone of voice which had all at once
become brutal and violent. He felt rising within him
uncontrollable anger. "Anger will make me say some foolish thing,"
he thought. "But why do they exasperate me?"
"He was rather unwell! A pretty expression, to be sure!" exclaimed
Razoumikhin. "The fact is that up to yesterday he has been almost
unconscious. Would you believe it, Porphyrius? Yesterday, when he
could hardly stand upright, he seized the moment when we had just
left him, to dress, to be off by stealth, and to go loafing about,
Heaven only knows where, till midnight, being, all the time, in a
completely raving condition. Can you imagine such a thing? It is
a most remarkable case!"
"Indeed! In a completely raving state?" remarked Porphyrius, with
the toss of the head peculiar to Russian rustics.
"Absurd! Don't you believe a word of it! Besides, I need not urge
you to that effect—of course you are convinced," observed
Raskolnikoff, beside himself with passion. But Porphyrius
Petrovitch did not seem to hear these singular words.
"How could you have gone out if you had not been delirious?" asked
Razoumikhin, getting angry in his turn. "Why have gone out at all?
What was the object of it? And, above all, to go in that secret
manner? Come, now, make a clean breast of it—you know you were
out of your mind, were you not? Now that danger is gone by, I tell
you so to your face."
"I had been very much annoyed yesterday," said Raskolnikoff,
addressing the magistrate, with more or less of insolence in his
smile, "and, wishing to get rid of them, I went out to hire
lodgings where I could be sure of privacy, to effect which I had
taken a certain amount of money. Mr. Zametoff saw what I had by
me, and perhaps he can say whether I was in my right senses
yesterday or whether I was delirious? Perhaps he will judge as to
our quarrel." Nothing would have pleased him better than there and
then to have strangled that gentleman, whose taciturnity and
equivocal facial expression irritated him.
"In my opinion, you were talking very sensibly and even with
considerable shrewdness; only I thought you too irritable,"
observed Zametoff off-handedly.
"Do let us have some tea! We are as dry as fishes!" exclaimed
"Good idea! But perhaps you would like something more substantial
before tea, would you?"
"Look alive, then!"
Porphyrius Petrovitch went out to order tea. All kinds of thoughts
were at work in Raskolnikoff's brain. He was excited. "They don't
even take pains to dissemble; they certainly don't mince matters as
far as I am concerned: that is something, at all events! Since
Porphyrius knew next to nothing about me, why on earth should he
have spoken with Nicodemus Thomich Zametoff at all? They even
scorn to deny that they are on my track, almost like a pack of
hounds! They certainly speak out plainly enough!" he said,
trembling with rage. "Well, do so, as bluntly as you like, but
don't play with me as the cat would with the mouse! That's not
quite civil, Porphyrius Petrovitch; I won't quite allow that yet!
I'll make a stand and tell you some plain truths to your faces, and
then you shall find out my real opinion about you!" He had some
difficulty in breathing. "But supposing that all this is pure
fancy?—a kind of mirage? Suppose I had misunderstood? Let me try
and keep up my nasty part, and not commit myself, like the fool, by
blind anger! Ought I to give them credit for intentions they have
not? Their words are, in themselves, not very extraordinary ones—
so much must be allowed; but a double meaning may lurk beneath
them. Why did Porphyrius, in speaking of the old woman, simply say
'At her place?' Why did Zametoff observe that I had spoken very
sensibly? Why their peculiar manner?—yes, it is this manner of
theirs. How is it possible that all this cannot have struck
Razoumikhin? The booby never notices anything! But I seem to be
feverish again! Did Porphyrius give me a kind of wink just now, or
was I deceived in some way? The idea is absurd! Why should he
wink at me? Perhaps they intend to upset my nervous organization,
and, by so doing, drive me to extremes! Either the whole thing is
a phantasmagoria, or—they know!"
These thoughts flashed through his mind with the rapidity of
lightning. Porphyrius Petrovitch came back a moment afterwards.
He seemed in a very good temper. "When I left your place
yesterday, old fellow, I was really not well," he commenced,
addressing Razoumikhin with a cheeriness which was only just
becoming apparent, "but that is all gone now."
"Did you find the evening a pleasant one? I left you in the thick
of the fun; who came off best?"
"Nobody, of course. They caviled to their heart's content over
their old arguments."
"Fancy, Rodia, the discussion last evening turned on the question:
'Does crime exist? Yes, or No.' And the nonsense they talked on
"What is there extraordinary in the query? It is the social
question without the charm of novelty," answered Raskolnikoff
"Talking of crime," said Porphyrius Petrovitch, speaking to
Raskolnikoff, "I remember a production of yours which greatly
interested me. I am speaking about your article ON CRIME. I don't
very well remember the title. I was delighted in reading it two
months ago in the Periodical Word."
"But how do you know the article was mine? I only signed it with
"I discovered it lately, quite by chance. The chief editor is a
friend of mine; it was he who let out the secret of your
authorship. The article has greatly interested me."
"I was analyzing, if I remember rightly, the psychological
condition of a criminal at the moment of his deed."
"Yes, and you strove to prove that a criminal, at such a moment, is
always, mentally, more or less unhinged. That point of view is a
very original one, but it was not this part of your article which
most interested me. I was particularly struck by an idea at the
end of the article, and which, unfortunately, you have touched upon
too cursorily. In a word, if you remember, you maintained that
there are men in existence who can, or more accurately, who have an
absolute right to commit all kinds of wicked, and criminal acts—
men for whom, to a certain extent, laws do not exist."
"Is it not very likely that some coming Napoleon did for Alena
Ivanovna last week?" suddenly blustered Zametoff from his corner.
Without saying a word, Raskolnikoff fixed on Porphyrius a firm and
penetrating glance. Raskolnikoff was beginning to look sullen. He
seemed to have been suspecting something for some time past. He
looked round him with an irritable air. For a moment there was an
ominous silence. Raskolnikoff was getting ready to go.
"What, are you off already?" asked Porphyrius, kindly offering the
young man his hand with extreme affability. "I am delighted to
have made your acquaintance. And as for your application, don't be
uneasy about it. Write in the way I suggested. Or, perhaps, you
had better do this. Come and see me before long—to-morrow, if you
like. I shall be here without fail at eleven o'clock. We can make
everything right—we'll have a chat—and as you were one of the
last that went THERE, you might be able to give some further
particulars?" he added, with his friendly smile.
