Crime And Punishment Page-146

Crime And Punishment

was dressed up in a crinoline, a mantle and a straw hat with a flame-coloured feather in it, all very old and shabby. In a strong and rather agreeable voice, cracked and coarsened by street singing, she sang in hope of getting a copper from the shop. Raskolnikov joined two or three listeners, took out a five copeck piece and put it in the girl’s hand. She broke off abruptly on a sentimental high note, shouted sharply to the organ grinder “Come on,” and both moved on to the next shop. “Do you like street music?” said Raskolnikov, addressing a middle-aged man standing idly by him. The man looked at him, startled and wondering. “I love to hear singing to a street organ,” said Raskolnikov, and his manner seemed strangely out of keeping with the subject—“I like it on cold, dark, damp autumn evenings—they must be damp—when all the passers-by have pale green, sickly faces, or better still when wet snow is falling straight down, when there’s no wind—you know what I mean?—and the street lamps shine through it...” “I don’t know.... Excuse me...” muttered the stranger, frightened by the question and Raskolnikov’s strange manner, and he crossed over to the other side of the street. Raskolnikov walked straight on and came out at the corner of the Hay Market, where the huckster and his wife had talked with Lizaveta; but they were not there now. Recognising the place, he stopped, looked round and addressed a young fellow in a red shirt who stood gaping before a corn chandler’s shop. “Isn’t there a man who keeps a booth with his wife at this corner?” “All sorts of people keep booths here,” answered the young man, glancing superciliously at Raskolnikov. “What’s his name?” “What he was christened.” “Aren’t you a Zaraïsky man, too? Which province?” The young man looked at Raskolnikov again. “It’s not a province, your excellency, but a district. Graciously forgive me, your excellency!” “Is that a tavern at the top there?” “Yes, it’s an eating-house and there’s a billiard-room and you’ll find princesses there too.... La-la!” Raskolnikov crossed the square. In that corner there was a dense crowd of peasants. He pushed his way into the thickest part of it, looking at the faces. He