CHAP­TER II

Crime and Punishment - - CONTENTS -

“Ah these cig­a­rettes!” Por­firy Petro­vitch ejac­u­lated at last, hav­ing lighted one. “They are per­ni­cious, pos­i­tively per­ni­cious, and yet I can’t give them up! I cough, I be­gin to have tick­ling in my throat and a dif­fi­culty in breath­ing. You know I am a coward, I went lately to Dr. B——n; he al­ways gives at least half an hour to each pa­tient. He pos­i­tively laughed look­ing at me; he sounded me: ‘To­bacco’s bad for you,’ he said, ‘your lungs are af­fected.’ But how am I to give it up? What is there to take its place? I don’t drink, that’s the mis­chief, he-he-he, that I don’t. Ev­ery­thing is rel­a­tive, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, ev­ery­thing is rel­a­tive!”

“Why, he’s play­ing his pro­fes­sional tricks again,” Raskol­nikov thought with dis­gust. All the cir­cum­stances of their last in­ter­view sud­denly came back to him, and he felt a rush of the feel­ing that had come upon him then.

“I came to see you the day be­fore yesterday, in the evening; you didn’t know?” Por­firy Petro­vitch went on, look­ing round the room. “I came into this very room. I was pass­ing by, just as I did to-day, and I thought I’d re­turn your call. I walked in as your door was wide open, I looked round, waited and went out with­out leav­ing my name with your ser­vant. Don’t you lock your door?”

Raskol­nikov’s face grew more and more gloomy. Por­firy seemed to guess his state of mind.

“I’ve come to have it out with you, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, my dear fel­low! I owe you an ex­pla­na­tion and must give it to you,” he con­tin­ued with a slight smile, just pat­ting Raskol­nikov’s knee.

But al­most at the same in­stant a se­ri­ous and care­worn look came into his face; to his sur­prise Raskol­nikov saw a touch of sad­ness in it. He had never seen and never sus­pected such an ex­pres­sion in his face.

“A strange scene passed be­tween us last time we met, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch. Our first in­ter­view, too, was a strange one; but then... and one thing af­ter an­other! This is the point: I have per­haps acted un­fairly to you; I feel it. Do you re­mem­ber how we parted? Your nerves were un­hinged and your knees were shak­ing and so were mine. And, you know, our

be­hav­iour was un­seemly, even un­gentle­manly. And yet we are gen­tle­men, above all, in any case, gen­tle­men; that must be un­der­stood. Do you re­mem­ber what we came to?... and it was quite in­deco­rous.”

“What is he up to, what does he take me for?” Raskol­nikov asked him­self in amaze­ment, rais­ing his head and look­ing with open eyes on Por­firy.

“I’ve de­cided open­ness is bet­ter be­tween us,” Por­firy Petro­vitch went on, turn­ing his head away and drop­ping his eyes, as though un­will­ing to dis­con­cert his former vic­tim and as though dis­dain­ing his former wiles. “Yes, such sus­pi­cions and such scenes can­not con­tinue for long. Niko­lay put a stop to it, or I don’t know what we might not have come to. That damned work­man was sit­ting at the time in the next room—can you re­alise that? You know that, of course; and I am aware that he came to you af­ter­wards. But what you sup­posed then was not true: I had not sent for any­one, I had made no kind of ar­range­ments. You ask why I hadn’t? What shall I say to you? it had all come upon me so sud­denly. I had scarcely sent for the porters (you no­ticed them as you went out, I dare say). An idea flashed upon me; I was firmly con­vinced at the time, you see, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch. Come, I thought—even if I let one thing slip for a time, I shall get hold of some­thing else—i shan’t lose what I want, any­way. You are ner­vously ir­ri­ta­ble, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, by tem­per­a­ment; it’s out of pro­por­tion with other qual­i­ties of your heart and char­ac­ter, which I flat­ter my­self I have to some ex­tent di­vined. Of course I did re­flect even then that it does not al­ways hap­pen that a man gets up and blurts out his whole story. It does hap­pen some­times, if you make a man lose all pa­tience, though even then it’s rare. I was ca­pa­ble of re­al­is­ing that. If I only had a fact, I thought, the least lit­tle fact to go upon, some­thing I could lay hold of, some­thing tan­gi­ble, not merely psy­cho­log­i­cal. For if a man is guilty, you must be able to get some­thing sub­stan­tial out of him; one may reckon upon most sur­pris­ing re­sults in­deed. I was reck­on­ing on your tem­per­a­ment, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, on your tem­per­a­ment above all things! I had great hopes of you at that time.”

