Crime And Punishment Page-249

Crime And Punishment

only given to me once and I shall never have it again; I don’t want to wait for ‘the happiness of all.’ I want to live myself, or else better not live at all. I simply couldn’t pass by my mother starving, keeping my rouble in my pocket while I waited for the ‘happiness of all.’ I am putting my little brick into the happiness of all and so my heart is at peace. Ha-ha! Why have you let me slip? I only live once, I too want.... Ech, I am an æsthetic louse and nothing more,” he added suddenly, laughing like a madman. “Yes, I am certainly a louse,” he went on, clutching at the idea, gloating over it and playing with it with vindictive pleasure. “In the first place, because I can reason that I am one, and secondly, because for a month past I have been troubling benevolent Providence, calling it to witness that not for my own fleshly lusts did I undertake it, but with a grand and noble object—ha-ha! Thirdly, because I aimed at carrying it out as justly as possible, weighing, measuring and calculating. Of all the lice I picked out the most useless one and proposed to take from her only as much as I needed for the first step, no more nor less (so the rest would have gone to a monastery, according to her will, ha-ha!). And what shows that I am utterly a louse,” he added, grinding his teeth, “is that I am perhaps viler and more loathsome than the louse I killed, and I felt beforehand that I should tell myself so after killing her. Can anything be compared with the horror of that? The vulgarity! The abjectness! I understand the ‘prophet’ with his sabre, on his steed: Allah commands and ‘trembling’ creation must obey! The ‘prophet’ is right, he is right when he sets a battery across the street and blows up the innocent and the guilty without deigning to explain! It’s for you to obey, trembling creation, and not to have desires, for that’s not for you!... I shall never, never forgive the old woman!” His hair was soaked with sweat, his quivering lips were parched, his eyes were fixed on the ceiling. “Mother, sister—how I loved them! Why do I hate them now? Yes, I hate them, I feel a physical hatred for them, I can’t bear them near me.... I went up to my mother and kissed her, I remember.... To embrace her and think if she only knew... shall I tell her then? That’s just what I might do.... She must be the same as I am,” he added, straining himself to think, as it were struggling with delirium. “Ah, how I hate the old woman now! I feel I should kill her again if she came to life! Poor Lizaveta! Why did she come in?... It’s strange though, why is it I scarcely ever think of her, as though I hadn’t killed her? Lizaveta! Sonia! Poor gentle things, with gentle eyes.... Dear women! Why don’t they weep? Why don’t they moan? They give up everything... their eyes are soft and gentle.... Sonia, Sonia! Gentle Sonia!”