Crime And Punishment

Part 1

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Chapter 3


He waked up late next day after a broken sleep. But his sleep had not refreshed him; he waked up bilious, irritable, ill-tempered, and looked with hatred at his room. It was a tiny cupboard of a room about six paces in length. It had a poverty-stricken appearance with its dusty yellow paper peeling off the walls, and it was so low-pitched that a man of more than average height was ill at ease in it and felt every moment that he would knock his head against the ceiling. The furniture was in keeping with the room: there were three old chairs, rather rickety; a painted table in the corner on which lay a few manuscripts and books; the dust that lay thick upon them showed that they had been long untouched. A big clumsy sofa occupied almost the whole of one wall and half the floor space of the room; it was once covered with chintz, but was now in rags and served Raskolnikov as a bed. Often he went to sleep on it, as he was, without undressing, without sheets, wrapped in his old student's overcoat, with his head on one little pillow, under which he heaped up all the linen he had, clean and dirty, by way of a bolster. A little table stood in front of the sofa.

It would have been difficult to sink to a lower ebb of disorder, but to Raskolnikov in his present state of mind this was positively agreeable. He had got completely away from everyone, like a tortoise in its shell, and even the sight of a servant girl who had to wait upon him and looked sometimes into his room made him writhe with nervous irritation. He was in the condition that overtakes some monomaniacs entirely concentrated upon one thing. His landlady had for the last fortnight given up sending him in meals, and he had not yet thought of expostulating with her, though he went without his dinner. Nastasya, the cook and only servant, was rather pleased at the lodger's mood and had entirely given up sweeping and doing his room, only once a week or so she would stray into his room with a broom. She waked him up that day.

"Get up, why are you asleep?" she called to him. "It's past nine, I have brought you some tea; will you have a cup? I should think you're fairly starving?"

Raskolnikov opened his eyes, started and recognised Nastasya.

"From the landlady, eh?" he asked, slowly and with a sickly face sitting up on the sofa.

"From the landlady, indeed!"

She set before him her own cracked teapot full of weak and stale tea and laid two yellow lumps of sugar by the side of it.

"Here, Nastasya, take it please," he said, fumbling in his pocket (for he had slept in his clothes) and taking out a handful of coppers - "run and buy me a loaf. And get me a little sausage, the cheapest, at the pork-butcher's."

"The loaf I'll fetch you this very minute, but wouldn't you rather have some cabbage soup instead of sausage? It's capital soup, yesterday's. I saved it for you yesterday, but you came in late. It's fine soup."

When the soup had been brought, and he had begun upon it, Nastasya sat down beside him on the sofa and began chatting. She was a country peasant-woman and a very talkative one.

"Praskovya Pavlovna means to complain to the police about you," she said.

He scowled.

"To the police? What does she want?"

"You don't pay her money and you won't turn out of the room. That's what she wants, to be sure."

"The devil, that's the last straw," he muttered, grinding his teeth, "no, that would not suit me . . . just now. She is a fool," he added aloud. "I'll go and talk to her to-day."

"Fool she is and no mistake, just as I am. But why, if you are so clever, do you lie here like a sack and have nothing to show for it? One time you used to go out, you say, to teach children. But why is it you do nothing now?"

"I am doing . . ." Raskolnikov began sullenly and reluctantly.

"What are you doing?"

"Work . . ."

"What sort of work?"

"I am thinking," he answered seriously after a pause.

Nastasya was overcome with a fit of laughter. She was given to laughter and when anything amused her, she laughed inaudibly, quivering and shaking all over till she felt ill.

"And have you made much money by your thinking?" she managed to articulate at last.

"One can't go out to give lessons without boots. And I'm sick of it."

"Don't quarrel with your bread and butter."

"They pay so little for lessons. What's the use of a few coppers?" he answered, reluctantly, as though replying to his own thought.

"And you want to get a fortune all at once?"

He looked at her strangely.

"Yes, I want a fortune," he answered firmly, after a brief pause.

"Don't be in such a hurry, you quite frighten me! Shall I get you the loaf or not?"

"As you please."

"Ah, I forgot! A letter came for you yesterday when you were out."

