Crime And Punishment Page-183

Crime And Punishment

“You’ll spoil everything,” Razumihin answered in the same whisper, losing patience—“come out on to the stairs, anyway. Nastasya, show a light! I assure you,” he went on in a half whisper on the stairs—“that he was almost beating the doctor and me this afternoon! Do you understand? The doctor himself! Even he gave way and left him, so as not to irritate him. I remained downstairs on guard, but he dressed at once and slipped off. And he will slip off again if you irritate him, at this time of night, and will do himself some mischief....” “What are you saying?” “And Avdotya Romanovna can’t possibly be left in those lodgings without you. Just think where you are staying! That blackguard Pyotr Petrovitch couldn’t find you better lodgings... But you know I’ve had a little to drink, and that’s what makes me... swear; don’t mind it....” “But I’ll go to the landlady here,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna insisted, “I’ll beseech her to find some corner for Dounia and me for the night. I can’t leave him like that, I cannot!” This conversation took place on the landing just before the landlady’s door. Nastasya lighted them from a step below. Razumihin was in extraordinary excitement. Half an hour earlier, while he was bringing Raskolnikov home, he had indeed talked too freely, but he was aware of it himself, and his head was clear in spite of the vast quantities he had imbibed. Now he was in a state bordering on ecstasy, and all that he had drunk seemed to fly to his head with redoubled effect. He stood with the two ladies, seizing both by their hands, persuading them, and giving them reasons with astonishing plainness of speech, and at almost every word he uttered, probably to emphasise his arguments, he squeezed their hands painfully as in a vise. He stared at Avdotya Romanovna without the least regard for good manners. They sometimes pulled their hands out of his huge bony paws, but far from noticing what was the matter, he drew them all the closer to him. If they’d told him to jump head foremost from the staircase, he would have done it without thought or hesitation in their service. Though Pulcheria Alexandrovna felt that the young man was really too eccentric and pinched her hand too much, in her anxiety over her Rodya she looked on his presence as providential, and was unwilling to notice all his peculiarities. But though Avdotya Romanovna shared her anxiety, and was not of timorous disposition, she could not see the glowing light in his eyes without wonder and almost alarm. It was only the unbounded confidence inspired by Nastasya’s account of her brother’s queer friend, which prevented her from trying to run away from him, and to persuade her mother to do the same. She realised, too, that even running away was perhaps impossible now. Ten minutes later,