Crime And Punishment Page-130

Crime And Punishment

a horse, for I know this Dushkin, he is a pawnbroker and a receiver of stolen goods, and he did not cheat Nikolay out of a thirty-rouble trinket in order to give it to the police. He was simply afraid. But no matter, to return to Dushkin’s story. ‘I’ve known this peasant, Nikolay Dementyev, from a child; he comes from the same province and district of Zaraïsk, we are both Ryazan men. And though Nikolay is not a drunkard, he drinks, and I knew he had a job in that house, painting work with Dmitri, who comes from the same village, too. As soon as he got the rouble he changed it, had a couple of glasses, took his change and went out. But I did not see Dmitri with him then. And the next day I heard that someone had murdered Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, Lizaveta Ivanovna, with an axe. I knew them, and I felt suspicious about the ear-rings at once, for I knew the murdered woman lent money on pledges. I went to the house, and began to make careful inquiries without saying a word to anyone. First of all I asked, “Is Nikolay here?” Dmitri told me that Nikolay had gone off on the spree; he had come home at daybreak drunk, stayed in the house about ten minutes, and went out again. Dmitri didn’t see him again and is finishing the job alone. And their job is on the same staircase as the murder, on the second floor. When I heard all that I did not say a word to anyone’—that’s Dushkin’s tale—‘but I found out what I could about the murder, and went home feeling as suspicious as ever. And at eight o’clock this morning’—that was the third day, you understand—‘I saw Nikolay coming in, not sober, though not to say very drunk—he could understand what was said to him. He sat down on the bench and did not speak. There was only one stranger in the bar and a man I knew asleep on a bench and our two boys. “Have you seen Dmitri?” said I. “No, I haven’t,” said he. “And you’ve not been here either?” “Not since the day before yesterday,” said he. “And where did you sleep last night?” “In Peski, with the Kolomensky men.” “And where did you get those ear-rings?” I asked. “I found them in the street,” and the way he said it was a bit queer; he did not look at me. “Did you hear what happened that very evening, at that very hour, on that same staircase?” said I. “No,” said he, “I had not heard,” and all the while he was listening, his eyes were staring out of his head and he turned as white as chalk. I told him all about it and he took his hat and began getting up. I wanted to keep him. “Wait a bit, Nikolay,” said I, “won’t you have a drink?” And I signed to the boy to hold the door, and I came out from behind the bar; but he darted out and down the street to the turning at a run. I have not seen him since. Then my doubts were at an end —it was his doing, as clear as could be....’” “I should think so,” said Zossimov. “Wait! Hear the end. Of course they sought high and low for Nikolay; they