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CHAPTER SEVEN

“To America.”

“America.”

Svidrigailov took out the revolver and cocked it. Achilles THE SAME DAY, about seven o’clock in the evening, Raskolnikov was on his way to his mother’s and raised his eyebrows.

sister’s lodging—the lodging in Bakaleyev’s house

“I say, this is not the place for such jokes!”

which Razumihin had found for them. The stairs went up

“Why shouldn’t it be the place?”

from the street. Raskolnikov walked with lagging steps, as

“Because it isn’t.”

though still hesitating whether to go or not. But nothing

“Well, brother, I don’t mind that. It’s a good place. When would have turned him back: his decision was taken. you are asked, you just say he was going, he said, to

“Besides, it doesn’t matter, they still know nothing,” he America.”

thought, “and they are used to thinking of me as eccenHe put the revolver to his right temple. tric.”

“You can’t do it here, it’s not the place,” cried Achilles, He was appallingly dressed: his clothes torn and dirty, rousing himself, his eyes growing bigger and bigger. soaked with a night’s rain. His face was almost distorted Svidrigailov pulled the trigger.

from fatigue, exposure, the inward conflict that had lasted for twenty-four hours. He had spent all the previous night alone, God knows where. But anyway he had reached a decision.

He knocked at the door which was opened by his mother. Dounia was not at home. Even the servant happened to be out. At first Pulcheria Alexandrovna was speechless with Crime and Punishment

joy and surprise; then she took him by the hand and drew ning to and fro as though I were crazy…? I am reading your him into the room.

article in the magazine for the third time, Rodya. Dmitri

“Here you are!” she began, faltering with joy. “Don’t be Prokofitch brought it to me. Directly I saw it I cried out to angry with me, Rodya, for welcoming you so foolishly with myself, there, foolish one, I thought, that’s what he is busy tears: I am laughing not crying. Did you think I was crying?

about; that’s the solution of the mystery! Learned people No, I am delighted, but I’ve got into such a stupid habit of are always like that. He may have some new ideas in his shedding tears. I’ve been like that ever since your father’s head just now; he is thinking them over and I worry him death. I cry for anything. Sit down, dear boy, you must be and upset him. I read it, my dear, and of course there was tired; I see you are. Ah, how muddy you are.”

a great deal I did not understand; but that’s only natural—

“I was in the rain yesterday, mother….” Raskolnikov behow should I?”

gan.

“Show me, mother.”

“No, no,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna hurriedly interrupted, Raskolnikov took the magazine and glanced at his article.

“you thought I was going to cross-question you in the womIncongruous as it was with his mood and his circumstances, anish way I used to; don’t be anxious, I understand, I unhe felt that strange and bitter sweet sensation that every derstand it all: now I’ve learned the ways here an truly I see author experiences the first time he sees himself in print; for myself that they are better. I’ve made up my mind once besides, he was only twenty-three. It lasted only a moment. for all: how could I understand your plans and expect you After reading a few lines he frowned and his heart throbbed to give an account of them? God knows what concerns and with anguish. He recalled all the inward conflict of the preplans you may have, or what ideas you are hatching; so it’s ceding months. He flung the article on the table with disnot for me to keep nudging your elbow, asking you what gust and anger.

you are thinking about. But, my goodness! why am I run“But, however foolish I may be, Rodya, I can see for Fyodor Dostoevsky

myself that you will very soon be one of the leading—if not consideration. I am not complaining. She has her ways and the leading man—in the world of Russian thought. And they I have mine; she seems to have got some secrets of late and dared to think you were mad! You don’t know, but they I never have any secrets from you two. Of course, I am really thought that. Ah, the despicable creatures, how could sure that Dounia has far too much sense, and besides she they understand genius! And Dounia, Dounia was all but loves you and me… but I don’t know what it will all lead to. believing it—what do you say to that! Your father sent twice You’ve made me so happy by coming now, Rodya, but she to magazines—the first time poems (I’ve got the manuscript has missed you by going out; when she comes in I’ll tell and will show you) and the second time a whole novel (I her: your brother came in while you were out. Where have begged him to let me copy it out) and how we prayed that you been all this time? You mustn’t spoil me, Rodya, you they should be taken—they weren’t! I was breaking my heart, know; come when you can, but if you can’t, it doesn’t matRodya, six or seven days ago over your food and your clothes ter, I can wait. I shall know, anyway, that you are fond of and the way you are living. But now I see again how foolish me, that will be enough for me. I shall read what you write, I was, for you can attain any position you like by your intelI shall hear about you from every one, and sometimes you’ll lect and talent. No doubt you don’t care about that for the come yourself to see me. What could be better? Here present and you are occupied with much more important you’ve come now to comfort your mother, I see that.”

matters….”

