Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Part 6: Chapter 7

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

"What God sends . . . only pray for me." Raskolnikov went to the door, but she clutched him and gazed despairingly into his eyes. Her face worked with terror.

"Enough, mother," said Raskolnikov, deeply regretting that he had come.

"Not for ever, it's not yet for ever? You'll come, you'll come to-morrow?"

"I will, I will, good-bye." He tore himself away at last.

It was a warm, fresh, bright evening; it had cleared up in the morning. Raskolnikov went to his lodgings; he made haste. He wanted to finish all before sunset. He did not want to meet anyone till then. Going up the stairs he noticed that Nastasya rushed from the samovar to watch him intently. "Can anyone have come to see me?" he wondered. He had a disgusted vision of Porfiry. But opening his door he saw Dounia. She was sitting alone, plunged in deep thought, and looked as though she had been waiting a long time. He stopped short in the doorway. She rose from the sofa in dismay and stood up facing him. Her eyes, fixed upon him, betrayed horror and infinite grief. And from those eyes alone he saw at once that she knew.

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

"I've been all day with Sofya Semyonovna. We were both waiting for you. We thought that you would be sure to come there."

Raskolnikov went into the room and sank exhausted on a chair.

"I feel weak, Dounia, I am very tired; and I should have liked at this moment to be able to control myself."

He glanced at her mistrustfully.

"Where were you all night?"

"I don't remember clearly. You see, sister, I wanted to make up my mind once for all, and several times I walked by the Neva, I remember that I wanted to end it all there, but . . . I couldn't make up my mind," he whispered, looking at her mistrustfully again.

"Thank God! That was just what we were afraid of, Sofya Semyonovna and I. Then you still have faith in life? Thank God, thank God!"

Raskolnikov smiled bitterly.

"I haven't faith, but I have just been weeping in mother's arms; I haven't faith, but I have just asked her to pray for me. I don't know how it is, Dounia, I don't understand it."

"Have you been at mother's? Have you told her?" cried Dounia, horror-stricken. "Surely you haven't done that?"

"No, I didn't tell her . . . in words; but she understood a great deal. She heard you talking in your sleep. I am sure she half understands it already. Perhaps I did wrong in going to see her. I don't know why I did go. I am a contemptible person, Dounia."

"A contemptible person, but ready to face suffering! You are, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am going. At once. Yes, to escape the disgrace I thought of drowning myself, Dounia, but as I looked into the water, I thought that if I had considered myself strong till now I'd better not be afraid of disgrace," he said, hurrying on. "It's pride, Dounia."

"Pride, Rodya."

There was a gleam of fire in his lustreless eyes; he seemed to be glad to think that he was still proud.

"You don't think, sister, that I was simply afraid of the water?" he asked, looking into her face with a sinister smile.

"Oh, Rodya, hush!" cried Dounia bitterly. Silence lasted for two minutes. He sat with his eyes fixed on the floor; Dounia stood at the other end of the table and looked at him with anguish. Suddenly he got up.

"It's late, it's time to go! I am going at once to give myself up. But I don't know why I am going to give myself up."

Big tears fell down her cheeks.

"You are crying, sister, but can you hold out your hand to me?"

"You doubted it?"

She threw her arms round him.

"Aren't you half expiating your crime by facing the suffering?" she cried, holding him close and kissing him.

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