CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret
in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation
, towards K. bridge.
He had successfully
avoided meeting his landlady on the staircase. His garret
was under the roof of a high, five-storied house and was more like a cupboard than a room. The landlady who provided him with garret
, dinners, and attendance
, lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door of which invariably
stood open. And each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened
feeling, which made him scowl
and feel ashamed
. He was hopelessly in debt
to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.
This was not because he was cowardly
, quite the contrary
; but for some time past he had been in an overstrained irritable condition
, verging on hypochondria
. He had become so completely
absorbed in himself, and isolated
from his fellows that he dreaded meeting, not only his landlady, but anyone at all. He was crushed by poverty
, but the anxieties of his position had of late ceased to weigh
upon him. He had given up attending to matters of practical
importance; he had lost
to do so. Nothing that any landlady could do had a real terror
for him. But to be stopped on the stairs, to be forced to listen to her trivial
, irrelevant gossip
, to pestering demands for payment
, threats and complaints, and to rack his brains for excuses, to prevaricate
, to lie-no, rather than that, he would creep
down the stairs like a cat and slip out unseen.
This evening, however, on coming out into the street, he became acutely aware
of his fears.
"I want to attempt
a thing like that and am frightened
by these trifles," he thought
, with an odd smile. "Hm... yes, all is in a man's hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice
, that's an axiom
. It would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.... But I am talking too much. It's because I chatter
that I do nothing. Or perhaps it is that I chatter
because I do nothing. I've learned
this last month, lying for days together in my den
thinking... of Jack the Giant-killer. Why am I going there now? Am I capable
of that? Is that serious
? It is not serious
at all. It's simply a fantasy
myself; a plaything! Yes, maybe it is a plaything."
in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, the bustle
and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all about him, and that special
, so familiar
to all who are unable to get out of town in summer-all worked painfully upon the young man's already overwrought
nerves. The insufferable stench
from the pot-houses, which are particularly numerous
in that part of the town, and the drunken men whom he met continually, although it was a working day, completed the revolting misery
of the picture. An expression
of the profoundest disgust
gleamed for a moment
in the young man's refined
face. He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome
, above the average
, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair. Soon he sank into deep thought
, or more accurately
speaking into a complete
blankness of mind
; he walked along not observing what was about him and not caring
it. From time to time, he would mutter
something, from the habit
of talking to himself, to which he had just confessed. At these moments he would become conscious
that his ideas were sometimes in a tangle
and that he was very weak; for two days he had scarcely
He was so badly dressed that even a man accustomed
to shabbiness would have been ashamed
to be seen in the street in such rags. In that quarter
of the town, however, scarcely
in dress would have created surprise
. Owing to the proximity
of the Hay Market, the number of establishments of bad character
, the preponderance
of the trading and working class population
crowded in these streets and alleys in the heart
of Petersburg, types so various
were to be seen in the streets that no figure
, however queer, would have caused surprise
. But there was such accumulated bitterness and contempt
in the young man's heart
, that, in spite
of all the fastidiousness of youth, he minded his rags least of all in the street. It was a different matter
when he met with acquaintances or with former
fellow students, whom, indeed, he disliked meeting at any time. And yet when a drunken man who, for some unknown reason
, was being taken somewhere in a huge waggon dragged by a heavy dray horse, suddenly
shouted at him as he drove past: "Hey there, German hatter" bawling at the top of his voice and pointing at him-the young man stopped suddenly
and clutched tremulously at his hat. It was a tall round hat from Zimmerman's, but completely
worn out, rusty
with age, all torn and bespattered, brimless and bent
on one side in a most unseemly fashion
. Not shame
, however, but quite another feeling akin
had overtaken him.
"I knew it," he muttered in confusion
, "I thought
so! That's the worst of all! Why, a stupid thing like this, the most trivial
detail might spoil
the whole plan
. Yes, my hat is too noticeable
.... It looks absurd
and that makes it noticeable
.... With my rags I ought to wear a cap, any sort of old pancake, but not this grotesque
thing. Nobody wears such a hat, it would be noticed a mile off, it would be remembered.... What matters is that people would remember
it, and that would give them a clue
. For this business one should be as little conspicuous
.... Trifles, trifles are what matter
! Why, it's just such trifles that always ruin
He had not far to go; he knew indeed how many steps it was from the gate of his lodging house: exactly seven hundred and thirty. He had counted them once when he had been lost
in dreams. At the time he had put no faith
in those dreams and was only tantalising himself by their hideous
recklessness. Now, a month later, he had begun to look upon them differently, and, in spite
of the monologues in which he jeered at his own impotence
, he had involuntarily
come to regard this "hideous
as an exploit
to be attempted, although he still did not realise this himself. He was positively
going now for a "rehearsal
" of his project
, and at every step his excitement
grew more and more violent
With a sinking heart
and a nervous tremor
, he went up to a huge house which on one side looked on to the canal
, and on the other into the street. This house was let out in tiny
tenements and was inhabited by working people of all kinds-tailors, locksmiths, cooks, Germans of sorts, girls picking up a living as best they could, petty
clerks, etc. There was a continual
coming and going through
the two gates and in the two courtyards of the house. Three or four door-keepers were employed on the building. The young man was very glad to meet none of them, and at once slipped unnoticed through
the door on the right
, and up the staircase. It was a back staircase, dark and narrow
, but he was familiar
with it already, and knew his way, and he liked all these surroundings: in such darkness even the most inquisitive
eyes were not to be dreaded.
