Crime And Punishment Page-64

Crime And Punishment

Raskolnikov caught sight of her, he was overcome by a strange sensation as it were of intense astonishment, though there was nothing astonishing about this meeting. “You could make up your mind for yourself, Lizaveta Ivanovna,” the huckster was saying aloud. “Come round to-morrow about seven. They will be here too.” “To-morrow?” said Lizaveta slowly and thoughtfully, as though unable to make up her mind. “Upon my word, what a fright you are in of Alyona Ivanovna,” gabbled the huckster’s wife, a lively little woman. “I look at you, you are like some little babe. And she is not your own sister either—nothing but a step-sister and what a hand she keeps over you!” “But this time don’t say a word to Alyona Ivanovna,” her husband interrupted; “that’s my advice, but come round to us without asking. It will be worth your while. Later on your sister herself may have a notion.” “Am I to come?” “About seven o’clock to-morrow. And they will be here. You will be able to decide for yourself.” “And we’ll have a cup of tea,” added his wife. “All right, I’ll come,” said Lizaveta, still pondering, and she began slowly moving away. Raskolnikov had just passed and heard no more. He passed softly, unnoticed, trying not to miss a word. His first amazement was followed by a thrill of horror, like a shiver running down his spine. He had learnt, he had suddenly quite unexpectedly learnt, that the next day at seven o’clock Lizaveta, the old woman’s sister and only companion, would be away from home and that therefore at seven o’clock precisely the old woman would be left alone. He was only a few steps from his lodging. He went in like a man condemned to death. He thought of nothing and was incapable of thinking; but he felt suddenly in his whole being that he had no more freedom of thought, no will, and that everything was suddenly and irrevocably decided. Certainly, if he had to wait whole years for a suitable opportunity, he could not reckon on a more certain step towards the success of the plan than that which had just presented itself. In any case, it would have been difficult to find out beforehand and with certainty, with greater exactness and less risk, and without dangerous inquiries and investigations, that next day at a certain time an old woman, on whose life an attempt was contemplated, would be at home and