Here Pulcheria Alexandrovna began to cry.

“Dounia’s not at home, mother?”

“Here I am again! Don’t mind my foolishness. My good“No, Rodya. I often don’t see her; she leaves me alone. ness, why am I sitting here?” she cried, jumping up. “There Dmitri Prokofitch comes to see me, it’s so good of him, is coffee and I don’t offer you any. Ah, that’s the selfishand he always talks about you. He loves you and respects ness of old age. I’ll get it at once!”

you, my dear. I don’t say that Dounia is very wanting in

“Mother, don’t trouble, I am going at once. I haven’t Crime and Punishment

come for that. Please listen to me.”

ing him to her bosom and weeping gently. Pulcheria Alexandrovna went up to him timidly.

“I don’t know what is wrong with you, Rodya,” she said

“Mother, whatever happens, whatever you hear about me, at last. “I’ve been thinking all this time that we were simply whatever you are told about me, will you always love me as boring you and now I see that there is a great sorrow in you do now?” he asked suddenly from the fulness of his store for you, and that’s why you are miserable. I’ve foreheart, as though not thinking of his words and not weighing seen it a long time, Rodya. Forgive me for speaking about them.

it. I keep thinking about it and lie awake at nights. Your

“Rodya, Rodya, what is the matter? How can you ask me sister lay talking in her sleep all last night, talking of nothing such a question? Why, who will tell me anything about but you. I caught something, but I couldn’t make it out. I you? Besides, I shouldn’t believe any one, I should refuse felt all the morning as though I were going to be hanged, to listen.”

waiting for something, expecting something, and now it has

“I’ve come to assure you that I’ve always loved you and I come! Rodya, Rodya, where are you going? You are going am glad that we are alone, even glad Dounia is out,” he away somewhere?”

went on with the same impulse. “I have come to tell you

“Yes.”

that though you will be unhappy, you must believe that

“That’s what I thought! I can come with you, you know, your son loves you now more than himself, and that all you if you need me. And Dounia, too; she loves you, she loves thought about me, that I was cruel and didn’t care about you dearly—and Sofya Semyonovna may come with us if you, was all a mistake. I shall never cease to love you…. you like. You see, I am glad to look upon her as a daughter Well, that’s enough: I thought I must do this and begin even… Dmitri Prokofitch will help us to go together. But with this….”

where… are you going?”

Pulcheria Alexandrovna embraced him in silence, press“Good-bye, mother.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

“What, to-day?” she cried, as though losing him for ever. been crying lately, it’s that my mother’s heart had a fore“I can’t stay, I must go now….”

boding of trouble. The first time I saw you, that evening

“And can’t I come with you?”

you remember, as soon as we arrived here, I guessed sim“No, but kneel down and pray to God for me. Your prayer ply from your eyes. My heart sank at once, and to-day when perhaps will reach Him.”

I opened the door and looked at you, I thought the fatal

“Let me bless you and sign you with the cross. That’s hour had come. Rodya, Rodya, you are not going away toright, that’s right. Oh, God, what are we doing?”

day?”

Yes, he was glad, he was very glad that there was no one

“No!”

there, that he was alone with his mother. For the first time

“You’ll come again?”

after all those awful months his heart was softened. He fell

“Yes… I’ll come.”

down before her, he kissed her feet and both wept, em“Rodya, don’t be angry, I don’t dare to question you. I bracing. And she was not surprised and did not question know I mustn’t. Only say two words to me—is it far where him this time. For some days she had realised that someyou are going?”

thing awful was happening to her son and that now some

“Very far.”

terrible minute had come for him.

