Crime And Punishment Page-45

Crime And Punishment

CHAPTER IV His mother’s letter had been a torture to him, but as regards the chief fact in it, he had felt not one moment’s hesitation, even whilst he was reading the letter. The essential question was settled, and irrevocably settled, in his mind: “Never such a marriage while I am alive and Mr. Luzhin be damned!” “The thing is perfectly clear,” he muttered to himself, with a malignant smile anticipating the triumph of his decision. “No, mother, no, Dounia, you won’t deceive me! and then they apologise for not asking my advice and for taking the decision without me! I dare say! They imagine it is arranged now and can’t be broken off; but we will see whether it can or not! A magnificent excuse: ‘Pyotr Petrovitch is such a busy man that even his wedding has to be in post-haste, almost by express.’ No, Dounia, I see it all and I know what you want to say to me; and I know too what you were thinking about, when you walked up and down all night, and what your prayers were like before the Holy Mother of Kazan who stands in mother’s bedroom. Bitter is the ascent to Golgotha.... Hm... so it is finally settled; you have determined to marry a sensible business man, Avdotya Romanovna, one who has a fortune (has already made his fortune, that is so much more solid and impressive), a man who holds two government posts and who shares the ideas of our most rising generation, as mother writes, and who seems to be kind, as Dounia herself observes. That seems beats everything! And that very Dounia for that very ‘seems’ is marrying him! Splendid! splendid! “... But I should like to know why mother has written to me about ‘our most rising generation’? Simply as a descriptive touch, or with the idea of prepossessing me in favour of Mr. Luzhin? Oh, the cunning of them! I should like to know one thing more: how far they were open with one another that day and night and all this time since? Was it all put into words, or did both understand that they had the same thing at heart and in their minds, so that there was no need to speak of it aloud, and better not to speak of it. Most likely it was partly like that, from mother’s letter it’s evident: he struck her as rude a little, and mother in her simplicity took her observations to Dounia. And she was sure to be vexed and ‘answered her angrily.’ I should think so! Who would not be angered when it was quite clear without any naïve questions and when it was understood that it was useless to discuss it. And why does she write to me, ‘love Dounia, Rodya, and she loves you more than herself’? Has she a secret conscience-prick at sacrificing her daughter to her son? ‘You are our one