Crime And Punishment Page-139

Crime And Punishment

know him?” “Yes... no,” Raskolnikov answered. “Excuse me, I fancied so from your inquiry. I was once his guardian.... A very nice young man and advanced. I like to meet young people: one learns new things from them.” Luzhin looked round hopefully at them all. “How do you mean?” asked Razumihin. “In the most serious and essential matters,” Pyotr Petrovitch replied, as though delighted at the question. “You see, it’s ten years since I visited Petersburg. All the novelties, reforms, ideas have reached us in the provinces, but to see it all more clearly one must be in Petersburg. And it’s my notion that you observe and learn most by watching the younger generation. And I confess I am delighted...” “At what?” “Your question is a wide one. I may be mistaken, but I fancy I find clearer views, more, so to say, criticism, more practicality...” “That’s true,” Zossimov let drop. “Nonsense! There’s no practicality.” Razumihin flew at him. “Practicality is a difficult thing to find; it does not drop down from heaven. And for the last two hundred years we have been divorced from all practical life. Ideas, if you like, are fermenting,” he said to Pyotr Petrovitch, “and desire for good exists, though it’s in a childish form, and honesty you may find, although there are crowds of brigands. Anyway, there’s no practicality. Practicality goes well shod.” “I don’t agree with you,” Pyotr Petrovitch replied, with evident enjoyment. “Of course, people do get carried away and make mistakes, but one must have indulgence; those mistakes are merely evidence of enthusiasm for the cause and of abnormal external environment. If little has been done, the time has been but short; of means I will not speak. It’s my personal view, if you care to know, that something has been accomplished already. New valuable ideas, new valuable works are circulating in the place of our old dreamy and romantic authors. Literature is taking a maturer form, many injurious prejudices have been rooted up and turned into ridicule.... In a word, we have cut ourselves off irrevocably from the past, and that, to my thinking, is a great thing...” “He’s learnt it by heart to show off!” Raskolnikov pronounced suddenly. “What?” asked Pyotr Petrovitch, not catching his words; but he received no reply. “That’s all true,” Zossimov hastened to interpose. “Isn’t it so?” Pyotr Petrovitch went on, glancing affably at Zossimov. “You