"Do you wish to examine me formally?" Raskolnikoff inquired, in an
"Why should I? Such a thing is out of the question. You have
misunderstood me. I ought to tell you that I manage to make the
most of every opportunity. I have already had a chat with every
single person that has been in the habit of pledging things with
the old woman—several have given me very useful information—and
as you happen to be the last one— By the by," he exclaimed with
sudden pleasure, "how lucky I am thinking about it, I was really
going to forget it!" (Saying which he turned to Razoumikhin.)
"You were almost stunning my ears, the other day, talking about
Mikolka. Well, I am certain, quite certain, as to his innocence,"
he went on, once more addressing himself to Raskolnikoff. "But
what was to be done? It has been necessary to disturb Dmitri.
Now, what I wanted to ask was: On going upstairs—was it not
between seven and eight you entered the house?"
"Yes," replied Raskolnikoff and he immediately regretted an answer
he ought to have avoided.
"Well, in going upstairs, between seven and eight, did you not see
on the second floor, in one of the rooms, when the door was wide
open—you remember, I dare say?—did you not see two painters or,
at all events, one of the two? They were whitewashing the room, I
believe; you must have seen them! The matter is of the utmost
importance to them!"
"Painters, you say? I saw none," replied Raskolnikoff slowly,
trying to sound his memory: for a moment he violently strained it
to discover, as quickly as he could, the trap concealed by the
magistrate's question. "No, I did not see a single one; I did not
even see any room standing open," he went on, delighted at having
discovered the trap, "but on the fourth floor I remember noticing
that the man lodging on the same landing as Alena Ivanovna was in
the act of moving. I remember that very well, as I met a few
soldiers carrying a sofa, and I was obliged to back against the
wall; but, as for painters, I don't remember seeing a single one—I
don't even remember a room that had its door open. No, I saw
"But what are you talking about?" all at once exclaimed
Razoumikhin, who, till that moment, had attentively listened; "it
was on the very day of the murder that painters were busy in that
room, while he came there two days previously! Why are you asking
"Right! I have confused the dates!" cried Porphyrius, tapping his
forehead. "Deuce take me! That job makes me lose my head!" he
added by way of excuse, and speaking to Raskolnikoff. "It is very
important that we should know if anybody saw them in that room
between seven and eight. I thought I might have got that
information from you without thinking any more about it. I had
positively confused the days!"
"You ought to be more attentive!" grumbled Razoumikhin.
These last words were uttered in the anteroom, as Porhyrius very
civilly led his visitors to the door. They were gloomy and morose
on leaving the house, and had gone some distance before speaking.
Raskolnikoff breathed like a man who had just been subjected to a
When, on the following day, precisely at eleven o'clock,
Raskolnikoff called on the examining magistrate, he was astonished
to have to dance attendance for a considerable time. According to
his idea, he ought to have been admitted immediately; ten minutes,
however, elapsed before he could see Porphyrius Petrovitch. In the
outer room where he had been waiting, people came and went without
heeding him in the least. In the next room, which was a kind of
office, a few clerks were at work, and it was evident that not one
of them had even an idea who Raskolnikoff might be. The young man
cast a mistrustful look about him. "Was there not," thought he,
"some spy, some mysterious myrmidon of the law, ordered to watch
him, and, if necessary, to prevent his escape?" But he noticed
nothing of the kind; the clerks were all hard at work, and the
other people paid him no kind of attention. The visitor began to
become reassured. "If," thought he, "this mysterious personage of
yesterday, this specter which had risen from the bowels of the
earth, knew all, and had seen all, would they, I should like to
know, let me stand about like this? Would they not rather have
arrested me, instead of waiting till I should come of my own
accord? Hence this man has either made no kind of revelation as
yet about me, or, more probably, he knows nothing, and has seen
nothing (besides how could he have seen anything?): consequently I
have misjudged, and all that happened yesterday was nothing but an
illusion of my diseased imagination." This explanation, which had
offered itself the day before to his mind, at the time he felt most
fearful, he considered a more likely one.
Whilst thinking about all this and getting ready for a new
struggle, Raskolnikoff suddenly perceived that he was trembling; he
became indignant at the very thought that it was fear of an
interview with the hateful Porphyrius Petrovitch which led him to
do so. The most terrible thing to him was to find himself once
again in presence of this man. He hated him beyond all expression,
and what he dreaded was lest he might show this hatred. His
indignation was so great that it suddenly stopped this trembling;
he therefore prepared himself to enter with a calm and self-
possessed air, promised himself to speak as little as possible, to
be very carefully on the watch in order to check, above all things,
his irascible disposition. In the midst of these reflections, he
was introduced to Porphyrius Petrovitch. The latter was alone in
his office, a room of medium dimensions, containing a large table,
facing a sofa covered with shiny leather, a bureau, a cupboard
standing in a corner, and a few chairs: all this furniture,
provided by the State, was of yellow wood. In the wall, or rather
in the wainscoting of the other end, there was a closed door, which
led one to think that there were other rooms behind it. As soon as
Porphyrius Petrovitch had seen Raskolnikoff enter his office, he
went to close the door which had given him admission, and both
stood facing one another. The magistrate received his visitor to
all appearances in a pleasant and affable manner, and it was only
at the expiration of a few moments that the latter observed the
magistrate's somewhat embarrassed manner—he seemed to have been
disturbed in a more or less clandestine occupation.
"Good! my respectable friend! Here you are then—in our
latitudes!" commenced Porphyrius, holding out both hands. "Pray,
be seated, batuchka! But, perhaps, you don't like being called
respectable? Therefore, batuchka, for short! Pray, don't think me
familiar. Sit down here on the sofa."
Raskolnikoff did so without taking his eyes off the judge. "These
words 'in our latitudes,' these excuses for his familiarity, this
expression 'for short,' what could be the meaning of all this? He
held out his hands to me without shaking mine, withdrawing them
before I could do so, thought Raskolnikoff mistrustfully. Both
watched each other, but no sooner did their eyes meet than they
both turned them aside with the rapidity of a flash of lightning.
"I have called with this paper—about the— If you please. Is it
correct, or must another form be drawn up?"
"What, what paper? Oh, yes! Do not put yourself out. It is
perfectly correct," answered Porphyrius somewhat hurriedly, before
he had even examined it; then, after having cast a glance on it, he
said, speaking very rapidly: "Quite right, that is all that is
required," and placed the sheet on the table. A moment later he
locked it up in his bureau, chattering about other things.