“But what are you driv­ing at now?” Raskol­nikov mut­tered at last, ask­ing the ques­tion with­out think­ing.

“What is he talk­ing about?” he won­dered dis­tract­edly, “does he re­ally take me to be in­no­cent?”

“What am I driv­ing at? I’ve come to ex­plain my­self, I con­sider it my duty, so to speak. I want to make clear to you how the whole busi­ness, the whole misun­der­stand­ing arose. I’ve caused you a great deal of suf­fer­ing, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch. I am not a mon­ster. I un­der­stand what it must mean for a man who has been un­for­tu­nate, but who is proud, im­pe­ri­ous and above all, im­pa­tient, to have to bear such treat­ment! I re­gard you in any case as a man of noble char­ac­ter and not with­out el­e­ments of mag­na­nim­ity, though I don’t agree with all your con­vic­tions. I wanted to tell you this first, frankly and quite sin­cerely, for above all I don’t want to de­ceive you. When I made your ac­quain­tance, I felt at­tracted by you. Per­haps you will laugh at my say­ing so. You have a right to. I know you dis­liked me from the first and in­deed you’ve no rea­son to like me. You may think what you like, but I de­sire now to do all I can to ef­face that im­pres­sion and to show that I am a man of heart and con­science. I speak sin­cerely.”

Por­firy Petro­vitch made a dig­ni­fied pause. Raskol­nikov felt a rush of re­newed alarm. The thought that Por­firy be­lieved him to be in­no­cent be­gan to make him un­easy.

“It’s scarcely nec­es­sary to go over ev­ery­thing in de­tail,” Por­firy Petro­vitch went on. “In­deed, I could scarcely at­tempt it. To be­gin with there were ru­mours. Through whom, how, and when those ru­mours came to me... and how they af­fected you, I need not go into. My sus­pi­cions were aroused by a com­plete ac­ci­dent, which might just as eas­ily not have hap­pened. What was it? Hm! I be­lieve there is no need to go into that either. Those ru­mours and that ac­ci­dent led to one idea in my mind. I ad­mit it openly—for one may as well make a clean breast of it—i was the first to pitch on you. The old woman’s notes on the pledges and the rest of it—that all came to noth­ing. Yours was one of a hun­dred. I hap­pened, too, to hear of the scene at the of­fice, from a man who de­scribed it cap­i­tally, un­con­sciously re­pro­duc­ing the scene with great vivid­ness. It was just one thing af­ter an­other, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, my dear fel­low! How could I avoid be­ing brought to cer­tain ideas? From a hun­dred rab­bits you can’t make a horse, a hun­dred sus­pi­cions don’t make a proof, as the English proverb says, but that’s only from the ra­tio­nal point of view—you can’t help be­ing par­tial, for af­ter all a lawyer is only hu­man. I thought, too, of your ar­ti­cle in that jour­nal, do you re­mem­ber, on your first visit we talked of it? I jeered at you at the time, but that was only to lead you on. I re­peat, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, you are ill and im­pa­tient. That you were bold, head­strong, in earnest and...