"If I am so scared
now, what would it be if it somehow came to pass that I were really going to do it?" he could not help asking himself as he reached the fourth storey. There his progress
by some porters who were engaged
in moving furniture out of a flat. He knew that the flat had been occupied by a German clerk
in the civil service
, and his family. This German was moving out then, and so the fourth floor on this staircase would be untenanted except by the old woman. "That's a good thing anyway," he thought
to himself, as he rang the bell of the old woman's flat. The bell gave a faint
tinkle as though it were made of tin and not of copper. The little flats in such houses always have bells that ring like that. He had forgotten the note of that bell, and now its peculiar
tinkle seemed to remind
him of something and to bring it clearly before him.... He started, his nerves were terribly overstrained by now. In a little while, the door was opened a tiny
crack: the old woman eyed her visitor with evident
the crack, and nothing could be seen but her little eyes, glittering in the darkness. But, seeing a number of people on the landing, she grew bolder, and opened the door wide. The young man stepped into the dark entry
, which was partitioned off from the tiny
kitchen. The old woman stood facing him in silence
and looking inquiringly at him. She was a diminutive
up old woman of sixty, with sharp malignant
eyes and a sharp
little nose. Her colourless, somewhat grizzled
hair was thickly smeared with oil, and she wore no kerchief
over it. Round her thin
long neck, which looked like a hen's leg, was knotted some sort of flannel rag, and, in spite
of the heat
, there hung flapping on her shoulders, a mangy fur
cape, yellow with age. The old woman coughed and groaned at every instant
. The young man must have looked at her with a rather peculiar expression
, for a gleam
came into her eyes again.
"Raskolnikov, a student, I came here a month ago," the young man made haste
, with a half bow, remembering that he ought to be more polite
, my good sir, I remember
quite well your coming here," the old woman said distinctly, still keeping her inquiring eyes on his face.
"And here... I am again on the same errand
," Raskolnikov continued, a little disconcerted
and surprised at the old woman's mistrust
. "Perhaps she is always like that though, only I did not notice
it the other time," he thought
with an uneasy
The old woman paused, as though hesitating; then stepped on one side, and pointing to the door of the room, she said, letting her visitor pass in front of her:
"Step in, my good sir."
The little room into which the young man walked, with yellow paper on the walls, geraniums and muslin
curtains in the windows, was brightly lighted up at that moment
by the setting
"So the sun will shine
like this then too!" flashed as it were by chance through
, and with a rapid glance
he scanned everything in the room, trying as far as possible
. But there was nothing special
in the room. The furniture, all very old and of yellow wood, consisted of a sofa with a huge bent
wooden back, an oval table
in front of the sofa, a dressing-table
with a looking-glass fixed on it between the windows, chairs along the walls and two or three half-penny prints in yellow frames, representing German damsels with birds in their hands-that was all. In the corner
a light was burning before a small ikon. Everything was very clean; the floor and the furniture were brightly polished; everything shone.
"Lizaveta's work," thought
the young man. There was not a speck of dust to be seen in the whole flat.
"It's in the houses of spiteful
old widows that one finds such cleanliness," Raskolnikov thought
again, and he stole
a curious glance
at the cotton curtain over the door leading into another tiny
room, in which stood the old woman's bed and chest of drawers and into which he had never looked before. These two rooms made up the whole flat.
"What do you want?" the old woman said severely, coming into the room and, as before, standing in front of him so as to look him straight
in the face.
"I've brought something to pawn
here," and he drew out of his pocket an old-fashioned
flat silver watch, on the back of which was engraved a globe
; the chain was of steel.
"But the time is up for your last pledge
. The month was up the day before yesterday."
"I will bring you the interest
for another month; wait a little."
"But that's for me to do as I please, my good sir, to wait or to sell your pledge
"How much will you give me for the watch, Alyona Ivanovna?"
"You come with such trifles, my good sir, it's scarcely
worth anything. I gave you two roubles last time for your ring and one could buy it quite new at a jeweler's for a rouble and a half."
"Give me four roubles for it, I shall redeem
it, it was my father's. I shall be getting some money soon."