"Yesterday," observed Raskolnikoff, "you had, I fancy, a wish to
examine me formally—with reference to my dealings with—the
victim? At least so it seemed to me!"
"Why did I say, 'So it seemed?'" reflected the young man all of a
sudden. "After all, what can be the harm of it? Why should I
distress myself about that!" he added, mentally, a moment
afterwards. The very fact of his proximity to Porphyrius, with
whom he had scarcely as yet interchanged a word, had immeasurably
increased his mistrust; he marked this in a moment, and concluded
that such a mood was an exceedingly dangerous one, inasmuch as his
agitation, his nervous irritation, would only increase. "That is
bad! very bad! I shall be saying something thoughtless!"
"Quite right. But do not put yourself out of the way, there is
time, plenty of time," murmured Petrovitch, who, without apparent
design, kept going to and fro, now approaching the window, now his
bureau, to return a moment afterwards to the table. At times he
would avoid Raskolnikoff's suspicious look, at times again he drew
up sharp whilst looking his visitor straight in the face. The
sight of this short chubby man, whose movements recalled those of a
ball rebounding from wall to wall, was an extremely odd one. "No
hurry, no hurry, I assure you! But you smoke, do you not! Have
you any tobacco? Here is a cigarette!" he went on, offering his
visitor a paquitos. "You notice that I am receiving you here, but
my quarters are there behind the wainscoting. The State provides
me with that. I am here as it were on the wing, because certain
alterations are being made in my rooms. Everything is almost
straight now. Do you know that quarters provided by the State are
by no means to be despised?"
"I believe you," answered Raskolnikoff, looking at him almost
"Not to be despised, by any means," repeated Porphyrius Petrovitch,
whose mind seemed to be preoccupied with something else—"not to be
despised!" he continued in a very loud tone of voice, and drawing
himself up close to Raskolnikoff, whom he stared out of
countenance. The incessant repetition of the statement that
quarters provided by the State were by no means to be despised
contrasted singularly, by its platitude, with the serious,
profound, enigmatical look he now cast on his visitor.
Raskolnikoff's anger grew in consequence; he could hardly help
returning the magistrate's look with an imprudently scornful
glance. "Is it true?" the latter commenced, with a complacently
insolent air, "is it true that it is a judicial maxim, a maxim
resorted to by all magistrates, to begin an interview about
trifling things, or even, occasionally, about more serious matter,
foreign to the main question however, with a view to embolden, to
distract, or even to lull the suspicion of a person under
examination, and then all of a sudden to crush him with the main
question, just as you strike a man a blow straight between the
"Such a custom, I believe, is religiously observed in your
profession, is it not?
"Then you are of opinion that when I spoke to you about quarters
provided by the State, I did so—" Saying which, Porphyrius
Petrovitch blinked, his face assumed for a moment an expression of
roguish gayety, the wrinkles on his brow became smoothed, his small
eyes grew smaller still, his features expanded, and, looking
Raskolnikoff straight in the face, he burst out into a prolonged
fit of nervous laughter, which shook him from head to foot. The
young man, on his part, laughed likewise, with more or less of an
effort, however, at sight of which Porphyrius's hilarity increased
to such an extent that his face grew nearly crimson. At this
Raskolnikoff experienced more or less aversion, which led him to
forget all caution; he ceased laughing, knitting his brows, and,
whilst Porphyrius gave way to his hilarity, which seemed a somewhat
feigned one, he fixed on him a look of hatred. In truth, they were
both off their guard. Porphyrius had, in fact, laughed at his
visitor, who had taken this in bad part; whereas the former seemed
to care but little about Raskolnikoff's displeasure. This
circumstance gave the young man much matter for thought. He
fancied that his visit had in no kind of way discomposed the
magistrate; on the contrary, it was Raskolnikoff who had been
caught in a trap, a snare, an ambush of some kind or other. The
mine was, perhaps, already charged, and might burst at any moment.
Anxious to get straight to the point, Raskolnikoff rose and took up
his cap. "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he cried, in a resolute tone of
voice, betraying more or less irritation, "yesterday you expressed
the desire to subject me to a judicial examination." (He laid
special stress on this last word.) "I have called at your bidding;
if you have questions to put, do so: if not, allow me to withdraw.
I can't afford to waste my time here, as I have other things to
attend to. In a word, I must go to the funeral of the official who
has been run over, and of whom you have heard speak," he added,
regretting, however, the last part of his sentence. Then, with
increasing anger, he went on: "Let me tell you that all this
worries me! The thing is hanging over much too long. It is that
mainly that has made me ill. In one word,"—he continued, his
voice seeming more and more irritable, for he felt that the remark
about his illness was yet more out of place than the previous one—
"in one word, either be good enough to cross-examine me, or let me
go this very moment. If you do question me, do so in the usual
formal way; otherwise, I shall object. In the meanwhile, adieu,
since we have nothing more to do with one another."
"Good gracious! What can you be talking about? Question you about
what?" replied the magistrate, immediately ceasing his laugh.
"Don't, I beg, disturb yourself." He requested Raskolnikoff to sit
down once more, continuing, nevertheless, his tramp about the room.
"There is time, plenty of time. The matter is not of such
importance after all. On the contrary, I am delighted at your
visit—for as such do I take your call. As for my horrid way of
laughing, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I must apologize. I am a
nervous man, and the shrewdness of your observations has tickled
me. There are times when I go up and down like an elastic ball,
and that for half an hour at a time. I am fond of laughter. My
temperament leads me to dread apoplexy. But, pray, do sit down—
why remain standing? Do, I must request you, batuchka; otherwise I
shall fancy that you are cross."
His brows still knit, Raskolnikoff held his tongue, listened, and
watched. In the meanwhile he sat down.
"As far as I am concerned, batuchka, Rodion Romanovitch, I will
tell you something which shall reveal to you my disposition,"
answered Porphyrius Petrovitch, continuing to fidget about the
room, and, as before, avoiding his visitor's gaze. "I live alone,
you must know, never go into society, and am, therefore, unknown;
add to which, that I am a man on the shady side of forty, somewhat
played out. You may have noticed, Rodion Romanovitch, that here—I
mean in Russia, of course, and especially in St. Petersburg
circles—that when two intelligent men happen to meet who, as yet,
are not familiar, but who, however, have mutual esteem—as, for
instance, you and I have at this moment—don't know what to talk
about for half an hour at a time. They seem, both of them, as if
petrified. Everyone else has a subject for conversation—ladies,
for instance, people in society, the upper ten—all these sets have
some topic or other. It is the thing, but somehow people of the
middle-class, like you and I, seem constrained and taciturn. How
does that come about, batuchka? Have we no social interests? Or
is it, rather, owing to our being too straightforward to mislead
one another? I don't know. What is your opinion, pray? But do, I
beg, remove your cap; one would really fancy that you wanted to be
off, and that pains me. I, you must know, am so contented."
