Crime And Punishment Page-239

Crime And Punishment

horror, is that you sanction bloodshed in the name of conscience, and, excuse my saying so, with such fanaticism.... That, I take it, is the point of your article. But that sanction of bloodshed by conscience is to my mind... more terrible than the official, legal sanction of bloodshed....” “You are quite right, it is more terrible,” Porfiry agreed. “Yes, you must have exaggerated! There is some mistake, I shall read it. You can’t think that! I shall read it.” “All that is not in the article, there’s only a hint of it,” said Raskolnikov. “Yes, yes.” Porfiry couldn’t sit still. “Your attitude to crime is pretty clear to me now, but... excuse me for my impertinence (I am really ashamed to be worrying you like this), you see, you’ve removed my anxiety as to the two grades getting mixed, but... there are various practical possibilities that make me uneasy! What if some man or youth imagines that he is a Lycurgus or Mahomet —a future one of course—and suppose he begins to remove all obstacles.... He has some great enterprise before him and needs money for it... and tries to get it... do you see?” Zametov gave a sudden guffaw in his corner. Raskolnikov did not even raise his eyes to him. “I must admit,” he went on calmly, “that such cases certainly must arise. The vain and foolish are particularly apt to fall into that snare; young people especially.” “Yes, you see. Well then?” “What then?” Raskolnikov smiled in reply; “that’s not my fault. So it is and so it always will be. He said just now (he nodded at Razumihin) that I sanction bloodshed. Society is too well protected by prisons, banishment, criminal investigators, penal servitude. There’s no need to be uneasy. You have but to catch the thief.” “And what if we do catch him?” “Then he gets what he deserves.” “You are certainly logical. But what of his conscience?” “Why do you care about that?” “Simply from humanity.” “If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be his punishment—as well as the prison.” “But the real geniuses,” asked Razumihin frowning, “those who have the right