Crime And Punishment Page-52

Crime And Punishment

“Missy, missy!” the policeman began again, taking the money. “I’ll fetch you a cab and take you home myself. Where shall I take you, eh? Where do you live?” “Go away! They won’t let me alone,” the girl muttered, and once more waved her hand. “Ach, ach, how shocking! It’s shameful, missy, it’s a shame!” He shook his head again, shocked, sympathetic and indignant. “It’s a difficult job,” the policeman said to Raskolnikov, and as he did so, he looked him up and down in a rapid glance. He, too, must have seemed a strange figure to him: dressed in rags and handing him money! “Did you meet her far from here?” he asked him. “I tell you she was walking in front of me, staggering, just here, in the boulevard. She only just reached the seat and sank down on it.” “Ah, the shameful things that are done in the world nowadays, God have mercy on us! An innocent creature like that, drunk already! She has been deceived, that’s a sure thing. See how her dress has been torn too.... Ah, the vice one sees nowadays! And as likely as not she belongs to gentlefolk too, poor ones maybe.... There are many like that nowadays. She looks refined, too, as though she were a lady,” and he bent over her once more. Perhaps he had daughters growing up like that, “looking like ladies and refined” with pretensions to gentility and smartness.... “The chief thing is,” Raskolnikov persisted, “to keep her out of this scoundrel’s hands! Why should he outrage her! It’s as clear as day what he is after; ah, the brute, he is not moving off!” Raskolnikov spoke aloud and pointed to him. The gentleman heard him, and seemed about to fly into a rage again, but thought better of it, and confined himself to a contemptuous look. He then walked slowly another ten paces away and again halted. “Keep her out of his hands we can,” said the constable thoughtfully, “if only she’d tell us where to take her, but as it is.... Missy, hey, missy!” he bent over her once more. She opened her eyes fully all of a sudden, looked at him intently, as though realising something, got up from the seat and walked away in the direction from which she had come. “Oh shameful wretches, they won’t let me alone!” she said, waving her hand again. She walked quickly, though staggering as before. The dandy followed her, but along another avenue, keeping his eye on her.