"A rouble and a half, and interest
, if you like!"
"A rouble and a half!" cried the young man.
"Please yourself"-and the old woman handed him back the watch. The young man took it, and was so angry
that he was on the point of going away; but checked himself at once, remembering that there was nowhere else he could go, and that he had had another object
also in coming.
"Hand it over," he said roughly.
The old woman fumbled in her pocket for her keys, and disappeared behind the curtain into the other room. The young man, left standing alone in the middle of the room, listened inquisitively, thinking. He could hear her unlocking the chest of drawers.
"It must be the top drawer," he reflected. "So she carries the keys in a pocket on the right
. All in one bunch on a steel ring.... And there's one key there, three times as big as all the others, with deep notches; that can't be the key of the chest of drawers... then there must be some other chest or strong-box... that's worth knowing. Strong-boxes always have keys like that... but how degrading
it all is."
The old woman came back.
"Here, sir: as we say ten copecks the rouble a month, so I must take fifteen copecks from a rouble and a half for the month in advance
. But for the two roubles I lent you before, you owe me now twenty copecks on the same reckoning
. That makes thirty-five copecks altogether. So I must give you a rouble and fifteen copecks for the watch. Here it is."
"What! only a rouble and fifteen copecks now!"
The young man did not dispute
it and took the money. He looked at the old woman, and was in no hurry to get away, as though there was still something he wanted to say or to do, but he did not himself quite know what.
"I may be bringing you something else in a day or two, Alyona Ivanovna-a valuable
thing-silver-a cigarette-box, as soon as I get it back from a friend..." he broke off in confusion
"Well, we will talk about it then, sir."
"Good-bye-are you always at home alone, your sister is not here with you?" He asked her as casually as possible
as he went out into the passage
"What business is she of yours, my good sir?"
"Oh, nothing particular
, I simply asked. You are too quick.... Good-day, Alyona Ivanovna."
Raskolnikov went out in complete confusion
. This confusion
became more and more intense
. As he went down the stairs, he even stopped short, two or three times, as though suddenly
struck by some thought
. When he was in the street he cried out, "Oh, God, how loathsome
it all is! and can I, can I possibly.... No, it's nonsense
, it's rubbish
!" he added resolutely
. "And how could such an atrocious
thing come into my head? What filthy
things my heart
of. Yes, filthy
above all, disgusting
!-and for a whole month I've been...." But no words, no exclamations, could express
. The feeling of intense repulsion
, which had begun to oppress
while he was on his way to the old woman, had by now reached such a pitch
and had taken such a definite
form that he did not know what to do with himself to escape
from his wretchedness. He walked along the pavement like a drunken man, regardless
of the passers-by, and jostling against them, and only came to his senses when he was in the next street. Looking round, he noticed that he was standing close to a tavern
which was entered by steps leading from the pavement to the basement. At that instant
two drunken men came out at the door, and abusing and supporting one another, they mounted the steps. Without stopping to think, Raskolnikov went down the steps at once. Till that moment
he had never been into a tavern
, but now he felt giddy
and was tormented
by a burning thirst. He longed for a drink of cold beer, and attributed his sudden weakness to the want of food. He sat down at a sticky little table
in a dark and dirty corner
; ordered some beer, and eagerly drank off the first glassful. At once he felt easier; and his thoughts became clear.
"All that's nonsense
," he said hopefully, "and there is nothing in it all to worry
about! It's simply physical
derangement. Just a glass of beer, a piece of dry bread-and in one moment
is stronger, the mind
is clearer and the will is firm! Phew, how utterly petty
it all is!"
But in spite
of this scornful reflection
, he was by now looking cheerful as though he were suddenly
set free from a terrible burden
: and he gazed round in a friendly way at the people in the room. But even at that moment
he had a dim foreboding
that this happier frame of mind
was also not normal
There were few people at the time in the tavern
. Besides the two drunken men he had met on the steps, a group consisting of about five men and a girl with a concertina had gone out at the same time. Their departure
left the room quiet and rather empty
. The persons still in the tavern
were a man who appeared to be an artisan
, drunk, but not extremely
so, sitting before a pot of beer, and his companion
, a huge, stout
man with a grey beard, in a short full-skirted coat. He was very drunk: and had dropped asleep on the bench; every now and then, he began as though in his sleep, cracking his fingers, with his arms wide apart and the upper part of his body bounding about on the bench, while he hummed some meaningless refrain
, trying to recall
some such lines as these:
"His wife a year he fondly loved
His wife a-a year he-fondly loved."
waking up again:
"Walking along the crowded row
He met the one he used to know."
But no one shared his enjoyment: his silent companion
looked with positive hostility
at all these manifestations. There was another man in the room who looked somewhat like a retired government clerk
. He was sitting apart, now and then sipping from his pot and looking round at the company. He, too, appeared to be in some agitation