had felt a great deal I recog­nised long be­fore. I, too, have felt the same, so that your ar­ti­cle seemed fa­mil­iar to me. It was con­ceived on sleep­less nights, with a throb­bing heart, in ec­stasy and sup­pressed en­thu­si­asm. And that proud sup­pressed en­thu­si­asm in young peo­ple is dan­ger­ous! I jeered at you then, but let me tell you that, as a lit­er­ary am­a­teur, I am aw­fully fond of such first es­says, full of the heat of youth. There is a mist­i­ness and a chord vi­brat­ing in the mist. Your ar­ti­cle is ab­surd and fan­tas­tic, but there’s a trans­par­ent sin­cer­ity, a youth­ful in­cor­rupt­ible pride and the dar­ing of de­spair in it. It’s a gloomy ar­ti­cle, but that’s what’s fine in it. I read your ar­ti­cle and put it aside, think­ing as I did so ‘that man won’t go the com­mon way.’ Well, I ask you, af­ter that as a pre­lim­i­nary, how could I help be­ing car­ried away by what fol­lowed? Oh, dear, I am not say­ing any­thing, I am not mak­ing any state­ment now. I sim­ply noted it at the time. What is there in it? I re­flected. There’s noth­ing in it, that is re­ally noth­ing and per­haps ab­so­lutely noth­ing. And it’s not at all the thing for the pros­e­cu­tor to let him­self be car­ried away by no­tions: here I have Niko­lay on my hands with ac­tual ev­i­dence against him—you may think what you like of it, but it’s ev­i­dence. He brings in his psy­chol­ogy, too; one has to con­sider him, too, for it’s a mat­ter of life and death. Why am I ex­plain­ing this to you? That you may un­der­stand, and not blame my ma­li­cious be­hav­iour on that oc­ca­sion. It was not ma­li­cious, I as­sure you, he-he! Do you sup­pose I didn’t come to search your room at the time? I did, I did, he-he! I was here when you were ly­ing ill in bed, not of­fi­cially, not in my own per­son, but I was here. Your room was searched to the last thread at the first sus­pi­cion; but um­sonst!i thought to my­self, now that man will come, will come of him­self and quickly, too; if he’s guilty, he’s sure to come. An­other man wouldn’t, but he will. And you re­mem­ber how Mr. Razu­mi­hin be­gan dis­cussing the sub­ject with you? We ar­ranged that to ex­cite you, so we pur­posely spread ru­mours, that he might dis­cuss the case with you, and Razu­mi­hin is not a man to re­strain his in­dig­na­tion. Mr. Zame­tov was tre­men­dously struck by your anger and your open dar­ing. Think of blurt­ing out in a restau­rant ‘I killed her.’ It was too dar­ing, too reck­less. I thought so my­self, if he is guilty he will be a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent. That was what I thought at the time. I was ex­pect­ing you. But you sim­ply bowled Zame­tov over and... well, you see, it all lies in this—that this damnable psy­chol­ogy can be taken two ways! Well, I kept ex­pect­ing you, and so it was, you came! My heart was fairly throb­bing. Ach!

“Now, why need you have come? Your laugh­ter, too, as you came in, do you re­mem­ber? I saw it all plain as day­light, but if I hadn’t ex­pected you so spe­cially, I should not have no­ticed any­thing in your laugh­ter. You see what in­flu­ence a mood has! Mr. Razu­mi­hin then—ah, that stone, that stone un­der which the things were hid­den! I seem to see it some­where in a kitchen gar­den. It was in a kitchen gar­den, you told Zame­tov and af­ter­wards you re­peated that in my of­fice? And when we be­gan pick­ing your ar­ti­cle to pieces, how you ex­plained it! One could take every word of yours in two senses, as though there were an­other mean­ing hid­den.

“So in this way, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, I reached the fur­thest limit, and knock­ing my head against a post, I pulled my­self up, ask­ing my­self what I was about. Af­ter all, I said, you can take it all in an­other sense if you like, and it’s more nat­u­ral so, in­deed. I couldn’t help ad­mit­ting it was more nat­u­ral. I was both­ered! ‘No, I’d bet­ter get hold of some lit­tle fact’ I said. So when I heard of the bell-ring­ing, I held my breath and was all in a tremor. ‘Here is my lit­tle fact,’ thought I, and I didn’t think it over, I sim­ply wouldn’t. I would have given a thou­sand rou­bles at that minute to have seen you with my own eyes, when you walked a hun­dred paces be­side that work­man, af­ter he had called you mur­derer to your face, and you did not dare to ask him a ques­tion all the way. And then what about your trem­bling, what about your bell-ring­ing in your ill­ness, in semi-delir­ium?

