Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Part 3: Chapter 4

"Only not to-day, please, not to-day!" she kept muttering with a sinking heart, as though entreating someone, like a frightened child. "Mercy! to me . . . to that room . . . he will see . . . oh, dear!"

She was not capable at that instant of noticing an unknown gentleman who was watching her and following at her heels. He had accompanied her from the gateway. At the moment when Razumihin, Raskolnikov, and she stood still at parting on the pavement, this gentleman, who was just passing, started on hearing Sonia's words: "and I asked where Mr. Raskolnikov lived?" He turned a rapid but attentive look upon all three, especially upon Raskolnikov, to whom Sonia was speaking; then looked back and noted the house. All this was done in an instant as he passed, and trying not to betray his interest, he walked on more slowly as though waiting for something. He was waiting for Sonia; he saw that they were parting, and that Sonia was going home.

"Home? Where? I've seen that face somewhere," he thought. "I must find out."

At the turning he crossed over, looked round, and saw Sonia coming the same way, noticing nothing. She turned the corner. He followed her on the other side. After about fifty paces he crossed over again, overtook her and kept two or three yards behind her.

He was a man about fifty, rather tall and thickly set, with broad high shoulders which made him look as though he stooped a little. He wore good and fashionable clothes, and looked like a gentleman of position. He carried a handsome cane, which he tapped on the pavement at each step; his gloves were spotless. He had a broad, rather pleasant face with high cheek-bones and a fresh colour, not often seen in Petersburg. His flaxen hair was still abundant, and only touched here and there with grey, and his thick square beard was even lighter than his hair. His eyes were blue and had a cold and thoughtful look; his lips were crimson. He was a remarkedly well-preserved man and looked much younger than his years.

When Sonia came out on the canal bank, they were the only two persons on the pavement. He observed her dreaminess and preoccupation. On reaching the house where she lodged, Sonia turned in at the gate; he followed her, seeming rather surprised. In the courtyard she turned to the right corner. "Bah!" muttered the unknown gentleman, and mounted the stairs behind her. Only then Sonia noticed him. She reached the third storey, turned down the passage, and rang at No. 9. On the door was inscribed in chalk, "Kapernaumov, Tailor." "Bah!" the stranger repeated again, wondering at the strange coincidence, and he rang next door, at No. 8. The doors were two or three yards apart.

"You lodge at Kapernaumov's," he said, looking at Sonia and laughing. "He altered a waistcoat for me yesterday. I am staying close here at Madame Resslich's. How odd!" Sonia looked at him attentively.

"We are neighbours," he went on gaily. "I only came to town the day before yesterday. Good-bye for the present."

Sonia made no reply; the door opened and she slipped in. She felt for some reason ashamed and uneasy.

On the way to Porfiry's, Razumihin was obviously excited.

"That's capital, brother," he repeated several times, "and I am glad! I am glad!"

"What are you glad about?" Raskolnikov thought to himself.

"I didn't know that you pledged things at the old woman's, too. And . . . was it long ago? I mean, was it long since you were there?"

"What a simple-hearted fool he is!"

"When was it?" Raskolnikov stopped still to recollect. "Two or three days before her death it must have been. But I am not going to redeem the things now," he put in with a sort of hurried and conspicuous solicitude about the things. "I've not more than a silver rouble left . . . after last night's accursed delirium!"

He laid special emphasis on the delirium.

"Yes, yes," Razumihin hastened to agree — with what was not clear. "Then that's why you . . . were stuck . . . partly . . . you know in your delirium you were continually mentioning some rings or chains! Yes, yes . . . that's clear, it's all clear now."

"Hullo! How that idea must have got about among them. Here this man will go to the stake for me, and I find him delighted at having it cleared up why I spoke of rings in my delirium! What a hold the idea must have on all of them!"

"Shall we find him?" he asked suddenly.

"Oh, yes," Razumihin answered quickly. "He is a nice fellow, you will see, brother. Rather clumsy, that is to say, he is a man of polished manners, but I mean clumsy in a different sense. He is an intelligent fellow, very much so indeed, but he has his own range of ideas . . . . He is incredulous, sceptical, cynical . . . he likes to impose on people, or rather to make fun of them. His is the old, circumstantial method . . . . But he understands his work . . . thoroughly . . . . Last year he cleared up a case of murder in which the police had hardly a clue. He is very, very anxious to make your acquaintance!"

"On what grounds is he so anxious?"

"Oh, it's not exactly . . . you see, since you've been ill I happen to have mentioned you several times . . . . So, when he heard about you . . . about your being a law student and not able to finish your studies, he said, 'What a pity!' And so I concluded . . . from everything together, not only that; yesterday Zametov . . . you know, Rodya, I talked some nonsense on the way home to you yesterday, when I was drunk . . . I am afraid, brother, of your exaggerating it, you see."

"What? That they think I am a madman? Maybe they are right," he said with a constrained smile.

"Yes, yes . . . . That is, pooh, no! . . . But all that I said (and there was something else too) it was all nonsense, drunken nonsense."

"But why are you apologising? I am so sick of it all!" Raskolnikov cried with exaggerated irritability. It was partly assumed, however.

"I know, I know, I understand. Believe me, I understand. One's ashamed to speak of it."

"If you are ashamed, then don't speak of it."

Both were silent. Razumihin was more than ecstatic and Raskolnikov perceived it with repulsion. He was alarmed, too, by what Razumihin had just said about Porfiry.

"I shall have to pull a long face with him too," he thought, with a beating heart, and he turned white, "and do it naturally, too. But the most natural thing would be to do nothing at all. Carefully do nothing at all! No, carefully would not be natural again . . . . Oh, well, we shall see how it turns out . . . . We shall see . . . directly. Is it a good thing to go or not? The butterfly flies to the light. My heart is beating, that's what's bad!"

"In this grey house," said Razumihin.

"The most important thing, does Porfiry know that I was at the old hag's flat yesterday . . . and asked about the blood? I must find that out instantly, as soon as I go in, find out from his face; otherwise . . . I'll find out, if it's my ruin."

"I say, brother," he said suddenly, addressing Razumihin, with a sly smile, "I have been noticing all day that you seem to be curiously excited. Isn't it so?"

"Excited? Not a bit of it," said Razumihin, stung to the quick.

"Yes, brother, I assure you it's noticeable. Why, you sat on your chair in a way you never do sit, on the edge somehow, and you seemed to be writhing all the time. You kept jumping up for nothing. One moment you were angry, and the next your face looked like a sweetmeat. You even blushed; especially when you were invited to dinner, you blushed awfully."

"Nothing of the sort, nonsense! What do you mean?"

"But why are you wriggling out of it, like a schoolboy? By Jove, there he's blushing again."

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After his trial, where is Raskolnikov sent?




Quiz