“What is awaiting you there? Some post or career for

“Rodya, my darling, my first born,” she said sobbing, “now you?”

you are just as when you were little. You would run like

“What God sends… only pray for me.” Raskolnikov went this to me and hug me and kiss me. When your father was to the door, but she clutched him and gazed despairingly living and we were poor, you comforted us simply by being into his eyes. Her face worked with terror. with us and when I buried your father, how often we wept

“Enough, mother,” said Raskolnikov, deeply regretting together at his grave and embraced, as now. And if I’ve that he had come.

Crime and Punishment

“Not for ever, it’s not yet for ever? You’ll come, you’ll

“I feel weak, Dounia, I am very tired; and I should have come to-morrow?”

liked at this moment to be able to control myself.”

“I will, I will, good-bye.” He tore himself away at last. He glanced at her mistrustfully.

It was a warm, fresh, bright evening; it had cleared up in

“Where were you all night?”

the morning. Raskolnikov went to his lodgings; he made

“I don’t remember clearly. You see, sister, I wanted to haste. He wanted to finish all before sunset. He did not make up my mind once for all, and several times I walked want to meet any one till then. Going up the stairs he noby the Neva, I remember that I wanted to end it all there, ticed that Nastasya rushed from the samovar to watch him but… I couldn’t make up my mind,” he whispered, lookintently. “Can any one have come to see me?” he woning at her mistrustfully again. dered. He had a disgusted vision of Porfiry. But opening

“Thank God! That was just what we were afraid of, Sofya his door he saw Dounia. She was sitting alone, plunged in Semyonovna and I. Then you still have faith in life? Thank deep thought, and looked as though she had been waiting God, thank God!”

a long time. He stopped short in the doorway. She rose Raskolnikov smiled bitterly.

from the sofa in dismay and stood up facing him. Her eyes

“I haven’t faith, but I have just been weeping in mother’s fixed upon him, betrayed horror and infinite grief. And arms; I haven’t faith, but I have just asked her to pray for from those eyes alone he saw at once that she knew. me. I don’t know how it is, Dounia, I don’t understand it.”

“Am I to come in or go away?” he asked uncertainly.

“Have you been at mother’s? Have you told her?” cried

“I’ve been all day with Sofya Semyonovna. We were both waitDounia, horror-stricken. “Surely you haven’t done that?”

ing for you. We thought that you would be sure to come there.”

“No, I didn’t tell her… in words; but she understood a Raskolnikov went into the room and sank exhausted on great deal. She heard you talking in your sleep. I am sure a chair.

she half understands it already. Perhaps I did wrong in go-Fyodor Dostoevsky ing to see her. I don’t know why I did go. I am a contempt“You are crying, sister, but can you hold out your hand ible person, Dounia.”

to me?”

“A contemptible person, but ready to face suffering! You

“You doubted it?”

are, aren’t you?”

She threw her arms round him.

“Yes, I am going. At once. Yes, to escape the disgrace I

“Aren’t you half expiating your crime by facing the sufthought of drowning myself, Dounia, but as I looked into fering!” she cried, holding him close and kissing him. the water, I thought that if I had considered myself strong

“Crime? What crime?” he cried in sudden fury. “That I till now I’d better not be afraid of disgrace,” he said, hurrykilled a vile noxious insect, an old pawnbroker woman, of ing on. “It’s pride, Dounia.”

use to no one!… Killing her was atonement for forty sins.

“Pride, Rodya.”

She was sucking the life out of poor people. Was that a There was a gleam of fire in his lustreless eyes; he seemed crime? I am not thinking of it and I am not thinking of to be glad to think that he was still proud. expiating it, and why are you all rubbing it in on all sides?

“You don’t think, sister, that I was simply afraid of the

‘A crime! a crime!’ Only now I see clearly the imbecility of water?” he asked, looking into her face with a sinister smile. my cowardice, now that I have decided to face this super“Oh, Rodya, hush!” cried Dounia bitterly. Silence lasted fluous disgrace. It’s simply because I am contemptible and for two minutes. He sat with his eyes fixed on the floor; have nothing in me that I have decided to, perhaps too for Dounia stood at the other end of the table and looked at my advantage, as that… Porfiry… suggested!”

him with anguish. Suddenly he got up.

“Brother, brother, what are you saying! Why, you have

“It’s late, it’s time to go! I am going at once to give myself shed blood!” cried Dounia in despair.

up. But I don’t know why I am going to give myself up.”