Raskolnikoff laid his cap down. He did not, however, become more
loquacious; and, with knit brows, listened to Porphyrius's idle
chatter. "I suppose," thought he, "he only doles out his small
talk to distract my attention."
"I don't offer you any coffee," went on the inexhaustible
Porphyrius, "because this is not the place for it, but can you not
spend a few minutes with a friend, by way of causing him some
little distraction? You must know that all these professional
obligations—don't be vexed, batuchka, if you see me walking about
like this, I am sure you will excuse me, if I tell you how anxious
I am not to do so, but movement is so indispensable to me! I am
always seated—and, to me, it is quite a luxury to be able to move
about for a minute or two. I purpose, in fact, to go through a
course of calisthenics. The trapeze is said to stand in high favor
amongst State counselors—counselors in office, even amongst privy
counselors. Nowadays, in fact, gymnastics have become a positive
science. As for these duties of our office, these examinations,
all this formality—you yourself, you will remember, touched upon
the topic just now, batuchka—these examinations, and so forth,
sometimes perplex the magistrate much more than the man under
suspicion. You said as much just now with as much sense as
accuracy." (Raskolnikoff had made no statement of the kind.) "One
gets confused, one loses the thread of the investigation. Yet, as
far as our judicial customs go, I agree with you fully. Where, for
instance, is there a man under suspicion of some kind or other,
were it even the most thick-headed moujik, who does not know that
the magistrate will commence by putting all sorts of out-of-the-way
questions to take him off the scent (if I may be allowed to use
your happy simile), and that then he suddenly gives him one between
the eyes? A blow of the ax on his sinciput (if again I may be
permitted to use your ingenious metaphor)? Hah, hah! And do you
mean to say that when I spoke to you about quarters provided by the
State, that—hah, hah! You are very caustic. But I won't revert
to that again. By-and-by!—one remark produces another, one
thought attracts another—but you were talking just now of the
practice or form in vogue with the examining magistrate. But what
is this form? You know as I do that in many cases the form means
nothing at all. Occasionally a simple conversation, a friendly
interview, brings about a more certain result. The practice or
form will never die out—I can vouch for that; but what, after all,
is the form, I ask once more? You can't compel an examining
magistrate to be hampered or bound by it everlastingly. His duty
or method is in its way, one of the liberal professions or
something very much like it."
Porphyrius Petrovitch stopped a moment to take breath. He kept on
talking, now uttering pure nonsense, now again introducing, in
spite of this trash, an occasional enigmatical remark, after which
he went on with his insipidities. His tramp about the room was
more like a race—he moved his stout legs more and more quickly,
without looking up; his right hand was thrust deep in the pocket of
his coat, whilst with the left he unceasingly gesticulated in a way
unconnected with his observations. Raskolnikoff noticed, or
fancied he noticed, that, whilst running round and round the room,
he had twice stopped near the door, seeming to listen. "Does he
expect something?" he asked himself.
"You're perfectly right," resumed Porphyrius cheerily, whilst
looking at the young man with a kindliness which immediately awoke
the latter's distrust. "Our judicial customs deserve your satire.
Our proceedings, which are supposed to be inspired by a profound
knowledge of psychology, are very ridiculous ones, and very often
useless. Now, to return to our method or form: Suppose for a
moment that I am deputed to investigate something or other, and
that I know the guilty person to be a certain gentleman. Are you
not yourself reading for the law, Rodion Romanovitch?"
"I was some time ago."
"Well, here is a kind of example which may be of use to you later
on. Don't run away with the idea that I am setting up as your
instructor—God forbid that I should presume to teach anything to a
man who treats criminal questions in the public press! Oh, no!—
all I am doing is to quote to you, by way of example, a trifling
fact. Suppose that I fancy I am convinced of the guilt of a
certain man, why, I ask you, should I frighten him prematurely,
assuming me to have every evidence against him? Of course, in the
case of another man of a different disposition, him I would have
arrested forthwith; but, as to the former, why should I not permit
him to hang about a little longer? I see you do not quite take me.
I will, therefore, endeavor to explain myself more clearly! If,
for instance, I should be too quick in issuing a writ, I provide
him in doing so with a species of moral support or mainstay—I see
you are laughing?" (Raskolnikoff, on the contrary, had no such
desire; his lips were set, and his glaring look was not removed
from Porphyrius's eyes.) "I assure you that in actual practice
such is really the case; men vary much, although, unfortunately,
our methods are the same for all. But you will ask me: Supposing
you are certain of your proofs? Goodness me, batuchka! you know,
perhaps as well as I do, what proofs are—half one's time, proofs
may be taken either way; and I, a magistrate, am, after all, only a
man liable to error.
"Now, what I want is to give to my investigation the precision of a
mathematical demonstration—I want my conclusions to be as plain,
as indisputable, as that twice two are four. Now, supposing I have
this gentleman arrested prematurely, though I may be positively
certain that he is THE MAN, yet I deprive myself of all future
means of proving his guilt. How is that? Because, so to say, I
give him, to a certain extent, a definite status; for, by putting
him in prison, I pacify him. I give him the chance of
investigating his actual state of mind—he will escape me, for he
will reflect. In a word, he knows that he is a prisoner, and
nothing more. If, on the contrary, I take no kind of notice of the
man I fancy guilty, if I do not have him arrested, if I in no way
set him on his guard—but if the unfortunate creature is hourly,
momentarily, possessed by the suspicion that I know all, that I do
not lose sight of him either by night or by day, that he is the
object of my indefatigable vigilance—what do you ask will take
place under these circumstances? He will lose his self-possession,
he will come of his own accord to me, he will provide me with ample
evidence against himself, and will enable me to give to the
conclusion of my inquiry the accuracy of mathematical proofs, which
is not without its charm.
