Crime And Punishment Page-77

Crime And Punishment

CHAPTER VII The door was as before opened a tiny crack, and again two sharp and suspicious eyes stared at him out of the darkness. Then Raskolnikov lost his head and nearly made a great mistake. Fearing the old woman would be frightened by their being alone, and not hoping that the sight of him would disarm her suspicions, he took hold of the door and drew it towards him to prevent the old woman from attempting to shut it again. Seeing this she did not pull the door back, but she did not let go the handle so that he almost dragged her out with it on to the stairs. Seeing that she was standing in the doorway not allowing him to pass, he advanced straight upon her. She stepped back in alarm, tried to say something, but seemed unable to speak and stared with open eyes at him. “Good evening, Alyona Ivanovna,” he began, trying to speak easily, but his voice would not obey him, it broke and shook. “I have come... I have brought something... but we’d better come in... to the light....” And leaving her, he passed straight into the room uninvited. The old woman ran after him; her tongue was unloosed. “Good heavens! What it is? Who is it? What do you want?” “Why, Alyona Ivanovna, you know me... Raskolnikov... here, I brought you the pledge I promised the other day...” And he held out the pledge. The old woman glanced for a moment at the pledge, but at once stared in the eyes of her uninvited visitor. She looked intently, maliciously and mistrustfully. A minute passed; he even fancied something like a sneer in her eyes, as though she had already guessed everything. He felt that he was losing his head, that he was almost frightened, so frightened that if she were to look like that and not say a word for another half minute, he thought he would have run away from her. “Why do you look at me as though you did not know me?” he said suddenly, also with malice. “Take it if you like, if not I’ll go elsewhere, I am in a hurry.” He had not even thought of saying this, but it was suddenly said of itself. The old woman recovered herself, and her visitor’s resolute tone evidently restored her confidence. “But why, my good sir, all of a minute.... What is it?” she asked, looking at the pledge.