"A letter? for me! from whom?"

"I can't say. I gave three copecks of my own to the postman for it. Will you pay me back?"

"Then bring it to me, for God's sake, bring it," cried Raskolnikov greatly excited - "good God!"

A minute later the letter was brought him. That was it: from his mother, from the province of R - - . He turned pale when he took it. It was a long while since he had received a letter, but another feeling also suddenly stabbed his heart.

"Nastasya, leave me alone, for goodness' sake; here are your three copecks, but for goodness' sake, make haste and go!"

The letter was quivering in his hand; he did not want to open it in her presence; he wanted to be left /alone/ with this letter. When Nastasya had gone out, he lifted it quickly to his lips and kissed it; then he gazed intently at the address, the small, sloping handwriting, so dear and familiar, of the mother who had once taught him to read and write. He delayed; he seemed almost afraid of something. At last he opened it; it was a thick heavy letter, weighing over two ounces, two large sheets of note paper were covered with very small handwriting.

"My dear Rodya," wrote his mother - "it's two months since I last
had a talk with you by letter which has distressed me and even
kept me awake at night, thinking. But I am sure you will not blame
me for my inevitable silence. You know how I love you; you are all
we have to look to, Dounia and I, you are our all, our one hope,
our one stay. What a grief it was to me when I heard that you had
given up the university some months ago, for want of means to keep
yourself and that you had lost your lessons and your other work!
How could I help you out of my hundred and twenty roubles a year
pension? The fifteen roubles I sent you four months ago I
borrowed, as you know, on security of my pension, from Vassily
Ivanovitch Vahrushin a merchant of this town. He is a kind-hearted
man and was a friend of your father's too. But having given him
the right to receive the pension, I had to wait till the debt was
paid off and that is only just done, so that I've been unable to
send you anything all this time. But now, thank God, I believe I
shall be able to send you something more and in fact we may
congratulate ourselves on our good fortune now, of which I hasten
to inform you. In the first place, would you have guessed, dear
Rodya, that your sister has been living with me for the last six
weeks and we shall not be separated in the future. Thank God, her
sufferings are over, but I will tell you everything in order, so
that you may know just how everything has happened and all that we
have hitherto concealed from you. When you wrote to me two months
ago that you had heard that Dounia had a great deal to put up with
in the Svidrigraïlovs' house, when you wrote that and asked me to
tell you all about it - what could I write in answer to you? If I
had written the whole truth to you, I dare say you would have
thrown up everything and have come to us, even if you had to walk
all the way, for I know your character and your feelings, and you
would not let your sister be insulted. I was in despair myself,
but what could I do? And, besides, I did not know the whole truth
myself then. What made it all so difficult was that Dounia
received a hundred roubles in advance when she took the place as
governess in their family, on condition of part of her salary
being deducted every month, and so it was impossible to throw up
the situation without repaying the debt. This sum (now I can
explain it all to you, my precious Rodya) she took chiefly in
order to send you sixty roubles, which you needed so terribly then
and which you received from us last year. We deceived you then,
writing that this money came from Dounia's savings, but that was
not so, and now I tell you all about it, because, thank God,
things have suddenly changed for the better, and that you may know
how Dounia loves you and what a heart she has. At first indeed Mr.
Svidrigaïlov treated her very rudely and used to make
disrespectful and jeering remarks at table. . . . But I don't want
to go into all those painful details, so as not to worry you for
nothing when it is now all over. In short, in spite of the kind
and generous behaviour of Marfa Petrovna, Mr. Svidrigaïlov's wife,
and all the rest of the household, Dounia had a very hard time,
especially when Mr. Svidrigaïlov, relapsing into his old
regimental habits, was under the influence of Bacchus. And how do
you think it was all explained later on? Would you believe that
the crazy fellow had conceived a passion for Dounia from the
beginning, but had concealed it under a show of rudeness and
contempt. Possibly he was ashamed and horrified himself at his own
flighty hopes, considering his years and his being the father of a
family; and that made him angry with Dounia. And possibly, too, he
hoped by his rude and sneering behaviour to hide the truth from
others. But at last he lost all control and had the face to make