“And so, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, can you won­der that I played such pranks on you? And what made you come at that very minute? Some­one seemed to have sent you, by Jove! And if Niko­lay had not parted us... and do you re­mem­ber Niko­lay at the time? Do you re­mem­ber him clearly? It was a thun­der­bolt, a reg­u­lar thun­der­bolt! And how I met him! I didn’t be­lieve in the thun­der­bolt, not for a minute. You could see it for your­self; and how could I? Even af­ter­wards, when you had gone and he be­gan mak­ing very, very plau­si­ble an­swers on cer­tain points, so that I was sur­prised at him my­self, even then I didn’t be­lieve his story! You see what it is to be as firm as a rock! No, thought I, Mor­gen­früh. What has Niko­lay got to do with it!”

“Razu­mi­hin told me just now that you think Niko­lay guilty and had your­self as­sured him of it .... ”

His voice failed him, and he broke off. He had been lis­ten­ing in in­de­scrib­able ag­i­ta­tion, as this man who had seen through and through him, went back upon him­self. He was afraid of be­liev­ing it and did not be­lieve it.

In those still am­bigu­ous words he kept ea­gerly look­ing for some­thing more def­i­nite and con­clu­sive.

“Mr. Razu­mi­hin!” cried Por­firy Petro­vitch, seem­ing glad of a ques­tion from Raskol­nikov, who had till then been silent. “He-he-he! But I had to put Mr. Razu­mi­hin off; two is com­pany, three is none. Mr. Razu­mi­hin is not the right man, be­sides he is an out­sider. He came run­ning to me with a pale face .... But never mind him, why bring him in? To re­turn to Niko­lay, would you like to know what sort of a type he is, how I un­der­stand him, that is? To be­gin with, he is still a child and not ex­actly a coward, but some­thing by way of an artist. Re­ally, don’t laugh at my de­scrib­ing him so. He is in­no­cent and re­spon­sive to in­flu­ence. He has a heart, and is a fan­tas­tic fel­low. He sings and dances, he tells sto­ries, they say, so that peo­ple come from other vil­lages to hear him. He at­tends school too, and laughs till he cries if you hold up a fin­ger to him; he will drink him­self sense­less—not as a reg­u­lar vice, but at times, when peo­ple treat him, like a child. And he stole, too, then, with­out know­ing it him­self, for ‘How can it be steal­ing, if one picks it up?’ And do you know he is an Old Be­liever, or rather a dis­senter? There have been Wan­der­ers[*] in his fam­ily, and he was for two years in his vil­lage un­der the spir­i­tual guid­ance of a cer­tain el­der. I learnt all this from Niko­lay and from his fel­low vil­lagers. And what’s more, he wanted to run into the wilder­ness! He was full of fer­vour, prayed at night, read the old books, ‘the true’ ones, and read him­self crazy.

[*] A re­li­gious SECT.—TRANS­LA­TOR’S NOTE.

“Peters­burg had a great ef­fect upon him, es­pe­cially the women and the wine. He re­sponds to ev­ery­thing and he for­got the el­der and all that. I learnt that an artist here took a fancy to him, and used to go and see him, and now this busi­ness came upon him.

“Well, he was fright­ened, he tried to hang him­self! He ran away! How can one get over the idea the peo­ple have of Rus­sian le­gal pro­ceed­ings? The very word ‘trial’ fright­ens some of them. Whose fault is it? We shall see what the new ju­ries will do. God grant they do good! Well, in prison, it seems, he re­mem­bered the ven­er­a­ble el­der; the Bi­ble, too, made its ap­pear­ance again. Do you know, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, the force of the word ‘suf­fer­ing’ among some of these peo­ple! It’s not a ques­tion of suf­fer­ing for some­one’s ben­e­fit, but sim­ply, ‘one must suf­fer.’ If they suf­fer at the hands of the au­thor­i­ties, so much the bet­ter. In my time there was a very meek and mild pris­oner who spent a whole year in prison al­ways

read­ing his Bi­ble on the stove at night and he read him­self crazy, and so crazy, do you know, that one day, apro­pos of noth­ing, he seized a brick and flung it at the gover­nor; though he had done him no harm. And the way he threw it too: aimed it a yard on one side on pur­pose, for fear of hurt­ing him. Well, we know what hap­pens to a pris­oner who as­saults an of­fi­cer with a weapon. So ‘he took his suf­fer­ing.’

