Crime And Punishment Page-248

Crime And Punishment

to be asleep. Razumihin opened the door and stood for some time in the doorway as though hesitating, then he stepped softly into the room and went cautiously to the sofa. Raskolnikov heard Nastasya’s whisper: “Don’t disturb him! Let him sleep. He can have his dinner later.” “Quite so,” answered Razumihin. Both withdrew carefully and closed the door. Another half-hour passed. Raskolnikov opened his eyes, turned on his back again, clasping his hands behind his head. “Who is he? Who is that man who sprang out of the earth? Where was he, what did he see? He has seen it all, that’s clear. Where was he then? And from where did he see? Why has he only now sprung out of the earth? And how could he see? Is it possible? Hm...” continued Raskolnikov, turning cold and shivering, “and the jewel case Nikolay found behind the door—was that possible? A clue? You miss an infinitesimal line and you can build it into a pyramid of evidence! A fly flew by and saw it! Is it possible?” He felt with sudden loathing how weak, how physically weak he had become. “I ought to have known it,” he thought with a bitter smile. “And how dared I, knowing myself, knowing how I should be, take up an axe and shed blood! I ought to have known beforehand.... Ah, but I did know!” he whispered in despair. At times he came to a standstill at some thought. “No, those men are not made so. The real Master to whom all is permitted storms Toulon, makes a massacre in Paris, forgets an army in Egypt, wastes half a million men in the Moscow expedition and gets off with a jest at Vilna. And altars are set up to him after his death, and so all is permitted. No, such people, it seems, are not of flesh but of bronze!” One sudden irrelevant idea almost made him laugh. Napoleon, the pyramids, Waterloo, and a wretched skinny old woman, a pawnbroker with a red trunk under her bed—it’s a nice hash for Porfiry Petrovitch to digest! How can they digest it! It’s too inartistic. “A Napoleon creep under an old woman’s bed! Ugh, how loathsome!” At moments he felt he was raving. He sank into a state of feverish excitement. “The old woman is of no consequence,” he thought, hotly and incoherently. “The old woman was a mistake perhaps, but she is not what matters! The old woman was only an illness.... I was in a hurry to overstep.... I didn’t kill a human being, but a principle! I killed the principle, but I didn’t overstep, I stopped on this side.... I was only capable of killing. And it seems I wasn’t even capable of that... Principle? Why was that fool Razumihin abusing the socialists? They are industrious, commercial people; ‘the happiness of all’ is their case. No, life is