Dounia an open and shameful proposal, promising her all sorts of
inducements and offering, besides, to throw up everything and take
her to another estate of his, or even abroad. You can imagine all
she went through! To leave her situation at once was impossible
not only on account of the money debt, but also to spare the
feelings of Marfa Petrovna, whose suspicions would have been
aroused: and then Dounia would have been the cause of a rupture in
the family. And it would have meant a terrible scandal for Dounia
too; that would have been inevitable. There were various other
reasons owing to which Dounia could not hope to escape from that
awful house for another six weeks. You know Dounia, of course; you
know how clever she is and what a strong will she has. Dounia can
endure a great deal and even in the most difficult cases she has
the fortitude to maintain her firmness. She did not even write to
me about everything for fear of upsetting me, although we were
constantly in communication. It all ended very unexpectedly. Marfa
Petrovna accidentally overheard her husband imploring Dounia in
the garden, and, putting quite a wrong interpretation on the
position, threw the blame upon her, believing her to be the cause
of it all. An awful scene took place between them on the spot in
the garden; Marfa Petrovna went so far as to strike Dounia,
refused to hear anything and was shouting at her for a whole hour
and then gave orders that Dounia should be packed off at once to
me in a plain peasant's cart, into which they flung all her
things, her linen and her clothes, all pell-mell, without folding
it up and packing it. And a heavy shower of rain came on, too, and
Dounia, insulted and put to shame, had to drive with a peasant in
an open cart all the seventeen versts into town. Only think now
what answer could I have sent to the letter I received from you
two months ago and what could I have written? I was in despair; I
dared not write to you the truth because you would have been very
unhappy, mortified and indignant, and yet what could you do? You
could only perhaps ruin yourself, and, besides, Dounia would not
allow it; and fill up my letter with trifles when my heart was so
full of sorrow, I could not. For a whole month the town was full
of gossip about this scandal, and it came to such a pass that
Dounia and I dared not even go to church on account of the
contemptuous looks, whispers, and even remarks made aloud about
us. All our acquaintances avoided us, nobody even bowed to us in
the street, and I learnt that some shopmen and clerks were
intending to insult us in a shameful way, smearing the gates of
our house with pitch, so that the landlord began to tell us we
must leave. All this was set going by Marfa Petrovna who managed
to slander Dounia and throw dirt at her in every family. She knows
everyone in the neighbourhood, and that month she was continually
coming into the town, and as she is rather talkative and fond of
gossiping about her family affairs and particularly of complaining
to all and each of her husband - which is not at all right - so in
a short time she had spread her story not only in the town, but
over the whole surrounding district. It made me ill, but Dounia
bore it better than I did, and if only you could have seen how she
endured it all and tried to comfort me and cheer me up! She is an
angel! But by God's mercy, our sufferings were cut short: Mr.
Svidrigaïlov returned to his senses and repented and, probably
feeling sorry for Dounia, he laid before Marfa Petrovna a complete
and unmistakable proof of Dounia's innocence, in the form of a
letter Dounia had been forced to write and give to him, before
Marfa Petrovna came upon them in the garden. This letter, which
remained in Mr. Svidrigaïlov's hands after her departure, she had
written to refuse personal explanations and secret interviews, for
which he was entreating her. In that letter she reproached him
with great heat and indignation for the baseness of his behaviour
in regard to Marfa Petrovna, reminding him that he was the father
and head of a family and telling him how infamous it was of him to
torment and make unhappy a defenceless girl, unhappy enough
already. Indeed, dear Rodya, the letter was so nobly and
touchingly written that I sobbed when I read it and to this day I
cannot read it without tears. Moreover, the evidence of the
servants, too, cleared Dounia's reputation; they had seen and
known a great deal more than Mr. Svidrigaïlov had himself supposed
- as indeed is always the case with servants. Marfa Petrovna was
completely taken aback, and 'again crushed' as she said herself to
us, but she was completely convinced of Dounia's innocence. The
very next day, being Sunday, she went straight to the Cathedral,
knelt down and prayed with tears to Our Lady to give her strength
to bear this new trial and to do her duty. Then she came straight
from the Cathedral to us, told us the whole story, wept bitterly
and, fully penitent, she embraced Dounia and besought her to
