Crime And Punishment Page-36

Crime And Punishment

answered, reluctantly, as though replying to his own thought. “And you want to get a fortune all at once?” He looked at her strangely. “Yes, I want a fortune,” he answered firmly, after a brief pause. “Don’t be in such a hurry, you quite frighten me! Shall I get you the loaf or not?” “As you please.” “Ah, I forgot! A letter came for you yesterday when you were out.” “A letter? for me! from whom?” “I can’t say. I gave three copecks of my own to the postman for it. Will you pay me back?” “Then bring it to me, for God’s sake, bring it,” cried Raskolnikov greatly excited—“good God!” A minute later the letter was brought him. That was it: from his mother, from the province of R——. He turned pale when he took it. It was a long while since he had received a letter, but another feeling also suddenly stabbed his heart. “Nastasya, leave me alone, for goodness’ sake; here are your three copecks, but for goodness’sake, make haste and go!” The letter was quivering in his hand; he did not want to open it in her presence; he wanted to be left alone with this letter. When Nastasya had gone out, he lifted it quickly to his lips and kissed it; then he gazed intently at the address, the small, sloping handwriting, so dear and familiar, of the mother who had once taught him to read and write. He delayed; he seemed almost afraid of something. At last he opened it; it was a thick heavy letter, weighing over two ounces, two large sheets of note paper were covered with very small handwriting. “My dear Rodya,” wrote his mother—“it’s two months since I last had a talk with you by letter which has distressed me and even kept me awake at night, thinking. But I am sure you will not blame me for my inevitable silence. You know how I love you; you are all we have to look to, Dounia and I, you are our all, our one hope, our one stay. What a grief it was to me when I heard that you had given up the university some months ago, for want of means to keep yourself and that you had lost your lessons and your other work! How could I help you out of my hundred and twenty roubles a year pension? The fifteen roubles I sent you four months ago I borrowed, as you know, on security of my pension, from Vassily Ivanovitch Vahrushin a merchant of this town. He is a