“So I sus­pect now that Niko­lay wants to take his suf­fer­ing or some­thing of the sort. I know it for cer­tain from facts, in­deed. Only he doesn’t know that I know. What, you don’t ad­mit that there are such fan­tas­tic peo­ple among the peas­ants? Lots of them. The el­der now has be­gun in­flu­enc­ing him, es­pe­cially since he tried to hang him­self. But he’ll come and tell me all him­self. You think he’ll hold out? Wait a bit, he’ll take his words back. I am wait­ing from hour to hour for him to come and ab­jure his ev­i­dence. I have come to like that Niko­lay and am study­ing him in de­tail. And what do you think? He-he! He an­swered me very plau­si­bly on some points, he ob­vi­ously had col­lected some ev­i­dence and pre­pared him­self clev­erly. But on other points he is sim­ply at sea, knows noth­ing and doesn’t even sus­pect that he doesn’t know!

“No, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, Niko­lay doesn’t come in! This is a fan­tas­tic, gloomy busi­ness, a mod­ern case, an in­ci­dent of to-day when the heart of man is trou­bled, when the phrase is quoted that blood ‘re­news,’ when com­fort is preached as the aim of life. Here we have book­ish dreams, a heart un­hinged by the­o­ries. Here we see res­o­lu­tion in the first stage, but res­o­lu­tion of a spe­cial kind: he re­solved to do it like jump­ing over a precipice or from a bell tower and his legs shook as he went to the crime. He for­got to shut the door af­ter him, and mur­dered two peo­ple for a the­ory. He com­mit­ted the mur­der and couldn’t take the money, and what he did man­age to snatch up he hid un­der a stone. It wasn’t enough for him to suf­fer agony be­hind the door while they bat­tered at the door and rung the bell, no, he had to go to the empty lodg­ing, half deliri­ous, to re­call the bell-ring­ing, he wanted to feel the cold shiver over again .... Well, that we grant, was through ill­ness, but con­sider this: he is a mur­derer, but looks upon him­self as an hon­est man, de­spises oth­ers, poses as in­jured in­no­cence. No, that’s not the work of a Niko­lay, my dear Ro­dion Ro­manovitch!”

All that had been said be­fore had sounded so like a re­can­ta­tion that these words were too great a shock. Raskol­nikov shud­dered as though he had

been stabbed.

“Then... who then... is the mur­derer?” he asked in a breath­less voice, un­able to re­strain him­self.

Por­firy Petro­vitch sank back in his chair, as though he were amazed at the ques­tion.

“Who is the mur­derer?” he re­peated, as though un­able to be­lieve his ears. “Why, you, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch! You are the mur­derer,” he added, al­most in a whis­per, in a voice of gen­uine con­vic­tion.

Raskol­nikov leapt from the sofa, stood up for a few sec­onds and sat down again with­out ut­ter­ing a word. His face twitched con­vul­sively.

“Your lip is twitch­ing just as it did be­fore,” Por­firy Petro­vitch ob­served al­most sym­pa­thet­i­cally. “You’ve been misun­der­stand­ing me, I think, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch,” he added af­ter a brief pause, “that’s why you are so sur­prised. I came on pur­pose to tell you ev­ery­thing and deal openly with you.”

“It was not I mur­dered her,” Raskol­nikov whis­pered like a fright­ened child caught in the act.

“No, it was you, you Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, and no one else,” Por­firy whis­pered sternly, with con­vic­tion.