forgive her. The same morning without any delay, she went round to
all the houses in the town and everywhere, shedding tears, she
asserted in the most flattering terms Dounia's innocence and the
nobility of her feelings and her behavior. What was more, she
showed and read to everyone the letter in Dounia's own
handwriting to Mr. Svidrigaïlov and even allowed them to take
copies of it - which I must say I think was superfluous. In this
way she was busy for several days in driving about the whole town,
because some people had taken offence through precedence having
been given to others. And therefore they had to take turns, so
that in every house she was expected before she arrived, and
everyone knew that on such and such a day Marfa Petrovna would be
reading the letter in such and such a place and people assembled
for every reading of it, even many who had heard it several times
already both in their own houses and in other people's. In my
opinion a great deal, a very great deal of all this was
unnecessary; but that's Marfa Petrovna's character. Anyway she
succeeded in completely re-establishing Dounia's reputation and
the whole ignominy of this affair rested as an indelible disgrace
upon her husband, as the only person to blame, so that I really
began to feel sorry for him; it was really treating the crazy
fellow too harshly. Dounia was at once asked to give lessons in
several families, but she refused. All of a sudden everyone began
to treat her with marked respect and all this did much to bring
about the event by which, one may say, our whole fortunes are now
transformed. You must know, dear Rodya, that Dounia has a suitor
and that she has already consented to marry him. I hasten to tell
you all about the matter, and though it has been arranged without
asking your consent, I think you will not be aggrieved with me or
with your sister on that account, for you will see that we could
not wait and put off our decision till we heard from you. And you
could not have judged all the facts without being on the spot.
This was how it happened. He is already of the rank of a
counsellor, Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin, and is distantly related to
Marfa Petrovna, who has been very active in bringing the match
about. It began with his expressing through her his desire to make
our acquaintance. He was properly received, drank coffee with us
and the very next day he sent us a letter in which he very
courteously made an offer and begged for a speedy and decided
answer. He is a very busy man and is in a great hurry to get to
Petersburg, so that every moment is precious to him. At first, of
course, we were greatly surprised, as it had all happened so
quickly and unexpectedly. We thought and talked it over the whole
day. He is a well-to-do man, to be depended upon, he has two posts
in the government and has already made his fortune. It is true
that he is forty-five years old, but he is of a fairly
prepossessing appearance and might still be thought attractive by
women, and he is altogether a very respectable and presentable
man, only he seems a little morose and somewhat conceited. But
possibly that may only be the impression he makes at first sight.
And beware, dear Rodya, when he comes to Petersburg, as he shortly
will do, beware of judging him too hastily and severely, as your
way is, if there is anything you do not like in him at first
sight. I give you this warning, although I feel sure that he will
make a favourable impression upon you. Moreover, in order to
understand any man one must be deliberate and careful to avoid
forming prejudices and mistaken ideas, which are very difficult to
correct and get over afterwards. And Pyotr Petrovitch, judging by
many indications, is a thoroughly estimable man. At his first
visit, indeed, he told us that he was a practical man, but still
he shares, as he expressed it, many of the convictions 'of our
most rising generation' and he is an opponent of all prejudices.
He said a good deal more, for he seems a little conceited and
likes to be listened to, but this is scarcely a vice. I, of
course, understood very little of it, but Dounia explained to me
that, though he is not a man of great education, he is clever and
seems to be good-natured. You know your sister's character, Rodya.
She is a resolute, sensible, patient and generous girl, but she
has a passionate heart, as I know very well. Of course, there is
no great love either on his side, or on hers, but Dounia is a
clever girl and has the heart of an angel, and will make it her
duty to make her husband happy who on his side will make her
happiness his care. Of that we have no good reason to doubt,
though it must be admitted the matter has been arranged in great
haste. Besides he is a man of great prudence and he will see, to
be sure, of himself, that his own happiness will be the more
secure, the happier Dounia is with him. And as for some defects of
character, for some habits and even certain differences of opinion
