Crime And Punishment Page-211

Crime And Punishment

mother, kissed her, went back to his place and sat down. “You love her even now?” said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, touched. “Her? Now? Oh, yes.... You ask about her? No... that’s all now, as it were, in another world... and so long ago. And indeed everything happening here seems somehow far away.” He looked attentively at them. “You, now... I seem to be looking at you from a thousand miles away... but, goodness knows why we are talking of that! And what’s the use of asking about it?” he added with annoyance, and biting his nails, fell into dreamy silence again. “What a wretched lodging you have, Rodya! It’s like a tomb,” said Pulcheria Alexandrovna, suddenly breaking the oppressive silence. “I am sure it’s quite half through your lodging you have become so melancholy.” “My lodging,” he answered, listlessly. “Yes, the lodging had a great deal to do with it.... I thought that, too.... If only you knew, though, what a strange thing you said just now, mother,” he said, laughing strangely. A little more, and their companionship, this mother and this sister, with him after three years’ absence, this intimate tone of conversation, in face of the utter impossibility of really speaking about anything, would have been beyond his power of endurance. But there was one urgent matter which must be settled one way or the other that day—so he had decided when he woke. Now he was glad to remember it, as a means of escape. “Listen, Dounia,” he began, gravely and drily, “of course I beg your pardon for yesterday, but I consider it my duty to tell you again that I do not withdraw from my chief point. It is me or Luzhin. If I am a scoundrel, you must not be. One is enough. If you marry Luzhin, I cease at once to look on you as a sister.” “Rodya, Rodya! It is the same as yesterday again,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna cried, mournfully. “And why do you call yourself a scoundrel? I can’t bear it. You said the same yesterday.” “Brother,” Dounia answered firmly and with the same dryness. “In all this there is a mistake on your part. I thought it over at night, and found out the mistake. It is all because you seem to fancy I am sacrificing myself to someone and for someone. That is not the case at all. I am simply marrying for my own sake, because things are hard for me. Though, of course, I shall be glad if I succeed in being useful to my family. But that is not the chief motive for my decision....” “She is lying,” he thought to himself, biting his nails vindictively. “Proud creature! She won’t admit she wants to do it out of charity! Too haughty! Oh, base characters! They even love as though they hate.... Oh, how I... hate them