"What do you mean to do now?"
"What business is it of yours what I mean to do?"
"You are going in for a drinking bout."
"How . . . how did you know?"
"Why, it's pretty plain."
Razumihin paused for a minute.
"You always have been a very rational person and you've never been mad, never," he observed suddenly with warmth. "You're right: I shall drink. Good-bye!"
And he moved to go out.
"I was talking with my sister — the day before yesterday, I think it was — about you, Razumihin."
"About me! But . . . where can you have seen her the day before yesterday?" Razumihin stopped short and even turned a little pale.
One could see that his heart was throbbing slowly and violently.
"She came here by herself, sat there and talked to me."
"What did you say to her . . . I mean, about me?"
"I told her you were a very good, honest, and industrious man. I didn't tell her you love her, because she knows that herself."
"She knows that herself?"
"Well, it's pretty plain. Wherever I might go, whatever happened to me, you would remain to look after them. I, so to speak, give them into your keeping, Razumihin. I say this because I know quite well how you love her, and am convinced of the purity of your heart. I know that she too may love you and perhaps does love you already. Now decide for yourself, as you know best, whether you need go in for a drinking bout or not."
"Rodya! You see . . . well . . . . Ach, damn it! But where do you mean to go? Of course, if it's all a secret, never mind . . . . But I . . . I shall find out the secret . . . and I am sure that it must be some ridiculous nonsense and that you've made it all up. Anyway you are a capital fellow, a capital fellow! . . . "
"That was just what I wanted to add, only you interrupted, that that was a very good decision of yours not to find out these secrets. Leave it to time, don't worry about it. You'll know it all in time when it must be. Yesterday a man said to me that what a man needs is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air. I mean to go to him directly to find out what he meant by that."
Razumihin stood lost in thought and excitement, making a silent conclusion.
"He's a political conspirator! He must be. And he's on the eve of some desperate step, that's certain. It can only be that! And . . . and Dounia knows," he thought suddenly.
"So Avdotya Romanovna comes to see you," he said, weighing each syllable, "and you're going to see a man who says we need more air, and so of course that letter . . . that too must have something to do with it," he concluded to himself.
"She got a letter to-day. It upset her very much — very much indeed. Too much so. I began speaking of you, she begged me not to. Then . . . then she said that perhaps we should very soon have to part . . . then she began warmly thanking me for something; then she went to her room and locked herself in."
"She got a letter?" Raskolnikov asked thoughtfully.
"Yes, and you didn't know? hm . . . "
They were both silent.
"Good-bye, Rodion. There was a time, brother, when I . . . . Never mind, good-bye. You see, there was a time . . . . Well, good-bye! I must be off too. I am not going to drink. There's no need now . . . . That's all stuff!"
He hurried out; but when he had almost closed the door behind him, he suddenly opened it again, and said, looking away:
"Oh, by the way, do you remember that murder, you know Porfiry's, that old woman? Do you know the murderer has been found, he has confessed and given the proofs. It's one of those very workmen, the painter, only fancy! Do you remember I defended them here? Would you believe it, all that scene of fighting and laughing with his companions on the stairs while the porter and the two witnesses were going up, he got up on purpose to disarm suspicion. The cunning, the presence of mind of the young dog! One can hardly credit it; but it's his own explanation, he has confessed it all. And what a fool I was about it! Well, he's simply a genius of hypocrisy and resourcefulness in disarming the suspicions of the lawyers — so there's nothing much to wonder at, I suppose! Of course people like that are always possible. And the fact that he couldn't keep up the character, but confessed, makes him easier to believe in. But what a fool I was! I was frantic on their side!"
"Tell me, please, from whom did you hear that, and why does it interest you so?" Raskolnikov asked with unmistakable agitation.
"What next? You ask me why it interests me! . . . Well, I heard it from Porfiry, among others . . . It was from him I heard almost all about it."
"What . . . what did he say?" Raskolnikov asked in dismay.
"He gave me a capital explanation of it. Psychologically, after his fashion."
"He explained it? Explained it himself?"
"Yes, yes; good-bye. I'll tell you all about it another time, but now I'm busy. There was a time when I fancied . . . But no matter, another time! . . . What need is there for me to drink now? You have made me drunk without wine. I am drunk, Rodya! Good-bye, I'm going. I'll come again very soon."
He went out.
"He's a political conspirator, there's not a doubt about it," Razumihin decided, as he slowly descended the stairs. "And he's drawn his sister in; that's quite, quite in keeping with Avdotya Romanovna's character. There are interviews between them! . . . She hinted at it too . . . So many of her words . . . . and hints . . . bear that meaning! And how else can all this tangle be explained? Hm! And I was almost thinking . . . Good heavens, what I thought! Yes, I took leave of my senses and I wronged him! It was his doing, under the lamp in the corridor that day. Pfoo! What a crude, nasty, vile idea on my part! Nikolay is a brick, for confessing . . . . And how clear it all is now! His illness then, all his strange actions . . . before this, in the university, how morose he used to be, how gloomy . . . . But what's the meaning now of that letter? There's something in that, too, perhaps. Whom was it from? I suspect . . . ! No, I must find out!"
He thought of Dounia, realising all he had heard and his heart throbbed, and he suddenly broke into a run.
As soon as Razumihin went out, Raskolnikov got up, turned to the window, walked into one corner and then into another, as though forgetting the smallness of his room, and sat down again on the sofa. He felt, so to speak, renewed; again the struggle, so a means of escape had come.
"Yes, a means of escape had come! It had been too stifling, too cramping, the burden had been too agonising. A lethargy had come upon him at times. From the moment of the scene with Nikolay at Porfiry's he had been suffocating, penned in without hope of escape. After Nikolay's confession, on that very day had come the scene with Sonia; his behaviour and his last words had been utterly unlike anything he could have imagined beforehand; he had grown feebler, instantly and fundamentally! And he had agreed at the time with Sonia, he had agreed in his heart he could not go on living alone with such a thing on his mind!
"And Svidrigailov was a riddle . . . He worried him, that was true, but somehow not on the same point. He might still have a struggle to come with Svidrigailov. Svidrigailov, too, might be a means of escape; but Porfiry was a different matter.