- which indeed are inevitable even in the happiest marriages -
Dounia has said that, as regards all that, she relies on herself,
that there is nothing to be uneasy about, and that she is ready to
put up with a great deal, if only their future relationship can be
an honourable and straightforward one. He struck me, for instance,
at first, as rather abrupt, but that may well come from his being
an outspoken man, and that is no doubt how it is. For instance, at
his second visit, after he had received Dounia's consent, in the
course of conversation, he declared that before making Dounia's
acquaintance, he had made up his mind to marry a girl of good
reputation, without dowry and, above all, one who had experienced
poverty, because, as he explained, a man ought not to be indebted
to his wife, but that it is better for a wife to look upon her
husband as her benefactor. I must add that he expressed it more
nicely and politely than I have done, for I have forgotten his
actual phrases and only remember the meaning. And, besides, it was
obviously not said of design, but slipped out in the heat of
conversation, so that he tried afterwards to correct himself and
smooth it over, but all the same it did strike me as somewhat
rude, and I said so afterwards to Dounia. But Dounia was vexed,
and answered that 'words are not deeds,' and that, of course, is
perfectly true. Dounia did not sleep all night before she made up
her mind, and, thinking that I was asleep, she got out of bed and
was walking up and down the room all night; at last she knelt down
before the ikon and prayed long and fervently and in the morning
she told me that she had decided.
"I have mentioned already that Pyotr Petrovitch is just setting off
for Petersburg, where he has a great deal of business, and he
wants to open a legal bureau. He has been occupied for many years
in conducting civil and commercial litigation, and only the other
day he won an important case. He has to be in Petersburg because
he has an important case before the Senate. So, Rodya dear, he may
be of the greatest use to you, in every way indeed, and Dounia and
I have agreed that from this very day you could definitely enter
upon your career and might consider that your future is marked out
and assured for you. Oh, if only this comes to pass! This would be
such a benefit that we could only look upon it as a providential
blessing. Dounia is dreaming of nothing else. We have even
ventured already to drop a few words on the subject to Pyotr
Petrovitch. He was cautious in his answer, and said that, of
course, as he could not get on without a secretary, it would be
better to be paying a salary to a relation than to a stranger, if
only the former were fitted for the duties (as though there could
be doubt of your being fitted!) but then he expressed doubts
whether your studies at the university would leave you time for
work at his office. The matter dropped for the time, but Dounia is
thinking of nothing else now. She has been in a sort of fever for
the last few days, and has already made a regular plan for your
becoming in the end an associate and even a partner in Pyotr
Petrovitch's business, which might well be, seeing that you are a
student of law. I am in complete agreement with her, Rodya, and
share all her plans and hopes, and think there is every
probability of realising them. And in spite of Pyotr Petrovitch's
evasiveness, very natural at present (since he does not know you),
Dounia is firmly persuaded that she will gain everything by her
good influence over her future husband; this she is reckoning
upon. Of course we are careful not to talk of any of these more
remote plans to Pyotr Petrovitch, especially of your becoming his
partner. He is a practical man and might take this very coldly, it
might all seem to him simply a day-dream. Nor has either Dounia or
I breathed a word to him of the great hopes we have of his helping
us to pay for your university studies; we have not spoken of it in
the first place, because it will come to pass of itself, later on,
and he will no doubt without wasting words offer to do it of
himself, (as though he could refuse Dounia that) the more readily
since you may by your own efforts become his right hand in the
office, and receive this assistance not as a charity, but as a
salary earned by your own work. Dounia wants to arrange it all
like this and I quite agree with her. And we have not spoken of
our plans for another reason, that is, because I particularly
wanted you to feel on an equal footing when you first meet him.
When Dounia spoke to him with enthusiasm about you, he answered
that one could never judge of a man without seeing him close, for
oneself, and that he looked forward to forming his own opinion
when he makes your acquaintance. Do you know, my precious Rodya, I
think that perhaps for some reasons (nothing to do with Pyotr
Petrovitch though, simply for my own personal, perhaps old-
womanish, fancies) I should do better to go on living by myself,