They were both silent and the si­lence lasted strangely long, about ten min­utes. Raskol­nikov put his el­bow on the ta­ble and passed his fin­gers through his hair. Por­firy Petro­vitch sat qui­etly wait­ing. Sud­denly Raskol­nikov looked scorn­fully at Por­firy.

“You are at your old tricks again, Por­firy Petro­vitch! Your old method again. I won­der you don’t get sick of it!”

“Oh, stop that, what does that mat­ter now? It would be a dif­fer­ent mat­ter if there were wit­nesses present, but we are whis­per­ing alone. You see your­self that I have not come to chase and cap­ture you like a hare. Whether you con­fess it or not is noth­ing to me now; for my­self, I am con­vinced with­out it.”

“If so, what did you come for?” Raskol­nikov asked ir­ri­ta­bly. “I ask you the same ques­tion again: if you con­sider me guilty, why don’t you take me to prison?”

“Oh, that’s your ques­tion! I will an­swer you, point for point. In the first place, to ar­rest you so di­rectly is not to my in­ter­est.”

“How so? If you are con­vinced you ought .... ”

“Ach, what if I am con­vinced? That’s only my dream for the time. Why should I put you in safety? You know that’s it, since you ask me to do it. If I con­front you with that work­man for in­stance and you say to him ‘were you drunk or not? Who saw me with you? I sim­ply took you to be drunk, and you were drunk, too.’ Well, what could I an­swer, es­pe­cially as your story is a more likely one than his? for there’s noth­ing but psy­chol­ogy to sup­port his ev­i­dence—that’s al­most un­seemly with his ugly mug, while you hit the mark ex­actly, for the ras­cal is an in­vet­er­ate drunk­ard and no­to­ri­ously so. And I have my­self ad­mit­ted can­didly sev­eral times al­ready that that psy­chol­ogy can be taken in two ways and that the sec­ond way is stronger and looks far more prob­a­ble, and that apart from that I have as yet noth­ing against you. And though I shall put you in prison and in­deed have come— quite con­trary to eti­quette—to in­form you of it be­fore­hand, yet I tell you frankly, also con­trary to eti­quette, that it won’t be to my ad­van­tage. Well, se­condly, I’ve come to you be­cause...”

“Yes, yes, se­condly?” Raskol­nikov was lis­ten­ing breath­less.

“Be­cause, as I told you just now, I con­sider I owe you an ex­pla­na­tion. I don’t want you to look upon me as a mon­ster, as I have a gen­uine lik­ing for you, you may be­lieve me or not. And in the third place I’ve come to you with a di­rect and open propo­si­tion—that you should sur­ren­der and con­fess. It will be in­fin­itely more to your ad­van­tage and to my ad­van­tage too, for my task will be done. Well, is this open on my part or not?”

Raskol­nikov thought a minute.

“Lis­ten, Por­firy Petro­vitch. You said just now you have noth­ing but psy­chol­ogy to go on, yet now you’ve gone on math­e­mat­ics. Well, what if you are mis­taken your­self, now?”

“No, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, I am not mis­taken. I have a lit­tle fact even then, Prov­i­dence sent it me.”

“What lit­tle fact?”

“I won’t tell you what, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch. And in any case, I haven’t the right to put it off any longer, I must ar­rest you. So think it over: it makes

no dif­fer­ence to me now and so I speak only for your sake. Be­lieve me, it will be bet­ter, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch.”

Raskol­nikov smiled ma­lig­nantly.

“That’s not sim­ply ridicu­lous, it’s pos­i­tively shame­less. Why, even if I were guilty, which I don’t ad­mit, what rea­son should I have to con­fess, when you tell me your­self that I shall be in greater safety in prison?”

“Ah, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, don’t put too much faith in words, per­haps prison will not be al­to­gether a rest­ful place. That’s only the­ory and my the­ory, and what au­thor­ity am I for you? Per­haps, too, even now I am hid­ing some­thing from you? I can’t lay bare ev­ery­thing, he-he! And how can you ask what ad­van­tage? Don’t you know how it would lessen your sen­tence? You would be con­fess­ing at a mo­ment when an­other man has taken the crime on him­self and so has mud­dled the whole case. Con­sider that! I swear be­fore God that I will so ar­range that your con­fes­sion shall come as a com­plete sur­prise. We will make a clean sweep of all these psy­cho­log­i­cal points, of a sus­pi­cion against you, so that your crime will ap­pear to have been some­thing like an aber­ra­tion, for in truth it was an aber­ra­tion. I am an hon­est man, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, and will keep my word.”