"If such a course succeeds with an uncultured moujik, it is equally
efficacious when it concerns an enlightened, intelligent, or even
distinguished man. For the main thing, my dear friend, is to
determine in what sense a man is developed. The man, I mean, is
intelligent, but he has nerves which are OVER-strung. And as for
bile—the bile you are forgetting, that plays no small part with
similar folk! Believe me, here we have a very mine of information!
And what is it to me whether such a man walk about the place in
perfect liberty? Let him be at ease—I know him to be my prey, and
that he won't escape me! Where, I ask you, could he go to? You
may say abroad. A Pole may do so—but my man, never! especially as
I watch him, and have taken steps in consquence. Is he likely to
escape into the very heart of our country? Not he! for there dwell
coarse moujiks, and primitive Russians, without any kind of
civilization. My educated friend would prefer going to prison,
rather than be in the midst of such surroundings. Besides, what I
have been saying up to the present is not the main point—it is the
exterior and accessory aspect of the question. He won't escape—
not only because he won't know where to go to, but especially, and
above all, because he is mine from the PSYCHOLOGICAL point of view.
What do you think of this explanation? In virtue of a natural law,
he will not escape, even if he could do so! Have you ever seen a
butterfly close to the candle? My man will hover incessantly round
me in the same way as the butterfly gyrates round the candle-light.
Liberty will have no longer charms for him; he will grow more and
more restless, more and more amazed—let me but give him plenty of
time, and he will demean himself in a way to prove his guilt as
plainly as that twice two our four! Yes, he will keep hovering
about me, describing circles, smaller and smaller, till at last—
bang! He has flown into my clutches, and I have got him. That is
very nice. You don't think so, perhaps?"
Raskolnikoff kept silent. Pale and immovable, he continued to
watch Porphyrius's face with a labored effort of attention. "The
lesson is a good one!" he reflected. "But it is not, as yesterday,
a case of the cat playing with the mouse. Of course, he does not
talk to me in this way for the mere pleasure of showing me his
hand; he is much too intelligent for that. He must have something
else in view—what can it be? Come, friend, what you do say is
only to frighten me. You have no kind of evidence, and the man of
yesterday does not exist! All you wish is to perplex me—to enrage
me, so as to enable you to make your last move, should you catch me
in such a mood, but you will not; all your pains will be in vain!
But why should he speak in such covert terms? I presume he must be
speculating on the excitability of my nervous system. But, dear
friend, that won't go down, in spite of your machinations. We will
try and find out what you really have been driving at."
And he prepared to brave boldly the terrible catastrophe he
anticipated. Occasionally the desire came upon him to rush on
Porphyrius, and to strangle him there and then. From the first
moment of having entered the magistrate's office what he had
dreaded most was, lest he might lose his temper. He felt his heart
beating violently, his lips become parched, his spittle congealed.
He resolved, however, to hold his tongue, knowing that, under the
circumstances, such would be the best tactics. By similar means,
he felt sure that he would not only not become compromised, but
that he might succeed in exasperating his enemy, in order to let
him drop some imprudent observation. This, at all events, was
"I see you don't believe, you think I am jesting," continued
Porphyrius, more and more at his ease, without ceasing to indulge
in his little laugh, whilst continuing his perambulation about the
room. "You may be right. God has given me a face which only
arouses comical thoughts in others. I'm a buffoon. But excuse an
old man's cackle. You, Rodion Romanovitch, you are in your prime,
and, like all young people, you appreciate, above all things, human
intelligence. Intellectual smartness and abstract rational
deductions entice you. But, to return to the SPECIAL CASE we were
talking about just now. I must tell you that we have to deal with
reality, with nature. This is a very important thing, and how
admirably does she often foil the highest skill! Listen to an old
man; I am speaking quite seriously. Rodion"—(on saying which
Porphyrius Petrovitch, who was hardly thirty-five years of age,
seemed all of a sudden to have aged, a sudden metamorphosis had
taken place in the whole of his person, nay, in his very voice)—
"to an old man who, however, is not wanting in candor. Am I or am
I not candid? What do you think? It seems to me that a man could
hardly be more so—for do I not reveal confidence, and that without
the prospect of reward? But, to continue, acuteness of mind is, in
my opinion, a very fine thing; it is to all intents and purposes an
ornament of nature, one of the consolations of life by means of
which it would appear a poor magistrate can be easily gulled, who,
after all, is often misled by his own imagination, for he is only
human. But nature comes to the aid of this human magistrate!
There's the rub! And youth, so confident in its own intelligence,
youth which tramples under foot every obstacle, forgets this!
"Now, in the SPECIAL CASE under consideration, the guilty man, I
will assume, lies hard and fast, but, when he fancies that all that
is left him will be to reap the reward of his mendacity, behold, he
will succumb in the very place where such an accident is likely to
be most closely analyzed. Assuming even that he may be in a
position to account for his syncope by illness or the stifling
atmosphere of the locality, he has none the less given rise to
suspicion! He has lied incomparably, but he has counted without
nature. Here is the pitfall! Again, a man off his guard, from an
unwary disposition, may delight in mystifying another who suspects
him, and may wantonly pretend to be the very criminal wanted by the
authorities; in such a case, he will represent the person in
question a little too closely, he will place his foot a little too
naturally. Here we have another token. For the nonce his
interlocutor may be duped; but, being no fool, he will on the
morrow have seen through the subterfuge. Then will our friend
become compromised more and more! He will come of his own accord
when he is not even called, he will use all kinds of impudent
words, remarks, allegories, the meaning of which will be clear to
everybody; he will even go so far as to come and ask why he has not
been arrested as yet—hah! hah! And such a line of conduct may
occur to a person of keen intellect, yes, even to a man of
psychologic mind! Nature, my friend, is the most transparent of
mirrors. To contemplate her is sufficient. But why do you grow
pale, Rodion Romanovitch? Perhaps you are too hot; shall I open
"By no means, I beg!" cried Raskolnikoff, bursting out laughing.
"Don't heed me, pray!" Porphyrius stopped short, waited a moment,
and burst out laughing himself. Raskolnikoff, whose hilarity had
suddenly died out, rose. "Porphyrius Petrovitch," he shouted in a
clear and loud voice, although he could scarcely stand on his
trembling legs, "I can no longer doubt that you suspect me of
having assassinated this old woman as well as her sister,
Elizabeth. Let me tell you that for some time I have had enough of
this. If you think you have the right to hunt me down, to have me
arrested, hunt me down, have me arrested. But you shall not trifle
with me, you shall not torture me." Suddenly his lips quivered,
his eyes gleamed, and his voice, which up to that moment had been
self-possessed, reached its highest diapason. "I will not permit
it," he yelled hoarsely, whilst striking a violent blow on the
table. "Do you hear me, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I shall not permit
"But, goodness gracious! what on earth is wrong with you?" asked
the magistrate, disturbed to all appearances. "Batuchka! Rodion
Romanovitch! My good friend! What on earth is the matter with
"I will not permit it!" repeated Raskolnikoff once again.