apart, than with them, after the wedding. I am convinced that he
will be generous and delicate enough to invite me and to urge me
to remain with my daughter for the future, and if he has said
nothing about it hitherto, it is simply because it has been taken
for granted; but I shall refuse. I have noticed more than once in
my life that husbands don't quite get on with their mothers-in-
law, and I don't want to be the least bit in anyone's way, and for
my own sake, too, would rather be quite independent, so long as I
have a crust of bread of my own, and such children as you and
Dounia. If possible, I would settle somewhere near you, for the
most joyful piece of news, dear Rodya, I have kept for the end of
my letter: know then, my dear boy, that we may, perhaps, be all
together in a very short time and may embrace one another again
after a separation of almost three years! It is settled /for
certain/ that Dounia and I are to set off for Petersburg, exactly
when I don't know, but very, very soon, possibly in a week. It all
depends on Pyotr Petrovitch who will let us know when he has had
time to look round him in Petersburg. To suit his own arrangements
he is anxious to have the ceremony as soon as possible, even
before the fast of Our Lady, if it could be managed, or if that is
too soon to be ready, immediately after. Oh, with what happiness I
shall press you to my heart! Dounia is all excitement at the
joyful thought of seeing you, she said one day in joke that she
would be ready to marry Pyotr Petrovitch for that alone. She is an
angel! She is not writing anything to you now, and has only told
me to write that she has so much, so much to tell you that she is
not going to take up her pen now, for a few lines would tell you
nothing, and it would only mean upsetting herself; she bids me
send you her love and innumerable kisses. But although we shall be
meeting so soon, perhaps I shall send you as much money as I can
in a day or two. Now that everyone has heard that Dounia is to
marry Pyotr Petrovitch, my credit has suddenly improved and I know
that Afanasy Ivanovitch will trust me now even to seventy-five
roubles on the security of my pension, so that perhaps I shall be
able to send you twenty-five or even thirty roubles. I would send
you more, but I am uneasy about our travelling expenses; for
though Pyotr Petrovitch has been so kind as to undertake part of
the expenses of the journey, that is to say, he has taken upon
himself the conveyance of our bags and big trunk (which will be
conveyed through some acquaintances of his), we must reckon upon
some expense on our arrival in Petersburg, where we can't be left
without a halfpenny, at least for the first few days. But we have
calculated it all, Dounia and I, to the last penny, and we see
that the journey will not cost very much. It is only ninety versts
from us to the railway and we have come to an agreement with a
driver we know, so as to be in readiness; and from there Dounia
and I can travel quite comfortably third class. So that I may very
likely be able to send to you not twenty-five, but thirty roubles.
But enough; I have covered two sheets already and there is no
space left for more; our whole history, but so many events have
happened! And now, my precious Rodya, I embrace you and send you a
mother's blessing till we meet. Love Dounia your sister, Rodya;
love her as she loves you and understand that she loves you beyond
everything, more than herself. She is an angel and you, Rodya, you
are everything to us - our one hope, our one consolation. If only
you are happy, we shall be happy. Do you still say your prayers,
Rodya, and believe in the mercy of our Creator and our Redeemer? I
am afraid in my heart that you may have been visited by the new
spirit of infidelity that is abroad to-day; If it is so, I pray
for you. Remember, dear boy, how in your childhood, when your
father was living, you used to lisp your prayers at my knee, and
how happy we all were in those days. Good-bye, till we meet then -
I embrace you warmly, warmly, with many kisses.

"Yours till death,

"PULCHERIA RASKOLNIKOV."

Almost from the first, while he read the letter, Raskolnikov's face was wet with tears; but when he finished it, his face was pale and distorted and a bitter, wrathful and malignant smile was on his lips. He laid his head down on his threadbare dirty pillow and pondered, pondered a long time. His heart was beating violently, and his brain was in a turmoil. At last he felt cramped and stifled in the little yellow room that was like a cupboard or a box. His eyes and his mind craved for space. He took up his hat and went out, this time without dread of meeting anyone; he had forgotten his dread. He turned in the direction of the Vassilyevsky Ostrov, walking along Vassilyevsky Prospect, as though hastening on some business, but he walked, as his habit was, without noticing his way, muttering and even speaking aloud to himself, to the astonishment of the passers-by. Many of them took him to be drunk.