Crime And Punishment Page-53

Crime And Punishment

“Don’t be anxious, I won’t let him have her,” the policeman said resolutely, and he set off after them. “Ah, the vice one sees nowadays!” he repeated aloud, sighing. At that moment something seemed to sting Raskolnikov; in an instant a complete revulsion of feeling came over him. “Hey, here!” he shouted after the policeman. The latter turned round. “Let them be! What is it to do with you? Let her go! Let him amuse himself.” He pointed at the dandy, “What is it to do with you?” The policeman was bewildered, and stared at him open-eyed. Raskolnikov laughed. “Well!” ejaculated the policeman, with a gesture of contempt, and he walked after the dandy and the girl, probably taking Raskolnikov for a madman or something even worse. “He has carried off my twenty copecks,” Raskolnikov murmured angrily when he was left alone. “Well, let him take as much from the other fellow to allow him to have the girl and so let it end. And why did I want to interfere? Is it for me to help? Have I any right to help? Let them devour each other alive—what is it to me? How did I dare to give him twenty copecks? Were they mine?” In spite of those strange words he felt very wretched. He sat down on the deserted seat. His thoughts strayed aimlessly.... He found it hard to fix his mind on anything at that moment. He longed to forget himself altogether, to forget everything, and then to wake up and begin life anew.... “Poor girl!” he said, looking at the empty corner where she had sat—“She will come to herself and weep, and then her mother will find out.... She will give her a beating, a horrible, shameful beating and then maybe, turn her out of doors.... And even if she does not, the Darya Frantsovnas will get wind of it, and the girl will soon be slipping out on the sly here and there. Then there will be the hospital directly (that’s always the luck of those girls with respectable mothers, who go wrong on the sly) and then... again the hospital... drink... the taverns... and more hospital, in two or three years—a wreck, and her life over at eighteen or nineteen.... Have not I seen cases like that? And how have they been brought to it? Why, they’ve all come to it like that. Ugh! But what does it matter? That’s as it should be, they tell us. A certain percentage, they tell us, must every year go... that way... to the devil, I suppose, so that the rest may remain chaste, and not be interfered with. A percentage! What splendid words they have; they are so