"Batuchka! not so loud, I must request! Someone will hear you,
someone may come; and then, what shall we say? Just reflect one
moment!" murmured Porphyrius Petrovitch, whose face had approached
that of his visitor.
"I will not permit it, I will not permit it!" mechanically pursued
Raskolnikoff, but in a minor key, so as to be heard by Porphyrius
The latter moved away to open the window. "Let us air the room!
Supposing you were to drink some water, dear friend? You have had
a slight fit!" He was on the point of going to the door to give
his orders to a servant, when he saw a water bottle in a corner.
"Drink, batuchka!" he murmured, whilst approaching the young man
with the bottle, "that may do you some good."
Porphyrius's fright seemed so natural that Raskolnikoff remained
silent whilst examining him with curiosity. He refused, however,
the proffered water.
"Rodion Romanovitch! My dear friend! If you go on in this way,
you will go mad, I am positive! Drink, pray, if only a few drops!"
He almost forced the glass of water into his hand. Raskolnikoff
raised it mechanically to his lips, when suddenly he thought better
of it, and replaced it on the table with disgust. "Yes, yes, you
have had a slight fit. One or two more, my friend, and you will
have another attack of your malady," observed the magistrate in the
kindest tone of voice, appearing greatly agitated. "Is it possible
that people can take so little care of themselves? It was the same
with Dmitri Prokofitch, who called here yesterday. I admit mine to
be a caustic temperament, that mine is a horrid disposition, but
that such a meaning could possibly be attributed to harmless
remarks. He called here yesterday, when you had gone, and in the
course of dinner he talked, talked. You had sent him, had you not?
But do sit down, batuchka! do sit down, for heaven's sake!"
"I did not indeed!—although I knew that he had called, and his
object in doing so!" replied Raskolnikoff dryly.
"Did you really know why?"
"I did. And what did you gather from it?"
"I gathered from it, batuchka! Rodion Romanovitch, the knowledge of
a good many of your doings—in fact, I know all! I know that you
went, towards nightfall, TO HIRE THE LODGINGS. I know that you
pulled the bell, and that a question of yours in connection with
bloodstains, as well as your manner, frightened both journeymen and
dvorniks. I know what was your mood at the time. Excitement of
such a kind will drive you out of your mind, be assured. A
praiseworthy indignation is at work within you, complaining now as
to destiny, now on the subject of police agents. You keep going
here and there to induce people as far as possible to formulate
their accusations. This stupid kind of tittle-tattle is hateful to
you, and you are anxious to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Am I right? Have I laid finger on the sentiments which actuate
you? But you are not satisfied by turning your own brain, you want
to do, or rather do, the same thing to my good Razoumikhin.
Really, it is a pity to upset so good a fellow! His kindness
exposes him more than anyone else to suffer contagion from your own
malady. But you shall know all as soon as you shall be calmer.
Pray, therefore, once again sit down, batuchka! Try and recover
your spirits—you seem quite unhinged."
Raskolnikoff rose while looking at him with an air full of
contempt. "Tell me once for all," asked the latter, "tell me one
way or other, whether I am in your opinion an object for suspicion?
Speak up, Porphyrius Petrovitch, and explain yourself without any
more beating about the bush, and that forthwith!"
"Just one word, Rodion Romanovitch. This affair will end as God
knows best; but still, by way of form, I may have to ask you a few
more questions. Hence we are certain to meet again!" And with a
smile Porphyrius stopped before the young man. "Certain!" he
repeated. One might have fancied that he wished to say something
more. But he did not do so.
"Forgive my strange manner just now, Porphyrius Petrovitch, I was
hasty," began Raskolnikoff, who had regained all his self-
possession, and who even experienced an irresistible wish to chaff
"Don't say any more, it was nothing," replied Porphyrius in almost
joyful tone. "Till we meet again!"
"Till we meet again!"
The young man forthwith went home. Having got there, he threw
himself on his couch, and for a quarter of an hour he tried to
arrange his ideas somewhat, inasmuch as they were very confused.
Within a few days Raskolnikoff convinced himself that Porphyrius
Petrovitch had no real proofs. Deciding to go out, in search of
fresh air, he took up his cap and made for the door, deep in
thought. For the first time he felt in the best of health, really
well. He opened the door, and encountered Porphyrius face to face.
The latter entered. Raskolnikoff staggered for a moment, but
quickly recovered. The visit did not dismay him. "Perhaps this is
the finale, but why does he come upon me like a cat, with muffled
tread? Can he have been listening?"
"I have been thinking for a long time of calling on you, and, as I
was passing, I thought I might drop in for a few minutes. Where
are you off to? I won't detain you long, only the time to smoke a
cigarette, if you will allow me?"
"Be seated, Porphyrius Petrovitch, be seated," said Raskolnikoff to
his guest, assuming such an air of friendship that he himself could
have been astonished at his own affability. Thus the victim, in
fear and trembling for his life, at last does not feel the knife at
his throat. He seated himself in front of Porphyrius, and gazed
upon him without flinching. Porphyrius blinked a little, and
commenced rolling his cigarette.
"Speak! speak!" Raskolnikoff mutely cried in his heart. "What are
you going to say?"
"Oh, these cigarettes!" Porphyrius Petrovitch commenced at last,
"they'll be the death of me, and yet I can't give them up! I am
always coughing—a tickling in the throat is setting in, and I am
asthmatical. I have been to consult Botkine of late; he examines
every one of his patients at least half an hour at a time. After
having thumped and bumped me about for ever so long, he told me,
amongst other things: 'Tobacco is a bad thing for you—your lungs
are affected.' That's all very well, but how am I to go without my
tobacco? What am I to use as a substitute? Unfortunately, I can't
drink, hah! hah! Everything is relative, I suppose, Rodion
"There, he is beginning with some more of his silly palaver!"
