Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Part 5: Chapter 5

"Cinq sous, cinq sous Pour monter notre menage."

(Cough-cough-cough!) "Set your dress straight, Polenka, it's slipped down on your shoulders," she observed, panting from coughing. "Now it's particularly necessary to behave nicely and genteelly, that all may see that you are well-born children. I said at the time that the bodice should be cut longer, and made of two widths. It was your fault, Sonia, with your advice to make it shorter, and now you see the child is quite deformed by it . . . . Why, you're all crying again! What's the matter, stupids? Come, Kolya, begin. Make haste, make haste! Oh, what an unbearable child!

"Cinq sous, cinq sous.

"A policeman again! What do you want?"

A policeman was indeed forcing his way through the crowd. But at that moment a gentleman in civilian uniform and an overcoat — a solid-looking official of about fifty with a decoration on his neck (which delighted Katerina Ivanovna and had its effect on the policeman) — approached and without a word handed her a green three-rouble note. His face wore a look of genuine sympathy. Katerina Ivanovna took it and gave him a polite, even ceremonious, bow.

"I thank you, honoured sir," she began loftily. "The causes that have induced us (take the money, Polenka: you see there are generous and honourable people who are ready to help a poor gentlewoman in distress). You see, honoured sir, these orphans of good family — I might even say of aristocratic connections — and that wretch of a general sat eating grouse . . . and stamped at my disturbing him. 'Your excellency,' I said, 'protect the orphans, for you knew my late husband, Semyon Zaharovitch, and on the very day of his death the basest of scoundrels slandered his only daughter.' . . . That policeman again! Protect me," she cried to the official. "Why is that policeman edging up to me? We have only just run away from one of them. What do you want, fool?"

"It's forbidden in the streets. You mustn't make a disturbance."

"It's you're making a disturbance. It's just the same as if I were grinding an organ. What business is it of yours?"

"You have to get a licence for an organ, and you haven't got one, and in that way you collect a crowd. Where do you lodge?"

"What, a license?" wailed Katerina Ivanovna. "I buried my husband to-day. What need of a license?"

"Calm yourself, madam, calm yourself," began the official. "Come along; I will escort you . . . . This is no place for you in the crowd. You are ill."

"Honoured sir, honoured sir, you don't know," screamed Katerina Ivanovna. "We are going to the Nevsky . . . . Sonia, Sonia! Where is she? She is crying too! What's the matter with you all? Kolya, Lida, where are you going?" she cried suddenly in alarm. "Oh, silly children! Kolya, Lida, where are they off to? . . . "

Kolya and Lida, scared out of their wits by the crowd, and their mother's mad pranks, suddenly seized each other by the hand, and ran off at the sight of the policeman who wanted to take them away somewhere. Weeping and wailing, poor Katerina Ivanovna ran after them. She was a piteous and unseemly spectacle, as she ran, weeping and panting for breath. Sonia and Polenka rushed after them.

"Bring them back, bring them back, Sonia! Oh stupid, ungrateful children! . . . Polenka! catch them . . . . It's for your sakes I . . . "

She stumbled as she ran and fell down.

"She's cut herself, she's bleeding! Oh, dear!" cried Sonia, bending over her.

All ran up and crowded around. Raskolnikov and Lebeziatnikov were the first at her side, the official too hastened up, and behind him the policeman who muttered, "Bother!" with a gesture of impatience, feeling that the job was going to be a troublesome one.

"Pass on! Pass on!" he said to the crowd that pressed forward.

"She's dying," someone shouted.

"She's gone out of her mind," said another.

"Lord have mercy upon us," said a woman, crossing herself. "Have they caught the little girl and the boy? They're being brought back, the elder one's got them . . . . Ah, the naughty imps!"

When they examined Katerina Ivanovna carefully, they saw that she had not cut herself against a stone, as Sonia thought, but that the blood that stained the pavement red was from her chest.

"I've seen that before," muttered the official to Raskolnikov and Lebeziatnikov; "that's consumption; the blood flows and chokes the patient. I saw the same thing with a relative of my own not long ago . . . nearly a pint of blood, all in a minute . . . . What's to be done though? She is dying."

"This way, this way, to my room!" Sonia implored. "I live here! . . . See, that house, the second from here . . . . Come to me, make haste," she turned from one to the other. "Send for the doctor! Oh, dear!"

Thanks to the official's efforts, this plan was adopted, the policeman even helping to carry Katerina Ivanovna. She was carried to Sonia's room, almost unconscious, and laid on the bed. The blood was still flowing, but she seemed to be coming to herself. Raskolnikov, Lebeziatnikov, and the official accompanied Sonia into the room and were followed by the policeman, who first drove back the crowd which followed to the very door. Polenka came in holding Kolya and Lida, who were trembling and weeping. Several persons came in too from the Kapernaumovs' room; the landlord, a lame one-eyed man of strange appearance with whiskers and hair that stood up like a brush, his wife, a woman with an everlastingly scared expression, and several open-mouthed children with wonder-struck faces. Among these, Svidrigailov suddenly made his appearance. Raskolnikov looked at him with surprise, not understanding where he had come from and not having noticed him in the crowd. A doctor and priest wore spoken of. The official whispered to Raskolnikov that he thought it was too late now for the doctor, but he ordered him to be sent for. Kapernaumov ran himself.

Meanwhile Katerina Ivanovna had regained her breath. The bleeding ceased for a time. She looked with sick but intent and penetrating eyes at Sonia, who stood pale and trembling, wiping the sweat from her brow with a handkerchief. At last she asked to be raised. They sat her up on the bed, supporting her on both sides.

"Where are the children?" she said in a faint voice. "You've brought them, Polenka? Oh the sillies! Why did you run away . . . . Och!"

Once more her parched lips were covered with blood. She moved her eyes, looking about her.

"So that's how you live, Sonia! Never once have I been in your room."

She looked at her with a face of suffering.

"We have been your ruin, Sonia. Polenka, Lida, Kolya, come here! Well, here they are, Sonia, take them all! I hand them over to you, I've had enough! The ball is over." (Cough!) "Lay me down, let me die in peace."

They laid her back on the pillow.

"What, the priest? I don't want him. You haven't got a rouble to spare. I have no sins. God must forgive me without that. He knows how I have suffered . . . . And if He won't forgive me, I don't care!"

She sank more and more into uneasy delirium. At times she shuddered, turned her eyes from side to side, recognised everyone for a minute, but at once sank into delirium again. Her breathing was hoarse and difficult, there was a sort of rattle in her throat.

"I said to him, your excellency," she ejaculated, gasping after each word. "That Amalia Ludwigovna, ah! Lida, Kolya, hands on your hips, make haste! Glissez, glissez! pas de basque! Tap with your heels, be a graceful child!

"Du hast Diamanten und Perlen

"What next? That's the thing to sing.

"Du hast die schonsten Augen Madchen, was willst du mehr?

"What an idea! Was willst du mehr? What things the fool invents! Ah, yes!

"In the heat of midday in the vale of Dagestan.

"Ah, how I loved it! I loved that song to distraction, Polenka! Your father, you know, used to sing it when we were engaged . . . . Oh those days! Oh that's the thing for us to sing! How does it go? I've forgotten. Remind me! How was it?"

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