Crime And Punishment Page-100

Crime And Punishment

“Well, what then!” Ilya Petrovitch drawled with gentlemanly nonchalance; and he walked with some papers to another table, with a jaunty swing of his shoulders at each step. “Here, if you will kindly look: an author, or a student, has been one at least, does not pay his debts, has given an I O U, won’t clear out of his room, and complaints are constantly being lodged against him, and here he has been pleased to make a protest against my smoking in his presence! He behaves like a cad himself, and just look at him, please. Here’s the gentleman, and very attractive he is!” “Poverty is not a vice, my friend, but we know you go off like powder, you can’t bear a slight, I daresay you took offence at something and went too far yourself,” continued Nikodim Fomitch, turning affably to Raskolnikov. “But you were wrong there; he is a capital fellow, I assure you, but explosive, explosive! He gets hot, fires up, boils over, and no stopping him! And then it’s all over! And at the bottom he’s a heart of gold! His nickname in the regiment was the Explosive Lieutenant....” “And what a regiment it was, too,” cried Ilya Petrovitch, much gratified at this agreeable banter, though still sulky. Raskolnikov had a sudden desire to say something exceptionally pleasant to them all. “Excuse me, Captain,” he began easily, suddenly addressing Nikodim Fomitch, “will you enter into my position?... I am ready to ask pardon, if I have been ill-mannered. I am a poor student, sick and shattered (shattered was the word he used) by poverty. I am not studying, because I cannot keep myself now, but I shall get money.... I have a mother and sister in the province of X. They will send it to me, and I will pay. My landlady is a good-hearted woman, but she is so exasperated at my having lost my lessons, and not paying her for the last four months, that she does not even send up my dinner... and I don’t understand this I O U at all. She is asking me to pay her on this I O U. How am I to pay her? Judge for yourselves!...” “But that is not our business, you know,” the head clerk was observing. “Yes, yes. I perfectly agree with you. But allow me to explain...” Raskolnikov put in again, still addressing Nikodim Fomitch, but trying his best to address Ilya Petrovitch also, though the latter persistently appeared to be rummaging among his papers and to be contemptuously oblivious of him. “Allow me to explain that I have been living with her for nearly three years and at first... at first... for why should I not confess it, at the very beginning I promised to marry her daughter, it was a verbal promise, freely given... she was a girl... indeed, I liked her, though I was not in love with her... a youthful affair in fact... that is, I mean to say, that my landlady gave me credit freely in those days, and I led a life of... I was very