Crime And Punishment Page-208

Crime And Punishment

her.” “A-a-h! Yes, I remember.... So she’s dead! Oh, really?” he roused himself suddenly, as if waking up. “What did she die of?” “Only imagine, quite suddenly,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna answered hurriedly, encouraged by his curiosity. “On the very day I was sending you that letter! Would you believe it, that awful man seems to have been the cause of her death. They say he beat her dreadfully.” “Why, were they on such bad terms?” he asked, addressing his sister. “Not at all. Quite the contrary indeed. With her, he was always very patient, considerate even. In fact, all those seven years of their married life he gave way to her, too much so indeed, in many cases. All of a sudden he seems to have lost patience.” “Then he could not have been so awful if he controlled himself for seven years? You seem to be defending him, Dounia?” “No, no, he’s an awful man! I can imagine nothing more awful!” Dounia answered, almost with a shudder, knitting her brows, and sinking into thought. “That had happened in the morning,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna went on hurriedly. “And directly afterwards she ordered the horses to be harnessed to drive to the town immediately after dinner. She always used to drive to the town in such cases. She ate a very good dinner, I am told....” “After the beating?” “That was always her... habit; and immediately after dinner, so as not to be late in starting, she went to the bath-house.... You see, she was undergoing some treatment with baths. They have a cold spring there, and she used to bathe in it regularly every day, and no sooner had she got into the water when she suddenly had a stroke!” “I should think so,” said Zossimov. “And did he beat her badly?” “What does that matter!” put in Dounia. “H’m! But I don’t know why you want to tell us such gossip, mother,” said Raskolnikov irritably, as it were in spite of himself. “Ah, my dear, I don’t know what to talk about,” broke from Pulcheria Alexandrovna. “Why, are you all afraid of me?” he asked, with a constrained smile. “That’s certainly true,” said Dounia, looking directly and sternly at her