Raskolnikoff growled to himself. His late interview with the
magistrate suddenly occurred to him, at which anger affected his
"Did you know, by-the-by, that I called on you the night before
last?" continued Porphyrius, looking about. "I was in this very
room. I happened to be coming this way, just as I am going to-day,
and the idea struck me to drop in. Your door was open—I entered,
hoping to see you in a few minutes, but went away again without
leaving my name with your servant. Do you never shut your place?"
Raskolnikoff's face grew gloomier and gloomier. Porphyrius
Petrovitch evidently guessed what the latter was thinking about.
"You did not expect visitors, Rodion Romanovitch?" said Porphyrius,
"I have called just to clear things up a bit. I owe you an
explanation," he went on, smiling and gently slapping the young man
on the knee; but almost at the self-same moment his face assumed a
serious and even sad expression, to Raskolnikoff's great
astonishment, to whom the magistrate appeared in quite a different
light. "At our last interview, an unusual scene took place between
us, Rodion. I somehow feel that I did not behave very well to you.
You remember, I dare say, how we parted; we were both more or less
excited. I fear we were wanting in the most common courtesy, and
yet we are both of us gentlemen."
"What can he be driving at now?" Raskolnikoff asked himself,
looking inquiringly at Porphyrius.
"I have come to the conclusion that it would be much better for us
to be more candid to one another," continued the magistrate,
turning his head gently aside and looking on the ground, as if he
feared to annoy his former victim by his survey. "We must not have
scenes of that kind again. If Mikolka had not turned up on that
occasion, I really do not know how things would have ended. You
are naturally, my dear Rodion, very irritable, and I must own that
I had taken that into consideration, for, when driven in a corner,
many a man lets out his secrets. 'If,' I said to myself, 'I could
only squeeze some kind of evidence out of him, however trivial,
provided it were real, tangible, and palpable, different from all
my psychological inferences!' That was my idea. Sometimes we
succeed by some such proceeding, but unfortunately that does not
happen every day, as I conclusively discovered on the occasion in
question. I had relied too much on your character."
"But why tell me all this now?" stammered Raskolnikoff, without in
any way understanding the object of his interlocutor's question.
"Does he, perhaps, think me really innocent?"
"You wish to know why I tell you this? Because I look upon it as a
sacred duty to explain my line of action. Because I subjected you,
as I now fully acknowledge, to cruel torture. I do not wish, my
dear Rodion, that you should take me for an ogre. Hence, by way of
justification, I purpose explaining to you what led up to it. I
think it needless to account for the nature and origin of the
reports which circulated originally, as also why you were connected
with them. There was, however, one circumstance, a purely
fortuitous one, and which need not now be mentioned, which aroused
my suspicions. From these reports and accidental circumstances,
the same conclusion became evolved for me. I make this statement
in all sincerity, for it was I who first implicated you with the
matter. I do not in any way notice, the particulars notified on
the articles found at the old woman's. That, and several others of
a similar nature, are of no kind of importance. At the same time,
I was aware of the incident which had happened at the police
office. What occurred there has been told me with the utmost
accuracy by some one who had been closely connected with it, and
who, most unwittingly, had brought things to a head. Very well,
then, how, under such circumstances, could a man help becoming
biased? 'One swallow does not make a summer,' as the English
proverb says: a hundred suppositions do not constitute one single
proof. Reason speaks in that way, I admit, but let a man try to
subject prejudice to reason. An examining magistrate, after all,
is only a man—hence given to prejudice.
"I also remembered, on the occasion in question, the article you
had published in some review. That virgin effort of yours, I
assure you, I greatly enjoyed—as an amateur, however, be it
understood. It was redolent of sincere conviction, of genuine
enthusiasm. The article was evidently written some sleepless night
under feverish conditions. That author, I said to myself, while
reading it, will do better things than that. How now, I ask you,
could I avoid connecting that with what followed upon it? Such a
tendency was but a natural one. Am I saying anything I should not?
Am I at this moment committing myself to any definite statement? I
do no more than give utterance to a thought which struck me at the
time. What may I be thinking about now? Nothing—or, at all
events, what is tantamount to it. For the time being, I have to
deal with Mikolka; there are facts which implicate him—what are
facts, after all? If I tell you all this now, as I am doing, I do
so, I assure you, most emphatically, so that your mind and
conscience may absolve me from my behavior on the day of our
interview. 'Why,' you will ask, 'did you not come on that occasion
and have my place searched?' I did so, hah! hah! I went when you
were ill in bed—but, let me tell you, not officially, not in my
magisterial capacity; but go I did. We had your rooms turned
topsy-turvy at our very first suspicions, but umsonst! Then I said
to myself: 'That man will make me a call, he will come of his own
accord, and that before very long! If he is guilty, he will be
bound to come. Other kinds of men would not do so, but this one
"And you remember, of course, Mr. Razoumikhin's chattering? We had
purposely informed him of some of our suspicions, hoping that he
might make you uneasy, for we knew perfectly well that Razoumikhin
would not be able to contain his indignation. Zametoff, in
particular, had been struck by your boldness, and it certainly was
a bold thing for a person to exclaim all of a sudden in an open
traktir: 'I am an assassin!' That was really too much of a good
thing. Well, I waited for you with trusting patience, and, lo and
behold, Providence sends you! How my heart did beat when I saw you
coming! Now, I ask you, where was the need of your coming at that
time at all? If you remember, you came in laughing immoderately.
That laughter gave me food for thought, but, had I not been very
prejudiced at the time, I should have taken no notice of it. And
as for Mr. Razoumikhin on that occasion—ah! the stone, the stone,
you will remember, under which the stolen things are hidden? I
fancy I can see it from here; it is somewhere in a kitchen garden—
it was a kitchen garden you mentioned to Zametoff, was it not? And
then, when your article was broached, we fancied we discovered a
latent thought beneath every word you uttered. That was the way,
Rodion Romanovitch, that my conviction grew little by little. 'And
yet,' said I to myself, 'all that may be explained in quite a
different way, and perhaps more rationally. After all, a real
proof, however slight, would be far more valuable.' But, when I
heard all about the bell-ringing, my doubts vanished; I fancied I
had the indispensable proof, and did not seem to care for further
"We are face to face with a weird and gloomy case—a case of a
contemporary character, if I may say so—a case possessing, in the
fullest sense of the word, the hallmark of time, and circumstances
pointing to a person and life of different surroundings. The real
culprit is a theorist, a bookworm, who, in a tentative kind of way,
has done a more than bold thing; but this boldness of his is of
quite a peculiar and one-sided stamp; it is, after a fashion, like
that of a man who hurls himself from the top of a mountain or
church steeple. The man in question has forgotten to cut off
evidence, and, in order to work out a theory, has killed two
persons. He has committed a murder, and yet has not known how to
take possession of the pelf; what he has taken he has hidden under
a stone. The anguish he experienced while hearing knocking at the
door and the continued ringing of the bell, was not enough for him:
no, yielding to an irresistible desire of experiencing the same
horror, he has positively revisited the empty place and once more
pulled the bell. Let us, if you like, attribute the whole of this
to disease—to a semidelirious condition—by all means; but there
is another point to be considered: he has committed a murder, and
yet continues to look upon himself as a righteous man!"
