Crime And Punishment Page-254

Crime And Punishment

CHAPTER I “Can this be still a dream?” Raskolnikov thought once more. He looked carefully and suspiciously at the unexpected visitor. “Svidrigaïlov! What nonsense! It can’t be!” he said at last aloud in bewilderment. His visitor did not seem at all surprised at this exclamation. “I’ve come to you for two reasons. In the first place, I wanted to make your personal acquaintance, as I have already heard a great deal about you that is interesting and flattering; secondly, I cherish the hope that you may not refuse to assist me in a matter directly concerning the welfare of your sister, Avdotya Romanovna. For without your support she might not let me come near her now, for she is prejudiced against me, but with your assistance I reckon on...” “You reckon wrongly,” interrupted Raskolnikov. “They only arrived yesterday, may I ask you?” Raskolnikov made no reply. “It was yesterday, I know. I only arrived myself the day before. Well, let me tell you this, Rodion Romanovitch, I don’t consider it necessary to justify myself, but kindly tell me what was there particularly criminal on my part in all this business, speaking without prejudice, with common sense?” Raskolnikov continued to look at him in silence. “That in my own house I persecuted a defenceless girl and ‘insulted her with my infamous proposals’—is that it? (I am anticipating you.) But you’ve only to assume that I, too, am a man et nihil humanum... in a word, that I am capable of being attracted and falling in love (which does not depend on our will), then everything can be explained in the most natural manner. The question is, am I a monster, or am I myself a victim? And what if I am a victim? In proposing to the object of my passion to elope with me to America or Switzerland, I may have cherished the deepest respect for her and may have thought that I was promoting our mutual happiness! Reason is the slave of passion, you know; why, probably, I was doing more harm to myself than anyone!” “But that’s not the point,” Raskolnikov interrupted with disgust. “It’s simply that whether you are right or wrong, we dislike you. We don’t want to have anything to do with you. We show you the door. Go out!”