Crime And Punishment Page-60

Crime And Punishment

“Come along, come along!” said his father. “They are drunken and foolish, they are in fun; come away, don’t look!” and he tried to draw him away, but he tore himself away from his hand, and, beside himself with horror, ran to the horse. The poor beast was in a bad way. She was gasping, standing still, then tugging again and almost falling. “Beat her to death,” cried Mikolka, “it’s come to that. I’ll do for her!” “What are you about, are you a Christian, you devil?” shouted an old man in the crowd. “Did anyone ever see the like? A wretched nag like that pulling such a cartload,” said another. “You’ll kill her,” shouted the third. “Don’t meddle! It’s my property, I’ll do what I choose. Get in, more of you! Get in, all of you! I will have her go at a gallop!...” All at once laughter broke into a roar and covered everything: the mare, roused by the shower of blows, began feebly kicking. Even the old man could not help smiling. To think of a wretched little beast like that trying to kick! Two lads in the crowd snatched up whips and ran to the mare to beat her about the ribs. One ran each side. “Hit her in the face, in the eyes, in the eyes,” cried Mikolka. “Give us a song, mates,” shouted someone in the cart and everyone in the cart joined in a riotous song, jingling a tambourine and whistling. The woman went on cracking nuts and laughing. ... He ran beside the mare, ran in front of her, saw her being whipped across the eyes, right in the eyes! He was crying, he felt choking, his tears were streaming. One of the men gave him a cut with the whip across the face, he did not feel it. Wringing his hands and screaming, he rushed up to the grey-headed old man with the grey beard, who was shaking his head in disapproval. One woman seized him by the hand and would have taken him away, but he tore himself from her and ran back to the mare. She was almost at the last gasp, but began kicking once more. “I’ll teach you to kick,” Mikolka shouted ferociously. He threw down the whip, bent forward and picked up from the bottom of the cart a long, thick shaft, he took hold of one end with both hands and with an effort brandished it over the mare. “He’ll crush her,” was shouted round him. “He’ll kill her!” “It’s my property,” shouted Mikolka and brought the shaft down with a