Crime And Punishment Page-46

Crime And Punishment

comfort, you are everything to us.’ Oh, mother!” His bitterness grew more and more intense, and if he had happened to meet Mr. Luzhin at the moment, he might have murdered him. “Hm... yes, that’s true,” he continued, pursuing the whirling ideas that chased each other in his brain, “it is true that ‘it needs time and care to get to know a man,’ but there is no mistake about Mr. Luzhin. The chief thing is he is ‘a man of business and seems kind,’ that was something, wasn’t it, to send the bags and big box for them! A kind man, no doubt after that! But his bride and her mother are to drive in a peasant’s cart covered with sacking (I know, I have been driven in it). No matter! It is only ninety versts and then they can ‘travel very comfortably, third class,’ for a thousand versts! Quite right, too. One must cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth, but what about you, Mr. Luzhin? She is your bride.... And you must be aware that her mother has to raise money on her pension for the journey. To be sure it’s a matter of business, a partnership for mutual benefit, with equal shares and expenses;—food and drink provided, but pay for your tobacco. The business man has got the better of them, too. The luggage will cost less than their fares and very likely go for nothing. How is it that they don’t both see all that, or is it that they don’t want to see? And they are pleased, pleased! And to think that this is only the first blossoming, and that the real fruits are to come! But what really matters is not the stinginess, is not the meanness, but the tone of the whole thing. For that will be the tone after marriage, it’s a foretaste of it. And mother too, why should she be so lavish? What will she have by the time she gets to Petersburg? Three silver roubles or two ‘paper ones’ as she says.... that old woman... hm. What does she expect to live upon in Petersburg afterwards? She has her reasons already for guessing that she could not live with Dounia after the marriage, even for the first few months. The good man has no doubt let slip something on that subject also, though mother would deny it: ‘I shall refuse,’ says she. On whom is she reckoning then? Is she counting on what is left of her hundred and twenty roubles of pension when Afanasy Ivanovitch’s debt is paid? She knits woollen shawls and embroiders cuffs, ruining her old eyes. And all her shawls don’t add more than twenty roubles a year to her hundred and twenty, I know that. So she is building all her hopes all the time on Mr. Luzhin’s generosity; ‘he will offer it of himself, he will press it on me.’ You may wait a long time for that! That’s how it always is with these Schilleresque noble hearts; till the last moment every goose is a swan with them, till the last moment, they hope for the best and will see nothing wrong, and although they have an inkling of the other side of the picture, yet they won’t face the truth till they are forced to; the very thought of it makes them shiver; they thrust the truth