Raskolnikoff trembled in every limb. "Then, who—who is it—that
has committed the murder?" he stammered forth, in jerky accents.
The examining magistrate sank back in his chair as though
astonished at such a question. "Who committed the murder?" he
retorted, as if he could not believe his own ears. "Why, you—you
did, Rodion Romanovitch! You!—" he added, almost in a whisper,
and in a tone of profound conviction.
Raskolnikoff suddenly rose, waited for a few moments, and sat down
again, without uttering a single word. All the muscles of his face
were slightly convulsed.
"Why, I see your lips tremble just as they did the other day,"
observed Porphyrius Petrovitch, with an air of interest. "You have
not, I think, thoroughly realized the object of my visit, Rodion
Romanovitch," he pursued, after a moment's silence, "hence your
great astonishment. I have called with the express intention of
plain speaking, and to reveal the truth."
"It was not I who committed the murder," stammered the young man,
defending himself very much like a child caught in the act of doing
"Yes, yes, it was you, Rodion Romanovitch, it was you, and you
alone," replied the magistrate with severity. "Confess or not, as
you think best; for the time being, that is nothing to me. In
either case, my conviction is arrived at."
"If that is so, why have you called?" asked Raskolnikoff angrily.
"I once more repeat the question I have put you: If you think me
guilty, why not issue a warrant against me?"
"What a question! But I will answer you categorically. To begin
with, your arrest would not benefit me!"
"It would not benefit you? How can that be? From the moment of
being convinced, you ought to—"
"What is the use of my conviction, after all? For the time being,
it is only built on sand. And why should I have you placed AT
REST? Of course, I purpose having you arrested—I have called to
give you a hint to that effect—and yet I do not hesitate to tell
you that I shall gain nothing by it. Considering, therefore, the
interest I feel for you, I earnestly urge you to go and acknowledge
your crime. I called before to give the same advice. It is by far
the wisest thing you can do—for you as well as for myself, who
will then wash my hands of the affair. Now, am I candid enough?"
Raskolnikoff considered a moment. "Listen to me, Porphyrius
Petrovitch! To use your own statement, you have against me nothing
but psychological sentiments, and yet you aspire to mathematical
evidence. Who has told you that you are absolutely right?"
"Yes, Rodion Romanovitch, I am absolutely right. I hold a proof!
And this proof I came in possession of the other day: God has sent
"What is it?"
"I shall not tell you, Rodion Romanovitch. But I have no right to
procrastinate. I am going to have you arrested! Judge, therefore:
whatever you purpose doing is not of much importance to me just
now; all I say and have said has been solely done for your
interest. The best alternative is the one I suggest, you may
depend on it, Rodion Romanovitch! When I shall have had you
arrested—at the expiration of a month or two, or even three, if
you like—you will remember my words, and you will confess. You
will be led to do so insensibly, almost without being conscious of
it. I am even of opinion that, after careful consideration, you
will make up your mind to make atonement. You do not believe me at
this moment, but wait and see. In truth, Rodion Romanovitch,
suffering is a grand thing. In the mouth of a coarse man, who
deprives himself of nothing, such a statement might afford food for
laughter. Never mind, however, but there lies a theory in
suffering. Mikolka is right. You won't escape, Rodion
Raskolnikoff rose and took his cap. Porphyrius Petrovitch did the
same. "Are you going for a walk? The night will be a fine one, as
long as we get no storm. That would be all the better though, as
it would clear the air."
"Porphyrius Petrovitch," said the young man, in curt and hurried
accents, "do not run away with the idea that I have been making a
confession to-day. You are a strange man, and I have listened to
you from pure curiosity. But remember, I have confessed to
nothing. Pray do not forget that."
"I shall not forget it, you may depend— How he is trembling!
Don't be uneasy, my friend—I shall not forget your advice. Take a
little stroll, only do not go beyond certain limits. I must,
however, at all costs," he added with lowered voice, "ask a small
favor of you; it is a delicate one, but has an importance of its
own; assuming, although I would view such a contingency as an
improbable one—assuming, during the next forty-eight hours, the
fancy were to come upon you to put an end to your life (excuse me
my foolish supposition), would you mind leaving behind you
something in the shape of a note—a line or so—pointing to the
spot where the stone is?—that would be very considerate. Well, au
revoir! May God send you good thoughts!"
Porphyrius withdrew, avoiding Raskolnikoff's eye. The latter
approached the window, and impatiently waited till, according to
his calculation, the magistrate should be some distance from the
house. He then passed out himself in great haste.
A few days later, the prophecy of Porphyrius Petrovitch was
fulfilled. Driven by the torment of uncertainty and doubt,
Raskolnikoff made up his mind to confess his crime. Hastening
through the streets, and stumbling up the narrow stairway, he
presented himself at the police office.
With pale lips and fixed gaze, Raskolnikoff slowly advanced toward
Elia Petrovitch. Resting his head upon the table behind which the
lieutenant was seated, he wished to speak, but could only give vent
to a few unintelligible sounds.
"You are in pain, a chair! Pray sit down! Some water"
Raskolnikoff allowed himself to sink on the chair that was offered
him, but he could not take his eyes off Elia Petrovitch, whose face
expressed a very unpleasant surprise. For a moment both men looked
at one another in silence. Water was brought!
"It was I—" commenced Raskolnikoff.
With a movement of his hand the young man pushed aside the glass
which was offered him; then, in a low-toned but distinct voice he
made, with several interruptions, the following statement:—
"It was I who killed, with a hatchet, the old moneylender and her
sister, Elizabeth, and robbery was my motive."
Elia Petrovitch called for assistance. People rushed in from
various directions. Raskolnikoff repeated his confession.