Crime And Punishment Page-213

Crime And Punishment

at his sister, as though puzzled. He opened the letter at last, still with the same look of strange wonder on his face. Then, slowly and attentively, he began reading, and read it through twice. Pulcheria Alexandrovna showed marked anxiety, and all indeed expected something particular. “What surprises me,” he began, after a short pause, handing the letter to his mother, but not addressing anyone in particular, “is that he is a business man, a lawyer, and his conversation is pretentious indeed, and yet he writes such an uneducated letter.” They all started. They had expected something quite different. “But they all write like that, you know,” Razumihin observed, abruptly. “Have you read it?” “Yes.” “We showed him, Rodya. We... consulted him just now,” Pulcheria Alexandrovna began, embarrassed. “That’s just the jargon of the courts,” Razumihin put in. “Legal documents are written like that to this day.” “Legal? Yes, it’s just legal—business language—not so very uneducated, and not quite educated—business language!” “Pyotr Petrovitch makes no secret of the fact that he had a cheap education, he is proud indeed of having made his own way,” Avdotya Romanovna observed, somewhat offended by her brother’s tone. “Well, if he’s proud of it, he has reason, I don’t deny it. You seem to be offended, sister, at my making only such a frivolous criticism on the letter, and to think that I speak of such trifling matters on purpose to annoy you. It is quite the contrary, an observation apropos of the style occurred to me that is by no means irrelevant as things stand. There is one expression, ‘blame yourselves’ put in very significantly and plainly, and there is besides a threat that he will go away at once if I am present. That threat to go away is equivalent to a threat to abandon you both if you are disobedient, and to abandon you now after summoning you to Petersburg. Well, what do you think? Can one resent such an expression from Luzhin, as we should if he (he pointed to Razumihin) had written it, or Zossimov, or one of us?” “N-no,” answered Dounia, with more animation. “I saw clearly that it was too naïvely expressed, and that perhaps he simply has no skill in writing... that is a true criticism, brother. I did not expect, indeed...” “It is expressed in legal style, and sounds coarser than perhaps he intended.