Crime And Punishment Page-158

Crime And Punishment

tall woman with a kerchief on her head, with a long, yellow, wasted face and red sunken eyes. She was looking straight at him, but obviously she saw nothing and recognised no one. Suddenly she leaned her right hand on the parapet, lifted her right leg over the railing, then her left and threw herself into the canal. The filthy water parted and swallowed up its victim for a moment, but an instant later the drowning woman floated to the surface, moving slowly with the current, her head and legs in the water, her skirt inflated like a balloon over her back. “A woman drowning! A woman drowning!” shouted dozens of voices; people ran up, both banks were thronged with spectators, on the bridge people crowded about Raskolnikov, pressing up behind him. “Mercy on it! it’s our Afrosinya!” a woman cried tearfully close by. “Mercy! save her! kind people, pull her out!” “A boat, a boat” was shouted in the crowd. But there was no need of a boat; a policeman ran down the steps to the canal, threw off his great coat and his boots and rushed into the water. It was easy to reach her: she floated within a couple of yards from the steps, he caught hold of her clothes with his right hand and with his left seized a pole which a comrade held out to him; the drowning woman was pulled out at once. They laid her on the granite pavement of the embankment. She soon recovered consciousness, raised her head, sat up and began sneezing and coughing, stupidly wiping her wet dress with her hands. She said nothing. “She’s drunk herself out of her senses,” the same woman’s voice wailed at her side. “Out of her senses. The other day she tried to hang herself, we cut her down. I ran out to the shop just now, left my little girl to look after her—and here she’s in trouble again! A neighbour, gentleman, a neighbour, we live close by, the second house from the end, see yonder....” The crowd broke up. The police still remained round the woman, someone mentioned the police station.... Raskolnikov looked on with a strange sensation of indifference and apathy. He felt disgusted. “No, that’s loathsome... water... it’s not good enough,” he muttered to himself. “Nothing will come of it,” he added, “no use to wait. What about the police office...? And why isn’t Zametov at the police office? The police office is open till ten o’clock....” He turned his back to the railing and looked about him. “Very well then!” he said resolutely; he moved from the bridge and walked in the direction of the police office. His heart felt hollow and empty. He did not want to think. Even his depression had passed, there was not a trace now of the energy with which he had set out “to make an end of it all.” Complete apathy had succeeded to it.