Raskol­nikov main­tained a mourn­ful si­lence and let his head sink de­ject­edly. He pon­dered a long while and at last smiled again, but his smile was sad and gen­tle.

“No!” he said, ap­par­ently aban­don­ing all at­tempt to keep up ap­pear­ances with Por­firy, “it’s not worth it, I don’t care about less­en­ing the sen­tence!”

“That’s just what I was afraid of!” Por­firy cried warmly and, as it seemed, in­vol­un­tar­ily. “That’s just what I feared, that you wouldn’t care about the mit­i­ga­tion of sen­tence.”

Raskol­nikov looked sadly and ex­pres­sively at him.

“Ah, don’t dis­dain life!” Por­firy went on. “You have a great deal of it still be­fore you. How can you say you don’t want a mit­i­ga­tion of sen­tence? You are an im­pa­tient fel­low!”

“A great deal of what lies be­fore me?”

“Of life. What sort of prophet are you, do you know much about it? Seek and ye shall find. This may be God’s means for bring­ing you to Him. And it’s not for ever, the bondage .... ”

“The time will be short­ened,” laughed Raskol­nikov.

“Why, is it the bour­geois dis­grace you are afraid of? It may be that you are afraid of it with­out know­ing it, be­cause you are young! But any­way you shouldn’t be afraid of giv­ing your­self up and con­fess­ing.”

“Ach, hang it!” Raskol­nikov whis­pered with loathing and con­tempt, as though he did not want to speak aloud.

He got up again as though he meant to go away, but sat down again in ev­i­dent de­spair.

“Hang it, if you like! You’ve lost faith and you think that I am grossly flat­ter­ing you; but how long has your life been? How much do you un­der­stand? You made up a the­ory and then were ashamed that it broke down and turned out to be not at all orig­i­nal! It turned out some­thing base, that’s true, but you are not hope­lessly base. By no means so base! At least you didn’t de­ceive your­self for long, you went straight to the fur­thest point at one bound. How do I re­gard you? I re­gard you as one of those men who would stand and smile at their tor­turer while he cuts their en­trails out, if only they have found faith or God. Find it and you will live. You have long needed a change of air. Suf­fer­ing, too, is a good thing. Suf­fer! Maybe Niko­lay is right in want­ing to suf­fer. I know you don’t be­lieve in it—but don’t be over-wise; fling your­self straight into life, with­out de­lib­er­a­tion; don’t be afraid—the flood will bear you to the bank and set you safe on your feet again. What bank? How can I tell? I only be­lieve that you have long life be­fore you. I know that you take all my words now for a set speech pre­pared be­fore­hand, but maybe you will re­mem­ber them af­ter. They may be of use some time. That’s why I speak. It’s as well that you only killed the old woman. If you’d in­vented an­other the­ory you might per­haps have done some­thing a thou­sand times more hideous. You ought to thank God, per­haps. How do you know? Per­haps God is sav­ing you for some­thing. But keep a good heart and have less fear! Are you afraid of the great ex­pi­a­tion be­fore you? No, it would be shame­ful to be afraid of it. Since you have taken such a step, you must har­den your heart. There is jus­tice in it. You must ful­fil the de­mands of jus­tice. I know that you don’t be­lieve it, but in­deed, life will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!”

Raskol­nikov pos­i­tively started.

“But who are you? what prophet are you? From the height of what ma­jes­tic calm do you pro­claim these words of wis­dom?”

