Crime And Punishment Page-226

Crime And Punishment

CHAPTER V Raskolnikov was already entering the room. He came in looking as though he had the utmost difficulty not to burst out laughing again. Behind him Razumihin strode in gawky and awkward, shamefaced and red as a peony, with an utterly crestfallen and ferocious expression. His face and whole figure really were ridiculous at that moment and amply justified Raskolnikov’s laughter. Raskolnikov, not waiting for an introduction, bowed to Porfiry Petrovitch, who stood in the middle of the room looking inquiringly at them. He held out his hand and shook hands, still apparently making desperate efforts to subdue his mirth and utter a few words to introduce himself. But he had no sooner succeeded in assuming a serious air and muttering something when he suddenly glanced again as though accidentally at Razumihin, and could no longer control himself: his stifled laughter broke out the more irresistibly the more he tried to restrain it. The extraordinary ferocity with which Razumihin received this “spontaneous” mirth gave the whole scene the appearance of most genuine fun and naturalness. Razumihin strengthened this impression as though on purpose. “Fool! You fiend,” he roared, waving his arm which at once struck a little round table with an empty tea-glass on it. Everything was sent flying and crashing. “But why break chairs, gentlemen? You know it’s a loss to the Crown,” Porfiry Petrovitch quoted gaily. Raskolnikov was still laughing, with his hand in Porfiry Petrovitch’s, but anxious not to overdo it, awaited the right moment to put a natural end to it. Razumihin, completely put to confusion by upsetting the table and smashing the glass, gazed gloomily at the fragments, cursed and turned sharply to the window where he stood looking out with his back to the company with a fiercely scowling countenance, seeing nothing. Porfiry Petrovitch laughed and was ready to go on laughing, but obviously looked for explanations. Zametov had been sitting in the corner, but he rose at the visitors’ entrance and was standing in expectation with a smile on his lips, though he looked with surprise and even it seemed incredulity at the whole scene and at Raskolnikov with a certain embarrassment. Zametov’s unexpected presence struck Raskolnikov unpleasantly. “I’ve got to think of that,” he thought. “Excuse me, please,” he began,