And as though that was a matter of no importance, he carefully offered the ash-tray to Razumihin, who was ruthlessly scattering cigarette ash over the carpet. Raskolnikov shuddered, but Porfiry did not seem to be looking at him, and was still concerned with Razumihin's cigarette.
"What? Expecting him? Why, did you know that he had pledges there?" cried Razumihin.
Porfiry Petrovitch addressed himself to Raskolnikov.
"Your things, the ring and the watch, were wrapped up together, and on the paper your name was legibly written in pencil, together with the date on which you left them with her . . . "
"How observant you are!" Raskolnikov smiled awkwardly, doing his very utmost to look him straight in the face, but he failed, and suddenly added:
"I say that because I suppose there were a great many pledges . . . that it must be difficult to remember them all . . . . But you remember them all so clearly, and . . . and . . . "
"Stupid! Feeble!" he thought. "Why did I add that?"
"But we know all who had pledges, and you are the only one who hasn't come forward," Porfiry answered with hardly perceptible irony.
"I haven't been quite well."
"I heard that too. I heard, indeed, that you were in great distress about something. You look pale still."
"I am not pale at all . . . . No, I am quite well," Raskolnikov snapped out rudely and angrily, completely changing his tone. His anger was mounting, he could not repress it. "And in my anger I shall betray myself," flashed through his mind again. "Why are they torturing me?"
"Not quite well!" Razumihin caught him up. "What next! He was unconscious and delirious all yesterday. Would you believe, Porfiry, as soon as our backs were turned, he dressed, though he could hardly stand, and gave us the slip and went off on a spree somewhere till midnight, delirious all the time! Would you believe it! Extraordinary!"
"Really delirious? You don't say so!" Porfiry shook his head in a womanish way.
"Nonsense! Don't you believe it! But you don't believe it anyway," Raskolnikov let slip in his anger. But Porfiry Petrovitch did not seem to catch those strange words.
"But how could you have gone out if you hadn't been delirious?" Razumihin got hot suddenly. "What did you go out for? What was the object of it? And why on the sly? Were you in your senses when you did it? Now that all danger is over I can speak plainly."
"I was awfully sick of them yesterday." Raskolnikov addressed Porfiry suddenly with a smile of insolent defiance, "I ran away from them to take lodgings where they wouldn't find me, and took a lot of money with me. Mr. Zametov there saw it. I say, Mr. Zametov, was I sensible or delirious yesterday; settle our dispute."
He could have strangled Zametov at that moment, so hateful were his expression and his silence to him.
"In my opinion you talked sensibly and even artfully, but you were extremely irritable," Zametov pronounced dryly.
"And Nikodim Fomitch was telling me to-day," put in Porfiry Petrovitch, "that he met you very late last night in the lodging of a man who had been run over."
"And there," said Razumihin, "weren't you mad then? You gave your last penny to the widow for the funeral. If you wanted to help, give fifteen or twenty even, but keep three roubles for yourself at least, but he flung away all the twenty-five at once!"
"Maybe I found a treasure somewhere and you know nothing of it? So that's why I was liberal yesterday . . . . Mr. Zametov knows I've found a treasure! Excuse us, please, for disturbing you for half an hour with such trivialities," he said, turning to Porfiry Petrovitch, with trembling lips. "We are boring you, aren't we?"
"Oh no, quite the contrary, quite the contrary! If only you knew how you interest me! It's interesting to look on and listen . . . and I am really glad you have come forward at last."
"But you might give us some tea! My throat's dry," cried Razumihin.
"Capital idea! Perhaps we will all keep you company. Wouldn't you like . . . something more essential before tea?"
"Get along with you!"
Porfiry Petrovitch went out to order tea.
Raskolnikov's thoughts were in a whirl. He was in terrible exasperation.
"The worst of it is they don't disguise it; they don't care to stand on ceremony! And how if you didn't know me at all, did you come to talk to Nikodim Fomitch about me? So they don't care to hide that they are tracking me like a pack of dogs. They simply spit in my face." He was shaking with rage. "Come, strike me openly, don't play with me like a cat with a mouse. It's hardly civil, Porfiry Petrovitch, but perhaps I won't allow it! I shall get up and throw the whole truth in your ugly faces, and you'll see how I despise you." He could hardly breathe. "And what if it's only my fancy? What if I am mistaken, and through inexperience I get angry and don't keep up my nasty part? Perhaps it's all unintentional. All their phrases are the usual ones, but there is something about them . . . . It all might be said, but there is something. Why did he say bluntly, 'With her'? Why did Zametov add that I spoke artfully? Why do they speak in that tone? Yes, the tone . . . . Razumihin is sitting here, why does he see nothing? That innocent blockhead never does see anything! Feverish again! Did Porfiry wink at me just now? Of course it's nonsense! What could he wink for? Are they trying to upset my nerves or are they teasing me? Either it's ill fancy or they know! Even Zametov is rude . . . . Is Zametov rude? Zametov has changed his mind. I foresaw he would change his mind! He is at home here, while it's my first visit. Porfiry does not consider him a visitor; sits with his back to him. They're as thick as thieves, no doubt, over me! Not a doubt they were talking about me before we came. Do they know about the flat? If only they'd make haste! When I said that I ran away to take a flat he let it pass . . . . I put that in cleverly about a flat, it may be of use afterwards . . . . Delirious, indeed . . . ha-ha-ha! He knows all about last night! He didn't know of my mother's arrival! The hag had written the date on in pencil! You are wrong, you won't catch me! There are no facts . . . it's all supposition! You produce facts! The flat even isn't a fact but delirium. I know what to say to them . . . . Do they know about the flat? I won't go without finding out. What did I come for? But my being angry now, maybe is a fact! Fool, how irritable I am! Perhaps that's right; to play the invalid . . . . He is feeling me. He will try to catch me. Why did I come?"
All this flashed like lightning through his mind.
Porfiry Petrovitch returned quickly. He became suddenly more jovial.
"Your party yesterday, brother, has left my head rather . . . . And I am out of sorts altogether," he began in quite a different tone, laughing to Razumihin.
"Was it interesting? I left you yesterday at the most interesting point. Who got the best of it?"
"Oh, no one, of course. They got on to everlasting questions, floated off into space."
"Only fancy, Rodya, what we got on to yesterday. Whether there is such a thing as crime. I told you that we talked our heads off."
"What is there strange? It's an everyday social question," Raskolnikov answered casually.
"The question wasn't put quite like that," observed Porfiry.
"Not quite, that's true," Razumihin agreed at once, getting warm and hurried as usual. "Listen, Rodion, and tell us your opinion, I want to hear it. I was fighting tooth and nail with them and wanted you to help me. I told them you were coming . . . . It began with the socialist doctrine. You know their doctrine; crime is a protest against the abnormality of the social organisation and nothing more, and nothing more; no other causes admitted! . . . "
"You are wrong there," cried Porfiry Petrovitch; he was noticeably animated and kept laughing as he looked at Razumihin, which made him more excited than ever.
"Nothing is admitted," Razumihin interrupted with heat.