Crime And Punishment Page-61

Crime And Punishment

swinging blow. There was a sound of a heavy thud. “Thrash her, thrash her! Why have you stopped?” shouted voices in the crowd. And Mikolka swung the shaft a second time and it fell a second time on the spine of the luckless mare. She sank back on her haunches, but lurched forward and tugged forward with all her force, tugged first on one side and then on the other, trying to move the cart. But the six whips were attacking her in all directions, and the shaft was raised again and fell upon her a third time, then a fourth, with heavy measured blows. Mikolka was in a fury that he could not kill her at one blow. “She’s a tough one,” was shouted in the crowd. “She’ll fall in a minute, mates, there will soon be an end of her,” said an admiring spectator in the crowd. “Fetch an axe to her! Finish her off,” shouted a third. “I’ll show you! Stand off,” Mikolka screamed frantically; he threw down the shaft, stooped down in the cart and picked up an iron crowbar. “Look out,” he shouted, and with all his might he dealt a stunning blow at the poor mare. The blow fell; the mare staggered, sank back, tried to pull, but the bar fell again with a swinging blow on her back and she fell on the ground like a log. “Finish her off,” shouted Mikolka and he leapt beside himself, out of the cart. Several young men, also flushed with drink, seized anything they could come across—whips, sticks, poles, and ran to the dying mare. Mikolka stood on one side and began dealing random blows with the crowbar. The mare stretched out her head, drew a long breath and died. “You butchered her,” someone shouted in the crowd. “Why wouldn’t she gallop then?” “My property!” shouted Mikolka, with bloodshot eyes, brandishing the bar in his hands. He stood as though regretting that he had nothing more to beat. “No mistake about it, you are not a Christian,” many voices were shouting in the crowd. But the poor boy, beside himself, made his way, screaming, through the crowd to the sorrel nag, put his arms round her bleeding dead head and kissed it, kissed the eyes and kissed the lips.... Then he jumped up and flew in a frenzy with his little fists out at Mikolka. At that instant his father, who had been running after him, snatched him up and carried him out of the crowd. “Come along, come! Let us go home,” he said to him. “Father! Why did they... kill... the poor horse!” he sobbed, but his voice broke