“Which all men shed,” he put in almost frantically, “which Big tears fell down her cheeks.

flows and has always flowed in streams, which is spilt like Crime and Punishment

champagne, and for which men are crowned in the Capitol clearly than now, and I am further than ever from seeing and are called afterwards benefactors of mankind. Look that what I did was a crime. I’ve never, never been stronger into it more carefully and understand it! I too wanted to do and more convinced than now.”

good to men and would have done hundreds, thousands The colour had rushed into his pale exhausted face, but of good deeds to make up for that one piece of stupidity, as he uttered his last explanation, he happened to meet not stupidity even, simply clumsiness, for the idea was by Dounia’s eyes and he saw such anguish in them that he no means so stupid as it seems now that it has failed…. could not help being checked. He felt that he had any way (Everything seems stupid when it fails.) By that stupidity I made these two poor women miserable, that he was any only wanted to put myself into an independent position, to way the cause…

take the first step, to obtain means, and then everything

“Dounia darling, if I am guilty forgive me (though I canwould have been smoothed over by benefits immeasurnot be forgiven if I am guilty). Good-bye! We won’t disable in comparison…. But I… I couldn’t carry out even the pute. It’s time, high time to go. Don’t follow me, I beseech first step, because I am contemptible, that’s what’s the you, I have somewhere else to go…. But you go at once matter! And yet I won’t look at it as you do. If I had sucand sit with mother. I entreat you to! It’s my last request of ceeded I should have been crowned with glory, but now you. Don’t leave her at all; I left her in a state of anxiety, I’m trapped.”

that she is not fit to bear; she will die or go out of her mind.

“But that’s not so, not so! Brother, what are you saying.”

Be with her! Razumihin will be with you. I’ve been talking

“Ah, it’s not picturesque, not aesthetically attractive! I fail to him…. Don’t cry about me: I’ll try to be honest and to understand why bombarding people by regular siege is manly all my life, even if I am a murderer. Perhaps I shall more honourable. The fear of appearances is the first sympsome day make a name. I won’t disgrace you, you will see; tom of impotence. I’ve never, never recognised this more I’ll still show…. Now good-bye for the present,” he con-Fyodor Dostoevsky cluded hurriedly, noticing again a strange expression in any better what they are for, when I am crushed by hardDounia’s eyes at his last words and promises. “Why are ships and idiocy, and weak as an old man after twenty years’

you crying? Don’t cry, don’t cry: we are not parting for penal servitude? And what shall I have to live for then?

ever! Ah, yes! Wait a minute, I’d forgotten!”

Why am I consenting to that life now? Oh, I knew I was He went to the table, took up a thick dusty book, opened contemptible when I stood looking at the Neva at daybreak it and took from between the pages a little water-colour to-day!”

portrait on ivory. It was the portrait of his landlady’s daughAt last they both went out. It was hard for Dounia, but ter, who had died of fever, that strange girl who had wanted she loved him. She walked away, but after going fifty paces to be a nun. For a minute he gazed at the delicate expresshe turned round to look at him again. He was still in sight. sive face of his betrothed, kissed the portrait and gave it to At the corner he too turned and for the last time their eyes Dounia.

met; but noticing that she was looking at him, he motioned

“I used to talk a great deal about it to her, only to her,” he her away with impatience and even vexation, and turned said thoughtfully. “To her heart I confided much of what the corner abruptly.

has since been so hideously realised. Don’t be uneasy,” he

“I am wicked, I see that,” he thought to himself, feeling returned to Dounia, “she was as much opposed to it as ashamed a moment later of his angry gesture to Dounia. you, and I am glad that she is gone. The great point is that

“But why are they so fond of me if I don’t deserve it? Oh, everything now is going to be different, is going to be broif only I were alone and no one loved me and I too had ken in two,” he cried, suddenly returning to his dejection. never loved any one! Nothing of all this would have hap“Everything, everything, and am I prepared for it? Do I pened. But I wonder shall I in those fifteen or twenty years want it myself? They say it is necessary for me to suffer!

grow so meek that I shall humble myself before people What’s the object of these senseless sufferings? shall I know and whimper at every word that I am a criminal. Yes, that’s Crime and Punishment

it, that’s it, that’s what they are sending me there for, that’s