Crime And Punishment Page-258

Crime And Punishment

thousand). We were united in lawful wedlock and she bore me off into the country like a treasure. You know she was five years older than I. She was very fond of me. For seven years I never left the country. And, take note, that all my life she held a document over me, the IOU for thirty thousand roubles, so if I were to elect to be restive about anything I should be trapped at once! And she would have done it! Women find nothing incompatible in that.” “If it hadn’t been for that, would you have given her the slip?” “I don’t know what to say. It was scarcely the document restrained me. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Marfa Petrovna herself invited me to go abroad, seeing I was bored, but I’ve been abroad before, and always felt sick there. For no reason, but the sunrise, the bay of Naples, the sea—you look at them and it makes you sad. What’s most revolting is that one is really sad! No, it’s better at home. Here at least one blames others for everything and excuses oneself. I should have gone perhaps on an expedition to the North Pole, because j’ai le vin mauvais and hate drinking, and there’s nothing left but wine. I have tried it. But, I say, I’ve been told Berg is going up in a great balloon next Sunday from the Yusupov Garden and will take up passengers at a fee. Is it true?” “Why, would you go up?” “I... No, oh, no,” muttered Svidrigaïlov really seeming to be deep in thought. “What does he mean? Is he in earnest?” Raskolnikov wondered. “No, the document didn’t restrain me,” Svidrigaïlov went on, meditatively. “It was my own doing, not leaving the country, and nearly a year ago Marfa Petrovna gave me back the document on my name-day and made me a present of a considerable sum of money, too. She had a fortune, you know. ‘You see how I trust you, Arkady Ivanovitch’—that was actually her expression. You don’t believe she used it? But do you know I managed the estate quite decently, they know me in the neighbourhood. I ordered books, too. Marfa Petrovna at first approved, but afterwards she was afraid of my over-studying.” “You seem to be missing Marfa Petrovna very much?” “Missing her? Perhaps. Really, perhaps I am. And, by the way, do you believe in ghosts?” “What ghosts?” “Why, ordinary ghosts.” “Do you believe in them?” “Perhaps not, pour vous plaire.... I wouldn’t say no exactly.” “Do you see them, then?”