“Who am I? I am a man with noth­ing to hope for, that’s all. A man per­haps of feel­ing and sym­pa­thy, maybe of some knowl­edge too, but my day is over. But you are a dif­fer­ent mat­ter, there is life wait­ing for you. Though, who knows? maybe your life, too, will pass off in smoke and come to noth­ing. Come, what does it mat­ter, that you will pass into an­other class of men? It’s not com­fort you re­gret, with your heart! What of it that per­haps no one will see you for so long? It’s not time, but your­self that will de­cide that. Be the sun and all will see you. The sun has be­fore all to be the sun. Why are you smil­ing again? At my be­ing such a Schiller? I bet you’re imag­in­ing that I am try­ing to get round you by flat­tery. Well, per­haps I am, he-he-he! Per­haps you’d bet­ter not be­lieve my word, per­haps you’d bet­ter never be­lieve it al­to­gether—i’m made that way, I con­fess it. But let me add, you can judge for your­self, I think, how far I am a base sort of man and how far I am hon­est.”

“When do you mean to ar­rest me?”

“Well, I can let you walk about an­other day or two. Think it over, my dear fel­low, and pray to God. It’s more in your in­ter­est, be­lieve me.”

“And what if I run away?” asked Raskol­nikov with a strange smile.

“No, you won’t run away. A peas­ant would run away, a fash­ion­able dis­senter would run away, the flunkey of an­other man’s thought, for you’ve only to show him the end of your lit­tle fin­ger and he’ll be ready to be­lieve in any­thing for the rest of his life. But you’ve ceased to be­lieve in your the­ory al­ready, what will you run away with? And what would you do in hid­ing? It would be hate­ful and dif­fi­cult for you, and what you need more than any­thing in life is a def­i­nite po­si­tion, an at­mos­phere to suit you. And what sort of at­mos­phere would you have? If you ran away, you’d come back to your­self. You can’t get on with­out us. And if I put you in prison— say you’ve been there a month, or two, or three—re­mem­ber my word, you’ll con­fess of your­self and per­haps to your own sur­prise. You won’t know an hour be­fore­hand that you are com­ing with a con­fes­sion. I am con­vinced that you will de­cide, ‘to take your suf­fer­ing.’ You don’t be­lieve my words now, but you’ll come to it of your­self. For suf­fer­ing, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch, is a great thing. Never mind my hav­ing grown fat, I know all

the same. Don’t laugh at it, there’s an idea in suf­fer­ing, Niko­lay is right. No, you won’t run away, Ro­dion Ro­manovitch.”

Raskol­nikov got up and took his cap. Por­firy Petro­vitch also rose.

“Are you go­ing for a walk? The evening will be fine, if only we don’t have a storm. Though it would be a good thing to freshen the air.”

He, too, took his cap.

“Por­firy Petro­vitch, please don’t take up the no­tion that I have con­fessed to you to-day,” Raskol­nikov pro­nounced with sullen in­sis­tence. “You’re a strange man and I have lis­tened to you from sim­ple cu­rios­ity. But I have ad­mit­ted noth­ing, re­mem­ber that!”

“Oh, I know that, I’ll re­mem­ber. Look at him, he’s trem­bling! Don’t be un­easy, my dear fel­low, have it your own way. Walk about a bit, you won’t be able to walk too far. If any­thing hap­pens, I have one re­quest to make of you,” he added, drop­ping his voice. “It’s an awk­ward one, but im­por­tant. If any­thing were to hap­pen (though in­deed I don’t be­lieve in it and think you quite in­ca­pable of it), yet in case you were taken dur­ing these forty or fifty hours with the no­tion of putting an end to the busi­ness in some other way, in some fan­tas­tic fash­ion—lay­ing hands on your­self—(it’s an ab­surd propo­si­tion, but you must for­give me for it) do leave a brief but pre­cise note, only two lines, and men­tion the stone. It will be more gen­er­ous. Come, till we meet! Good thoughts and sound de­ci­sions to you!”

Por­firy went out, stoop­ing and avoid­ing look­ing at Raskol­nikov. The lat­ter went to the win­dow and waited with ir­ri­ta­ble im­pa­tience till he cal­cu­lated that Por­firy had reached the street and moved away. Then he too went hur­riedly out of the room.

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