Crime And Punishment Page-159

Crime And Punishment

“Well, it’s a way out of it,” he thought, walking slowly and listlessly along the canal bank. “Anyway I’ll make an end, for I want to.... But is it a way out? What does it matter! There’ll be the square yard of space—ha! But what an end! Is it really the end? Shall I tell them or not? Ah... damn! How tired I am! If I could find somewhere to sit or lie down soon! What I am most ashamed of is its being so stupid. But I don’t care about that either! What idiotic ideas come into one’s head.” To reach the police office he had to go straight forward and take the second turning to the left. It was only a few paces away. But at the first turning he stopped and, after a minute’s thought, turned into a side street and went two streets out of his way, possibly without any object, or possibly to delay a minute and gain time. He walked, looking at the ground; suddenly someone seemed to whisper in his ear; he lifted his head and saw that he was standing at the very gate of the house. He had not passed it, he had not been near it since that evening. An overwhelming, unaccountable prompting drew him on. He went into the house, passed through the gateway, then into the first entrance on the right, and began mounting the familiar staircase to the fourth storey. The narrow, steep staircase was very dark. He stopped at each landing and looked round him with curiosity; on the first landing the framework of the window had been taken out. “That wasn’t so then,” he thought. Here was the flat on the second storey where Nikolay and Dmitri had been working. “It’s shut up and the door newly painted. So it’s to let.” Then the third storey and the fourth. “Here!” He was perplexed to find the door of the flat wide open. There were men there, he could hear voices; he had not expected that. After brief hesitation he mounted the last stairs and went into the flat. It, too, was being done up; there were workmen in it. This seemed to amaze him; he somehow fancied that he would find everything as he left it, even perhaps the corpses in the same places on the floor. And now, bare walls, no furniture; it seemed strange. He walked to the window and sat down on the window-sill. There were two workmen, both young fellows, but one much younger than the other. They were papering the walls with a new white paper covered with lilac flowers, instead of the old, dirty, yellow one. Raskolnikov for some reason felt horribly annoyed by this. He looked at the new paper with dislike, as though he felt sorry to have it all so changed. The workmen had obviously stayed beyond their time and now they were hurriedly rolling up their paper and getting ready to go home. They took no notice of Raskolnikov’s coming in; they were talking. Raskolnikov folded his arms and listened. “She comes to me in the morning,” said the elder to the younger, “very early,